Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Prima Donna (First Kitty)

Sitting Pretty! Squirrel likes to pose.
(House is mess, sorry)
 When Squirrel first showed up she was the invisible kitty. I would hear her come in to eat, but whenever I tried to look she was gone. Sometimes I would get a glimpse of her tail, all big and bushy. Coming in really hungry one day she let me walk into the kitchen while she was eating. I could not get to close at first, but soon was able to sit beside her while she ate.

Squirrel's Early days.

I tired to scratch her behind the ears but she would just wine ehhh ehhh ehhhhh. Mumbling into her meal, because she did not stop eating. (Skinny cat see second pic) Using her head as a pivot point she would circle around the can of food. Needless to say she was not too friendly nor was I able to get close unless she was eating.

Hiding under the bed.

She started to hang around the house, sleeping in a box or on a blanket. At this time Girl was still spending a lot of time under the beds hiding from everything. Being skittish Squirrel would chase her trying to start a fight. They got into it once, that I had to break up. Two days later I noticed Girl was licking a cut and took her to the vet. I did not connect the two events until the vet said it looked like a puncture wound on Girl's tail. A couple of bite marks actually. Those two have not gotten along very sell since.

Belly Rub, Attack Pose!

One day while my brother and his wife was over she finally let me pet her. She became loving very quick after that. Soon she became a lap kitty, jumping on my lap most anytime I sat down. When I would come home from work she would run out to meet me rubbing against my legs. Looking for some loving. Following me everywhere, constantly wanting to be near her daddy. She has never like to be held, will squirm and wine until she is put down. Then right back to rubbing up against me, wanting to get petted. Most importantly NO belly rubs, Squirrel does NOT like. She will attack. LOL

Hamming it up for the camera.

Squirrel's favorite hobby is to chase Girl. She will lie in wait outside the bedroom door for Girl to emerge then chase her back in. From across the room if she sees Girl walking she will leap up and give chase. She came in as head cat pushing Girl out of the way. She started sleeping with me taking Girl's spot on the bed.

Her favorite toys.

Squirrel really enjoys playing, chasing after balls through out the house. She would take a toy like the first one pictured and toss it 5-6 feet into the air and jump up to catch it before it hit the ground. The second toy pictured (I circled the attachment) she would chase around the house. She would jump over 5 foot into the air to get it. She would run after a string, when she caught it she would do a flip. Just roll right over grabbing it on the way. Then Mittens showed up while trying to join in she was pushing Squirrel out of the way.

Squirrel had attitude when she first showed up. What with her chasing Girl, growling and mumbling at me when I tried to pick her up. Still though she is the brave one. When someone comes in she will be out to see who it is, if she approves she will even rub up against them. She really likes “M” and will jump onto the couch to get petted by her.

Squirrel playing with her toy.

Then came Mizz Purrzzy, who would chase Squirrel under the bed like she did to Girl. It surprised me at first . But like I said she changed a lot calming down becoming more loving. So maybe that is what it was. Having to fight for attention may be good for her. She has started to come out once again. Playing with almost the same abandon as before.

Bribing her to come out from under the couch.

Squirrel likes to help out.
Here she is helping me make cookies.
Well that is Squirrel, loving, outgoing, a ham that loves to have her picture taken. She is just so photogenic that I have more pictures of her than of any of the others.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Twas the Night Before Catmus

Twas the night before Catmus, when all through the house

Lil' cats were stirring, chasing after the mouse;

Stings were hung from the top of the cat tree with care,

In hopes that Father Catmus would soon be there;

The kittens were nestled all piled in their beds,

Tired out from chasing the mice from out in the shed;

With mamma in her gown, and dad in the chair,

Both settled down, without a winters care,

Outside the house arose such a loud noise,

It disturbed us from our kef like poise,

Off to the window onto the kitty perch

Peered out the windows got ready to lurch.

With the night time vision of a kitties eye

Everything was visible under the nights sky,

When, what to my vision it would entice

A pet stroller pulled by eight white mice,

The driver giving me quite a pause,

What do you know it's Santy Claws.

Quickly they arove here from up the lane,

So he chirped, and he meowed calling them by name;

"Now, Tuffy! now, Jerry! now, Topo and Sniffles!

On, Pixie! on Dixie! on, Maisy and Wyffels!

Over the fence! On top of the snow!

Up to the roof top! Now up up you all go!”

Same as sponge soccer ball will roll,

Nothing can stop them, not even a wild Dhole,

So on top of the house the meeces did spring,

The stroller of toys, and Father Catmus they bring,

Whats that sound that approaches my ear

Is it a HO HO HO I overhear?

As I leap off of my perch and hit the ground,

Coming through the cat door, Father Catmus was bound.

All of his fur was covered completely, from whiskers to tail,

With the red tipped feathers of a Asian Blue Quail,

With catnip mice, rubber balls, feathery strings

To the worlds kittens so much joy he brings.

Almond eyes aglow! Long white whiskers all aquiver.

With perked up ears and breath smelling of liver!

His teeth were all glistening and sharp,

The angle of his nose much like a scarp;

The tail of a wondering mouse in his paw,

Squeaking and squawking all the way to his maw;

A triangular face and long supple tail,

That swished when he purred mighty hearty and hale.

He was a round and plump a very joyous feline,

With much laff 'n merriment I was on cloud nine

A twitch of his whisker and a twist of his ear

Reassured me that there was nothing to fear;

Quite as could be he silently he went about his task,

Stuffing all the booties full, he took a sip from his cask,

And laying a paw aside of this nose,

Out through the cat door he goes;

He leapt to his stroller, to the mice gave a shout,

Off they flew for which there could be not doubt.

I heard him purr before away he did skip,

“Meowy Catmus to all,hope you enjoy the catnip”

© 2010 Bryan's cats blog

All the meeces names are from fictional mice a complete list can be found on Wikipedia. . I already knew I wanted to use Snifffles, Jerry, and Tuffy as they are 3 of my favorites.
As to Wyffels it showed up as a proper name on the rhyme site I used. I did a search and found a destroyer escort named after Lawrence Edward Wyffels.
There is also some lesser known words here are the definitions to clarify meanings. Definitions are from . Unless other wise stated.

  1. kef- a state of dreamy tranquility
  2. arove- poetic use of arrive
  3. Dhole- a wild dog occurring from India to southern Siberia
  4. aquiver- marked by trembling or quivering (I already knew this one)
  5. scarp- a long steep slope or cliff at the edge of a plateau or ridge; usually formed by erosion ( found while rhyming sharp. *this word my spell checker knows but not aquiver
  6. Maw- informal terms for the mouth (I already knew this one) (
  7. Brisker- poetic use to make more brisk
  8. cask- a cylindrical container that holds liquids ( didn't state size.
I hope you all enjoy this poem and my apologies to Clement C. Moore and his decedents.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Psychic Cats (Mind Reading)

Dinner time audience.
All cats are psychic, as anybody owned by a cat can tell you. Just ignore the naysayers that tell you no such thing as supernatural powers exist. Scientists will deny that psychic abilities are real, stating that they can not be proven. Not one of them ever observed or ran tests on a cat. I firmly believe that all cats have ESP powers especially the ability to read minds.

Take for example the phenomenon of a cat “following” you by walking 3 steps in front of you. I am sure most of you have experienced this. They seem to know exactly where you are going even turning the same way you are going to. And if you change you mind to avoid them, they know it before you do and follow suite. Leading of course. They know when you are busy working at the desk, or on the computer, so naturally will pick that time to need your undivided attention. Now if you were just reading or browsing the internet they will leave you alone. Cats just want to make sure that you know that they are number one.

When I'm not in bed.

My cats are really good at demonstrating this ability. Even when I try to fool them they know what is really going on. Say, when I go to the kitchen to get something to drink, sometimes one or two will follow me and beg to get fed. Only when it has been a couple hours or more since I last put some food out though. It is a different story if I am going to fix me something to eat. They will magically appear in the kitchen before I open any cabinet doors. Even if they had ate just 30 minutes prior. They know that the good food (people food) is coming out. They also know that I will relent and let them nibble on something, like bacon or chicken. (pic 1). I can be mean though, sometimes I will let them sniff at sauerkraut or pickles, to teach them not to beg.

Sometimes when I am getting ready to go to bed I try to fool them. I will turn on the light and mess around trying to lure them in to the bedroom. I want to see how many I can get to join me in bed. ( I usually have 1 – 3 cats sleep with me). Most of the time I am trying to get Mittens or Mizz Purrzzy to join me as they rarely sleep with me. No dice they are not fooled. But when I am not in bed.... (see pic 2)

Caught playing.

I try to get them to think that I am making the bed. I will even pull pillows off of the bed and shuffle the sheets to make it sound like I am changing them. They know better and just ignore me. Just let me try to change the sheets, that’s a different story. Yesterday I changed the sheets and everyone joined in to help me. Even when I try to sneak in to do it they all come running.

Pretty checking things out.

Normally I will have Mittens, Squirrel and Lil' Bit on the bed helping me (see previous posts). Mizz Purrzzy will be in the room, sometimes joining the others on the bed. (If she does Lil' Bit will jump down). This time the Martian decided to join the festivities along with Pretty both for the first time. In the pictures they are joined by Squirrel and Mizz Purrzzy (pics 3-5). Mittens, Lil' Bit, TJ and Ugly had already jumped off with a total of 6 cats on the bed at one time.

Everyone playing.

Jumping on and off, sliding with the sheets as I pulled them off. Or running under them as I shake them out putting them on. A fun time was had by one and all kitties. Mittens had broken the fuzzy tail off of the string (next to Martian). Every one got a chance to play with something. Changing the sheets usually winds up as a “kitty play party”. Sometime if I get a camera I will make a movie of it. I think it would make pretty good showing.

Picture 1: Mittens behind Squirrel on the counter, Pretty with TJ joining her at the food bowl, Ugly cleaning herself Martian staring at Lil' Bit (off camera) who is growling at him. Picture 2: L2R Mittens next to Mizz Purrzzy with Squirrel in the background. Pic 5: Mizz Purrzzy left holding the stick, Pretty at the end of the string, with Martian between them and Squirrels in the corner watching everything.   

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Time to Brag

Girl Kitty
 Today’s post is all about Girl and the amazing progress that she has made. Just a couple of days ago for the first time, and again last night for the second time, she played “string”. I dangled a string in front of her, she played with it, batting at the string with abandon. This lasted about 20 seconds each time. So what is so special about a cat playing with a string you might ask, don't most cats? I do not think Girl quite knew how to be a cat. Let me explain and highlight some of her steps along the way to this major milestone.

When Girl first showed up (late 2006) she was and still is a proper little lady. Even with the back door open she would not come in unless personally invited. After eating she would jump up on the couch next to me rubbing up against me to get loved and petted. At the slightest noise from out side, if I stood up, or if she saw another cat walk in (She kept a constant watch on the back door) she would run and hide for hours. She was hard to catch and put out in the mornings. Two weeks after she showed up I relented and got a litter box so she could stay in full time.

Girl didn't see Twinkie

She was a very shy and timid cat, always slinking around with her tail between her legs. She probably spent 8 months or more of her first year with me hiding under my bed. She would join me up top when I went to bed, then back under in the morning. She was always fearful of other cats. One day she came out of the bedroom looking towards the back door, keeping an eye out for other cats, she jumped on to the arm of the couch, still watching the back door. She did not see Twinkie sleeping there, about 15 minutes later when she finally noticed him she immediately ran and hid, for at least 3 hours. See how she is sitting ready and alert she used to always sleep that way, never any other position. Ready to spring away at a seconds notice.

I was beginning to wonder if something was wrong with her I never heard her meow. I only knew she was purring by placing my finger on her throat. Twinkie was still around at this time, he would meow to be let in, get fed, petted, in other words a lot of the time. One day Girl started to meow to get fed and was very insistent about it. Good for her, I think she learned it from Twinkie. It was at least a year and a half before she messed up and I heard her purr, and at arms length too. Around this time also she would lay more like a cat, with her legs extended out and even started to lay on her side, she finally was starting to relax a little bit. Sometimes too much, she reminds me of a turkey spread out like that.

Turkey pose

I tried to get pictures each step along the way, but with her being so skittish it was hard. I tried playing with her but she would run from the string, at best shyly pushing it away when I put it in her face, with a half harted attempt to play. Her catnip mouse she at first ignored finally she started rubbing against it. Just a few weeks ago she started picking it up and tossing it around pouncing on it. I think she is learning how by watching the other cats play. But if she sees them watching her or hears a noise she will stop.

Girl eats in public

I used to feed her where ever I could find her, finally I got fed up with empty cans under both beds and the couch. So I made her a spot in my room and would only feed her there. One time she went to the community food bowl (where I feed the others), I have a pic of it. She does it on occasion now. I also have a pic of the first time another cat (Mittens) laid down near her and she was aware of it. The first cat she walked up to and sniffed was Lil' Bit. (Lil' Bit is smaller than Girl).

Girl with Mittens

I can only guess as to what kind of background she came from, to be so scared all the time. I have a real soft spot in my hart for her because of this. I sometimes think she might have been abused. This post shows just a little of the progress she has made, I could write so much more. Each incident is like a child taking its first step. Recently she has started to growl and swat at any cat that gets too close, will walk up to some of the others, and does not hide as much as she used to.

Progress has been slow in coming. The vet guessed her to be about 5 when he first saw her in 2007, so she is a senior cat now around 9 years old. You would think she would be set in her ways, but she is learning how to become a cat. Lil' Bit tries to play with her, by swatting Girl when she passes by. Girl just ignores her :).

Girl on piano with others :)

It has taken a lot of time and patience with Girl to get this far. She is very spoiled, and tolerances are made. Sometimes I have to pick her up and carry her into the bedroom so she will go eat. She still is afraid to use the litter box to pee in (it is not medical we checked with the vet), I place some old towels next to the boxes she uses and change them out regularly. She has some special needs and allowances need to be made for her. But she is a special little girl that I would be lost without.

So as you can see playing “string” is something amazing to brag about. This is coming from a cat that tried to crawl into a hole and pull it in after her so as not to face the world. A lost kitty that did not know how to be a cat, who was afraid of her own shadow. A senior citizen who is facing her fears and over coming them, gracefully. So yes I will brag about my special kitty because I am so proud of her and the progress she has made. Three cheers for Girl!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Innocent Bully

"All Kitties are good Kittie
I talk a lot about my cats with “M”, often bragging about their progress and achievements. Frequently about the dynamics in the relationships between the cats. Some times I think I give her the wrong impression about what is happening with the cats. Depending upon the cat in question she will say something like “but they look so sweet and innocent.” I am not really saying that the cat is bad, instead I am describing the affect its actions is having on the others.

Case in point with Mizz Purrzzy, “M” is under the impression that I think she is a bully. That Mizz Purrzzy enjoys dominating and intimidating the other cats. Even though her actions can be construed as those of a bully, I believe she has no intentions of being one. When her personality first start to show its self I wanted to call her Jealous or some name with that meaning. Unable to find a suitable name and with her tendency to constantly purr (even when getting scolded), she wound up with her current name.

Girl tolerates Mizz Purrzzy

I think she was just insecure, not sure that someone actually cared for her. That she needed the extra attention to feel more loved. Like Mittens before her, when ever I would play “string” with one of the other cats she would dive in front of them to catch it. In this case causing Mittens especially but also the others to quit playing and walk away. (Mittens did that to Squirrel when she first showed up, it has taken Squirrel almost a year before she would chase after her fuzzy tail on a a string again.)

"Mamma" Mittens grooms Squirrel

What made it worse though is when ever I sit down to pet one of the other cats she will come up between us, wanting attention. Again I am thinking that she just need a little extra reassurance. This would naturally cause which ever cat I was paying attention to, to get upset and walk away. She was constantly butting in and not letting me have any one on one time with the others.

This caused some resentment amongst the others. Unintentionally of course but never the less it still happened. Lil' Bit will growl at her then run away to avoid conflict. Squirrel just ignores her and will walk away. Mizz Purrzzy just wants to play though and will try to play with Squirrel and chase her. Which will lead to a small skirmish between the two of them. This leads to her getting bored as Mittens (mama Mittens) is the only one that will play with her.

She follows Mittens everywhere almost like her shadow, Mittens will tolerate it. Even will groom her, when Mizz Purrzzy is insistent about it. Mittens eats, she eats, Mittens goes to the potty, she follows, Mittens try’s to play she is right there. Mittens will tire of this and sometimes will slap her or try to hide from her. Mittens is patient though and will still mother her.

Tuckered out from play.

Now that Ugly is spending more time inside the two of them will chase each other through the house, so now she has someone else to play with. She used to constantly come up to me and “meeah” at me wanting me to get up and play with her. I would say "is that so" she would reply “meyeaa” and have a conversation with me. Mizz Purrzzy is still very energetic and playful, more so than the others with the exception of Lil' Bit. I think she has been watching Lil' Bit play, taking some cues from her. She has started to use the toys and other items around the house to amuse herself more, finally.

Cat dynamics can be interesting to say the least. The way the hierarchy, structure, bonding changes with the introduction of each new cat or situation. What can appear to be the actions of a mean bullying cat, are instead the ones of an insecure timid and maybe slightly fearful little kitty. Seems that she was just a little misunderstood at first. Squirrel is a bit more bold around her, even Lil' Bit is a tiny, tiny bit more tolerant of her. Things are starting to get back to normal, it just takes a little time and patience.
Rare photo indeed.

So the first pic is a common one of Mizz Purrzzy, with her tongue sticking out. “M” thinks it is odd I think it is cute, especially when she is stretching. She normally has anything from just the very tip up to ¾ of it sticking out. The second pic is her with Girl, who I need to brag on in a post soon, as I am so proud of her. Third is Mama Mittens cleaning Squirrel. Next is Lil' Bit in the piano passed out from playing so hard. Finally a rare photo, no tongue.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Time

      Well it is getting to be that time of the year again, time to get the tree out, put the decorations up. Once again this year I won't be doing any of that, this will be my third year running with out decorations. My main worries are not so much anything getting broken or damaged. It that one of the kitties might get hurt. 

      Two years ago was Mittens first Christmas with me, and Squirrel's second. Squirrel did good her first year leaving the decorations alone. Mittens however I was unsure about, especially since I was still training her to stay off of the tables. Being a bit larger that the other cats she would knock stuff off when she would jump up on them. I think she would be OK this year though. She is a bit fatter and lazier. (We have some weight issues we are working on)
Squirrel's first Christmas

      Last year was Lil' Bit's first Christmas with me, sure she had been around since she was spayed in February. She was and still is very playful and kitten like, in that she has a short attention span and lots of energy. I just did not want to tempt her with ornaments dangling from a tree. She is spoiled though, as she is allowed up in to places that the others are not. Each one is spoiled in a different way, allowed to do something the others are not. I suppose that Lil' Bit is spoiled the most.

      This year the Martian is the new cat around the house. He is very well behaved especially if you consider that he was almost completely feral this past summer when he first started showing up regularly. I am fairly certain that he would not try to play with the tree or other decorations. He is even calm around the other cats, most of them growl at him. However once in a while a show down will occur and cats will be flying everywhere. Mizz Purrzzy cornered him once hissing and growling ready to attack. Martian just ran off but the others heard what was going on, they ran to join in (like kids in a play ground ). Every one circling and swatting at him as he ran by. 

      Then there are the outside cats. Some of them are spending more time inside than they have in the past. I use an end table that I remove the lamp and clear off to put the tree on. Having a 3 ½ – 4 foot one as it is just for me, so on a table it goes. Ugly has started sleeping on that table, probably because the table is next to the front window. Plus is a pest when she wants out, going back and forth rattling the shades annoying me until I let her out. Maybe if I moved it into the dinning area she would stay off of it with the tree on it. She is not the only one getting up on the end tables though. Some of the other cats will jump up on the tables when playing chase or when just trying to get away. 

      As for them playing with cords, I do not think I have much to worry there. You should see the cords lying under the table the computer is on. Not to mention the cords behind the TV. None of the cats seem to be interested in chewing on or playing with any of the cords. Which is good as I am not sure how I would be able to keep them all away from the cats. I did try to hang a light on the wall once, it had a cord hanging down to the outlet. Within 3 minutes Mittens was there playing with the cord along the wall, that was just calling out to be played with. I put the light away, until I can figure something out. I do not want it to fall down on her having her get hurt. 
I am innocent!!!!

      Over all they are pretty well behaved, I don't think there would really be much trouble. I just worry about when I go out or to bed at night. I think I might put just the tree out as a test to see if it stays on the table, if that works in a week add some lights. So if all goes well then maybe next year I can put all the decorations up. 

     I do have a couple of pictures of the last time I had decorations up with Squirrel in the pic's. The first pic is where I hung the light up that Mittens got to. That is her on the right and Squirrel as the other “bookend”. The cord ran between the display cases ( I had just gotten them and those two immediately staked out their territory on top.) The second one is Squirrel on the piano checking out the decorations. The last pic is Squirrel's looking innocent pose. 


Sunday, December 5, 2010


It seems all I do some days is open and close doors for kitties. They must think I am their own personal doorman/servant/slave. Ugly will come to the door pathetically looking in until I open the door for her, then sniff at the door before walking away. Normally with in 5 minutes of having gone outside. Most of the time when she goes out she will just lay down off to the side of the door. She does the same thing at the window in the computer room, jumps up onto the sill but will not come in when I open the window.

I can go to the door, open it to let one cat in take a look in the back yard and 2 or 3 more are on their way. They seem to just be waiting for their opportunity, then they all come running in (chows on). Worse yet Pretty (Ugly's twin sister) will come in take a few bites of food. Then she will want right back out. Five to ten minutes later she will want in again, for another bite or two. Grazing through out the day.

TJ watching the others eat.

Other times I will let one of them in, look around, I will not see or hear any others so I will close the door. As soon as it is closed and I walk out of the kitchen someone else is at the door wanting in. TJ is the worst for bothering me when I am busy (he always seems to know when I am in the middle of something, sometimes I think he does it just to bug me). He will go out for 3-5 minutes then back in for 15-20 and out again, over and over and over etc. He can be insistent at wanting in too. If it is at night and I am watching TV in the front room he will “knock”. I have a large picture window about 6 foot high going from the floor up. It opens at the bottom so there is a screen on it he can reach. TJ will come up and pick at the screen (like when sharpening his claws), just a couple of pop, pop, pops to let me know he is there. He will keep doing it every couple of minutes until I let him in.

Most of the time the cats are just coming in to eat (I guess that also makes me a waiter), but sometimes they will come in for a while. Pretty will come in and play with the toys for an hour or so one toy she played with so much she broke it. It was a fuzz ball hanging from an elastic string attached to the top of the closet door. She hanged on it so much finally the plastic broke off at the top. Blackie will come in to sleep, especially if it is a hot day out. After a couple of hours cat napping she will be ready to go back out.

Usually when I am in the kitchen cooking it gets to be like Grand Central Station, what with cats coming and going. Open the door to let one out another one comes in. The same thing happens when I sit down at the computer to write. They will either pick at the screen door in the kitchen or jump up into the window and stare at me until I get up and let them in.

Not every day is like this, in fact most days are not so busy. Just yesterday and today it got to be really bad, so it was on my mind tonight when I sat down to write. I don't mind though, I know that just like kids they need a little extra love and attention. Also because of the rain I stopped feeding them outside, so now they have to come in to eat.

The Martian

Take the Martian for example, he was pretty wild when he first started showing up. I have been spending a lot of time with him and have gotten him to the point where I can pet him. Even pick him up if I need to move him, he won't let me hold him though. I have got him to the point where he spends 80% of the day inside now. When I let him out he will just lay down against the door after I close it. He is a lot calmer now after I have given him the care and attention he needed.

Tom (Thomas Cattacus)

I am a firm believer of keeping cats inside for their health and safety, all my cats are indoors only (That’s why I do not have a pet door). But besides my five my neighbor out back has 5 that they let run around unsupervised. Then there is Tom who may show up every day sometimes twice in a day. I do not know if he has another home or not but suspect that he does. That is because he may not even stop by for a week or more at a time, and he does not appear to be starving. Finally there is the Martian, who I know does not have a home. That is why I started trying to tame him. That makes 12 in all, seven of which are out door cats. So as you can see some times it can get really busy at the door.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Battle Scars

Neighbors 5 cats

When you try to help and take care of as many cats as I do (first pic shows a few of them) I guess getting a few scratches along the way is normal. On occasion I am the one being aimed at, usually though it is just “CAT-Lateral Damage”. Sometimes I have my hand to close to the end of the string, or fail to drop the dangling catnip mouse quick enough. When dealing with strays and ferals it is good to be quick and alert. Although in the last example you need to show trust without showing fear. It helps to have good reflexes.

One time the local Humane Society had a free spay and neuter day, my neighbor ”M” was helping me take some strays in. The line was long with 3 times as many people as spots available. A guy ahead of us was getting ready to transfer a feral cat from a broken carrier to a new cardboard one. Foreseeing disaster in the making, I went and stood near by just in case. He should have opened the door to make the exchange. Instead he opened the top and the cat flew out. I was able to step into its path and catch it. I tried to hold on to it until some one could get a better grip and put it in the new carrier, as I was unable to change my grip. It had bitten in to my thumb, down to the bone. Yes, very painful, that’s why I let go. Poor kitty lost in an unknown area having to find new places to hide and sleep. I still feel bad about letting him go.

Skinny cat
What prompted me to write on this subject is a couple days ago I got nailed good. I was trying to stop a fight between Thor (neighbors out back cat) and the Martian, I have done this many times before. When they start growling and facing off I normally can grab Thor and pull him away to put down elsewhere. I do not try to touch the Martian, he is a very big kitty.

In the second pic you can see he was malnourished, if you look you will notice that his sides sink in by his hips. That was just before I took him in to get neutered and de-wormed. He weighed in at 14 lbs, now he is better feed. 

Lil' Bit & Martian
The third pic is him near Lil' Bit, she is my smallest cat just around 6.5 lbs. That is not an illusion, he looks to be 4 times her size. He was close to being feral when he showed up. Although I can pet him and pick him up, he is still a little wild and will swipe at me on occasion. I would not trust trying to grab him when he is agitated.

The last pic is of Thor he is good sized also. They were both in my back bedroom near the window, Thor was wanting out. Martian was on the floor near the window when Thor walked over (the neighbors cats will do that when I am on the computer to let me know they want out). It being a somewhat confined space I figure Thor still did not feel safe when I picked him up, plus having less room to move I held him in my arms. That was when he ripped into me, I got several scratches 4 or 5 of which were deep.

This was about the worst I had ever gotten it. My forearm got pretty red, and swollen near the wounds. No pics to post as it looks much worse than what is is, and may not be for the faint of hart. It is healing up pretty good, no doc needed. I used hot salt water soaks and hydrogen peroxide to prevent infection and kept the area clean and dry.

I do not blame the cats, as everything they were doing is part of their nature. I should have known better and been a little more careful. The moral of the story?? Drinking and computing do not mix. Being a holiday weekend I was doing some celebrating and got distracted by surfing the web when everything happened.

To answer your questions yes both are still allowed in at the same time. I do have a water bottle I use when it is near. Yes a few others will square off, Lil' Bit grows at all the male cats and several of the females. She will growl the loudest and fiercest, being the smallest I think she feels more of a need to protect her territory.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pretty Ugly

Sun Bathing

When two calico's showed up at the same time, I figured that they had to be related. Especially whenever you saw one the other was close by. The two of them were always together, when I would let one in the other one would follow. One was more hesitant and shy, but if her sister came in she would soon follow. I referred to them as the twins. As you can see the one has a richer more vibrant coloring of her coat. While the other cats coat looks duller almost sun faded. They played together, sunned together and walked over each other just like kittens would, inseparable.

Over time one of them would stay in longer, eventually hanging around more. I started to develop a fondness for her, being the duller looking of the two. When you look at her face she has a mark that reminded me of a mole. Some would call this a beauty mark, similar to the ones that women used to wear. Now a days moles are not considered very attractive, (usually found only on witches and such) so I named her Ugly. Being fond of her though I refer to her as “My Uglys”, we had developed a bond.


I have been taking care of all the strays in my neighborhood, providing water and food for the last several years. I also have been getting them all spayed and neutered. Being short of funds when 3 of them showed up pregnant at the same time, I did not have much choice but to take them into the Humane Society and drop them off. My neighbor “M” helped me to pay the fees, and take them in. So I had to quickly come up with names for the other two. They shy one with the richer colored coat became “Pretty”. The third one being solid black got named “Blackie” after “Boston Blackie”. A series of 40's movies starring Chester Morris, as a jewel thief turned private eye, that I enjoy watching.


We took them in on a Saturday, on the following Thursday all three showed up at my back door again, looking to get fed. That is when I found out that they belonged to a neighbor out back. Although I did not about all her cats nor exactly who she was until a couple months later when TJ got sick. Her 5 cats still come around regularly, with TJ and Ugly spending a lot of their time here.

For the last couple of months Ugly will sleep with me. If she has been out she will show up at night in time to go to bed. Usually she is already in (She spends 80% or more of her time in my house) she will soon join me in bed. I will look around the house before going to bed and not be able to find her. But before I can even pull the covers up she is right next to me in bed ready for sleep.

Pretty still comes around most every day but she just comes in to eat then right back out again. I feel somewhat sad that they seem to have broken their bond. I wonder if somehow I am to blame for it. I do try encourage her to hang around more, but it might be because so many other cats are in the house that she won't stick around longer. She still is shy around me as well as the other cats.

That is the story behind Pretty and Ugly.

Monday, November 15, 2010

More Chores:

Buying Kitty Food

Click on GIF to see animation.

I buy all of their food at Pet Smart, normally getting several cases of wet and a couple of bags of dry at one time. (I find it is cheaper this way, buying it on sale) I use old plastic buckets, that their litter came in to store their dry food. I washed them out with a mild dish soap before using them. When I go to fill them everyone comes by to supervise and get a little taste test. I think they are checking up on me to make sure I bought them the good stuff. The first pic shows them helping me and getting a little taste. That is Lil' Bit reaching deep in to grab some (Click on pic to animate gif: Lil' Bit it the gray one). As you can see it is quite the crowd pleaser, everyone gathers around. How many cats can you count?

This is even better than using catnip to get their attention. Sometimes it is kinda of hard to walk around without tripping over a cat or three. This is a grand ceremony for them with everyone in the house showing up except Girl, who is usually as far away from the others as she can get. Once everything settles down they will all decide that it is time for a nap and lay down around the bucket.

Click on GIF to see animation.

Putting away the canned cat food is even more fun, once I get around to it that is. In the second photo I decided to eat before putting it away. Mittens and Lil' Bit decided to remind me it was time to put their food away. I will open each case and then stack the cans alternating between all the flavors in each stack. Once I spread the cases out on the floor the cats will go back and forth between cases checking out which flavors I bought this time. Then Squirrel will get in the cupboard making sure there is a place to put it all. Very helpful this, as she is normally standing right where I am trying to work.

Click on GIF to see animation.

What to do once it is all put away??? Make forts of course! You can see in this picture I can make a couple of forts for them . Which they will quickly camp out in, and use to attack each other from. Soon there are pieces of fort all over the kitchen. I will rebuild them several times, until I get tired. They never seem to get tired of it. After a couple of hours of boxes all over the house I will pick them up and put them away. I do keep a couple around the house as the cats will use them as beds.

Lets not forgot about cleaning the litter box, I know Mittens won't let me. If she thinks that I have neglected it she has a subtle way to remind me. She will walk up to me and be very loving, then walk away back and forth until I get up to see what she wants. If she walks past the food and into the bathroom I know it is time to clean the litter box. (When she wants fed she will go to the food) I have four litter-boxes, the extra large one is in the spare bathroom. I use scoop-able litter cleaning them out everyday filling as needed with a complete change every so often. Mittens will stand by the door watching me, supervising unless it is urgent then she is right next to the box. Once I finish she will test it out, making sure I did a good job. If it is not her testing it out as soon as it is cleaned then it is Squirrel. It doesn't matter if they had just went before I started, they still have to try it out.

I think that covers all the chores, no matter what I do they are right there. Whether it is to help out or just to supervise, one or more of them will be close by, making sure I do it to their satisfaction. Even if they are a hindrance sometimes, at leas they believe that they are helping.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Helping with the Chores!!

Making the bed. Squirrel, Mittens, Lil' Bit helping.
A little help with the chores, or is it a little hindrance? I guess it all depends upon your point of view. Take making the bed for example, sometimes it can take 20 min or more. As I start to pull the old sheets off they can suddenly gain 15-20 pounds, two or three little helpers have joined in. Twelve eager paws ready to lend assistance, or at least have some fun. Usually one is there to take a “sleigh” ride, another will be chasing the sheet as it slides off the bed. Then I will shake out the fitted sheet, creating the perfect hiding spot, for one or two to run under. Of course they have to make sure I got all the corners on tight. If one is still hiding I will go do something else for a while. Checking back until they leave having left one of the corners loose so they can get out. Then comes the top sheet, paws flying everywhere trying to catch it and hold it down. This turns into a game of “chase the kitty under the sheet”. Again another wait until it's all clear. If I am also busy doing other chores I may forgot to check back for a while, sometimes they are still there 15 min later. Well finally the bed gets made. The first pic is one a took a while back, showing the three main culprits, I mean helpers.

Then comes grocery shopping. You know how when you bring in all the bags, you don't know what is in which bag. Problem solved, I just put them all up on the counter and go to the bath room to wash up. When I return Lil' Bit lets me know which one has the meat and other refrigerated items in it. It is the bag she is in. She will check to make sure the meat is fresh, maybe even take a taste test, if I take to long. Then the others join to see what I have bought, any kitty treats? They check the cupboards as I open the doors to make sure there is room to put things away.

I have some very brave cats when it comes to cleaning the house, no really. Girl, Squirrel, and Mizz Purzzzy will run and hide under my bed as soon as they see or hear the vacuum cleaner. Lil' Bit will keep playing but move to the other room (my front room and living room are one open room). She will keep an eye on the vacuum and if I get too close she will run past it to the other room, making a game of it. Ugly will do much the same thing except she does not play just crouches low and watches. Mittens is entirely driven by her stomach, as I started giving treats when they did not run away and hide. She now will get up on the curio cabinet, or piano and supervise me. When I first start it I give her one then when I get close to where she is I give her another, usually 4 or 5 each time I vacuum. The first time I vacuumed with her in the house, I had to physically move her, no fear. Later on she started to run. That was before I started giving treats, trying to quell the fears of the other cats. When I first started with the treats she would jump from the cabinet to the piano to get more treats, as that is the path I take, now she just picks one and will stay there the whole time. Now I walk right up to her with the vacuum in my hand right next to her. If I sweep first I will have a couple cats chasing dust bunnies around.

Mittens next to printer

Now that I am busy at the computer, trying to type this, they all are acting up and wanting attention (just like a little kid, daddy pay attention to me). Outdoor kitties wanting out/in others looking to be fed. TJ trying to pick a fight with the other males. Lil' Bit jumped into my lap for a few min till I ignored her. I often have a companion when I am typing, Mittens will jump up and lay down by the printer. We often fight over space on the table, as you can see she takes up a lot of room. (Sorry my desk is always messy). She watches what I do to make sure she approves.

Next time more chores: Buying Kitty Food. I will tell you about all the joy and pleasure that it will bring them, even if it doesn't help me much.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Martian Kitty

Today’s pic is the Martian. Another one named by my friend and neighbor ( who I will start calling M as that is the first initial of her first name) Well M though his growl and fighting voice sounded weird. When I would mention the stray she would say “you mean the Martian” Well he has been hanging around for a long time. I saw him off and on again for a couple of years. More recently he started hanging around more and more. I figure him as feral, because he would not net me get anywhere near him, and when I was able to sneak up on him he would hiss and swipe at me.

I started feeding him every time he was around, he started to come around more often. At first he would stay just past arms distance. I would sit down near him while he ate, each time I would put my hand out towards him he would back away. Over time I got closer and closer to the can of food I put out for him to eat. Then one day I was able to run my finger across the back of his head. He would growl at me kinda of like the way Squirrel did. This was after several months. A few months later I was able to pet him between the ears. Over time I took more and more liberties with him, getting closer along the way. He is now to the point that I can pet him and walk up to him with out him running away.

I got bit and scratched several times along the way trying to get him to this point. Now I can put my arm alongside him and pat his side and rear. He will eventually try to strike out at me, but does not mean it. He will bite me to let me know he does not want to be touched, but will not bite hard ( does not break skin) and will take a swipe at me. On occasion his swipe will draw blood, if he can catch me unaware. He is slow on the draw and I usually am able to pull my arm back before he can get me. I believe this shows he is getting use to me and does not really mean me any harm. He wants to still show his independence but does not want to harm me. He is a gentile giant.

At first I thought he was totally feral, what with the way he would run away and hiss and growl at me. He would not let any near him, but instead would run away. He was very aggressive and vocal. The sounds he made when another cat got near and he was ready to fight is why M called him the Martian. It is a very strange and unusual sound for a cat to make. Not at all like the normal growl and hissing you would expect. He still sounds like this so I have named him Martian.

` I found out from the father of my neighbors who live behind me ( I will call him R as his first name starts with it) that his neighbor had a couple of cats. Then R tells me the owner moved away leaving his cats behind. R asked if the Martian was female knowing that the guy had a cat that was Grey with black stripes, I figure that this was Squirrel (who has been with me a couple of years) as the date he said his neighbor moved is close to the date I acquired Squirrel. But I think Martian is his second cat because he is very wild but knows the sound of a can being opened and will approach when he hears it. So this cat has been out on his own and getting wild a couple of years longer than Squirrel who was pretty wild when she first showed up.

I have been able to tame him enough to let me pet him and rub his ears while he is eating. I can also put my arm along side of him while petting him. He will still sometimes get mad an strike out at me but usually is slow and I have time to pull away. However he has gotten me on occasion leaving his mark on my arm, where he will nip at me or take a swipe at me. Over all he has calmed down a lot from when he first showed up.

Today is Wednesday, on Saturday I let him in for the first time. I can pick him up while he is eating but not have tried to hold him, he still is somewhat wild. I have pulled him up enough to get his paws off of the ground and then let go. No swipe growl or bite when doing this, so I figured he was ready to come in. I am hoping his previous relationship with Squirrel will help. That is why I let him in so he can see her and realize it is OK.

This only worked so so, Squirrel growled at him, and he went into fight mode. He came in an wondered around for about 10-15 min before Squirrel started in. This was his second time in and after about 15 min.. They got serious and ready to fight so of course all of the other cats in house wanted to join in. I ran into the kitchen and there was Mizz Purzzy squaring off ready to fight Squirrel along with 6 other cats. I had to spray them all with water to keep from having a major cat fight on my hands. ( I keep a spray bottle filled with water on hand) The Martian went out as he was nearest to the door.

I let him in several times a day now and it is funny as the other cats will run to see what is going on and will make a circle around him watching to see what he does. He still takes a swipe at me with his paw. But I hope to rid him of that soon by letting him in, thinking he will see how the other kitties will act. Each time he is in between 30 min and an hour. He surprised me by playing with a string that I use with the other kitties. So step by step I am getting him to calm down. I expect within a couple months more he will be like the other cats and will let me pick him up with out him trying to attack.

He is a BIG Kitty, he look malnourished when I took him to get nurtured. But they weighed him at 14 pounds. My bowling ball kitty Mittens, who is fat and overweight(round like a bowling ball), still only weighs just over 12 pounds. He is my Big Boy because he is so tall and weighs to much. He reminds me of a bobcat or a lynx because of his size. When they neutered him they treated him for worms, I believed this helped as he no longer looks malnourished. I bet he weighs close to 16 pounds now. He is almost as tall as my knee and is very long as cats go. It is odd to see him play with a string, which I use to entice him to stay inside. That helps him do more than just come in and eat.