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!

24 July, 2011

Sunday Morning Magic

This morning a pair of miracles occurred and I was party to them, right on my own front porch.

Briar Rose, you see, has had two suitors hanging around — an orange tom we suspect of being Crispin’s daddy if not Clementine’s, and a huge kinda fluffy black and white tom we think is related to Juniper.

They come up to the yard with her and hang out at the edge of the trees, or in the orange tom’s case, about ten feet away off the porch, and wait for us to put the wet food down. We have spoken kindly to them while petting Briar Rose, and crept back inside to give them a chance to eat, watching as they pondered coming closer.

I’ve gotten ten cats inside and into new homes, and the only reason there are tomcats in that list is that they were less than ten weeks old when I snatched them. I’ve never been able to so much as get within three feet of one of the adult toms. The big guys are wary and wild, and tend to react poorly to the sound of the dogs in the house and the sight of a human coming closer.

Until this morning, when the orange tom stayed right there with Briar Rose while I put down the dry food, and then after I put down the wet food I took a risk and offered him my hand, relaxed, palm up, fingers curled. He sniffed it, and then he headbumped it, and then I ran my hand down his muscly back a couple times and he arched into my touch. He went on to the food and I let him go and saw that the big black and white tom had creeped closer. I offered him my hand and he sniffed, ears dubious, but allowed me to scritch his head before going for the food.

They are skinny, in the way of unneutered feral tomcats who are more concerned, sometimes, with girls in heat than with food. They are covered in scabs, the black and white guy in particular, from contending with other toms for access to the girls. Even if I do get them in, I have no idea what will happen to them — it’s easy, with the help of the internet, to place tiny adorable kittens. I’m not so sure I have faith in the ability of even the internet to find homes for two half-wild toms. But maybe now I can at least get them neutered, let them get some weight on and think less of fighting and incidentally help prevent them from furthering the supply of kittens in the neighborhood.

I’ve never seen a Biblical miracle. No waters ever parted for me and time never stood still. Miracles, in my experience, are little things. This morning, in the dim dawn light, two wild and wary tomcats thanked me for my habit of feeding them by letting me scritch them. It’s enough for me.

14 July, 2011

Briar Rose brings a surprise. Well, several surprises.

So we knew about Crispin (who incidentally has a home lined up! Huzzah!) and a skittish little black and white kitten. Crispin, of course, is living in our bathroom at the moment and enjoying life as an indoor cat. The most we were expecting to see on the kitten front, therefore, was one more.

Except this morning, Briar Rose brought three kittens with her. The little black and white kitten, a small fluffy calico and white girl who looks like the departed Grace except for the long hair, and one who may be another calico or may be a grey and white tabby (it was too skittish for Daniel to get a good look).

The little long-haired calico and white girl was hungry enough that I managed to grab her, therefore pictures will follow. With the other two, we are pretending to ignore them but put wet food in the trap this morning to accustom kitties to going in there to eat. Fingers crossed that we can manage to get the next two soon, too, and then we can bring Briar Rose in.

25 February, 2011

I’m so bad at waiting.

Recently I ordered several dog-related items. One is a new crate for Sid; while the Dobes’ puppy crate is tall enough for him it’s not really long enough, so when he’s trying to eat he hunches his back and it gets to be too short for him. I’ve ordered him the next size up which should do him for a while, I hope!

One of the other things I ordered is a cheesey at-home agility kit, which includes a short tunnel, six weave poles, and a jump. My dogs are going to by-dog have fun with that thing if it kills them. I am kind of frothing at the mouth waiting for it to get here so I can start expecting my dogs to enjoy themselves. Part of the reason I wanted it was Sid, because he often has trouble remembering where his entire body is (in his head, he is still a puppy small enough for me to pick up and snuggle), and another part of it is Tink, who could use some physical confidence what with her wonky vision and all. I expect great shenanigans trying to convince Tink to scuttle through even this brief tunnel. She will probably take one look at weave poles and laugh at me.

In cat-related news, we are trying to keep an eye out for Briar Rose to bring her in. She’s the last of the adult breeding females that I need to wrangle and spay and I’d like to find her a home if I can. We’re at five cats, which is quite enough permanent cats thank you, although if the right home came along for Emmaline I would not tell them no. She needs a quieter place than here, with fewer, quieter dogs, but it has to be someone who realizes that she is slow to warm up and will work with her on her terms and at her speed. Generally speaking, people like that are also at capacity for cats, so Emmaline is more than welcome to stay here forever.

Hopefully this weekend weather will cooperate and I can get out and get chicken pics, Ayinnanku and Bebelina have grown HUGE and I keep thinking they will start laying any. day. now. We’ve had a total of 72 eggs from Matilda and Lorena, and are down to a cost of $11 and some change per egg which isn’t bad considering that not long ago we had $50 eggs once the cost of the chicken facilities was figured in.

11 October, 2010

Earth, receive an honored guest.

Briar Rose is dead, hit by a car on her way to the Manor last night. I don’t know what will happen to her kittens, she never brought them to me. I have a doctor’s appointment this morning, and afterward we will bury her on the back acre.

3 October, 2010

I am a productive beast. In other news, winter is coming.

Yesterday Daniel and I met up with Christine and a couple other people at the Fall Fiber Festival at Montpelier, the former home of James Madison (the founding father and former president). We got to watch Border Collies move sheep around, and shop fiber! Daniel, who toils not with fiber neither does he spin, was along to make sure I did not come home with an angora bunny. I want one so badly. Apparently you do not have to comb the fiber off them, but can instead just shear them every three months. Since the fiber goes for $9/oz, roughly, it is extremely economical to have your own bunny if you want angora fiber. But, y’know, I do not need more critters, or at least not a bunny who requires keeping clean and some minimal grooming to avoid mats.

Anyway, I managed to get out of there with merely eight ounces of Blueface Leicester wool top for spinning, in mixed white and brown which should produce a lovely yarn in a manly color that I could conceivably use to knit something for my beloved if I were the kind of person who ever finished a knitting project. But given that I had just acquired eight ounces of alpaca fiber (also in mixed browns and greys) the week before at the state fair, bringing me to a total of one pound of spinning fiber in the last week, I thought I’d better actually get back to spinning, with the end result that I finished two bobbins of purply stuf that Mom likes and plied them for my first ever two-strand plied yarn. Go me! It’s currently drying in the bathroom along with a skein of single-spun white wool which I will dye at some point.

Fall is approaching rapidly. Jeremiah Swakhammer is still awake and moving around, but we shoveled a lot more leaves into his pen to give him a nice insulating blanket for when he decides to go down for the winter. The possums and the raccoon or raccoons (it’s hard to tell if we have more than one coon) are snarfing down dry food in massive quantities on a nightly basis. Romeo and the Patriarch, two of the local toms, have been spotted, and Dreadnought continues to come back. The girls are still the only ones we see in person; Briar Rose has yet to bring us any kittens although the Havahart trap is standing ready.

We’ve decided on a general area for next year’s garden and picked out a chicken coop that we just need to order, Daniel has started a compost pile, and we’re working towards readiness for spring planting and spring chickens. Wood has been split and stacked for winter, the days are noticeably shorter and cooler now.

There will be pictures of all this busy-ness at some point I’m sure, but for the moment I’m too lazy to even do lazyblogging. Which is pretty damn lazy.

26 September, 2010

State Fair!

Daniel and I went down to the Richmondish area yesterday with my parents for the State Fair, in order to feed Daniel fried fair food and look at livestock. We could have had better timing, it was the last incredibly hot day of the summer (probably) with the sun beating down in merciless fashion. Nonetheless, we did manage to have a good time, and also to eat corndogs, funnel cake, and fried oreos (!!!). The fried oreos were really excellent, like little fried chocolate pies as my mother put it.

We also got to meet Calvin and Hobbes, two enormous oxen who were not yet at their full growth. I’m still waiting on Mom or Daniel to send me the pics of me with the oxen, who really were the giantest things ever. We then wandered through the chicken barn and looked at chickens and I am SO SMITTEN with bantams, seriously. I knew they were smaller than regular chickens but not by how much. They were 1/3rd to 1/5th the size of the big breeds of chickens and just amazing! Leetle teeny perfect chickens with bright eyes, watching the world go by. Daniel and I have talked about getting chickens next spring, I am now thinking that what is in order here is one coop with 3-5 big chickens for the provision of tasty eggs, and a coop of leetle bantam guys just for fun and for helping us till the garden and improve the soil on the back acre.

Today will be much less fun, what with involving things like laundry and going to the grocery store. We’re nearly down to the wire on the wedding, and to make it even more fun I have two midterm exams to take this week. We’re still waiting on Briar Rose to bring us her kittens (if she’s going to) and trying to convince Emmaline not to be a habitual violent offender when the other cats are accessible to her. Life goes on.

11 September, 2010

Cat Pictures Part Four

In this picture, we see the lovely Briar Rose again, nursing mother and skinny as a rail. She is hunched over her wet food with her tongue out so far she may have stuck it up her own nostril. Her lovely calico pattern is on display again, her left eye surrounded by grey and with striking eyeliner, the middle of her forehead and her right eye decorated with golden yellow, and tabby stripes laid over all.

Briar Rose loves her wet food.

9 September, 2010

Cat Pictures Part Two

Briar Rose, the calico girl with more white and the striking yellow on the center and right side of her face, crouches over a plate of wet food. She is eyeing the camera belligerently and her ears are back, for she would like you to back the hell off her wet food.

Briar Rose says get off her food.

5 September, 2010

Manor cats update

Grace is no longer nursing and her milk has dried up. Since I never saw her kittens, I don’t know what happened to them.

Briar Rose is still full of milk, and therefore skinny as a rail and hungry all the time. I only see her early in the morning at feeding time. I’m kind of hoping when Daniel is here all the time, he’ll see her more often and can work on socializing her while I’m at work, to make it more likely that she’ll bring us the kittens.

Noodlehead continues to camp out at the Manor, and indeed spends a lot of time hanging out in the fence which is slightly nerve-wracking on weekends. During the week it’s a clever move for her; the roaming dogs of the neighborhood can’t get in there to bother here and there’s lizards and bugs to hunt to supplement the wet and dry food I give her.

I thought I saw Dreadnought the other morning. Hard to tell in the dark, though. I hope it was him, and that he didn’t die after I took Emmaline.

The toms have been mostly MIA now that the girls are no longer in heat (o please let us be done with pregnancy for the year). I suspect they’re coming up when I’m not around, they never have been as social as the girls.

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