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Last week Fred posted this on Facebook: Sometimes it hurts to be so good at wooing stray cats.

And then, of course, he never said another word about it, because he’s a tease like that.

The story is that an orange cat who looks kind of like Stefan (but a more orangey orange) has showed up several times over the past few months. Usually we’d just catch a glimpse of him off in the distance (and he’d run when he saw us), but in the past week he’s shown up several times during the day to hang out and eat at the feeding station over by Fred’s workshop. When Fred realized the cat was out there on Friday, he got a can of food and a plate, and went out to see if he could coax the cat closer.

When Fred popped the can of food open, the cat stopped in his tracks, obviously familiar with what that sound meant. It was only a few minutes before I looked out the window and saw Fred sitting on the ground petting the cat, who was eating the plate of cat food.

Judging by the direction the cat comes from, and the condition he’s in (very good), we’re pretty sure he’s got a home down the road. HOWEVER, he’s clearly an unneutered male and thus we’re treating him as though he’s a stray who needs testing and neutering. Once he starts showing up on a regular schedule (assuming he does), we’ll snatch him up for neutering and testing.

(It is ENTIRELY possible that if we started asking questions we’d find out where he lives. It’s also entirely possible that we’d find that his owners don’t “believe” in spaying/neutering. I find it better just not to ask the questions in the first place.)

PS: We’re calling him Potsie.


Hey! Speaking of spaying and neutering. Guess which mama kitty is about to undergo the procedure that will ensure she never ever has to birth another litter of kittens?

“Um… wha?”

“There’s something that can DO that? Where do I sign up?!”

Livia’s going to the North Alabama Spay Neuter Clinic on Thursday for the ol’ snip-snip! The kittens will be 8 weeks old on Thursday, so it’s definitely time. She’s consistently not letting any of them nurse for longer than a few seconds at a time, so I suspect they’ll be okay on their own overnight.

And in a few more weeks, it’ll be their turn, too!

Look at that pouty face. “I don’t NEED to be tutored, because I am already the smartest boy ever!”

“But what if I miss my Mama while she’s gone?”

Lisa mentioned last week that her cats were having a good time playing with plastic vampire teeth. So of course when I was out running errands and saw a big pack of them, I grabbed ’em up (I think they glow in the dark, but I haven’t actually been in the foster room in the dark, so I can’t vouch for how much glowing there is). The kittens think they’re AWESOME and love to chew on them.

Tony Poutyface.

Carmela checks out the box o’ toys.

“This will do nicely!”

Another week, I think his eyes will be the same color as his (orange) fur.

Pile o’ tusslin’ kitties. Meadow in the background, Paulie Walnuts laying there with his mouth open, Tony on the bottom, and Adriana next to Tony.

“Hey! She’s bitin’ me! Make her STAHHHHP!”

My slippers offend Melfi, and she’s gonna teach ’em a lesson.


Oh, Stefan. You silly, lazy boy. This cat, I swear, he cannot walk more than two feet without flopping down to rest from the exertion.


2012: You wish you had my glamorous life.
2011: No entry.
2010:I love the way Reacher and Corbett are basically the same pattern, in different colors.
2009: My poor babies.
2008: And if not, I can always buy their love with a plate of chicken baby food.
2007: Best. Picture. EVER.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



10-29-13 — 73 Comments

  1. It is usually better to never ask questions. That happened to me…and I searched for the cat’s owner who (sure enough) didn’t believe in neutering. (The kitty had be spraying the tar out of my house.) I asked her how many kids she had (one) and followed up with, “Well that proves you believe in birth control.” From that I learned, that if the owners cared, he would have already been neutered. So, now I never ask.

    Once I even found a Husky. Couldn’t find his owners and a co-worker who was very Husky savy wanted to provide a wonderful home. The day before I was going to do the hand-off, the real owner stepped forward. Sadly, (as I still kick myself for this) I later checked in on him just to see him tied up, no shelter and with a frying pan for a dog bowl which was full of rainw water and swollen dog food. UGH!!!

    Tony has the best face ever!!!

    • Yeah, unneutered tomcat spray is the worst-smelling stuff ever (and the best (not) part is that when he sprays the doors, the cats inside can smell it and feel the need to respond in kind. Ugh!)

      Poor Husky – don’t kick yourself, you couldn’t have known!

  2. I do hope your kittens don’t get sick from those vampire teeth. Mind you, I don’t know that they are bad for cats, but I don’t know that they’re not, so if I were you I wouldn’t give them to my cat – what if the stuff that makes them glow in the dark is bad for them? Or what if they bite off and swallow a chunk and get all clogged up inside?

    I also don’t agree with you desexing a cat without their owner’s permission – it’s not yours, even if you happen to feed it when it comes around. If you don’t like how they treat their animals, unless it’s a cruelty/neglect issue for the police, you have to just bite your tongue and let them because it’s their right. I don’t think the law would be on your side if they took it to court or something (I could be wrong of course though).

    I’m not saying this to upset you, this is just my view points on the matter that I felt I needed to say. I don’t mean to be rude.

    • Hannah, this is probably not the blog for you, then. Desexing of strays and possible strays and ferals and kittens and mommas (who are all going to be put up for adoption – their future owners have no say in whether they are neutered, either) happens all the time. Part of the process of keeping the population down. Robyn would no more have a problem with “the law” than any so-called owner who shuns the leash laws and lets their pets become sick and endangered.

      • Put up for adoption if they’re lucky!!!!

        I agree, letting an unfixed male roam around is not a responsible thing for a cat owner to do.

        If he’s not wearing a collar or identification then there’s no way of knowing he’s not a stray or a cast-off. So I have no problem with someone stepping in to address the situation.

        • You are right. If everyone knew how many were killed each year in just the US, you would cry rivers of tears. In June, we took in over 1100 dogs and cats at ACPS in my town. It is a kill shelter. Nobody fool yourselves and think that over 1100 were adopted out that month. Spay and neuter is the only way to become a no-kill country!!!

          • We feed & TNR a colony and it all started with one unneutered cat. OK, wait: Two unneutered cats. Yup, we’ll clean up the mess that a careless owner started long ago.

            In fact, we have a beautiful black panther girl at SPCA today. She will NOT have raise babies in the wild because some human said no to neuter. Walk thru our colony and you’ll get dinner and a snip.

                • I don’t have a problem with desexing a stray cat – I just don’t like the idea of doing it to a cat that you know belongs to someone. If there is no way of knowing if it is owned – i.e. no collar or ID chip, then I have no problem with desexing said cat. I just can’t imagine an owner of a cat being anything other than justifiably angry if their cat with ID) was desexed without their permission.

                  I am totally for all attempts at decreasing cat numbers – I am horrified by how many cats get put down at shelters every year.

                  As much as I don’t like the opinions of people who don’t want to desex their cats, I know they have the right to those opinions, and they have the right to not desex their animals. We can’t force this on them (as much as I would like to). If it’s their cat and has ID and/or lives with them most of the time, it’s their choice. If it was a cruelty/neglect issue, that would be a different matter, but it’s not, so until it is made into such an issue through the law, there’s nothing we can do if it’s an animal that is known to belong to someone else.

    • Considering that the vampire teeth are meant to go in human mouths, I’d assume they’re probably reasonably safe, at least as much as any cat toy.

      And regarding the spaying and neutering of outdoor, unneutered cats – One of the first rules of rescue in my book is “You feed it, you fix it”*. My view has always been that if it’s outside and unneutered, it doesn’t have owners. At best, it has people who feed it now and again and have failed in their responsibility to the animal. A wandering intact animal is a nuisance animal and parent to tragedies, and fixing them is preventing an otherwise obvious oncoming disaster. It’s humane and responsible, and more than the animal is getting elsewhere. Fixing is as fundamental as feeding in the care of companions.

      *Years ago, I hung out on a rescue board where we’d get occasional trolls complaining about how dare we fix animals and we wouldn’t do that to a human loved one. It was always hilarious to see the chorus of married cat ladies saying “Ha! We’re all snipped and clipped here on the human side as well!”.

      • I was going to say – Fred and I are both “fixed”, so we’re certainly going to make sure the animals are! 🙂

  3. I also think you should get that cat neutered. Nobody would sue because their cat got neutered for free. It’s not like it’s a prized pure breed stud.

    And I think Melfi is absolutly right to be offended by those slippers. Those need to be neutered lest they breed loads and loads of baby slippers. 😉

    • I told Fred last night as I typed that paragraph that today we’d probably hear a knock on the door and open it to see the porch full of unneutered and unspayed cats that were dropped off for us to have fixed. 🙂

      • I totally thought when I was reading it the first time through that you know all your neighbors have told their friends to drop off their cats in the neighborhood for free fixin. And/or if they had friends who wanted to get rid of their cats they said “bring it and drop it off on our street – I’ve got neighbors that will take them in.” 🙂

  4. I feel like a rockstar all being named on the Great Love & Hisses! LOL — seriously, none of our cats have gotten sick from the vampire teeth and we’ve had them around for years.

    • Lisa E the rockstar. 😀

      I was just in the foster room and looked over the set of vampire teeth I’d left in there for them to play with. There wasn’t even a bite mark on them, which is amazing given the power of those little jaws!

      • I can attest to their strength as I have directly placed my entire 180 pounds on them more than once without even a bent tooth. Like I said, they are like legos on steriods when you find them in the dark.

        Lisa E the rockstar!

      • Well, I do play a few instruments and I married into the Latin culture so maybe the long lost, far removed, sister from another mister. LOL.

  5. Yeah, the vampire teeth are made to go in the mouth. Imma pick some up on the way home, lol.

  6. A lot of times, the owner can’t afford either procedure. For example, the last little dog I got was owned by a family down the street. They couldn’t teach her to go out for potty, and had just tossed her onto the street — Muffin weighs only 7 lbs. and has extremely short hair. These dogs aren’t meant to live outside! At any rate, she was nearing the time for her spay or would go into heat. My grand-niece, who lives across the street from that family, said they were looking to re-home Muffin. I took her, and had her spayed/shots/etc…and since I went to my regular vet, it was $168.00. However, so worth it. Love her to death, and she has become my lap dog.

    Anyway, though the two little girls who raised Muffin still love her (and visit her here at my home), they obviously couldn’t afford the expense. I would have just had Muffin spayed, gave her back…but, they didn’t want her and the mom said Muffin could NEVER live in her house due to the potty issue. Muffin is now trained to go out, since I have a doggie door that leads to the fenced backyard.

    Whew, long story. All to say that sometimes the family can’t afford the cost, not even for the low-cost spay/neuter clinics. I think you should just get the cat neutered; the owners may never notice, or if they do, be glad.

    • Or they may say “He was gone overnight, and when he came back, his back end was shaved! What kind of SICKOS are out there?!” 😀

    • I had a friend who’s cat got out and disappeared in a snow storm. A few years later she showed up, minus a leg. It was obviously removed by a vet as you could still see the scars under her fur.

      They concluded that someone had found her with a bum leg and gotten her good care, but she wanted to come home.

      Needless to say, if he ever found out who did this, he would’ve been ridiculously gracrious and thankful that they took her in when she needed help.

  7. I’m with you, Robyn. Along with the decrease in urge to ‘spray’, there are other health benefits associated with neutering like decreasing the possibility of prostate disease and it completely eliminates testicular cancer. My grandpa’s rule of thumb towards all of his animals (the majority of them ‘provided’ for him – food, income, etc.) was always ‘when the animals are fed, I can eat’. The word ‘fed’ was all encompassing and referred to all manners of their care. If he depended upon them for his livelihood, they depended upon him for food and care. His main job then was to care for the animals. Even the family pet ‘provided’ security services, critter patrol, companionship… all in return for food and care! There are some days that I think my cats provide me with way more than I provide them… but then as I’m scooping the litter boxes, I more often think we’re even!
    PS – your kitten names are fortuitous… have you noticed that Carmella has the most beautiful caramel coloring??

    • I have noticed that Carmela’s coloring matches her name beautifully! I’d like to say I did that on purpose, but I think we both know I was doing it pretty randomly.

      Your grandpa sounds like a smart guy!

  8. I know you have a name for the new ‘stray’ already,but my husband and I are watching The Vampire Diaries (nothing like a bit unrealistic tv after work 😉 and since you already have a Stefan,and the new ‘stray’ looks a lot like Stefan,how about calling him Silas,since they’re doppelgangers.

    PS.I also know this won’t make any sense if you aren’t actually watching Vampire Diaries,lol.

    • I’ll run it by Fred, but I think Potsie will probably stick. We’ve been calling Stefan “Fonzie”, so we went with the Happy Days theme. 🙂

      (It may be a moot point, though – we haven’t seen him around here since Saturday!)

      • Now that you posted about him, and he is famous….he will be back for his adoring fans’ sake!

  9. More power to you Robyn!! We all know that Potsie will be much happier and healthier once you take him to the vet. And I suspect his “owners” really won’t care, either. A lot of it is people just don’t care…one of the rescue organizations in my area routinely gives away free spay and neuters in the poorer zip codes, but getting people to take advantage of it is still an uphill battle.

  10. BTW, Melfi’s intense look of determination, wackadoodle eyes and ears of annoyance are too funny.

    Don’t you love it when kittens have arguments/fights with inanimate objects, and lose!

  11. I’m sorry if you’ve been asked before, but what happens at night in the foster room with the light? Do you switch it off? Because if you do and these teeth do glow in the dark, can you imagine the FUN those kitties are having?

    • I do turn the light off at night, but they have a nightlight (which is silly, because there’s plenty of light coming in through the windows, but I hate the idea of them sitting in there in the dark!)

      • Well, that sure made me feel better about having a night-light in the bedroom where my dogs’ crates are. They sleep in there, and I didn’t want it to be entirely dark!

        • I always leave a light on for my cats if I go out at night… I say it’s because I don’t like walking into a dark apartment, but mostly I don’t like leaving my cats in the dark by themselves!

  12. Every day I get my kitten “fix” with you. As I have thirteen rescues and a modest (read: very low) income, I would never get a kitten on purpose… But I love them so and seeing the kitty families here rather makes up for not having kittens around.

    As for Potsie, just do it. When I first moved to my 43 acres in farm country, cats kept showing up – usually in poor condition – but not always. Eventually, I realized I was neutering all the neighbors’ “barn cats”. Ha ha. And I wasn’t sorry a bit. Now I rarely see a stray cat, but if one comes, it’s welcome! Thank you for all you do.

  13. kittens chewing on vampire teeth – that is AWESOME!!

    I have done the “snip first ask questions later” thing too. The woman I work with on TNR in our neighborhood asked me once what I would say if someone called me after neutering their “house” cat. I told her I would tell them they owe me $50 for the neuter and rabies shot. LOL

  14. If Potsie showed up without ID, you have every right to treat him as a stray, in my opinion. He’s potentially endangering your cats, and any other outdoor cats in the neighbourhood.

    But I have a stupid question – what possible reason could a person have for not ‘believing’ in neutering? Because it’s ‘unnatural’ or something? (I mean, really, keeping cats as pets is probably unnatural if you want to be strict about the definition. So is living in houses and wearing clothes. It’s not a valid reason, is my point.)

    It’s hard to believe the pee smell, if nothing else, wouldn’t change minds about neutering. A friend of mine was adopted by a stray intact male cat a few years ago, and she scheduled a snip for him right away, but I happened to visit before the neutering took place – I can’t even describe the stench. I’m surprised the odour didn’t melt the paint off the walls.

    • I have friends who don’t “believe” in it. Not many, but every once in a while I’ve come across someone who says that. I’ve never really questioned what part they don’t “believe” in and have always told them I’d just agree to disagree with them. Specifically – I have a friend whose husband will NOT let her get their dog fixed because he says he’s going to breed him, and the also says it changes their personality (and to him, not in a good way). We have (not getting actually mad at each other but) arguments about it pretty much every time I’m there. Since he’s mostly an indoor dog and stays in their fence if he’s outdoors, I haven’t gotten too terribly voiciferous about my opinion.

    • I had someone very vehamantly explain the changes the human body goes through when you do an ovariohysterectomy and how MISERABLE all females MUST be because they are lacking their hormones.. etc this was on a natural dog page who believed neutering your dogs was unhealthy.

      there is some science to back up the delay of neutering of DOGS.. females who are done neonatally can (but not necessarily will) have urine incontinence and male and female can hip issues.. There have been a multitude of studies on cats and there have been no conclusive provable issues with removal of the organs that produce most if not all of the sexual hormones that have a lot to do with development.

    • Y’know, I don’t really understand the point of not believing in spaying or neutering a cat, and I’ll be honest that I haven’t really asked because I was afraid it would lead to a volatile argument. 🙂

  15. People letting animals stray all over and not neutering/spaying is extremely my pet peeve–had the strays turn up here. We did the snip-first-ask-later with the last one because she had 5 kittens with her, and we didn’t want her to conceive more! I like the idea of mentioning the bill for the surgery if the owner does turn up and complain. I do think some people have good intentions, and just keep procrastinating, sadly, and toms aren’t the ones that bear the kittens so it’s even easier to put it off (tho I can’t imagine they LIKE the scent of the marking). UGH…I do wish we had a no-kill society indeed!
    OK, soapbox is back under the sink…thanks for the kitten doses…the cuteness!!!

  16. Adding my voice to the chorus of appreciation for Robyn and Fred. They put their time and money into caring for all cats who come their way. Look at how many Permanent Members just turned up at Crooked Acres pregnant, with kittens, or dangling tackle that would soon have led them to create more and more homeless animals. The Andersons are exemplary right down to their slippers, and I hope Potsie (cute name!) succumbs to their caring charms soonest.

    • His Royal Buffness clearly needs a fainting couch or two. I put it all down to his being overcome by happiness each time he recalls where he’s ended up: pure paradise.

  17. The teeth are NOT a good idea. The glow comes from phosphorus compounds and phosphorus damages cat’s kidneys. I can only imagine that it effects kittens even more severely.

    Unless the teeth are made of acrylic, there’s really no way to bind the phosphorus to the plastic so it doesn’t leach out as the kittens chew on them. Since acrylic is a very expensive type of plastic, it’s not likely they’re acrylic (and I’m a former polymer chemist so I know about this).

    Please take the teeth away from the kittens immediately and only give them toys meant for cats and kittens. Please let the other people who are doing this know that phosphorus is very bad for cats and kittens.

    Thank you.

    • Thanks for letting me know this! (I have to confess, I took the teeth away earlier today not because I was worried they weren’t good for the kittens, but because I sat on one of them and HOLY COW that hurt more than you’d imagine and I didn’t want that to happen again!)