Cat status – a rough night!

So… I didn’t get much sleep last night.

The fact that we can’t keep the littles inside baby jail, because they can climb up to where the openings are larger and squeeze their way out, is making it more difficult.

First, the good news.

Walnut has adapted very quickly.

One of the few times I drifted off, I woke to feel something small against my leg. I was able to grab my phone and use the selfie setting, with flash, to get this picture and see who it was. It took a few tries, but the flash did not wake her up!

Walnut is all over the room. In fact, she’s been making it hard to work on this post, because she keeps climbing me, or trying to walk across my keyboard. I have a brief respite, as she leapt from the back of my office chair onto the top of the baby jail. It has a couple of strips of cardboard and towels over 3/4 of the top. The towels were to help calm down any cats inside, but the other cats like to use it as a bed now, and their feet keep pushing the towel through the cage, so I added the carboard.

The bitty tabby, however, is having more difficult. It’s shy around me, plays with Walnut, and keeps going after the other cats. These kittens are used to having a lot of other cats around them, without much issue. Walnut in particular would be used to being part of a cuddle pile. The bitty tabby was just getting used to that when we brought her in. Plus, of course, she is looking for a mama to comfort nurse.

Marlee has been in a state, ever since the littles arrived. Most of the nice, she was growling and snarling, even if they weren’t near her. She’s been batting at them if they come too close – and even snarling and growling at me when I try to calm her down! She’s spent most of her time in her new favourite spot on the rolled up blanket near my bed, but she also liked to spend time loafing in baby jail, or under my vanity – both spots the littles have taken over.

Cheddar has been good, overall. He’d come in and immediately sniff at whichever kitten was nearby – usually Walnut – and even give them kisses. Walnut responded to Cheddar by immediately nuzzling him and rubbing her shoulders against him. That was too much for him, though, and he was soon asking me to open the door to let him out!

Leyendecker has also been all right, for the most part. At one point, I’d turned the light on to see what Marlee was snarling at, and found him on my office chair, as usual – but with Walnut curled up with him! He couldn’t tolerate that for long, though, and soon left the chair to her and went to sleep on my bed.

Butterscotch… is Butterscotch. She is done with kittens. Wants nothing to do with kittens. She’ll ignore them, but if the come too close, she’ll start hissing. The problem for her is, once she goes down to the floor to get some food or something, the bitty tabby comes running, and that gets her really upset!

Nosencrantz spends most of her time on her favourite spot by the ceiling, but when she did come down, she ended up under my foot stool. It’s a favourite spot, normally, because it’s kept right next to the heat vent, which the bitty tabby has discovered. It also is a good hiding spot. The bitty tabby tends to run under there when I move around, but Nosencrantz started snarling and batting at her every bit as much as Marlee.

Butterscotch and Nosencrantz both ended up at the top of the shelf to get away from the littles. Which was fine, until…

… Leyendecker jumped up to get away from the littles, too.

Butterscotch was NOT happy!

One of my daughters took over supervisor duty while I did the morning rounds, and she ended up having to kick Leyendecker out.


… still no luck in snagging the other bitty.

What an adorable little soot sprite!

If we could get Broccoli, too, that would be fantastic. She could stay with her babies longer, and even Walnut would enjoy her mothering. Broccoli has been letting some of the white and greys nurse, too, even though they are so much older and not her kittens.

I now have Walnut on my chest, attacking my face and the end of my braid.

She’s sharp!

Anyhow… Where was I?

I’ve been making a point of…

Oh, dear.

Walnut just tried to run away with my braid. It didn’t work and she fell onto the floor. Now she’s back, trying to attack my braid, and face, again!

What a little beast!

As I was saying… I’ve been making a point of leaving extra food in the sun room, so the cats don’t have to go outside to eat. The adults and the cattens don’t have too much issue with going out to eat. Especially the long haired ones. The littles would rather stay in the sun room, which I want to encourage. At least until this cold snap passes. Hopefully, that will also make it easier to catch the last bitty – and maybe even Broccoli.

I don’t think Marlee would be happy with the additions, but at least it would only be until the end of the year, when the Cat Lady will come for them.

The Re-Farmer

Roof all done, a Muffin update and…

… my brother is insane.

He sent me the photos he took of the house and roof today. This is one of them.

That’s the step ladder he set up, to fix the broken guy wire on the antennae. I added the arrows; the top one is where he had to thread the replacement wire through, and the bottom one shows the broken wire on the roof. With the wire broken (the roofers were so focused on their job, they never really noticed the wire for what it was), the pipe post was being bent into a curve.

After looking at the pictures, I realized that I noticed the post was bent some time ago, but didn’t see that one of the guy wires was broken. I remember wondering why it was bent, then promptly forgot about it.

I’m not typically afraid of heights. My biggest problem with heights is that, any time I look down from high up, I feel like my glasses are going to fall off. But looking at that ladder, and seeing where he had to climb to thread the replacement wire through gives me the willies!

The roof is now done. The crew stayed until it was completely dark, cleaning up around the house and playing Tetris, trying to fit everything into the back of the truck. The truck has an extended cab and a short box, which made fitting the ladders a challenge! Only one of the guys had come in to eat, so I went out to make sure they came in for food before they left. Knowing they’d want to head home as soon as possible, I dug out some take out containers, if they wanted. I had just finished doing that when one of the guys came in and asked about the possibility of having take out containers! So that worked out perfectly.

In the morning, I will walk around and get what pictures I can from the ground. I look forward to seeing how it looks, though it’s snowing right now, so I might not actually see the shingles very well. 😄

Meanwhile, I was able to keep in touch with the cat lady and worked out when we would meet tomorrow, to bring back Big Rid and Muffin.

Then I got a message asking if we’d intended to keep Muffin.

I told her, no; she’s available for adoption, but since she needs treatment, she would likely end up an indoor cat with us, and not go back outside. Once they come inside, they don’t go back out. The problem is, the other cats aren’t liking the new additions and are causing problems. Muffin, on the other hand, gives no F’s about the other cats and settled right in during her one day indoors.

Well, long story short, Muffin isn’t coming back.

We’ll be getting a different cat, instead!

The cat lady has completely fallen in love with Muffin. She’s incredibly sweet, and the cat lady is wanting to keep treating her, herself. She doesn’t like calicos and doesn’t like female cats (ha!), but Muffin is apparently very much like Cabbages, and has already wormed her way into the cat lady’s heart.

They do, however, have a problem cat.

This other cat had been left behind when the owners moved away, and was an outdoor cat for the last 2 years (the vet thinks she’s about 2 1/2 years old). The cat has not adapted well to being indoors, at all, and has spent the last several months hiding under her husband’s desk, almost never coming out other than to eat and use the litter. She likes other cats okay, but is constantly scared. They don’t want to let her outside, of course, because they live in the city and they are afraid she might get hit by a car, but she is absolutely miserable, inside.

The cat lady knows the set up we have, and as much as she hates to do it, she hoped that we’d be able to take her in with our yard cats.

Of course, I said yes. After all the help she’s given us, it’s the least we can do! I did tell her, though, that there’s no guarantee that she won’t simply take off once she’s outdoors. We can use the sun room as a transition space to get her used to the idea of this being a safe place, with warm shelters, food and water. Aside from a couple of cats, the yard cats have been very accepting every time a new batch of kittens showed up, as well as any strange adults. Even The Distinguished Guest is accepted, though he’s one of the cats that tends to be aggressive towards others. But once outside, we really have no control over what she does. All we can do is make the idea of staying close to the house as positive a thing as possible.

Mind you, we might be able to get her to be okay indoors, here. We shall see.

So when I meet with her tomorrow, we will be bring back Big Rig and a stranger!

I also got more information about Plushy and Princess. They are going to the same family, but not the same household. There’s the family with kids and right next door is Grandma. They’ll probably be able to visit each other! 😄

Meanwhile, after we collect two cats tomorrow, she’ll be picking up a bunch of polydactyl kittens that the RM was wanting to shoot, so she’s going to have a houseful! I’ve found that polydactyls tend to get adopted out rather quickly, though, so I would not be surprised if she finds homes for them soon. They’re going to be getting quite a bit of vet care, first, though.

Which means tomorrow will be another run-around day for me. I plan to leave early enough that I can pick up a few things, like litter pellets, before meeting the cat lady, so that I can go straight home once the cats are loaded up, while also taking advantage of city shopping.

At least, for now, I’ll have one day at home before I have to take my mother’s car to the garage! After that, I hope I won’t need to go out again until we have to do the last bit of shopping for Christmas dinner and New Year’s.

I really look forward to turtling at home again.

The Re-Farmer

Today’s progress and news

The roofers were expecting to come early today, so I was up earlier than usual to do the morning rounds. One of my daughters was also up early, but my other daughter was up most of the might working on commissions, she she tried to sleep during the day, instead.

It almost worked! 😄

Meanwhile, I made a stew for the crew to have for lunch, along with some corn bread to go with it. 😊

The roofers were expecting to be done today, but I think he was also expecting to have a crew of five. They didn’t show up until almost 10, and there was only three of them. The supervisor had to do a lot of driving around to pick up the other crew members, and they don’t live anywhere near each other!

As they were working out how to set up, one of the things they wanted to do was move the trailer for the old shingles to the other side of the house, close to the sun room. The supervisor was very happy to find out that what he thought was the cover of a septic tank was actually the cover for our well, so he didn’t have to worry about driving over a tank. He’d wanted to have the trailer over the cap, with the wheels on either side, but ended up pulling in where I’d suggested, instead, just to one side. It wasn’t as close to the sun room like they wanted, but it was pretty much under the west side of the main entry’s roof, so it still worked out.

I remembered to talk to them about not being able to drop loads of shingles onto the roof of the sun room, like they did on the other side of the house. Those windows would shatter. They were able to accommodate by carrying up one bundle of shingles at a time, little by little.

Because the day was warmer and there was little wind, once everything was done inside, I headed out to do a burn. Along with our usual burning of paper garbage and the cat litter sawdust, I was finally able to get the nearby pile of wood done as well. When the branch pile was chipped and they left a stack of logs too big for the chipper, I piled them around some burnable garbage that didn’t fit in the burn barrel, so the whole thing could get done at once. Today, I finally got to light it!

Wow, did that bonfire ever throw heat! Even though the top was covered with snow, it burned very well.

When I heard them talking about stopping for a break, the fire had burned low enough that I could leave it to make sure the food was nice and hot. At one point, I noticed one of the guys head to the outer yard and took a look, only to find he’d gone over to the fire to warm up! 😁

After they had lunch and got back to work, I went back to tending the fire. We have a lot of rotten pallets that I’d originally intended to have hauled to the dump, but I’m just going ahead and burning them. Later, when it’s time to clean up the ash piles, I’ll have to make sure we clean out all the nails and other bits of metal in the process!

Eventually, I had a chance to wander around and see how things were progressing on the far side of the house.

The guy in the photo above is working directly over the bedroom upstairs – and my daughter that was drying to sleep has her bed under the slope of that roof. Every now and then, something would drop off a shelf of curios she has on her wall and fall on her head. When she put the shelf up, she did considered that possibility, so that side of the shelf has all softer items, and not her rocks and gemstones collection! 😂

One of the things that didn’t happen was the replacement of the roof cap from the bathroom vent. Typically, they would have removed the old cap, put on a new one, and sealed it in place.

Well… we have something different. We don’t have a top piece that comes off. It’s one long piece that goes all the way to the bathroom. To remove it, he would have had to cut a hold in the roof, replaced the whole thing, the patch the hole up again – something that would take at least a couple of extra hours. There was, however, no need to do it. What we have there is perfectly fine and doesn’t need to be replaced. So they’ll just reseal around it when they lay the new shingles down. That is going to be removed from the final bill, too.

I started to wonder, though, what was going on with the chimney, when I saw they were already putting new shingles down in areas. Eventually, I asked the supervisor about it.

He didn’t know it was supposed to come down!

He hadn’t noticed that on the work order, which gets texted to him. He was expecting to be here 2 or 3 weeks ago and, since then, he’s had four or five more work orders sent to him. He was very glad that I’d brought it up!

The East side of the roof is done, but they’ll only have to move two, maybe three, shingles to take off the chimney. They will set the bricks aside for me, rather than throw them away. There are so many bricks around here, and they come in so handy, I am happy to have more!

My brother will be happy that they didn’t take down the TV antennae, and just worked around it, instead.

There was no way they were going to finish today, though. The sun room side of the roof was taking a lot longer, partly because of the different angles coming together, and partly because of having to take off the old satellite dish, and move the Starlink dish. He did as us to shut off the dish while they were working around it, just in case, so we were without internet for several hours.

When they were removing the last of the shingles on the sun room, I asked about the leak there. He asked where it was supposed to be, because there was nothing they could see. I told him where we thought it was, and he said he would make sure to check.

There was no rot!

I’m just really amazed. I feared they would find all kinds of rot, but there was none. That is quite a relief!

They worked as long as they could, but we got hit with another snag. He had a trailer to haul the singles to the dump insured only until today. I local dump isn’t open on Fridays, but I got our card that we are supposed to show the attendant, as proof we live in the area (some landfills charge fees, so people had started going to landfills in other rural municipalities to avoid them). It has the days and times for two other landfills in our RM.

None of them are open on Fridays.

He had to start searching to find a landfill that was open today that they could get to!

They kept working and cleaning until it was almost too dark to see. Tomorrow, they will be back with just his truck, no trailer.

While all that was going on, I got word from the cat lady. The cats all had their spays and are doing well. She also saw her own vet with another cat and showed pictures of Muffin while there, for an off-the-record consultation. He doesn’t think the swelling is an abscess, after all, which is good news. Basically, he said to keep bathing the eye, monitoring and keeping up with the lysine.

Which we were able to start up again, today. I ran out a while back, and a fresh supply arrived today. I’ve set up a monthly subscription for three 300 gram tubs of powdered lysine to be shipped at the beginning of the month. The first shipment arrived, several days earlier than expected. With three tubs a month, we shouldn’t run out before the next shipment arrives.

Meanwhile, Muffin will need some TLC when she comes back to us, and we’ll probably get some antibiotics with her as well. We should be getting just the two cats back. It didn’t come up because we were focused on the care Muffin will need, but Plushy and Princess are looking like they will be going to a family with young children. These two love lots of attention, so that should work out just fine!

Speaking of attention, when one of the crew had come in for lunch, I noticed he seemed a bit distracted by something. It turned out our two, big tuxedo boys had come over to say hello, and he was quite happily petting both of them! Thankfully, he was not allergic to cats, like the other poor guy. We are a terrible place for someone with cat allergies – inside, or out!

Towards the end of the day, when the guys were still cleaning up, my mother called. I updated her and told her they were coming back to finish tomorrow. When I told her they didn’t find any rot on this side of the house, either, she just scoffed, then told me how she’d seen on the news about how some company and done a roof, and then it collapsed. I told her, they’re just putting on new shingles, not a complete new roof! It sounds like she saw a story about a construction company that did shoddy work and, because it involved a roof, projected it onto this roofing company. For all I know, she saw this news story a decade ago, but is just thinking of it now. It’s much the same with how she’d seen a story ages ago, about funeral homes that would sell caskets and then, after the funeral was done, take back the casket, replace it with a cheap one, and resell the fancy one, and now she thinks that’s what was done to my father’s casket. She even convinced herself that the foundation stone his monument is sitting on got stolen. It didn’t. It’s still there. But for some reason she got it in her head that the monument was lower than it should have been, therefore the stone under it was stolen. Never mind that heavy equipment would be needed to do something like that, and it would probably cost more to steal it than the stone was worth!

She also wants someone from the roofing company to visit her. I never quite got to figuring out just who she is talking about. The salesman? The crew? Some manager? Thankfully, one of the crew came in to update me. I had to call her back later, and the topic didn’t come up again. Instead, she started going on about how my brother wasn’t here (heaven forbid, he actually work at his own job!), and hadn’t phoned her. She was wondering about how the payment was going to be done. I told her that, once the work is done, they’ll know how much it actually cost to do it. Once they had the final bill, they’d talk to my brother about it, because he’s their contact person. But that won’t happen until the job is complete. My brother still fears she will try to back out of her promise to pay for it and try to screw the company over. If she does what she’s done to us in the past, she might demand to only pay part of it, not all of it. The last time few times she did that, my brother got stuck paying the rest. I’m really hoping she’ll behave, though.

As for the errands I was not able to help my mother with, she managed to do some of them herself. It was a very nice day today, so she took her walker out to the grocery store, did a stock up shopping trip, and the grocery store delivered it to her, later. The only thing she didn’t do was go to the pharmacy, which is quite a bit further. My sister, however, is now supposed to be there on Tuesday, which is when I’m taking my mother’s care to the garage, so she should be able to help my mother with getting her prescription refills. She still has quite a bit left, so there is no urgency.

Tomorrow is supposed to be even nicer. The temperatures are supposed to slowly keep climbing all night, rather than getting cooler, and things are supposed to stay mild for quite some time. I’m quite good with that!

I’m also quite good with the idea of taking some pain killers and going to bed very early today. It may have been a nice day, and the fire I was tending was very warm, but now I’m paying for standing around outside for so long (must remember to bring a chair!), and the pain levels are really starting to kick in!

Plus, I want to get up early to do my round again, then start on something for the crew for lunch. I’m thinking a meat loaf would be nice this time. 😊😊

The Re-Farmer

A couple of updates and kitty status

First of all, I wanted to update on the cat lady’s husband. They’re awaiting the results of neurological tests but, so far, he seems to be all right. It turns out that, while he stopped for a traffic light, a tow truck, towing a vehicle and driving 80kph, didn’t notice that vehicles had stopped. It hit her husband’s truck, pushing him into the vehicle in front of him. If he had been driving a smaller car instead of a large truck, he would have been killed!

Road conditions have been slippery on the highways, and it got brutally cold last night. At about 7am this morning, I checked the weather and we were at -32C/-26F, with a wind chill of -36C/-33F

My husband got this picture through the bathroom window, this morning. We left the doors to the sun room propped open just enough for the cats to get through. The spare ceramic heat bulb is set up, and sometimes we’ll see cats under it, or on top of it, but mostly they just pile together on the swing bench. When I headed out this morning, the thermometer in the sun room was at -20C/-4F. Better than outside, but still nasty!

The big tuxedo and its black and white sibling were covered in frost! I’m not sure why those two were the only ones that were so frosty.

Meanwhile, I’ve managed to bring in three kitties that are now in baby jail.

Cheddar was most curious about the strange ladies!

The other cats were not at all happy to see them. Nosencrantz sat there next to the cage, staring at them and growling.

They aren’t sure about being in the cage, but when I was petting Plushy and Princess through a wall with larger squares, they were both purring enthusiastically. Unfortunately, Plushy started trying to shove her face through and actually getting pretty far, so I’ve had to cover about 3/4s of the top with towels. As I write this, Plushy is settled on the red blanket above the litter, Princess is crunching away at the food bowl, and Muffin (the muted calico) has settled onto a towel next to the food bowl and just sitting like a loaf. They are doing okay, but I’m glad I put together the baby jail, because they’d be quite freaked out if they were loose in the room. Butterscotch and Nosencrantz are not pleased to see them. Only Cheddar seems good with them, but Cheddar is good with any cats!

Later on, we’ll keep going outside to pick up any white and greys that will let us, and figure out which one is female. If any. Strange that it seems to be almost exclusively males that are becoming more socialized, but almost none of the females.

Then, tomorrow morning, we’ll load them into carriers (either with another female from outside, or one of the remaining indoor females that still needs to be fixed), and head out to meet the cat lady with them. She’ll take them to the vet the day after, and then we’ll figure out when they’ll be coming back here to finish recovery.

We are supposed to be warming up from now on, though we’re still at -28C/-18F right now, with a wind chill of -39C/-38F. At these temperatures, it takes almost no wind at all for those wind chill numbers to drop substantially. The forecasts have changed again, of course. Today, we’re supposed to reach a high of -20C/-4F, then -12C/10F tomorrow. We no longer have predictions to go above freezing anymore, but in a couple of days, we’re supposed to reach -1C/30F and stay close to that for almost a week.

Tomorrow morning, we should get a visit from one of the guys on the roofing crew. I may be out delivering cats when he’s here, though, so I’m hoping my husband will be able to go out and talk to him, and find out what kind of schedule they’re looking at. Depending on how things go with dropping the cats off tomorrow, I might continue to the city and do the Costco shopping, since I’m booked to help my mother with errands the day after, and I really don’t want to do the Costco shopping on a weekend!

I’ve been driving around more in the last couple of weeks than I have for the past several months!

Oh, that reminds me. I need to call the garage and book my mother’s car for an oil change. I’d better do that now, before I forget again!

The Re-Farmer

How many? (updated)

As I write this, we are at -22C/-8F, with a wind chill of -28C/-18F. We’ve been leaving the sun room doors propped open, so the cats can have an extra place to shelter in. I also set up the extra ceramic heat bulb in the mini-greenhouse frame. It will only provide warmth for a small area, but enough for a cat or two to curl up below it. I’ve got the bulb pretty high up, which reduces its effectiveness, but ensures no cat can accidentally touch it and get burned.

Peeking through the bathroom window, it seems the cats are finding the bench, and their own body heat, to be far better for keeping warm! There’s also a cat bed under the bench, and there’s usually one of two under there, too.

This morning, however, there were NO cats in the sun room at all. We left the doors propped open all night, making sure to take the kibble bin into the old kitchen. I know some were using it during the night, but there is no food or liquid water in there (just a bowl of ice!) right now. Cats didn’t come in until they could hear me getting food out of the bin in the old kitchen.

When I came outside, there was a stream of kittens that came out of the shelf shelter by the door, and a few more that just stayed at the openings, waiting for me to put handfuls of kibble inside for them.

There is actually five kittens in this photo! Possibly six.

Hold on. Yeah. I saw three little heads squeezed together, after I moved aside the one cat to look. The cat looking at the camera is Colin, who lets us pet him. The other one doesn’t allow pets.

Altogether, I counted “only” 23 cats this morning. I could see two of the bitties wrestling through one of the windows, but didn’t see any outside, so I’m assuming all three were in the cat house.

Today is the 6th. On the 9th, we have four females booked to be fixed. On the 8th, we are delivering them to the cat lady. Which means that tomorrow, we need to close up the four females inside the sun room, with food, water and a litter box, for the night, so we can easily find and get them into carriers the next day. Or maybe bring them into the cat cage I put together in my office. Lord knows, Plushy sure has been wanting to get inside!!

We still have not figured out which will be the fourth outdoor female, as all the other ones we can pet are male. If we can’t collect a fourth outdoor female, we will include one of the two remaining indoor females that needs to be fixed. It absolutely has to be four, though; the cat late was informed that if we don’t follow through with bringing the cats in, the clinic will never book the rescue for cats again. !! These cheap spay/neuter days happen only twice a year – once for males, once for females – and the spots fill up fast. For the cat lady to be able to arrange four slots is a really big deal. I don’t know how many spays they can do in one day, but it can’t be that many!

We’ll work it out, though.

The Re-Farmer

Update: I have been in touch with the cat lady about the arrangements. She says she will message me later, when she’s done at the doctor’s. Her husband was involved in a multi-car accident this morning! He should be okay but, obviously, I’m not as concerned about the cats as I am for them to all be well!

Also update: I also got a call from my brother. He has been in touch with the roofers. Because of the cold we are getting right now, they’re not coming out right away, but the day after tomorrow, one of the guys is coming out to scope the roof and see what they will be dealing with. The day after that, things will start warming up, and we’re even getting forecasts of at least one day that is supposed to go above freezing! So after the current cold spell is done, we should have at least a week of mild temperatures. Hopefully, the roof will get done then.

Bitty Baby update, and a bit of progress

I was really concerned about the bitty babies last night! We dipped at least as low as -7C/19F during the night. I knew if the bitties were inside the cat house, they would be okay – especially if they had a mama to curl up with – but if any of them got caught outside, and the board ramp was knocked over, they couldn’t get back in on their own.

The board ramp was knocked over this morning. The brick it was braced against was frozen to the ground. I suspect we are still getting skunk visits during the night. We don’t see them around anymore, though I’ve seen the odd one on the security camera live feed at night. They go into the cat house entry to eat any kibble that’s left there.

Thankfully, I spotted all four of the bitties through one of the windows. The board ramp is back, but I didn’t want to hang around too much, or they’d be tempted to go outside.

There was no mama. I didn’t even see an adult cat come out of the cat house when I went outside. The bitties have the cat house to themselves; all the other kittens seem to be leaving it to them, other than when they pop into the entry to nibble on some kibble.

All the shallow water bowls were frozen, and the big bowl had a layer of ice on top, but I had some nice, warm water for them. The board ramp I set up for the water bowl shelter is being well used, with lots of little footprints in the frost.

I tried to do a head count, and I think I counted 21, plus the four bitties. Rolando Moon came around later. If any of the mamas came around, it wasn’t while I was there to see them.

With all those growing kittens and cattens, and the temperatures dropping, they are going through the kibble faster. We’re going to have to pick up more before the end of the month. The cat lady is going to try and get some donated cat food for us, too, though we don’t know when she’ll be able to do that.

Before starting on this post, I sent an email to her through her cat rescue’s email address. We usually text, but that’s always a pain out here. Especially if I want to send photos. My phone is supposed to link up to the wifi for calls or texts, if there is no data signal available, but it’s never been good at actually accomplishing that. So I sent the email, with a few pictures, explaining the situation. Hopefully, she knows of a foster family that can take in kittens that aren’t weaned yet. While the kittens don’t look like they are starving or dehydrated, that may just be a “yet”. At least the clones have figured out kibble is food, but I don’t know about the other two.

Hopefully, I will hear back from her soon.

In other things, I got some progress on those willow branches I’d pruned. I dragged them all over to where we’re building up a burn pile where the big branch pile that got chipped used to me, and sorted through them there. Only a few of the branches went straight to the burn pile. With most of them, even if the branches were kind of wonky, most had enough straight sections that I could still use them in sections. It’s still nowhere near enough to finish the wattle weaving, but there will be at least a bit more progress.

Though both today and tomorrow are supposed to have highs just above freezing, with tomorrow slightly warmer than today, we are no longer getting rain and snow. We will be nice and sunny, which makes it a good time to get some things covered. I’m glad I picked up the 3 pack of medium duty tarps at Costco a while back. One of the things that needs to be covered is my late brother’s post pounder that he built. It needs to be refurbished, and that’s not a job we can do right now, but we can at least keep it from getting worse. The trap I’d wrapped around it before was torn to shreds by the wind, and I finally cut the remains away completely, not long ago. The plastic that was covering the motor was also starting to tear, so I made a priority of at least covering that, first. The tarps I have are only 8’x10′, but that should be enough to cover most of it, if I do it right. I’ve learned from how and where the old tarp started shredding, where I need to put some sort of padding, first. Between that and being more strategic on how the tarp is tied down, I hope to be able to reduce the damage from high winds.

The other thing I need cover is the wood pile – formerly junk pile – near the house. The groundhogs absolutely destroyed the old tarp that was over it before, for nesting material – then disappeared. The top boards may be pretty rotten, but the further down we go in the pile, the better shape the wood, and I’d like to keep them from getting worse. This year, however, we had not been able to mow, weed walk or weed a lot of areas as we normally would have, and one side of the pile is among those. It’s completely full of mostly thistles right now. I’ll have to cut away enough of that to be able to reach the pile from all sides, so it can be re-covered with a new tarp. The old tarp was held down by whatever heavy things where handy. This time, I want to actually peg it to the ground.

There is still much to get done before the snow flies – and stays!

The Re-Farmer

Chipping away, and a sick kitty update

Yesterday I got a call back from the third roofing company we want to get an estimate from for my brother, and arranged for him to come by today. With the gate having to be unlocked and open anyway, I took advantage of it to mow the driveway.

And then keep mowing.

And mowing.

And mowing some more!

As for the roof, we will get the estimate tomorrow. While chatting with him, I mentioned getting estimates several years ago, and what a difference it is, now. He told me that some things have gone up in price by 100% since then!

Once I get the numbers, I’ll pass them on to my brother and after that, it’s in the hands of him and my mother. Hopefully, she won’t decide to string us along again and back out of her promise to pay for it again. Prices will only keep going up. The north side of the roof, where the ice and snow melts away last, is looking really bad right now. If would be really good if we could get a new roof before winter.

I asked my daughters to switch from sleeping during the day and being up at night, so we can get more things done faster during the day. As I write this, my younger daughter is outside building a mini-kibble house for the water bowls. It’ll be nice for the cats to not have water bowls buried in snow in the winter!

That gave me the time to finish mowing the outer yard.

“Finish” being a relative term. Basically, I’ve just been chipping away at the overgrown areas, little by little. Whenever I started working on a area that hadn’t been mowed or scythed before, I’d have to go back and forth with the mower at least three time, to actually get the grass cut properly.

I got the area in front of the shed with the collapsed roof done, expanding from what I’d been able to do when I used the scythe. We need space to get in, but also to set aside the lumber we will be salvaging. There is an old metal garage door leaning against a wall in there. Once the roof pieces over it are clear, I want to set it on the ground nearby. Salvaged wood can go on top of it, and be kept off the ground. We can then cover it with a tarp or something for the winter.

I was also able to widen the area along the driveway and to where the branch pile used to be. I want to mow around that area more, as we will be doing scrap wood burns there.

What I really need to do is get a path mown to the barn. I went into there to grab some stuff I thought my daughter could use in building the kibble house. Dragging it through the tall grass – even the area I’d scythed earlier – is not easy! There are things under the collapsed shed roof that need to be moved to the barn to protect them, and there’s no way I’m going to drag those though the tall grass.

I also started to push further beyond the pump shack. Normally, there would be a lane wide enough to drive in, all the way to the back gate from here. Last year, all I managed was a walking path. At some point, I want to get at least a path mowed. I still need to do some repairs on the back gate. One side of it got ripped away from the gate post, likely by a startled deer, in the winter. It’s up again, but not repaired.

I also got good progress getting a path cleared to the storage shed. I wasn’t up to fighting that tall grass all the way, when there were higher traffic areas that I needed to finish, first. Still, it’s going to make a big difference.

We’ll give the grass clippings a day or two to dry in the sun, the rake it up for eventual use in the garden.

I so wish we could use that shed as a workshop, which is what it used to be. With my parents’ belongings stored in there, there is just no space. We can’t even get at the back of it. It’s all blocked by bags and boxes and furniture.

My sister had been digging around in there, trying to find boxes with photos to take, so I tried looking around a bit. The boxes are stacked on top of each other, and the stacks are starting to collapse. We’re going to have to get in there and figure out what to do. Part of the problem is, when it started to be used as storage for my parents’ stuff, no one had a grasp of just how much there would be, so the first things put in there were not done with any sort of plan in mind. They were just sort of stacked wherever. Soft things, like the bags of clothes (so many clothes!!!) are filling spaces that should have been left open as paths – and would have been if we’d known about all the large items that would have to be squeezed in among the boxes and bags. Even as we were moving things over there, the girls did try to rearrange things to fit more efficiently, but there was only so much they could do.

The one shed that has a good roof and isn’t rotting away, and we can’t use it.


Meanwhile, my mother still gets these moments of urgency, asking me if the door is locked (we don’t have a key), and worried that someone is going to steal all her stuff. As if anyone wants her bags of old clothes that she doesn’t even want herself, or dozens of (mostly salvaged) mirrors we kept finding all over the place! For all that she left the farm years before we moved here, leaving so much stuff behind for others to deal with, she is still so attached to her belongings. Which means we’re stuck hanging on to them.


On a less pleasant note, I called the vet clinic this morning, asking to talk to one of the doctors. I got a call back shortly after I got back inside from mowing.

We are in a very frustrating situation.

Leyendecker seems to be doing better. His appetite is improving. He’s more active. He seems like he’s better in so many ways, but one.

He’s still not voiding.

Every time we see him try and use the litter, at best, there are just a few damp spots. The girls have seen him trying to pee in other places, too, and not succeeding. There has been nothing to clean up.

After describing this to the vet, she said the only option left would be the surgery to make him a “girl”, but there is no way we’re doing that to him. It would just leave him with other problems, and he’d still have a short life, and a much less pleasant one. The longer he can’t pee, though, the more the potassium levels will be building up again – and he was already at “potassium levels of death”, to quote the vet, when they first saw him.

There is only one option left.

The added problem?

Keith has suddenly started having problems, too.

Yesterday, my younger daughter and I watched him try and use the litter, unsuccessfully, and start yowling in distress. My poor daughter was so upset, she started crying.

One of the things Keith likes to do is run in front of us into the bathroom, then fling himself onto the mat in front of the toilet, so we can pay attention to him. Last night, I came in and found him lying on the mat and, to be honest, I wasn’t sure he was still alive until I pet him for a while and he started purring a bit and eventually shifting position. I checked him again during the night, and found him loafed around the side of the toilet, looking miserable.

I haven’t seen him yet during the day, but my husband has been keeping an eye on him, and says he is looking in really bad shape.

I brought this up with the doctor, and we’re looking at the same situation as Leyendecker – and my daughter already used up almost all her savings to pay for his treatment. Right now, she might have enough left for them both to have one final appointment with the vet.

It’s been decided, though. We’ll keep monitoring Keith. If he starts voiding again on his own, it should work out, but if not, tomorrow, I’m making an appointment for them both.

Talk about brutal.

Which really, really sucks. They are the sweetest boys. But the more time goes by, the more internal damage is happening, and the worse it will be for them.

There is no real choice.


Meanwhile, we’re trying to figure out what the heck is going on. We even looked up to see if there were any recalls on cat food we didn’t know about (there is only one brand so far this year, and it’s a brand I’ve never heard of before). We make sure they have a variety of both wet and dry cat foods, and they have access to water at various points around the house. Most of the litter boxes are downstairs, but there are some upstairs, too. We did not allow the cats access to the basement until we cleaned it out, disposing of all sorts of potentially dangerous substances in the process. And yet, somehow, Cabbages was getting into something none of the other cats was getting into, that slowly poisoned her over a long period of time before she finally became sick (and is now thriving, thanks to the Cat Lady’s efforts). The vet said the toxin was either from anti-flea chemicals (which we don’t have) or fertilizers (which we don’t have in the house). So how did it happen?

Leyendecker did not have crystals in his urine, so the vet says muscle spasms, but if that were it the muscle relaxants – and he’s on two of them! – would be working.

And now Keith is having problems?

What the heck? These are all younger cats, too. Keith is the oldest of the sick kitties, and he’s only about four years old!

I just don’t know what to think.

The Re-Farmer

I touched some babies! Plus a Leyendecker update. And Updated

Three of five…

The grey and white and orange and white kittens were hungry enough to come over and eat, while I was still there. I paid attention to Rosencrantz, who basically just sniffs my outreached hand, maybe gives it a head pump, then tries to bight my fingers.

When the grey and white clambered into the food dish and ignored me, I was able to pet it. It eventually noticed, looked at me, but didn’t leave. It was similar with the orange and white. The tortie eventually came over and climbed into the bowl, too. I was able to pet it a bit before it realized what was happening, and started to run off.

The other two were apparently not as hungry. One stayed on the other side of the chain link fence, snoozing. The other sat in the grass nearby and watched me, but that’s it.

Being able to touch any of them is huge progress, though!

On another, less cheerful note…

Leyendecker is not getting better.

I don’t think he’s getting worse, but that’s not good, either.

He keeps trying to pee and has the littlest dribbles, but that’s it. He has been yowling and complaining. He’s also getting ticked off at being give his meds twice a day and becoming less cooperative. He is also not eating much. Of course, once the meds kick in, he basically just sleeps, but it would be good if the muscle relaxants would give him a chance to pee, first!

I hadn’t heard from the cat lady in a while. I know she’s been in and out of the hospital, so I didn’t want to bother her. I did send a message to her today – and she has a blocked cat, too! He’s in the hospital now. Her bill has already been more than twice what ours was. When her cat’s catheter was removed, he immediately blocked again, so he’s been transferred has been put under for a larger catheter. As in, it’s being done right now, as I’m writing this! 😟 Poor baby!

As for our situation, I’ve called the clinic and the doctor will call me back today. The vet that worked on Leyendecker has the second shift, so she came in later. The problem is, the bill has already pretty much wiped out my daughter’s savings. If he ends up needing another catheter and overnight stays, we just can’t do it. The alternative it to have him put down, and that is a very real possibility. It’s not just about immediate costs, but that he would likely end up having permanent kidney damage and being on meds and a special diet for the rest of his life. It’s hard enough to pay for our own meds, never mind for a cat, too. And how could we keep him on a special diet, separate from the other cats? Having him isolated in my room now is only adding to his stress. He wants out, and the more uncomfortable he is physically, the more he wants out. Add to that, he’s started going after both Nosencrantz and Butterscotch. I’ve already had to break up a couple of fights.

It’s not a good situation.

Well. We’ll see how the call with the vet goes.

Poor Leyendecker.

The Re-Farmer

Update: I just got off the phone with the vet.

I told her what was going on with Leyendecker and we talked about his meds. Sometimes, they just don’t respond to them. She didn’t even suggest bringing him back in. With no crystals in his urine, and how well he voided once the catheter was in, that’s not the issue. The block is muscle spasms at the tip of the urethra. The muscle relaxants should be doing the job, but they’re not, and they can’t just keep putting in catheters.

There is a surgical option. I’d read about it while doing research, so I was already aware of it. It is to open the urethra higher up, essentially making him anatomically female. However, it’s a bloody surgery, and is not without risk. It can result in both urinary and fecal incontinence (she’s actually had that happen after one of her surgeries). He would be at increased risk of UTIs, and there would be lifelong problems. Even if we could afford it, I wouldn’t want to do that to him, and she didn’t sound like it was an option she favoured, either.

However, there isn’t much else that can be done. There is another muscle relaxant that is administered by syringe. It can’t be used for long, due to risk of liver damage, but for the length is can be safely used, it might work. So we will try that. It should be ready to pick up this afternoon.

If that doesn’t work, there is nothing else that can be done. At that point, we would have to put him down.


Full Leyendecker update

The handsome boy has not cooperated with getting his picture taken, so you’ll just have to do with these two!

Is that adorable or what? 💖

We got a call from the vet fairly early in the day, and we were told we could come get him any time. They had kept him overnight again because they had seen a very small amount of blood in his urine bag before removing the catheter, but during the night, without the catheter, he’d had a large and normal pee, so he was good to go home.

He is now on three medications, including a pain killer and a smooth muscle relaxant. The general consensus is that he’s basically stressed out with so many cats in the house. We talked about focusing on adopting him out after he’s done his meds, etc. He will be on one of those meds, in decreasing amounts, for 30 days in total. They started him on it at the clinic, so this evening’s dose was his third day on it. We also got a bag of special diet dry cat food and several cans of wet cat food. If he is on it long term, we can switch to a cheaper branch, but can’t mix brands – so no dry cat food in one brand, and wet cat food in another. For now, he stays on the special food while he is on his medications. One of the things the vet noted is what with fixed males, they tend to get blocked more often in the spring and in the fall, so those are times when we will have to keep an extra eye on him.

The staff apparently all fell in love wit him. He was extremely chill and friendly, and did not act at all like he was sick. “He doesn’t know he’s blocked” was how the vet put it. Which does make it more challenging to keep an eye on him! They want him back in a couple of weeks for new bloodwork to check on his kidneys, because of his off-the-charts high potassium levels they found when they first tested him.

So we need to keep a close eye on him, and that means keeping him in my bedroom/office, and he is not at all happy about that. There is no way we can keep him on different food without isolating him, either. However, since he wants out, keeping him isolated is adding to his stress, which isn’t going to help his recovery any!

Nosencrantz and Butterscotch, meanwhile, are not happy with him being here, either, so that’s not going to help their stress levels any. He, on the other hand, it content to ignore them.

He used the litter box shortly after we got home, which was a good sign. After we gave him his evening meds, though, he went to the litter box, used it a bit, then went to the closet and tried to pee there, then went over by the water bowl and tried to pee there! He started yowling again, too. Hopefully, once the muscle relaxants and pain killer kick in, he’ll be able to use the litter box again without trouble. It will be a while before the discomfort ends.

As I write this, he is on my bed, chilling.

Hopefully, it will be a quiet night tonight. We shall see.

The Re-Farmer

Quick Layendecker update

The boy is home!

He did very well overnight, without the catheter. The way the vet put it, he didn’t know he was blocked. His behaviour was totally normal.

Which means the entire staff fell in love with him. 😁

They also called him a miracle cat, because his potassium levels were so high, it could have killed him. I suspect his large size helped with that.

He is isolated in my bedroom with Butterscotch and Nosencrantz for now, and one of my daughters is spending the “night” with him. Which means I don’t have access to my office for now. I will do a proper update, this evening.

We are so happy he did so well!!

The Re-Farmer