Click photos to enlarge them.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lucy Brings us a Possum

Other pet owners are always telling me about presents their dogs or cats bring them - usually mice, birds or snakes.  Since Lucy is our only pet that goes outside, she's the only one with the means to do so.  We do have the subdivision retention pond on the other side of our back yard fence, so there are a few wild critters roaming about for Lucy to catch, if they're dumb enough to come into our yard.  She's managed to bring us three possum (I know it's really opossum) in the last four or five months.  The first two miraculously disappeared by the next morning.  The first one was huge!  And if you've never seen a possum up close and personal, they are truly ugly animals.  The second one was smaller and seemed like a teenager.  Lucy had been outside for a while tonight, and I let her in about 9pm and found another possum on the patio.  This one also looks fairly young.  Nothing like the first one.

While John had the patio door open to take the picture, I was trying to prevent four cats and Lucy from going out to see the kill.
The possum is all wet from Lucy licking/grooming it.  I'm so thankful Lucy didn't get her throat ripped open while she was licking it.  I'm only assuming that she knew this thing wasn't a kitten.  Possum have very, very long sharp teeth and very, very long sharp claws.  I just checked the patio, and the possum is gone.  It's a miracle!!!

Lucy is resting after the big hunt.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Delcy's Kittens

Finally!  I've been waiting on these four kittens for almost 2 weeks.  Delcy is a small, thin cat to begin with.  Add 4 kittens that are at least a week overdue, and Grandma Barb gets a little worried.  An x-ray two weeks ago showed the 4 babies, with one's head aimed for the birth canal, so we all thought it was time.  And we were all wrong.  Delcy kept getting bigger and bigger.  I joked about her waiting until my favorite quilt group, that meets on the 3rd Tuesday of every month, has their next meeting.  When Jan has it, we have an all-day sewing day and fabulous lunch at her house. it's our best meeting of the year. As the days got closer, I didn't joke about it anymore - I KNEW.  I knew SHE knew about the meeting.  Minnie pulled this same thing on me 4 months ago and went into labor 30 minutes before Ree came to pick me up.  I missed that meeting.  Deep down, I knew I'd miss this one, too.

Delcy and kittens, 8-16-11
Monday, I had taken her back to the vet for another xray.  This time to make sure her babies weren't too large for delivery.  I normally have my rose-colored glasses on and think everything will work out just fine, but I was worried.  Their heads were 1mm smaller than the birth canal and pelvic opening.  If they weren't born by Tuesday afternoon, I had to bring her in for a C-section.

I didn't even bother to pack my machine, notions, and project up Monday night, even though Delcy showed no sign of beginning labor other than just laying in her birthing box.  About midnight, she started nesting and rearranging the towels in the box.  She couldn't get comfortable and was sticking her butt up in the air a lot.  So I didn't take my Ambien, but got a couple clean cat beds off the shelf for a seat cushion, and my Kindle, and sat on the floor next to her.  I read and petted and talked to her and told her if she got this show on the road soon, I could still be ready by 8am for Ree to pick me up.  She was too busy licking her butt to hear me.  Contractions started about 3am.  You can see the muscles ripple all the way down her body, like a wave coming in on the beach.  The first baby was born at 4:08, and the last one at 8am.  Four kittens in four hours is really quick.  I guess she heard me after all and felt she did her part by being done at 8:00.  I had told Ree not to pick me up unless I called her.  So, after changing the bedding and making sure everyone was eating, including mama, I went to bed for a few hours.

The babies were slightly larger than normal.  Babies usually weigh between 3.5 and 4 ounces, with most around 3.85.  These guys were all 4.1 to 4.4 oz.  That may not sound like a big difference, but you have to remember we're talking about something the size of a large mouse. This picture was taken Tuesday afternoon and they'd already gain an entire ounce in that time - that's an additional 1/4 of their body weight 12 hours earlier.  The first week, you can almost watch them grow before your eyes, because they double their birth weight.  Then, in the next 3 weeks, they'll double that weight to about 16 oz or so, or one pound.  I have no doubt these guys will be over a pound by 4 weeks.

I didn't notice this until Tuesday afternoon when Barb, Delcy's rescuer and a previous adopter from me, came to see the babies, that they're nursing in birth order (I keep track of all that stuff) starting at the bottom of the picture, or closest to the birthing location.  First born was a black tuxedo (black with a white muzzle, white chest, and four white feet), next was a solid black, next was a black and tan tortie (speckled), and last was a gray tuxedo.  Once when I saw them nursing, two of the kittens were reversed, but all the other times, they have nursed in birth order.  I'll have to research this a little, but I have a feeling it's not unusual.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Introducing Seamus

My little Irish lad, Seamus (pronounced Shay-mus) was a tiny black kitten when I got him over a year ago.  He was adopted out for a year and returned to me last week because his family was moving to California and didn't want to take him with them.  That's fine, I'd rather have him with me than with a family that isn't going to love him enough to keep him.  Our policy is to keep new animals quarantined for a couple weeks to make sure they don't have any communicable diseases.  More important for animals taken from the outdoors than for family pets. 

I'm so overrun with fosters, the only place in my house to stuff another cat was the hall bathroom, so I put Seamus in there with food, water, litter box, a nightlight, and a bed.  I even put a note on the door to remind John to keep the door closed.

The third day he was here, I went down the hall and saw that the bathroom door was wide open.  OMG!  The other cats loose in the house don't know him!  He doesn't know the other cats! We're supposed to introduce cats slowly, with several steps involved. My own cats, Buster and Xena, aren't exactly the most welcoming cats in the world.  I had no idea how long he'd been out, but it had to be over an hour.  I'd heard no yowls, cries or hisses.  There were no tufts of hair on the carpet.

I found Seamus walking around downstairs in the family room like he owned the place.  None of the other cats were paying any attention to him.  It was like he'd been here forever.

 So, my newest foster cat, Seamus, is already like member of the family.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Micky and Davy

Look what I got, Mom!

I've named the two gray kittens from Troy Micky and Davy, my favorite members of the Monkees.  Major teen crushes.  Yes, I'm that old.  For those of you under 45 or so, the Monkees were the new Beatles from the late 60's.  Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones were soooo cute, and their voices soooo cool.  Anyway, you get the idea.  These kittens are just as cute, and so personable.  They're perfect.

I think this is Davy, the smaller one. Can't you tell how proud he is of his kill?  It's really hard to tell them apart unless they're side by side. I put little velcro collars on them to tell them apart.  Micky has a green one and Davy has an orange one.

They love to play with toys like typical kittens.  I could watch them all day long.
Davy on the left and Micky on the right in all three photos.

A friend of mine, Val Studer, owns Patches Place quilt shop in LaMonte, Mo, and is as big a Monkees fan as I am.  We would see each other at the fall state retreat (back before I was overrun with cats and could get away for a weekend) and talk about them like we actually knew them, except she actually has met them and had her picture taken with them  - although I haven't actually seen it.  Way back when, she was traveling and was in an airport in, I think, Connecticut, and there they were.  Just sitting there waiting on their flight.  No entourage, or "people," just the four of them.  She had a camera and they happily had someone take their picture - with Val!  I'm so jealous. The closest I've gotten is to a concert in '66 or '67.  My dad, bless his heart, took my sister and me.  He sat there for several hours amid thousands of screaming teenage girls. My best concert, ever. Val said she had some pictures of Davy and would dig one up for me.

A year or so later, I taught a quilt class for the Warrensburg quilt guild. I knew Val was taking the class.  A half dozen guild members and I were sitting at some outdoor tables before class when Val drove up.  When she got out of her car, I saw she had a manila envelope.  I hollered that that better be for me.  She hollered that it was.  The other people were confused and I'm sure thought me very rude.  It was an 8x10 or larger picture of Davy Jones, and I'm sure I didn't scream or anything.  I can't find my keys sometimes, but I know right where that picture is.  Thank you, Val.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Paper Towel Playtime

 My niece, Brooke, spent a few days with me last week.  This is what we saw in the black cats' room one morning.  I NEVER leave paper towels out.  I KNOW the roll was in the dresser drawer.  This is the reason I buy my paper towels in packs of 18, and then get two of them.  Sure wish I'd had a nanny-cam in the room.  I wonder how long it took and who did it.
 HOUSE  PANTHERS.  Large black cats are sometimes referred to as house panthers. These three cats are Alex's siblings, Mike, Toula, and Ben.  All four cats are large, with Alex being the largest at 15 pounds.  Ben is 14 pounds, with Mike and Toula slightly smaller.  Ben and Toula are let out into the house, but will whine in a few hours to go back in their room.  Mike, however, has issues with a couple of my own cats and can't be let out.  It's really sad that he has to be in here all the time.  He needs a home where he can be the only cat.  And he'd be a great pet.

This is Toula.  She's a beautiful medium-haired black cat.  Very friendly, but doesn't like to be held much.  I pick her up every time I'm in the room and make her stay in my arms as long as possible.  We're up to about 30 second sometimes.  Then she wants down.  But, if I go in and read, she jumps on the arm of the recliner and pesters me to pet her and will lay next to my legs. 

Delcy, the Pregnant Cat

Barb, a lady who adopted a cat from me, had a feral black cat in her neighborhood who'd been hanging around for many months, but they couldn't catch it - until yesterday.  They brought her over last night.  Although Barb had given her several cans of food, the cat was very thin - except for her tummy.  The cat was very pregnant.  I booted the two gray boys out of the nursery closet and into the bedroom with Bridgette and Mia so Delcy could have a quiet, cool place to get accustomed to being in a house.  She was hot and panting.  After half a can of food and a 30 degree temperature change, she was doing fine.  She let us pet her and even leaned her head into my hand when I petted her.

A trip to the vet today showed she was negative for leukemia and aids and had a negative fecal, too.  Yea!  An x-ray showed she has four babies, and one's head is positioned down and headed for the birth canal.  Delivery will probably be within the week.  Originally, I thought she had a couple weeks to go, but I'm used to seeing cats with 5 and 6 kittens, and they look like they're going to pop.  Delcy just looks pregnant.  I came home and got her birthing box ready, and taped the box and cardboard so she can't get to the bottom selves and have her babies somewhere I can't see.  In addition to no-grain dry food, I'm giving her canned food mixed with kitten formula.  She needs lots of calories to grow and feed these babies, and she hasn't been getting it fending for herself in the wild.

I cut the top of the box off and replace it with two plastic tub lids.  I can easily remove them to clean the box and take pictures.  The tubs are used as litter boxes.

This is Delcy from the top.  She's not very wide for an almost full-term cat, but there are only four kittens in there.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bridgette and Mia

Bridgette, a gray tortie about a year old, and Mia, a black and tan tortie kitten, were rescued by a super-nice lady in west county, who is trying to save a colony of feral cats living behind a grocery store and eating out of the dumpster.  These are the first two she was able to trap.  She had them spayed, tested, and vaccinated.  At first she was going to return them to the colony, but she just couldn't do it and called Heartland.  When she had them at her house, Bridgette found a hole in the bathroom wall and hid inside the wall for days and days until Nita got her to come out.  I have to admit, I wasn't looking forward to getting a feral cat that lived in the wall.  Nita brought Bridgette to my house first, and we let her go in the bedroom.  The bed is boarded up at the bottom, but the mattress extends about 9" at the foot of the bed.  That's the only place she could hide in the room.  I let the quilt hang to the floor to give her a dark area to feel secure.  

A week later, she brought a kitten out.  Mia was super sweet from the beginning.  She cuddles and gives kisses, but Bridgette was still hiding and scared.  After a couple weeks of sitting on the floor and talking to Bridgette, I tried to pet her and she let me.  Then I started moving her dish of canned food further away from the bed, and she could only eat if she let me pet her - which she did. A couple nights ago, I was reading in bed and Bridgette jumped up on the bed with me and Mia.  But this morning she jumped on the bed and came over to me and let me pet her.  What a milestone for us both. Shes also very beautiful and smiles for the camera!  When I told Nita that Bridgette was coming on the bed and getting petted, she said she read where taming a feral cat is a 6-month process. I'm glad I didn't know that or I would have worked slower.  Nita calls me the Cat Whisperer.

Mia is about the sweetest, most loving kitten I've ever had.  She has quite a bit a tan mixed in with her black. It was hard to get a picture, because she kept walking to me to get petted.  She is truly a joy to have around.

UPDATE:  Mia has been adopted by my sister, Karen, and her family.  Mia has, in turn, adopted my brother-in-law, Rusty, as her daddy.

New Kittens from Troy

A nice lady from Troy, Megan, found two kittens under her porch. She called Heartland for help and I responded.  I picked up two little gray males yesterday afternoon about 8 or 9 weeks old.  They were covered in fleas, which is why I take a supply box with me to pick ups.  I sprayed them both with Frontline and gave them two dewormers.  The ear cleaning waited till we got home.  A stop by the vet showed them negative for leukemia and aids, and their fecals were also negative. Yea!  It was too hot to leave them in a crate in the garage while the flea meds worked, so I put the crate with food, water, and litter box in the laundry room and closed the door.  Two hours later, I combed and combed and picked and combed some more.  I only found one flea still alive, and he was struggling.  These poor kittens put up with me so well getting all the fleas off.  I found the washing machine made a good table.  The fleas showed up very well on the white.  The kittens look very much alike, but one is a little bigger and a little darker than the other. And neither one would look at the camera when they were together in the bed.

I think this is the bigger darker one.
And, I think this is the smaller lighter one.  Aren't they gorgeous?  He's licking his lips after eating some canned food.  They're both just as cute as they can be.  They're quarantined in the nursery for a couple weeks and should be able to get their neuter package and shots in a week or so. Then, they'll be ready for adoption.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cats in Odd Places

All cat owners know that cats get in the oddest places.  We take this for granted.  But some of you non-owners may be surprised with what they can come up with..  A couple months ago, Lilly got up on top of the canopy over the deck - three times that I know of.  Our open floor plan in the house has a series of ledges and tops of walls that don't go all the way to the cathedral ceiling that make excellent walking paths for the cats. They're about 10 ft. off the floor, and even the 3-mo-old kittens figure out how to do the counter, to top of china cabinet, to ledge, quickly after seeing the older ones do it.  It's the getting down part that is the amazing thing to watch.  Thud, thud, thud.  If we owned a bowling ball, I would think someone was dropping it down the stairs.  No, it's just a cat jumping down from the ledges in reverse order as they went up and in half the time.

Buster is about 10 feet off the floor napping on one of his favorite spots  The child's rocking chair on the right was my grandmothers.  Her parents gave it to her when she was eight years old in 1912.  It's about 100 years old.  I don't know if they bought it new or if it was used.  The cats can get to it, but I've never seen one lay in the chair.

Lilly is on the same ledge.  There used to be more stuff on top of the cabinets.  Very cute bird houses, greenery, etc.  All knocked over by very mysterious circumstances. 

I think this is Trish sunning herself on a windowsill.  There's also someone else laying on the right windowsill.  They go over to the sill on the far left, too.  The cats love doing this just because it makes me so nervous.  These sills are about 12 feet above the lower level floor.  Straight down.  We've heard several thuds coming from the patio door area right below this window, but have never seen anyone limping. They've also been known to walk on the railing on the far right.
 This is Xena on the deck, in the BBQ grill.  Cats don't worry about little things like hygiene.

 These are two kittens from last year, Cane and Reed.  I've posted this picture before, but couldn't resist a repeat.  These two were in my sewing room, but I couldn't find them.  They were under my sewing machine cover that I use to keep cats out.  And it works so well.