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I’ve been curious about this, and I can’t remember if you mentioned it before – why does the shelter not like to repeat names? I get that you don’t want twenty kittens named Spot running around at once, but it must be hard to think of names after a while.


What happens if the shelter gets a cat that HAS a name, and it’s a name that’s already been used? Like, someone adopts Uniquenamecat and in their home he becomes (say) Rufus. Then two years later something happens and they have to return now-Rufus to the shelter – since he’s been Rufus for so long, would the shelter continue calling him Rufus even though there was already a Rufus I? Or if, for another instance, a stray was found with a collar that had the name “Rufus” on it but no contact info. Would they make an exception to help (I would think) make the transition(s) easier on the cat? I’d think it’d add to the stress to suddenly have a new name on top of everything else.

Oh, the things I think about, trying to get myself to go to sleep…!!

(The name “Rufus” is now nonsense to me, by the way.)

The shelter prefers to use names that haven’t been used in the past just because it’s simpler for record keeping purposes – if there are 15 black and white cats named “Spot”, it’s hard to know who’s who after a while. I know that after a certain amount of time, or if a cat passes on, the name is allowed to be used again, so it’s not like once there’s a cat named Spot, it is NEVER used again.

I’m honestly not sure what happens if the shelter gets a cat with a name that’s been used in the past – if, say, I turned Sugarbutt in to the shelter and there’d already been a Sugarbutt, I suspect that they’d probably just list him as “Sugarbutt Anderson.” Or if a cat showed up with a name that had been used before (this is just a guess on my part), they’d either keep the name as is (assuming that the previous cat or cats with that name weren’t the same kind of cat) or add a second name.

There are ways to get around the whole naming thing – for instance, I was pretty tied to the idea of naming one of our then-fosters “Cara”, but since that had been used before, I went with “Kara.” Had “Dorothy” been used in the past (can you believe it hadn’t been?), I would have gone with “Dorothy Gale.”

I’m forever surprised by names that haven’t been used, and as of yet I haven’t had a terribly hard time coming up with names. I actually have a whole email folder of names that I go and look through if I’m stumped. There are a lot of names out there. I name kittens expecting that they’ll be renamed when they’re adopted and go to their forever homes, so I don’t get TOO attached to the names, and I’m never ever insulted when one of my fosters is renamed.

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The mom wants to know if you ever take a crummy shot…she can’t imagine it. LOL.

I take a MILLION crummy shots. Seriously, earlier this week I spent some time in the foster room with Maggie and the McMaos, taking picture after picture. When I got to my computer later and plugged it in, I had just under a thousand (THOUSAND) pictures on the memory stick. Of that almost 1,000, after I went through and deleted all the blurry shots and all the duplicates, I went through them again and deleted the ones that weren’t so hot. In the end, I had less than a hundred left. So when I say I keep about one of every ten pictures I take, I am totally not kidding. Thank god for digital cameras – if I had to pay to have all those pictures developed, I’d be one broke woman!

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Is it me or Maggie looks smaller now? I know she gave birth but she is smaller than what I expect she after she gave birth.


Hey, looks like Mama’s tummy is starting to tighten up! How is she doing with weaning the kittens? Are they nursing much now, or is it mostly when they pounce her and she goes along with it? I remember pictures of Kara sort of getting up abruptly with an irritated expression on her face, haha.

Maggie is much, much smaller now – in fact, I think she’s too thin. Every time I go into the room, I give her a can of kitten food or some other sort of treat, because she really does need to put some weight on.

The kittens are still nursing every now and then, but Maggie doesn’t think twice about getting up and walking off if she decides she’s had enough.

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From earlier this week.

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I was at an estate sale early this morning that had an hors d’oeuvres dish, but it was Spode and it was $40. Sorry! πŸ™‚

What, my babies aren’t worth it? Hmph!

I kid, of course. I’d KILL anyone who spent that kind of money on something like that for my babies. I thought about buying a deviled egg platter, but in the end just putting seven blops of food around the edge of a dinner plate is working out surprisingly well.

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Further to the divided-dish discussion, you might consider a Seder plate — seriously!

I actually saw a couple of really cute Seder plates, but I was worried that it might be considered, y’know, offensive or something.

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Miss Maggie McMeowball is a brown tabby herself, isn’t she? I can never remember.

Indeed she is! And a very pretty one, too, if you ask me. πŸ™‚

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Love the teenage pics of George and Gracie! I remember you’ve said before that they keep your chickens safe. How did you train them to do that? Are they just super smart and intuitive, or did you have to specially instruct them in protecting your animals?

Their parents were working livestock guardian dogs, and they grew up (for their first few months, anyway) around chickens.While they were still awfully young when we got them, they apparently got and understood enough of the training from their parents that they became good protectors.

A few days after we brought them home, I was in the back forty gathering eggs. When I stood up and turned around, I saw someone standing at the fence, and it startled me. I gasped and said “Oh!”, and George and Gracie immediately got between me and the fence, and the entire time I stood there talking to the guy and his wife (they wanted to buy eggs, I think), George and Gracie barked at them.

Then, a few days after that, someone we knew stopped by while Fred and I were out in the back forty, and we stood and talked to them. George and Gracie barked a few times, but what I found most telling is that they stayed between our visitors and the chickens at all times.

They’re awfully good pups.

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Does Fergus Simon have the longest whiskers of the bunch as well?

No, his are pretty comparable to the rest of the litter’s whiskers.

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I just noticed the little round mirrors low on the wall (reflecting the kicker-roo). Do the kittens like them?

They do – every now and then I’ll see a kitten looking at himself or herself. Here’s Ciara checking out the view:

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And Maggie:

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“How do I get into THAT room?”

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“I bet THOSE babies would be nicer than the brats in this room.”

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Little Miss Dorothy is going to grow up to be one gorgeous cat.

(Are her legs a little short, or is it just the angle of the photo?)

It was just the angle of the photo. Miss Dorothy is perfectly proportioned!

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So, Miss Dorothy has been spayed and got her ID chip and was tested for parasites (negative! Yay!). She’s all set to go, and for the time being she’ll cool her heels here, play with the permanent residents, and just basically make herself at home.

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“High five!”

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Declan is very daring little BatCat.

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Cillian swings! He misses!

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There’s that Ferguson latte you ordered. I hope it didn’t get cold.

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“You forgot the catnip sprinkle on top. AS USUAL.”

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The McMao babies are going next Thursday to be spayed and neutered. They’re all over two pounds, and will be eight weeks old, and so it’s time. This means, of course, that the time is drawing near where they’ll be going off to Petsmart to be adopted – I mean, it’s not like they’ll go off immediately or anything, but we’re counting the time in a matter of weeks rather than months – so y’all start preparing yourselves.

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Yesterday, after I dropped Dorothy off at the vet for her procedures, I had breakfast with the shelter manager and friends.

(There was a baby there. He was tiny, and his Nana said “Guess how old he is!” and I demurred, saying “I’m as bad at aging humans as I am at aging kittens!”, but I was thinking “Six months?” Yeah, no. That baby was two months old. I am SERIOUSLY bad at aging babies! Also, a while later after the baby had eaten and fallen asleep, they were putting him in one of those car seat carriers, and he looked so comfortable that I turned to the shelter manager and said “Don’t you wish they made those for humans?” Then I realized what I’d said and was like “I mean ADULTS!” You really can’t take me out in public, I’m afraid.)

The shelter manager was talking about these kittens that had been abandoned at a local business, and how she really didn’t have room for them but what are you gonna do, right? They were about five weeks old and all girls, a calico, a calitabby, and a brown tabby. We commiserated about the total flood of kittens going on right now, and ate breakfast and talked and so forth.

When we left the restaurant, she headed off to the clinic to pick up those kittens (who were being tested), and I called Fred. Then I went to the clinic.

Would you like to meet The Spice Girls? (Please note: I totally stole that naming theme from Sophie. You can also see her great pics over at Flickr. I knew she had a Coriander, but I didn’t realize I’d stolen the name Clove, too. The possibilities for naming cats after spices is just about endless. This might have to be a total Spice Cats summer for us. The only reason I didn’t use “Cinnamon” is because it’s already been used.)

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This is Clove. She’s a brown tabby, and the tiniest of the three (just under a pound). She’s also the sassiest of the three, and is the first one to greet me when I walk into the room.

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Cilantro is a calitabby. She’s almost as friendly as Clove, and very very playful (they all are, but Cilantro’s especially so).

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Coriander is a calico. She was a little bit nervous at first, but warmed up pretty quickly and now when I walk into the room, all three of them run over to be petted.

They are all three very sweet, friendly, playful girls. They’re in really good shape, and I looked them over carefully, but didn’t see a single flea or tick on them. I would like to offer, given how friendly and in what great shape they are, that they were probably living in someone’s house (they’re not scared of people) up until they were abandoned.

*Edited to add: Yes, I know that Coriander and Cilantro are the same thing – or rather, that Coriander is the seed and Cilantro is the plant. That’s why I thought it was so cute, although Coriander & Cilantro might have been better mother-daughter names now that I think about it!

By the way, when I got home with them, I moved Maggie and the babies down to the guest bedroom (it’s a bigger room), and put The Spice Girls into the foster room (after I cleaned it). Dorothy, given that she’s parasite-free, is now out in the house 24/7. She’s not sure what exactly is going on, but I do believe she likes having her freedom!

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::slurrrrp:: Tommy, sauntering across the back yard.


2010: “What just happened here?”
2009: We have new babies!!!
2008: No entry.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: By god I love these kittens, can you tell?



5-27-11 — 43 Comments

  1. Loved the Q&A…It was us (our mom) who asked about the “bad shots.” LOL. She knows that not even good photographers with DSLRs take wonderful pics every time…One in ten as a keeper seems about right. πŸ˜›

    We certainly enjoy your “one out of ten!” LOL.

    • Thank you! I certainly enjoy taking the pictures, I’m glad y’all enjoy seeing them. πŸ™‚

  2. Squee! Calicos make me weak in the knees! I love them so!!!

    Thanks for the Q&A!

  3. Frick! Give me the little brown tabby, Maggie and all her little ones while we are at it here, too! LOL

  4. Huh…I wonder if I’d fit next to Coriander on her bed…

    How did “eight weeks two pounds” happen exactly? Cuz last I checked they were all squirmy bow-legged little muffins. Just sayin’.

  5. boohoo! mcmaos will be leaving soon!
    hooray! spice girls are here!

    thanks for answering all those questions. i’d been wondering about the mirrors and maggie and gracie and george, too!

  6. LOVE the pictures.
    My kittens were “Spice” cats too! I am the mama of (formerly) Tarragon & (formerly) Spice. The paperwork was all messed up though, and they were switched around (which since they are a girl and a boy, you’d think it’d be hard to mix them up). I think Spice names are popular for large groups because you never run out of spices. (Our Humane Society got lazy though – I mean seriously? Spice… there are THOUSANDS of spices and by #7 or so they gave up!) All the tux girls (Spice’s sisters) had actual spice names though, so maybe he was plain old Spice because he was the only (tux) boy. I dunno…
    (formerly) Tarragon’s brother was Thyme. The foster parents shortened it to Hyme & Tarragon became Tara. I’m so glad we already had names picked out (Kairi & Vash) because I HATED the name Tara for my cute little girl. We had no problems with names, but that’s mostly because I’m picky about names AND because I name EVERYTHING so I always have an abundance of names in my head. (I have a name for our future dog too – Lilah!) I would LOVE to be in charge of naming kittens!

  7. I love how you answer some questions, talk about the McMao’s, discuss Dorothy so sweetly and then WHAM SURPRISE ADORABLE TINY NEW KITTENS WHOA! You totally did that on purpose right? hehehehe Surprise kitten cute attack!

    I actually went “SQUEEEEEE” when I saw Clove. Such a great great post to read first thing this morning. I love it!

  8. Um isn’t that McMao high five actually a high four?
    And now you’re trying to distract us from the soon to be missing McMaos by giving us Spice Girls?! (They don’t sing as badly, do they?) Hmmph, not sure if I can cope with the babies I watched being born going off to the unknown….sniff! But how marvellous if the new mums and dads can look at the blog; I feel privileged to have a 3-week old picture of my baby (3 yr old) boy and his mum and litter, but to have all your pics…..!!!

    • P.S. Isn’t cilantro another name for coriander? Don’t spose the babies care, anyway!

      • I believe coriander is the seed and cilantro is the plant – but yeah, they’re basically the same thing, which is why I gave those names to the two who look the most alike. πŸ™‚

  9. Oh, the Spice kittens are so cute! That photo of Coriander sleeping absolutely slays me!

  10. Oh McMao babies i will miss you!

    but oh look new babies to squee over!!!!

  11. I had berry kittens once. I had three solid black kittens that looked like triplets, so I named them blueberry bilberry and huckleberry since they are all berries that look almost identical.

    As for the name thing, I know in the shelter I volunteer for when they look up the history of a cat in the computer, they look it up by name, and if there are multiple cats with the same name finding the individual cat is a pain because details are not listed with the names so they have to look at each record to find the one they want.

    I too saw those little mirrors and at first I thought they were portals to another room but thought how silly to be right next to a shut door. When I realized they were mirrors I thought what a fab idea and so want to do something similar now. and that tea cup.. I so know where to get one and I think I’m making a drive this weekend!! πŸ™‚

    • Connie, I LOVE the berry naming theme. I’m making a mental note to keep that in mind for the future. πŸ™‚

  12. Oh my stars?!?! More kitties?!!? Awwwwwwwwwwww and squeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

    I’m in cute overload overloaded kitty heaven!!

    Awww but we do hope that gorgeous Maggie puts on weight too!! Eat, Maggie, eat!!

    Hello lovely Tommy! Take care

  13. I can’t believe how big those McMaos are. WOW.

    And now we have new babies. Yay! They are gorgeous.

    Gorgeous Miss Dorothy really is going to grow up to be a pretty, pretty girl. πŸ˜‰

  14. Eek! So little time left with our little McMaos… must savor every moment! I have loved watching them grow up!!

    Someone else asked, and I was wondering too actually… what will happen to the lovely Maggie?

    As for the impossibly cute Spice girls — who could abandon such three lovely little babies??? I know it happens all the time, but it still is so sad. But I’m SO so so happy that they’re safe now!!!

  15. Further to the divided-dish discussion, you might consider a Seder plate β€” seriously!

    I actually saw a couple of really cute Seder plates, but I was worried that it might be considered, y’know, offensive or something.

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    How do they know the McMaos aren’t Jewish?

  16. Oh if only I lived on the same continent as you do… I’d take those Spice Babies immediately and I’d keep there names too hehehe.

    Actually I think I’d be taking all your babies hehehe.

    Cheers, Eva

  17. P.S. Our Humane Society once was on a pasta naming kick. It was pretty funny. About a year after that, I saw someone in the dog park calling his dog over. “Fusilli! Fusilli, come!” I asked and sure enough, he got it a year before at the H.S.

  18. OMG, squeeee! I love those 3 spicy little baby girls already! Between them, the adorable McMaos and precious Miss Dorothy… cuteness overload indeed!

  19. Oh my gosh, Robyn. You just completely creeped me out. You’re comment about “Don’t you wish they made those for humans?”. I -swear- to you, I just said that very exact thing tonight – talking to my husband about my OWN son (whom is only 3 months old). I don’t remember exactly what it was that I said (and neither does he, unfortunately), but it was very similar to what you said. And I read your post out loud to him just now and he chuckled…. that is really, really weird. I suppose when you foster, they all become your babies and you tend to talk about them that way. It’s easy to refer to him as though he were a kitten all the time.

  20. Thanks for all the lovely pics you share along with the commentary. Totally appreciate the ratio of keepers in your photo sessions to tossed / deleted images.

    Here’s a site to use in the future if *ever* you get stuck about names.

    Happy long weekend ~

  21. Maggie has such an expressive face – the “as usual” photo makes me laugh out loud every time I look at it! Wouldn’t it be hilarious to make a slideshow of her many and varied expressions?