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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.

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I got 99 problems…

…they are all Tink.

This is only funny if you know the song by rap artist Jay-Z. Ahem.

So we have Noodlehead and Juniper inside. They are NEW AND FASCINATING CATS. Tink has a thing, you see. Cats she has lived with for a while, these are OLD AND BORING CATS. Tink can successfully ignore Roo, Brax, Aida, and even Emmaline, although mostly she ignores Emms because of catching claws to the nose one too many times.

Noods and Junie, though, my God. Tink is FASCINATED. She wants to follow them around staring at them. She wants to sniff their butts intrusively. She wants to sniff their ears even more intrusively than their butts. I do not know what it is about Tink and ears, but she has this fixation.

So a lot of the day goes like this:
Juniper: *enters room*
Me: Tink, leave it.
Me: I don’t care. Leave it.
Tink: BUT CAT!
Me: I said LEAVE IT.
Tink: Fine.
Five minutes: *passes*
Noodlehead: *enters room*
Noodlehead: I will kick your ass.
Me: Tink, she will kick your ass.
Noodlehead: I mean it. Ass-kicking in 10…9….8…
Me: Tink, leave it, seriously, you’re going to lose an eye.
Me: Tink, I said lea–
Tink: *with bleeding nose* Maybe I should have thought that one through…

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Winterthing Cuteness

Juniper is taking celebrating Winterthing very seriously, as you can see. He is practicing waiting for Big Sky Cat, who on Winterthing Eve comes down from the clouds and gives good cats presents. For Winterthing, Juniper would like the other cats to stop looking at his stuffymouse, and also to have a date scheduled to move into a Forever Home where there are no giant dogs who constantly want to sniff his butt.

Juniper, a small black and white kitten with a face that looks oddly like a skull due to a propitious black triangle on his nose, kittyloafs underneath a small wilted artificial Winterthing tree which boasts one round red ornament.

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Happy Winterthing!

Right, so, some people don’t Do Holidays, and of the people I know who Do Holidays, there are various holidays being celebrated. I have a tendency to be something of a scrooge about Christmas, and it was a few years back when my also-scroogey beloved friend Liz and I began wishing each other a Happy Winterthing.

Winterthing has no specific date, but it happens in winter, and generally in late December. Possibly. It’s hard to pin down a holiday with no specific date. At any rate, my husband is more Christmas-positive than I am, so this year to show willing I have actually put up a Christmas tree. And then I coerced the cats (or at least the cats open to coercion) into behaving adorably near the Christmas tree, so I could take pictures, and end result, gentle readers, is a very special Winterthing Greeting from the Manor of Mixed Blessings to you.

…probably I should never be allowed near PhotoShop, but whatever. Behold!
Roo, an orange and white Cornish Rex cat, and Juniper, a black and white kitten, sit on a shelf next to a small wilted artificial Christmas Tree with one red ornament on it. The text reads 'I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again. --William Penn' at the top and 'Happy Winterthing from the Manor of Mixed Blessings' at the bottom.

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It lives!

Sorry for the long hiatus, a combination of the dreaded FINALS WEEK plus chronic pain problems (which I am finally seeing a doc for, but which are probably not anything curable, just manageable) have kept me from having extra time and energy. But here is an omnibus update!

1) Juniper: still the cutest kitten ever. He’s gotten somewhat less laid-back now that he’s been dewormed. His favorite toy is a brown stuffed mouse we found on clearance at PetCo. He beats it up, he carries it around, he growls and prepares to throw down with other cats who so much as look at his stuffymouse. I’m waiting to hear back from his potential new home, but have high hopes he will be moving on to his Forever Home come January when we get him neutered!

2) Noodlehead: She came inside, as I mentioned! And she is having a good ol time hanging out and being warm and safe in the bathroom. She deeply prefers Daniel to me, though, as my bloody finger will attest. Any guys out there who would like a tabby and white girl of uncommon charm to share the couch with?

3) IT SNOWED YESTERDAY. 3″ of the stuff. The county hasn’t bothered to clear the road, so here I am at home. No one is happy about the snow but Zille. The chickens are DEEPLY disapproving and despite the fact that we did MacGyver a roof onto their pen, they are spending most of the time either on their house or under it (when they’re not eating). Matilda is producing about an egg a week, which has brought our egg cost down to $29.02 per egg. I am able to be this precise because I set up a new and shinier egg cost spreadsheet, which debits the chickens for the cost of their feed and the cost of eggs we have had to buy since their production slowed, but credits them for the market value of cage-free eggs for the ones they have laid.

…yes, I am a dork, why do you ask?

4) Christmas shopping is pretty much done, we were able to use the best discount codes so buying the gifts wasn’t so bad, and next week we get to see our friends Kate and Loiosh when they stop by on their own Holiday Odyssey! And then they will come back through on their way home. We are excited. Incidentally, Kate is having a Christmas Sale! You have four days left to order before Christmas if you see something you like!

5) My quest for The Perfect Leash continues. I just ordered a custom multi-function leash with integrated limited-slip collar from Bold Lead Designs. It will work for both Zille and Beowulf, and if it is half as good as I suspect it will be, then I’ll probably order another one that will fit Tink. Is there anything better than a cool new leash? I think not.

6) Daniel will hopefully have his green card soon, yay!

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How nice of you to join us, or: Noodlehead continues feline tradition of being inconvenient.

Long-time gentle readers may recall that Noodlehead was the fourth adult cat I attempted to bring inside, the one who shook my confidence. I’d successfully brought in and placed three girls, all of whom were easy-peasy, so why would this stripey tabby and white girl be any different?


When I brought Noodlehead into the bathroom, she commenced to attempt to climb the walls to find her way out. I managed to get her toweled and get her back outside, where she regarded me with deep and unpleasant suspicion for the next two weeks before giving birth to a couple stillborn kittens. Sigh.

In the long months since that abortive attempt, though, Noodlehead has been more and more interested in the inside of the house, especially as the weather has gotten colder. She’s also gotten more and more sociable, hanging around while we did chickenstuff and loitering outside the fence to watch us play fetch with Zille and chase with the Dobermans. She’s demanded petting, she’s asked to be picked up and snuggled.

Tonight, she finally walked into the house on her own power, and is now installed in the bathroom with a comfy bed, some wet food, water, and a litter box. Of course, Juniper WAS occupying the bathroom, because Emmaline wants him dead. Juniper is now occupying our bedroom. This is going to cause entertainment at bedtime, as Tink and Roo are accustomed to occupying the bedroom and having the door closed may cause Drama. We’ll figure something out. But at this point, there is officially No Room At The Inn.

I suspect there is little chance of placing Noodlehead, but I may be wrong. She is charming as hell but very much wants things on HER terms, and she is fairly nondescript in looks. The world is full of nondescript tabby-and-white cats with attitude. It may be that we now have five cats. I’m kind of OK with that, although, y’know, if you look at the little stripey face on the right and think to yourself “Self, that is exactly the cat I have been searching for!” then hit me up, yeah? She is going to get vetted and spayed before she goes anywhere, though.

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More info on Juniper, World’s Most Laid-Back Kitten

Juniper went to the vet yesterday for his check up/initial vetting. I am pleased to say that he is FIV and FeLV negative, which clears him for a potential home with other cats! He is also now free of fleas and has been dewormed, as well as receiving his first FVCRP shot. He goes back on the 28th for the booster and we’ll schedule his neuter then, the vet felt that he was only 10 weeks old and thus too young to get his rabies vax or a quick neutering. He weighs about four pounds.

Thus cleared for interaction with the Usual Suspects, I brought him out to spend some time on the futon last night. He was Not Impressed with the dogs. In fact, faced with dogs he achieved such a phenomenal growl from his tiny frame that he established a three foot Canine Exclusion Zone around himself. My dogs are used to much larger cats than tiny Juniper, and were not about to poke their sensitive noses at a cat who was indicating so clearly that he would bite them off, even if he is tiny.

With cats he was much, much better. Roo sniffed him all over, established that he was not a snack, and then went about his business. Juniper did not react, except to politely touch noses. Aida jumped up, and they politely touched noses, and then she hissed in his face. He did not react. Aida was confused. They repeated everything, from nose-touch to hiss, and Juniper still didn’t react. Aida grumbled and went on her way. Emmaline took one look at him and said “Oh hell no I don’t do kittens” and retreated to watch him disapprovingly from the back of the Cat Chair. The only time Juniper showed any cat-oriented hostility was when Braxton Bragg snuck up behind him and patted his butt to see if he would do something interesting; that got a little growl that sent the dogs into whimpering panic.

Gentle reader, you have not lived until you have seen your 75 pound German Shedder and your 75 pound male Doberman reduced to whimpering and clinging to their Daddy because a 4 pound kitten growled, seriously.

Juniper will get more socialization time over the coming days, we’re hoping to work on the growling at dogs thing because, well, it’s too pathetic to see the dogs like that. But he’s doing quite well, and I think we’re on track to have him in a new home come January!

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Juniper: world’s most laid-back kitten.

Someone seriously needs this kitten, for reals. Before I get to the pics, here is the Official Kitten-Pimping Information:
Juniper (named for Juniperus virginiana, the Virginia cedar tree) goes to the vet on Tuesday, where he will get a check-up, tested for FIV and FeLV, a guess at his age, and then his rabies/distemper vax. We will then schedule his neutering! After neutering, he will be available to a good home, with the following provisos:

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. Juniper has lived the outdoor life and now deserves to be safe in a climate-controlled environment.

4) No declawing. It’s mean. Just no.

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

And now…ON TO THE KITTEN PICTURES! Because that’s what you wanted anyway, right? Proof that Juniper is the World’s Most Laid Back Kitten.

Juniper, a black and white kitten, lays upside down on the hands and forearms of a woman.  His eyes are open and looking at something off camera.  He is not panicking, but is totally relaxed.  If there were a soundtrack, you would hear purr.  It is the most adorable thing ever.

Juniper, still on his back, looks up at the woman holding him, his adorable leetle white paws spread wide as if he is telling her he caught a fish and it was THIS BIG.

Juniper, STILL on his back, has stretched his front paws out in what would be a creditable SUPER KITTEN pose if he were not, y'know, upside down and purring.

How cute is that, seriously? Just LOOK at this little fella. Someone out there needs this kitten to make their life complete, I know it. All we have to do now is get the word out! If you can’t take him, can you post him up on Twitter, your blog, Facebook, anywhere?