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Besides Mama and Auntie, how many other kittens are left? And are they going to continue to try to trap them?

There’s one more kitten. They’re going to keep trying to trap. I think (though I’m not positive) that the plan is to TNR Mama and Auntie.


HOW in the WORLD are you going to be able to pick out photos from that batch for next year’s calendar????? Do NOT envy your task on that one! πŸ™‚

I think I’m going to have to do the calendar differently next year, because this year about killed me! I’m thinking of doing one big picture and then some smaller ones around the edge for each month. That way I can sneak more pictures in!


Wanted also to tell you, I recently looked after my 3 yo nephew for 10 days, and every morning we’d come straight here on my iPhone. Alice the Frog was his very favourite, and he would ask to see her several times a day. He was in love with all the Grocers, especially Trader Joe and Piggly Wiggly (insisted on using his full name).

Awww, sweet! From Alice, for your nephew:

(Her face in that picture cracks me UP.)


I’m curious, what do you do to clean the room in between litters? Is it just like a regular cleaning or is there anything special you do like wash everything with bleach? And what about what’s carpeted, like the cat trees?

I use a comforter as a rug in that room, so I toss that in the washer and wash it on hot, with bleach. I put all the food and water dishes and the water fountain in the dishwasher. I vacuum and then mop the floor with bleach, let it dry, and go over the floor with a steam mop. I toss the used litter, scrub down all the litter boxes with bleach, let them dry, and then wipe them down with vinegar. I go through the toys and toss anything that’s dirty (and can’t be cleaned) or starting to break down. I vacuum the cat trees and spot-clean any spots that need it.

(I would really like to have cat trees that are made of sealed wood and can be easily cleaned; that’s a goal for the future.)

I also wipe down the baseboards in the room and the closet, and if I had a particularly messy litter of kittens or it’s been a while, I’ll wipe down the walls. All told, it takes 2 – 3 hours to get the room clean (with plenty of breaks to let the floor/litter boxes dry). The worst part is emptying the litter boxes and carrying the dirty litter downstairs and out to the trash.


From Charlene:

BTW, last week when I was asking for feedback about my Tortie-tude t-shirt design, someone asked for one for Tuxies. This is a draft.

Not really liking the graphic and thinking I need to look for something better. What do you think? Would you buy this? Thanks for any feedback, good or bad.


There was discussion a few days ago about canvas prints of photos. I just came across this deal on Groupon.
Not sure if it is only good for our local area or if anyone anywhere can get the same deal.

It’s showing up for me, so it should be good! It does say that there’s limited time remaining, so if anyone’s interested you better hop to it!


Can’t believe the Grocers are all gone now… Was this the quickest adoption of any of your foster litters?

I think it very well might be – I don’t remember any other litter of that size getting homes as quickly. There usually tends to be one or two who wait and wait, which always drives me nuts!


Ralph in the catnip toy box reminds me of those toddlers who somehow end up in those prize-grabbing-claw machines, and then there they are in the window: one of the prizes!

That is EXACTLY what he looks like!


My Sherman in Wisconsin says “welcome!” to the new Sherman in Wisconsin. (Mine was dumped at my house three years ago. And he got his name ’cause he’s built like a tank.)

This reminds me that after I heard that his name is now Sherman, I came up with a list of names for a future litter of kittens with three boys and one girl:

Sherman, Herman, Thurman…and Ethel!

(Please tell me that someone got that, because Fred didn’t at first.)


Robyn – think you could put a sidebar picture and link for any former fosters staying at Challenger House? When you attract new readers, maybe someone might be taken with their back story and want to adopt them (or seasoned readers may be able to now adopt!). If I’m keeping track correctly, we have Mr. Stripey and Terry there now..

I will definitely do that, this weekend! (Or soon, anyway.)


Who is that on the pile of beds, is that Alice? Having trouble sleeping on a rock hard pea?

That is Princess Alice, who is sleeping TERRIBLY on that not-at-all-comfortable pile o’ beds.


I’m so glad to see I’m not the only person with a screen door at the bottom of their second floor stairway!

That screen door at the bottom of the stairs is THE BEST THING we have ever done in this house. Every now and then I look at it and think “What took us so long?!”

We actually prop the door open at night so that the cats can go up there if they want to (though Fred sleeps with his bedroom door closed, and keeps the office door closed when he’s not actually working, so there’s not much up there for them, aside from the bathroom (with a litter box in it) and a cat tree in the hallway), and then we close it during the day. Occasionally Dennis will ask to go upstairs and hang out during the day, and we let him (he’s also very imperious about letting us know when he wants OUT). He spent so much time upstairs as our foster that I’m sure it feels like home to him.


Please don’t point the skimmer finger at me, but I didn’t remember that Creed was returned. Does anyone want to update me, or do I have to search for it myself?

I would have sworn that I wrote about it, but apparently not!

The short story is that Creed – who was our foster back in 2009 along with his sister Phyllis and brother Dwight – was returned in June because he was having litterbox issues. His owners had taken him to the vet, who apparently told them that it was a behavioral issue and sent them home with meds and a sensitive stomach food. (Um, wha?) He kept peeing inappropriately, so they brought him back to the shelter. They dropped him off at the vet Challenger’s House uses, and a urinalysis showed that he was loaded with crystals. A food change fixed that problem, and he’s been fine ever since. He’s a gorgeous, sweet boy, and I wish he’d find his forever home!

This is my favorite baby Creed picture. Those Precious Moments eyes just kill me.

Okay, I just went and looked again, and apparently I did mention that he was returned in this post from late June. No wonder y’all didn’t remember that he’d been returned, because it was just buried in there as an aside. Creed was also at the TICA Cat Show in July, competing, until he decided he was DONE with that nonsense. And lastly, fun facts about Creed, when he was our foster.


How are Terry’s eyes? Is he able to open them all the way? In the pictures, they look like they’re squinted or almost closed. Was the surgery successful enough that he can open his eyes wide?

He’s got a perma-squint – he can open them if he wants to, and he can see just fine, but I think he’s just most comfortable with them in squint position.


These kittens have been named! Let’s see if you can guess the naming theme…

Thunderclap Newman.

Jethro Tull.

Molly Hatchet.

Those are classic rock bands from the 70s. I was going to call the litter The Classics, but after poking around on Wikipedia I see that each band only had one hit, making them one-hit wonders, so I’m going to call them The Wonders.

(Edited to add: Okay, okay. Apparently Jethro Tull is not a one-hit wonder and Molly Hatchet may or may not be. I have to admit that I had to look them up to come up with Aqualung and Flirting with Disaster, because I was probably too busy listening to Donny and Marie during the period when they had hits. Sorry for any offense! But I’m still going to call the litter The Wonders, because I like the sound of it more than The Classics. πŸ™‚ )

At some point earlier this year, we happened to see the name Thunderclap Newman, and both said “That would be a great kitten name!”, so I filed it away. Yesterday, Fred brought it up as a name possibility for the black kitten, so I let him have his way. In case you’re curious, Thunderclap Newman was a one-hit band fronted by Pete Townshend (see the video for their one hit here.) Jethro Tull, of course, did Aqualung. And Molly Hatchet did Flirting with Disaster, which I skated to a zillion times at Roller World when I was a kid.

Thunderclap Newman reminds me of a wee Tom Cullen.

He is easily lured out of hiding with a feather teaser.

“Whatchoo got there, lady?”

He’s still a bit skittish, but it doesn’t take much to get him rolling around and purring like crazy.

“What doin’, weird lady?”

Molly Hatchet and Jethro Tull are still a little scared. She’s prone to hissing and smacking, but by midday yesterday it was as though she was just doing it because she felt like she was supposed to.

Jethro enjoys a good belly rub, but he’s still a bit hissy, too.

I like that cat tree condo because they feel safe there, but I can sneak a hand in there to pet them, too.

They’re not only hissing at me – they don’t seem to remember Thunderclap Newman at all (they’d been apart from him for a week before they were reunited, and we know that a week is like a million years in kitten time) and they’ve been hissing and growling at him if he gets too close. Luckily, he’s not taking it personally. He’s just glad to have the company!

Last night I fed them baby food off a spoon. Molly didn’t fall for my trick of moving the spoon away from her and closer to me and wouldn’t follow the spoon, but she was happy to eat the baby food off the spoon if I held it way out to her. Jethro hissed, then ate the baby food, then hissed some more, then ate. Thunderclap practically climbed into my lap. Considering that Molly and Jethro were outside until Wednesday afternoon, I’d say we’re making great progress.

PS: I know I had a foster named Molly in the past – Molly Peppers – but Susan was okay with me using it again, since the surnames are different. The only other remotely female-sounding name Fred offered as a naming possibility was Thin Lizzy, and I much preferred Molly Hatchet.


Stefan in a rare conscious moment. (But you know he went and took a nap right after. Lest you worry about him being sleep deprived.)


2013: β€œI don’t get it.”
2012: β€œNo, we’re going to sit here and look innocent.”
2011: Chuckles loves him some Tommy.
2010: No entry.
2009: No entry.
2008: Pet store kitties.
2007: β€œWhat IS it?!”
2006: Ten is TOO MANY.
2005: “Why, yes, we are. We ARE bad.”



11-21-14 — 55 Comments

  1. Wellll, Thin Lizzy would NOT have worked as, you see, they actually had two hits… The boys are back in town AND Jailbreak… but then again, Molly Hatchett also had Dreams.. so, there’s that! I admit to waking many a morning as a grade school and middle schooler to my much cooler high school brother’s stereo (yes, on vinyl!) blaring those songs. I was never much of a Jethro Tull fan… could’ve been the flute or the creepy lyrics “Snot is running down his nose” mwah hah hah hah.. but all the more cute and loveable when associated with wee little kittehs! And I do admit to having some Thin Lizzy and Molly Hatchett on my iPod.. They’re all gorgeous and will – in no time – fall under the Crooked Acres spell. Hoping for successful capture of the remainders. Oh, Creed (another band, by the way) he melts my heart – soft spot for tuxies… he looks so handsome all growed up!

    • No, no, no! I LOVED Jethro Tull because of the flute! And I may have squealed a little when I saw that the tuxie is named Tull, which is what I will call him in my mind…..

      • BIG Jethro Tull fan here! They also did “Locomotive Breath,” “Living in the Past,” and “Bungle in the Jungle,” to name a few that got radio play. They’ve never been Top 40 fodder, but tend to inspire fiercely loyal fans, such as myself.

  2. I laughed loudly when the penny dropped on Ethel, so I approve of that naming scheme. And one-hit wonders is a theme that could be carried on for a number of kitties!

    • Molly Hatchet was almost Toni Basil or Nena, but I decided to go with group names rather than individual names. There will absolutely be another one-hit wonders theme in the future, I’m sure. There are too many good names to use!

  3. Molly looks a lot like Ms. Poo…bet it’s like have a kitteh Poo around again. They are all adorable, and I’m sure you two, being the Kitteh-Whisperers you are, will soon have them turned into little lovebugs!

  4. Love naming one Jethro Tull, but I take exception to calling them a one hit wonder. In addition to Aqualung, there’s Locomotive Breath, Bungle in the Jungle, Living in the Past, and Skating Away.

    • I actually do know Bungle in the Jungle, but the others aren’t familiar to me (which isn’t to say they weren’t hits, but apparently I wasn’t paying attention when they were big)!

  5. I was going to name some more Jethro Tull hits too, but someone has taken care of that for me. Now here’s a one hit wonder I found on classic rock radio the other day: Donnie Iris (“Ah! Leah!”). You will recognize the song if you go find it online, but you’ll scratch your head over the singer. Donnie WHO??
    Molly is a BEAUTIFUL cat. I hope you get that last kitten and you can name him Donnie Iris!

    • Loved that song – – now THAT was 9th grade! Between Ah! Leah! and Oh, Nicole by Point Blank, that was a good 10 minutes out of EVERY radio hour!

  6. Interesting that Terry too has the squinting still! Bill also just seems to squint a lot. He can open his eyes wide when he wants or is needing to see (hunting a bug, etc) but most of the time he is squinting. But he sees fine and have never seen any indication of eye issues with him.

  7. Oh such cute kittens–this will be fun to follow!!
    Molly will have a special place in my heart–along with Miz Poo! I am also partial to the name πŸ™‚
    The other two are beautiful also.

  8. I immediately thought of Welcome to the Thunderdome…lovely little kittens to fill that empty room…

  9. Cute kittens and cuter names! I like the theme of the Wonders, but as others have pointed out not all of them were one-hit.

    I think for next years calendar, you should do collages. I think you have enough as you’ve had about a litter a month lately.

  10. I don’t get the Ethel thing…. sigh πŸ™‚

    Glad the newbies are coming around – we knew they would fall for your charms

    (OMG – just reread 2013….Paulie Ain’t Got No Walnuts – I think coffee came out my nose)

    • You were meant to think “Merman” (as in Ethel Merman), but since she died in the 80s, you can be forgiven for not thinking of it. πŸ™‚

      This morning I had Molly rolling around on her back in front of me, but she’s still not wanting me to pet her. Such a little brat. I guess she doesn’t realize that resistance is futile!

      • Thanks for explaining the Ethel joke. I wasn’t getting it either. I do know who she was of course. Just slow on the uptake.

  11. I admit, I don’t get the Ethel joke. I’m assuming that this is from a TV show?

    Thunderclap was not one of Townsend’s better side projects. I have to say, I’m not sure that I can warm up to that name. After seeing a bunch of hippies frolic around Haight-Ashbury it sounds like a particularly nasty std for such a sweet guy. He looks like a little BRICK for heavens sake though. Talk about a tank.

    Not a big Jethro Tull fan and heavy metal fans still cring at the whole Grammy thing still but they have the best opening for a song imo for Locamotive Breath.

    • You were meant to immediately think “Merman” (as in Ethel Merman), but somehow the name of a singer/actress who’s been dead since 1984 doesn’t come immediately to many peoples’ minds. πŸ™‚

      • I first saw her in Airplane, then Mad, Mad World, and of course those inevitable Love Boats.

        I think a guest shot came with the Equity cards.

        • How is it that I haven’t had a Love Boat litter yet? I was totally going to grow up, marry Donny Osmond, and live on a cruise ship. πŸ™‚

      • Oh, I should have gotten that – I loved Ethel Merman! And I will now be singing “There’s no business like show business” in a big brassy voice to the cats when I get home! πŸ™‚

    • Everyone brings that up when I say I like Tull. The Grammy thing was not their fault! Total politics.

      • Apparently they were about as appalled as everyone else that evening. Heck they weren’t even there.

  12. Jethro Tull a “one hit wonder”? Uh… no. πŸ˜€

    “The group achieved commercial success in 1969 with the folk-tinged blues album Stand Up, which reached No. 1 in the UK charts, and they toured regularly in the UK and the US. Their musical style shifted in the direction of progressive rock with the albums Aqualung, Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play, and shifted again to hard rock mixed with folk rock with Songs from the Wood and Heavy Horses. Jethro Tull have sold over 60 million albums worldwide,[3] with 11 gold and five platinum albums among them.[4] They have been described by Rolling Stone as “one of the most commercially successful and eccentric progressive rock bands”.[5]”

    Even so, GREAT name for a kitten. And Wonders is a great surname for an adorable youngster named after one of the classic rock greats. πŸ™‚

    • Well, I was probably too busy listening to Donny and Marie when Jethro Tull had their success. I only recognized the one name when I glanced at the list on Wikipedia, sorry about that. πŸ™‚

  13. Regarding the shirt designs, as a Tuxedo aficionado, I would suggest some white on the face. The classic white stripe up the nose would be good, maybe with a little white on the cheeks.

    Another shirt idea, playing off the “Dogs Have Owners, Cats Have Staff” theme….add a third line, “Calicos Have Slaves”, with a smug-looking Calico on the shirt (shouldn’t be too hard to find a smug Calico picture–they just seem to be born that way!). I’ve been wanting to make something up with the Calico that said this for awhile, because ours if VERY demanding! πŸ™‚

    Oh, this design would would work for Siamese, too, as they are also quite demanding–and very vocal about it!

    Another possible theme–Persians as royalty, wearing a crown (Queen or King, not just Princess/Prince).

    • I always try to get them named almost immediately, because it makes it easier to write about them! Of course, that leads to situations where their names don’t really fit them, so they get 10,000 nicknames. πŸ™‚

  14. Whoa….I got a little too defensive about the Jethro Tull thing and missed the point of NEW KITTENS!!

  15. The personal greeting from Alice Frog is simply amazing. πŸ˜€
    I can’t get enough of that picture either.

  16. Oh, and I am totally making the Alice da Frog picture my background on my phone…. πŸ™‚

  17. Oh Robyn, Isaac (3 yo nephew) will be THRILLED at Alice D. Frog’s shout-out to him! Thank you so much! I may just have to print it and frame it for him so he can gaze lovingly at her whenever he wants. πŸ˜€

  18. I wouldn’t call Jethro a “one hit wonder” over here, on this side of the water you can’t escape “Songs of the Wood” every Holiday season and I once was ready to break the recording of “Bring me my Broadsword” during a long meeting where someone had it on endless loop (don’t get me wrong I like the song but after three hours it gets on the nerves). My husband can’t handle flutes (they give him headache) but while I personally like “Ring Solstice Bells” I also know when I hear that intro to get him out of the super-market really fast!

    Otherwise great name for a kitty, of course you might have to watch your tea around him “Tea for the Tillerman” lol

    Hope they get the last kitten to you soon, I’ve got three tiny ones in the bathroom myself, their eyes are finally changing color.

  19. The new kittens are so adorable, and I agree with other commenters, Molly reminds me of Miz Poo!

    Had to laugh at all the Jethro Tull comments-my friends used to drag me to concerts when I was in high school-I actually fell asleep at the Jethro Tull concert! I was probably the only kid in my high school that would have rather been home reading a book πŸ˜‰

  20. I love the names of the new kitteh’s! Jethro Tull sang one of my favorite oldies: “Living in the Past.” I always liked the flute in that song. Once again, thank you and Fred for all you do for the little homeless cats out there. πŸ™‚

  21. Thank you for taking in these little ones. I am the guy whose doorstep they showed up on. We moved to this complex at the beginning of June and the mother (a tuxie herself) has a prior litter, of which the “auntie” is one, which still roams the area. When she brought this litter to our patio we were committed to getting them into loving arms. We are at our limit of two, which includes Cosby, and only want these babies to know the love of a good home. There is also another mother which has a litter which was born about ten days earlier. We are hoping to get this situation under control. By the way, the mother is again coming to see us, but has yet to bring the kitten with her. She loves to be petted before eating. She seems to be missing them, but I think she has had human contact before and would be happy if she knew that they are safe with loving humans devoted to getting them forever homes. If you are interested I can send you a picture I have of the mother.

  22. So, I have had 2 kitties for a while. Abby came to me 3 weeks old in 1999. I wasn’t aware she was that young, she survived, we’ve moved past it. Atilla came to me in 2005 or 2006 shortly before we moved to AZ from the east coast. They bonded on that trip for the most part.

    I got a puppy, Crockett is almost 1 and a chiweenie mix. He is nuts but fun. Abby chases him a little but is hissy/growly. For next friday, how do I get them to like each other better? Thanks! Would be nice if I could trust him in the room theyre in without worrying about them ganging up and hurting him when I’m not there.