Last week I covered all 10 of the foster “fails” we’ve had since we started fostering (the first five in Thursday’s post, the last five in Friday’s post.) However, of our current 7 permanent residents, only three of them were foster fails. The rest came to us in other ways, and so today’s post covers ALL the permanent residents and how they came to us. I’ll start with the oldest.
Permanent resident #1: Newt.
In the fall of 2006, we bought an old farmhouse out in the country (the home we eventually named “Crooked Acres,” and where we lived for 11 years.) While we were waiting to close on the house, the owners were nice enough to let us spend a lot of time there, walking the property and making plans. During one of those times we were there, a tiny black cat who was clearly nursing kittens showed up. That was Maxi, and eventually one day she showed up with a buff tabby, along with a litter of 4 small kittens. That tiny black cat was Maxi, who passed away three years ago (and we fostered those kittens through Challenger’s House); that buff kitty was Newt. At the time we thought he might be the father to her kittens; when we took Maxi and Newt to be spayed/neutered, the vet said she didn’t think he was fully grown yet and might be her kitten from a previous litter. In the years since, we’ve concluded that he probably came from the house down the road where a lot of orange kitties came from, possibly when he was still a kitten, and he latched on to Maxi as a mother figure. He adored her, and he was the only cat she tolerated.
In the entire time we’ve had Newt, he’s been the least problematic cat ever – he goes his own way, he does his own thing, he tolerates the other cats well (and in fact I’d say that he and Jake are buddies.) He has his favorite places to hang out, he’s got his routine (and he appreciates it if you stick to the routine; he is very disappointed if you STRAY from the routine. No one wants to disappoint Newt.) He’s starting to slow down a bit, but he’s one happy boy. He’s a good one.
We guesstimated Newt’s date of birth as January 2006, which makes him 15 years old now.
Permanent resident #2: Jake.
In 2009, when we were still living at Crooked Acres, Fred and I went out for a few hours one Saturday morning. When we got home, we spotted a little gray kitten on our side stoop. A moment later, a second gray kitten came running out. On the porch was a Cool Whip container filled with cat food. This was back in the days before we had a Ring camera at the front door (and a Nest camera overlooking the driveway), so we had no idea who had left the kittens and the food. We brought them in with the intention of fostering them through Challenger’s House, but we knew pretty immediately that we’d be keeping them. We had lost Mister Boogers about 6 weeks previously, and we felt like they were meant to be ours.
Elwood passed away in December 2012 from FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) at the age of 3. I worried that Jake would miss his brother terribly, but it turns out that as long as there’s another cat around who’ll put up with him, Jake’s a happy boy. His favorite thing to do is rub up against another cat (doesn’t matter who, but he tends to gravitate toward the ones who’ll put up with being rubbed against: Charlie, Khal and Newt (who only puts up with it for a short time before smacking Jake) and even sometimes occasionally Alice.) He used to love foster kittens, but now he gets grumpy with them (though if they’re around long enough, he’ll start to make friends with them.) He loves to wait until we’re in bed at night and then carry a toy around the house, keening at the top of his lungs until I want to throw myself out the window. (Fortunately he only does it for 10 minutes or so… but they’re a VERY LONG 10 minutes.)
We guesstimated Jake’s date of birth as June 14, 2009 which makes him just over 12 years old.
Permanent resident #3: Alice.
Alice was a foster fail – she showed on our doorstep on a REALLY COLD December day in 2010, tiny and hungry. We added her to our current foster litter – the Brady Bunch – and named her Alice. We planned to foster her through Challenger’s House, we did foster her, and she got as far as going to Petsmart for one night before Fred demanded we go back and get her.
(For the record, I was perfectly fine with adopting her – but when I ask Fred if he wants to adopt a kitten and he dithers about it and won’t commit one way or the other, I proceed as though that’s a “no.” I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR YOU TO DITHER, FRED.)(“Dither” would be an excellent kitten name.)
Although we’ve fostered consistently since Alice became a permanent resident, she wants nothing at all to do with foster kittens. She mostly ignores the other permanent residents, though she and Jake are buddies sometimes, and I’ve seen her playing with Charlie a few times. Mostly – like Newt – she prefers to go her own way, hang out on the top of the cat tree on the screened porch, get the occasional bit of ham from her DADDYYYYY and a little love.
(People have wondered whether Alice needs another girl kitty to be friends with and ha ha ha NO she does not.)
We guesstimated Alice’s date of birth as June 6, 2010, which makes her just over 11 years old.
Permanent resident #4: Archie.
Archie showed up on our property in late 2014. He was super skittish at first, but Fred spent a lot of time working with him and was finally able to pet him. We intended to keep him as an outdoor cat (with plenty of heated houses to keep safe and warm). Archie, however, had other ideas. He figured out how to climb the fence into the back yard one day, and I walked into the laundry room to find that he’d just come through the cat door into the house. He did NOT like the other cats and was prone pick fights with them (yes, we’d already had him neutered by then), so we spent an entire weekend trying to keep him out of the back yard (which would have prevented him from coming into the house.) Every time we thought we were successful, he’d figure out another way into the back yard. After the end of the weekend, we gave up and he was allowed inside whenever he wanted.
At the time I wrote his profile, he was apparently getting along with the other cats except Stefan. These days, he gets along with the other cats as long as they don’t mess with him and don’t get too close and don’t think about, look at, or thinking about looking at him. Every now and then he’ll play with one of the other cats (usually Charlie or Jake; very rarely Alice), but he prefers to go his own way. (Honestly, I think that except for Jake and Charlie, most of our cats would LOVE to be only cats.)
He finds the foster kittens interesting for short periods of time; if they get too close to him it makes him mad. Also, he HATES to be restrained in any way. His most recent trip to the vet, he was perfectly fine, loved being petted, was rubbing against the vet and vet tech, happy as could be. The instant the vet tech held him so that the vet could look into his ears, Archie tensed every muscle in his body, growled loudly, and hissed. He sounds (and looks) terrifying when he does that, but he is 100% all talk. When he’s tensed up, growling and hissing, I can pick him up and carry him out of the room and he never bites or scratches me.
We guesstimated Archie’s date of birth as January 1, 2013, which makes him 8 years old.
Permanent resident #5: Khal Drogo.
Khal showed up on our property around the end of 2015. He was extremely skittish, and would run away the instant he spotted us. He showed up for a little while and then disappeared for a long time, close to a year I think. We assumed a predator had gotten him, but then he showed up again. For the longest time he continued to race away as soon as he saw us, but then Fred decided it was time to get serious about making friends with him. It took several months, but finally Khal decided that he might want to be friends and Fred was able to pet him. It took a few more months after that before Fred could pick Khal up for a few moments at a time without Khal freaking out. We decided it was safe to try to get Khal to the vet for testing and neutering. Fred took the carrier out and got Khal into it with no drama.
It was a carrier with two latches on the top. Fred thought he’d closed both latches, but he’d only closed one. I can still remember my HORROR as I tried to get the door open and tell Fred that the second latch wasn’t latched, but it was too late – Khal eeled out of that carrier and was gone in a flash. Fred had to start from scratch, and it took another few months before Khal trusted him again and we were able to get him to the vet. He’s FIV positive but healthy.
By the time we moved from Crooked Acres, Fred was able to pet Khal whenever he wanted, but Khal wanted nothing to do with me. Which honestly was fine with me – I HAVE ENOUGH FRIENDS, THANKS, KHAL – but then one day I sat in the chair where Fred usually sits to watch TV, Khal jumped up into my lap to be petted, and now he’s the world’s neediest cat. The instant I’m on the couch to watch TV in the evening, Khal is on me, wanting to be petted and if I stop petting him for one instant he squeaks at me. When he first showed up (and in the months afterward), I NEVER would have guessed he’d end up such a snugglebug.
Also, someone sent us a Basepaws DNA test kit for Khal, and the results are…
Maine Coon: 10.85%
American Shorthair: 8.92%
Russian Blue: 6.59%
Broadly Western: 17.76%
Exotic Shorthair: 3.23%
Broadly Persian: 5.31%
Egyptian Mau: 7.38%
Oriental Shorthair: 1.52%
Polycat: 24.37% (A “polycat” is a word they made up that means “domestic cats of (yet) unknown origins.”
We guesstimated Khal’s date of birth as May 12, 2014, which makes him 7 years old.
Permanent Resident #6: Dewey.
Dewey came to us (then named “Dustin”) as a foster for Challenger’s House in November 2016. He was pretty skittish when we first got him, but after some time he warmed up to us. He really liked the other cats (especially Stefan and Jake), and after we’d been fostering him for about a month we decided that we couldn’t stand the thought of him going to Petsmart (we didn’t think he’d do well in a cage at all), and we adopted him.
In the time since then, Dewey has gone from being a cat’s cat to mostly going his own way. He gets along fine with the other cats with no issues, but if left to his own devices he pretty much prefers to be off on his own. He’s also decided that he prefers not to have his picture taken, and will race away like the devil’s on his tail if she sees me pointing a camera or my phone at him. (Which is a shame because he’s so PRETTY.) I try to leave him alone (though he will occasionally come to ask for petting and obviously I oblige), but sometimes he looks so darn cute I can’t help myself.
Dewey’s date of birth is guesstimated to be March 1, 2016, which makes him 5 years old.
Permanent resident #7: Charlie.
Charlie (then named “Aramis”) came to us in July 2020 as part of the Mewsketeers litter. He had been rescued by Forgotten Felines of Huntsville volunteer Steve and went to Michelle’s house where Alexandra had kittens about Aramis/Charlie’s age. He joined them and Alexandra took care of him as one of her own. He was, from the very beginning, a laid-back boy who got along great with his foster siblings, and when he got older he liked the permanent residents he met, too.
Fred loved Charlie from the very beginning, constantly pointing out how beautiful and laid-back he was (but then, he does this literally with at least one kitten from every litter.) I had no intention of keeping him as a permanent resident, but as his foster siblings were adopted and left, his sweet nature really came out. He made friends with grumpy Uncle Archie and with Jake and Khal. Then the day he started walking toward Alice and she softly hissed at him and he changed direction without trying to mess with her, I knew that he’d be a good addition to the roster. And he has been – he and Jake are the best of friends, he and Khal get along great, and Archie has no problem, Newt, Alice and Dewey are all okay with him. He’s been a good addition and is a sweet boy (and I am dying to know just how big he’s going to be when he’s done growing!)
Charlie’s date of birth is June 2, 2020, which makes him just over 1 year old.
2020: Okay, so maybe buying an air purifier with all the buttons on top wasn’t the smartest idea…
2019: A surprisingly flattering angle.
2018: He is outraged VERY often.
2017: Girls and their toys.
2016: “I know Uncle Dennis is acting like he wants a hug, but I will not fall into his trap!” thinks the very wise Webster.
2015: And Jake was loonily smug.
2014: Here at Crooked Acres, we like to do all our important cleaning on Saturday, and we make the kittens do the same.
2013: (Or, more accurately: “Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor!”)
2012: “Dis my OTHER favorite place to sleep. A man’s gotta have options.”
2011: Pile of McMaos.
2010: If that’s not the epitome of abject misery, I don’t know what is.
2009: No entry.
2008: No entry.
2007: “So, I says to her, I says ‘Look. You want to pet me. I don’t want you to pet me. Your love burns my soul.”
2006: No entry.
2005: “Momma, your feet stink.”