Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Three Little Kittens and One Heart Lost

Three little kittens and one lost heart. Mine.

Tragedy took their mother when they were three weeks old and then I stepped in as Mom. I didn't ever have children but these little fluffs quickly became my fur babies.

It's so true that kids change your life. Even my blogging decreased significantly while I played Mom.

They were sick. They got better. They got sick again. They got better.

The roller coaster went on it seemed forever. Finally, Whisper and George seemed to turn a corner and gained weight. Little Angel, always the tiny one, struggled to flourish. He didn't give up on himself though and never did we.

Last week though a couple other cats in my home got sick. Because cat illnesses can be so contagious we didn't want to risk the kittens getting sicker. So we moved them to another home.

It was a sad but wise move. Now the house is much quieter. The cats remaining are recovering with medicine and soon the house will swing into a routine, a much quieter routine.

I wonder what it will be like to not have my faucets licked right before I need a drink? How will I sleep without little bumps wondering around under the blankets at 5:00 a.m.?

My little fur babies have moved on and so must I.

I'll take a break from more fostering for a while, just to let us all settle down and to get any illness firmly behind us.

I'm sure the adult cats are sighing with relief.

Reports are that they are doing well in their new foster home. I will be fine too now that I have a lot more free time... it's just taking a while for the heart to remember to let go....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

What the Heck?

Okay. Remember the other day when I said the "truth is stranger than fiction and I believe it" statement? Uh huh. I remember it too.

So this one is going to blow your mind. Well, it blew mine.

It's Christmas eve and I get home from my usual work day. Finally I get to my emails and there's a message from my Dad. The subject: What Ever Happened???

I open the email and read.... then I sit back? What the heck? I went outside to confirm. Yep, Dad was right.

He'd been to my house earlier in the day to drop something off and noticed something not quite right. Something was missing.

If you look at the photo above you'll see on the left is a black metal pole. At the top of the pole is a wooden bat house. It's been there for about six or seven years. The pole sits inside the hollow part of an old lamp post - about 4 feet of which is still there.

The email was asking where my bat house and pole had gone, including the lamp post because they were no longer there.

I went outside and checked. Stolen? Whatever for and why? Prank? Seems like a lot of work for a prank.

The lamp post has been cut off at the ground. None of the parts appear to be around. Dad says people are stealing steel right now all over the city. Really?

That's just weird although I'd prefer to think someone valued my bat house and pole rather than just vandals running off with it.

We know it was there 3 weeks ago so this 'crime' is recent. I have to wait for daylight now to look at little closer.

Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Jeremy Squirrel - Who Exactly Is the Boss Around Here?

There's a saying: If you can't beat them, join them.

We're hoping we've resolved the Barbara vs Jeremy debacle, especially since Jeremy was kicking my butt and winning the battle.

So I called Dad for help. He made Jeremy a Squirrel Condo, lined with nothing less than carpeting. It sits in my kitchen waiting for a couple coats of paint.

We're hoping that Jeremy will be so in love with the condo that he'll opt to live in it instead of inside the garage.

I just need to find some time to do the painting.

Saturday morning I slept late. I'd been on duty with Red Cross as a Personal Disaster Assistant. We are on call throughout the night and weekends in the event of a disaster in our city. It can be a huge incident like the flooding in New Orleans or it could be the pipes breaking in an apartment and flooding the occupants out.

Red Cross is there for those people who don't have insurance or a place to go. We'd had a call at 4:00 a.m. and when I got home I got a couple hours sleep and then had to work all day. So I was catching up on sleep.

Jeremy noticed that his breakfast was late that morning. When I finally showed up in my kitchen he was there outside the window. Waiting. He perched himself on the top of the trellis so he could do surveillance through the kitchen window to see when I finally got my lazy self out of bed.

He saw me. I saw him. He twitched his tail. He was sending me a message. Unfortunately, I knew exactly what he wanted.

I put my hat on and went out. I gave him some peanuts and watched while he stuffed sunflower seeds into his face like me with the chicken balls at the Mandarin buffet. I noticed he was looking a little bit heavy....

He was tilting his body a bit from side to side while sitting up. I've seen this before in older squirrels. I don't know what it is. It could be old age, neurological issues, or injury, but I have seen this balance issue with squirrels a few times in the past.

Don't worry. It won't slow Jeremy down. There was an old black squirrel years ago that had a balance problem. He lived for years laying down to eat his sunflower seeds. He was a little bit heavy too....

Maybe I'll put the new squirrel house inside the garage. That should make it more tempting for Jeremy.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Keeping in Touch

Have you ever noticed how when cats and kittens sleep they are always touching?

Sometimes it's just a paw, like in this photo where kitten Angel is reaching out to touch the big old Tom cat while they sleep (he's not related to Tom in any way).
They do it with big old Tigger too.
I watch as the kitten starts off sleeping a few inches away. Slowly they maneuver themselves closer and closer until they are sleeping right with the adult.

It shares warmth. I think it provides the kittens with a sense of security too.

When the cats sleep on the couch next to me they always sleep next to my leg, or on me if they can. They want that touch or I should say they want to suck heat from me.

Because the kittens were underweight they'd feel the cold more and they wanted their mother. I spent a lot of time over the last 3 months cuddling with them.
You know you're a personal furnace for a pet when your cat is letting you know it's time for you to go to bed because he wants to. He wants me to warm up the bed for him.

Another point about keeping in touch, I haven't blogged much about the 3 kittens I've been raising. Their mother was hit by a car and died when they were 3 weeks old and I've been Mommy Cat to them. They had been pretty sick for the last while and needed to be medicated.
They were surviving though but not well enough to be thriving. So I apologize for the on-line quietness.
It was in part because I was so busy and in part because I feared there might be bad news. The last few weeks they've really turned a corner and are finally packing on some weight.

It was touch and go whether or not they would have one of the feline diseases which would mean they'd have to be euthanized... so I was worrying about them.

Two are healthy enough for adoption now and the little runt, Angel, just needs to put on a little more weight and he'll be ready for his new forever home too.
Soon I'll have an empty nest again. Well, not completely empty. What will I do without the poopy bums and dirty feet?

Like the great cycle of life, Whisper, is now at the 'interested in water' stage, just like Jay was a few months back when I reported on him. Now Whisper is fascinated with the sink and the shower. The cycle repeats itself and it's only a matter of time until he too falls into the tub :)

[George: Mommy opened the secret door to the furnace room --that place we were never allowed to go, and she let us play in there. So I snooped everywhere. Now I'm cleaning the dust bunnies from my whiskers]

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Curtains Caper

They say that truth is stranger than fiction. I believe them.

The curtains in my garage, the ones that hang over the window in the small side door, disappeared one day. It was very strange. Who would want to take my curtains?

A few days later I found them. Jeremy had stolen them. And he never apologized either when I took them back. In fact, all he did was natter at me quite loudly as I prodded him with a pair of BBQ tongs. All I was trying to retrieve was what was mine in the first place.

You see, Jeremy is a squirrel. He's got the bushiest squirrel tail that I've ever seen. I'm certain he's quite proud of that tail. It would keep him very warm on our cold Canadian winter days.

For the last two years I have put sunflower seeds out and Jeremy has been a daily visitor. He's also quite brave around humans and he would often approach me quite closely. That's when he would natter, but in a nice way, and shake his tail. This would be his form of begging. He wanted peanuts. I would always give him some and he would try to stuff 3 of them in his mouth at once. Squirrels never seem to catch on that they can only really carry 2 at a time.

When I was in the garage Jeremy would follow me in and beg for the peanuts there. He knew that's where I kept them, sealed up in a container.

I went into the garage and after being in there a few moments I heard rustling. I got a ladder out and climbed up to where the roof joins with the walls. There's a space there and I bet you can imagine what I found. Yes, Jeremy. He had made a nest in the garage. I discovered he was making use of the cat door and was coming and going from the garage. He had obviously made lots of trips because his nest was full of leaves... and my curtains.

I evicted him, despite his complaints. A few days later he was back and I had to climb the ladder and evict him again. Then I had to close the cat door for the winter. I worried that stray cats would be cold so I made sure there were cardboard boxes and lots of straw in the old dog house so they'd have a place to go.

A couple weeks ago I went into the garage and again I heard that familiar rustling. I knew right away who it was. Jeremy had chewed the wood of the cat door and made a hole big enough to get back inside the garage again. I blocked the hole and evicted him. He was not happy.

He showed up in there again. As I drove the truck in I saw him sitting on the roof of an old rabbit hutch. He nattered at me like I was a big old meanie. I got the raccoon trap out and you can probably guess what I put in it. Yes, peanuts.

Two nights later I had him and took him out of the garage and released him. It was dark and he ran off into the night.

The next morning he wanted his peanuts in the back yard. I think I'm forgiven.

Then a week later I saw a poor orange tabby cat in my backyard, cold and starving. I put out food for him. It was cold too, -5. There was nothing I could do but open up the cat door in the garage so this stray would have a warm place to go.

I bet you know what that means.....