Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I love this picture and saved it for a few days just for Halloween.

As I am sure nearly everyone already knew, Smoke and Momma cat are already home. My DH rather casually said to me last night "I guess you'll have to think of a name for Momma cat, too." So this morning while I was petting and scratching her I called her Bibs because of her white chest. Anyone have any other suggestions?

DH goes back to the doctor today for an update on his foot. We expect he will be off work at least another two weeks. Dad goes to his foot doctor tomorrow about his heel spur. Sister Beth is doing so much better after her knee replacement surgery. She is walking with a cane instead of the walker now. Jen continues to suffer from migraine. How she functions as the mother of 4 (2 teenagers and 2 under 10's) is a mystery to me. Dana has been ill with strep throat. My back continues to ache and spasm at times so that I am afraid the fibro is returning.

But the weather is beautiful if chilly in the mornings and tonight all the little ghoulies and ghosties will be Trick or Treating. We have too many steps up to the front of the house for costumed children to navigate so I usually go over to Mom and Dad's for the fun as the kids have no problem with their paved driveway. I plan on keeping Smoke inside or with me and considering how cautious Momma cat ... Bibs ... is, I think she will make herself scarce.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Leaves are still hanging on ...

in spite of the wind and rain we have had. The maple in Mom and Dad's yard has lost about half of its volume but still takes a nice picture in the setting sun.
Midnight Smoke has discovered the joys of tiny little claws and styrofoam shelter insulation. This is after he was cleaned up enough to go in the house. Looking at this picture I can see how much he is growing. He spent part of the evening on my chest again with Sassy on my lap then he settled quite nicely into his kitchen shelter and spent the night indoors without protest. Momma cat has condescended to sleep in a wicker basket packed with straw inside a box turned on its side and also packed with straw and insulation sheets. I draped a folded sheet over the top of the box and partly down the front to cut the breeze also. Her fur felt cool but not cold this morning when I checked on her. The thermometer was just above freezing.
Today is my husband's 58th birthday. This is our time of year. His birthday, our wedding anniversary and my birthday all take place within the next month. He is still off work right now with his foot in the Boot. He goes to see the doctor tomorrow and we expect he will be off another two weeks at least.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sunday Morning Reflections

The sun was shining and the air was crisp so, of course, I went shooting. I was in the driveway over at Mom and Dad's when Jen pulled in to pick up sister Beth to take her to her churches in Cameron. Being just as addicted as I am, Jen joined me in taking photos of the leaves, the trees, the water droplets ... I found the above shot after Jen and Beth left. It is the birdbath (in need of cleaning) beside the driveway. I got several wonderful shots of reflections in the water.

Midnight Smoke spent the night in the house last night. Temperatures dropped to freezing overnight and I could not leave the little fella outside. He is not big enough to generate much heat on his own to warm the shelter and Momma cat still will not go inside the shelter. So Smoke came in and spent the night in an uninsulated shelter in the kitchen. It took him some time to settle down and Sassy could hardly stand having that THING in her house. She kept creeping into the kitchen and putting her nose up to the grating to see just what was making that noise in her house. When I went to bed, though, she left Smoke alone and came with me. He is a very quiet kitten so far. Only a few meows that I heard all night and most of those were when someone was in the kitchen where he could see them. His appetite continues to be good and he actually likes taking his medicine and the liquid vitamins. He almost voluntarily opens his mouth for the dropper. I have been bringing him in for extended contact sessions and he sleeps quite peacefully on my chest with Sassy unbeliveably sleeping on my lap below him. She does not like it but she is accepting it for now.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Peach Splendor and Smoke

The maple in Mom and Dad's yard was a radiant peachy-red in the few times of sunlight we had yesterday. Thankfully, some of those times happened after I got home so I was able to capture some nice pics of the scene. With more rain and some wind predicted, this is probably the beginning of the end of the colorful trees. You can see a close-up of this tree on Jen's blog.
Midnight Smoke and Momma cat have found a comfortable high resting place that leaves them feeling secure enough that they hardly even acknowledge the dogs coming out of the house. I am storing some items on the porch protected by plastic sheeting and the cats have climbed to the top of a stack but are still sheltered by a higher box and nestled into the top of a box of craft supplies (I don't remember anything breakable or crushable in that particular box). Smoke climbs up and down all by himself. He is eating, drinking, and doing business and takes his medicine and vitamins with little protest. I took him over to Mom and Dad's last night and he fell asleep against Dad's stomach and dreamed and purred. He was sorry to leave that warm safe haven when we had to go home. I read in the information the vet gave us that kittens should be handled by at least 4 people a day for a minimum of 40 minutes to socialize them. Dad is happy to do his part.
Mary may be right about the other two succumbing to respiratory infections. The vet said and I have read that weaning is a very dangerous time for kittens and many die during that period for various reasons. The symptoms of Callie and Maude did not appear the same to me but that does not really mean anything. What matters now is Smoke and he seems to be doing fine for something that only weighed 1.2 pounds at the vet's office.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Another loss ...

We lost little Maude on Tuesday. She was fine earlier in the day but when I got home from work she had hidden herself behind the kitten shelter and when I found her and picked her up she was limp and unable to stand on her own. She passed soon after but I did get to take her over for Beth to say good-bye.

On a better note, though, Midnight Smoke has now been to the vet and has a good prognosis. HE does have a slight rasping in his lungs and a slight fever but he is now receiving liquid antibiotics and vitamins (it looked so easy to do at the vet's office...) and the vet says he should be fine. She thinks he is only 6 weeks old - younger than I thought - and says he is a beautiful kitten and if she didn't already have a houseful of cats she would take him home herself. She also said he should continue to nurse as long as Momma cat allows. Appetite and activity are good. He is climbing everything he can reach and eating both dry and moist food and drinking well as well as nursing when Momma lets him. He was very good at the vet's office and the vet and her two assistants made over him the whole time we were there. They sent us home with kitten food as well as the medication and vitamins and a topical pest repellent and wormer that I will put on him this weekend when I can stay home with him and make certain he does not have a reaction to it. I am also adding a small amount of pedialyte to the cats' drinking water with the vet's approval.

He also MAY have a home. The neighbor across the street saw us taking Smoke to the vet and has expressed an interest in getting a kitten. We didn't pursue it too much just then as I wanted to be more certain of his health (and I still thought he was she at the time). Now I want to wait until he is weaned and has more of the meds in him. He will still need some tests done but the vet said we should wait a few weeks on those due to his age.

If possible, we will get Momma cat to the vet at a later time, though I do not anticipate that being an easy thing to do. She is still somewhat wild with everyone but me although she does allow Joe to pet her. I think a steel reinforced transport and thick shoulder length leather gloves may help...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fall Colors

Here is the same view as the other day with Mom's maple nearing its color peak. It practically happened overnight. The burning bush in the picture is still glorious although past its prime now. The other burning bush turns just slightly later and is in full fire now.
The hills are breath-taking and the the morning light on the hilltops with the valley shrouded in mist is a beautiful sight.
Days have still been warm and the nights cooler. Momma cat and kittens are still doing fine. Midnight Smoke is a black puff ball that loves to snuggle with Dad when I take the kits over in the morning and then again later in the day. Both of Dad's dogs (one is actually sister Beth's) are fascinated with the kittens. Sam did put Maud's head in his mouth the other day but that was the extent of it (loud exclamations from Beth persuaded him retreat was in his best interest). Maud settles right down with Beth when I take her over and the two of them snuggle and whisper until I have to take her back. Momma cat comes running when I come back into the yard. Maud took a walk on Sunday and wandered almost to the street before I saw her and brought her back. Curiousity and bravery are a dangerous combination for little kittens.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fall Foliage and Felines

This is the view from my house across the field into Mom and Dad's yard. Mom's maple to the right of the picture is just starting to change. It will be a beautiful peachy-red color soon. The burning bush is at its peak and although it does not show in this shot the maple to the left is a soft yellow right now.
This is the hillside behind our houses. I was not in the right location for the best shot yesterday but this turned out well.
It was an interesting day yesterday. I called my doctor's office and told them I had been accidentally bitten by a cat and could not remember when my last tetanus shot was. They said I needed to come in so the doctor could look at the bite and to get the tetanus shot. So I left work at 9:30 and did not get back until 2 hours later. What I thought was a simple little thing really had my doctor concerned. I not only got the tetanus shot but an Rx for an antibiotic and have to go back and see him today. Part of his concern may have been that my finger really looked red and swollen yesterday because I first had to get the ring off the injured finger (soap and hand cream were necessary) and I once more had a reaction to the adhesive on the bandage I used to cover the small wound overnight. The redness is considerably less this morning and although the area is tender it is not hot or swollen. Still, I am glad to have the antibiotic to take as there is real danger from any cat bite.
He also started me on a blood pressure med again as my pressure was (very) high at the office. It always is. But at home I am always in the normal range. Still, this is a very mild med and I am only taking half a tablet a day AND he provided samples this time instead of having to buy an Rx that I may not have been able to continue. I took the first half-tablet yesterday and will take another this morning. He said the most likely side-effect to this med may be swollen ankles. Lovely.
MDH Joe is off work for at least the next two weeks with a bad sprain in his left foot. He is now wearing his own Boot. He has gained an appreciation of what I went thru for months. The doctor says it could be longer for him but wants him to take these two weeks and stay off the foot as much as possible. He had to go to the office yesterday with the paperwork for leave and says his boss and coworkers all laughed at him.
When he got back home he discovered Momma cat draped in cobwebs. He said she had them over her head and down her back. She seemed appreciative when he cleaned them off of her. We decided she was probably looking for her missing kitten. So sad. But Momma cat and the other two are doing fine at this point. They had tuna this morning and all three ate well. I have watched the two kittens walk and run and they seem fine. Worrying but hopeful.
It is raining gently at 6 am here. Both kittens are in their shelter and Momma cat is lazing on the porch when the dogs are inside and watching them from the banister or under the porch when they have been outside.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sad news ...

we have lost little Callie and not to adoption. She was not acting quite right Tuesday evening and yesterday when I got home from work she was breathing heavily and crying. My regular vet was closing for the day and suggested I try the animal urgent care facility. By the time we got there Callie was almost unresponsive. The vet said she was a very sick kitten but not sure why at this point. It could have been sickness or injury. She had bitten me on the way to the office she was in so much pain. He said the kindest thing would be not to let her suffer. Tests might show what had made her so sick but would not help her get better. She was just too little to fight anything off.

So Callie is gone and now I am watching the other two and Momma very closely. Midnight Smoke and Maude are active and eating and drinking as is Momma cat. The weather here has warmed again and Momma cat is sleeping on the porch near the kittens' shelter. We had a beautiful sunrise the other morning but in spite of the red sky in the morning, there was very little rain.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I do still take pictures

of something other than cats. It is just that these little ones have involved so much care and I have been trying to find homes for them before winter. But this weekend I was able to wander the two yards and the field again and got some nice shots of Mom's Burning Bush in the morning light
and one of the last flowers still brave enough to be blooming. I have photographed these blooms in various stages ever since I could get out and walk without too much pain this year. The air was crisp and clean and the sky was so blue with big fluffy clouds. I left the poor dogs inside so I didn't have to worry about adventuresome kitties.
Cats and dogs are all adapting to each other. Momma cat and Myste get along fine but as soon as Sassy comes near, momma hisses and arches her back. But at least Sassy has stopped dashing out the door intent on catching something. I keep saying "Gently, my Sassy" to her as I open the door and she walks out instead of running. The kits are getting braver and wandering more so once this weekend I missed seeing where two of them were when I let the dogs out. Sassy knocked tortoiseshell "Maude" around but did no damage to her other than a little wet fur. Maude discovered she has four feet with the sharpest little claws on earth. Sassy found out, too.
I have cleaned up the spot where momma and kittens were doing necessary things and installed a covered litter pan in the same location. Momma used it immediately so she has been litter-trained. Now we will see about the kittens. If they can be litter-trained, too, they have a better chance of indoor homes.
I have to include at least one cat picture. This is from Friday evening.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A new winter shelter

was constructed for the cats today. I purchased a large plastic tote with a lockable lid and rigid foam insulation and a bale of straw while out shopping and when I came home I followed the directions from one of the websites I have been visiting and constructed a larger and hopefully warmer shelter for momma and kittens. I lined it with a reflective car windshield sunblocker and layered about 4 inches of straw inside.
The kittens have all been inside but momma has just poked her head in so far. The access hole is larger than the one I made in the foam cooler so she may try it out later. If not, I will put her box back down outside the door.

I have added a windbreak over the door to cut the force of the wind. The cat shelter (my Mom says I can't call it a cathouse) sits on my porch in the same location as the cooler shelter. I have layered cardboard around the back and sides to cut the force of any wind also. That plus the foam insulation and the reflective sunblocker and the thick straw should provide a nice warm shelter for the cats.
I checked out the local shelter today but they are overflowing with kittens right now. Midnight (Dad's name for the smokey black kitten), Maude (my sister's name for the the dark tortoiseshell) and Callie (my name for the sweet light calico) will stay with me along with momma cat until they get good homes. The dogs are adapting, too.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Three little kittens

The only way to get all three at the same time is to have someone hold them ... and even then the calico won't look at the camera. Notice there are three hands in the picture. Dad has the smokey cat and the light calico while Mom has the tortoiseshell calico. I think they are around 8 to 10 weeks but I am not certain. They still nurse from momma - especially the calico - but all three eat solid food, too.
This is momma in the extra box shelter I put together for her outside the kitten cooler shelter. I have draped an extra folded sheet over the front of it for tonight when it is supposed to drop into the 30's. All three kittens like the cooler shelter but momma does not go in. She seems to like the box with its extra foam insulation and sheet coverings though. Notice the cardboard "roof" that extends over the front of her box and out to the kittens' door. That supports the extra sheet drape to keep more warm in and cold out. With the drape in place a kitten or two sometimes curls up with momma.
Still available for adoption.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The warm weather has fled ...

and momma and her kittens are still here. I worried about them with the temperatures dropping overnight so yesterday morning I checked out some websites about providing shelter for outdoor cats. One of the suggestions for a temporary shelter was a foam cooler with a hole cut in the lid. I had an old one in the basement and used it
to make a shelter that I put out yesterday morning so the kittens could become accustomed to it during the day. I wedged it between two rolling storage carts I have on the porch and weighted it down with a brick (making certain the brick could not slide off and injure an inquisitive feline).

This morning there was evidence that the kittens at least like the new hole to climb in.

All three can be seen here. I have not seen momma in the box but she has stuck her head in to check on the kits. I made the hole large enough for momma to use and the cooler is large enough also but she may not like only one access.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Morning shots

are the best for sunlight behind the Burning Bush and Japanese Maple. Yesterday morning I got to be out longer than usual for a weekday as the office was closed for Columbus Day. I love holidays and I have a great job for holidays.
I loved the way the sunlight came thru this leaf. I got more dew-covered spider web shots also but nothing exceptional. The photo below was not a morning shot but from Sunday evening. Momma and all three babies on the porch in a moment of relaxation.
Still no adoptions.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

We need homes ...

All three kittens are out from under the porch and exploring the porch and the yard.
They are still a little shy of the giant who keeps looking at them and taking pictures but I have held each one and even taken them over to Mom and Dad's.
After sister Beth got home from the rehab center yesterday I even took the smokey black kitten over for her to hold for a time. That one seems less skittish of me now than the others and was very content laying upside down in my hands and Dad's hands while we checked gender. We think all three kittens are female.
Momma cat has climbed into my lap on her own several times now and has begun talking to me. She is so sweet as are the kittens. Homes must be found for them. I have emailed family again to see if any of the possibilities mentioned last week are still in progress. Failing that, I will have to take them to a shelter but I do not want to do that.
Anyone in Moundsville, West Virginia, area looking for a kitten?

Friday, October 5, 2007

All the kittens and momma ...

came out to eat Friday morning. I cook for my dogs - they have not eaten store food since the recalls except on rare occasions when I could not cook. So this morning I gave the cats some of the fresh cooked food as well. That brought all of them out from under the porch.
After eating it was time to clean up and then to play.
The black kitten actually sat still for pictures but the other two were all over the porch steps.

Still waiting for word on possible adoptions.

Potted Kittens

Two of the kittens were nestled into a flowerpot this morning when I checked on them before letting the dogs out. I have only seen these two since Wednesday after momma brought the rabbit to them. The other may be further back in the den or may be gone. Momma must have been off hunting this morning as the kittens were alone.

I feed momma last night. I had to discard the remains of the rabbit as she had dragged it out of the den into the yard and I did not want the dogs to get it even if there was not much left. So I opened a can of tuna and put it on a tray. I thought she might have the kittens come out and share it but momma ate every bit of it herself. Later in the evening Momma climbed into my lap as I sat on the porch steps and allowed a lengthy ear rubbing session. She has also allowed me to pick her up and snuggles and purrs.

The dogs are becoming accustomed to the cats. Myste has been nose-to-nose with momma with no problems on either side. Sassy is still excited by them but the more she sees me with them the less grabby she seems to be. I have heard from two sources who may know someone who will take a kitten. I hope to hear back this weekend.

EDIT: There are still three kittens. I was just outside with the dogs @ 7 am and all three were snuggled into the flowerpot and momma was back, too.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Momma is a hunter

... not only did she bring home the chipmunk yesterday morning, when I came home after work she had also brought a rabbit to the kittens. They will be eating well for a day or two.
This is the dark calico I held the other night. Last night I got to hold the light calico and took it over to show Mom and Dad. Still can't intice the smokey kitten to me though. That is the one Sassy had her mouth around so it is more skittish.

Momma and at least two kittens this morning while the dogs were in the yard. I am herding dogs, now. Every time they go out, I go out.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


This is momma cat. She is very young herself and not really a calico as I thought. She came out from under the porch tonight and let me pet and scratch her but said "No, thank you" to being picked up. Below is the calico baby I first mistook for momma in the dark under the porch.
And here are Momma and two of the kittens. I have held the dark calico at her side. The light calico pictured above is under Momma's tail here. The third kitten has escaped being photographed as yet. It is a smokey gray-black a little darker than the dark calico but with no white or other colors I have seen so far.
All three kittens are getting bolder and coming out further. The black kitten has explored as far as my flower pot storage and was sleeping in an unused pot earlier this evening (of course I did not have the camera at that time). Below the calico kitten is sitting on top of one of the cement blocks I used to narrow the opening under the porch in an effort to keep the dogs from trying to climb under.

They are not wild and are quickly becoming accustomed to me. Unfortunately, that makes them more vulnerable to the dogs also as they may come to me when I am trying to guard them from the dogs. I miss having cats but there is no way I can have an indoor cat at this time and want these to go to good homes. If there are no offers I will have to catch them soon and take them to the animal shelter - a last resort for me.

Here, Kitty Kitty ...

This weekend we discovered that what I thought was a strange rabbit (I only saw something moving) was actually a feral cat living under our back porch ... in the same yard that my dogs frequent. I took a large flashlight to look underneath and see if I could block her (calico equals female) from going back under the porch and discovered ...
... she is not alone. She has at least two kittens (also calicos). I have not been able to get good pictures because of where she has chosen to bed down but you can see one kitten to the left with its eys shining in the flash, momma in the middle with her eyes closed, and a kitten to the right with its head turned away. I have only seen the two kittens and hope there are not more.
My dogs are ecstatic everytime they go outside. I make them let me go out first (not an easy thing) and I stamp on the porch floor to let momma know we are coming out. Then I stand back behind the door as I open it and the dog flood pours out with noses already to the ground and follow every step momma has taken on the porch and walk and yard. I try to get to the under-porch access before the dogs do but didn't make it once this weekend and Sassy got her nose boxed. She has a nice little slash down the center of the top of her nose. It bled quite a bit as she would not stop running and sniffing cat trails and I had to catch her to clean her up and put a little pressure on the wound. No trouble with it since and it does not seem to be sore.
Sassy has never been gentle with little things. And once the hunting instinct kicks in it is next to impossible to stop her from going after something. When we had a cat, Sassy could barely let it walk on the floor without knocking it around until it hit back. Myste, on the other hand, is friendly with most things. But I don't think these kittens would survive either dog very long and the kittens are now at an age where they want to explore. It is going to be interesting in the yard for a while until I can either catch the cats or they move on. Before I catch them I have to find something to put them in ...