TIPS 'n' TALES 'n' Treats
Celebrates People and Pets
Mary Ellen and Miss Wings
Mary Ellen
Tips 'n' Tales Newspaper Columnist with Miss Wings
AngelScribe AT msn DOT com

Photo by Craig
Heidi, owner of The Cat Ranch with Little Horse who is ready to ride on the farm!


In 1998, Craig and Heidi's discovered seven new-born kittens in their workshop.  The kittens' feral-mother was missing; as so often happens to many homeless cats, she was either injured or killed and never returned.

Craig and Heidi carried the mewing-hungry orphans into their home.

Heidi describes what happened next, "Around the clock, every four hours, for 3 weeks, we did tag-team feeding. It was exhausting. Do you realize how long it takes to feed one small kitten? Now, multiply that by seven! Our efforts paid off, they all lived, and they were worth the dedication."

After investing so much time with the kittens, Heidi and Craig admitted, "We fell in love with them, kept three, and found wonderful homes for the others."

Eleven years later they still have the brothers Willie, Haagis, and Little Horse. (Little Horse was named after a character in the movie, Little Big Man.)
The boys all have very different personalities.  According to Heidi, "Willie is so loving and kind hearted that he gets along well with all other animals.  He even gets along with horses, and loves sleeping on the horse next door!"

Haagis is a gentleman; every morning he escorts Craig and Heidi from their front door, out to their vehicles, and back at the end of the day.  And besides his name, Little Horse's claim to fame is he  weighs a robust 18 pounds!
Heidi, an artist, was inspired by the kittens adorable personalities so she used them as models for cat art work. Her cat-creativity eventually led into a small business.

One night, as Craig was desperately "herding" their cats inside to protect them from roving predators on their rural farm, he accidentally named their small-furry herd and business, "The Cat Ranch."

The business blossomed and they moved from their farm's gift shop into the unusual round Building at 945 Gateway Boulevard, just off Interstate 5, at exit 174. 

And, yes, it is a completely round building!  It has no corners, thus purrfect for a cat to chase a mouse.  This unique building was built in 1930, and in January 30, 1932, it was featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not.
The Cat Ranch gift-shop sells hundreds of normal non-cat related articles, as well as hundreds of cat items for feline enthusiasts.  It is a knick-knack treasure hunter's dream shop.
Surprisingly, the only thing missing at The Cat Ranch to supervise the entire a cat!  Because of the busy road, and fudge kitchen health regulations, the cats stay safely at home.

Craig and Heidi have a fourth cat, another stray who "found" them.  They briefly nicknamed the malnourished pure-white cat Kitty "because she was only staying temporarily," laughs Heidi.  But it is now a year later and Kitty's sweet personality has earned her permanent-residence status with the family.

Shortly after Kitty's arrival, she was attacked by an aggressive cat, resulting in $500 of medical  bills.  "Kitty was well worth the expense," explains Heidi.

Like many pet guardians, Heidi and Craig cat experiences dispelled the adage "a free cat."  There is nothing free about the responsibility of feeding pets and paying for their medical bills.

"We love our cats and consider them family. Over the years, they have made us laugh, brought warmth and love into our home, and made inspiring models for the Cat Ranch!"

"Many of our customers are experiencing problems with traditional flea medications," informs Debbie co-owner of Old Mill Farm and Feed Store.

"They use the same drops, same brand of flea collar, on the same pet and nothing is giving them flea relief. Is this the advent of  super-fleas, resistant to the traditional methods of pesticides?" asks Debbie.

Debbie, an advocate of researching natural methods shares, "Early Rome, has historical documentation from doctors who had their patients place dried lavender and eucalyptus on floors to ward off bugs.

Some of our customers are following these natural methods and reporting wonderful pest free results. For example: Placing dried eucalyptus leaves and stems between their mattress and box springs, or couch cushions -- any place where there is cloth to cloth.

Every 10 days, snap the leaves/twigs to again release the natural odor insect repellent.

Or stuff an old sock/stocking with pine shavings, dried pennyroyal, cedar shavings, and eucalyptus leaves. These herbs are known natural repellents, and they smell good to humans.

Place the stuffed sock at the bed's foot between sheets.  This low level repellent works for bedbugs, pet fleas etc. And when you make the bed, scrunch the sock so it releases oils.  It is the oil's scent that is the repellent.

Caution, do your homework.  Yes, pennyroyal grows wild in our area, but only use it in its dried form -- so that animals cannot get to it, or lick it.   Using natural dried herbs keeps our earth healthy.

At some point we have to stop using chemicals and revert to what nature so freely gives us.

Today, there are a number of natural product choices available to help keep your pets safe and flea free. We have several available on hand, and companies are developing more every day.  BUG your retailers, tell them what you want.  Shop locally, as these shops will bring in the products you request."

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A Cat-certo

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