Friday, November 23, 2007

A New Visitor

Yesterday, Thanksgiving, we had a new visitor at the back door. A small tortoise-shell, looking cold and hungry. Oddly enough I had just opened the door to toss a chunk of turkey fat outside for whatever animal happened to show up and there (s)he was. I don't know if it was a feral, an escapee, or a barn cat, but we set out some cat food and (s)he ate a little before leaving.

It was the first snow of the season that actually covered the ground. A bit late for us since we usually have it in October, but I'll take mild weather when we get it. It did, however, remind us of the things I've been putting off. Draining the pool and pump, putting the motorcycle away, and setting up a warm place on the back porch.

I just hope the little tortoise-shell has a real home. People, PLEASE spay or neuter your pets.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

PJ and Chico

Chico, my son's blue chihauhau, is getting used to the cats. Snickers, Tass, and Lucky will play with him on occassion, but PJ is his best friend. The two love to play together, and when PJ wakes up without Chico around he immediately goes looking for him. Chico, on the other hand, is starting to behave more like a cat. He will chase the laser pointer, pounce on things, and sleep a lot. About the only time PJ gets tired of Chico is when he's grooming. (The cats have figured out the way to get away from Chico is to jump up on something.) Chico and PJ sleep together too. They curl up on the bed, sometimes in a ball, but never more than a foot apart.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Munchkin is free!

Much to our dismay Munchkin ended up having to be crated for many days. The day after we brought him home we thought it would be OK to let him out of the large crate and remove his collar, big mistake. As I was sitting at the puter he was roaming around the living room, upon looking to see what he was up to I discovered a long trail spots of blood all over our carpet and there was Munchkin licking his paws as usual.

We immediately checked his paws which seemed to have stopped bleeding, placed the soft collar back on and put him back into the crate. Upon calling the vet she indicated he'll need to be crated for several more days and the collar for several weeks. Our normal vet was not on call but she was briefly aware of his situation since he had been hospitalized some 7 days.

We began letting him out a few hours at a time to get some exercise later in the week and of course he never wanted to go back into the crate but had to. Upon seeing our regular vet on Saturday we advised him of the situation, that Munchkin was no longer bleeding and at times figured out ways to bypass the collar since it was soft and not hard. He said since he was bypassing it anyhow we could remove it and allow him to roam free again in the house (all our cats are indoor cats).

So far things see to be going well. His toes appear to be healing up nicely finally and there's been no more incidents. He does seem to have lost a pound or so but is just as loving, if not more, since the entire fiasco.

I know what we did was necessary since he would tear his face up so terribly when his disorder would act up but no one could have guessed let alone prepared us for what seemed like a long journey for a simple procedure. I am so heartbroken and felt so guilty that we had put him through all this but he does seem to be fairing well.

Here's to hoping he continues to heal without incident!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Munchkin Update

Munchkin returned from the hospital this evening. He had gone in last week for tooth extraction and rear declaw. They ended up having to remove a lot of teeth; they went from healthy to bad shape in a matter of months -- the vet said he'd never seen anything like it. The rear declaw is for his own protection. He tends to scratch his face a lot and tears it up.
He was in the hospital for such a long time because of the declaw. He pulled out the sutures the first day; they glued the wounds shut and he reopened them. He has a collar on now and they've been glued closed again; hopefully he will heal up and we can let him roam free again.
The poor guy has been through a lot, and I hope the worst is over now. For the future he can have only soft food, though I'm sure he won't balk at it. The cats prefer canned over dry any day.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Why Fourteen Cats?

I am often asked this question. Perhaps the better question is how I ended up with fourteen cats, since that's the answer I always give. It all started when I moved in with my future wife. She brought with her Emerald (green eyes) and Mocha (brown eyes). They had a blast running up and down the hallway and exploring the new places.

I had it in my mind that three cats was the correct number, so we went to a shelter and adopted a Maine Coon named Adidas. Adidas was a bit skittish and never really settled in. She also peed on the bed on a regular basis. We returned Adidas to the shelter, and that is the biggest mistake I ever made. I wish I knew now what I knew then. We later found out the shelter regularly killed animals and tossed them into a dumpster. I regret it to this day.

We tried adopting a cat from the local furniture store. Yes they have a large number of strays, and the owner is always looking for homes. However, Puter turned out to be agorophobic, and was terrified of his new home. After a week of this, we returned him to the store. I figure that the furniture store had so much furniture he never really got used to an open space.

One day I came home to two black kittens, Musta (black) and Kissa (cat). My wife and son had gone to another shelter and claimed it was "adopt one get one free". Musta and Kissa loved their new home, and climbing in the Christmas tree, and eventually the older cats got used to them.

Apparently this wasn't enough for my wife and son, because they "wanted a cat like Pounce", apparently one of their cats they had at one point in time. They ended up adopting Tass (paws), who was a bundle of energy and looked and acted like Pounce.

Chester arrived at the home as a drop-off. My wife's other son had found him, couldn't keep him because of an allergic person in his home, gave him to a friend who left him outside near a busy road. So Chester found himself in our home. He was also a bundle of energy, but the other cats were older now and less receptive to his playfulness.

We had several strays that would visit our back porch from time-to-time, with Teddy and Munchkin on a daily basis. Munchkin ended up taking residence there. As we figured out, he was deaf, partially crippled, and playful. We discovered that the local racoons were attacking the feral cats, and feeling sorry for Munchkin we let him in the house one day. He didn't want to leave, but we were worried he'd freak out so we chased him out. About a week later we did the same and he wouldn't have anything to do with leaving. It took a couple months, but he eventually decided he liked being petted, and is now very friendly. He hates being picked up though.
Anaya was our last adoption. My wife found her on the internet, fell in love with her, and tried like crazy to get the shelter to allow her to adopt her. They gave in, and our cat count became 8. Chester and Anaya were still kittens and enjoyed playing with each other, so it worked out well.

Precious was another drop-off. A friend of my son's had found a litter of kittens in the barn. They all scattered but one; his friend wanted to keep her, but that wasn't happening, so we ended up with her. The poor thing smelled like a dirty garage floor and had crusties all over her eyes. We cleaned her, nursed her, and she became a very loving kitty.

All of our cats are spayed and neutered now, but at the time Chester wasn't neutered -- every time we had scheduled the surgery, he fell ill (I think he knew what was up). Precious turned out to be older than we expected, and before we scheduled her for spaying, Chester had his way with her.

We don't believe in abortion, even for cats, so along came four new kittens. Initially we called them Speckles, PJ (precious junior), EJ (emmies junior), and CJ (chester junior) after their markings. We later settled on Patches (speckles worked fine when he was little, but he really wasn't speckled), PJ (pepperoni jacker...another story), Oreo, and Snickers.

Our latest addition occurred a couple weeks ago. I was tickering away on the computer (par normal) one Saturday morning whence came a pounding on the door. It was the postlady asking if that was our cat -- and she pointed at a black cat on the road. I was fairly sure all of our black cats were accounted for, but I ran out to check anyway. The poor thing was still alive, bleeding from the mouth, and meowing pitifully. I rushed back inside, woke up my wife, and took him to the hospital. It turned out he had some bruising and road rash, but nothing was broken. While he was healing we tried to find his owner -- he was friendly and neutered -- but had no luck. So Lucky, as we decided to call him, is the fourteenth.


I'm Lucky. At least they call me that. The humans found me on the road, blood coming out of my mouth, and cursing at the car that hit me and drove away. They took me to the hospital, got me patched up, and I'm much better now. I guess in that sense I'm Lucky. I look like a thinner Musta. The other cats mostly ignore me now, but that's just as well. Better than being hissed at.


I'm Snickers, the only female of my litter. I was the biggest when I was born, but now I'm the smallest of the four. I look a lot like daddy Chester, more and more everyday. I love feet, especially the man's feet. He smells so nice when he gets out of the shower that I just love to rub all over him. I love playing with his shoes too. My picture is me as a kitten, I have really grown but the humans haven't taken any new pictures, I wish they would!


I'm Oreo, black and white of course, and the third of my litter. I enjoy play time, sleep time, and being petted, but I prefer to eat only in the bedroom. I talk a lot, and I know when it is time for the humans to go to bed. Sometimes I have to remind them.


Hi I'm PJ! I'm the only one of my siblings who kept his original name. I'm gray on top and white on bottom and I've got white on the tip of my tail. I love playing and snuggling up and cleaning other cats' backsides.


Hello, I'm Patches. I used to be called Speckles but that was when I was a little kitten. I'm gray and white, with a big heart on my side, and I love being loved. I was the smallest of the litter but now I'm the biggest!


My name is Precious, a gray-and-white cat with very soft hair. I am the only true mother of the family. I was older than the humans suspected, and along with Chester I brought four wonderful kittens into the world. At first I had to take care of them all the time, but now they are fun to play with. They've all grown so big!


My name is Princess Anaya. I am a grey and white Norweigan forest cat. I have lovely long hair, big furry paws, and a broken tail. I am the fairest of them all, and I know it. I am as smart as Tass, and I can catch flies between my two front paws. I've almost mastered opening doors, much to the chagrin of the humans. I am the most important of all, and sometimes I have to remind the other cats of this.


I'm Munchkin, orange and white. I'm a special needs cat. I was enticed inside by the humans one day, but I decided I didn't want to go back outside. They used to scare me, but now I love it when they pet me. It's much better now. My legs are a little short, I have extra toes, and my feet are a little crooked. I also can't hear. But I'm loved and that's what matters most.


Hi I'm Chester. I'm a full tabby. I like to run around and play. I sneeze a lot cuz my childhood was rough, but I'm energetic anyway. I'm the only one of the bunch that is a true father, and my kids are a blast. I love laser pointers and having my face rubbed.


Hi, I'm Tass. I'm the crafty one. I'm a tabby-and-white, with big irresistable eyes and a strong, powerful tail. I love laser pointers, things that move under the covers, and chasing other cats. I sneak outside a lot even though I'm not supposed to. I just want to roll around on the cement, but the humans always worry. I sneak into rooms I'm not supposed to be in as well. I have ways of getting what I want, and its fun to outwit those humans.


I am Miss Kissa. I'm a bit shy; I'm Musta's twin sister, all black too, but he's bigger and bolder. I just like curling up in a spot away from everyone and being left alone. Unless you're going to pet or comb me. I love that. I'm just too timid to ask for it most of the time. I can touch the top of my head with my tail with my back straight. For some reason all the boy cats like this and they bug me all the time. My hair is thick and requires combing or it becomes matted. I hate that.


My name is Musta, Sir Musta to you. I am the alpha cat. I'm long and lean and black and keen. I can look over the counter while standing on the floor, so don't think you can hide things up there. My coat is thick and requires grooming, so I expect you'll be doing that. Now. My turn ons are food and being scratched; turn offs are, well you. I'm better than you so don't pretend otherwise.


My name is Mocha. I'm a seven year old cat and the matriarch of the family. I am all black with a few stray white hairs that one of those tall things keeps trying to pluck out with tweezers. When I was younger I was thin and active, but one day those tall things took me to the vet. After that I didn't care so much about Toms, and I gained weight. I don't care. I want loving and you better give it. I will purr so loud and squeaky that you'll think the refridgerator is broken. My turn ons are being petted, flashlights, being petted, laying on keyboards, being petted, and peas. My turn offs are kittens and being called Stinky Butt.


My name is Emerald. I'm a nine-year-old cat and the patriarch of the family. I wear a black and white tuxedo, white gloves and shoes, and I demand respect. My eyes are green, per my name, and they've seen many things over the years. I like felt squares, tuna, and being scratched in the ears. My turn-offs are kids, loud noises, and having my butt combed. Yes I'm heavy, 19 pounds, but that's the way I've been most of my life. Deal with it.