3/18/10 – Thursday

To answer cat-related questions (the regular Comment-Answering Extravaganza will be up tomorrow): I must ask why on earth do you allow Maxi and Newt to ‘free-roam’. All I have ever heard is that free-roamers have shortened lives with all the horrible things that could happen to them. You evidently have a large property and you … Continue reading “3/18/10 – Thursday”

To answer cat-related questions (the regular Comment-Answering Extravaganza will be up tomorrow):

I must ask why on earth do you allow Maxi and Newt to ‘free-roam’. All I have ever heard is that free-roamers have shortened lives with all the horrible things that could happen to them. You evidently have a large property and you equip your other cats with electronic collars so why not these two?

Maxi and Newt came with the property, and when we put them in the bedroom with Maxi’s kittens (before the kittens were adopted out, and before we got Maxi and Newt spayed and neutered), they lost their minds – dug at the windows incessantly to get out, and stopped eating. Back then, we didn’t have a fenced back yard, so there wasn’t a way to contain them while still allowing them to be outside. At this point, they’re okay with coming inside and staying here overnight if the weather is bad (or they just want to), but they move pretty regularly between our house to the house two doors down, and probably spend almost as much time in and around their house as they do ours.


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I wonder if they have the same mom as the Wonka’s did – same spot makes me think maybe.

Bob – the guy who spotted both sets of kittens – also spotted the mother cat both times, briefly, and was pretty sure she was the same cat.


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Regarding name suggestions: Like I said, Fred’s in charge of naming these guys. I passed your suggestions along to him, but he’s going to take his time deciding on names. I can tell you that they won’t be named after the Three Stooges (and Shemp), because those names have been used for shelter cats in the past. John, Paul, and Ringo hadn’t been used (I was actually pretty surprised by that!), but George has.

I didn’t even suggest to him that he use Irish names, because he thinks my whole Irish naming scheme is goofy. Hmph. And he’s unimpressed with the Organs suggestion. He’s no fun, basically. (I did save all your Irish name suggestions, though I was already pretty sure that if there’s at least one boy, he’s going to be Fergus, most likely.)

A future litter of kittens (when it’s MY turn to name them!): Dither, Ponder, Discuss, and Swagger. I’ll call them The Verbs!


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I googled cat gestation: 63-65 days. 9 weeks. so by your estimation, she’s got a couple more weeks to go yet?

That’s my guess – but again, I’m no expert when it comes to pregnant cats, so I could be way off base. She actually climbed into my lap yesterday and laid there for a long time, her belly against my leg, and I concentrated as hard as I could, but still felt no movement against my leg. She seems to be getting bigger, though – I swear, it seems like I can almost watch her grow. I read that her appetite will decrease in the few days before giving birth, and right now she’s getting half a (3 oz) can of kitten food in the morning, and the other half at night. She’s got a bowl of kitten kibble available to her at all times, and of course fresh, clean water. She’s not eating a lot of the kitten kibble, but she’s loving the canned food.

All of this is to say, basically, I dunno. If she gives birth tomorrow, I won’t be surprised, and if she gives birth in three weeks, I won’t be surprised (though I might be VERY impatient!).


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Are the kittens staying in a separate room from Maura?

Yes. Maura is upstairs in the foster bedroom. The new kittens are downstairs in the guest bedroom. I had promised Fred that we wouldn’t have two batches of kittens again, but I guess promises are made to be broken? I don’t particularly like to have kittens in the guest bedroom, because there’s no carpet for them to warm their feet, and I don’t know – it just seems like an uninviting room to me as far as kittens go. The new guys seem to like it just fine, though. One of them expressed his approval yesterday morning by peeing on the floor under the bed, little brat.


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oooh, i LOVE mckittens! is mcmao pronounced “mc-mayo”? cause that’s HILARIOUS!

That IS funny, but no – the Mao part of McMao rhymes with cow. At least, that’s how I’m pronouncing it – I’m hoping that’s how you meant it, MsDarkstar!


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I notice your cats have large collar attachments. Are these for an underground fence or a cat door?

The collars are for an underground fence – only Sugarbutt, Tommy, Joe Bob, Jake, and Elwood wear the collars. Aside from Maxi and Newt, the other cats who go outside – Miz Poo, Spanky, and Kara – have never attempted to go over the fence, so we feel safe in leaving them collarless. When she first started going outside, Kara wore a collar, but like I said, she’s never attempted to go over the fence.

It’s actually a little silly for us to put a collar on Elwood, since he doesn’t go outside (we’ve taken him out into the back yard once or twice, but he’s scared and immediately runs right back inside). I’m sure he’ll figure it out sooner or later, and it’s best to be prepared.


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What are you going to do about the momma cat, will you still try and trap her so she can be spayed?

I’ll tell you all up front that this is not a story with a happy ending. I know some of you read this site with your kids, so you may want to skip down to the pictures.

When Fred got to work yesterday morning, he went over to check the trap. There was a medium-haired tuxedo cat inside the trap, and he loaded the trap into the car and called me. It was too early to call the vet’s office, so I told him to put the trap in a corner of his office, put a towel over it, and try to keep his office quiet. He said she was pretty wild when he approached the trap, and that she didn’t look well.

When the vet’s office opened, I called and talked to one of the women who works there. She told me to go ahead and bring the cat in, so I drove to Fred’s office, he loaded the trap (cat and all) into my car, and I got my first look at the girl who’d given us Mike, Gus, Violet, Veruca, and this new litter. Fred was right, she didn’t look well at all. There was blood around her nose – both dried and fresh – her coat was ratty, her eyes were clouded.

The shape she was in blew me away. I didn’t – still don’t – know how on earth her kittens could be in such stunningly good shape (well fed, immaculately clean) when she was in that condition.

I was worried that we’d gotten the wrong cat, so Fred held up the trap a little bit so I could try to see if she was clearly a nursing mother. I wasn’t really able to see anything, so off I went to the vet’s office.

Once there, I talked further to the women who worked there, told them her story, and that I feared she was likely positive for FIV. Given that the Wonkas had tested positive initially, I was pretty sure she had to be positive as well. They got her out of the back of my car and took her to the back. They needed to sedate her before they could take the blood to do the test, so the nurse gave her a dose of sedative.

Fifteen minutes later, they reported that she was still bright-eyed. They waited another ten minutes, then gave her a second dose of the sedative. Fifteen minutes later, still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. They decided that they’d try to get the blood from her, since surely the sedative must have had SOME effect, but (I didn’t witness this, they told me afterward), she was as full of energy as any cat they’d seen. They said she actually bounced so high she just about hit the ceiling – so needless to say, they weren’t able to get blood from her yet.

They gave her a dose of a different sedative, and waited for it to work. This time it did, and they were able to draw blood.

Ten minutes later, the vet came to give me the news – she was FIV positive. I had hoped that by some fluke she might test negative, but wasn’t surprised at the news.

Please know that I didn’t make this decision lightly: I asked them to euthanize her.

Had she been negative, I would have had her spayed and her ear tipped, treated her for whatever made her look so ill, and released her. But releasing her, knowing that she was positive, would have been irresponsible on my part. Though FIV doesn’t spread as easily as FeLV, it is still transmissible to other cats, and I couldn’t put an FIV+ cat out there to potentially infect other cats.

They asked if I wanted to sit with her while they euthanized her, and I said no. At the time, I was thinking that since she was so feral and scared, having another person there would just serve to scare her more. I paid and left.

On the way home, I realized that she was probably so sedated that she wouldn’t have been very aware of my presence, and I regret that I didn’t stay. I wish I had. She didn’t deserve to die alone.

I can – and will – honor her memory by taking the best possible care of her kittens until they’re older, and then they’ll be adopted into homes where they’ll be cherished.


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2009: I don’t know what on earth ever made him think that my desire for plastic surgery has anything at all to do with the level of love he might feel for me, silly man, but bless his big bald pointed head for giving it the ol’ college try.
2008: Sadie’s like the older, tolerant sister who puts up with the brat.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No doubt she wishes I’d leave her the hell alone and just let her SLEEP, GODDAMNIT.
2004: I’m known for my dumbassery, though.
2002: Good riddance to boring characters, I say.
2001: No entry.
2000: No entry.