30 August, 2011

Feral Cats in My Bathroom

We are really hoping this is it for a while. The only cats remaining outside who come to eat here are a) really, really feral and b) toms so the odds of anyone else coming up who is in need of assistance and a new home are slim. Well, until the next [redacted] drops an intact female cat out here, anyway.

But I thought y’all might like a few pics.
Becket, a freakin GINORMOUS orange tomcat, and Briar Rose, a petite grey and yellow and white calico, share a kitty bed.  Briar Rose is curled up in a neat and lady-like manner, while Becket sprawls on his back against the wall with his legs in the air.
Here you can see that these feral cats are very stressed and terrified at being indoors.

A close-up of Becket's beautiful face, upside down because he is not cooperative.  It shows off the lovely creamy color on his chin and throat, the darker orange of his stripes, and the adorable black freckles on his lips.
Becket would not straighten up and act right. If you are in need of a Big Orange Tomcat who is formerly feral and will take some time and energy on your part to turn into an ideal house companion, get in touch please. He is definitely a project cat. Although we’ve had 100% litter box use since we took the little house bed out, I can’t guarantee that he won’t need work on that front. He certainly needs help learning to use his claws appropriately, which is to say “Not for climbing people legs while those people are trying to go pee.” Becket is not a cat to be taken in lightly, but on the plus side he is SO FULL OF LOVE, oh my goodness. This cat wants to cuddle. He wants to be petted. He wants to be with you, doing whatever you are doing, and what you are doing had better involve petting a cat. Because he loves you. A lot.

He gets his initial vetting on Thursday — FIV/FeLV test, rabies and distemper vax. Then when it’s time to go back for his distemper booster, he will also get The Big Snip.

A close-up of Briar Rose's beautiful multi-colored face, with yellow and grey and white and also possibly a wound or something below her right eye.
Beautiful Briar Rose. We’re not actually sure what is going on with her right eye there, she is not all that averse to having us blot it with toilet paper but does not want us leaning in close to peer at it. She’s got her initial vetting appointment for tomorrow, so that’s all right. Dr. Greg or Dr. Andi can piss her off peering at her face, and if there’s antibiotics needed I instructed Daniel to ask for them to be injected because I don’t like pilling cats who have teeth!

16 August, 2011

Busy times all over! Also, wanna help a kitten?

We went up to Ikea to get a new mattress this past Sunday and I made Siddy work. He was freakin brilliant — handled the crowds with aplomb, stayed right next to me, never got too stressed to respond to a click and always took the treats and ate them thoughtfully. He’s really shaping up quite nicely I think.

In chicken world, there has been some excitement. One and Three moved out to a segregated portion of the Big Chicken Pen, but Three at some point got out and lost a sizeable chunk of skin off the back of her head. One consult with the vet and some expensive antibiotics later, she’s living indoors in our largest cat carrier to heal up and doing quite well. Also we have been calling her Zombirella, because the back of her head really did look that bad. Here’s a pic of her good side, you can see she is alert and at that stage of chicken development where they look kind of like raptors rather than chickens.

Zombirella, a rich golden brown pullet, looks out through the bars of the cat carrier in an interested fashion.  You can see the feathers on the far side of her head are rumpled and also there's not as many there as there ought to be.

The large carrier is not an ideal living place for a chicken, so we’re hoping she heals quickly and can get back outside. But she’s still quite small, and the carrier is pretty big, so she has room to stretch and flap and perch and also do some scratching and pecking for her food once she has knocked it out of her dish (chickens are messy eaters).

Both bantam chicks from the last hatch have died — just failure to thrive. I have been reading exhaustively and have some ideas for the next time I set bantam eggs on incubator settings and early-life care, so hopefully we won’t have the same problem again. Although to be fair one of them I was expecting to not make it, since he hatched with the yolk-sac still attached and generally those chicks do not make it past their first weeks of life. The six blue-laced red Wyandottes that hatched have moved on to Christine’s place, leaving little Melchior, the son of Mel and Ayinnanku, to keep company with the Sumatra chicks. He is thriving and happy!

Crispin and Clementine went off to their new homes a little over a week ago now and are doing well. Constantine and Coriander are still here for another week and a half and then they, too, will be off to their new people, and Briar Rose will come in.

And meanwhile, speaking of formerly feral kittens, my friend Kate at Om Shanti Naturals has taken in the first of a litter of kittens that showed up in her back yard. So far she’s only caught the one, but vetting is expensive as we all know! So if you have been looking for some yummy hand-crafted soap, moisturizing oils, bath products, lip balms, or salves, could you putter over to the shop and pick up an item or two? You get a delicious bath product, kitten gets vetted without Kate having to live on ramen and cat hair for a month, and it’s just generally win-win all around. Om Shanti is, after all, the home of the world’s ONLY official Tink-branded and endorsed beauty product, Tink’s Tea Tree Lavender Salve, ideal for treating the minor bumps and scrapes that life deals out. There is even body wash to match although Tink has not tried it yet (she generally does not endorse any product that involves her getting a B. A. T. H. anyway — you know how diva-esque dogs can be).

So anyway, there’s the news round-up and my pitch. Hope you’re all doing well, gentle readers, and I will try to be more regular about my updates!

2 August, 2011

Coriander Wants Her Own Home

EDIT: Coriander has a home to go to! Huzzah!

Three of Briar Rose’s four kittens have homes to go to. Crispin and Clementine, as a matter of fact, go home THIS SATURDAY. Constantine will go home to live with his Manor Cat big brother Juniper as soon as we get him fattened up enough to get neutered.

But gentle readers, no one has spoken up for Coriander. Clearly, this is an oversight on the part of the internet because is she gorgeous? She is! Is she adorable? She is! Does she have a marvelous spotty tummy? She does!

So here we go again. I am about to hit you with kitten pictures that demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that this exotically beautiful cutie is someone’s dream kitten. Someone out there in this world, gentle readers, needs this kitten in their life, and we will have to hook them up. Details on adoption are on the end of the post, but meanwhile… How can you look at this face and not start immediately shopping for kitten supplies?
An X-TREEM close-up of Coriander's gorgeous face, showing off her golden-brown tabby markings, her perfect black eyeliner which is nicely set off by paler fur around her eyes, and her gorgeous greeny-gold eyes.

Or if that face looks too much like Srs Cat Is Srs for your tastes, how bout THIS face?
Coriander lounges in my lap and looks at the camera, the tip of her tongue poking out of her mouth.

She is playful!
Coriander stretches full-length in a cat bed to bat at my fingers.

Coriander lies on her side, revealing beautiful tabby stripes that shade from dark brown to gold, all on a pale tawny background, and looks up at the camera wide-eyed and innocent, one front paw still on my toes, as I attempt to interrupt her assault on my foot.

Coriander attacks the side of her blue faux-fleece lined cat bed.

And yet, she also loves to be cuddled and petted!
A close-up of Coriander's head and chest, her face in three-quarters profile to show off her beautiful gold tabby markings on her face, as she lounges comfortably in my arms.

Coriander leans into my fingers as I scritch her cheek, leaning so hard that her head is turned sideways.

Coriander makes a silly face as she leans up to head-butt my hand.

And last but not least, the coup de grace of cute, she also loves to have her spotty tummy tickled:
Coriander lies on her back in my lap getting her tummy tickled, and turns her head to be cute at the camera -- the kitten can multi-task!

Slightly Non-Standard Kitten Boilerplate:

1) She always has a place here. If the new owner cannot keep her for any reason, I will not ask questions, I will not judge, I will not grouse on my blog. I will just come get the cat and bring her back to the Manor.

2) I will drive up to four hours from Fredericksburg. This covers most of the state of Virginia, a good chunk of Maryland, a good chunk of West Virginia, and even goes as far as Gettysburg, PA (I take the back roads to avoid I-95). We also have transportation for her up to 2 hours north and east of Gettysburg, and within a couple hours of Knoxville, TN.

3) She must be an indoor kitty. Coriander has lived the outdoor life and now deserves to be safe in a climate-controlled environment with soft beds and lots of toys.

4) No declawing. It’s mean. Just no.

5) Yes, she is adorable. But you know what? Surprise kittens make crap gifts, y’all. Therefore I will need to be in contact with the actual person with whom young miss Coriander will be living. I do not care how well you know your friend/roomie/spouse/partner/parent/sibling/dentist. Coriander is not a good present.

6) She is FIV/FeLV negative and has had her first set of vaccines. She will be spayed before she goes to her forever home and will get her rabies vax at that time.

7) So far she is very fond of her siblings, would probably do fine with an older cat who didn’t try to kill her when her terrorist kitten tendencies came to the fore, and needs a home with either a low prey-drive dog or an owner VERY dedicated to safe management. She is not thrilled about dogs but then again every time she meets them, Sid tries to lick her. I wouldn’t be thrilled if someone 20 times my size tried to lick me, either.

8) She is a little more cautious and timid than her three siblings. Her new owner will need to be patient and dedicated to wooing her. I’d also STRONGLY recommend giving her only a small area (like a bathroom) when she first gets home and then letting her explore at her own speed once she’s comfortable there. She can’t be rushed, but once she decides that you give good noms and good pettins, she is all about interacting.

I know you’re out there, patient person who wants to sit in your bathroom floor and read a book while a kitten discovers you. I have your kitten, you just need to get in touch!

28 July, 2011

Victory is ours! Now I just need more homes for kittens…

Celebrate, gentle readers! For this morning my beloved husband got the 4th and final of Briar Rose’s kittens into the house, a tiny tabby girl with shades of gold in her coat. And here I am to bring you kitten pictures, because our wild success means that I have two more kittens yearning for homes of their own! Please spread this link far and wide. I’ll get the boilerplate out of the way and then we will proceed to pictures of tiny, cute kittens who want you to love them.

Edit Constantine has a home to go to, but his sister Coriander still needs a place of her own! Surely you or someone you know needs a tiny, exotically beautiful tabby kitten? Judging from her aunties who live with us, she will grow up to be a pretty big girl who likes to sit on people and be petted.

1) They always has a place here. If the new owners cannot keep them for any reason, I will not ask questions, I will not judge, I will not grouse on my blog. I will just come get the cats and bring them back to the Manor.

2) I will drive up to four hours from Fredericksburg, VA to put them in new homes. This covers most of the state of Virginia, a good chunk of Maryland, a good chunk of West Virginia, and even goes as far as Gettysburg, PA (I take the back roads to avoid I-95). Edit: My friend Liz has graciously offered transport 1-2 hours to points north and east of Gettysburg, PA, in comments!

3) They must be indoor kitties. They have lived the outdoor life and now deserve to be safe in a climate-controlled environment with soft beds and lots of toys.

4) No declawing. It’s mean. Just no.

5) Yes, they are adorable. But you know what? Surprise kittens make crap gifts, y’all. Therefore I will need to be in contact with the actual person with whom they will be living. I do not care how well you know your friend/roomie/spouse/partner/parent/sibling/dentist. Kittens are not a good present.

6) As of right now I have no idea how they do with other critters, because they’re still in quarantine. Look for more info after their check-up and FIV/FeLV testing!

EDIT: Constantine has a home! Huzzah!
Constantine, who has only been inside a few days but is already learning to disapprove:
Constantine, a small black and white kitten who is mostly black, with just two small stripes of white on his face, defining the black 'beard' under his chin, sits in classic Egyptian Statue Cat pose and disapproves at the camera.

Coriander, who is still quite scared of this new experience:
Coriander, a small grey and gold tabby kitten with big greenish eyes rimmed with dark eyeliner, lays curled in the green and purple kitten bed and stares at the camera, wide-eyed and fearful.

Since Coriander just came in this morning, we’ll have to give her a few days to relax and get to know us before I can tell you much about her other than “She is drop-dead gorgeous and skinny as heck.” Constantine is coming out of his shell after a couple days in the house and starting to demand his share of love and adoration from the thumb-monkeys under the guidance of his brother Crispin. I suspect that Constantine, too, will be a tiny spikey terrorist loudly demanding love and climbing your leg if you don’t cuddle him fast enough, given enough time!

21 July, 2011

I love it when they write home.

Recently I got e-mail from Juniper‘s people and it included PICTURES! Oh my goodness, the tiny laid-back kitten has become a big young man. Observe, dear readers:
A large black and white cat, last seen here as a teeny kitten, lies on the floor and affectionately mauls his person's arm. HE IS HUGE.

Isn’t he adorable and GINORMOUS? What you cannot see in that picture is the tag on his collar, which is a little tuxedo front and absolutely perfect for him.

I love a happy ending.

18 July, 2011

Monday Morning Kittens

Because why should I get all the kitteny goodness?

Crispin and Clementine lay on their bed.  Crispin, on the left, is on his back with his legs stretched out and is looking at the camera disapprovingly.  Clementine is curled up against his side with her head on his shoulder, looking up at the camera from the corner of her eye.

Thank goodness these two have a home already.

14 July, 2011

Oh my darlin, oh my darlin…

Edit The internet works in record time! Clementine has a home to go to and the Best Mother Ever is saved from temptation!

Oh my darlin, Clementine!
Clementine, a small fluffy kitten who is mostly grey with white undercarriage and a big yellow triangle in the middle of her face, lies with her body on its side and her head upside down, looking at the camera.

Look at that face. That is the face of a kitten who needs a place to live that is not our bathroom. Seriously, look at it.

Clementine again, but this time with her head turned sideways  She has green eyes with a ring of blue around the pupil, and is wearing very chic eyeliner.

This is after twelve hours as a house kitten. She purrs. She snuggles. She projects an adorabubble that can bring strong men to their knees saying things like “Aren’t you precious, yes you are.” in a fabulous English accent.

Sometimes, she is even upright:
Clementine one last time, this time with her head actually upright.

You know the drill, gentle readers. And we need to find her a home before the Best Mother Ever sees her. The Best Mother Ever has a weakness for calicos, but she’s on vacation and not checking the internet much for the next week. You have seven days, internet! Meanwhile, she goes to the vet for initial vetting on Monday, at which point I will be able to tell you more about her health status. So far, she gets along well with her brother Crispin, but has not met anyone else and shows a distinct lack of interest in meeting dogs.

Standard Kitten Boilerplate:
1) She always has a place here. If the new owner cannot keep her for any reason, I will not ask questions, I will not judge, I will not grouse on my blog. I will just come get the cat and bring her back to the Manor.

2) I will drive up to four hours from Fredericksburg, VA to put her in a new home. This covers most of the state of Virginia, a good chunk of Maryland, a good chunk of West Virginia, and even goes as far as Gettysburg, PA (I take the back roads to avoid I-95).

3) She must be an indoor kitty. Clementine has lived the outdoor life and now deserves to be safe in a climate-controlled environment with soft beds and lots of toys.

4) No declawing. It’s mean. Just no.

5) Yes, she is adorable. But you know what? Surprise kittens make crap gifts, y’all. Therefore I will need to be in contact with the actual person with whom young miss Clementine will be living. I do not care how well you know your friend/roomie/spouse/partner/parent/sibling/dentist. Clementine is not a good present.

6) As of right now I have no idea how she does with other critters, because she’s still in quarantine. Look for more info after her check-up and FIV/FeLV testing!

11 July, 2011

Crispin wants you to want him.

EDIT Happily, Crispin has a home! And because cats are devious, Briar Rose brought not just one little black and white kitten with her to breakfast this morning (14 July) but three. Stand by for further kitten offers!

Briar Rose brought up two kittens this morning. One little black and white one, skittish as heck, and…Crispin.

Crispin, a teeny tiny cream-colored kitten with a dirty nose, a stripey orange tail, and beautiful pale blue eyes, stands on my husband's leg and looks toward the camera.

Who is possibly Crispina. He is very young. But you know what that means, gentle readers! It means that I am about to impose upon you once again to publicize a Cat What Needs A Home. Because while this guy is grade-A weapons-grade cute, we have five cats. We do not need six cats. Someone out there, on the other hand, needs a tiny adorable cat. Like this one. Does he purr? Gentle readers, if his cute is weapons-grade, his purr will strike down nations with one soft motory exhale. He likes to nibble your fingers while you scritch his tummy. This evening, his first evening in a new place, he has discovered the wonder of TOYS. He thinks a sparkle puffball is just about the coolest thing he’s ever seen. He uses the litter box for all appropriate functions. He eats like a very, very tiny horse. Oh and also? He has only been indoors for 15 hours, and he has already learned to disapprove:

Crispin, a tiny cream colored kitten with a stripey orange tail and pale blue eyes, sits in the bathroom floor, looks toward the camera, and disapproves.

Specs:
I am kind of sure Crispin is a boy, but will not rule out the possibility that he is actually Crispina. It is hard to tell with kittens this small. He is a flame point, but any Siamese ancestry is so far in the past that all he’s likely to have is the coloring. Crispin is a genuine purebred Manor Cat for sure, though. He will go to the vet as soon as we can get him in to check him for FIV/FELV, get him dewormed, and get him vax appropriate to his age. We will hold onto him until he is old enough to be neutered, and then we will have him snipped and get him his rabies vaccination so he’s all legal and stuff.

Somewhere out there is a person who wants, no, NEEDS this tiny adorable ball of felinity. Gentle readers, we must make sure that person sees this post. Here are the Boilerplate Kitten Legalities:

1) He always has a place here. If the new owner cannot keep him for any reason, I will not ask questions, I will not judge, I will not grouse on my blog. I will just come get the cat and bring him back to the Manor.

2) I will drive up to four hours from Fredericksburg, VA to put him in a new home. This covers most of the state of Virginia, a good chunk of Maryland, a good chunk of West Virginia, and even goes as far as Gettysburg, PA (I take the back roads to avoid I-95).

3) He must be an indoor kitty. Crispin has lived the outdoor life and now deserves to be safe in a climate-controlled environment with soft beds and lots of toys.

4) No declawing. It’s mean. Just no.

5) Yes, he is adorable. But you know what? Surprise kittens make crap gifts, y’all. Therefore I will need to be in contact with the actual person with whom young master Crispin will be living. I do not care how well you know your friend/roomie/spouse/partner/parent/sibling/dentist. Crispin is not a good present.

6) As of right now I have no idea how he does with other critters, because he’s still in quarantine. Look for more info after his check-up and FIV/FeLV testing!

20 June, 2011

Weekend fun, Sid is very handsome.

Daniel’s sister was here on Saturday, and then while he took her off to the airport on Sunday, I headed down to Blackthorn Kennel. Christine and I had a heck of a good time trying to get a family photograph of Sid, his sisters Oda and Olivia, and his mother Xita.

And then before we went off to lunch, I got Christine to get a few of Sid in his spiffy new mobility harness:
Sid, a black German Shedder, stands with his body pointed left and his face looking at the camera with good humor.  He is wearing a tan harness with a Y-front and a wide girth behind his front legs, and a narrow girth four inches back from that one.  A rigid handle stands eight and a half inches above his back.

You may notice he’s in a prong collar. This is because 98% of the time, he does not pull on the leash. That remaining 2% of the time has a good chance of knocking me over and getting me hurt, though, so he wears a prong for insurance. It’s not something I’d put on a dog who still chronically pulls, because I don’t want them getting constantly pinched, but it makes an excellent insurance policy in case my adolescent partner forgets himself in the face of a squirrel.

And for reference, here we are together:
I stand to the left of the frame, a white woman of average build, about five feet eight inches tall and wearing a t-shirt and jeans.  Sid's ears are obscuring the handle of the harness but you can see my hand grasping the cross-bar between them.  I wear a leash looped across my body, one end attached to Sid's prong collar.
He looks, as Christine put it, like he’s wearing his daddy’s work shirt at the moment, with the harness so big on him. It’s actually loose at the moment but that’s all right since I can’t put weight on him. At the moment when he works he provides me some forward momentum to brace against and I use him in exactly the opposite fashion as I use a cane. With a cane I lean toward it to keep from wobbling away from it, with Sid I lean away from him to keep from falling into him. Once his growth plates have fused and we get the OK on his hip and elbow X-rays, I can stand a little more upright. But you can see from the photo that his prong collar isn’t going to tighten unless he’s actually gotten far enough ahead of me that I can’t hang onto his harness anymore.

7 June, 2011

Happy post time!

As characterized by the bluebird of happiness:
My body, from the chest up; I am wearing my Aida t-shirt and a fetching red paisley bandana.  One arm is slightly outstretched, and cradled in my hand is a small poofy blue chicken (more a bluey-grey really) who sits and calmly regards me.

And I’m going to be REALLY lazy and do it with links to my husband’s blog. HA!

1) Jeremiah Swakhammer survived the winter and is in fine form.

2) OK, so, back in Feb 2010 when Daniel came to visit, we went up to DC and wandered around the mall and there was a white squirrel and I didn’t believe him at first when he said “Hey, a white squirrel!”

But today we saw a white squirrel across the street, and Daniel got a picture! There’s also a black widow spider pic on that page so click cautiously if spiders bother you.

Also I should note in reference to the whole White Squirrel in DC thing that he had been joking around about wildlife and whatnot previously, so it was not TOTALLY out of left field for me to at first disbelieve his assertion that there was a white squirrel. I’m just sayin.

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