Cat update

We still have 5 indoor cats.  No takers for the (3) kittens.  We’ve become attached to Garage Cat.  On top of that, outdoor Patio Cat has truly become our Patio Cat.  He mostly hangs out on our back porch and shelters in our patio when the weather is bad.  He loves pettings more than food.  He wishes he could come inside.  He’s good friends with outdoor Mamacat (who makes the occasional appearance to eat, and is usually on the porch in the wee hours quietly hanging with Patio Cat), but she still shies away from us.  He and Garage Cat are still mortal enemies and my hand got majorly scratched up (from Garage Cat) the one time Garage Cat and Patio Cat ended up on the patio at the same time.

The two little black kittens are both super loving and adorable, even the one who used to be mean kitty.  It seems like whenever I sit down I get covered in kitten(s), or occasionally by Garage Cat.  Boy kitten doesn’t like to be picked up, but is otherwise a sweetheart.  He’s almost as big as a full-sized cat, but the girl kittens are still smaller.

Garage cat and the kittens get along really well now.  They play together and Garage cat sometimes grooms the younger kitties.

My sister was going to take a kitten or two, but then her roommate got engaged and she’s waiting until she finds a new roommate to commit in case the new roommate is allergic or otherwise doesn’t like cats.  Really she should take Garage Cat because he’s so well-behaved and she’s not very experienced with pets, but Garage Cat is long-haired and she’s worried he will get hair on her furniture.  We believe this illustrates how she has No Idea about cats or kittens if a little fur is her biggest worry.

My MIL says she’ll take one, but just one, if we get it to her this summer.

One (or more) of the kittens, we’re not sure which one, occasionally pees on our bed.  I do not like this.  And I worry about said kitten ending up someplace that might not be as forgiving as we are.  At some point we’ll figure out which one it is and take it to the vet for a work-up to rule out physical causes.  It can’t be lack of litter boxes because we have 7 boxes for 5 cats, all of different shapes, sizes, and privacy, and they get cleaned out every day once or twice a day.  And they have no problem using them.  Just occasionally one will pee on the bed in addition to regular litter box use.

So that’s the cat update.  This time last year we had two middle-aged indoor cats.  Now we have 5 indoor cats and 2 outdoor cats.  That’s too many.  But that’s what we have for now.

Kitty update

Ok, the plan was to catch the kittens and mamacat, get them all fixed, get the kittens tamed and rehomed and if mama was tamed to keep her, otherwise to let her out.

Instead…

The three kittens are still in our bathroom (they got booted from the guest bedroom suite when partner’s parents visited).  Little boy is slowly coming around and one of his sisters may be right behind him.  The other sister will probably never be tamed [update:  still have hope].  She’s terrified of people.  Our bigcat is not helping as she does not like her access to my closet (her daytime napping spot) cut-off and she knows there’s kittens in there and she wants to show them exactly who is alpha kitty around here.  She threw herself bodily at the door one night and another night actually managed to get the door open.  Partner doesn’t want to put them back in the guest bedroom because it was a PITA to clean.  (Recall our bathroom is the only one that’s tiled.)

We caught 3 possums.  They are no longer in our neighborhood.

We caught one scraggly (longish-hair) black male cat with lots of scratches on his face.  We got him neutered, revolutioned, de-tapewormed, and vaccinated.  Initially cautious of people, he turned out to be a cuddle bug.  The vet thinks he was once someone’s cat but has been on his own for months.  He’s been in our garage.  He basically hangs out without destroying anything (unlike the kittens) until someone comes in to pet him.  He loves food, but he loves petting more than food.  He is a total sweetheart.  He is so grateful to be in our garage where it’s safe and relatively warm and there’s food and occasional petting.  It breaks your heart.  He was not doing well outside so he’s become our #1 priority for rehoming.  We may put him in the guest bedroom once we need the garage again, or we may try to integrate him with our other two cats.  A lot depends on how he gets along with bigkitty.  [Update:  I think I'm allergic to him.]

We caught one glossy young healthy-looking male cat.  We let him go.  We caught him again a few days later and took him to the vet.  We got him neutered, revolutioned, de-tapewormed, and vaccinated.  He turned out to be completely and totally tame.  Vet estimates him at about 1 year.  But he was covered in fleas and had a major tape-worm infestation.  She says he was certainly someone’s pet once but estimates he’s been on his own for a few months.  We let him recover in our patio during the day and in a carrying case in the nursery at night (it’s been getting cold) for two days and nights, but he was pretty unhappy about it and we let him go the morning after that.  We just don’t have space for him.  And, other than the tapeworms and fleas, he was doing fine outside.  He had a small scratch on his nose and we suspect he was the victor in a fight with garage cat.  He also may be the reason mamacat no longer has her home-base in our yard.  He immediately high-tailed it under our deck where she used to stay.  If we catch him again we may try to figure out what to do again.

We caught a bird.  We let it go.

We found and called another no-kill shelter.  She’s also full-up.  The humane society does have a program where they’ll take really nice cats and no-kill shelter them for a while (and take them to Petsmart  on adoption day and stuff), so we’re signing up garage cat for that.  Maybe.  They need a picture and by the time his face scratches heal and partner gets all the matting out of his fur (he’s almost done there), we may have decided to keep him.  Or we can drive him up to partner’s mom over Spring Break.

Still no idea what to do with the kittens.  Poor things.  It would be easier if they were tame.  Or if we’d caught mamacat way back when.  Now I worry about kicking them back outside unprotected where there’s fleas and tapeworms and big territorial black kitties.  But that may be what we end up doing.

Update:  boy kitten really likes pettings.

Sigh.

Update:  little girl kitten #1 really likes pettings

Update:  WE CAUGHT MAMACAT.  She had hookworms.  :(  She’s currently in our garage.  Vet says she’s really skittish.  We put garage cat in our guest bedroom.  After two nights in the garage she hadn’t had anything to eat or drink and hadn’t used the litterbox.  The only sign of her existence was a trickle of pee coming from someplace inside our car that we didn’t think she could get to.  So the vet said to open a side-door to the garage and hope she makes her escape.  So we did.  Hopefully she’ll be out of there before we have to use the car again in a few days.  (Note:  Honda civic hybrids are not good cars to leave in the garage with a cat.  Stick to a simpler car.)  Hopefully we’ll see her in the backyard so we know she’s out without having to take the car apart.  Update [Tuesday night]:  After another day of no eating and finding her wedged but breathing under the engine, I opened the other garage door.  That night, she seemed to lave left the garage and eaten all the food in there.  I think we saw her tonight just after dusk eating on the porch (after Patio Cat had his fill, talked amicably to our Bigkitty safe in the screened patio, and left).  It was dark, but so far I haven’t seen any other small cats in our backyard and her form in a brief flashlight flash looked tabby…

We did a lot of things wrong.  We should have set up feeding routines and used the kittens to catch mamacat and a dozen other things.  This website has some really great suggestions.  But, I suppose, if we’d done this correctly we wouldn’t have rescued garage-kitty or neutered patio-cat.

So that’s the story so far.  The kittens have come a long way and I think the next step is getting them used to DH or DC1.  Then maybe we advertise.  I don’t know.  It’s hard to know what to do.

Feral kitties

So, as chill and amazing as we seem and under control etc.  Something is stressing one of us out.

Four somethings, in fact.  (And the occasional opossum.)

About 3 weeks ago, a tiny black kitten got stuck in our garage.  It was cold and awful that first night so we didn’t let it out until the next day, and we thought we’d gotten it out the next day but the extra food etc. ended up having been eaten so it took another day with the door open for it to actually escape.

We put food on our back porch with the hope of the kitten and the mom reuniting.  And after seeing a baby tiger kitty, a mama tiger, and a scared black kitten we thought they had.  Over the course of a week or two, mamacat went from dull and scrawny to a beautiful glossy kitty.  She’d been taking good care of her kittens, but definitely needed more food for herself.

Regular feeding left them hanging out on our porch during the sunny weather.  The kittens remained elusive and skittish, but mama cat would almost get into touching distance when I fed them.  They disappeared during cold and rainy weather.  And I worried.

I am a firm believer that it is wrong to feed feral kitties without getting them spayed and neutered.  So I did web searches and I called our vet and DH called animal control and our local humane society and some other vets.  After talking to enough people we got instructions and rented traps and made a vet appointment and set out the traps.

We caught a little tiger kitten right off.  We transferred him to a carrier and set the trap out again.  Around midnight DH transferred two(!) little black kittens out of the trap into a carrier and reset the trap.  In the morning we found we’d caught an opossum but not mamacat.  Opossums are freaky and I do not like them.  Fortunately they only seem to come out at night.

The kittens spent that day at the vet, we found out the tiger was a boy and the black kittens both girls.  No fleas or FIV or anything that could harm our resident cats.  They’re small but 14 weeks old.  The internet suggests they’re too old to domesticate.  But the vet said she thought we had a chance.  In any case, they needed to stay inside to heal for a day or two.  Two weeks to heal fully, if wanted to do that.

And then the weather turned absolutely awful.  Sleety-awful.  So we kept the kittens inside in the guest bedroom suite.

Mamacat was heart broken.  She wailed for her babies.  While they were still healing up in their carriers we brought them out to the patio and they cried at each other.  But we failed at catching mamacat in the patio or in a trap.  Then we let the kittens into the guest bedroom so we can’t use them as bait anymore.  She’s since stopped wailing for her babies.

We caught another opossum two nights later.  And another two nights after that.  But still no mamacat.

And she’s stopped coming by every night, more like every other night.  She no longer lets me near while she eats.  She’s gotten good at eating food out of the first third of the trap, but no more.  (We can tell when we have an opossum, because they leave no scraps.)  The vet and the humane society say to keep trying.  Maybe she’ll be back when the weather gets better.  I suspect we’re just going to keep catching possums.

So I worry.  I don’t want mama to have more babies.  I don’t want the kittens to be out there defenseless not knowing how to hunt.  I don’t really know what to do.  If we let the kittens out we will probably catch them in the trap again instead of mama.  We don’t ever see the kittens– they eat and poop in the litter box and make amazing messes, but only when nobody is in the room.  When someone is in the room, they hang out in the guest bed box springs.

Most of the advice for taming feral kittens seems a bit cruel, separating them and caging them and forcing them to be petted against their will.  And all those sites say these kittens are too old anyway.  This one is a bit more gentle and hopeful, but I think we’re not doing it right either, what with the box springs instead of a cave, and not actually being there for them to watch while they eat.

So I’ve destroyed a family bond.  Mamacat can still have more babies.  And we have three defenseless feral kittens in our guest bed boxsprings who are unlikely to be tamed.  Also our HOA says we’re only allowed 2 cats, and we already have those.  (The city has our back on the feral cat colony thing although the woman at animal control had no idea what we were talking about when we mentioned it.  Still, their webpage is really clear.)  I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know if I’ve done the right thing.  I don’t know what the right thing to do going forward is.

And that’s the kind of thing that stresses me out.  Maybe not human lives at stake, but real lives nonetheless.

What do you call your pets (or children)?

Obviously your pets have names, but chances are that’s not what you always call them.

We have Big Cat and Little Cat.  Sometimes we call big cat, “butterball.”  Little cat can be, “baby kitty.”  We may occasionally say “snuggly wuzzikin,” or “kittikens.”  We have some nicknames based on their real names as well.

#2 :  Mine is baby.  fuzz-face.  goober.  fuzzball.  gooberkitty.  sweetie.  [name]-baby. kit-kit.

Children are “snuggle-bun” and “snuggers” and “baby” and  “precious” and “honey.”  Also “little/big guy/girl” as appropriate for age and expressed gender.  Occasionally a “cutie-patootie” will sneak in.

What do you call your pets (or children)?  If you have/had neither pets nor children, what were you called growing up?

Theory of cat hair diffusion

The reason cats shed so much is that they are trying to reach cat hair equilibrium.  Cat hair equilibrium will occur when the surrounding space has the same density of cat hair as the place from which the cat hair emanates, namely, the cat.   Under this theory, the cat will eventually stop shedding once we are so deep in fur that we are unable to breathe.

A corollary to this theory is that diffusion occurs faster when the gradient between the high density fur area and the low density fur area is larger.  That is, the more you vacuum, the faster they shed.

Related:  #2 claims this furminator reduces her cat by 10% upon use.  It doesn’t seem to stop him shedding, but it does make him smaller!  Perhaps there is a complex equation about changing surface-to-volume ratio.  One time (on a previous cat) I decided that I would keep brushing until he either quit shedding, or was naked.  After an hour neither had occurred, and I gave up.

Do you all have any corroborating or denying evidence?  Alternate theories?  Stories of ginormous cat-hair tumbleweeds?

Ask the Blogosphere

We here at Grumpy Rumblings hereby pledge that we will NOT talk about the weather this week.  Whew.

This post has replaced the Food for Other Folks post you may have been expecting to give you some breaking news and to ask an important question.

Random bullet of timely news:

Dr. Daryl Bem, about whom I have posted before, attempts to explain his concept of time-traveling pr0n by invoking quantum physics:
Time-Traveling Porn – Daryl Bem

In related news, we have a burning question for the blogosphere.  Please tell us: WHY do cats always hack up on the carpet?  My house is less than half-carpeted and yet, without fail, the cat picks the carpeted (hard-to-clean) areas to make his hairballs in.  This is true even in houses with far less carpet.  Everyone else with cats reports the same thing.  Is there some physiological reason?  Do they like to be comfy when yarfing?  I believe it is sheer cussedness, myself.  Someone please enlighten us!

W0rd.

We now return you to your regular posting.  Food for other folks will now be appearing Feb 23rd.  Look forward to it.

What do you do when you need to comfort yourself?

Work is hard.  Sometimes life just doesn’t go as well as we wish it would.  Here’s the things we do to calm ourselves down and get some perspective.  Or at least some comfort.

Look at savings.  This reminds me that in the worst case scenario we won’t starve, not for a while at least.

Eat chocolate ice cream, preferably male*

Make chocolate chip cookies, also preferably male

Read something engrossing.  I read somewhere that this does good things to the brain in times of stress and is better than some other ways to relax.  So it must be true.

Watch something brainless and funny.  Ah, Big Bang Theory, how I love you.

Snuggle.  Wasn’t there just an article making the rounds about the power of touch?  So yeah.

Look up alternate careers.  Because we are never trapped.

Eat pasta.  (This doesn’t work as well for #1 because it is often followed by a carb crash.  But there’s something very homey about spaghetti with meat sauce.  The ultimate comfort food.)

Re-read silly novels.  They can’t surprise you with sudden depressingness.

Listen to MC Frontalot.

Call partner on phone

Look at lolcats… or kitenwars… or dailysquee… Cute aminals.  Nuff sed.

Cuddle a kitteh

Whiiiiiiiiiine

IM #1 (see above whine)

Go to bed and sleep it off.  Tomorrow is often better, assuming you don’t have crippling nightmares that keep you from sleeping.

Distract self with internet (LibraryThing)… or blog about it.  (See whine.)

What do you do when you need a little TLC?  (The care, not the crackers.)

*male ice cream includes NY Super Fudge Chunk, rocky road, everything but the, turtle soup etc…  male cookies include generally walnuts or pecans.

Link Love (last one before classes start!)

This one is also a little light on the personal finance.  I think the pf bloggers are on vacation while the academic bloggers are doing deep soul searching ‘cuz the school year is about to start.  Or at least they’re sitting at their computers procrastinating while doing class prep and finishing up those articles that need to go out ASAP (maybe that’s just us…).

Historiann on mandatory retirement (with the Isley Brothers)

Reading historical novels for work: not as cool as it sounds

Profacero (Z) with a list that speaks to me, and for a lot of academics I think.  (And I want Z to comment more on our blog!)  Let us celebrate our successes and learn from others’ successes and never feel guilty for being awesome.  I think Z’s future is bright and I look forward to the upward climb into freedom.

Step away from the mall has an ethical question about how many free coupons he can use… if the coupon doesn’t say, “limit one coupon per customer…”  I don’t know the answer.

Everyday tips estimates how much it costs per day to drive a car.

A tale of woe from Money Reasons.  Lest we feel too sorry for him, it got better.  We can now go back to jealously prepping classes for next semester.

Shedoncomics + blogs + grammar… triple play with the funny.  Oh snap!

a new Simon’s Cat video…!

Also: Very important cat safety tips Cats being better than dogs.

Better Book Titles (what it says on the tin)

ETA: This morning’s post from the boxcar kids is just heartbreaking. I hope they find a solution that doesn’t require losing the pets or being otherwise separated.

Awesome or Awful? You decide.

I see things that look like they could be totally awesome, or else, they could be completely horrible, depending on execution.  These are all things that I have *not* read or otherwise consumed, so I don’t know yet.  You make the call!

Anthropomorphic Cats, take one: Lackadaisy

Anthropomorphic Cats, take two: Blacksad (I’m guessing more likely to be awesome here)

Long ago, I asked whether Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was going to be awesome or terrible, but I think time has answered the majority opinion on this one, with followups such as:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Mansfield Park and Mummies

Little Women and Werewolves and/or Little Vampire Women

(Sweet, nourishing public domain.)

(on an only somewhat related note: Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter was pretty decent, amusing, fun, but not great)

More later!  Meanwhile, tell us the awesome-to-awful ratio in the comments.

Cats vs. Dogs: Part Two: The Cuteness Factor

Cats are WAY cuter than dogs.

I mean seriously.  Kittenwar vs. Puppywar?  No CONTEST.

How about from dailysquee:  kittens or puppies?

LOLCats ar3 the bizbomb… who even reads LOLDogs?

BFS guest blogging at Live Real Now has posted some pics of her pug.  Sure, he’s cute.  But is he as cute as teh kittehs?

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