A dirty litter pan

I am celebrating at the moment at finding a dirty litter pan. Axle has pooped! I am so relieved as this would have been one week since he came home after vanishing for five days. I heard him crying last night- so far he has been silent and it was a strange cry. I wanted to go to him,but I was so dang tired. I just fell back to bed.

This morning, when I went upstairs to check on him, he was crying by the door and pacing and pawing. When I opened the screen door he stepped away. I fed him. I turned to look at the pan and saw a mound and my heart skipped a beat- could it be? YES! The lactulose has done its job (or is starting to).

Great strides with the new babies, I let them out of the cage last night and they are now under the bed. They are both eating and when the room is vacant and the house fairly quiet, they explore their new world. They seem to like what they are seeing. I can now pet both of them without any warnings coming out of their throat or any fear of reprisals. My friend said I will never see them again- but I disagree. I have done this for a very long time and each kitten is of course different. These two will stay hidden for about a week, then they will come out and meet and greet both of us. It’s their time to run things in that room- for now.

Catching a breath-

Or trying to at least! This kitten season has been so out-of-control this year. Hawthorne, the sweet Siamese rescued from a farmer who could have gave a rip that he had two beautiful Siamese mixes in his woodpile- sadly succumbed to a flea-born illness. His sister, Fog is doing just fine. I have placed her with the other kittens because her and Hawthorne were so close.

Scotty, the little mackeral tabby stuck in a letter box in a steel yard and left to die, well, he didn’t. He is alive and hungry all the time. He yowls his tiny head off when I turn off the lights- so I leave a small night light burning for him at all times.

The gleaner kitties-still not named because they are so new, we are just moving easy with them. I was able to hold the little black girl this morning and was amused to see out of the corner of my eye, the other boy sneaking down off the top level of the cage and peeking at me around the corner of the cat carrier. It was as if he was saying “are you really safe? Or are you going to hurt me?”

McGee and Donovan, the cow kittens and Piper and Pippi the torties had to have their spays cancelled. They were scheduled on the fourth- but one of my barn cats vanished for a few days and when Axle came back, he wasn’t acting right. I confined him, but he continued to slip slowly away from me so today I ran him to the vet. They suspect an abscess (though no one can find a bite wound) and he is heavily impacted. In order to pay for this Saturday emergency visit, I had to dip into the spay and neuter fund.

Fog has decided, she is “Pop’s” kitty. She plays with the mouse when he is on the computer and somehow, this tiny 2 month old siamese mix knows when Mike’s blood sugar is crashing. She will climb up on his neck and snuggle down and keep his neck and head warm. When his sugar drops he gets really cold.

I guess you could call the state of my life- Mary Anne’s madness. My cats come first before all else. I shop at thrift stores, clip out cat food coupons in record time and lug huge bags of stall dry home in the trunk of my car. I am pretty much committed to making sure these kittens and cats have a chance at a life that offers them love, comfort and security. That’s my madness. My friend says it is my Gift- sometimes though- when I unfortunately get to look at the dark side of humanity, it seems more like a curse.

Please meet Velcro’s kitties

No names as of yet, perhaps feral and more feral would apply right now! LOL

No, I wouldn’t label them feral although I have been scratched by her son more times in the last few days then I have in years. He is scared, he is on alert and God help me if I even dare to touch him!

Today my dear friend Haley came over (she used to be a vet tech) and she and I were able to de-worm and de-flea these two scared babies.

I had to laugh when her son Sam (who came with her) saw the cage and said “Mom! That’s a BIG cage, I could sleep in there!” This boy is amazing with kittens but I asked him if any of the kittens got loose and jumped on the bed, that he do his best moves to get away from them. No one escaped- and all is good-

kittens

His “SPCB”

This morning at breakfast, Mike told me he thinks I am simply amazing. He pointed to the kittens lined up on the floor below, to the work on my desk ready for me to tackle when I can get a moment. He said I take on so much and he is so sorry he can no longer contribute to the keeping up of the house, the property, help with the cats- although he can still bottle-feed when needed.

I see this man before me, one who could before the illness swept in- build a beautiful home from scratch, make custom knives that could make you weep in their beauty. Spin thread on fishing poles and present the customer with a custom rod with his name, his boat or the fish he captured caught in the artistry of the thread on the pole.

I remember the first gunstock he ever crafted and how the local sporting goods shops in Alaska fought over which one would get it.

I see him now before me, his hands shake, his legs- well they no longer resemble legs. To me that look like diseased tree trunks. I had to run him into the hospital last night and we didn’t get back until after midnight. He decided to “help” change a light bulb in the bathroom and drove a screw (protruding out of one of the sides through his leg. I couldn’t stop the bleeding so off we went.

When we got home, I didn’t have the luxury of sleep. I had to rid the floor of all the blood- there had been no time prior to remove it. I didn’t want it to be a permanent resident here- so it is gone.

Then I spent a restless night with another new arrival. A kitty I call Scotty in honor of a dear friend and cat lover Scott Rundle of www.felinefurniture.com

Scotty was shoved into a letter box and left to die on a steel lot. He was found by nothing short of a miracle and brought to me.
I think I got two hours of sleep last night if that.

And here is this gentle, wonderful man who both frustrates and amazes me, looking at me this morning with such love- 25 years worth.

We met through a private ad years before computers. We wrote for years- him in Alaska, me in Southern California until one day I decided to yes, fly to Alaska to meet him and his five kids. I guess you could say the rest is history.

Because of our age difference, he started calling me “His Small, Powerful Child Bride,” his friends would laugh and my friends would tease me about being a “mail order bride.” I guess these days; we would have met through e-Harmony or Match.com.

He is the one who is amazing- and when another kitten is brought in the door, he shrugs his shoulders, smiles reaches for the kitten formula and offers a hand (if it isn’t shaking).

I may be his small, powerful, child bride but He is my Hero.

Scotty

Velcro’s babies

I just received the last two survivors of Velcro’s litter. I got them just in the nick of time as the tom still is ramming the traps to trip them and not going inside of them. I’ve never quite seen anything like it before- and he is Siamese so he is ultra-smart.

the weather is getting colder supposed to be 21 degrees tonight.

The kittens are in the large dog cage in the bedroom and Hawthorne and Fog are merged into the population. I have one black fuzzy girl and one mackeral tabby boy very much like his mother. He has already escaped from me twice and is very feral-acting- hissing and spitting at me- the bad giant who caught him. They will be de-flea’d and de-womed tomorrow. Right now, they are decompressing-

I called him Fester

He arrived here about six months ago, this mackerel tabby tomcat. At first, he hung back by the woodpile watching the house warily while eyeing the feral feeder with great anticipation. When I walked out on the back porch, he would beat feet out to the back pasture and vanish into the woods.

So, I set up a feeding station by the creek and over the weeks, he got bolder and came closer to the house until I could pour the food out in the morning and hear him by the Jacuzzi waiting for his turn.

Traps were laid out and he avoided each one, including the drop trap. His age, I would estimate about 5-6 but it was difficult to tell from a distance. His balls the size of tennis balls worried me because of the aggression factor. But except for one quick tango with Baker, Fester just stayed on the outside of the group.

This morning when I backed my car out of our long drive- I saw him on the road and I wept. He deserved more than to be a road causality- he deserved to grow old in peace.

Change of plans

This morning Velcro attacked the door of her cave as I opened it. Her ears were flat, but her eyes were wide open and round. I know she is sending me a message, so I managed to still feed her and keep her confined. Then I put all the cats in the enclosure in the house (including Dash). I blocked the entrance to the tunnels on the cat enclosure side and let Velcro out of her confinement. If any cat can get out of the enclosure, it will be her- though many have tried before her. My hope is that in releasing her and letting her have her space-she will relax and trust me down the road. Time will tell-

She follows me…

She has the routine down pat now. When I empty her litter pan out of the last cubicle, she is there waiting. Her small condo is her hideout and her gorgeous mackeral tabby head pops out to watch. She makes no effort to flee, she just watches.

When I fill up her food bowl (in the first cubicle) her head pops out of the second hole watching me closely.

I added something new to the mix this afternoon and put my fake hand in there to see how she reacts. Well, let me just put it this way, it will be a long time before she will allow anyone to touch her. It will come in time.

She is eating and using the pan and drinking and above she is safe. not a very happy camper, but she is safe.

Always an adventure….

She is slight, she is scared and she is crafty. The newest arrival here, the mackeral tabby (possibly pregnant) somehow got out of the Intro cage and into the cat enclosure.

When I saw that she was gone, I couldn’t believe it. This three-level walk-in cage (I thought) was escape-proof! Apparently not- she was found on the top of the highest cat ramp and we have spent one day trying to coax her back into the cage. She’s not having it.

I blocked the access tunnels so the other cats wouldn’t hurt her. The only cat out there at the moment is Dash and Dash wouldn’t disturb a fly if it landed on her nose!

Then I lost her again and found her hiding in one of the cat bed cubicles we built.

My options were to capture her and put her upstairs; leave her be and deny access to the cat enclosure for the resident cats (not really an option) put her into a carrier and let her live in it until she trusts me (NOT a good option) NO cat should be forced to live in a carrier for days on end- just because she is unsocialized.

I could bring a larger dog cage in the enclosure and put her in there (but then she would be open to the other cats seeing her and bugging her. I strongly suspect she is pregnant.

So I started looking at the bed she was living in. Mike and I built these, they are insulated and warm and there are escape hatches in each one of them (so there are no kitty ambushes).

What I decided to do was give her access to three top beds (they vary in size. One for her and her food, one for the litter pan and an extra one where she can hide when I invade her turf and change her water, give her water and clean her pans.

With Mike’s help, I blocked the last access to the other beds and then we designed doors for the front of the beds made of stout wood and pet-proof screen. That was the easy part, although I was sad to watch my husband struggle with building something that in the past would have taken him maybe 15 minutes, but these days it took both of us 3 hours. He didn’t really want to ask me to help him so it was a bit of struggle for him. But the doors were made and installed.

I knew that Mike wouldn’t be able to help catch her, so I called in my good friend Haley. Within 15 minutes, I had Velcro (a name I HOPE she grows into!) cornered. I wrapped her in a blanket and poor girl was so terrfied, she let loose of her anal sacs all over me. PHEW! Well at least I won’t have to express them! LOL

Carefully, I put her inside the cubicle and Haley shut the doorand locked it.

Now, if she is still in there- she is safe. She has a large area to roam in, places she can hide, food water and shelter which is more than she had from where she came from. I am trying to still trap her remaining kitten and hope to do so by the weekend. He is eating solid food, but that Tom is stil in the area and where there is one easy meal, there is another.

My hope is by removing mom out of the picture, he will leave the kitten alone. Toms kill kittens that don’t carry their scent in order to force the queen back into heat (from grief). Although her smell will still be around the place, perhaps I have bought little furr-ball some time.

I can’t do anything today, I am going to the doctor about my dang foot which flared up again and doubt I will be able to walk after the procedure is over. Guess we will have to find out. Now, the sun is just starting to come up and so I am going into the enclosure to see if the kitty managed once again to escape! I hope not! Stay tuned- it is always an adventure in this house.

Cat bedscat beds

5:30 a.m- she is settled now, next to her litter pan. Her first compartment shows frantic moments; overturned water, dry food scattered, wet food turned over. I cleaned the first compartment talking softly to her all the while. I told her she doesn’t have to worry anymore. There are no nutrias to attack her, no bully tomcat to terrorize and mate with her. She will be warm, she will be safe and she will be loved.

I need to get some tap lights and install them in there. It’s a bit dark in them, thar caves! :)