I tried to do another headcount while feeding the yard cats this morning, and got 29.

Then more adults showed up!

Speaking of adults…

Guess which one is the adult, and which is the teenager?

The smaller one on the left, caught in an adorable tongue blep, is the adult, Caramel – an obvious descendant of Beep Beep! The black and white is from the oldest litter that we discovered in the cats’ house, in late April!

They’re hard to tell apart, but here’s a photo taken on April 29.

These were Junk Pile’s first litter of the year, and she moved them out not long after. Thankfully, they all survived. These are Plushy, the tuxedo, the black and white, plus a grey tabby that will not let us near it.

Now these babies are almost adult size, and bigger than most of the adults! The black and white and the tuxedo are the burliest. They let us pet them every once in a while, too. Junk Pile went on to have a second litter of white and grey Shop Towel babies, younger than the ones Rosencrantz had.

Caramel was born just last year, and she had the latest litter of the year until the bitties showed up. It looks like there’s just two, or two that survived. They are very shy ones, but I do see them regularly now. One is a dark grey tabby, while the other looks even more like Beep Beep than her mother, with that distinctive orange splotch on her forehead. The truth is, I’ve never seen those two kittens with an adult, but I know Caramel had kittens somewhere around the collapsing log cabin and the old threshing machine, and that’s where those two kittens started showing up from. Now, they seem to have mostly moved in under the cats’ house. It must be pretty cozy under there, considering how many of the smaller cats I see under there. I’m hoping the scrap pieces of rigid insulation I slipped under there have helped make it even better. 😊

It was decidedly chilly out this morning, so of course I’m worried about the smaller kittens. Especially the bitty baby. I put kibble in the tray just inside the cat house entry and later saw it eating there – a long with two other kittens! When I was coming back from finishing my rounds, I saw it using the ramp to leave the water shelter, and I was able to pick it up for cuddles. It was shivering, the poor thing! I made sure to put it down inside the entry of the cat house. Just sticking my hand in to do that, I could feel a substantial difference in temperature!

I was glad to see it had come out for water but, at the same time, frustrated. I got one of those no-spill water bowls for inside the cat house, setting it on the tray just inside the entry. The tray may be jammed in nice and tight and isn’t moving, but the water bowl ended up knocked about and further into the cat house. That’s the second one that got knocked out of reach. I’d have to lift the roof to be able to get at it, and that’s just not something I want to do unless I have to. It’s very disruptive, and the shelter is old enough that there’s risk of breaking something. Which means the bitty has to leave the warmth of the shelter to get to water. Being the tiniest of the kittens, it’s far more at risk from the dropping temperatures.

I’m still holding out for a mild winter. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts that some areas will be bitterly cold this winter, while others will be much milder. Looking at their winter forecast map, we are – as usual! – basically at the border between the two areas, so if their forecast is accurate, we could go either way.

If it weren’t for the destruction caused by the racoons, I’d be leaving the doors to the sun room propped open overnight, so they’ve have even more shelter available to them!

I am such a suck, when it comes to the cats! 😂

The Re-Farmer

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