Can I ask what is on the collars when then go out?
We have an electric fence around the back yard (in addition to the actual fence itself). If they get too close to the fence, their collar emits a warning beep. If they keep going, they get a short zap. It only takes once for them to get the idea. I’m planning, this summer, to put a barrier around the top of the fence so I can take the collars off of them. I hate how they look in pictures!
Does Miss Stank give you any warning when she’s had enough petting or does she go straight for an artery?
She pretty much goes for the jugular. You MIGHT be able to figure out when she’s reached her limit – her tail swishing gets a little more vigorous – but most of the time it seems to be out of the blue. She’s gorgeous, but she’s evil.
I love watching the racoons and the possom on your porch, but aren’t you worried about rabies?
I’m actually not that worried about rabies – all the cats are up to date on their rabies vaccinations. However, there was something else entirely going on out there that didn’t WORRY me, per se, but it certainly made me move the feeding station off the front porch, pronto. A movie for you (it’s not gross, nothing explicit).
I’m no raccoon expert, but I know marking behavior when I see it. My poor doormat.
My father is notoriously bad at naming animals. Any white animal will be “Snowball” or “Snowie;” any brown animal will be “Brownie” or “Red” (depending on the shade of brown); any black animal will be “Blackie” or “Midnight.” If the animal is of mixed coloration, then it will be “Lady,” “Sugar,” or “Princess” if it’s a female and “King,” “Rover,” or “Doc” if it’s a male. And yes, if it has a lot of fur, it will be “Fluffy.” It runs in his family: The last four cats that his dad and stepmother owned were named Fluffy, Princess, Fluffy, and Fluffy. (Consecutive, not concurrent.)
My mother, occasionally my brother, lately my son, and I usually overrule his names and name the animals ourselves; sometimes it doesn’t work. I’ve had a dog named Honda for almost 10 years now and he still calls her Harley and acts baffled when I correct him to Honda. And he usually refers to her as “him.”
I wish I were more creative at naming my pets, but then I compare myself to him and feel better.
One of my favorite – but sometimes not-so-favorite, depending on how creative I’m feeling – things to do is name the kittens. The problem is that very often the names I think are awesome Fred doesn’t care for, and vice versa. We’ve agreed on all our permanent residents’ names, though, so that’s something.
The problem is that I always want to name the fosters right away so they don’t forever get dubbed “the black one” (or whatever) in my brain and then I have to say “the black one, I mean (kitten’s name)” for their stay with us.
If, theoretically, a white cat showed up on my side porch and I looked at him and thought “Huh. He looked younger on the front porch cam, but he looks like an adult. In fact, he looks kind of old.” and then said cat made it clear that he was going to stick around, I would probably want to give him a name, right? But what if I couldn’t think of a name and he didn’t really look like a “Snowball”?
At that point, I might Google “Old White Man” to see what came up, and – THEORETICALLY, of course, it’s not like this REALLY happened or anything – might click on the first link which led to a blog that ranted about Rupert Murdoch and I might think to myself “Hey, I like the name Rupert, that’ll work.”
But like I said, I’m just discussing what could happen in some other world where an old (maybe not so much old as middle-aged – he’s 6, according to the vet) white boy cat showed up in our driveway. That might be how I’d come up with a name for him. That would never really happen, that would be LUDICROUS, ha ha ha ::sob::
Say “hello” to Rupert, who is currently sleeping off his neutering in a crate in the garage. ::sigh::
(PS: Good GOD do unneutered tom cats STINK.)
I always love the posts about kitties, but I also really like your Crooked Acres posts, Robyn. I’d be interested in hearing the story of how you and Fred came to the decision to leave city life and live a more sustainable life on a farm. Like, was it a lifelong dream that you had?
It wasn’t really a lifelong dream, and to be honest, I don’t know that we initially intended to go as far with it as we have. It started with a desire to own more land. Our first house was in a very nice subdivision of Madison, convenient to everything, and we liked the location, but felt crowded on all sides by our neighbors. We started looking for a house on more land after we’d been living there for about three years, but while we looked at houses that I thought were fine, we ultimately ended up buying a larger house on less land about a mile from the first one (our first house sold, and we were desperate to find one we liked, which is how we ended up with another house in another subdivision).
We lived in that house for five years, and then Fred got the itch to start looking for a house again. Our daughter was a Senior in high school, and he just wanted to get a feel for what was out there; it was our plan to start seriously looking the next Spring/ Summer. So one Saturday we drove out to look at a house we’d seen a listing for. It was clearly not our cup of tea, we could tell just by looking at it from the outside, so we headed home. As we did, we drove by this house, which had a “for sale by owner” sign in the front yard, and I made Fred stop so I could write down the phone number.
When we got home, he called the owner. The good news was that the house was on 4 1/2 acres. The bad news was that we couldn’t see it ’til Monday. In the meantime, the owner sent us pictures of the inside, and I can tell y’all that I fell in love with this house before I ever stepped foot in it. We must have driven by the house 20 times in the course of the weekend.
So we finally got to see the inside of the house, loved it, and immediately made an offer on it. We closed on it at the end of September (I think), and spent the next six months or so renovating the inside – mostly painting and having the floors refinished.
At some point after we made the offer on the house, Fred started talking about chickens. We got our first batch of 12 the following Spring. Fred fenced off a corner of the back yard for their yard, and it wasn’t long before we were letting the chickens out into the back yard to run around during the day. When I got REALLY tired of seeing chicken poop all over the back yard, Fred made a larger coop to the left of the back yard (the chickens could stand at the fence and stare at me, hoping I’d toss them treats). Ultimately, we decided that since the back forty was going to waste, we’d fence it in, Fred would build a REALLY big coop, and we’d put the chickens back there.
Then we decided hey, why not get pigs! and Fred fenced off part of the back forty, and we got pigs. And in and amongst all that, we had a big garden, which we’ve improved upon (I think) every year.
So all of this is to say that we didn’t necessarily intend all that we’ve got going on, but it’s working out well for us. Sometimes it seems like a lot of work, and we threaten each other with the idea of selling everything and moving back to Madison, but more often we just wish we had more land! There are things we miss about living in the ‘burbs (sidewalks and the convenience of having stores two minutes away) and things we VERY MUCH do not (living so close to neighbors), but neither of us is feeling any real desire to move. We love this house!
(If you’re interested and you’ve never seen them before, there’s a page here with house “tours” of each of our houses, and a side-by-side comparison of the rooms in this house.
The Noms are at the absolute apex of cute! And attention, fellow lunatics: On May 5 at 11:34 pm eastern time, the moon will line up with the Earth and the Sun, making it look 14% bigger and 30% brighter than any other moon this year. (I have a feeling Jake will be watching.) Seize the day (or, rather, night): the next super moon this big won’t be till 2016.
I know I’ll be staying up late (or at least trying to!) to see that!
Emmy is doing well. She’s still sleeping off the effects of the surgery (having adult cats spayed is a whole different animal than having kittens spayed – the little ones appear to barely know anything’s been done after about 12 hours) and spending most of her time (when not sprinkling litter everywhere) sleeping in her wall basket.
I’ve been hanging out in her room, but she’s not showing much interest in me. I’ve scratched her head a few times and she allows it but doesn’t really seem to enjoy it. I was scratching her head yesterday and she got an itch in her ear and suddenly shook her head, and it startled me so much I levitated about half a foot. I’m not saying she thought it was funny, but she DID look a little amused.
(Technically, Alice joined the family before Corbie did – Corbie was here before her, but we officially adopted her before we adopted him. I’ll finish up the permanent resident profiles with Corbie tomorrow. I do intend to cover the permanent residents who have passed on, but there’ll be a break before I get around to that.)
Alice will be two years old in June.
When I think of the day – or really, I should say the evening, because it was after dark – that Alice showed up, I think of being REALLY FREAKIN’ COLD (it was December 2010). Fred spotted her – he almost always spots the cats who show up before I do – when he opened the door to step outside. Something ran away from the food bowl on the side porch, and he thought “Was that a cat?” and then went down the steps to see. Alice ran from the side stoop to the front porch (where there’s a heated cat house, and since it was mid-December, the heat was turned on), and when Fred followed her to the front porch, he found her sitting in the doorway to the cat house. When she saw him, she meowed at him, and then ran around to the other side of the house where there’s a huge boxwood. She ran under the bush, and stayed there no matter how much he sweet-talked her.
He came in to get me, and I followed him outside. We could see Alice, but she was too far under the bush for us to reach her, and though we tempted her with all manners of food, she refused to move. Finally, we set up a trap on the front porch baited with mackerel. Then we had to go run an errand in town, and when we returned half an hour later, she was in the trap.
She was a terrified little girl, didn’t want us to pet her, didn’t want anything to do with us. It’s my policy that cats and kittens who haven’t been tested don’t come into the house, and so we set her up in the old blue coop with beds and a heater and a stuffed animal and food.
The next day, we had to take the inside of the blue coop apart, because she was hiding in the old nesting boxes to get away from us.
It took a few days, but eventually Fred won her trust. I took her to the vet to be examined and tested, and that was when we found out that this kitten, who I’d estimated was about two months old, was actually more like six MONTHS old. At a later examination, the vet said that she didn’t think that Alice would get much bigger than seven pounds.
Alice lived in the bathroom for a few weeks, and once we knew that she was disease-free, she went to live with the Brady Bunch, in the foster room. (Her official foster name was Alice Nelson, which was the full name of Alice the maid on The Brady Bunch. But you knew that, right?) She’s not really a big fan of other cats, though she and Reacher had a special relationship wherein she demanded that he cater to her every whim and he obeyed.
Despite her semi-feral start, Alice has turned out to be a great big lovebug. She loves Fred the most (the crazy girls always do), but she kinda likes me, too. She likes to spend her days alternating between the back yard and the platforms in the front room, and her evenings staying where she can see Fred, sometimes on top of him and sometimes across the room, depending on her mood. She doesn’t really have any other cat friends, but she can occasionally be seen snoozing near Tommy.
Alice did not stay tiny, and despite the vet’s guess at her eventual weight of around 7 pounds, she is now an average-sized (maybe a tiny bit portly) cat.
I should add that Alice actually DID go off to Petsmart with the Brady Bunch, but Fred missed her so much that less than 24 hours we went and got her, and brought her home.
Nicknames: Alice Mo, Miss Mo.
2011: “I was SLEEPIN’, lady. I had a hard night. Of sleepin’. Followed by a hard day. Of sleepin’. You gettin’ the theme here?”
2008: No entry.
2007: Do you see what I see?
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.