31 October, 2011

The Long Journey of Mr. Thomas a Beckett, Esq.

Yesterday Daniel and I met up with Christine and delivered Mr. Thomas a Beckett into her capable care for a long journey north. We’d found a home for him with a pair of devoted owners up in Massachusetts and Christine was headed in that general direction, so off our marvelous orange tom went, packing along food, water, his favorite toys, a litter box for his carrier, and his favorite bed.

He apparently slept most of the way up, and around 2000 Christine delivered him to his next ride, who had him for a couple hours before passing him to K and G, who delivered him to his new home. K reports that he is taking to his new people already, which is good news. Mr. Beckett was SUCH a laid-back and personable guy, if sort of spiky when overwhelmed by the amazingness of being petted. Here’s hoping he settles in up there in Yankeeland!

Much gratitude to the people who got him there despite the wreckage of a very early snowstorm; people braved tree-strewn snowy roads and homes without power to get Mr. Beckett from Virginia to Massachusetts.

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!

28 August, 2011

I would like a slightly less interesting life.

So. Earthquake last Tuesday which did nothing more than cosmetic damage to the Manor, hallelujah. Although the town of Mineral, VA was hit REALLY hard — NPR was reporting that four homes were destroyed and 200 took at least moderate damage. Given that in the 2000 census, there were only 196 homes in Mineral, I suspect that pretty much every home in town was touched.

Then, of course, Hurricane Irene. She passed by the Manor at her closest point of approach last night. Late in the afternoon we got all the silkies but two into dog crates in the shed. One refused to be caught but since he had the sense to go into the chicken house and stay dry and warm, we weren’t that worried. One, Amon, was in something of a bad way — borderline hypothermic from not having the sense to go in and dry off and being a small pullet, so she came in the house to spend the night under a heat lamp. She’ll get a bath later and more time inside to dry off before she moves back home, since she hasn’t preened herself back to fluffy respectability yet. But she’s looking brighter and more interested in the world, so that’s all right.

We also brought both Briar Rose and Becket (the ginormous orange tom who has decided that being feral isn’t all that much fun compared to getting love and gooshyfud from thumb monkeys) into the bathroom, and they’ll be staying inside to get vetted. Briar Rose has a home lined up already but Becket does not. He needs someone who understands about formerly feral cats and letting them do things at their own pace — my friend Steph would be a perfect home for him so really I just need to convince her. I think she’s softening up but comments of support and celebration that she has a new cat might be helpful. Well, so would a home where someone wants Becket but doesn’t need convincing.

We were supposed to be in Philadelphia this weekend delivering Coriander to her new home, but Irene rather threw a spike into that. So that’s all been pushed to next weekend, and we have kittens for another week (we’re dropping off Constantine en route to Philly).

And then hopefully life will settle down into more of an autumn routine vice this non-stop stream of excitement. A girl can dream, anyway.

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!

26 July, 2011

Interesting times!

Yesterday we went up to Dylan’s Silkies and picked up four silkies. I know, you’re shocked, given the name of the place we went.

Please welcome Orias, Malphas, Murmur, and Abaddon. Orias and Malphas are about a month old and are lavender silkies, Murmur is a buff partridge who we sincerely hope is a pullet, and Abaddon is a flame-red boy we strongly suspect of being a rooster. Are there pictures? Of course!

Orias:
Orias, a pearly grey silkie just starting to shift from chick down to adult feathers, crouches in front of my hand for scale.  He is teeny tiny, his body about as long as my hand.

Malphas:
Malphas is slightly paler, more of a luminous grey than pearly, and crouches and stares directly into the camera.  He is just starting to acquire crest feathers, which are rakishly backswept like a bad combover.

Murmur:
Murmur stands in profile to the camera.  Her body has attained ridiculous poofiness, but her head and neck are still working on it.  Her crest is starting to develop nicely.  Her head, neck, and breast are pale gold, while her wings, back, leg feathers, and poofy tail are ashen grey.

And finally Abaddon the Destroyer, Lord of the Bottomless Pit (and a jewel among silkies):
Abaddon stands with his body in profile to the camera but his face turned toward it, which means that all you can see of his face is his black beak protruding from a floof of flame-red feathers.  The trailing edges of his wings and tail have a scattering of black in them.  He has achieved a magnificent, incredible, and slightly ridiculous utter floofiness.

And then tonight after dinner, I managed to get a third kitten of Briar Rose’s, the little black and white one. He is painfully skinny and also really frightened of human beings at the moment, so no pictures. He’s safely tucked up in the bathroom with Crispin and Clementine, and we’ve seen to it that there is gooshyfood all around, and Daniel and I sat in there and petted Crispin and Clementine a bit to make them purr thunderously, which relaxed the new guy enough that he crept into the little kitten house (specially re-erected just for him) and then ate the gooshynoms we offered him in there. It’s an auspicious beginning, and I hope to get pics for you, gentle readers, as soon as it will not terrify the bejesus out of the little guy.

Tomorrow we’re off to pick up a trio of red partridge silkies, and then my little flock will pretty much be complete. I’m looking forward to settling in and enjoying my chickens, and next year there will be chicks from my own flock!

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.

22 July, 2011

And in other Manor Cat news…

On the first of August, Crispin and Clementine go in to get neutered and spayed, respectively. Then that weekend they head off to their new home, at which point the bathroom will be empty and the plan is to try and bring their mother, Briar Rose, in. We haven’t seen hide or hair of the other two kittens lately, but we have seen several large toms hanging around, and tomcats are rarely if ever good news for kittens. And the time has come to get Briar Rose inside before she gets knocked up again, so in she’ll come.

One of the toms, an orange dude with an interesting narrow face, has been hanging around relatively close when we go outside to take Briar Rose her food. I’m kind of hoping that we can habituate him to people enough to get him neutered, at least, even if we can’t ever make him into an indoor cat. He’d be #11 that I’ve gotten fixed, at least. Crispin and Clementine are numbers 9 and 10, respectively, that I’ve gotten indoors and found new homes for. So I think I’m doing pretty well here, even if two of the ten did settle into life as indoor cats at the Manor and refuse to leave…

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.

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