Nancyeclark's Blog



This is Bib…named for the Michelin man as his tummy was always so big as a baby. Bib was special…his eyes, his funny little nose, his one white stocking-and his funny personality. Bib developed breathing problems from a growth behind his soft palate and when he began to have real problems getting enough air, we had to make a decision to end his struggle. We lost our gorgeous boy the same day we lost our Youko…and I just want to say that he was the best boy…the sweetest boy and my heart aches with the loss. Bibby and Youko were a wonderful part of my life – I will miss them always.



This is my little Youko; my odd little angel. Only survivor of her litter…she struggled with health issues throughout her short life. We lost her last month, and I haven’t been able to talk about it until now. Lovely and fragile…she gave me so much and taught me so much – I will miss her forever.

Check out what Lush is doing to fight animal testing
December 23, 2013, 1:08 am
Filed under: cats

I don’t recognize it either

Bonnie Klein received the Order of Canada. Problem is she thinks there is too much disorder in Canada’s politics of today. I like what she has to say and thought I would share it.


I can’t stop crying…and it is from a sadness and despair so profound, so deep, it has loosened my foundations like an earthquake. Everything I cherish and love and find beautiful in this world is being us. I cry in pain, and despair…and in the darkness of a soul that feels its connections withering into dust. My long dark night has begun.

I have seen the cruelty of humans. Active, intentional cruelty to children, to animals, to each other. And I have seen the neglect, the unintentional cruelty…the cruelty of not caring, of ignorance. Now I see, a cruelty, a neglect that comes, I believe from a deeper, more sinister place…and on a much more massive scale. We may say we are not aware…but if we stop to think, we must know the consequences of our actions…we are the smartest animal on the planet after all, and for years now it has been warned of, been in the news. “Activists”  and “environmentalists” and “scientists” have been issuing warnings for years. (I use the quotation marks because these folks have always been seen as alarmists and not quite with the mainstream.) We did not listen because we are too greedy and too busy to heed the warnings. There is a picture floating around the internet for shark week that I find revealing…(thanks to Ocean Defenders for the image)

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We have so polluted and corrupted our planet…our mother, our home…our only place to survive, that it may never recover and become whole again. And the cruelty isn’t just to our fellow creatures, it is to ourselves. If we create a place so toxic and unwelcoming to other species…why can we not see that it is toxic and unwelcoming to us as well?

We have spewed out so many greenhouse gases that we have changed our climate forever. Even if we stopped right this second…the damage has been done and the erosion of our atmosphere will continue apace because there isn’t any way to remove what we have already released into our air…and because the rise in temperatures we have already seen will continue to thaw the permafrost and release more gases into the mix.

We have cleared so much forest and rainforest, to satisfy our hunger and greed…our planet is like a smoker with stage 4 lung cancer…our planets lungs are not just sick, not just less able to breathe…they are going to die and everything within them die too. With the trees, plants and grasses go the animals that depend on them…and so go we. Maybe not today..but soon. Our remaining time on earth is looking less and less long term. People worry about how to live better now, how to leave something for their kids and give them a better future…we should be worrying about having a future at all.

And it scares me silly that we might explore and expand one day onto other planets. What will we do there? Create more garbage and more problems. Movies show us big bad aliens showing up on Earth and trying to kill us. Maybe the reason is the fear of us figuring out how to colonize other planets. If I were a species from another planet, I would be very worried about us Earthlings showing up and killing them…not with bigger weapons…but with our garbage, toxins, pollution and greed. It might take longer to wipe them out than the apocalypses seen in the movies, but it would happen just the same. I would find humans showing up very scary indeed. Have we not left our refuse everywhere we have been? The moon, space, our own backyards?

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We have so polluted our oceans that thousands of miles from any continent…we are still killing in the most horrible and cruel way with just the detritus of our unthinking, greedy, ignorant lifestyles. Tossing garbage out of our cars, off our boats…dumping waste into our rivers and into the oceans…there are huge rafts of plastic floating around the world’s oceans. There is oil and god knows what spilled and leaching into the waters off every coast. That bottle you did not recycle, that hypodermic you tossed into the trash, those 6 pack rings…all of them are deadly.

On the island of Midway…far off in the pacific…look, if your stomach can take it,…at what we have done.

A warning here…the video is graphic and disturbing…and so it should be!


I am speechless with grief and horror at the reach of the death we mete out to the planet’s other inhabitants without even being present or aware of what we are doing.

I have heard my whole life how smart we humans are and how we can put our minds to anything…to technology and advance it leaps and bounds…to create the internet, robotics, weapons, move into space exploration. How we create language and art and so are far and away more advanced and wonderful and precious than other creatures…we call ourselves Homo Sapiens or “wise man” after all.

I have to say I am more convinced now than ever before that we are the most stupid of creatures, because we have never been able to see the impact of our actions quite so clearly as we do now, and yet we refuse to countenance our complicity in the extinction of species, destruction of habitat and rape and pillage of the planet that sustains us.

Worse than any Mongol Horde, any plague are we…through our lack of insight, our greed and ignorance, our refusal to believe that we are part of the ecosystems we study…that we are somehow above being a species reliant on the Earth’s biosphere. Are we so damn blind?

This is why I can’t stop crying…and it is from a sadness and despair so profound, so deep, it has loosened my foundations like an earthquake. Everything I cherish and love and find beautiful in this world is being us. I cry in pain, and despair…and in the darkness of a soul that feels its connections withering into dust. My long dark night has begun. And so has ours as a species, unless we can make big changes to the way we see ourselves and our place in the grand scheme and loosen the grip consumerism has on our minds and hearts. The darkness we face only mirrors the darkness within.

Welcome to the long, dark night.

Musing on moggies

Fostering cats is one of the most rewarding, wonderful, loving and heartbreaking things you can do with your time, love and effort.

You take in a Mum cat, perhaps, about to give birth. Sometimes you are lucky and get a few days to get to know each other and establish a bond…sometimes she goes into labour in the carrier on the way home and the babies appear before you have even been introduced!!

Occasionally, Mum has already had her babies and you take them home with you when they are a day or two old or somewhere in that newborn to 12 week old area.

And then there are the orphan kittens, singles or litters, that need to be bottle fed…or if they are old enough, introduced to soft solid food. A very messy business!

No matter how they arrive…they are your responsibility and yours to love and care for. They demand attention…warmth…food…fresh water…litter & litter training…playtime…cuddles & snuggle-time…manners…socialization…all the things they need to be wonderful adoptable kittens and cats…because Mum will need a home too, when the babies are old enough. There will be visits to the vet, shots, de-worming…hopefully no viruses, parasites or other problems. They will all need to learn to use scratching posts and have their claws clipped. They will turn out to be the kind of cat they are, depending on their personality, but you do have some influence on their manners.

Fostering is a commitment that should not be taken lightly, because the goal is to find homes, forever homes for everybody…so we have to do our level best to keep them healthy, happy, well mannered and sociable. And we have to be able to let them go at the end of their foster time! Time and love are the big things in fostering. Time is the only one that is hard to find sometimes…the love comes when you look into their faces and you turn to mush. One of my very favourite things is a purring, contented Mum nursing her purring, contented babies…the next best thing is a tiny body on my lap, latched onto a nipple or syringe and getting that wonderful ear waggle going that means they are getting the nourishment they need. And kitten kisses, don’t forget kitten kisses…soft kisses and soft paws touching your nose…then kittens on a tear around the room or the house…full of life and fun and mischief. So really there are lots of favourite things about kittens.

I work hard at fostering…because I have to also make sure my own kitties do not suffer any loss of attention when there are kittens demanding playtime and snuggles. Luckily I have a wonderful family, and a wonderful family of cats who are amazingly patient at having their tails played with, their food stolen and their naps disrupted by kittens running over them and into them. They also understand when I disappear before their breakfast is put out, to feed the newest ones who get theirs first.

Upstairs in my studio I had a foster family…Phoebe and her 3 babies…Yogi, Archie and Zoe. Oops! Sorry…4 babies! The family increased to 4, because an orphan kitten around the same age as Phoebe’s family was brought in and we carried her home to see if Phoebe would take her on. I wrapped the new one in a towel that had just been replaced in the babies bin, so it smelled nicely like them…gave her a hot water bottle wrapped in towels for 15 minutes to warm her up and make her feel hungry…then introduced her to Phoebe. Calleigh, as she became, let out a tiny cry of hunger and Phoebe’s head whipped upright…she stared hard for about 2 seconds…leaned over…sniffed deeply, then licked Calleigh from stem to stern and scooped her in towards her tummy and the other babies. In the space of about 10 seconds, Calleigh had a new family and Phoebe had a new daughter! The ability of cats to accept a kitten not their own is a truly loving and wonderful thing. Not all will do it…but many will gladly take on an extra body or more.

Calleigh got some supplemental feeding…because even with Phoebe giving her extra alone time nursing…the other kittens were just that little bit older and bigger so that Calleigh got knocked off her nipple sometimes…she took in about an extra two tablespoons a day…spread out over several feedings. Soon she was as fat and roly-poly as the others. She was such a feisty little thing…such an odd face and darling personality.

Calleigh day 1…making sure she gets a meal. Calleigh is the little white kitten.

From fostering and from working with feral or community cats, I have learned that mum cats are amazing creatures. In the colony I have been working with most recently, the mum cats share nursing duties and care of the kittens…they share hunting responsibilities and discipline of the kittens too. When, unfortunately, one of the young mum cats disappeared forever (and I wish we knew what had happened) the other 2 mum cats took over her babies and raised them. Having been a step-mum, I know how precious someone else’s babies are and how wonderful it is to be part of their life…but a lot of human blended families don’t work that cooperatively. Cats seem to see it differently. At least this group of cats. They are amazing animals…wild and nervous of humans…but the little ones, caught between 8 weeks and 6 months of age…have socialized beautifully. We believe they simply have the “friendly gene”…as even though some took a long time to trust…they have all become lovely cats. The adults in the colony have been spayed and neutered…the 2 new males that have wandered in looking for food (so skinny we believe they are strays) are on the list to neuter very shortly.

Fostering encompasses so many things and so many situations…babies…mums and babies…socializing community cats (feral cats)…caring for sick or injured cats…it really runs the gamut. It breaks my heart every time I have to adopt one out…but it is also pure joy to know they have a home and family to love them. I have been very lucky that many of the adopters have kept in touch…just to send a picture or two of the cats/babies in their new homes being loved and being happy. What could be better than that?

I Loathe a Rainy Night

With deepest apologies to Eddie Rabbitt.

“Well, I love a rainy night
I love to hear the thunder
Watch the lightning
When it lights up the sky
You know it makes me feel good
Well, I love a rainy night
It’s such a beautiful sight
I love to feel the rain
On my face
Taste the rain on my lips
In the moonlight shadow
Showers washed
All my cares away”

I used to feel the way Eddie’s song goes. I do love thunder and lightning and rain pounding on the roof. I love going to watch a storm march across the lake and the lightning all around me. My fantasy vacation is heading to Tornado Alley to watch storms, wind, rain, clouds and lightning…with or without tornados.

But now I loathe a rainy night. All because of tailless, hopping Anura. Frogs. Peepers. Leopards. I don’t know what kind exactly…but mostly dead.

I loathe a rainy night and driving in the rain because rain…or mist or just the promise of rain…brings out the frogs. By the hundreds. Even thousands. Sitting, gulping, hopping out on the road in the rain…getting shmushed by the hundreds and thousands too.

Driving parts of the roads and highways in this area is like driving through a minefield…full of small, squishy, living, hopping mines. I slow down and swerve a lot…but in most cases there is traffic or too many of them to avoid.

So, I find myself driving to avoid as many as possible with my body tense, teeth clenched and saying over and over and over again “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry” and mentally apologizing to god and the frogs for killing or maiming the ones I cannot avoid. Best case scenario is my husband driving while I close my eyes and apologize until we get home. Sort of the same way I drive over the bridge to the States at Ivy Lea…eyes closed and praying we don’t fall off or get hit by a gust of wind!

Poor frogs. So happy they are to feel the rain. Hopping out onto the dark, wet pavement. Sitting, gulping, blissfully unaware of approaching mayhem…little faces raised to the rain…saying to themselves…”Wow! This feels so goo………..SPLAT!!

How unfair!

I have always wondered why they do this. Why rush out from their homes in the marshes and wetlands to sit in the wet & dark…communing with each other? Praising the gods of rain? Looking for moths and worms? Mating?

Here are 3 of the internets answers…and it seems I wasn’t far off with my theories…

1. -“Frog are cold blooded, or ectothermic animals, which means that they do not produce internal body heat. They go to the warm pavement during rain to maintain their temperatures.”

2. “For sex = to find a mate”

3. =During rainy nights drivers may have noticed dozens or even hundreds of frogs crossing roads in the area despite the danger of being hit.
Tarr said frogs travel out onto the pavement at this time because moist nights make for good amphibian travel weather."They breathe through their skin so they are susceptible to drying out when the sun is out. When it’s rainy they can go wherever they want and not worry about it. They tend to be the most active at night," Tarr said.
Mike Marchand, a wildlife biologist with New Hampshire Fish and Game, said frogs can be seen on the roads throughout the year during storms.
"When they move, it’s typically in the rain," said Marchand, adding the first big spring rainfall tends to bring them out of hibernation.
Experts say many frogs travel across pavement from their winter hibernating spots to get to wetlands where they can breed.
Tarr said the road also provides warmth as it holds the heat from the day better than the ground. Frogs also find things like worms and insects on the pavement to feast on, he added.
UNH Cooperative Extension officials are concerned about roads that run through wetlands because frogs and other amphibians are often run over more often during their travels.
Tarr said frogs and toads are remarkably adapted to their environment with features like camouflage and toxic chemicals that can be excreted to make them the last thing on the menu for many animals.
However, he said they certainly aren’t aware of the danger of vehicles.
"Most of the time the first time they are being educated about a car they are being squashed," Tarr said.
Marchand said the road is certainly a "risky" place for frogs to be considering that many motorists don’t even see them.
"There is certainly a high mortality rate on nights when it’s raining. When I drive I’m cringing and slowing down," Marchand said.”

The most telling part of what I found was this…"Most of the time, the first time they are being educated about a car, they are being squashed”.

So do we need to educate the frogs? Do we need frog tunnels? Signs warning drivers about frogs…like the signs for deer, turtles and other species?

Because it seems to me with all the talk about frogs being an indicator species…with their numbers dropping dramatically due to toxins and pollution, habitat destruction and climate change…we also need to take a look at the carnage on the roads.

So, when next you drive on a rainy night near wetlands…be aware of the little things on the road…they might look like detritus or leaves lying there…but if you really look…they are happy little creatures about to be annihilated…

and if you see a car ahead of you acting strangely…it’s probably me…because I love frogs and loathe rainy nights!