Posts Tagged ‘kittens’

Like boxes of poop in your house? Get a cat!

January 11, 2010

Yesterday there were 12 cats living in our garage where they were safe and warm. Now they will be sleeping in the shed, hopefully, so they will stay somewhat warm. The garage was OK but they pooped everywhere. And I mean everywhere! They pooped on top of Tim’s tools, under the mower, in any box that was halfway open, on any cloth or container that looked interesting. Tim is finally sick of it since they are his tools, and he does live right above the garage. So he threw them out today and cleaned up a bunch of poop. Anyway, here are the cats that are currently outdoor only cats:

  • Mama Cat*
  • Scotchy and Little Gray* from Mama Cat’s first litter
  • Stinky* from Mama Cat’s second litter
  • Toby, Butch, Hannah Montana*, and Big Eyes* from Mama Cat’s third litter
  • Swirly Junior from Little Gray’s first litter
  • Goose, Oscar, and Gunny* from Little Gray’s second litter

The following cats are indoor/outdoor cats. They are mostly indoors at the moment because it is so cold.

  • Vicious from Mama Cat’s second litter (obviously he’s turned out to be a sweetie or he would not be in the house!)
  • Tubby Boat* and Captain Gray from Little Gray’s first litter
  • A picture of a cat named Miss Tubby Boat

    Miss Tubby Boat

The following cats are indoor only cats, including the two we brought with us from Phoenix.

  • Riley
  • Cleo*
  • Booter from Little Gray’s second litter

The asterisks indicate the female cats. Only Cleo is fixed. It is possible that Goose and/or Oscar are female, but I can’t remember as the last time I checked they were tiny and I wasn’t really sure if they were female or not. We should get some fixed, I know. I’d like to get Mama Cat fixed as she’s already had 3 litters (that we know of) and she is not the nicest cat. She can be sweet to us, but she is a bitch to the other cats. She is a pretty good mama cat, at least until her kittens reach a certain age and then she is mean to them. Her kittens are not the friendliest either. Some of them are OK and some of them are mean like she is. Little Gray’s kittens have been really nice so far, but her second litter hasn’t been around us much so I have a feeling they will not be quite as friendly. So I think if I had to choose, I would get Mama Cat and all of her female kittens fixed. I might leave Little Gray and Tubby Boat unfixed as they are both pretty sweet cats. And then, if we need more cats someday I will just take all the cats offered on Freecycle. đŸ™‚

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Catching up

November 3, 2009

We’ve been busy lately, where lately means the last month. Tom was in Puerto Rico for 2 weeks before we joined him there for another week. Now we are back and trying to catch up on life and housework while also fighting a cold.

I have a ton of things I would like to write about: new kittens (they are about a month old already!), another dead hen, more hens laying eggs, roosters not turning out as gentle as you had hoped, painting and redoing the floor of our half bathroom, Puerto Rico, our neighbor not wanting us to have livestock, how we are trying to prevent and combat illness naturally, etc.

But it will all have to wait because first I have to catch up on life before I can catch up on my blog. Plus, I need to catch up on reading some blogs.

Things that woke me up last night

September 10, 2009
Things that woke me up last night and early this morning (not necessarily in this order):
  • Aidan because he had to pee
  • Mo because she was cold
  • An owl hooting nearby
  • Roosters crowing while it is still dark
  • Kitten playing with the cords for the mini blinds in the window
  • Kitten playing with my toes

It’s no wonder I was tired today. I woke up at least 6 times last night! The Orpington roosters are crowing well now. They no longer sound like strangled chickens. But now Chicken Joe and the other roosters have decided to have crowing competitions in the morning, which does not make for good sleep for me!

Orpington rooster

Orpington rooster

What do I love?

August 25, 2009
Aidan giving Mo a ride in the wagon last autumn

Aidan giving Mo a ride in the wagon last autumn

I found this article via Deborah at Antiquity Oaks. The main point is that people should focus and write about what is important to them, what makes them happy. Deborah posted her own list of what’s important and I thought I’d share mine. Incidentally, I also read another article that it’s better to have a loyal audience than to post everday. I’ll add a link if I can find it again!

First, I admit I check my stats. I find it interesting to see how people get to my blog, what search terms they use, what other blogs they read, etc. I have noticed that if I write a bunch of posts about cats and kittens, I don’t get as many hits. But you know what? That’s OK with me! And that starts my list:

  • I love cats and kittens. (As I type this, I have big old Riley on my lap and Swirly, Junior curled up by my legs!) I feel such an affinity for cats. I love their soft fur, especially the softest fur behind their ears, their little meows, their whiskers, their fastidiousness, their independent nature. I love the way they play with things and the way they wiggle their butts when they are about to pounce. I love that they have such a great sense of hearing and smell. I love their rough, sandpapery tongues. I just love them and I will write about them even if I know no one will read except my grandpa, who will roll his eyes the whole time since he hates cats as much as I love them.
  • I love my children. Love isn’t really the right word because it doesn’t even come close to the whole body and soul experience of being a mother. I don’t write about them as much because, for me, parenting is so personal and also political. My parenting style is outside the mainstream, but I love the way we do things. I just don’t feel like explaining or justifying that aspect of our lives. I do love that we are not sending them to school and that their education takes place on our farm and in nature. They have learned so much about animals and the circle of life since we moved.
  • I love watching the chickens. They aren’t playful and cuddly like cats, but they are fun. Sometime they are silly because they take themselves so seriously. And I love telling Chicken Joe he is a handsome rooster. I think I tell him every day. I also love the sound of a young rooster learning to crow. It’s not a pretty sound by any means, but it still makes me happy.
  • I like to sit outside on a beautiful day on a blanket with the kids, watching the animals, working in the garden, and just relaxing.
  • I care about the planet and the food I put into my body and into the bodies of my children. While there are certainly improvements I could make, I am at least aware of what we are eating and try to avoid horrible chemicals that shouldn’t be in food in the first place.
  • I love thinking about the way these things are all connected. Homebirthing, breastfeeding, eating and buying local food, gardening, raising our own meat, unschooling, homesteading. It’s all connected and it’s all good for us and for the planet.
  • I love to read, love books and libraries. I used to read just about anything and stick with it once I started, but now I am picky. There just isn’t enough time to read a crappy book. Yet, if I am bored or tired, the back of a cereal box will do nicely for reading material.
  • I care about animals and how they are treated, how they live, how they die. I do not want to eat eggs from a hen that shares a tiny cage with 6 or 7 other hens, can’t even spread her wings, and has a horrible quality of life.
  • I like planting and working in the dirt.
  • I like repetitive motions, such as sweeping, crocheting, rocking. They are very soothing.
  • I care about my friends and family (though at the moment they wouldn’t know it because I’ve been horribly out of touch since we got back from Phoenix). I want them to be happy and joyful and loved.

Newborn kittens

August 18, 2009

Yesterday we got a closer look and it turns out Mama Cat has a litter of 4 kittens. Two are orange and white tabbies, one is gray and white, and the other seems to be gray/brown/white/black. I had told Aidan about the kittens, but not Moira. That seems unfair, yet he is older and a bit more responsible with the kittens. However, this morning Aidan went out to look at them and Mo followed. So now they both know and are quite excited about the cute little kittens. Mama Cat did move the kittens down to the ground, which seems safer than the box that was on top of a stack of boxes. I admit I was a bit worried about that spot yesterday, so I’m glad Mama Cat is as smart as she is and decided to move them. This morning, the kids picked up the kittens and Mama Cat was fine with it. I did tell them to NOT move the kittens anywhere. So far, so good.

Peeking in at Mama Cat

Peeking in at Mama Cat

Four fuzzy kittens

Four fuzzy kittens

Kittens!

Kittens!

Nursing

Nursing

Rainy days and Mondays are still exciting

August 17, 2009

We’re having a lazy, rainy day today. And yet there are still exciting things that have happened. First, we decided to let the little chickens out of their coop. I let them out before I let out the big chickens. The big chickens were none too happy about this, of course. Eventually I went outside with a plastic garbage can lid in had to let out the big chickens. I wanted to be prepared in case the pecking got out of hand. To my surprise, I let the big chickens out and they went the opposite direction, totally ignoring the little chickens.

Chicken Joe, mid crow

Chicken Joe, mid crow

Now, at some point there was a little pecking, mostly from Holly. Joe didn’t have to peck too much as I think he is secure in his place as top rooster and top chicken. So the little chickens were out ranging happily and peacefully. Last time I checked they were back in their coop roosting, probably to dry off since the ground is pretty soggy. I’m sure there will be more pecking as the two flocks reorganize into one or more flocks.

The other thing that happened is that Mama Cat went towards the creek. I followed her since I’ve been trying to get a look at her kittens, which were born around August 12. That’s the day she came back hungry and less round looking. I couldn’t find her kittens since they were somewhere near the creek and were hidden by the vegetation. A little while later, however, I spotted her moving one into the garage. I waited a bit to give her time to move them all, then went out to see where they were and try to get a look. I counted 3 kittens. Mama Cat was fine with me looking, but if I tried to reach in the box to move the kittens she would gently paw at me. I could tell she didn’t want me to put my hands in there, so I backed off. I’ll try to get pictures later, mayb when the sun decides to make a reappearance.

Cats and kittens

August 14, 2009

OK, today you get pictures of cats and kittens. (Tomorrow might be snakes. I know you are all very excited!)  These were taken almost two weeks ago, so the kittens have grown a bit since then. They are still cute and playful, though.

Here is one of Little Gray nursing two of the kittens. The kittens are about 3 months old in this picture. They eat plenty of hard food so are obviously in the process of weaning (and have been for a while!). I find this interesting because I know that when people sell kittens, they sell them when they are around 6-8 weeks old. Clearly, they will nurse much longer when given the chance.

Little Gray nursing Captain Gray and Tubby Boat

Little Gray nursing Captain Gray and Tubby Boat

This is Tubby Boat. She has some beautiful markings and is pretty friendly.

Tubby Boat

Tubby Boat

This is Swirly, Jr. He is the only kitten who has the privilege of going both indoors and outdoors. We bring him in at night so he is safe. He sleeps on our bed and plays with our toes and snuggles and purrs. We are all totally smitten with this kitten! đŸ™‚

The cutest, sweetest kitten in the world.

The cutest, sweetest kitten in the world.

This is Swirly. You can see why the kitten is named Swirly, Jr. as they have almost identical markings. The biggest differences are that Swirly’s eyes are a beautiful amber color, whereas Swirly, Jr.’s are a little more brown. Also, Swirly, Jr. has a thin white stripe on his head. Of course, at the moment Swirly is much bigger than Swirly, Jr. We have other names for Swirly, such as Big Swirly or Uncle Swirly. Sometimes we call Swirly, Jr. Little Swirly or SJ or

Swirly rolling around on the sidewalk

Swirly rolling around on the sidewalk

This is Vicious, one of Mama Cat’s second litter. I thought Vicious was a girl, but now there is no doubt Vicious is a boy. He has turned out to be pretty friendly, considering our rough introduction

Much less vicious these days

Vicious, who is much less vicious these days

Here are Little Gray’s kittens playing.

Kittens playing. From left, Captain Gray, Swirly, Jr., and Tubby Boat

Kittens playing. From left, Captain Gray, Swirly, Jr., and Tubby Boat

A closer view of Captain Gray. He’s the least friendly, but I am sure that he will get friendlier as he gets older.

Captain Gray, one of Little Gray's kittens

Captain Gray, one of Little Gray's kittens

Summer update

July 22, 2009

OK, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. Really I haven’t. We’ve just had such had such a busy summer that I almost wish I would fall off the face of the earth just so I could get some rest. Things are still busy, but in a couple of weeks we should be back to normal; that is, no one travelling and no one visiting. That is part of why I haven’t posted much. The other reason is that we have lost some animals and that is upsetting and not fun to post about.

We lost two of the New Hampshire hens one evening at dusk. The kids and I were out of town, so things were quieter, I’m sure. Perhaps that is what gave the predator the nerve to get them so close to the house. We also lost two of Mama Cat’s kittens and one of Little Gray’s. We found a dead kitten on our lane and buried it and we assume it was Muck. The other, Muggy, just disappeared. Her other two kittens, Stinky and Vicious, are still around and Vicious has even gotten to be pretty friendly with the other cats and with us. Of course, it could just be that she is in heat! I am quite sure Mama Cat is pregnant again, too.

Little Gray’s kittens are cute and playful and friendly. In fact, I have Swirly Junior on my lap right now. He sleeps inside with us at night and we all love him. We did lost Scotchy Junior, about a month ago. He was under the couch and got stuck in the mechanism for the recliner. We didn’t realize this until the next morning as we were getting ready to go away for the weekend and I was making sure all the kittens were outside. It was horribly, horribly sad and I feel guilty that a kitten died because of our own carelessness.

Anyway, the garden is going OK. Things are growing despite my almost total neglect. I’ve used some lemon basil from the garden twice and made a yummy chicken dish. We have green tomatoes, lots of herbs, cauliflower and carrots. I need to plant more for fall, so maybe next week I will find some time to do some more planting. I did lose all the corn, probably to some deer that ate it while the kids and I were out of town. I think that the kids are a great deterrent to animals that think of coming too close to the house.

The chickens are doing well. The Buff Orpington chicks are growing and are now in the coop/dog kennel thing. It is working well enough for now, though it won’t work well for winter. We are still planning on building a coop, but it it turning into a fall project rather than a summer project. We have at least two Buff Orpington roosters, possibly a couple of more. I think that Lula Mae is getting ready to lay very soon. She has been making lots of noise and clucking when she goes into the coop at night. Her comb and wattles have grown and gotten quite red, which is also another sign. The other hen, who we have named Holly, doesn’t seem quite as ready, but I think she is getting there, too. Chicken Joe wasn’t crowing much when we still had the other rooster around, but now he is crowing very nicely.

That’s all I have for now! I will post more pictures someday soon. I have to take some first! I think next week things will be calmer, despite the fact that Tom will be out of town. I will be home with the kids and Tim and will try to play catch up with the garden, the mowing, and the blog.

Kittens are sooooooooooooo cute

July 3, 2009
Tubby Boat

Tubby Boat

Kittens snuggling

Kittens snuggling

Tubby Boat and Swirly Junior

Tubby Boat and Swirly Junior

Wanted: Weekend Farmer (in training)

June 15, 2009

Wanted: Weekend Farmer to take care of animals

When: Friday evening through Sunday morning

Where: West Central Illinois

What: Take care of farm animals, including 14 cats, 20 chicks, 6 chickens, and 2 cows.

Details: Animals need food and water in the morning and evening.

Chickens on the stairs

Chickens on the stairs

Chickens: The chickens really just need to be let out of their movable coop. Open the screened front flap and prop it up with the piece of wood that was screwed into the frame but came unscrewed. This helps keep the wood from coming unscrewed and helps keep the door from blowing down in the wind. The chickens will rush out and flap their wings and act silly for a few minutes. Make sure to enjoy this part as it’s quite a show. Lula Mae is always the last one out. She’s the pullet with black-tipped feathers near her shoulders (not the technical word, but you know what I’m talking about since you are a weekend farmer being trained by a farmer-in-training). The chickens will range all day long and will put themselves back in their coop. In the evening, you can check their feed and water before you lock them in. Their feed is currently in a Farm King bucket. I will try to put it in a garbage can and label it before we leave.

Chicks: The chicks are pretty easy. They just need feed and water. They have two feeders in the brooder. They think they get special treats in the purple-bottomed one. Please do not let them in on the secret. You will have to check their water. Most likely it will be spilled or totally mucked up with bedding. Either way it will need to be dumped, cleaned out quickly with the hose on the well pump near the house, then filled and placed back in the brooder. Yes it is reddish inside from the iron in the well water. Don’t bother cleaning it as they don’t seem to mind. The silly chicks will most likely knock it over or muck it up before you leave, so you might want to check it again. Their feed is in the brown garbage can closest to the workbench in the garage. I will try to label it before we leave.

Cows: The cows do not need water as they have a big tub with an auto-leveler. Just make sure to leave the handle of the well pump UP so that it will continue to fill up. Their feed is in the garbage can closest to the garage door. There are two buckets in there, to be filled up about 1/4 to 1/2 way. The buckets and the fence tester are in the garbage can with the feed. PLEASE remember to put them back in there as the garage is too messy for me to find them if you put them somewhere else. Proceed to fence while calling cows. I’ve also started to say, “Come on, girls” to get them to come to me that way. If you get here late enough, they will be waiting for you at the fence. Just ignore their puppy dog sad eyes as they are just trying to make you feel guilty for sleeping in. Also feel free to remind them that you are just a weekend farmer filling in for a farmer-in-training. I’m sure they will understand. Repeat in the evening, making sure to check the fence again. If the fence charge seems low, you will need to walk the fence and check for problems. If there are problems, you will have to call Scott the Farmer as fixing the fence is dangerous and you are not getting paid enough to bother with it.

Indoor cats: There are two indoor cats. Only one, Riley, gets soft food. He only gets a half a can, maybe less if he didn’t eat all his food from the previous serving. This is because Cleo does not like soft food, not because we are mean to her. Riley will meow and meow until you feed him. You might want to do this first unless you can ignore his meows. He also is not starving, as will be evidenced by his youthful figure. The cats might need fresh water or more water. More importantly, they need  reassurance that we did not abandon them for the cute outdoor cats and that we will be back soon to worship them.

Outdoor cats: They will act like they are starving, too. Little Gray might actually be very hungry because she is still nursing her litter. Mama Cat will act as if she is starving, too, but she isn’t. She is mean to the other cats, so when you open the soft food cans you might have to push her away from the other cats so she will not attack them. That is, unless the chickens are around, in which case she is meek and humble and lets everyone else eat first. However, then you have to keep the chickens from eating the food so the cats can eat. This is not easy as they are very persistent little buggers. It might be easier to feed the cats before you let the chickens out, but then  you might have to listen to crowing. Maybe you can block it out. Anyway, the cats get between 3 and 4 cans of soft food. It depends on how many show up for breakfast and how hungry they look and how much food the chickens swipe. Use your best judgment. They also get hard food, which is in the pantry to the left as you enter the kitchen. I usually just fill up the empty soft food cans with hard food. Their water is in a ceramic dish near the well pump. This is the water for the chickens and the cats. Just make sure it is full when you fill up the chicks water for the second time.

All of this should only take about 15 minutes each time, depending on which order you do it. If you let the chickens out first, then you will have to stand guard so that the cats can eat. If you feed the cats first, you will still have to stand guard so that Mama Cat doesn’t eat all the food and then you will also have to listen to the roosters crowing to get out. Really, the cows are the easiest as long as you are mindful of the fence. It is electric and from what I hear, it does hurt. I am scared to death of the fence, so I have not gotten shocked as I am very, very careful.

No worries. My aunt and/or cousins are taking care of the cats and chickens. My aunt has way more experience with animals than I do, so she really should be training me. I have to talk to Scott the Farmer, but I am sure he will want to take care of the cows himself, assuming he has time. Boy, having animals makes vacations hard, doesn’t it?