Can I ask, are all the permanent residents past fosters, and if so why did you choose to keep them?
Three of the seven (Alice, Dewey and Charlie) are former fosters (or “foster fails”, if you prefer.) The rest (Newt, Jake, Archie and Khal) all showed up on our doorstep when we lived at Crooked Acres (where we lived 2006 – 2017, and which is located about 10 minutes from where we live now.)
Alice actually showed up on our doorstep too, now that I’ve said that. On a FREEZING December evening in 2010 Fred stepped onto our front porch and a kitten raced from the front porch to our side yard and hid under a bush. We tried luring her out and had no luck, so Fred trapped her. She was so tiny that I guesstimated that she was about 2 months old, but the vet told us that she was actually more like six months old. She was a terrified girl and took a lot of time and effort on our part (mostly on Fred’s part – he loves the challenge of semi-ferals), but she warmed up after a while. She joined the rest of the fosters we had at the time – the Brady Bunch litter – and that’s how she got her name, after Alice from the Brady Bunch. The vet told us that she didn’t think Alice would ever be more than 7 pounds (HA), and when it was time for her to go to Petsmart with the rest of the litter, Fred started talking about keeping her as a permanent resident because he’d gotten attached to her (and loved the idea that she’d always be a tiny girl (HA HA).) Only, instead of saying “Yes, let’s keep her,” he WAFFLED about it and couldn’t make up his mind and since he wouldn’t just SAY that he wanted to keep her, off she went. For like 24 hours. Fred missed her so much that the very next morning we raced to Petsmart and brought her back home. She’s now 12 years old and did not stay tiny.
Dewey was our foster for Challenger’s House in 2016. He’d been discovered living in an industrial park, where we assume he was dumped. He was about 8 months old when we got him – Susan asked us to take him for a while because she knew of Fred’s affinity for scaredy cats, and hoped that we could make him less scared and more confident. Dewey was pretty timid, but warmed up to Fred (and eventually to me.) He got along well with the other cats, and in fact became great buddies with Frankie (who has since passed). We ultimately decided that we couldn’t stand the thought of him at Petsmart, terrified. And since he got along so well with the other permanent residents, we decided to keep him. In the years since we adopted him, he’s become somewhat solitary – that is, he’s fine with the other permanent residents, but he doesn’t seek them out and prefers to hang out alone – and he’s also decided that he DOES NOT WANT me to take his picture. I swear to you, if I even think about trying to take his picture he ::POOFS:: into another dimension. I finally decided to respect his wishes, which is why you only see old pictures of him now. He’s 6 years old.
Charlie was our foster in 2020 – he came to us as part of the Mewsketeers litter. We had no intention of making him a permanent resident, but as the rest of his litter was adopted, and the time came near for him to go to Petsmart, he suddenly seemed like he might be a good fit. He got along well with the permanent residents, and most importantly, when he wanted to play with Alice and she hissed at him, he respected that and didn’t harass her. We decided to adopt him, and nearly immediately changed his name to Charles, Prince of Wails (because he would wail and wail if there was a closed door he wanted to be on the other side of) and always call him Charlie. (Fred would like credit for “knowing that Charlie was a good one from the very first time we met him.”) In the year and a half since we adopted him, he continues to be buddies with Jake and Khal and he and Archie can even be seen playing together. He’s also always interested in the fosters and a good Uncle (though he hasn’t met this current batch since introducing him to kittens when there’s a mother present hasn’t gone well with some previous fosters. Mamas tend to be pretty protective.) He turned 2 years old in June.
And while I’m at it, how about a quick rundown on the permanent residents who were NOT fosters?
Newt basically came with the house when we bought Crooked Acres. We bought the house in September 2006 and then spent the next several months renovating the inside. Before we bought the house, we met a little black cat who was clearly feeding kittens. A few weeks later she showed up with Newt. And a few weeks after that, she brought the kittens she was nursing. We had Maxi and Newt fixed (he was accidentally named after Newt Gingrich when I needed a name for him the day I was taking them to be spayed/ neutered. I figured I’d change his name later, but he stayed Newt) and a neighbor was going to take them. She did, but had them as indoor/outdoor cats, and it didn’t take them any time at all to decide they preferred life on our porch… and eventually inside. (I once said that being inside was frightening to Newt, but he’s long since overcome that fear.) He adored Maxi for the rest of her life (and he was the only cat she tolerated). We initially thought he might be the father of her kittens, but the vet suggested he could be her kitten from a previous litter (though someone has since informed me that that’s not genetically possible. I don’t know where he came from or what their relationship was, but I know he loved her!) Newt is 16 years old now and slowing down – but doing great for an old guy. He’s of the opinion that he needs to be given canned food every time I’m in the kitchen, and I give in more often than I’d like to admit.
Jake and his nearly-identical brother Elwood were left on our doorstep in 2009. While we were going to just foster Jake and Elwood for Challenger’s House and have them adopted out, it took about a day before we admitted that we were keeping them. (I don’t consider them to be former fosters, because I don’t think they ever made it into the Challenger’s House system). Unfortunately, when they were three years old, we lost Elwood to FIP. Jake has always been a cat who loves other cats (though he doesn’t really care for kittens now that he’s gotten older), and after Elwood’s passing he transferred his affections to the other permanent residents. Currently he’s buddies with Charlie, Khal, and Dewey. Jake is 13 years old and doing just fine. Health-wise, I don’t know that the boy has ever needed to go to the vet except for his yearly checkups (though it’s entirely possible I’m forgetting something.)
Archie showed up on our property in late 2013. He was skittish at first, but I’ve mentioned that Fred likes a challenge, so it wasn’t long before Fred charmed him and he warmed up to both of us. It was our INTENTION to have him as an outdoor cat with plenty of safe spaces to hole up and keep warm, but one day Archie decided he was an indoor cat. He climbed over the backyard fence and came in through the cat door, and despite spending AN ENTIRE WEEKEND trying to stop him from getting over the fence, we could not stop the force of nature that is Archie, so gave up. He has ZERO fear of humans, and if you’ve been to our house and met any of our cats, Archie’s probably the one (Newt might be the other one). He’s friendly for a few minutes, but he reaches his limit pretty quickly, and when he decides he’s done he will stomp away. He’s got a hair-trigger temper and always looks like he’s on the verge of snapping, but has never once scratched me. He could be in a screaming stand-off with another cat, all muscles completely tense, and I can reach down and pick him up without fear. (The one time he scratched Fred, it was because Fred picked him up and Archie didn’t realize he was there, so was startled.) He’ll talk a good talk with hissing and growling at other cats, but when the rubber meets the road, he’d much rather stomp away swearing than actually get into a physical altercation. (If I were a cat, I’d 100% be Archie.) Archie is 9 years old.
Khal Drogo showed up on our property around 2015. He was extremely skittish, and the instant he caught sight of us, he’d disappear. He stopped showing up (we figured he’d either moved along or been gotten by a predator), and then started showing up again sometime in 2016. Fred worked very hard for several months to gain his trust, and finally succeeded. It took another year for him to decide I was okay – and then one day I sat in the chair where Fred always sits, Khal jumped up in my lap, and I’ve been A-OK in his eyes ever since. He snuggles with me when we’re watching TV and if I don’t continually pet him, he will tilt his head and squeak at me until I do. He has turned out to be the gentlest of souls, and is the cat who will put up with Jake’s needy ways the longest. Also, have I mentioned that he’s fabulous? True story! We figure Khal is about 8 years old. Also, he’s FIV positive.
I can’t get over how gorgeous, sleek, and healthy these cuties look. Because they came to you not as newborns, and having had sort of a rough start, they looked a bit seedy (though cute and with endless possibilities of course) when you first started sharing their stories with us. Kudos to Robyn and Fred for the super good care and love you have lavished on these sweet kittens.
They did look a bit seedy, didn’t they? It’s amazing what decent food and some antibiotics will do for a seedy-looking kitten!
I love how at the right angle (4th picture), Fergus’s light spots on his muzzle look a little like buck teeth. (and makes him slightly look like a cartoon rabbit)
It really does! That is HILARIOUS.
You know how I mused about the stripey whiskers here is a paper on cat genetics.
Very cool – thanks!
Sherron shared this on Facebook a few days ago, which I thought was interesting, too:
I thought since you have 2 Siamese right now I’d share this which I ran across on a page-a-day cat calendar about why they appear cross-eyed: “The crossed eyes of Siamese cats developed naturally to compensate for a genetic flaw in the breed’s eye structure. Siamese cats MUST cross their eyes to see straight. Unlike human retinas, which rest at the back of our eye sockets straight on, meaning we look straight ahead to see , Siamese cat’s left retina is tilted toward the right and the right retina is tilted left, meaning that if the cat looked straight ahead, its brain would register 2 different images. When they cross their eyes, they’re placing their retinas in line to send the correct visual message to the brain.”
And all these years I’ve been feeling sorry for them for seeing double!
So, the boys are off for their neuter surgeries today! I didn’t mention it, but the girls were actually spayed on Wednesday. There were some crossed signals and I found out Tuesday night that spay/neuter day was Wednesday – but they couldn’t fit the boys in (there were a lot of cats/kittens needing to be spayed and neutered) so they were bumped to today. Which is fine, since that’s when I thought it was anyway! To summarize: the girls have been spayed, the boys are being neutered today. Jocasta was spayed before I got her.
The only kittens who are currently adoption pending are Fergus, Lord John Grey, and Ian & Angus (Ian & Angus are going together.) All the other kittens (Brianna, Lizzie, Marsali, Jenny, Jamie and Roger) are still available, and so is Jocasta. Hopefully their people will come along soon!
Breakfast is served!
Throw Back Thursday: From 2018, Ryder and her nine (yes, all of them were hers!) kittens. 8 at the milk bar, and Gauge over there missing out on dinner time because he couldn’t believe how darn good-looking he was. (Her kittens’ names: Axle, Cam, Clutch, Cruise, Dynamo, Gauge, Fender, Pulley & Solenoid)
Throw Back Thursday: In 2013 we had a 4-pack of bottle babies named Arya, Brandon, Hodor and Jon Snow. I always thought that Jon Snow sounded like a little seagull when he was yelling to be fed. (The video ends abruptly because, well, I went to feed him!)
Throw Back Thursday: From 2007, one of my all-time favorite pictures. That’s our permanent resident Sugarbutt (who we lost 7 years ago tomorrow – he was the BEST), and our chicken Fricassee (Frick). Frick totally had a crush on Sugarbutt, but Sugarbutt could not be bothered with any ol’ chicken.
Tossing toys for kittens. They’re getting the hang of it!
Jenny and Lord John kind of halfheartedly tussle through the fishy tunnel – and special appearance by Ian.
2021: Archie and the Ears of Annoyance.
2020: Yes, I squooshed Benjamin.
2019: Flat on the floor is where that belly can be found most of the time.
2018: (I’m craving a chocolate frosted donut with sprinkles and just have no idea why.)
2017: No entry.
2016: Uncle Dennis!
2015: Let’s not tell Fred about this, okay?
2014: Leapin’ Tuesday.
2013: “I BITE YOU.”
2012: No entry.
2011: “I am NOT faking it. Stop looking at me like that.”
2010: The Bookworms (Bolitar, to be exact!)
2009: Fighting amongst the shoes.
2008: “You want a piece of ME? Because I will mess you UP.”
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: I sure do love these kitties, and MAN am I going to miss them when they’re gone.