Today is National Feral Cat Day, which is probably not an occasion most of us had any reason to be aware of. But feral (or stray) cats are here to stay and should be treated humanely. Though feral cats, also known as community cats, have been living in close proximity to humans for 10,000 years, they are not socialized and therefore are not adoptable. The cats live in colonies where they have access to food and shelter. There are many such colonies throughout the St. Louis region, including the CWE.
A national organization, Alley Cats, works to improve the lives of stray and feral cats. A local organization, St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach, was begun a couple of years ago by Diane Marcella, above left, and Christine Oldenburg, above right. Kim Traylor, middle, is known to many CWEnders as the "Petsitter." She is also the person Diane and Christine call when there is a report of a feral cat in the CWE.
Last Saturday morning a group of approximately 30 volunteers gathered across from Bowood Farms to build winter shelters for the cats. By days end they figured they would have at least 50 shelters to distribute throughout the region.
Diane and Christine have been involved in changing the City of St. Louis' policy toward stray cats too. Until very recently the Health Department's approach was to trap and kill them. It's been documented that this policy was not effective in stopping the cat population from increasing. The "vacuum effect" is used to describe what happens when cats are removed from an area: Other feral cats move in to inhabit the same spot, and the kitten population continues.
TNR (trap, neuter & return) is a more humane and effective approach to controlling the feral cat population. Feral cats are trapped and taken to a vet where they are neutered, given rabies shots, and then their left ear is nipped to indicate they have been treated. After recuperating, the cats are returned to their outdoor home. They can then live out their natural lives more healthily and without increasing the cat population.
After meeting with Diane Marcella, Christine Oldenburg, other TNR proponents and concerned citizens, the City's Interim Health Director, Pamela Rice Walker, already supportive of TNR, created the City's TNR Task Force. Christine & Diane have since been appointed to the City's TNR Task Force. Board Bill 66, which was passed in the aldermanic chamber this summer, put this new policy into effect. Now there is a St. Louis area vet who takes care of neutering feral cats and administering the necessary shots.
Volunteers from all over the St. Louis region and Illinois helped assemble shelters Saturday from plastic tubs that were lined with styrofoam and straw, above and below.
Karen Victor is shown stuffing straw into the containers for added warmth.
Craig Willams and Susie Jansen came from the Hampton Village neighborhood to help. Susie, who has been volunteering to work with the city's feral cat population for years, is also a member of the City's TNR Task Force.
The finished shelters were to be distributed throughout the area.The organizers asked me to mention that the styrofoam shelters you see in the photo will be reused and not thrown into a landfill.
A donation of $25 to St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach, a 501(c) 3, will provide a feral cat with the opportunity to lead a healthier life. Purchasing live traps, other medical expenses, travel, and food for the cats comes out of the volunteers' pockets. To learn more about the benefits of TNR and how you can help, visit Alley Cat Allies or St. Louis Feral Outreach's Facebook page.
Kim Traylor, an animal advocate speaker, is available to speak to neighborhood groups about the feral cat population. Visit her website for contact information.
Many thanks to John Marlow, co-founder of the Great Forest Park Balloon Race, for sharing the news that Liz (Trinkie) Heller, lawyer, competitive cyclist and life-long CWEnder, earned a gold medal at Track Worlds in Manchester, England. The news of her victory was celebrated on the STL Biking Cycling Community website: " After sweeping Track Nationals - Liz Heller will be bringing home a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP for her gold medal round at Track Worlds in Manchester, England. Our very own STL track racer got the National Anthem played! Truly incredible!"
And I've just learned there's more on this Champ's scorecard: While in Manchester competing, Liz entered six events and earned a total of four gold medals and one bronze.
The four gold medals were limited to her age group (young!); the bronze was open to three age groups, which means that she was racing against women less than half her age. A fifth race, limited to her age group, was cancelled because all of the other racers quit and went home early.
To get this rainy weekend off to a cheery start, here's a photo of a dolled-up pooch visiting the CWE Flea last Saturday juxtaposed with a Marni coat I snapped from Molly Mulshine's "Just Because..." in the New York Observer.
Potential customers from the St. Louis region can't seem to find Fellenz Antiques, 439 N. Euclid, even when they're standing right in front of it. When I suggested to proprietor Bill Fellenz, above, that a sign would help, he shuffled the deck of cards he keeps handy for games of solitaire, paused and said, "It's in the window." See if you can find it.
No fax, no internet (the last person who tried to sell him the service got a typical Fellenz reply: "We've (late father and son) gone 62 years without anything but a telephone and I'll probably go the rest of the way, the same way." Antiques dealers from as far as New Orleans and Texas have been doing business with Fellenz Antiques for years by telephone only (same number for 62 years too). "If someone wants to find me they will," he said.
Bill Fellenz's father started the architectural artifact business in Gaslight Square 62 years ago (before there was a Gaslight Square), moved the shop to McPherson for a couple of years, and finally settled on Euclid in 1961. With the recent closure of The Majestic, Fellenz is the oldest business in the CWE, according to Bill.
Early last Saturday morning, as we were setting up the CWE Flea on the parking lot next to Fellenz, we noticed hundreds of old doors being loaded onto a truck. When I stopped by the store yesterday to learn more about what was going on, Bill explained that 600 doors were being transported to New Orleans, where four dealers he's worked with for 40-plus years are located. Those dealers in turn sell the doors throughout the south, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, etc. Bill estimates he's sent almost 100,000 doors to New Orleans over the years. At one time it was 2700 in a one-week period!
For years I've seen "pickers" carry doors to Fellenz in grocery carts, and assumed most of his stock came from nearby houses that are in disrepair or undergoing renovation (whether the homeowners know it or not). "Not so," Bill said. He travels throughout Illinois and other midwestern states to scout for merchandise..."it's a revolving door," he added dryly. In a couple of weeks, Bill's headed back to New Orleans with another stash of doors. Some will be dropped off in Jackson, Mississippi, and some will travel on to Texas. (I almost didn't want to ask why Bill is photographed in the playpen above. When I did, he said something about liking a good time..."when I was much younger").
So, "if you're ever in a jam and need a door, call Fellenz Antiques, (314) 367-0213" (his plug, not mine). You'll find all kinds of architectural artifacts there too. Hours are solely dependent upon the whims of the owner (usually early a.m. until approximately 1 p.m.), Monday through Saturday, 439 N. Euclid.
Still wish Fellenz would hang a sign out front, but my guess is he never will.
On Earth Day 2014 Mayor Slay launched an initiative to promote planting 50 "Milkweeds for Monarchs" gardens throughout the City of St. Louis to attract and feed migrating Monarchs. The CWE's contribution spearheaded by Alderman Lyda Krewson, and planted by the neighborhood's Bowood Farms, is located east of the sunflower project on Delmar Blvd.
When I stopped by a couple of weeks ago, I missed spotting a Monarch but found a different kind of butterfly visiting the coneflowers planted there.
Gorgeous weather ahead for the 6th CWE Flea of the 2014 Season. You'll find everything from Sherlock's Honey, One World Ice Cream, vintage and handmade clothing, antiques, fresh bread, olive oil & pesto, Anna Cardot's Dolci, handmade body products, unusual jewelry and much much more.
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., 449 N. Euclid (at Washington). Last Flea of the season: Saturday, November 1!
Author Events at Left Bank Books 7 p.m. Thurs. Aaron Teel: "Shampoo Horns," at LBB, 7 p.m. Thurs. Susan McBride: "Very Bad Things" at Schlafly Library, 225 N. Euclid, 10:30 Sat. Ellen Fischer: "If an Armadillo Went to a Restaurant" 399 N. Euclid.
Grand Opening of Holiday Inn Express Thurs. 5 to 8 p.m., Originally constructed in 1957, newly renovated, "Party Like it's 1957" theme, tours, samples from milkshake bar, photo booth, and 50's appetizers, 4630 Lindell. Rsvp: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Halloween in the CWE Saturday! 11 a.m., Kids Costume Parade & After Party; Noon,Trick or Treating at neighborhood businesses; 1 p.m., Dog Parade & After Party (meet at Euclid & McPherson); 6 p.m. Adult party begins & Costume Contest Registration opens; 8–10 p.m., Adult Costume Contest, Euclid & Maryland.
Zumba Classes with Noelle Lopez at Mahler Ballroom 5:30 to 6:30 Mons., 9 to 10 Tues., fun workout, no dance experience necessary, $10 per class, or $8 per if you purchase a 5/10 class card, 4915 Washington (just west of Euclid), parking available. Click on link for more info.