After reading that very interesting article on litter boxes from cat’s point of view, I first wondered how many perma-cats you have and then, how many litter boxes you have? Do the cats all stay inside or do they do their “bidness” outside sometimes? I really wish I had a former coworker’s email address so that I could direct a link of that article to her. She had two cats and only changed the box when they were “climbing rocks”. That she could even joke about it made me want to toss my cookies.

We have seven permanent cats, two “not ours” cats (cats that supposedly don’t belong to us, but they spend about 3/4 of their time in our house, eating our food, and 1/8 of their time killing things and leaving them on the porch for us), and two fosters. More on them in a later section.

The cats who belong to us sometimes stay in, and sometimes are allowed out back in the (fenced-in) yard, depending on the weather. Some of them will come in from outside specifically to use the litter box, but there are three (Mister Boogers, Sugarbutt, and Tommy) who will always take the opportunity to go outside, dig in the dirt, and leave a little somethin’ behind. I’m torn between being glad that there’s that much less mess in the litter box and being peeved that there’s that much more mess in MY BACKYARD.

We have four litter boxes – two in the laundry room, one in the upstairs bathroom, and one in the foster kitten room. I clean them out twice a day, in the morning and again at night. I keep them as clean as possible, and if I decide it needs to be done, I’ll do a quick middle-of-the-day scooping.

I understand why people hate to clean out the litter box – it’s a nasty, thankless business – but do they not realize that after their cats dig through a nasty never-cleaned-out litter box, they then take their nasty germ-covered paws and tromp all over the furniture, and their owners? It behooves an owner to keep those litter boxes sparkling!


I have this vague memory that at one point, eons ago, Mama and Newt really weren’t your cats. Didn’t you talk a neighbor into taking them if you paid to have them fixed? Has that neighbor ever said anything about “her” cats living with you? Or am I remembering this totally wrong?

Nope, you’re remembering that right. But apparently Mama and Newt didn’t like being indoor kitties, and when they were let outside, they decided it was more comfy over here, where there’s a heated cat house on the front porch, and lots of food and water available. It was never MY intention to let them inside – why would we? They have food water and shelter on the front porch! – but FRED started letting them inside when it was cold out, and now they spend part of the day and most nights in the house with us. It works out pretty well, and Mama and Newt are always ready to go outside first thing in the morning. The neighbor’s never said anything about us “stealing” her cats, but they do go over there and visit with her from time to time, too.


I’m confused! Who is Skittles? Your cat page is out of date.Can you give us a run-down? I thought I was good till you mentioned Fred said you have 10 cats and now there’s pictures of Skittles and all of a sudden I woke up and said “wait. Who’s Skittles?”


I have to agree with the general confusion about your cats. Skittles has sure been there a long time to be a foster. Also – it would be good to have a picture of each cat with all of their names/nicknames along the sidebar. You know, a quick-reference guide. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you have a new cat or just a new name for an existing one.

Okay, here we go. A picture of each cat with his/ her name and nicknames, and what they’re doing in our house. I’ll start with the temporaries.

Skittles. Nicknames: Twittles, Missy, Little Sister.
Skittles is a foster kitten, and yes – she’s been with us for a long time. This is because her two sisters at the pet store – Punki and Felicia – haven’t been adopted yet. Once one (or both!) of them are adopted, there’ll be room for Skittles and Elle. I think she’s about eight months old.

Elle. Nicknames: Elleh-Belleh, Missy, Sister.
Elle’s a foster. She’s been with us for quite some time, too, for the same reason as Skittles has. They’re both awfully sweet – and no, we’re not adopting them. She’s about eight months old, I think.

Maxi. Nicknames: Miss Mama, Mama, Tony Soprano.
Maxi (we usually call her Miss Mama, though) showed up in our back yard before the house was ours. She had obviously recently given birth, and it was probably a month later that she showed up on our front porch with her litter of kittens. With her was Newt (below), who we assumed was the father of the kittens. He was very, very attached to Miss Mama and would rub up against her and follow her around and give her the Love Eyes.

Eventually, we snatched Maxi and Newt up and brought them inside. We had the whole lot of them spayed and neutered, adopted the kittens out through the shelter I volunteer for, and Miss Mama and Newt were supposed to belong to a neighbor, who offered to take them in. As I mentioned above, Maxi and Newt had other plans, and adopted us. They were supposed to be outside-only cats, but Fred is a great big softie, and ended up bringing them inside. They stay inside a lot, but anytime they want out, they let us know. We don’t keep them inside against their will. Also, we always claim they’re “Not ours”, though no one (not even us!) believes us. I have no idea how old she is.

Newt. Nickname: Newtles.
As mentioned above, when we first saw Newt, we thought he was the father of Maxi’s kittens. The vet said she thought he might be one of her kittens from an earlier litter. At the time (a year ago), she said she didn’t think he was completely grown yet. I’d guess he’s somewhere in the vicinity of two years old now.

Spanky. Nickname: Skitty-boo.
Spanky’s the elder statesman of our cats. We got him when he was itty-bitty; less than 10 weeks old, I think. He was very very clingy and friendly at first, but then Spot taught him to be skittish and scared of people. He’ll eventually – once he gets to know you – come out from hiding and walk around the room, stretching, but he prefers not to be touched by you, thx. He’s about eleven and a half years old.

Scrappy. Nickname: Miz Poo, Poo, Poo pie, Pootypants.
Miz Poo (we never ever call her “Scrappy”) is my baby, and for a long time was the only girl. I got her when she was about 10 weeks old, I think. I saw her in the store that the rescue I now volunteer for used to run, fell in love with her, harassed Fred to let me get her, decided not to, and then went back two weeks later, she took one look at me and howled and howled, and I had to have her. She rules the roost with an iron paw, but if any of the other cats fight back she’ll run away hissing. She’s clingy and needy and a pain, but I love her so much. She’s 8 years old.

Stanley. Nickname: Mister Boogers, Boogs, Boogie, Stumpy.
Though his “legal” name is Stanley, we never call him that – he’s always Mister Boogers, Boogs, or Boogie to us. We got him in October of 2003, a little while after our cat Fancypants went missing. One day, Fred decided it was time for a new cat. I had shown Fred a picture of one of the kittens at the shelter, and Fred was so amused by the look on his face (he was named “Paw Paw” at the time) that he asked to see him. Mister Boogers was by himself in a bathroom because he was recovering from an upper respiratory infection, and as soon as Fred picked him up, he purred so hard that his little cheeks puffed out. It was pretty much a done deal the instant Mister Boogers waggled his little stump of a tail. For a little while I called him “Beanie” or “The Bean”, but that was before his true nickname – “Mister Boogers” – evolved. Though I have been known to put up a picture (or a thousand of them) of Mister Boogers proclaiming that he hates you, the deep dark secret is that Mister Boogers is a total sweetheart and a lovebug. Don’t tell him I told you that. He’s about five and a half years old.

(Orange) Sugarbutt. Nicknames: Suggie, Toogie, Sugarman.
(Black) Tom Cullen. Nicknames: Tom, Tommy, Tom-Tom, Toms.
Tommy and Sugarbutt were both from a litter of foster kittens we had in late summer, early fall 2005 (you can read about them starting here). They – along with their brother, who looked just like Sugarbutt, and their sister who was a tortie – were very little when we first got them. Sugarbutt was named “Sad Eyes” when I got him, and had what we thought was a prolapsed rectum. It was so bad that I asked the shelter manager what to do, and she said that sugar on a wet washcloth might help the swelling; this is how he ended up with the name “Sugarbutt.” (Tommy was named “Barrett”, which didn’t fit him at all – I called him “Bear” for a while before we decided to adopt him, and renamed him “Tom Cullen” for the character in Stephen King’s The Stand).

The day the whole litter was to go to the pet store, Tommy developed a mysterious limp. I decided to keep him for a few extra days just to keep an eye on him, and by the time he was better, we’d fallen in love with his solemn little face. In the meantime, Sugarbutt was adopted out and then returned by the man who’d adopted him, saying that he was bleeding rectally. I picked him up from the vet and kept him for two weeks (he was on antibiotics), and by the time the two weeks was up, there was no question but that we’d keep him. They’re quite attached to each other, and can often be found grooming and loving upon each other. We call Tommy our “Ambassador”, because he’s the first one to try to make friends with the new foster kitties. They’re about two and a half years old.

Stinkerbelle. Nicknames: Miss Stanky, Stinkybutt, Stinkybottom, Missy.
Stinkerbelle was one of a litter of kittens we had in the summer of 2007 (you can read about them starting here). These kittens were as close to feral as any fosters we’ve ever had, and I worried about them a LOT. Stinkerbelle was the worst – she wouldn’t let us touch her, she’d run from us, and getting medication down her throat was a nightmare. Her sister came around and decided to be friendly the fastest, so she went to the pet store first. Her brothers weren’t far behind, so they went next, which left Stinkerbelle (whose original name was Maryanne, since we went with a Gilligan’s Island theme) alone. The instant she was alone, she became a lot friendlier. She was here for several weeks after her brothers and sister were gone, and she and Fred bonded. Aside from that, she was very, very enamored of Tommy – in fact, her brothers were quite attached to Tommy, too, which led us to believe that their mother had been a black cat.

She went to the pet store on a Friday, and the following Monday morning she hadn’t been adopted, and in fact it looked like she’d spent all night trying to dig her way out of her cage. I made the mistake of telling Fred that, and he began telling me to go get her and bring her home. Bring her home. Bring her home NOW, bring her home. Although I tried my best to get him to wait and see if someone would adopt her, he wouldn’t hear of it, and instead stopped on his way home to pick her up and bring her home. The instant she heard his voice, she started howling, and that was all she wrote.

She’s a skittish little brat who runs away if you try to pet her (unless you approach her very slowly), and begins howling for Snackin’ Time an hour before it’s time. She’s gorgeous and she’s kind of a little hussy (she lurves Tommy the most, but if Tommy’s not available, she’ll get some lovin’ from Mister Boogers, and she’s even recently made advances toward Skittles, who is unimpressed) and Fred will tell you at length how soft and silky her fur is, and how beautiful her blue eyes are. He’s a man in love, I guess. She’s about nine months old.

Joe Bob. Nicknames: Joey, Bobby (he hasn’t really been around long enough to develop any long-term nicknames).
You may or may not remember Joe Bob from about a year ago (read starting here). At the time, he was named Moonman, and he was a foster along with his sister Moondance. Fred said one day “He’s such a bubba!”, and I said “He looks like a Joe Bob!”, and his new name (at least to us) was born. (His sister became Myrtle to us.) Joe Bob and Myrtle were with us for a break from the pet store, where they’d been sitting in a cage for ages. They were with us for quite a while, but Myrtle was a bit of a hellbeast, and wore out her welcome. She went to the pet store and Joe Bob was soon to follow, but he developed a urinary tract infection, so we kept him for a few more weeks.

Once he was healed, he went to Petsmart as well. He sat in a cage for a lonnnnng time, and was finally adopted after a couple of months. The people who adopted him ended up returning him (I don’t know the reason why), and he went back to the shelter. And then he stayed there. His sister got adopted (she was actually very sweet but had a really scary scream on her when she was annoyed), and every so often we’d talk about Joe Bob and what a good kitty he was. Earlier this week, after we said goodbye to Spot, we started talking about the idea of adopting a new kitty. NOT because we were replacing Spot, but because the best way to honor his memory was to rescue another cat. We discussed Punki, we talked about just waiting, and then Fred said “Joe Bob! Let’s adopt Joe Bob!” I agreed, but said I wanted to wait a couple of weeks, because I wanted things to CALM DOWN around here.

But Fred is like a two year-old when he gets an idea in his head, so after work on Wednesday he went to the shelter and adopted Joe Bob. The shelter manager was VERY excited that we were adopting him. We brought him home, and he’s been in the foster kitty room ever since. He’s a little freaked out, so we’re taking it slow. He likes being petted, but he’s a little leery of the other cats. Given that he and Tommy and Sugs were good friends before he left for the pet store last year, I hope he makes friends with them again. It’ll take time, but we’ve got all the time in the world.


2007: Maybe she IS part cougar.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.

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