9/16/11 – Friday

Attention, Michiganders! PAAW is having a low-cost vaccination and microchip event this weekend in Madison Heights. $10 vaccs, $20 microchips, dogs and cats – DEFINITELY worth the price. You can find out more at their web page, here, or friend them on Facebook! ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ … Continue reading “9/16/11 – Friday”

Attention, Michiganders! PAAW is having a low-cost vaccination and microchip event this weekend in Madison Heights. $10 vaccs, $20 microchips, dogs and cats – DEFINITELY worth the price. You can find out more at their web page, here, or friend them on Facebook!

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Hey, did you know you can vote for Gracie once a day? In case you were wondering!

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Is Buster a burbler too?? Maybe it’s more common than I’d thought – I never heard that particular type of purr until I got Packer, but now I’ve heard it from two of your cats in the space of, what, two weeks? Buster Burbles might be a good band name. Burblin’ Buster? Buster Burbler. I’ll work on it and get back to you.

Who was the little black Pepper in the “Wild Things” video towards the end who was trying to stay clear of the shenanigans and got pounced on anyway? I LOL’d at that almost as hard as at the head-bonk and total wipeout in the “Yellow Stool” video. Yellow Stool would probably not be a good band name, but WOULD be a pretty good reason to see the gastroenterologist, and I am going to bed now with my tired-ass self.

I think Buster Burbles would be a GREAT name, and when I find my musical talent, I will totally name my ’80s cover band Buster Burbles. Hmm. Buster and the Burbles?

That was Sally Peppers toward the end of the shenanigans. I’d say she’s a lover not a fighter, but she’s been witnessed starting plenty of fights. They can all BRING IT when they want to!

(Also, I would have used a term other than “Yellow Stool” for that video, but (1) I couldn’t think of a better way to describe that piece of furniture and (2) It made me LOL to type it that way. I amuse myself far too much.)

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re The Pond–I know several people around here who’ve had ponds dug, and they started out by having them filled with water from the nearest town–I think the fire dept. actually sells the water & does the filling? And I think it was fairly cheap to get done…

At this point, I don’t know when the guy is going to get out here to dig the pond, since we had rain the other night and he was already behind in the work he was doing, due to the rain we’d gotten last week. If the damn pond is ever put in, we’ll see if the local fire department does that sort of thing, it would be kind of neat to not have to wait for the winter rains to fill the pond!

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So now do we get weekly reminders how pretty Buster is too?

Of COURSE. If y’all forgot how pretty Buster is, I’d never forgive myself.

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I’ve been lurking since the day the McMaos were born – the post came up on my mom’s Google Reader, she sent it out to my sisters and me, and I’ve read every post since. While I love them ALL, I think Miz Poo is my favorite of your cats – my Quinn is a tortie, too, so I’m probably biased. I just wanted to let you know that during Hurricane Irene, when we lost power (I’m in NJ), I started reading Fred’s book on my Kindle. I finished it this past weekend, and I really enjoyed it! Tell Fred to keep writing!

Thank you! I’ve told Fred that you enjoyed it (and conveniently included a link up there to Fred’s book for those of you who haven’t read it and might be interested – it’s available on the Nook as well).

Fred’s about 25% finished with his next one, and you can read a rough draft of the first chapter, here. I’ve read most of what he’s written so far and I really think it’s the best thing he’s written.

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Will you be able to put the black Peppers kittens up for adoption around Halloween? I’ve heard (but never confirmed) that shelters around me do not adopt out black cats in October in fear that they will be abused or used in satanic rituals or something. But maybe that’s just a local rumor? (I do live in the Salem MA area…)

Challenger’s House doesn’t usually put a hold on adoptions of black cats around Halloween, but the adoption counselors are aware of the whole issue and are always (around Halloween and at all times!) careful who adopts Challenger’s House cats.

God bless the CH adoption counselors, because sometimes people get maaaaaad when they’re turned down. I know that one man said “Geez, lady, it’s just a CAT!” to the shelter manager once (which strangely did not convince her to adopt to him!). They have a Do Not Adopt (DNA) list that they keep current.

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99.999% of the time, the household goods sold at flea markets are hot. Random assortment of “new” items, usually in smallish quantities…people professionally shoplift all of it! It’s crazy, there is at least one documentary out about it. 48 hours? One of the new corps. had a big thing on it a while back. (p.s. not trying to make you feel bad for your purchase! I once bought a bunch of Nivea moisurizer overly cheap from a flea market in TN once!)

I should have added that the entire reason I bought hair stuff at the flea market table is because the Sunsilk styling spray (I can’t even remember the name of it, but I’d recognize the bottle – it was a leave-in spray conditioner in a yellow bottle and had UV protection in it) is no longer made. I saw the familiar bottle on the table and HAD to have them. Otherwise, I don’t generally buy that stuff because I figured it probably sits in a hot truck with the sun beating down on it. The idea of people buying food from those tables just gives me the willies.

Also, Lisa sent me this link yesterday – Meth lab found in flea market. That’s the flea market we went to over Labor Day weekend and that we occasionally visit! I had no idea that sort of thing was going on – but I probably shouldn’t have been so surprised, either.

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Wasn’t Sheila (from the Rescuees) a silver tabby? Or was she just grey?

I was thinking she was just gray, but went and looked, and I think I’d call her a silver tabby. It’s hard for me to tell – she was darker than Molly is, but the light parts of her coat were pretty light, so… I think she’s a silver tabby (but I could be wrong)!


PS: Look! It’s Sheila and a much younger Buster!


Awww, and Sheila and Reacher! I’m going to say, comparing the two, that if Reacher’s a silver tabby, then Sheila definitely is, too!


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I’ve thought about getting into fostering and was wondering if it was hard at first. I do have an extra room that I could strip down and remove the carpet. Can you remember what you went through when you first got started in fostering and how long have you been doing it ? Love your journal and hope you never stop. Especially love the pictures with the cute sayings. Also enjoy the photos from around the yard.

I would highly recommend taking the carpet out of the room if you can – otherwise it’s going to get seriously stained (at least, my carpet in our previous house certainly did!)

It’s hard to say whether fostering is hard – there are hard times, especially when you’ve got one or more of a litter who are sick for no discernible reason and you don’t know what to do for them. But the joys of fostering far outweigh the hard times and it is so, so worth it.

I think really all you need to start with is a room where they can be segregated from the rest of the house’s animal residents, litter boxes, cat beds to sleep in (though even old towels and old blankets can serve that purpose) and some toys (and when I say “toys”, I mean anything cats will play with. You don’t have to go out and buy toys; my cats love to play with straws and crumpled up balls of foil and the rings off a milk jug. I do buy a lot of cat toys, but that’s not because they’re demanding them, it’s because I’m clearly a cat toy hoarder.) Anything else you need, you’ll figure out along the way.

We’ve been fostering since May of 2005 – Mia and her babies were my very first set of fosters – and Charlie and Patty Peppers are fosters numbers 164 and 165. The number would be higher, but in the Fall of 2005 when Fred agreed that we could adopt Sugarbutt and Tommy, he made me promise to wait until they’d been with us for six months before I started fostering again. It turned out to be almost a year before the fostering bug bit me again, I took Maddy as my very first bottle baby, and we’ve been doing it ever since!

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Myself, I’m wondering if the lady didn’t just make up the “my doctor said” thing. Seems like the most logical explanation – that she didn’t want to keep the cat for whatever reason/s but was (rightfully) ashamed about saying so, and thus added “my doctor says” to her excuse for extra credibility and blame-dodging.

Curious, though – everyone I’ve known who’s had to take a pet to a shelter or rescue agency says they give you the third degree about your reasons for relinquishing. A former friend had an unrehab-able sprayer and her landlord said it was her or the cat; when she tried to take the cat to the rescue agency they told her they needed a letter from her vet saying that the cat had been checked for UTIs and attesting that the owner had done, in the vet’s opinion, everything possible to properly box-train the cat and that relinquishing was the only option. And a friend of my mom’s wasn’t going to be able to care for her dogs after a major surgery, and got the same type of response from a different shelter – they were willing to take the animals (with a suitable donation) but they really grilled her long and hard about other options… friends, family, boarding until she was recovered (which was expected to be up to 18 months, so not feasible) – they even suggested that one of their volunteers could come over a few times a week to help with big stuff (grooming, yard cleanup, walks) in exchange for the same “donation” they would require for her to relinquish the dogs. They really ran her through the wringer; she didn’t want to have to give them up and it seemed like they made it as hard as possible for her, even though she was expected to be bedridden for 3-4 months and then minimally mobile for at least a year after that. (One of her grandchildren eventually moved in with her to help out, and they were able to re-adopt the dogs back. Yay!)

So I’m curious now whether the people at Challenger House challenged (ha) the lady’s story of “ammonia fumes,” or if they just decided it was better to take him back than to risk her dumping him off in a field somewhere.

I’ve honestly wondered whether she used the “my doctor said” excuse to return Buster because there was some other reason that she felt didn’t have as much strength to it. Was she overwhelmed with the idea of having her third kid and having to care for Buster, too? Let’s be honest here, Buster’s a drama queen. Was she worried that he wouldn’t be good around the baby? I can say that he talks a good game, with the complaining and growling (we say he’s “blustering” when he starts up), but even when he grabs my hand because I’m doing something that displeases him, he never uses his claws on me.

Because Buster was a Challenger’s House cat to start with, her story wasn’t challenged because any Challenger’s House cat will be accepted back at any time, whether that’s two days, two years, or a decade after the initial adoption (though you won’t get your adoption fee back if it’s been longer than, I think, 30 days).

Had she called the shelter and said “Look, this cat’s smudgy face bugs me. I don’t want him any more.”, he would have been accepted back. There was a time when she would have tried to convince someone who wanted to return a cat that they should try this or that, but she’s been doing this long enough that she can tell whether someone wants advice on what to try or just wants to bring the cat back for whatever reason. If they’re intent on bringing the cat back and she tries giving them advice, it’s entirely possible that they’ll just opt to, I don’t know, dump the cat on the side of the road or turn it into a kill shelter instead. Better not to question them and get the cat back, you know?

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I saw this page on my local online newspaper and thought I would share, it is such a cute idea:

Pre-owned, certified cats on sale this week.

That is adorable, and that kitten’s face is cracking me UP!

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Totally off topic…unless you want a 15th cat, I stumbled across this yesterday: Glow-in-the-dark cats helping with FIV and AIDs research. How cute would a wee gitd kitty be?

That would be WAY too cool!

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Charlie’s protectiveness of Patty is one of the sweetest things I’ve heard of in a long time. Does Challenger’s House even do that – insist on kittens being adopted together?

They do strongly suggest kittens being adopted together; I’m not sure if they insist on it, though. And actually, I’m starting to wonder if Charlie and Patty were so on top of each other all the time just because they were in such a small space. Now that they’re in the guest bedroom, they’re almost never in the same space – he likes to sleep on the cat tree, she curls up on the bed. They do play together, but I’m not sure they’re as closely bonded as I initially thought. Though even if they aren’t, I’d still love to see them go to the same home, of course!

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I need some help for a co-worker of my husband’s. He and his wife have had a kitten (5 to 6 months old,not spayed yet) for a couple of months and she is very active and has a fantastic personality.The problem is that she likes to put her teeth on your hands when she plays. She won’t break the skin and to be honest it wouldn’t be a problem if his wife wasn’t watching kids all day in their house. They have tried the can of air (which worked perfect to keep the kitty off the counter) but it doesn’t seem to phase her when she’s nibbling. I talked to them yesterday and they are willing to keep her if they can break her of this nibblyness deal. Otherwise she is going to have to find a new home :-(.

I don’t have any suggestions here, but I’m hoping maybe someone out there has some helpful hints!

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Just love Charlie and Patty, no matter how crusty or raggedy they are! And am I the only one who is thinking Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty?

You are not – and for good reason! Sally and Lucy’s names were stolen from Connie – Sally here, Lucy here – and when I needed names and decided to keep “Peppers” as the surname for these two rather than go with a whole new naming theme, I ultimately opted for Charlie and Patty. Though I kind of think that Linus would have been a really good name for him, too!

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I’m still worried about the junior Peppers’ mother. Has there been any talk of trapping the poor girl?

There hasn’t, because she seems to have disappeared. The woman who handed Patty over to us said she’d call if the mother cat showed up again, and as of yet we haven’t heard anything. I am REALLY hoping that she doesn’t show up to drop another litter under that trailer.

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5-hour drive to IKEA? I personally do not see a problem with that.

I know! Does anything sound like more fun than renting a little U-Haul van and driving to Ikea, loading up the van, and maybe spending the night before heading home? Because I don’t think so. Fred, however, is a big party pooper who has no idea how to have fun. 🙂

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Did the chickens react to the ducklings suddenly in their midst?

The chickens don’t seem to have noticed that there’s anything different at all. The ducks are smart enough to keep out of the chickens’ way, and the chickens just ignore the ducks.

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Is there a difference between a gray tabby and a silver one?

I’m thinking a gray tabby would be darker, but I just went and looked at some pictures and, uh, I dunno. I’m thinking they’re pretty much the same thing!

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Piggies are so adorable. How can you eat them?? I am vegetarian and one of the things that made me give up meat was the intelligence and cuteness of pigs!

We’re not vegetarians and have no plans to change that, and since we have the time, room, and inclination to raise our own food, I think it would be irresponsible for us not to. Our pigs (and chickens) are spoiled rotten from the day we bring them home until the day they leave, and we’d much rather our food come from happy animals than from those who live their lives in CAFOs.

(For the record, I’m pretty sure they’d have no objections to eating you.)

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Question about the piggies — how old are they and how much bigger will they get?

They’re about five months old currently and weigh about 125 – 150 pounds. One of them will be leaving us around 10th of October (the man who’s buying that pig prefers to go through a different processor (camp counselor?) than we prefer) and she’ll be 200 – 225 pounds. The other two will be going around the end of October (a little over six months old), and should weigh 225 – 250 pounds at that point.

Love that Buster is back where he belongs — how is he doing with Corbie?

There’s really not been a lot of interaction between Buster and Corbie. The occasional head-butt, the occasional sniffing of each others’ back ends, other than that, nada. As far as they’re concerned, it’s no big deal.

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The pig farms I’ve ever driven by have a, shall we say, distinctive aroma. (OK, it smells like pig shit from miles away.) Do you have a problem with piggy smells, or is it not a problem because they have room to roam and are treated more humanely than a farm?

I’m going to guess that the pig farms you drive by have wayyyyy more than three pigs, am I right? If you go out by the pig yard here, the worst smell is that of the pig feed they’ve knocked onto the ground, which has gotten wet and is kind of fermenting. The pigs themselves don’t really stink. The grass that grows in their yard, which is well fertilized by them, is the prettiest, greenest grass I’ve ever seen!

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Have you ever had anycat bit you or bunnykick you in your (and their) sleep? We’ve only got 5 cats, and only one sleeps curled up in my side, usually with my arm around her. One night I woke up to a searing pain in my finger. She had bunnykicked me really hard. I had a gash from the top of my finger to the bottom. Last night I woke up to a searing pain in my thumb. She’d apparently BITTEN me pretty badly. I’m certain she did it in her sleep, as, even if I’d been smothering her or otherwise annoying her, if she’d been awake when she did this, she’d have run away, because no matter what, they are not allowed to hurt us. Even if they accidentally catch a claw on us during play, they run away, because they know hurting a human is not allowed. So, since both times, she was still laying where she was after doing this I’m certain she did it in her sleep. Must be some really bad dreams. 🙁 Has anything like this happened to you?

I have to say that that’s never happened to me! That could be due to the fact that Miz Poo is the only cat who sleeps right up against me (I usually get Tommy at the end of the bed and Elwood next to me, but not touching me). That’s certainly not a pleasant way for you to wake up, is it! I’d offer some advice on what to do, but I really cannot think of a thing.

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have you seen this? cute overload

I had not seen that. How frickin’ CUTE. The way kittens sleep on their backs with their mouths open just kills me DEAD.

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has Molly officially assumed Ciara’s “I’m a cut you” mantle, or is she still trying out for the role?

She’s still trying to decide if the role fits her. I think she’s got the glare down, but she tends to go from the “I cut you” glare to the “I love you” eyes too quickly. She’s got to learn to hold the glare for longer!

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Aw look at that buster man — he’s so happy! I cant recall were he and Elwood close before? Or is he just that lovey?

I’m trying to remember – I think they were pretty close. Elwood’s pretty good with the little ones, once they’re past a certain size (the little little ones kind of freak him out, but Jake loves them) and by the time Buster left, he was about seven or eight months old and thus just the right size to tussle with Elwood and then snuggle with him.

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About those automatic litter boxes, I know of two types, the ones that rake it when they leave and the one that tumbles so the stuff goes into a little holding area. The rake ones can freak them out because of the noise if they havent left the area when it starts, making them afraid to use it. (One of my cats stands outside the box for about five minutes when she’s done, scratching walls and floors like she’s still trying to cover even though she’s not actually IN the box any more…) The tumble ones coat all the sides until it’s like being in a tunnel of poo which most cats can’t deal with, so they’ll tend to hang out the side. I used to think one of those would be great, but now I don’t think it’s worth trying.

A few years ago, back when our permanent residents number was in the single digits (sigh), we had a Litter Robot. It worked well enough, and some of the cats would use it, but some of the other cats were freaked out by it, so we also had to have regular litter boxes. But between emptying the drawer at the bottom of the Litter Robot and then wiping out the inside of the thing once a day so it didn’t get gross, I was spending more time dealing with it than I would have spent scooping the litter box. When the globe cracked less than a year after I got it, I wasn’t sorry to toss the whole thing in the garage.

Peppers v2.0 are too cute! I hope they get adopted together too. Just curious, why the same last name instead of a new one?

It was mostly because I just like the last name “Peppers” for kittens, I think it’s awfully cute. I was originally thinking of naming Charlie “Buster Peppers” because he looks like Buster (and Buster’s “official” Challenger’s House name is Bolitar), but then I thought that might be confusing – and that was before I knew Buster was coming back to us! Charlie and Patty will likely be the last Peppers we have, though.

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Charlie’s definitely the more curious (and less scared) of the two. He’s always the first to approach, but once he’s determined that things are safe, Patty comes along behind him.

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“What doin’, lady?”

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She’s a petite little thing.

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Charlie shows off his scratching-post prowess.

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He’s a climber (this is how he gets on the bed – he climbs to the top, then steps onto the bed!)

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Everett Peppers has two white whiskers, on his left side.

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“What you want, lady?”

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Harlan’s not quite sure what’s going on.

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(so you won’t forget how beautiful they are)

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Buster monkey-walks across the walkway.

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…thinks about it…

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and smugly lands on the platform where Loony Jake likes to hang out. Awfully proud of himself, no?

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Corbie prefers to sit pretty whilst keeping an eye on the bird in the yard.

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A VERY close eye.

(And yes, it’s my goal to get a picture of the two of them together! I hope that much beauty doesn’t break the camera.)

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2010: Sights from around Crooked Acres.
2009: (Thank god – being unable to understand someone with a thick accent always makes me feel incredibly stupid.)
2008: I’m certainly enjoying all the naked male behinds that pop across the screen pretty regularly, too.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: Just call us the three bears.
2004: small things that will remind me of my grandmother.
2003: Man, this whole running-a-business thing is strictly FOR THE FUCKING BIRDS.
2002: Fred (as if narrating a book): “She was a bitter-butted woman….”
2001: No entry.
2000: No entry.