3-17-10 – Maura annnnnnd… the new guys!

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Thanks, you guys, for your suggestions yesterday. I hope none of you were offended by my suggested use of “The Micks” as a name to call Maura’s litter; I didn’t intend to offend anyone. I always thought the term came from the fact that so many Irish surnames start with “Mc”, but after reading further, I realized it ain’t necessarily so.

In any case, I’ve decided to go with “The McMaos,” as suggested by Ms. Darkstar. KarmaCat suggested I go with O’Malley as a surname, pointed out that that would make Maura’s initials MOM, and I was going to go with that ’til Ms. Darkstar popped in with McMao. Which just cracks me up every time I say it out loud! Maura McMao!

Other suggestions I liked included “The Shamrocks”, “The Clovers”, “The Hooligans,” and “The Lucky Charms.”

Also, as a correction to my entry yesterday, I got an email from the shelter manager regarding spaying pregnant cats:

Yes, we do spay pregnant cats and yes we have spayed them right up pretty close to term. Every spring we get call after call about pregnant cats. Although we do spay many of them, most of us hate to. So early in the “season” the first couple pregnant cats we take are left to have their babies. When foster homes are full and there is no more space available then it becomes necessary to spay them while they are pregnant.

After I posted yesterday’s entry, I realized that there was just no way all the shelters in this area could hold all the pregnant cats and their litters – it’s not possible, given how many people don’t spay and neuter their cats.


(I knew y’all knew that – I just had to say.)

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Okay, sit down. Are you sitting? (Or were you standing over your computer reading this quickly because if you’re not sitting down, you’re not really on the computer? I do that, too, especially when Fred’s all annoyed because he wants to watch something on TV and I can’t tear myself away from my computer. “I just have to check this real quick, I’ll be right there, I’M NOT SITTING DOWN THEREFORE I AM NOT ON MY COMPUTER!”)

So, sit down.

On Monday, I was talking to Fred on the phone, and he said “I have to read you this email from Bob. You’re not going to like it.”

“Oh no,” I said. “What?”

Bob is the guy who spotted Mike, Gus, Veruca and Violet outside his office window back in October. Who called Fred and told him, which made Fred go running over with a box to rescue that awesome litter and bring them home to me.

::Sigh:: I miss Mike and Gus!

Anyway, the email said, in short “There are more kittens over here. I saw the mother cat briefly, but haven’t seen her since I spotted the kittens.”

“I hate him,” I said to Fred.

We discussed and dithered and discussed some more. The thing is, we wanted to try to trap the mother cat so we could get her spayed and either find her a home or release her to go forth and bring no more babies into the world. But if Fred went and took the kittens right then, the mother cat wasn’t going to keep coming around. I made Fred call the shelter manager and ask for her advice. Her advice was to leave the kittens, bring the trap to work with him the next morning, and set it up using mackerel as bait. We have a Havahart trap which we’ve actually never successfully used before. (Something was getting into the garden, I think, and Fred was trying to trap it, but it never caught anything, and thank god for that!)

So yesterday morning, Fred set up the trap (he gets to work before it’s light out), and went back to check on it during the day a couple of times. He couldn’t set the trap up where the kittens were, since they were under low-to-the-ground Holly bushes, so he set it up nearby. When he left work at 3:00, there was nothing in the trap. He rebaited the trap with fresh mackerel, and then the first kitten came running out from under the bushes to greet him.

He picked it up and pushed it back under the bushes, and it ran right back out with another kitten behind it. The kittens refused to stay put under the bushes and he was worried that they’d wander into the parking lot and get hurt, so he decided to bring them home.

Is it weird that I was just a tiny bit disappointed that none of them look anything like Gus or Mike?

I believe they’re about a month old. They are SUPER healthy looking and acting, just like the Wonkas were. They’re at that age when they’re on the cusp of everything – just about ready to eat solid food, just about ready to use the litter box, just about to figure out that whole “playing” thing. Only one of them is the tiniest bit timid, but they’re very friendly. Oh, and all four of them are boys. I’ve never had an all-boy litter before! All girls, yes, but never all boys. First time for everything, I suppose.

Pardon the crappy pictures – I hope to get more later today.

The super friendliest of the bunch.

The one on the right is the slightly timid one – but even he was climbing up into my lap this morning.

Checkin’ out one of the litter boxes.

Fred’s in charge of naming this bunch. He suggested a few possibilities, but he’s still thinking about it.

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Still no babies from Maura today. I had kind of hoped she’d birth those babies on St. Patrick’s Day – I swear, every single time I go into the room, she’s gotten visibly larger – but I’m not going to hold my breath.

“That is not a baby head, that is a rib.”

“That’s my liver, dummy.”

“Annnnd that’s my spleen. Now that we know all my internal organs are intact, is it time for a snack?”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Newt had us worried. He disappeared for five days (for those who don’t know, Maxi and Newt are our free-roaming cats. They came “with” the house, were originally supposed to belong to a neighbor, but decided they liked us better. We say they’re not OUR cats, but even we don’t believe that anymore. They spend a lot of time in our house, but basically come and go at will.). Maxi’s disappeared for a few days before, but Newt never has. When it had been three days, Fred started assuming that Newt had shuffled off to Buffalo (I’m sorry, I just laughed out loud after I typed that. It’s the height of dorkiness to laugh at your own joke, I know, but I can’t help it).

This morning, Newt was casually waiting at the door to be let in and fed. He’s perfectly fine. I guess it being Spring (at least by the calendar, though the temperature sure doesn’t make it feel very Springlike), he decided it was time to go walkabout.


2009: No entry.
2008: No entry.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



3-17-10 – Maura annnnnnd… the new guys! — 23 Comments

  1. Robyn, I just want to add an “AYE” to your message: SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR DOGS AND CATS, PEOPLE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD… and BAST. Wherever you are.

    As a TNR advocate for our neighbourhood, we’ve had to sterilise pregnant cats very near to term too (and don’t get me started about the big virile alpha males who roam around sowing seeds with abandon, and run a mile from you at the slightest attempt to get near.)

    Bringing a pregnant cat in for sterilisation is a horrible thing to have to decide to do, but with the lack of alternatives it’s often not a choice. The alternative might be being witness to potential disasters: flattened kittens on the roads, crawling out of carparks maimed or injured by cars or bigger cats, sitting in drains sick and lethargic.

    Also, in Singapore, if you wait for the mum to give birth, one big problem is how you’re going to make sure of logistics for fostering/rehoming he kittens, or even finding and keeping track of their development until they’re ready to be abducted from their mummy and prepared for adoption. Then you also got to make sure you do get Mummy cat de-mojoed, hopefully before she got preggeres again.

    Even if you can find a foster willing to take mum and foster her until she pops and the babies are adopted, what happens to mum? If she was feral, she would have been stressed by being indoors, sometimes to the point of illness. If she’s friendly, it would only be right to find her a home. But reality bites. Time and again, experience at the shelter confirms mummy cats are hard to rehome. Some mummies are still there a few years after their babies have flown the coop, so to speak, even the pretty ones. There are precious few places here for kitty fostering, and fewer still where the mummies are not slapped with eviction orders if they can’t land a home within a certain period of time – sometimes it’s just the foster’s patience, interest or money running out before the mummy cat’s time came. Luckily, at Foster Mum’s, every cat can stay until they leave for a home, or to go to cat heaven.

    Robyn, the cats in your locale are still luckier than most here in Singapore, thanks to places like Challenger House and wonderful people like you and Fred.

  2. I have to admit, I was committing another computer ‘sin’, while reading this post… talking on the phone while checking the net.
    As a result, my conversation about travel plans was just interupted by “Oooooooooooooh NEW BABIES, yipeeeeeee!”. Red face!

    More importantly though, babies!

    You guys really are saints, rescuing those little guys. What are you going to do about the momma cat, will you still try and trap her so she can be spayed?

  3. Oh my gosh, baby blue kitten eyes.. sigh…. You certainly get what you wish for, now don’t you! You are a wonderful woman and what a great husband you have to help all these cats!

    I notice your cats have large collar attachments. Are these for an underground fence or a cat door?

  4. babies!!! they look NOTHING like the wonkas. i wonder if it’s the same mom? or just a different dad. when/if you catch her, her name should DEFINITELY be floozy! 😉

    how long is a cat’s gestation?

  5. p.p.s

    i googled cat gestation: 63-65 days

    that equals….something in weeks.

    9! 9 weeks. so by your estimation, she’s got a couple more weeks to go yet?

  6. Dittoes on the spaying and neutering…and the comment about the virile males sowing seed all over…we had at least 3 toms visiting our porch for a neighbor’s queen who must’ve been ‘in the mood’…and one of them marked our front door…eewww. I wish I could trap and neuter these guys, but I doubt anyone does that surgery for free, plus they don’t have shots and all that. Just makes me so frustrated. We have a mostly indoor barn cat who is spayed, and two all-indoor house cats who are spayed. Love them all soo much and can’t imagine letting them roam the way some of the neighbors do here.
    I admire the way you take such awesome care with the fosters and think it’s wonderful, thanks for the posts and the photos!

  7. Oh that is sad that they do have to spay some of the pregnant cats that come in – it has to be very hard for them to make that decision.

    And I think McMao is very cute!

    And the newbies are adorable! And I love that you say you hate Bob because you know you really love that he is good enough to let you know about the kittens so they can be helped. I hope that the trap for the mom works out. I wonder if they have the same mom as the Wonka’s did – same spot makes me think maybe. I can’t wait to find out their names!!

  8. Wow, how did I miss all this new stuff that’s been going on? I love the name McMao…cracks me up every time I think about it…the new kitties are adorable…not as adorable as the Wonkas (I know, I’m still in love with Veruca), but still quite adorable! Hope their little mamacat gets trapped one of these days.

    I love the anatomy lessons from Maura…she does look quite unamused with the poking and prodding 🙂 Can’t wait for her little babies to arrive…tiny squiggly little newborn kittens…sigh…how cute!

    Oh, and last but not least, glad that Newt’s back! He probably went off and had himself a little adventure and then remembered that you’re the one who feeds him, so he shuffled back home!

  9. So mamma cat is still on the lose? Perhaps you can still try to trap her.

    It’s a pity there’s not a PAAWS (http://paawsproject.org/) in every city like there is in Fargo. My friend volunteers there and when I visit I’m drafted into the cause. They will trap and spay or neuter feral cats for free (and charge a nominal amount to low-income people) and either re-release them or, if they can be tamed, find homes for them. It certainly fills a necessary need.

  10. Poor mama cat :sigh: I keep thinking about her coming back to find her babies gone, sad. Of course I understand it was better for the kittens. I just hope she can be caught and re-united with them!

    Have fun! You wanted babies – you got ’em!


  11. The kittens are adorable and so is Maura. Can’t wait to see her babies.
    I must ask why on earth do you allow Maxi and Newt to ‘free-roam’. All I have ever heard is that free-roamers have shortened lives with all the horrible things that could happen to them. You evidently have a large property and you equip your other cats with electronic collars so why not these two?

  12. Gerri – I would say it depends on the cat and the area you live in. Our cat Autumn was a stray who we adopted when he was around two. We lived in a residential neighborhood and he is doing well at 20 years old. Once their outdoor without collars it can be hard to contain them.

  13. New babies! OMG how absolutely squishable are they!
    And a batch still cooking in mum’s belly, how cute!
    I think Fred might consider calling them after the type of bush they scampered out of or the surname of the man who keeps reporting them or even the company or street name of where he works. or he might just have a better idea.
    The stray my brother was feeding and who is my little Zorro’s mum has had another litter but she’s lying low. Z’s little sister/brother goes around but as my brother is moving in 10 days things don’t look to rosy. I hate when he takes only partial responsibility!
    Many happy days with the new kids and happy baking, Maura.

  14. OMG! the Kitties!!

    You guys are so wonderful – thank you for being there for these cats and their kitties.

    And I love the name McMoas!! 🙂 I’m on tenterhooks waiting for the gorgeous Maura to introduce everyone to her kitties.


    Glad Newt is back. My friend is in the same situation. He moved into this new house, next door’s cats decided they liked going to him and much as he tried to dissuade them and keep returning them to his neighbour’s the cats just kept sneaking back to his house instead. They stay with him now 6 days out of 7!

    I always say, cats choose you and never the other way round!

    p.s amen to spaying and neutering.


    Happy St Patricks

    Take care

  15. To Ruth O…google low cost spay/neuter for your area. True, most likely it will not be free, but you never know what’s available in your area for a low fee. A rescue group might have some deal for you and loan you a trap…or for $50, if you can alter a female cat,and save some lives, it’s money well spent.

    I keep a $50 bill in my wallet, literally, so that I have it when I need it. I’ve been trying to trap a female who has birthed 2 litters in the last 6 months. Only one of the kittens has survived. She’s a clever one, and thus far, has outsmarted my trap. All Love and Hisses readers…I really need good thoughts and prayers for this undertaking. I’ve never been outsmarted by a feline before, and she is frustrating me beyond belief.

    Calsifer, who posted regarding spay/neuter, is so right. Sick and dying kittens are the consequence of not altering stray and feral cats. Most are not going to make it, and will die awful deaths. There’s too many of them, and not enough kind people out there.
    Robyn’s pictures of kittens are so beautiful,and truly capture the beauty and the sheer cuteness of kittenhood, and what she and her husband do is saintly. From experience I can tell you this couple are the exception. The harsh reality is that most kittens born outside will never experience a start in life so loving.

    Robyn, I suspect someone has dumped those kittens there. Even a month old feral kitten will not come running out for human attention. Nevertheless, they are gorgeous little things and you are back at full capacity again. Hope you are feeling well and recovered 🙂

  16. Aww! babies! You asked for them though! Could this be the litter of Organs? That litte gray stripped one looks like he would be happy with being called “Spleen”, lol!

    In anyways, they’re adorable and I can’t wait to see the new ones!

  17. Having gone through several foster/stray moms giving birth (including one who decided – without telling me – that her “safe” birthing spot was my lap) that once Maura’s milk comes in (and it’s pretty obvious when that happens) you can expect labor to start within 48-72 hours.

  18. (((Robyn & Fred))) You guys have the biggest hearts! And, yeah… to paraphrase Deleilan, “Be careful what you ask for!”

    Maura’s commentary was a stitch and the boys are just priceless. This is going to be an interesting few months coming up!! Is Fred still manning the trap to try to get momma?

    PS – CathouseBlues, you had me ROFL!

  19. Robyn:

    Awwww!!!! look at the beautiful new boys!!

    Meant to comment yesterday and tell you I have the older boy version of your Maura. Mine’s name is Beauregard but generally goes by Beau (or Bo-bo depending on how pleased I am with him) but he looks JUST like her. I’ll have to email you a picture. Even down to the few little white hairs on his chest – although his are seriously just a few hairs whereas hers is a spot.

    Glad to hear the kittens are so healthy – and I hope you find the mom to get her taken care of!


  20. Organics! Come on Fred, you know you want to…

    Aorta, Spleen, Liver and Brain. 😉

    So pretty… I’m about to move to my own unit (with no pets allowed, alas) and I will miss my grumpy Tabfee (Tabbytha).