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October 19th 2012 6:09 am
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Hey! Some sweet kit gave us some anonymouse zealies - woohoo!!! We didn't even know it until we went to check when our next allotment was supposed to be, and there they were! Thank you, Anonymouse, who-efur you are!



November 12th 2012 6:11 pm
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OK, not sure how I feel about this, but that Socks character that's been hanging out around our place since December of last year, has now been granted "visitor status", meaning he gets to come in the house, but doesn't stay in all the time with us. The pawrents still aren't sure if he knows about litterboxes, if you know what I mean...
The Mama says they won't be making him a totally indoor kitty in any case; he will be an indoor/outdoor cat - if all works out with us and the other thing I just mentioned. So far so good! I can't say I like him, but I'm mostly already used to him since he goes on walks with all three of us girls when we're out on our leashes.
Check him out if you get a chance!



November 21st 2012 3:14 pm
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Just made an interesting discovery that I thought I'd share in case this happens to someone else. Was adding new pics to the FERAL'S page and was rearranging the order a bit to have the new pics show up first. When I went to save the changes, I randomly hit one of the SAVE THE CHANGES buttons somewhere midway down the page, instead of scrolling all the way to the bottom as I usually do. Big mistake as I found out when I went to look at the live page! All the pics after that section that I'd clicked SAVE on, were gone! Went back to see what the deal was and found that the little dot that is supposed to be checked YES that you want the pic displayed had come unchecked for every one of the pics following that point where I'd clicked the SAVE button. Didn't know it would do that.

So, just in case you lose some pics after you've been adding others, go make sure that little dot is checked YES. :)

Oh, and we added some cute pics of one of the kittens that the Papa has named Sirius because of the star on his chest. One of the other kittens has a prominent star, too. Will have to come up with another star name...



November 26th 2012 11:58 am
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[SNOOZE ALERT! This is another of my interminably long, three-part stories - with a decided nod to Charles Dickens. :)]

“Tell us a story,” Fearless said sleepily from the blankie in front of the woodstove. Socks stretched beside her and yawned. Samhain, on the couch, saw him and opened wide with a cavernous yawn of her own, her fangs flashing in the rosy glow from the fire.
“What kind of story?” she asked.
“A Catmus-y one!, A scary one!” Fearless and Socks answered together.
“Both,” Sleeper murmured from the catbed on the Mama’s table.
Samhain stretched, settled herself more comfortably, and began:

“There once was ‘a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner’ named Socks McScrooge…”
“Wait a minute! Why am I the bad guy?!”
“Because I’M telling the story – do you want to hear this or not?”
Disgruntled mutters and silence.

“This guy was so mean he wouldn’t spare a farthing for his employee MILO Cratchit to buy coal for the fire.”
“What’s a farthing?” Fearless meowed.
“SHHHH!!!” three voices hissed at her.

“And it was really really COLD that day before Catmus. So cold that the Mama had to change the water in the Feral’s water bowl three times during the day because it kept freezing.” Socks shuddered.
“And this Socks McScrooge wouldn’t let MILO Cratchit go home early to be with his family, Mrs. Murphy Cratchit and Tiny Gris Cratchit even though it was Catmus Eve! Instead he had to sit in that cold room scratching away at McScrooge’s accounts, and only had Bob the Cricket for company. Poor MILO!

“Just then the door opened and it was Sock’s nephew Tiger and his wife Natasha. They’d come to ask their uncle to their annual Catmus Eve party, just as they did every year, but mean ol’ Socks sent them away saying ‘Humbug! Keep Catmus in your own way, and I’ll keep it in mine!’ ‘But you don’t keep it,’ said Tiger. ‘Then let me leave it alone!’ he roared, following them out on the street shaking his fisted paw at them, his fur on end.

“As he stood watching them leave, three gentlecats by the names of Toki, Monster and Master Zack approached him. Toki swept his tophat off his head and gave a graceful bow. ‘Good evening, Mr. McScrooge,’ he said. ‘The best of the holiday season to you, sir,' exclaimed Master Zack, stretching forth a paw, which McScrooge pointedly ignored. Monster smiled and stepped forward, ‘We’re here collecting for the Humane Society. At this festive time of year especially, we know that in view of the fact that you are a former feral, you will no doubt be happy to donate something to help others less fortunate than yourself.’ ‘No doubt I wouldn’t!’ he replied. ‘Good day, gentlemen!’ And with that, he went back inside and slammed the door.

“At last it was 5:00 PM, and MILO gathered his things along with the begrudged promise of the next day off to celebrate Catmus. McScrooge was less than pleased as he closed the shop and headed to his meager dinner and bed beyond. The house seemed darker and colder than usual, the fire in his bedroom barely giving off any heat at all. It seemed as if Socks had only just lay down, when there was a flash of light and the incongruous smell of catnip. There at the foot of his bed was a beautiful striped cat with a red and white striped sparkling stocking cap on her head and a wreath of catnip around her (rather large) waist!”
[“It’s me”, Sleeper said.]
“She twinkled and laughed at him merrily: ‘Socks McScrooge – I am the Ghost of Catmus Past!’ ‘Long past?’ Socks queried. ‘No, YOUR past, you idiot! Rise and walk with me!’ “Socks felt compelled to do as he was bid.”
[“Dang straight – if he doesn’t want a smackey-paw!” Sleeper stage-whispered.]
“He took her paw and flew with her to a scene from a Catmus past when the pawrents had rescued him from a cold deserted building and brought him back to a shelter of warmth, food, friends and love.”
[The real Socks pretended he was stretching as he furtively wiped a tear from his eye.]
“All was joy and gaiety around him; though the food was simple – (and they had to share it with possums and raccoons.) But the friendships were slow to form for this outsider, and he held himself aloof from the others, as being a stray only one generation removed from domesticity and, therefore better than the several-generation ferals.”

[“I want to make it perfectly clear, that I do NOT feel this way about my feral friends!” Socks stated loudly. “Shhhh!” Three voices shushed him.]

Samhain continued: “ ‘Spirit! Remove me from this place; I cannot bear it!’ McScrooge cried in a broken voice. In the next moment he was back in his bed as if it had all been a dream!”




November 29th 2012 7:11 am
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“Whoa – is it intermission time?” Socks asked, jumping up to get some bites of kibble. “This being the villain kinda takes it out of a guy, ya know what I mean?”
“I’m so hungry, I feel like a ghost of my former self – MOL!” Sleeper quipped, as she joined him at the food bowls.
When everyone had settled back down, Samhain resumed her story.

“Socks McScrooge didn’t know what to make of his experience! ‘It surely must have been a dream,’ he thought, and lay back down in his bed. But no sooner did he fall asleep, than he was awakened by another flash of light to a room which was his own and yet not his own, being decorated in all manner of ways with the beauty and fullness of the season, and a great fire burning merrily in the woodstove. He looked about in wonder and beheld a black furred figure clothed in a long green robe and a sprig of evergreen tucked behind her cropped ear.”
[“That’s me!” Fearless exclaimed softly, punching Socks in the shoulder. “Ow, Fearless! That hurt!”]

“ ‘Socks McScrooge, I am the Ghost of Catmus Present – you have never seen the like of me before!’ ‘You can say that again,’ muttered Socks. ‘Come and walk with me!’ the Spirit called, and once again McScrooge was carried up and away over houses and streets where cats and peeps were making merry, enjoying the season. The Ghost carried a torch aloft in her paw, and occasionally would shake a fine dust over the passing revelers, and especially when it seemed that spirits flagged and tempers flared. And then the passersby seemed to regain their cheer and good will.
“Next she took him over a humble house decorated with red bows and a holly wreath on the door. Candles burned in the windows, and a small fitful fire was laid in the grate. As they grew closer, he saw that it was MILO Cratchit and his wife Mrs. Murphy, and in the corner, looking so cute and fluffy, was Tiny Gris Cratchit playing with Bob the Cricket.”
[“I was wondering where Bob was,” Fearless said in an undertone. Samhain frowned at her before continuing the story.]
“They were preparing for Catmus, and Oh! Everyfur was so joyful and merry! ‘What do they have to be so happy about?’ Socks grumbled. ‘Look at this house – it’s hardly big enough for that cricket. And that bird can scarcely feed the one of them, let alone three!’ ‘And who do you think is responsible for that?’ Fearless, uh, I mean, the Ghost asked simply. ‘I pay him a wage; is it my business if he can’t manage his money?’ Socks responded, but this time with a note of uncertainty and an uneasy feeling of guilt.

“Once again, McScrooge felt himself whisked through the air and back into his bed. This time he did not fall back to sleep, but lay in wait for he knew not what. Just as he started to relax, thinking the visitations were over, he felt a great chill wash over him and looking up, he saw before him a gaunt figure all in black fur, no light reflecting from her save that of her yellow eyes.”

Samhain paused, and they all glanced over at her. The fire had died down considerably and where she lay the couch was in shadow, so that all that showed was the light reflecting off her eyes. Fearless shivered. Samhain smiled and resumed her story:

“ ‘Am I in the presence of the Ghost of Catmus Yet to Come?’ asked Socks, tremulously, when the Spirit did not speak. She nodded, and stretched forth her paw to him. Reluctantly, he took it and was airborn once more. He saw much that night of want and privation. So many lost, so many abandoned and neglected, some which he had turned away when he might have helped. Lastly she showed him an overturned garbage can with two feral kittens rummaging through the trash, one of whom looked very like himself at that age.
McScrooge fell on the ground before the Ghost, crying:‘Good Spirit – assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life! I will honor Catmus in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” He bowed his head, his paws clasped before him in supplication, and, feeling a lessening of the cold, looked up to find himself restored to his bed….




November 29th 2012 7:12 am
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“Sleeper, wake up – it’s the Conclusion!” Fearless called.
“I wasn’t asleep”, Sleeper snapped, opening her eyes. “I was listening!”
“Not trying to put you to sleep, Sleep,” Samhain said primly.

Samhain resumed: “Socks McScrooge jumped up out of his bed and danced to the window, flinging it open. A young orange tom by the name of Charlie was walking by, and McScrooge leaned far out and yelled to him: ‘Hey, boy – what day is this?’ ‘What day is it? Why, it’s Catmus Day, it is, sir!’ called the young kit.
‘Catmus Day! I haven’t missed it then!’, Socks chortled happily to himself. ‘Boy! Do you know the pizzeria around the corner – you know the one that makes the giant pizzas with everything but the kitchen sink on them?’
‘What – you mean GUIDO’S PIZZERIA?’ (‘An excellent young kit – remarkable kit!’) murmured McScrooge.
‘Yes, the very one. Go there now and order a super-duper colossal supreme, hold the onions and pineapples, and don’t forget the anchovies, and you can order another small one just for yourself! Tell him I’ll be by in half an hour to pick it up – here’s the money!’ And this is just what he did! And, BTW, had a very pleasant chat with GUIDO himself when he stopped in. A fine gentlemanly cat with a good sense of fashion. They talked hats a bit – Socks wondered if he knew Mr. Toki. As they were talking, Ashlynne, in a rather fetching magenta apron, came out of the kitchen carrying a large covered platter. 'Yous want the salad with that, handsome?'

“His next stop was the Cratchits, whom he totally surprised with the super-duper colossal supreme with extra anchovies. As they had just sat down to their formerly rather meager Catmus dinner, they of course invited him to join them, and of course he couldn’t refuse! And over dinner, he explained how he would be raising MILO’s salary to meet the cost of living, and would be assigning him some new duties as befit a junior partner. MILO beamed with pride and pleasure; Gris and Mrs. M looked like they weren’t sure if they were suddenly going to have to restrain this guy when he went schizoid on them.

“Full of happiness (and pizza), Socks sauntered down the road to his nephew’s house where he was admitted with shouts of joy by Tiger, Natasha and all their guests, including those much sought after bachelors, those cats about town, Zachery Frost, Boss Manytoes, River and Skylar.
[“Oh, puh-LEASE!” Sleeper rolled her eyes.]
“And from this point on, it was always said of Socks that he knew how to keep Catmus well, if any cat alive possessed the knowledge. And if some cats laughed to see the change in him, he didn’t heed them, because he was wise enough to know that some folks will always be blind to the good. His own heart laughed, and that was quite enough for him.

And as Bob the Cricket observed, Ceiling Cat bless Us, Every One!



December 5th 2012 6:31 pm
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Last night the pawrents determined it was time to catch the Little Mama and kittens for spaying. They would have done it sooner, but the timing of the spay clinic was never quite right with their schedule. As it happened, all the stars were in proper alignment this time.

Their friends from S-NAP (the Spay-Neuter Animal Project) lent the pawrents 5 live traps that are better than Havahart traps, being designed specifically for catching ferals with less trauma. They also had three small cat carriers standing by in case the Mama was able to simply pick any of the kittens up. And it turns out, she was able to use all three carriers, since two of the kittens walked up to her for snuggles, and the third allowed her to pick it up for the first time (!) while it was eating. These were all taken fairly quickly without the alarm going up, but oddly enough, most of the rest of the ferals seemed to have heard the news, and had disappeared, except Socks, who the pawrents brought inside to keep him out of the way. He and Sleep and Fearless and I got confined to the bedroom/cattery area for the duration.

While the Mama was kit-napping kittens, the Papa was setting up three of the live traps outside close to one of the major feral paths. Not long after he set up the first one, he caught the largest of the kittens – a female, and the only female aside from Little Mama; the rest of the kittens are male. The last kitten, the runt of the litter (who has not allowed himself to be touched, but who gets pretty close) was caught in a trap that the Mama edged out the porch door by him, baited with sardines. She sat there by the trap as he walked in. Finally all that was left was the Little Mama, who was caught in one of the live traps, and none too pleased about it.

Then it was necessary to cover the traps and set them upstairs for the night, because the spaying needs to be done on an empty stomach. The Mama hates this part; she always feels like a traitor to keep them caged like this, but it’s the only way to be assured that they won’t have eaten. Generally, they calm down when the traps are covered and dark, but at first they cry, and that’s upsetting. :(

Early the next morning, they made the trip to the spay clinic, all 6 of them! And were out again sometime after 12 noon. The pawrents brought them back and left them covered for another couple of hours to let the anesthesia wear off. When they opened the traps, they’d placed food in a visible location, but every one of the ferals took off in different directions and didn’t stop for the food. A short time after, though, they saw the Little Mama had come back up the path and was eating a little.

Last word: all of the kittens have returned to the porch now to eat and some at least have been seen entering the shelters. Have not seen Little Mama since this afternoon when she stopped for a bite, but this isn’t unusual. It surprises the Mama more that all of the kittens returned so quickly. :) And little Serius, on his own, climbed into the Mama’s lap and snuggled and purred.



December 27th 2012 4:49 am
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There are no direct routes here. There is only to the left or the right...of cat. Hehehe...



January 12th 2013 6:07 am
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Around 3 AM, the Mama came suddenly awake…what was that noise she’d just heard? Or had she only dreamed it? She started to sit up and realized she was pinned down by two black lumps: me by her hip and Fearless in the hollow between her legs. She experienced two simultaneous emotions – relief that what ever it was WASN’T us inside girls (the Sleep she didn’t worry about since she mostly doesn’t get involved with nighttime antics anymore), and irritation because she knew if she moved we’d wake up and probably cause some kind of trouble. (Hehehe…what can I say? We’re cats!)

Too late - we were already instantly awake as soon as you opened your eyes, Mama! So, no need for subtlety in trying to slide out from under those covers. And just as you succeeded and the Papa was turning on the bedside light, there was another muffled rumbling clatter from the porch, and Fearless and I shot like bullets off the bed in opposite directions!!!

Mystery solved – it was the Ferals. The Mama opened the door to see what was going on and there were about 5 blackies suddenly frozen in the beam of her flashlight. Which immediately told her: cats milling around on the porch = no outside threat involved. But why were all these cats up running around in the winter and the moon just went new, not full? Then she noticed how warm it was. Checked the thermometer…it’s 45 degrees!!!!

Well, that’s reason enough to celebrate – so we all got up and had an impromptu New Moon Warm-up Party! Kibble all round, girls and boys. (BTW – not sure where the Socks-boy was – out enjoying the warm night I suspect. He was back this morning for breakfast.) And while the pawrents had their own “kibble” (some bowls of shredded wheat cereal), Fearless and I had a rousing game of chase up and over the couch and down the hall and into the cattery and through the kitchen and into the bathroom and…well, you get the picture. The Sleep even got involved at one point…(good for her, she needs the exercise.) After an hour or so, we all settled back down…well, OK, Fearless and I had to be yelled at a few times first. Hehehe…



January 20th 2013 7:37 am
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Because the weather has been so mild this winter, the possums are still moving around instead of curled up in hibernation some where. And, of course, they are visiting our porch where twice or more times daily, the soup kitchen is open for business! Last night was no exception.

The pawrents came home from work, and while the Papa built up the fire in the woodstove, the Mama fed the feral colony their soupy wet food, heated so as to prevent it’s freezing too quickly to eat, though that wasn’t a problem right then as it was still above freezing outside – barely. And she put down their tray of dry kibble and changed the water in their water crock. A little later she checked on them and here was Little ‘Un Possum chowing down on kibble, the kittens sitting up on the haybales watching.

Just the action of her opening the door, was enough to send him fleeing into one of the shelters – bad, because now he’d be sticking around for awhile longer, but good, because he’d just demonstrated the better design of the individual cubbyholes which allowed just such an occurrence without preventing the cats from having access to shelter themselves – something that was a problem last year when the shelter was one big space. Some of the ferals were understandably not keen on hunkering down shoulder to shoulder with smelly possums.

Anyways, everyone came back for another bite once he was gone, but this idyllic scene didn’t last long, as Mr. Ugly Face showed up next. Mr. Ugly Face is simply the hugest, meanest, smelliest, ugliest of the possum clan and he proceeded to live up to his name by sniffing out the other possum in the cubbyhole he’d run into. This seemed to really tick him off for some reason, and instead of eating, he decided to attack the shelter with Little ‘Un in it. And the screeching going on was sort of hard to ignore; we were all lined up at the window watching!

The pawrents have dealt with Mr. Ugly Face plenty of times before now, and his irritating habit is to run under the other wood stove stored on the porch under a tarp, where it is virtually impossible to dislodge him without seriously injuring him. The Mama decided to try something different.

She grabbed up the baseball bat leaning in the corner, and very stealthily opened the door… Mr. Ugly Face was so involved in his assault that he was taken completely by surprise when this wild woman came at him suddenly, yodeling like an Afghani raider, poking him with a baseball bat!!! Not ready to be completely cowed, he turned to confront her, but she had the element of surprise and the momentum, and with masterful pokes she pushed him till he was at the edge of the porch where he ungracefully went over the edge and scuttled off into the darkness! At which point the Mama dissolved into helpless laughter and the kittens all jumped down around her in delighted excitement! And probably Little ‘Un was breathing huge sighs of relief at the cessation of hostilities and the end of that unholy yelling!

The Mama, feeling magnanimous after her victory, served another round of hot soupy chow, and all retired to the shelters, content after a fine dinner complete with floor show! But once again, this picture of happy semi-domestic bliss was short-lived, as without warning, the freezing rain began with snow right behind it. In the space of an hour, the temperatures had dropped well below freezing and the winds had picked up to a gale force blowing from the west-northwest.

The Mama found it hard to sleep for worrying about the porch crew, but in the morning, all was well. She swept the inch of snow off the porch, grateful that it wasn’t more. The thermometer read 10 degrees – winter is here.

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