Books And Cats

Tomorrow, Saturday, I’ll be at the 2nd Annual Book Festival in Winnsboro, sponsored by the Winnsboro Center For the Arts. There will be 20-plus other authors in attendance, and here’s hoping the weather holds for us as this will be an outdoor event for the most part. I’m looking forward to sharing a table, and some time, with Bill Jones, the official Winnsboro Historian and my co-author on two books about Winnsboro.

Me and Bill at the Book Festival last year.

We have written together for a little over seven years, starting with Images of America: Winnsboro, then doing Reflections of Winnsboro, which was a collection of some of the articles Bill has written for Wood County Publications. We’re working on a third book with another writer; this one a history of Webster, another East Texas community and the home of Sue Craddock-Hamm.

Now I’m going to turn the blog over to cats. Not my cats, as they have little to say to me unless it is time to eat or play, but to Litter Robot. I receive their newsletters, and if the content is something I consider worth sharing, well, I share. I hope you find the information interesting and helpful.

First this important information about plant safety around cats.

Most species of the lily pose a severe threat to our cats as they are extremely poisonous – the lily not the cat. Cats are at a higher risk of poisoning because they have an altered liver metabolism. Ingesting as little as two petals or leaves can result in severe, potentially irreversible acute kidney failure.

Here is a list of poisonous lilies:

  • Easter lily (also called trumpet lily)
  • Tiger lily
  • White lily (also called Madonna lily)
  • Daylily
  • Asiatic lily
  • Stargazer lily (also called Oriental lilies)
  • Calla lily (also called pig or arum lily)
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Wood lily (also called red lily)
  • Japanese Show lily (also called rubrum lily)
  • Bush lily (also called Clivia lily)
  • Plantain lily (also called Hosta lily)

The top three on the list are common in florist bouquets, so care should be taken when receiving one.

Another blog post from the Litter Robot blog was about trapping and neutering feral and stray cats. I have several friends who try to care for stray cats and socialize feral cats, so I thought this information would be helpful.


  • Pick up a humane box trap or drop trap—never use darts or tranquilizers to trap a cat. Practice ahead of time how to set and bait traps.
  • Determine if the cats are stray or feral:  This will help you determine whether the cats should be returned after being neutered, or if they are candidates for socialization and eventual adoption.
  • To get the cats used to coming out and eating while you are there, establish a set time and place to feed the cats every day. Feed out of unset traps for 1-2 weeks prior to the trapping day, to get cats used to seeing and walking into them. Do not put food anywhere else but inside the trap.


  • Do not open the traps or release cats once trapped—even if it appears that the cats are hurting themselves. Remember, community cats may thrash around and try to escape, or simply shut down upon being trapped.
  • Never attempt to pick up or handle a conscious community cat, even a kitten. Why? You risk injury to yourself or the cat—and if you’re bitten, the cat will need to be killed for rabies testing.

Look for a veterinarian clinic that:

  • Doesn’t require testing for FeLV and FIV or a pre-op blood test before performing the spay/neuter (as tests can produce false positives and may lead to unnecessary euthanization of cats).
  • Will also administer a rabies vaccine and, ideally, FVRCP vaccines (also known as distemper or feline disease vaccines).
  • Performs cat ear-tipping (under anesthesia). Ear-tipping is the removal of the tip of a cat’s ear. The quickest way to identify a neutered and vaccinated community cat is through cat ear-tipping.
  • Uses dissolvable stitches so no follow-up appointment is required.


  • Let the cats recover in the covered traps overnight in the climate-controlled and quiet recovery area you have prepared. Covered traps will reduce their stress and ensure the safety of both you and the cats.
  • Monitor the cats for bleeding, infection, illness, or lack of appetite.
  • Return the cats to the same location (their colony site) where you trapped them. Early morning is a good time. Point the trap away from roads or high-traffic areas.

That’s all for me folks. I hope you have a terrific weekend, and whatever your plans are, be safe, be happy. 

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