November 7th 2011 5:45 am
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Yoohoo-o-o! We've just been befriended by a couple of sweet kitties who are brand new to Catster - their bio says they just started yesterday. If you would, please drop by and say howdy to Gossy and her new brofur Piper !
November 8th 2011 6:09 am
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My condolences to all you Eastern kittehs under your blanket of snow. I gotta tell ya we’ve been lucky as heck with our weather lately. No snow, no crazy ice storms, not even as much rain as the Mama has grown accustomed to up here in the Great Lakes country. Sure it freezes at night, but this is pretty easy-going, all in all, compared to some past years.
Take yesterday for an example: beautiful sunshine at the close of a mild day. The folks took the opportunity to finish the last touches on the feral winter shelter, and they both were very pleased. The Mama was more than pleased – she was delighted! She’s taken a pic, but it really doesn’t give a good idea of what the inside is like, so she’ll try to describe it.
The North porch is where she feeds the ferals – not the ideal location, but the only practical place as our cattery is on the more favorable south side of the house. You Southerners and Californianites (is that a word?) may not appreciate the significance of south-facing versus north-facing, but up here in the frozen northlands, it DOES matter.
Anyway, against the east side, which is elevated a couple of feet off the ground, they shoved an old table that had been used for various outdoor projects. Around the base of the three open sides they stacked hay bales – 8 of them. A 9th bale they tore up and lay on the ground inside the little shelter. Since the table was about cat-height taller than the porch, there was a gap at the top there on that 4th side – this would be the entrance. Before they shoved all the side bales into place, the Mama crouched inside the shelter to see how it felt. It was warm and cozy, plenty big enough for the 10 ferals who are coming for feeding, but not so big that it would be hard to heat with body heat. The pawrents both felt that even they, puny humans that they are, provided they had winter coats and guaranteed food source, could survive a winter in this shelter!
When the sides were finished, they threw an old very heavyduty tarp over the whole, just as further insulation, and added some more hay bales around the entrance and around the perimeter of the porch for windbreak. The Mama has taken a picture of the front; she put some kitten milk down for a treat to get them to come out, so you’d see they are using the shelter.
As for us, because it was such a beautiful day right then before dusk, the pawrents brought out the leashes and took Sleeper and me for a walk! They’ve abandoned the harnesses – Sleeper’s doesn’t fit anyway, and both of us have been so good lately on just the leashes. The Mama didn’t get a picture this time, because she forgot the camera, but she’s posting a pic of one of the places we walk on the property that she took just a few days ago – she calls it “one of Essie’s old haunts – Essie was their little dog before we came along.
November 10th 2011 7:28 am
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The weather man was right on target - he said Thursday it would snow - voila! Our first of the season...pretty!
November 25th 2011 5:33 pm
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Back when the world was young, and the gods still walked the Mesa, Man was innocent and was friends with the animals. He was friends with the dogs, and he was friends with the birds. And the birds were stooopid! (that’s for the Tabbies.) But there were no cats.
It was the dog who most loved him and would follow him everywhere he went. Dog would hunt for Man, and was his companion. He would sleep by Man’s fire, and take whatever bits of food the Man did not want. He didn’t ask for much: the few scraps, a pet now and then.
But Man became lazy and selfish. He began to begrudge Dog the scraps he ate. He complained that Dog wasn’t bringing in enough food. He objected to Dog scratching himself by the fire, and threw him out of the cave into the cold.
The gods saw all this and said: “This isn’t right. Man needs to be taught a lesson.” And they created Cat. Cat didn’t mind sharing Man’s fire; nor did she turn her nose up at the pieces of meat Man threw her…initially. Though she did prefer a little less fat on it, please.
She would allow Man to give her chin scritches, but only as long as she didn’t have something more important to do. Man began doing more and more to please her, but the more he tried, the harder to please she became!
When the gods first constructed Cat, they made her with 7 toes on her front paws and 5 on her back paws. She was very proud of her handsome feet, and groomed them day and night, and scratched repeatedly against the pinon pine trees, keeping her claws strong and sharp. The gods saw this, too, and thought: “Cat is becoming as bad as Man! She could stand to be brought down a notch or two as well.” So they took away 2 of the toes on each of her front paws, and a toe a piece off her back paws.
And that’s the way Cat is today…Except every now and then, Cat is born with 7 toes on both the front paws and 5 toes each on both the back paws. Because Cat will have her or his own way, even with the gods.
Manytoes at Mesa Verde
December 24th 2011 8:54 am
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Merry Christmas and Happy Holy Days to all; it is the birth of the Sun! A blessed event as acknowledged by all faiths, whether Christian or Pagan, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist. For now, whether we immediately sense the difference, the light starts to grow again; the days get longer; and eventually it becomes warmer, bringing out of dormancy those plants and some animals and insects which have gone to their winter rests. (Unless you happen to live in the Southern Hemisphere where, of course, they do everything backwards! Or California, where their idea of Winter is where you don’t wear your shorts and sandals in the evening…well, maybe the sandals…)
So, to all our Catster friends and their families: may you have all the blessings of the New Year; may present friendships strengthen, new alliances begin, old wounds heal, and may we all see a deepening of our faiths - whatever they may be - and a greater prosperity to help ease the physical burdens we each bear.
Fearless wanted to send you each a card, but instead we will post the pic the Mama took shortly after we had received the most excellent River Dances Catnip Mousies from Zach, Zoe and Gris. May the Ceiling Cat bless us, everyone!
Thank you, Ceiling Cat, for all our many blessings!
December 31st 2011 10:32 am
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[The following is a true story. Well…OK – most of it's true, but part of it is speculation. We don’t really know what Little Socks said and thought, after all. :) ]
Little Socks, had been born in late September, somewhere in the village. She couldn’t remember where; she’d been on the move since she was a kitten, first with her mother and siblings, then later, on her own. She was a pretty little thing; a lovely soft, gray tabby color, with a fluffy white apron and bright white socks on all her feet.
She had been cold her whole life, all three months of it; she knew no different. Well, except for those very early halcyon days of warmth against her mother’s belly, with her brother and sisters beside her. Then, occasionally later, when the sun would come out and shed glorious heat into whatever sheltered cove she was in for the moment.
When her mother stopped letting her nurse, it was touch and go for a while, trying to find enough food to survive. She ate insects when she could catch them, but they were starting to disappear as the winter set in. She scrounged whatever scraps she could find in discarded garbage. Sometimes there was food to be found on the porches of houses, but this could be dangerous since usually it meant other cats, or worse – Dogs. She’d had some close calls as a result. One such encounter had been the cause of the greatest adventure of her short life…
She was running, running, RUNNING as fast as she could! She dared not look back; she could hear the swift patter of feet and the sharp panting of her pursuer gaining on her. Ahead she spied a small tree which had sprung up untended beside one of the two-story abandoned derelicts of the town. In some far distant time when the village had been alive with the lumber boom, the building had housed a library; but this was long since gone, and the property had passed through a number of hands, never seeming to merit the repairs it so desperately needed. Now it stood forlornly empty, its upper windows broken by vandals or perhaps only the wind blowing the tree limbs against the panes. Wind and rain and snow had taken advantage of this breach of its defenses, blowing in the damp, as well as leaves and debris. The floors of the upper story were now no longer safe for human traffic, but still stood proof against the passage of those small wild creatures who sought momentary shelter from the elements.
None of this was of any concern to the little gray tabby, who saw only her means of escape from the dog who even now was snapping at her heels! With a great spring, she leaped into the lower branches of the tree, quickly shinnying up the trunk and through the open window, not once pausing for a look behind, or for a thought of where she was going. The dog jumped, baying at her retreating form – she was safe!
TO BE CONTINUED...
December 31st 2011 11:18 am
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Little Socks peered about her in quick nervous starts, alert to any new possible dangers. There was little to see in the dim light. The room was empty except for a chair, some old papers and a pile of leaves which had blown in through the broken window. In one corner there was evidence of some former resident: a cache of seeds, now eaten, and droppings which smelled of mouse. Little Socks nosed the seeds – nothing there for her, and the droppings were old and stale. For a moment, she stood very still and listened. There was the muffled snuffling of the dog, already moving away from her; there was a faint scritch-scritch of the bare branches against the window pane and siding; the sound of wind lightly whistling through the old building; and the whooshing passage of a car on the street. A car door slammed somewhere, and she could hear people calling, but they were far removed from where she stood; the building was empty.
Slowly, carefully stepping around the glass shards from the window, she explored the perimeter of the room. When she reached the far side, she found a stairway down and following this, came to a small entryway that opened into two other rooms. One looked to have been a store room with a back door which led to the parking lot behind. It was piled with cast off junk – an old mattress, some drapes and cardboard boxes, empty paint cans, and useless rubbish. The other room faced the street with a picture window in the front. A door on the side gave access to a walkway that joined the front sidewalk. This front room had most recently (though it was obviously far from recent) been the site of some festive event; there were a few tables still set up with white paper décor and empty plastic wine glasses, white plastic spoons and some paper plates, some of them soiled. One plate still held the pathetically desiccated remains of a piece of white icing-ed cake. Little Socks sniffed it hopefully, but wrinkled her nose and backed away. Even the mice had not touched this inedible fossil, a relic of a far away time from before her birth.
Her explorations revealed nothing else of interest; both doors were firmly closed - there would be no exit from either of them. And to her dismay, when later she climbed back up the stairs, she found she could not reach the window from this side, there being no obliging tree or other structure to climb. Little Socks was trapped!
TO BE CONTINUED...
December 31st 2011 11:19 am
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When you live in a small village, anything new tends to attract attention and comment. Certainly, a little kitten sitting in the display window of a vacant business didn’t go unnoticed! The Papa first saw Little Socks when he came to work after Christmas. This was on Tuesday. Though the sight was startling, he remembered having seen the kitten out roaming before, and assumed it must have found a way to come and go from the old building. He can be excused, we hope, for not being too concerned. After all, there have always been cats - and dogs, for that matter - loose around the tiny, somewhat quirky, backwoods village. When he looked again later, the kitten was gone, presumably back to where it came from.
The next day as he passed on his way to the post office, there it was again! The post mistress told him there had been many others who mentioned it, suggesting something should be done. No one was volunteering themselves for the job, however. When the Papa got back to the shop, he told the Mama she should go take a look. She opened the door and peered down the street. Sure enough, she could see the kitten without even venturing out of the doorway.
The two humans walked down together to look in the window. The kitten was crying hoarsely. Papa walked around the outside of the building, looking for whatever hole or opened door the animal might have used for entry; there was nothing he could see but the second story broken window. Here was a dilemma. A conference followed and the Mama left to pick up a live trap from their friends. Papa, meanwhile, phoned the owner of the building and got permission to kick in one of the side doors. It wasn’t locked, but it was wedged too firmly shut to open easily.
When the Mama returned, not more than 5 minutes passed between setting up the trap baited with tuna to the springing of the trap by the starving kitten who came out of hiding as soon as the humans were outside again. Now what to do with it, they wondered? There seemed only one viable solution. They took Little Socks home.
Once home, they set up food for all the ferals, and then released the kitten. Though she had finished the whole can of tuna before they’d reached the house, Little Socks went straight for the food bowls! In between bites, she purred and rubbed against the other ferals and the hay bales and the carrier, and anything else in reach.
Now we come to a rather strange occurrence. One by one, all the other young cats disappeared into the weeds, till there was only Mama Cat and two of the unspayed black ferals and Little Socks. Then Mama Cat, who didn’t sleep in the shelter with the others, left to go back to her den, wherever that may be. Then the two unspayed blacks, who presumably live in the barn across the street, left also. Little Socks was alone again. But she was full and tired after a long day, and she had been for a little while in the company of others; she was ready for sleep. The last the human Mama saw of her that night was the sight of her retreating tail going into the shelter.
TO BE CONTINUED...
December 31st 2011 11:20 am
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The next morning, the Mama brought breakfast out for the ferals. Only Little Socks was there, though shortly after setting down the food, the two unspayed blacks appeared. No Mama Cat, no black kittens. Both humans talked to the little cat, but she would skitter out of the way if they reached down to touch her, so they let her be.
When the humans returned from work, they fed Little Socks and the two blacks. Still no others there. Little Socks was seen exploring the property closest to the porch, following the cat trails through the grass and under the trees. At bedtime, the Mama set down some warmed soupy wet food, then watched from the window as the kitten went into the shelter. This was Thursday.
F riday saw the return of Mama Cat and the two blacks. Then, approaching warily, were Aunt Bobbie (one of the spayed adults), plus two of the spayed kittens! Little Socks greeted everyone ecstatically, rubbing repeatedly against them all. The humans felt relief that things seemed to be returning to normal. Perhaps they carried this giddiness too far, because later that evening they tried to bring Little Socks into the house.
It started out simply enough, playing with the kitten through the partially opened porch door, constantly shooing back the three curious inside cats from the doorway. Then suddenly the Papa had Little Socks in his arms and was bringing her inside. The Mama started preparing a litter box to put in the bathroom, and was getting together bowls for water and food. Papa put the kitten down, and from this point things got crazy!
Little Socks was bouncing off the walls, the furniture, under the cabinets, and finally up INTO the wall in the bathroom beside some exposed plumbing pipes (you’d have to see it – hard to explain)! The Papa grabbed her at that point, and it was decided - much to Samhain and Sleeper’s relief – that perhaps, after all, Little Socks would be better off outside. (It also went some way to explaining how she might have gotten into the abandoned building – that girl must be part mole!)
So… at last the inside girls calmed down. Fearless slowed down her customary bedtime zoomies to a trot; Sleeper quit jumping at every move or sound she heard; Samhain stopped hissing and swatting nervously at Fearless, who apparently was the only one who’d really enjoyed all the excitement, and seemed to look from one to the other of the household with a bewildered expression: “What?!” And Little Socks? She had eaten a fine dinner, had an exhilarating play period with her friends, and (yawn) was ready for bed. “Good night, all!” she called over her shoulder, and retired into the shelter.
January 15th 2012 10:21 am
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The more the Mama thought about the possibility of the possum having moved into the shelter, the more she worried. Well, we can’t have that, can we? Though she’s pretty positive that at least Little Socks is staying in the shelter - possum or no possum – she wasn’t sure if the others were. She DID know that they all seemed to use the other couple of boxes she’d set up on the porch, at least for daytime napping.
So she was overjoyed when the Papa found the shipping boxes that the old space heaters had come in, complete with the original Styrofoam liners! Here are some pics to show what she did with them. She cut holes in the sides of the cardboard boxes and the inside liners:
shipping crate with styrofoam liner
Then she cut up an old blanket and stuffed pieces inside the liners:
blanket inside the styrofoam
She said to make sure that the cardboard box is empty before you try to push the liner back it – MOL!
check for occupants!
Voila! Kitty condo ready to go!
Final note: the ferals must have been in the shelter after all, ‘cause after the Mama put the condo out, they were suddenly there to investigate! She gave them a light lunch and then enjoyed seeing them go in and out of the condos, and play together around the porch. And they were wrestling and playing with Little Socks! Hurray!!!
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