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I thought of several titles for this…

…but all of them would have gotten me a bunch of google hits I did not want.

I was having horrifying muscle spasms in my back and shoulders last night, so I tried to take a nice relaxing bath. Tried.

First the Three Musketeers sat on the edge of the tub and stared at me. Then they batted at the water. Then Astute and Zeke (the artist formerly known as Intrepid, his new people have selected a new name for him) decided to try to snuggle.

It did not end well. How I avoided getting scratched I do not know, but I did get both boys out of the bath water before they drowned. They proceeded to deluge the bathroom. Badger, bless him, just sat on the edge of the tub and hung his front paws down to soak his adorable white toes. I guess he wants help keeping them clean.

I have now moved the kittens to my bedroom. The only problem is, it makes me afraid to go to sleep. I am writing this the night before; if you don’t hear from me again it’s because the kittens got me.

EDITED TO ADD: I ended up having to sleep on the futon. See, Tink and Roo both have to sleep with me, and we ended up with a situation where Tink wanted to play with the kittens. Zeke (formerly Intrepid) was being cute and playing with Tink, but this meant there was a lot of bouncing going on from beings of various weight classes. Meanwhile, Badger and Astute wanted to play with Roo, who wanted none of it. They cornered him under the bed and laughed at his hideous noises of disapproval. I gave up and moved into the living room with Tink and Roo and just hope my bedroom survived the night.

Meanwhile, this post from a totally different Roo over at This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things totally made my morning already. And it’s only 0430.

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The kittens react to the Good News.

Last night I told the kittens that every one of them has a home lined up.

Astute was so overcome with excitement, he could barely contain himself:
Astute, a small grey and white tabby kitten, lolls in his bed while eyeing the photographer with a certain amount of kittenly skepticism.  I assure you that he was, however, purring.

Intrepid, true to his thoughtful nature, had to have a ponder:
Intrepid, a long-haired tabby and white kitten with a cute white nose and gorgeous almond-shaped eyes, looks very thinky.

Badger was concerned: Would there be noms at his new home? I assured him that there would be.
Badger, a mostly tabby long-haired kitten with the world's most adorable white toes on his front feet, huddles over the food dish and looks concerned.

With the big news out of the way, I sat down in the floor with the boys. Astute wanted to know how I was taking the news that they’d all soon be departing:
Astute, sitting on the photographer's abdomen, leans up towards her face with an air of deep concern.  It is, in fact, possible that he is concern trolling your humble narrator.  Cats are natural concern trolls.

Badger just hoped I wasn’t going to be wearing plaid pajama pants when meeting other people, and also wondered why Astute was in his spot:
Badger lays across the photographer's shins, which are clad in plaid pajama pants that are predominantly pale blue but include white and black stripes.  He obviously disapproves of the pants.  Astute's butt is visible at the bottom of the frame, and this also apparently concerns Badger no end.

Intrepid wanted to reassure me that even though he plans on adoring his new family, I will always be his first human and he will remember me for at least 24 hours or until the first time they throw a jingle ball for him, whichever comes first:
Intrepid and your humble narrator exchange a tender nose kiss.

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Kittens! Kittens! Kittens!

Here’s the deal: in 2 weeks, these guys will be old enough to get neutered. They need homes after that! They need homes really badly, because I do not want seven cats. So here’s adorable pictures and little bio blurbs, and if you want a kitten then BOY have I got a deal for you, because these guys will come with rabies/distemper vax and already fixed! They are FIV/FeLV negative and have been freshly dewormed, and are free of fleas and ticks. They are practically plug and play kittens, just bring them home, acclimate them, and enjoy.

If you cannot take a kitten yourself, can you pass this link around? I will drive up to 200 miles from Fredericksburg, Virginia to deliver a kitten, or to meet up with you and hand off your kitten. All kittens have right of return to the Manor of Mixed Blessings, even if it is 10 years from now. No-risk, plug and play kittens! The contact form is right here. If you’re interested in a kitten, or know someone who is interested in a kitten, it’s a great way to get in touch with me so that we can match kittens with people who need them!

ASTUTE — TAKEN, YAY! New Name: Emmett
Astute, a small grey and white kitten with a mostly white face, tabby stripes on his grey bits, and ears with the slightest charming touch of back curve, looks up at the camera with enormous kitten eyes.  His mouth is slightly open, as he was talking when the pic was taken.
Just look at this little dude. He is the cutest thing since SLICED BREAD, which is pretty damned cute. He looks just like his Mama Emmaline, except she has black tabby stripes whereas his are grey. He purrs as soon as I walk in the room, and then if I touch him, he falls over and purrs harder. If you don’t pet him fast enough upon entry, he climbs your leg into your lap, then falls over and purrs some more. He loves to give kisses. And as if his native charm is not enough, he is taking lessons in being adorable from his Uncle Roo:
Astute, on the left, looks earnestly into the face of Uncle Roo, an orange and white Cornish Rex.  Roo appears to be imparting deep secrets as the kitten listens attentively.

Astute prefers that dogs keep to themselves, but if the dog isn’t looking at him, he’d like to investigate it. He adores other cats and it hurts his tender feelings when they hiss at him for trying to play. But he really, really loves people beyond words. You would not believe this kitten was feral up until two weeks ago, seriously.

Intrepid, a tabby and white kitten with long hair and a white nose, stares into the camera in a very serious fashion from very close range.  He has a remarkable amount of whiskers which are luxuriously long, and also ear tufts.
Intrepid are srs kitten. He actively seeks out my company, rubs up on my legs without climbing them, purrs as soon as you touch him, and is the bravest and most exploratory of the lot, which makes trying to take a bath sort of interesting. He is very intrigued by the dogs, and kinda likes Zille as long as she keeps her tongue to herself. He adores the little plastic jingly balls beyond words, and can often be found trying to kill one. He loves them best when someone will play with them with him, so he’d LOVE a home where the thumb monkeys will sit and roll his ball to him when it gets away, or maybe involve a dangly toy. He is now totally comfortable with being brushed with a soft brush, and in fact it makes him purr harder. Looks-wise, he has an almost Bengal coat pattern on his long hair that is incredibly difficult to photograph. He is going to grow up to be a very, very handsome cat! This picture does not do him justice:
Intrepid, half-crouched, shows off his exotic stripey-spotty pattern, which is black on a sort of bronzey background.

A dark tabby, black stripes on a deep brown background, with long hair and ridiculously adorable white toes in front, lounges on a bathroom rug that is definitely suffering the effects of kittens.
Badger is the most recent capture, but after a week he has totally given up on the hissing thing and is even starting to be purry! By the time these guys are ready to go, I expect him to be reasonably friendly to humans, but what he really wants is another cat he can hang out with. Another good lookin kitten, I am just starting to introduce him to the soft brush, and he says it’s pretty OK, but what he really enjoys from people is long, slow strokes from his head to his butt, preferably with both hands so there is no gap in the petting. He will sit in your lap if you ask him to, but definitely prefers to approach you at his own speed, and sometimes still finds house life alarming. He is intrigued by dogs, but prefers them not to get too close, if allowed to approach on his own time I expect he would get pretty relaxed around them, as long as the dogs in question were relaxed about kittens.

EDIT, Sunday 25 July: Badger officially snuggled with me today of his own volition. And not just any snuggling, he laid on his back in the crook of my arm and asked me to tickle his fat stripey tummy. I think he is Officially Tamed. Take him home today!

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Well that didn’t go so well.

Astute’s potential family backed out, saying they had “decided not to pursue a kitten at this time.” Fair enough, but now I’m back to trying to place three kittens. Sigh. My mission this weekend is to get most excellent and adorable pictures of them, and possibly organize a fundraising sale from the many crafty things I have lying around the house (I have a million hobbies) because I still can’t get the low cost spay/neuter clinic to call me back. It would be $40 each to get the Three Musketeers neutered there, whereas it will be $155 each at my for-profit vet.

Which is still cheap, as pediatric surgeries go, but three of them at once? Ow.

Meanwhile, just when we thought the immigration process was coming to an end, it turns out we are actually just back to more waiting, and it may be as much as four more months. Ow.

Things that are going well: Emmaline is starting to explore the house, which would be easier on everyone if the dogs were not fascinated by the brand new kitty, but is going nicely just the same. Badger is now 0% hissy, 25% purry, whereas Intrepid is at 100% purry and solicits human attention, and Astute is at about 200% purry — he starts up as soon as I walk in the room. So that’s all right. Now I just need to find them homes to go to after they’re neutered and vax’d.

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Oh frabjous day!

Your daily update is late today, gentle readers, but that’s all right for I have fabulous news!

Emmaline, Astute, Intrepid, and Badger went to get vetted today! They are all FIV/FeLV negative and have been dewormed. Emmaline has had her rabies/distemper vax, the kittens were too little. They are possibly 10 weeks old.

Emmaline is settled into my bedroom now, the kittens are in the bathroom although Astute will probably move to the bedroom tomorrow so I can focus on socializing Intrepid and Badger. Intrepid is quite friendly but a little wary, Badger is still all “SCREW YOU THUMB MONKEY” although starting to be interested in me since I always show up with food and make the other kittens purr.

In bad news, I haven’t seen Dreadnought in a couple days.

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Monday Morning Weekend Roundup

Saturday I relieved myself of kitten-catching duty for a while to go visit with my friend C at Blackthorn Kennel, taking both girldogs with me. And lo, there was socializing and I had actual conversation with another actual human being, and we snuggled puppies and played in the pool and topped everything off with an excellent dinner of Mexican food. Please observe this two-week old sable girl posing with my “Dog is my co-pilot” shirt. Yes, I am enough of a dork to wear it in public, what of it? At any rate, as usual I had a fabulous time and came home with Zille and Tink both worn out, and me for that matter since it was quite late.

Sunday I didn’t see Dreadnought at all, but I did see Emmaline as she stood on the table on my porch to look in the window and yell. Apparently what she wanted was to come in and see the other three kittens and where they’re living, but not actually interact with them. When Intrepid tried to approach her, she hissed and growled and swatted at him. Her opinion seems to be that she has gotten them to me and they are now my problem, not hers. Thanks, Emmaline. After that she wandered off to do whatever it is she does when she’s not sleeping on my porch. Her food consumption is WAY down now that she’s not nursing the hairy little monsters, and she seems much more relaxed. She was not at all worried about being in the house, so I’m hoping she transitions easily after getting a clean bill of health on Wednesday.

Also Sunday evening Tink gruffed at the window to say “STRANGE CAT ALERT” and lo, wandering nonchalantly off the property was a long-haired golden brown tabby tom. I had posited his existence from Badger and Intrepid; Emmaline is more of a grey tabby whereas their tabby stripes are on a golden brown background. I resisted the urge to run outside and yell “I HAVE YOUR CHILDREN DO YOU PLAN ON PAYING SUPPORT?” because my neighbors already think I’m weird.

And now it’s Monday and my leisure time is at an end for another five days. We’re hoping to hear from the London Embassy this week, giving Daniel an appointment time, so I know when there will finally be someone else to help me trap cats and whatnot. Fingers crossed, both in regards to his appointment and Dreadnought’s swift and painless capture!

Oh, and via Rinalia at For the Pitbulls, a fascinating article on The Value of Ear Scritches to Dogs in Shelters.

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Let us have a happy post this morning.

I have not yet checked to see if Emmaline has brought Badger and Dreadnought back. I’m kind of afraid to. So instead, we shall contemplate Astute and Intrepid McHissypants, safe in the bathroom.

Oh, what changes a couple days make! Intrepid is only maybe hissing now, and both kittens have learned about cuddling in my lap, climbing my legs, and of course the joys of playing with their jingly ball and their pingpong ball. Intrepid has also learned about being brushed with a soft brush, since being a long-haired kitty he will need to be used to that. He thought it was pretty good and purred about it. Both have wallowed around on their backs to get their tummies tickled enough that I am now confident in calling them boy kitties. They no longer hide when I go into the bathroom, but come looking for my attention. We’ve gotten through a good chunk of Jared Diamond’s Collapse by now, from the chapter on Australia, so these are going to be educated kittens, y’all.

But the best part is definitely the way they purr in stereo when I pet them. There’s something soothing about being in a small room filled with the sound of purring kittens.

EDIT: I HAVE BADGER. Dreadnought is the last kitten standing. I am currently debating bringing Emmaline in to keep Dreadnought from wandering off.

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Dammit, Emmaline.

I think she’s moved the remaining two babies. I haven’t seen them since this morning, and she just trotted up from across the road, where she used to come from before she moved them here. Mostly my feelings on this matter are a string of profanity. I’m going to keep trying to get them, though. I just gave Emmaline supervised visitation with Astute and Intrepid so she can see they’re doing fine. She was calm about being carried through the house, curious about the bathroom, and not at all interested in kittens. Sigh.

Meanwhile, Intrepid has nearly entirely given up hissing at me. Astute is totally relaxed in the bathroom, and might have a home lined up. LItter box usage is 100%, and they’re eating soft foods well. You win some, you lose some.

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Your morning update!

1) In me news, Daniel’s medical stuff is complete and we’re just waiting on the embassy to give him an appointment to get the visa. HURRY UP, LONDON EMBASSY.

2) Roo feels deeply abused because the kittens get all the good food and he’s stuck with expensive raw ground up dead animals. Poor Roo.

3) It’s so hot today I’ve barely seen Badger and Dreadnought, so haven’t had much opportunity to trap them. There’s still an hour before my bedtime while I’m writing this, though, so I might get lucky.

4) I gave Intrepid and Astute a ping-pong ball and a red plastic jingly ball. Intrepid totally forgets to be afraid of me when there are toys to play with:

Astute, a teeny short-haired grey and white kitten, and Intrepid, a slightly less teeny VERY FLUFFY long-haired tabby and white kitten, play footsoccerball with a red plastic jingly ball. Intrepid neglects to be afraid of the thumb monkey until the ball comes to rest near her foot, at which point he is all “ZOMG! RUN AWAY! But not too far because TOY!”

5) And after exhausting himself with the ball, Intrepid not only let me pet him but purred for me. I am winning the battle for hearts and minds!

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You’ll laugh, you’ll cry….

So Astute is indoors. And now, so is Intrepid! WOOOOO! Score two for the good guys, but now that no kittens will spend the night alone, I’m pausing. I also accidentally trapped Grace. Whoops. I let her out and told her to have some dry food instead.

Anyway, here is a picture of teeny Astute, who would like to be wary of me but can be seduced via cheek scritchins into a teeny purr that rattles his whole body. Also a picture of Intrepid, who says SCREW YOU THUMB MONKEY.[1]

Astute, a teeny grey and white kitten, crouches on a blue bathroom rug.  His cheek is being gently scritched by a hand that is relatively ginormous compared to him, and he is half asleep.  And also purring, which you can't see in the picture but will have to take my word for.

Intrepid says SCREW YOU THUMB MONKEY.  A teeny long-haired tabby and white kitten with substantially white underpinnings and a white nose glares nervously at the camera, ears half-pinned.  Be grateful you cannot hear his fearsome growls, gentle reader.