Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Story of A Feral Cat

This is about the life of a feral cat.  She was rescued from the campus of Louisburg High School. She lived in the storm drain in the teachers' parking lot. (Some non-caring individuals would drop cats off at the school on nights and weekends.) She was a typical feral cat -- until she was rescued. From that point she was neither feral nor completely domesticated.

Hands-on Education of Feral Cats

She showed up at the school during the construction and renovation of the school. She lived under the construction office, which was near the cafeteria. The students and construction workers would throw food to her. She wouldn't let anyone near her -- very feral -- though, I don't think she had always been feral. She was very independent and didn't want anyone touching her. The students sometimes talked about a pretty cat under the trailer. I saw her once in this location.

When the construction ended, she lost her "home". She started living in the storm drain in the parking lot.

I'm not sure when I gave her a name. I named her Callie. She was an absolutely beautiful calico, with. long-hair and short legs. She had a short tail because she lost half of it. One Friday, she showed up dragging half her tail. It was at that point I felt she needed to see a vet but catching her was going to be a problem. In a few days, the dragged part of the tail fell off. She appeared to be healthy.

I started feeding her and kept cat food in my car. I would feed her every morning before anyone else got to school. She knew the sound of my car and most every day, she was waiting for me when I got there in the morning. Other cats challenged her ownership of the cat food, so she would gobbled it up before I could get in my classroom. I often left the school late and she sometimes waited for more food. My friend, Janet, would feed her on the holidays. Sometimes, I would drive to school and feed her myself.

The Capture

Another teacher, Jane, became interested in her. Jane also trapped, neutered, and returned (TNR) feral cats. We tried to capture this cat for about a month, but were not successful. She was one smart cat. Jane soon became retired and left me to try to continue the capture of Callie. Jane was going to take her to the vet and then release her on her farm if I ever caught her.

It took another two weeks. I gradually placed her food closer and closer to the trap. I put the food in the trap several days without tripping the latch because I wanted her to get use to climbing into the cage. The first day I placed the food in the back, I caught her. When the latch shut, she screamed, yowled, hissed and growled furiously. (It felt bad because I had deceived her and I wondered if she knew me by smell). I didn't want her to know who trapped her, so I approached the cage holding a blanket in front of me. I threw the blanket over the cage and picked it up. I called Jane to tell her I had her. Jane drove to Louisburg to pick her up.

Jane took Callie to the vet, had her spayed, and got her necessary shots. She provided a space in her house for Callie's healing.

And There is Trouble With the Plans

I got an email from Jane in a couple of weeks stating that there was a problem. She asked me if I would be willing to take Callie. She had done some more reading about feral cats and talked to an expert on feral cats. It seems that if they are released in a unfamiliar area, other feral cats will chase them away. Feral cats are very territorial. It is not safe to relocate them unless they are in a dangerous area. There are several other reasons for not relocating feral cats.

I told Jane I would take her but that I needed time to get ready for her. I purchased a very large crate for cats and place it in the small bedroom. At the time, I had two other cats. Callie needed to be isolated from them in the beginning.

Bringing Callie Home

I went to get Callie. If you have seen cartoons of cats flying threw the air with the claws out, you may think they are a jokes. NOPE! Callie could fly through the air with her nails out. She jumped high from wall to the wall and scraped her way down. It was frightening for Callie and us. We had a very difficult time corralling her into a cat travel carrier. Another upsetting experience for her.

I took her home. I lowered the cat carrier to the cat crate; into the crate she went. There was food, water and a a small litter box. (Jane said Callie used the litter box with no problems). I left Callie alone several hours so that she could get used to her surroundings. During the next few days I would visit her, reach my hand to touch her, change the litter box and water and feed her. I also would take a book into the room and read aloud to her.

A few days later, I opened the bedroom door to let the two other cats in to visit. At first she didn't like it and would hiss and spit. It eventually worked because she and Dupont became lasting buddies.

In a week, it was time for the next step. Once she no longer hissed at me and let me touch her, I opened the door of the crate and left the room.


Coming Out of Hiding

At some point she came out and hid behind the futon.

She would come out to eat and drink and use the litter box. I always talked to her and always said the phrase, "You come out to see your Mama."After waiting several days, I folded down the mattress of the futon so I could see her. I didn't touch her for a couple days. Then, I started laying across the mattress and touching her and rubbing her. The second day I heard her purr and felt her relaxed. Finally I was getting somewhere. She loved being petted!

In about the third week,  I went in and peeped at her from under the futon and said"You come out to see your Mama" and she stretched to touch me. I touched her and she put her head down for me to touch her. It was a long stretch. I sat on the floor by the futon and read to her.

She Comes Out to Greet Me

In another few weeks, she peeked out from under the futon to see me when I entered the room. I sat further from the futon and repeated"You come out to see your Mama". One day, miraculously, she did come out to be petted; from then out she always came to greet me when I repeated the phrase.

From that point in the domestication, she gradually became one of the house cats. I could never leave her out when I left the house because sometimes she wouldn't go upstairs to use her litter box. (I had three litter boxes to clean and didn't want another -- besides, Dupont would use it). Though Dupont was sometimes irritated with Callie's neediness, he would cry for me to to upstairs to let Callie out. Callie never, ever liked to be picked up but she loved to sit in my lap or on my chest if I was lying on the sofa.

Why am I using the Past Tense?

Callie died, this week, of renal failure June 18, 2015. I miss you, baby, and you taught me so much about caring for feral cats. You were so loyal to me and loved being with me. Thanks for being so patient and loving. You always followed me around the house like puppy dog. Though it was irritating at times, I miss it.


If you read one of the articles, you know that it said to return the feral cats to their environment. So why didn't Jane and I put the cat back on the Louisburg campus? Callie's home was a storm drain and a parking lot. We felt it to be a dangerous environment.


"Feral Cat Relocation." Louisiana SPCA, n.d. Web. 19 June 2015. <>.

"Relocation." Neighborhood Cats /. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 June 2015. <>.

"Why Trap-Neuter-Return Feral Cats: The Case for TNR." Why Trap-Neuter-Return Feral Cats? The Case for TNR. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 June 2015. <>.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Gluten Free Oat/Sorghum Mini Cake Donuts

The Trial and Error

I have been making mini gluten free donuts for several months. But, all my attempts went in the trash. They were not terrible but they were not great either. I needed to work on the taste and texture for that is the promise of a good cake donut.

The first time I tried this particular recipe, they tasted very good but the texture was not there. They didn't have enough body because when picked up, the donut crumbled, even when cold. So, for the next trial, the amount of flour was increased. Bingo -- the texture much improved. They weren't as sweet as before but I didn't add more sugar; the sugar topping would remedy that.  

What To Do With Left Over Sugar/Cinnamon Topping

When I made the low-sugar topping, dipped the donuts in the melted butter, and then dipped them in the topping, I thought they were good enough to post. As I started cleaning up, there was a small amount of sugar/cinnamon topping and butter left. I was going to throw it out and the bell in my head rang. I got a couple tablespoons of cream cheese out, put it in a small bowl with the sugar topping and butter and beat it. I didn't think I could pipe it so I added about a teaspoon of half & half and beat it until it was very smooth. I piped it on top of the sugar topping. Oh, my gosh, that cinnamon cream cheese was a perfect final topping. Next time I will try to be a little more artistic when piping.

Gluten Free Oat/Sorghum Mini Cake Donuts

Dry ingredients:
1/3 cup (40g) oat flour  
1/3 cup (40 g) sorghum flour   
2 tablespoons (7 g) almond flour/meal 
1 tablespoon powdered buttermilk, powdered whey or powdered milk of choice
1 tablespoon seed dust*
1 tablespoon sugar or sugar substitute or combination of both
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:
2 tablespoons milk of choice or water
2 tablespoons applesauce
1 1/2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon granular sugar
1 tablespoon Stevia in the raw, granular sugar or any dry sweetener of choice.
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Cream Cheese Piping:
1 teaspoon of leftover sugar topping
1/2 - 1 teaspoon left over dipping butter
1-2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 teaspoon milk or half & half

Whisk all the dry ingredients together. Stir the wet ingredients together. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes to help the gluten free flour hydrate.

Spoon the batter into a plastic zipper bag. Cut a small corner off the bag. Gently squeeze the batter evenly into 12 mini indentions of the mini donut pan. Bake at 325℉ for 10-12 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick or a very light touch. There should be only a few to no dry crumbs on the toothpick. The donuts should bounce back when lightly touched. Do not press too hard or the donuts might no longer rise if you have to put them back in the oven.

When the donuts are done, remove from oven and let them cool in the pan about 5 minutes. (They are very delicate when hot and will break apart.) Place on a cooling rack. When the donuts seem sturdy (in about 5-10 minutes), dip the top of a donut in the melted butter and then dip in the sugar topping. Place back on the cooking rack and dip the remaining donuts.

The donuts can be eaten with only the sugar topping, but the cream cheese adds a great flavor. To make the cream cheese piping, cream the cream cheese with the leftover sugar topping, melted butter and milk or half & half. Whip until perfectly combined with no lumps. Place in a plastic zippered bag, cut a small hole in a corner. (You can also using a pastry bag). Pipe the cream cheese in a design you like.

If you choose, you can skip the sugar topping and use only the cream cheese piping as a glaze or any frosting of choice. For the cinnamon cream cheese,  mix 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon sugar substitute (or only sugar can be used), 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 tablespoons cream cheese and 1 teaspoon or more of milk or half & half. Gently dip the donuts in the glaze or spoon the glaze over the top of the donuts.

As you can see from the first photo, these donuts weren't actually this dark.

Other variations to the recipe:
1. Add 1/4 cup or more mini chocolate chips to the batter before baking. Finely chopped nuts can be added with the mini chocolate chips.
2. Add 2 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa.
3. Make a vanilla or chocolate cream cheese glaze using the recipe at this site or use your own recipes for any flavor you like.
4. Skip adding the cinnamon to batter and add small or dried blueberries or other fruit.
5. Use the batter to make mini muffins. Using a pastry bag, fill the muffins with the cinnamon cream cheese glaze or any other filling wanted. Frost with chocolate, vanilla or the same cinnamon cream cheese glaze.
6. These will make 6 regular sized donuts. Bake 12-15 minutes.
7. Sprinkles are always in order but be sure they are gluten free.

*The seed dust is 1 tablespoon from ground seeds (20 grams flaxseed, 10 grams chia seeds, and 5 grams of psyllium husk powder).


"Cream Filled Cupcakes." N.p., n.d. Web. 07 June 2015. <>.

"Filling a Cupcake." N.p., n.d. Web. 07 June 2015. <>.

Pellegrinelli, Carroll. "Cream Cheese Glaze (Frosting) Recipe." N.p., n.d. Web. 07 June 2015. <>.

"Pixie Dust Xanthan Gum Replacer." GlutenFree Doctor. N.p., 17 Nov. 2012. Web. 07 June 2015. <>.