April 10th 2013 5:03 am
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Taking inventory here after the worst of the winter has passed. Notice I say “the worst of the winter” – it’s not over yet. Today we are bracing for the next wave of frozen rain, possibly snow. Definitely it is already raining and has been most of the night, plus thunderstorming. And it’s about 38 degrees and windy. All in all, not particularly pleasant. But we’ve had our breakfast and are relatively content.
And just how many of us are still around?
Hard to say exactly, but we’ll take roll call: Socks (of course – he’s back and forth from the colony and the Big House), Little Mama and her five kittens, Big Mama, Marble, the two Sevens, Shadow (if that’s who he really is), Star, Becca, Ricki (though not as often as she was when it was colder), and occasionally, Mr. Pointy Ears – the blackfur who we think is the male the people across the road said they weren’t able to catch last year for the Papa to take to the spay clinic. The pawrents couldn’t catch him either. And, there’s one more – a gray tabby who showed up from somewhere, but who is very shy – even of us Ferals. He might belong to someone down the road.
So, that just leaves Aunt Bobbie – we haven’t seen her in quite awhile. She may be staying elsewhere, though. That makes 17 present and accounted for. I didn’t mention Littleboy – he really DOES live with the neighbors across the road, and we know he’s still around.
February 20th 2013 3:35 pm
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Sirius here speaking for the Ferals:
This is pretty amazing, really. I can’t believe the generosity which has been shown us by others who don’t even know us. But right now there are pounds and pounds of cat food in the spare room that have been donated to us by a local wildlife feed store, via the pawrent’s friends who run S-NAP, the Spay-Neuter Animal Project.
The S-NAP people brought the food by, saying that it was all stuff being taken off the shelves because of expiration date. Not way out of date, you understand, and besides, those are only dates set according to how long the product maintains maximum freshness – they don’t mean the food isn’t edible and even still tasty to us.
And it’s not just any food; it’s the cream of the crop: Royal Canin, Taste of the Wild, Wysong, Earthborn Holistic Wild Sea Catch (love the name), Wellness, Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul (can you believe there’s even a cat food), and Natural Choice. Mostly it’s stuff for Indoor Cats, but hey – like we’re complaining! MOL!!! This will help us all with our hairball and weight problems – hee hee, snicker, SNORK!
There were also about a dozen and a half cans of wet food. This is manna from heaven, folks. The Mama is presently mixing some of the new stuff with our usual, so we don’t freak at the abrupt change. But I think it’s pretty safe to say that most of us would eat just about anything anyway. This was a very kind thing, and we’re grateful.
February 6th 2013 6:57 am
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Socks here as spokesman for the Ferals:
Fourteen for breakfast this morning on the porch. That's pretty much everyone present, including Mr Ugly Face who was snoring away in one of the cubicles. The Mama knows it's him because he was there last night giving Little 'Un possum heck - she shooed him away, but couldn't stop him before he dove into the shelter. Not sure if Little 'Un is still around or not - he's not making any noise.
So far the winter has been cold, but no minus-double-digit temps which is possible for our zone 5 area. Minus 21 is the coldest the Mama has experienced in the over 20 years she's been here. I know there are colder places, but that's plenty nippy let me tell you!
So far everyone seems to be doing well; the kittens have thick fur coats and all have a fine layer of fat for insulation, including me! The Mama feels a bit sad at times, though, because she knows if she opened the door wide and said: "OK - anyone who wants to come inside, come on!" - that immediately Marble, Ricki, Seven Point One and Sirius would all come trooping in. And if they came, Seven would probably follow, and then Osiris, and probably Zane Grey, and maybe one of the other kittens as well. And maybe even Becca who for the first time this morning, let the Mama pet her. But, you see, it can't happen. There's not enough room for all of us. And here's the other thing: if any of the outside crew were to have been next to come in, it would have been Sirius. Except, Owl arrived...
Here are the pics (I hope they show up):
Owl in the kitty condo
Someone must have dropped him off in our driveway after they saw the signs we posted at the corners of our property:
Feral cat zone sign
This was to hopefully get those monster trucks to slow down as they zoom down the dirt road in front of our house. Anyways, we didn’t mean it as an invitation to bring more ferals! Not that Owl seems very feral – he ran up to the Mama as if he was accustomed to humans. But he was ravenous, skinny and had a distended belly probably full of worms.
Now he’s been wormed and, thanks to the loan of the kitty condo from our friends at S-NAP (Spay/Neuter Animal Project), he is gradually getting to know the rest of the inside crew, of which I am privileged to be part. He comes out of the condo for visits and play, but sleeps in there the rest of the time. He is still getting back up to strength, I think. Don’t know if he is here full time or not yet…
November 10th 2012 5:55 pm
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Socks here: We're all doing just peachy here! Little Mama had a slight eye infection, but Human Mama treated it with some medicine in her food, and is now following that with lysine and Vitamin C at evening meals for everyfur. She's much better now. The kittens are getting big! All are healthy, and gradually warming up to the humans. Only one of them is very friendly, enjoying getting pets and giving licks and head bonks in return.
Also, some time back Shadow returned; he's very wild and won't let the Human Mama or Papa near him. All the others are still around, but not always at the same times.
The Human Mama has been working on the new shelters; she's posted pics of some of them. In all, there are 15 separate shelters of varying sizes - more than enough for those who choose to stay overnight here, especially since some of us prefer to share our space with others.
The other news is that I, Socks, am being let inside occasionally! I'm inside right now, as a matter of fact. So far the pawrents are calling me a "visitor" since the issue of litter boxes and such have not been settled. They don't intend to try to convert me completely to "inside" status, but if I get along with the others and don't have any "accidents" in the house, then they will let me come and go at will. And when and if this happens, they say they will take me to the V-E-T, whatever that is, for all my vaccines. I'm already spayed - they took care of that ages ago. Cross your paws for me! :)
August 25th 2012 6:48 am
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Three top reasons how you know your ferals are getting enough to eat:
(1) They follow the Mama and at least 4 of them will rub on her legs and headbonk her if she so much as sets a toe out the door.
(2) After dinner, they like to all lay about the yard - grooming, playing lazily or sleeping like logs.
(3) When fed something other than their usual brand of admittedly cheap cat food, they look at the plate, then up at the Mama with expressions which seem to say “What? You want me to EAT that???”
August 10th 2012 7:23 am
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Rain, rain, rain – it started yesterday, and doesn’t seem to want to stop! The Human Mama has put up three more makeshift sleeping boxes on the North porch for us, so we have a soft dry place to curl up. Plus she threw a tarp over the bench to give us another dry spot to sit underneath. We are playing fort right now, jumping on and running in and out of the boxes and through our tarp fort. The rain has cooled everything down and we are having fun!!!
The other thing is that when the Mama got home last night, Marble was on the balcony over the cattery! Here’s a pic, though Marble isn’t in this one:
Cattery showing balcony above
The pawrents have seen the ferals climb on top of the cattery, but never all the way to the balcony! She was concerned that he might have trouble getting back down out of there, so she went upstairs and carried him down. Fortunately, he took it well and didn’t give her a hard time – she wasn’t sure, never having actually picked him up before. He appears to be mellowing out considerably. (Though he still chases the rest of US around.) The Mama made him his own separate sleeping area by the front porch, which he is happy about. So are the rest of us on the North porch, who get a break from him!
August 4th 2012 6:07 am
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The spaying count is up to 24 now, after the neighbor across the road caught the only surviving male kitten of the latest and hopefully LAST brood over there, and a female – probably his mama. She then turned them over to the Human Papa, who has made it his mission to drive any of the captures to the mobile spay clinic. The Human Mama over here had concerns about spaying affecting lactation, but as the mobile vet said, in the cases of indoor kitties, the majority of them will continue to nurse their kits. She is less certain about cats in the wild. But even if she didn’t allow the nursing, this kitten is at least 2 months and is eating solid foods, so it’s not going to starve.
SEVEN and SOCKS here: We had a wonderful walk last night with Samhain and Sleeper and the Human Mama. The Papa was staying in the village for the night to help guard this humongous water tank that has been constructed in the middle of the road RIGHT IN FRONT of the bookstore!!! If this sounds odd to you, you should hear what The Mama has to say – MOL! (Though, she admits she’s looking forward to it.) The deal is this: this weekend is the “heritage” festival for the village. Instead of the usual car show, pig roast, etc, the Powers that Be decided to bring in the Ultimate Air Dogs. We won’t put in the link - google it if you are curious. What they will be doing is diving into this water tank, retrieving a “stick” which is suspended in the air above the tank. For a fee, other peeps can bring their own dogs to have a go at diving into the tank, plus there’s a get-together in the park called Bark in the Park. [ SAMHAIN SAYS: Hey! I like water – this is discrimination! What about the Ultimate Air Cats???]
Anyhoo, picture this in your mind: a gigantic swimming pool, hot summer day, a village with a high percentage of rather wild childs whose parents don’t keep the best of watch over them [over the years, before the Neighborhood Watch, there had been a high incidence of vandalism and break-ins], what do YOU think is likely here? The Human Papa is sticking around to make sure that the water stays IN THE TANK, and that no little humans get drowned!
But back to our walk – The Mama took each of the girls one at a time on their leashes [not Fearless – despite her name, she freaks if you try to take her outside! The Cattery is as close to the Outside as she wants to get]. We - that is, Seven and Socks – like to walk with them. We run ahead or around, stopping sometimes to touch noses or head bonk. That Samhain is a fickle one! One moment she welcomes our approaches, and the next she takes a swipe at us! Sleeper seems curious about us, but a bit more hesitant. This time another of the blackies went with us. The Mama was marveling how identical this blackie was to Seven. Before she treated all of us with a round of wormer and antibiotics, she could tell who Seven was first by the friendliness, but also because her eyes were so bad. Now that Seven’s eyes are looking pretty clear, the Mama found that watching these two lying in the grass together, she couldn’t tell them apart!
[THE MAMA: I’m pretty sure that the other one is Igor (their name, not ours!) – the little male who was taken by the “Cat Whisperer” to try to socialize him, but who was brought back because they said they couldn’t stop him from biting. Well, we told them to bring him back if it didn’t work out. They haven’t offered to take any others – sigh.
In case anyone else caring for a colony is interested, the antibiotics and the wormer can be mixed directly into wet food. We’ve had no trouble getting them to eat it. Of course, the dosage is rather sketchy, simply because we can never be sure who will show and how much each cat will eat. And there’s a bit of a math problem determining the closest guess, but send me a p-mail if you’re curious.
The wormer, as recommended by the mobile vet is one used for goats: fenbendazole, but which is said to be effective in treating both roundworms and tapeworms in cats and dogs. I found a liquid form put out by Safe-guard (cost around $12.50 I think, and will last for a long time. It has a weight graph on the bottle. I haven’t weighed any of the ferals, but as Fearless was one of their number and same age frame and she weighs 9 lbs, I am figuring the outside guys as 8-9 lbs. The wormer WILL make a difference in overall health, of course, even in aiding the respiratory and eye problems, as the worms can migrate all over the body and not just in stomach, heart and lungs.]
July 29th 2012 5:05 am
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SOCKS here: Wow! We are like totally shocked by this honor! Before now, we have always been on the outside looking in; now we feel like we've finally made it: we've got food, we've got a sheltered porch and our own park bench (!), we've got names (!!), and now we've even got International Fame!!! And the Papa has stopped calling us the Borg Horde... And I did SO know that Rocky was a raccoon!
SEVEN: Did not.
BIG MAMA: You kids stop squabbling!
MARBLE: Or ELSE...
July 26th 2012 7:45 am
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Socks here: What is it with this Rocky cat, anyway? He seems to be growing a whole lot faster than the rest of us...He doesn't even look like a proper cat. I'm reminded of a story the Mama told us: "The Ugly Duckling" by Hans Christian Anderson. Well...he's got the mask part right, but somehow I can't see him turning into a swan!!!
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