12-16-19 Newtles & Kara Monday

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This week I’m going to post about the permanent residents. If you’re a newer reader and are curious how each permanent resident came to be a permanent resident, this should answer any questions for you. I’m doing them in order of age, and will double up each day. If you have any pressing questions about the permanent residents, let me know and I’ll answer them in Friday’s post!



We first met Newt in the fall of 2006. We had just bought an old farmhouse in the country – the house that we later referred to as Crooked Acres, and where we lived for 11 years – and were in the process of renovating it before we moved in. Newt showed up one day with Maxi, a little black cat we’d seen several times before. She was clearly nursing kittens, though we couldn’t find where she was keeping them, and one day she showed up accompanied by Newt.

We thought at first that he might be the father to her kittens, but when he and Maxi were neutered/spayed, the vet thought he might be her kitten from a previous litter. Newt certainly adored Maxi, and he was the only cat she tolerated – though she never tolerated him for very long.

At the time, we thought he was a fully grown cat, but looking back at pictures of him, he looks so TINY and still such a kitten that I can’t believe we ever thought he was grown. We set his date of birth as January 1, 2006, which means he’ll be 14 in a few weeks.

(Maxi did eventually show up with her 4 kittens, who we named Fezzik, Inigo, Westley and Princess Buttercup, and who we fostered briefly and were adopted out through Challenger’s House.)

After they were spayed and neutered, Maxi and Newt were intended to go live with a neighbor down the street, but it turned out that they preferred our house, and after they made it back down the road to our front porch, they weren’t inclined to leave again, and so they became ours. They were outdoor cats at first – and Fred made a house for them on the front porch – and then one day it was going to be very cold out, and so we brought them inside overnight. I said at that point “I don’t think Newt will ever be comfortable inside, it makes him too nervous.”

I’ve never been more wrong. It didn’t take long after that for Newt to decide that inside the house was a good place to be, and he became even more ours.

He liked to sleep in odd places.

And hang out with weirdos.

He gets along fine with the other cats – they pretty much ignore him, and vice versa – but he’s never been a fan of the foster kittens. Until she left us in the summer of 2018, he would still head-butt Maxi and “Brrrp!” at her, and she’d allow it for a few moments then smack him. He never took offense, though, ’cause not much bothers that boy.

Getting the once-over from Rhian, Malley and Deuce in 2008.

11+ years after I took this picture of him, it’s still one of my favorites.

He’s just a great big ol’ teddy bear who makes himself at home wherever he is, loves to lick the dregs off the bottom of cat food cans, doesn’t bother anyone, and only reacts if they get right up in his face. He’s never been any problem at all, personality-wise or health-wise. He’s the easiest cat we’ve got, and while strangers don’t thrill him, he’s one of the few cats you might actually glimpse if you visit us.

On the rare occasion we can’t find him, he can be located by the sound of his very deep, very happy purr, or his equally very deep, very happy snore.

He’s 14 pounds of happy, purring, laid-back love, is what he is.



Kara came to us as a Challenger’s House foster cat back in April of 2008. She had shown up on someone’s porch, obviously pregnant and looking for help. They called Challenger’s House, and she ended up as my very first pregnant foster cat.

She was very friendly from the moment we brought her into the house, and she’s loved us ever since. She had 4 kittens about 24 hours after we got her, and she never minded us handling them. She was a great mama, if a little nervous, and she put up with those kittens nursing until they left. (All four kittens – River, Inara, Kaylee and Zoe – were adopted out through Challenger’s House.)

After Kara’s kittens were adopted out, she went to Petsmart (in October 2008) and was available for adoption. But we missed her so much that a week and a half later, we went and got her and brought her home. And she’s been ours ever since!

Her date of birth is April 1, 2007, which makes her 12 1/2.

Her face here is cracking me UP. “What the WHAT is THAT?!”

She gets along well with the other cats, gets so excited at meal time that she’ll head-butt Jake, but if he (or any of the other cats) tries to get too close when food is not involved, she gives ’em the ol’ one-two-whaperoo. She ignores the other cats most of the time (and vice versa), but occasionally one of her bratty brothers – usually Archie or Jake – will see her run by, decide she’s playing a game, start chasing her, she freaks out, and there’s a kerfuffle.

(A Kara kerfuffle usually consists of her screaming at the offending brother and then running off to one of her safe spaces.)

She comes by her nickname – Sheriff Mama – honestly. She spends her days running the perimeter of the back yard, checking to see if there are an egregious offenses that need to be dealt with, checking to see if the cat fence has magically disappeared, checking to see if there are any chipmunks who need killin’. You know, the usual. She’s a tiny little dynamo, weighs just over 7 pounds, and that’s 7 pounds of pure muscle.

Keeping an eye on things.

(Twice she’s found a way out of the back yard, once when a heavy rainfall washed dirt away from the bottom of the fence, making a space big enough for her to slide through, and once when a workman left part of the cat fence gapped just enough for her to fit through. Both times she immediately came around the house to the front door and yelled until we heard her. She’s such a good girl.)

She’s a worrywart, our Sheriff Mama, and if she happens to see either of us outside the fence, she squeaks at us until we learn our lesson and come inside where she can keep a proper eye on us. She’s fearless when it comes to small creatures and is our best hunter, but perhaps a little too generous in trying to share her leftover chipmunk with us. She is not so fearless when it comes to strange humans, and if she can’t get out to the back yard to hide from strangers, she’ll climb under the comforter on my bed and stay there until the strangers are gone.

She’s a friendly girl, loves to be petted, and at night when the door to the back yard is closed and she’s “stuck” inside, she climbs into Fred’s lap and rolls around purring while he pets her.

Two years ago she started dropping weight and a visit to the vet showed that she had thyroid issues. We got her on medication – she’s really easy to medicate, luckily – and then shortly after that we found that she’s got (got? in? suffering from? I am unsure of the terminology) chronic renal failure. She’s been doing well until mid-November, and now she’s beginning to go downhill.

I am so sorry to sneak this into a profile of the permanent residents, y’all. I never thought to mention the thyroid issue or the chronic renal failure before now because it didn’t seem to be a major issue, and just haven’t been sure how to tell you recently that I’m not sure how much longer she’ll be with us. She handles vet visits so poorly that we refuse to put her through them any more often than we absolutely have to. For now, she is – most of the time – a happy girl.

Sorry to end this on a sad note… I didn’t intend to when I first started writing this, but you guys love our nearly cats as much as we do, so it seemed right to let you know. Don’t be sad – she’s got a good life and is well-loved, and who knows? Maybe she’ll rally and live to be 20 years old. I can hope, right?


2018: Apparently it’s ‘tudesday.
2017: No entry.
2016: Such a pretty boy (such a crooked picture).
2015: It’s the BeeBees!
2014: Jethro gets his ‘nip on.
2013: “New people to charm? Bring ‘em ON! ::thlurrp::”
2012: No entry.
2011: I wonder how much cat pee Jack and Donna Wright have in their house right now. I bet it’s measurable in the gallons.
2010: Reacher prefers to stay warm inside with Tommy.
2009: I’m pretty sure Mike has springs inside his legs. That boy can BOUNCE.
2008: No entry.
2007: An afternoon in the life of Sugarbutt.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



12-16-19 Newtles & Kara Monday — 33 Comments

  1. Sorry to hear about Kara’s medical issues. Hopefully, she will stay content and comfortable for a good long time.

  2. Oh Sheriff Mama! There are still many perimeters to guard and perms to boss, so you stay put!

  3. We love and care for ALL the perms, probably as much as y’all…just sayin’. Good luck Kara, you have many lives!!!

  4. Renal failure is not an imminent death threat. I think most long-term cat owners have had to deal with it (as I’ve had), and the cats can have ups and downs, but they can still live for a good long time.

    My quick example is one of the cats I have. Sophia came to me when her owner passed away. She was adopted out but the potential owners returned her since her vet visit indicated kidney failure. I took her in due to her age (11) and health issues at the time (stomatitis) and 3 years later she’s still kickin’ and healthy (albeit toothless). She’s much like Kara: small (~6 lbs) but mighty, and a brown tabby.

    Your story’s not sad, just a new path to follow to an end we must all meet. Thankfully, you do the right things and are able to nip things in the bud. Good wishes and vibes to you and Kara that she’s comfortable for the long haul.

  5. So glad & honored to learn about the permanent residents. Such sweethearts,all! Personality plus full of love. How fortunate you are to have each other!
    Best wishes for continued health,happiness,& healing!

  6. Love to read your stories. Our eldest — Nelson — is an 17 yo brown tabby that was diagnosed with renal failure about 5 years ago. He suffered a blockage and nearly died (a shout out to fabulous Dr. Edgemon at Town & Country in Athens) but made it through but lost several pounds that he hasn’t totally recovered. That was when we got Amber, because I thought we would lose him…so three years later… he is doing well, if skinny! (We have him on Science Diet K/D and supplement with our own cat food).

    Hope all your family has a great healthy and joyous holiday season!

  7. What a lovely read for a chilly Monday morning! I’ve been reading your site and Instagram for several years but didn’t know the original history of either of these kitties. I’m so sorry to hear of Kara’s medical issues and hope she stays as well and happy as possible for as long as possible. Thanks for letting us know.

  8. When I read that, I’m hearing that she’s been diagnosed with these issues for a minute but that you’re seeing a change in her health. I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve had a few cats and currently have my second one that is living with 3rd stage kidney disease (chronic renal failure). Thankfully, he loves vet visits, but he’s impossible to medicate, so if he declines, I’ll have to make that hard choice.
    Thank you for sharing both of their profiles with us! Enjoy your little (and not-so-little) loves for us all! I know I love seeing their pictures and hearing their stories.

  9. Aww, best wishes for Kara and the rest of you while you deal with her health issues. It’s so hard when vet visits are so traumatic for them.

  10. Oh, dearest Sheriff Mama! My Carmen, her age and similar looks, is also living with CRF. She receives subcutaneous liquids every three days and some Perindopril in tablets. Is Kara on infusions? We do ours at home – I’m an MD, but my hubby, no medical background, has no problems performing sc infusions, either. Hugs to You All at Shady Coves

    • Yes, she’s getting sub-q fluids regularly – she doesn’t mind it, and enjoys getting the extra love from Fred while it’s going on. 🙂

  11. Oh, Sheriff Mama! Gentle pets and scritches to both her and Newtles. Our beloved Corgi, Daisy, had CRF. We had three additional good years with her after diagnosis. Thank you for caring for and loving all the waifs and strays, Robyn and Fred.

  12. I love all your perms, but Kara and Newt are two of my faves <3

    Re: renal failure — my two little girls (about Kara's size) both had CRF, and we were able to maintain them in fairly reasonable health for a long time by reducing the phosphorus levels in their food (using a phosphorus binder, which you can get at the vet), as well as subcutaneous fluids, which we did at home. As Kara's easy to medicate, you may find that she does just fine with subc fluids too. And the website felinecrf.org is a gold mine of information.

  13. Awww, I loves me some Newt and Kara. How do you pronounce the sheriff mama’s given name? Is it Care-Uh or is it Car-Uh or something totally different? She has that certain something in cat faces that I just adore… more round and cherubic than angular. Dennis had it too (I still swoon and go back and visit his pics often… I’m sorry if that’s weird – especially thousands of miles away 🙂 .. I’ve not yet found a 12-step program for this affliction) Stinkerbelle was also cherubic appearing (and yes, I revisit her pics often as well)… then, we have my affliction for the beautiful greenish cat eyes… all of my cats (4!) have amber eyes, but I have found that I absolutely LOVE beautiful cat eyes in green/greenish blue… And, well, it may be another reason I frequent Dennis’s pics. I also visit Corbie regularly..

    Thank you so much for what you do and for sharing it with us – and you’re right, I (we) do care for and about Y’all – and your cats (and all residents of former Crooked acres) like family… maybe a little more than family. LOL!

    • I too, love cute round cat faces! Dennis was my all-time favorite permie. 🙂

      A local cat rescue recently posted a picture of a cute, round-faced kitty and it was all I could do not to go adopt him immediately. He reminded me of Dennis.

  14. Aw, Kara, sweetest sheriff, so sorry you’re sick! Here’s hoping you defy them vets and live for ages!!
    Love the profiles! Newt is so darn cute. He has such a kitten face for an older kitty. Kara is so pretty, such a character!

  15. My darling Atticus kept going for 19 years with diabetes and a thyroid condition, until he decided that nope. Not taking those damned thyroid pills any more, and let me know he wanted to go be with his brother and sister.

    Newtles and Kara… Sounds like a high-end store stocking fancy imported British foods.

    And I love seeing them.

  16. Poor Kara, I’m with you in wishing she lasts a good long while. My first cat, Tody, had renal failure as well. He took the fluids and food just fine for quite awhile and then one day, just like Brigitte’s Atticus, he decided that he just didn’t want to anymore.

    She’s had a good long life with you two. She couldn’t have asked for a better home. Sending purrs and hugs to her.

  17. Awwww! So sorry to hear about Kara’s diagnosis, but what a wonderful life she has had with you! And Newtles! Such a good boy!

  18. Kudos to you and Fred for listening to Kara – that can be awfully hard to do. She has the best possible life with the best possible family – plus hundreds of internet fans. If you actually gave her all the skritches and pets her admirers want to give her the poor girl would go bald, and your arms would probably drop off.
    And that Newtles – he’s always had a piece of my heart.

  19. I love having you share these cameos of your lovely cats Sheriff Mama will last longer than you think I hope. Lily was on liquid thyroid in her food twice a day fro over three years and was great until the renal failure was diagnosed. She would flounder and rally, flounder and alley and one morning she told me she’d had enough
    Mama will let you know the right time. I just know she wil be loved and pampered for months to come. he’s gorgeous

  20. I had two cats that had renal failure. They both lasted 3+ years after being diagnosed. I made sure they got plenty of moist canned food(Purina pro plan). I don’t recommend Science Diet K/D even after my vet suggested it. A good complete moist food will serve you well. Just my two cents. Best to Kara. I love this new series and can’t wait to read about Jake.

  21. Oh Robyn, so nice to see you writing about the perms, and so sorry to hear about Kara’s CRF. I did subQ fluids daily for almost two years for my sweet Marilyn. It became our “special” time together every day, after she and I figured out what worked best. She usually purred in my lap as I gave her fluids. She too let me know when it was time to go. I wish the best for you and Fred to enjoy your time with Kara. Y’all are some of the bestest kitty parents out there. I know whatever you choose will be the right choice.

    • Yep, we’re giving her fluids, though we had to learn to do it in the evening when it didn’t interfere with her back yard patrols! She doesn’t seem to mind it, and enjoys the love from Fred while it’s going on.

  22. noooooooo.
    she is my absolute favret. i update my parents on her patroling often. love and light to sheriff mama. i actulay have a charector in a game that can summen a worrior and i named the warrior kara. and in my sims town thats the name of my poleece lady. yeh i have no life i know.

    all your residents are very loved in this house. but for some reason kara in paticular has a special place in my heart. she dousnt look a thing like my snowflake did. but snowflake was 8pounds in her prime. a tiny maincoon mix that was all fluff and serusness and would hiss a poor dumd smokey if he missbehaved. she also wasnt to fond of her sister snuggling her. her sister rascal motherd evryone and made sure they were ok. snowflake dearly loved me but not anyone else. her sister loved evryone.
    and i dont know ,somthing about kara’s tiny frame, her patroling and taking care of busness. i dont know. theres somthing in her that reminds me a tiny bit of my girls who are gone. jake reminds me of my boy.
    im not super religous. sort of spiritual pagen maby? but i do have traditions and beleafs. and when somone is sick i take a photo of them to put by our tree. for wellwishes and good health. may i put a picture of kara by our tree?

  23. Thinking of all of you and crossing my fingers that Kara manages to rally and turn things around! I do so love her and her sweet face.