Still Life, With Cats

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Cats

The sweetest things

So I know technically I am not the one who made these, and also technically it happened yesterday, but I am going to use this anyway.

Friday we picked up a very pregnant, extremely friendly little foster cat. Late last night I went in to check on her and noticed that she was having contractions. So for the next hour or so, I sat on my bathroom floor next to her (occasionally offering her pets because in the beginning she kept shoving her head into my hand) and watched her give birth.

After all these years fostering, I’ve only managed to catch a glimpse of the birthing process once before. It was amazing, and disgusting, and holy crap did my lady parts cringe in sympathy at how quickly a momma cat can go from normal to fully dilated (we’re talking minutes here). Also the sound of the mom eating the afterbirth is….not pleasant. At *all*. But it’s all part of the process, and momma and her five brand new babies are doing great so far. And best of all, I get the bonus of having super tiny foster kittens without the usual work of bottle feeding, because they’ve got an excellent momma to do all the heavy lifting.

Momma is named Valentina, because she is the sweetest, friendliest little cat who is desperate for all the love, and we named all her babies after the different types of love (in Greek).

You can follow their progress at House of Floof (look for the hashtag #LoveLetterKittens) if you want to watch them grow.

Making a thing a day for Thingadailies.



We can all agree this was inevitable

What do you do when it’s February and you have committed to making a thing a day, and you have a bunch of random cardboard boxes plus a giant roll of duct tape and minimal construction skills but lots of enthusiasm?

You build your cats a tank, that’s what you do!

And then if there happens to be, in the house, a cat named Sherman, you *know* what the next step had to be.

You’re welcome.

Making a thing a day for Thingadailies.



Grey tiger, burning bright

In September of 2009, fresh from the loss of both Tangerine and Sebastian within the space of just a couple weeks, Richard and I went to adopt a kitten. We’d seen a picture of Ingrid on Petfinder, and fell head over heels in love with her from that, but knew that she would need a friend. When we went to the rescue to meet her, there was a little black and grey tuxedo floof who was pretty cute, but already pre-adopted, and two little grey tabbies, who were careening at top speed around the room, literally running sideways on the walls. We picked one of the little grey tabbies as the second kitten, and we can’t really claim to have been all that surprised by what he turned out to be.

A small grey tabby kitten sitting in a cat tree
Rupert, aged 6 weeks, 2009

Rupert was extremely active, and also extremely intelligent. Every time we didn’t think a kitten could get somewhere, he would find a way. That first Christmas he scaled the tree like it was just another giant toy, and ever since then our ornaments have been the self-placing kind. He could jump incredible heights – to the top of the fridge in kitchen, to the top of the curtain rail in the bathroom – there was really no such thing as a Rupert-safe zone. We invested in a number of cups with lids, which we referred to as Rupert-safe cups, because when he was younger he absolutely delighted in tipping over water glasses. A friend mentioned, based on her own grey kitty that Grey Ones Are Trouble, and it became Rupert’s calling card. We used to look at each other over those first few years, and jokingly comment that he would calm down when he was older. It was only in the last few months that he ever did.

Two grey tabbies sitting next to each other
Rupert with his newest minion Guffaw

He turned twelve this past August, which doesn’t seem old enough for anything to happen, but life doesn’t always work the way we wish it would. Suddenly things started taking a turn for the worse. Without exploratory surgery we won’t ever know with 100% certainty that he had GI lymphoma, but all the symptoms fit, and it was clear what we had to do. The vet came over this afternoon to help him go.

We’re going to miss you so much, Boo.



Eye spy

Why yes, decorating a Christmas tree with a whole bunch of lightweight plastic ornaments in a house with a quartet of extremely energetic kittens who all like to scale the tree and view ping pong balls as one of the Best Toys Ever was a BRILLIANT decision, why do you ask?

I’ve picked up at least 20 so far and I keep finding more as I walk around.

Last night when we were decorating, Guffaw was going absolutely crazy, charging up and down the tree and smacking ornaments off as if we’d basically given him the Coolest Toy Ever (which, admittedly, we did). So I have a feeling that every morning we’re going to have to make the rounds and collect and rehang a whole bunch of ping pong balls (or else alternatively we could just put them in a bag and then perhaps by the time the tree needs to be put away again for another year, he might have single-handedly (single-pawedly?) removed all the decorations for us.

‘Tis the season for Holidailies.



The return of the self-decorating tree

We finally put up the tree. We’d actually been dithering about whether we wanted to do any sort of decorating at all since Thanksgiving, considering the state of the world (waves hand vaguely), and also the number of excitable foster kittens still in residence, but then we came up with An Idea (which I will talk about tomorrow), and so tonight the tree went up.

Foster kitten Chantilly and resident cat Guffaw took on the roll of Tree Inspection Brigade as we attempted to unpack the pieces.

Once completed, foster kitten Pickle joined the Inspection Brigade to make sure that the tree was assembled correctly.

And then we sat back and waited. Want to take a guess who was first up the tree?

Nope, it wasn’t who you think.

Yes, that would be Timmie, the largest cat in the house, who launched herself halfway up the tree. There are many reasons why we are glad we switched to a fake tree lo, those many years ago, but one very important reason is that they are extremely sturdy.

Don’t worry, though. Guffaw made *quite* sure to live up to our #GreyOnesAreTrouble lifestyle.

And thus, the self-decorating tree continues for another year.

‘Tis the season for Holidailies.



Comfort and joy

Two short things for today.

First, if you need a smile, then this video is definitely for you.

Timmie loves the foster kittens, and there are big gaps under some of our doors because it’s an old house. Put those two things together and you get scenes like this. There are two separate foster kittens reaching their adorable little feet under the door at Timmie.

Second, because today is apparently National Pastry Day (or something like that), this evening I whipped up these Hand Pies, except instead of blueberries, I used leftover cranberry curd in the middle.

They turned out delicious. Yum!

Holidailies.



Unforeseen hazards

One of the things about kitten fostering is that even if you have one room solely dedicated to the kittens, sometimes you have to separate some out for whatever reason, and then there will be kittens in the bathroom. Due to a kitten recovering from a leg amputation (her femur was shattered prior to her being found and brought to the rescue through which we foster), our upstairs bathroom has been a secondary kitten holding space for the last few weeks.

The thing about having kittens in the bathroom, of course, is that then any trip to use the facilities takes significantly longer.

Usually this is because it’s really hard to just zip in and zip right out when there are adorable kittens demanding attention right there in front of you.

I mean, honestly, how are you supposed to resist sitting down and giving these adorable little cuties a snuggle?

But other times it’s because, well….

‘Tis the season for Holidailies.



Let the hall decking begin

In the past eleven years we haven’t done much decorating for Christmas, primarily because we got Rupert and Ingrid in the fall of 2009 and that Christmas marked the beginning of the self-decorating tree trend, which began with Rupert and Ingrid, and continued on with Sherman, Nutmeg, and finally Timmie.

But this year, now that Rupert is eleven and fairly calm, and Sherman is eight and also showing signs of slowing down, we thought that maybe, just maybe, we could try decorating like normal people. Also, there’s this pandemic raging through the world outside and having a little extra sparkle and cheer in the house would be nice. So we bought ourselves a new tree (and donated the old one to someone who was thrilled to get it), and this past weekend we put it up.

In years past Sherman has been extremely involved in tree assembly, but this year he was mostly interested in the box.

Cornelius M. Peabody, however, was all in on helping to make sure the top was perfectly straight.

So far the furry contingent have left the tree (mostly) alone, so this might finally be the year we can drag out the nice stuff that’s been gathering dust in the attic for over a decade.

Maybe.

Fingers crossed.

‘Tis the season for Holidailies.



Cat tales

A little math problem for you:

You have a room that contains eight VERY busy foster kittens. You open the door.

Two kittens run out. You put one kitten back. Two more kittens run out. You put three back. Three more kittens run out. You put two back. One more kitten runs out. You put one back. Two more kitten runs out.

Please answer the following:

  • How many kittens are still out?
  • How many of the escapees were the same kittens?
  • How long did you have to search for the final kitten before realizing that she discovered she could go down the stairs and was exploring under the bed?

Don’t forget to show your work.

*****

I have a cautionary tale for you.

Rupert occasionally goes through periods of extreme horking. The last few days he’s been in epic form (in other words, watch where you step!). So when he was sitting on the island, right beside my laptop, and I heard him make his distinctive little ‘I’m going to hork’ cry, I decided that instead of just pushing him off the island so he’d hork on the floor (and not on my laptop), I would instead grab him and dash him over to the sink where he could then hork directly into something that would be easy to clean.

I know, I know, but in my defense I hadn’t had any coffee yet, so I wasn’t thinking clearly.

Let’s just say that we didn’t make it to the sink. Let’s also just say that (because the splatter range of a cat horking from five feet in the air is *impressive*) the kitchen floor and all the cabinet doors and baseboards needed to be thoroughly cleaned anyway. Sigh.

Please learn from my fail. You’re welcome.

‘Tis the season for Holidailies.




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