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.