There is just no predicting things with the outside cats!
One of the tabbies looks a lot like Potato Beetle, but with more black instead of potato beetle looking stripes on his back. I’ve never really been able to get close to him.
I was topping up their kibble, including on their favourite spot, the cat house roof. This time, instead of running away, he seemed curious and wanted to sniff my fingers.
So I let him sniff and come a bit closer. That, by itself, was huge.
Then he came even closer, and started pushing his face into my hands.
Then he started grabbing my fingers and pulling them over to pet him!
He suddenly began reveling in pets, rolling around on the roof, sending kibble and other cats flying as he bashed into them. If my hand slowed down, or if I tried to pet another cat, he grabbed it and pulled it back to pet him some more!
How does a cat go from pretty much completely feral, to oozing friendliness, in such a short time?
Also; confirmed male.
All of the friendly outside cats, and even the half friendly ones, have been male. We still have had little progress approaching the calicos and torties; there’s just one tortie that I’ve been able to sneak pets while she’s eating. She moves away, but doesn’t run away or panic anymore. The girls have named that one Phantom, because she has a black “mask” over one eye. There is one tabby that we can’t get close to, but I did get a view while it was eating and could confirm male, and the other that has allowed me to pet it is also confirmed male. There are still some white and greys we can’t touch, and have not been able to see if they are male or female.
It would be nice if some of the females (we can safely assume the calicos and torties are female, even though we’ve never been able to actually see one way or the other) would suddenly become friendly. That would make it much easier to get them to the rescue to get fixed!
Today, I potted up most of our seedlings, among other things.
For the larger seedlings, I thinned by dividing, so the zucca melon and a couple of drum gourds are now in their own larger pots. The pots where nothing germinated now have new seeds in them, including the luffa on the side.
The four cells of peppers are now in 7 red solo cups. The thyme and lemongrass did not get thinned, just transplanted into deeper biodegradable pots.
I also got the strawberry kit done, and that little tray is in the aquarium greenhouse with the other seed starts. Every time I look at in there, the Black Beauty seedlings are bigger, and I can spot more of them breaking through the soil. They are practically exploding in growth! I even spotted a couple of Indigo Blue tomatoes breaking through, too!
In about a week, we’ll need to start the next batch of seeds, which will include all the remaining short season peppers and the paste tomatoes. I’m quite glad we have the living room cat proofed, so we can shift things around more freely. Yesterday, my daughter was using the room and Fenrir teleported in, as she tends to do. My daughter thought it might be okay, since she was in there to supervise. She turned her head for perhaps 30 seconds, and suddenly Fenrir had a mouth full of onion greens!
Onions are toxic to cats.
My daughter was able to catch her and get the greens before she actually ate them. Thankfully, there is no apparent damage to the onion seedlings!
So much for even one cat being allowed in, with supervision!
Yesterday was the first day of spring. Check out our spring garden!
It’s going to be a while before we can start building the trellis tunnels (we will be starting closer to the high raised bed, and I hope to eventually have two or three, though maybe not this year), never mind planting anything!
We do have other signs of spring.
When I shut the lights off for the night, I found two Black Beauty tomatoes had emerged! There had been no sign of them when I turned the lights on in the morning. I could just make out the “elbow” of a third one, and this morning I can see there is a second “elbow” emerging. These are in the cell just below the one with the visible sprouts.
Today, I plan to pot up some of the transplants, and try to start seeds for some losses. We are down to one luffa, two pots of zucca melon still have had no germination, along with one pot of drum gourds, so I’ll see if I can get new ones started, though I won’t bother putting them in the aquarium greenhouse. Their current location above a heat vent should be warm enough. I did remove the plastic cover on the mini greenhouse, as I think the lack of air circulation may be contributing to the losses, and even some of the bigger seedlings have started to look unhealthy.
I stopped at a grocery store to pick up some milk for my mother, and ended up picking up a seed kit. One of the things I wanted to do later on was get strawberry transplants – quite a few of them, depending on the budget – and plant them as a living ground cover around the silver buffalo berry. Last year, the transplants cost about $3 or $4 each. The kit was only $4. So I’m going to try growing strawberries from seed, which will hopefully give me more to transplant than I would be able to afford if buying transplants. And if they fail, it’s not an expensive fail. So that is something else I plan to work on today.
Oh, and I’d better call the plumber about our bathtub before I forget again! After that, I’ll know if I have to be making a trip to get a tub surround and the replacement taps I want.
Today I took my mother for her follow up appointment with the specialist, to tell her how her scope went.
The one she still thinks didn’t happen, because she doesn’t remember the procedure.
The one where, even after the explanation by the pharmacist that seemed to mollify her, she still thinks prescribed her new medications, replacing other medications she suddenly now things worked so well (which rather contradicts why she went to the doctor over concerns that lead her to this specialist in the first place).
It didn’t help that, once we got there, we ended up waiting in the examination room for an hour before he came to see her!
My mother wasn’t at her worse behaviour towards me, but she certainly wasn’t having one of her better days.
I am so exhausted.
As for her procedure, they found no problems. No damage to her esophagus or trachea at all. No, he didn’t change her medications on her and did not give her any new prescriptions.
As for her not remembering the procedure, he talked about the medicine they put into her IV (she’d never mentioned an IV to me; only the throat spray) and how he’d talked to her about not finding any reason to take any samples…
It wasn’t until we were driving home that something finally cleared up for me. After her procedure, she talked to me about how a doctor she’d never seen before had spoken to her and told her they didn’t “finish” because she was on blood thinners, so she was convinced that taking samples was THE reason she was there, but they didn’t do anything at all, because she didn’t stop her blood thinners.
On the drive home, she suddenly asked me, was this the same doctor that we saw last time?
Yes, it was.
She didn’t recognise him. It must be because he was wearing a mask.
No, he wasn’t. No one at the clinic was wearing a mask.
Which is when I asked her if she hadn’t recognized him at the hospital. There was a pause, and I could almost hear the “click” in her brain, and she said, no, she hadn’t.
All this time, she thought the procedure had been done by a completely different doctor she’d never met before.
Once she realized what was going on, she commented that she’s been having a harder time remembering faces.
There was a whole lot of other stuff we talked about during the hours I spent with her, and most of them were not pleasant. Even telling her mundane stuff, like how we had to replace the parts inside the toilet tank, and need to call a plumber for the bathroom fixtures, she suddenly went off on a tangent about how I only ever talk about “bad” stuff, and how if I only went to church, we would have blessings and nothing would ever go wrong anymore. *sigh* She’s been watching too much TV prosperity gospel. Particularly stuff by people on talk shows, selling their books. God is not a magic genie in a bottle, there to answer our wishes.
It gets really mentally exhausting trying to keep up with the sudden changes in topic or getting blindsided by illogical assumptions.
It made the hours seem so much longer, that’s for sure.
But, it went over okay overall, even if she went off on how she wished she never saw this doctor, and that the procedure was a total waste of time, etc., etc.
I was more than happy to get home.
Before I settled in for the evening, though, I decided to feed the outside cats, first.
When I go into the old kitchen, the cats in the sun room hear the noises I make and get pretty active. I started to hear a very unusual meowing, though. One I did not recognise. I opened the inner door to see, and discovered The Distinguished Guest was there.
Then he turned to walk towards an empty food bowl.
Using only three legs.
He wasn’t putting any weight on one front paw, if he could avoid it. I couldn’t see any blood or obvious injury, but recently we’d heard a cat fight outside, and when my daughter checked, she saw it was Shop Towel and TDG again – the two toms that wander in and out, but don’t live here.
I’m so glad we brought Potato Beetle inside.
Poor TDG is having a really hard time, but he won’t let us near him. He was hungry enough to not run away completely while I was putting kibble out, but he did keep running off to other trays, as I moved around.
I’m still sure that he used to be a pet that got dumped. When he first showed up, he did allow us to pet him, but now he’s gotten completely feral.
I really don’t know how to help him. I don’t want to contact the rescue about him. For starters, we have no way of knowing when he’ll be around, so it’s not like we can count on trapping him. Plus, she’s still recovering from major surgery.
She did contact me last night, sharing about how Cabbages, the bitties, and the other outside kittens that got adopted out.
Including Plushy, who just went through some major surgery, too!
Thankfully, he went to a family of means!
He had been perfectly fine until one morning, he threw up and there was blood. They immediately took him to a vet. They X-rayed him and found an intestinal blockage, from a twist. It’s the sort of thing that can happen randomly and has no specific cause. They put him into surgery immediately, and found all his intestines were messed up. It ended up taking a team of 3 vets 4 hours (and $6000, up front!!!!) to save him. Apparently, they were amazed he didn’t die as a kitten, with how is insides looked. !!!
He is now on special food, because his intestines are now shorter, but is doing fine. In fact, other than throwing up blood that one time, there had been no sign of any problems at all! While he was living with the cat lady and getting vet care, there was no sign of problems. Of course, while he was living here, when he finally decided that human contact was an enjoyable thing, we saw no issues, either. Yet, apparently his insides were messed up and, while it’s not actually unusual, when it happens, they usually die as kittens.
The Cat Lady even commented about how so many cats from us have had problems. With Tissue, it was behavioural. Cabbages had her major health problems (she’s doing fantastic now, and angry at the Cat Lady for being chastised after stealing a chicken leg off the counter), Muffin is a total homewrecker that is all over her husband, but won’t let the Cat Lady come near her, and of the two bitties they still have, the tuxedo turns out to have a “grade 3” heart murmur, which is apparently the most common type. Not a major issue, but still something to keep an ear on.
The bitties are going to be fixed during spring break, and they are totally loving life with the Cat Lady and the other rescues!
I wonder if we’d ever even discover they had issues if they had remained yard cats? Yard cats tend to have such short life spans, we’d probably never know if they disappeared because of something like this, or if a coyote or eagle or something got them.
I’m just glad the family that has Plushy now was both willing and able to have her taken care of!
I’ve been working on a project for some time now – with a major delay while we fought with the cat barriers and other things.
One of the things we are planning to build is an off-grid type outdoor kitchen. Before we can build the cooking areas, though, we need a shelter. After much discussion with the girls, we hashed out a plan, discussed location and materials, and figured things out as much as we could. Then, to help figure out some of the details, I made a scale model.
Here is the making of the model, and our plans explained.
It always amazes me how many of the cats have a preference for eating under the water bowl shelter. At one point, I counted 5 under there.
They also really appreciate that sheet of insulation under the kibble house in the winter. Every now and then, I’ll walk past the back of it and see a whole bunch of noses peaking out from under the back wall, where there is a much smaller gap.
I’ve been seeing Rosencrantz again and, unfortunately, she is looking pregnant, too. She had a really early litter last year, though not as early as Junk Pile did this year, and lost it. She went on to have a late second litter with 3 white and greys, Pinky, with his unique patches of mixed orange and grey fur, and a tortie.
For the third day in a row, Junk Pile followed me around while I was doing my rounds, all the way to the sign cam, and let me pick her up and carry her back to the house. She rode calmly in my arms, the back of her head nuzzled against my face. What a massive change in personality! I’ll take it, though. Hopefully, it means we’ll be able to catch her and get her spayed this year.
On a completely different note…
I made it to the Walmart with my mother’s car yesterday. I’m happy to say it ran well, and the roads that were so treacherous just a few days ago are now clear.
One of the things I was able to pick up was a universal fill valve and flapper kit for the toilet. We’ve been having issues for a while now, because … well… see for yourself.
That bit of white hose is almost completely blocked. It was taking forever for the tank to refill after flushing. The flapper would also get stuck slightly open, which meant the water was draining almost faster than it could be refilled. We would have to hold the lever down until the bowl was completely emptied, or the flapper wouldn’t close properly. The flow of water was so slow, it often wouldn’t finish flushing, so we’d have to wait 5 or 10 minutes to flush again.
The flapper couldn’t be replaced; there is something very different about it, and my daughter couldn’t even see how it was attached, but her sister scrubbed out as much of the gunk as she could, and it is working much better. The tank refills so much faster now! The only thing we have to tweak is how much water is in the bowl. For some reason, it has always been very low, and this old valve doesn’t seem to have any way to adjust water levels for the bowl; just the tank. Getting that adjusted will help a lot with reducing the clogs and slow drains we’ve had the entire time we’ve lived here! My daughters are also planning to scrub the inside of the tank as best they can, but it’s lines with Styrofoam insulation, which we have to be careful not to damage. I’ll have to look for the septic safe anti-iron tank tablets again. The last few times I’ve looked, they were out of stock. I’m hoping to avoid having to order online.
Oh, that reminds me. I made a quick stop at the post office on my way out, yesterday, and my new, low limit credit card was in. Once I was home again, I had to call the toll free number to activate it. Of course, the guy I spoke to had a whole spiel he had to give after activating it, to try and sell me insurance, so if I loose my job or something, the balance will be paid. Of course, I was laughing at that, since I cannot get a job. When I mentioned that I want to keep the limit low and just use the card to rebuild my credit rating, he finished off the call with some advice. He gave me the date for my billing cycle, which is the 7th. My intention was to use the card at the end of the month, for gas and groceries, when we do our city shopping, then pay it off right away. He suggested I wait until about 2 days before the due date, which would still be within the 21 day interest free grace period. Waiting to pay until just before the next billing cycle improves the credit rating faster. It would also be helpful to include regular automated payments taken from the card. This shows that the card is actually being used regularly. With the card I have, gas, groceries and automatic payments have a 1% cash back, while everything else has a .5% cash back. I don’t have anything I want to put on automatic payment, though. With our utilities, I like to pay manually, because I always over pay a bit, to build up a credit. That way, if we are ever in a pickle or things just get really tight for some reason, we could have a month or two of reduced payments, or even no payments at all, to free funds up in the budget.
We continue to be teased by spring. We had high winds yesterday and through the night, and while this morning, we are at a rather okay -16C/3F, the wind chill is at -24C/-11F. During the night, we had wind chills down to -28C/-18F! Today, we’re supposed to be sunny and reaching a high of -5C/23F, and a few days from now, we’re supposed to start getting consistent highs above freezing. The first official calendar day of spring is in only two days, but it’s going to be a while before real spring finally reaches us.
It got chilly enough in the sun room for this little guy to take advantage of an empty heated water bowl!
While putting their food out, I tried petting Junk Pile, but as soon as she realized I was touching her, she got startled and moved away. I was hoping, after being able to pet and carry her yesterday, she would still be okay with contact, but apparently not.
Then, as I was returning from the sign cam, there she was, coming up the path through the garden! I tried to pet her and she acted skittish, but kept coming back until she finally let me pet her. After a while, I tried walking again, but she wouldn’t let me! I finally picked her up so I could get back to the house, and she was quite okay with that. She kept snuzzling the back of her head against my face and making this noise that was kind of like a quiet growl! While holding her, I could feel her teats were slightly swollen, from not having any kittens left to nurse her, but they lived for so short a time, she should dry up quickly. She was not in any discomfort. When I got to the house and she wanted to jump down, she still wouldn’t move away from my feet, so I had to pick her up again and deposit her onto the cat house roof, just so I could walk!
Today, I plan to take my mother’s car for a run to Walmart; the kibble bin has reached the point where it’s mostly the cheap brand we got from the feed store, and they’re actually picking out and eating the other brand and leaving the cheap stuff behind. They do eat it eventually, but they clearly don’t like it. This gives me an excuse to see how my mother’s car is doing for a longer run, since we have to go to the same city for her follow up appointment with the specialist on Monday.
I’m happy to say that my tax return came in this morning, which means that we can finally call the plumber to fix our leaking taps, as well as pick up a replacement tub surround, since he’s going to have to rip the old one off. Not that there’s much besides the arm bars holding it in place, as it is. We’re going on the most likely assumption that the last time the taps were replaced, it was done from the tub side, then covered over by the surround. I highly doubt the person that I know was hired to do it would have gone through the bedroom wall on the other side. There’s no hole in the paneling, and no sign that the entire panel itself was removed.
We don’t know how much getting all this done in the bathroom is going to cost in the end. The girls and I talked about the possibility of not putting another tub surround up at all, but taking out the old paneling and tiling it. That would be a lot more expensive, though. Plus, I’m still hoping we can at least get my daughter her new glasses right away, now that she’s got a prescription. While she was getting tested, I looked around at the frames in the clinic, and the cheapest I could see was about $180. Most were in the $300+ range, and I wasn’t even looking at the fancy brand names. She is going to try getting glasses from Zenni, which was recommended to me (thank you!), as they do have a Canadian site. I need progressives, so those were the frames I went looking at in the site, and the prices are SO much better. Apparently, “premium” progressive lenses start at about Cdn$70, so my daughter’s very basic prescription should be quite affordable.
We shall see how that goes soon enough.
I just asked my daughter about her glasses order, and it turns out it’s already done! She was even able to order a second pair of prescription sunglasses, and even with shipping, it was still under Cdn$100! I look forward to seeing what the quality is like.
I tried to do a head count while feeding the outside cats this morning, and I think I counted 23. What concerned me is that I couldn’t see the mama cat anywhere, nor could I make anything out through the windows of the cats’ house. I think I may have heard a squeak, but it could easily have been something else.
While switching out the memory card on the gate cam, a whole bunch of cats came running up the driveway to follow me around. Including one that had me doing a double take.
It was the mama.
(I’d thought she was one of the ‘iccuses, but now I realize she’s Junk Pile!)
This is a cat that I’ve only ever been able to touch by sneaking while she ate, and that was rare. Today, however, she was coming right up to my feet. I reached out to pet her a few times and at first, she nervously backed away, but when I finally got to stroke her back, she stopped and let me pet her.
While trying to walk back to the inner yard, she kept running ahead, then stopping and blocking my feet, then running ahead, then blocking my feet, over and over. Finally, I picked her up – and she let me! I started walking again, which was too much for her, so she jumped down, but was running ahead, then blocking my feet, all the way to the house.
At that point, went down another path to cross the main garden area, and switch the memory card on the sign cam. There is just a narrow, hard packed path through the snow, and if my feet slip off the packed snow, I find myself sunk up to my knee. I often have cats following me, running ahead, and trying to trip me up, and this morning, there were the usual 3 or 4 of them.
On my way back, there she was.
She was doing the same thing; getting under my feet, then running ahead, getting under my feet, then running ahead. On this path, that’s actually kind of dangerous, so I picked her up again and tried to carry her.
Not only did she allow me to carry her all the way back to the house, but she actually snuggled up against me!!!
This from a cat that wouldn’t even let us touch her, without being sneaky about it, before.
It wasn’t until I got in front of the house that the finally wanted to jump down, but allowed me to lower her closer to the ground, first. She ran ahead of me towards the cat shelters, then ran into the cat house.
I tried looking through the windows, but it’s so hard to see into there. The larger windows have too much reflection, and the small one is too dirty on the inside. I tried moving the strips of carpet over the entrance and could finally see her. The larger cat bed in there has been moved (and it pretty torn up!) and is now next to the litter box (which has not been changed in months, because we can’t easily get at it; I doubt the cats are even using it anymore), and I could see other cat blankets pushed around. While I was looking, she moved to the cardboard box with the pillow in it that’s still in the other corner, and where I saw movement yesterday morning, when I first heard kitten noises.
With this very unusual behaviour, I can’t help but feel that she is asking for help.
The problem is, with the snow around the back of the cat house, the counterweight will probably not be able to drop as far as it should, which means needing someone to actually hold the roof open. My daughter and I will be doing that soon; I want to wait until it’s a bit warmer (it was -17C/1F with a wind chill of -28C/-18F while I was out this morning). We’ll bring the hard sided cat carrier out, in case we need to move babies, and hopefully be able to straighten things out inside the cat house a bit as well.
If we do end up moving the babies, then what?
With her strange behaviour this morning, I’m guessing Junk Pile would be willing to come along. The question is, do we set up a “cave” for her in the sun room?
Or do we take her inside.
I still have the baby jail cage in my room. The other cats like to go into there for naps, or just when they want to be left alone.
Well… we’ll make that decision after we see what we find in the cat house.
Update: warning; some graphic details to follow
well, it’s done. After having to chip the packed snow away from the crates supporting the counterweight, my daughter and I were able to open the cat house roof, with the cat carrier nearby for any babies we found.
My daughter is absolutely devastated.
What we found were pieces.
Nature at work. When mamas lose their babies, they “clean up” by eating the remains. If it wasn’t the mama, any of the other cats could have done it. I hadn’t mentioned before, but even yesterday, when I found the second dead kitten in the shelf shelter, it was missing its head, so the cats had already been at that one.
While my daughter looked away, I got the large pieces out, then had to use the snow scraper to bring the smaller bits close enough for me to reach them. A couple of times she looked back, only to be telling me where I’d missed another piece. Once we were sure I got all the bits, we straightened out the cat beds and blankets, then closed the roof up again. At that point, my daughter took the cat carrier in while I finished up.
After clearing the snow out of the hole and putting the crates back under the counterweight, I got a bucket to pick the bits up out of the snow to add them to the other remains awaiting cremation (it’s too windy to start a fire now). Only then did I realize there were two tails parts. These were the remains of two kittens, not one.
I guess the mama coming to me for attention this morning was her looking for comfort after losing her babies.
We knew the chances of survival for kittens born this early in the year was low, but this is the first time we’ve had to clean up the bodies. My daughter is very tender hearted, and having a hard time with it. She was totally unprepared for what we found.