Cats move

to new digs within cabin

In preparation for a spiritual retreat, Walk to Emmaus, the end of October I have been pondering how to arrange for pet care for my domestic critters. In meditation this morning it came to me to move the cats downstairs from the loft into the bedroom.

Since my cabin is required to be not more than 400 square feet according to Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association standard my loft is for storage only. I cannot standup in it but rather crawl about on knees and have calluses to prove it.

It was half a day’s project to clear the bedroom of plastic containers filled with clothing and labeled: long sleeve blouses, short sleeve blouses, work jeans, good jeans, good T’s, sweats, fall slacks, wool slacks, boots and shoes….

Six of the 10 felines had been fed when the move began. Later the remaining four had their opportunity to dine in new quarters. There are many advantages to having them in the bedroom. For one thing several will no longer be able to scratch their litter boxes and send treasures with clumping litter particles to the downstairs landing in my bucket chair.

Also they will not be able to see my comings and goings registering their complaints when they are ignored as I haul groceries into the cabin and cook dinner. They will not have the freedom to run up and down the stairs giving chase or eluding capture. Nor are they going to jump at will from the loft to the living room or shinny up a support beam to outsmart and out maneuver me.

They also will not be jumping up on my sink when my back is turned, checking out dishes that may have been left from breakfast or strolling across my kitchen counter to snoop around the oven range. And the roughhewn wood trim which displays claw tracks will be rubbed out successfully with sandpaper because they will not be back tomorrow to mark them again.

Moreover I can leave a water dish out on the floor, as well as let a couple out at a time to play and roam in a closed room.

The two dogs are fine with the new arrangement because they are spending time in the living room; and Sam is in the bathroom when I am going in and out of the bedroom just in case someone scurries by me.

Much more remains to be done. The loft needs sheets removed that were used as carpet cover and a thorough vacuuming. Then plastic boxes will be placed upstairs and arranged for easy access, or so I plan.

It is getting on toward evening and from the pitter pat on the metal roof I can tell a light rain has arrived. Jack has come down from the hill to see if any food is being delivered. I let out the last two one-year olds to explore their new surroundings and am heading outside to give hay to the outdoor crew before a full-fledged storm rolls in.

Settling into life

on our new farm

Sonny and Holly together

The Brahma Sonny and 12 year old heifer Holly have been extraordinarily lovey-dovey of late. It must be spring!

Palomino paint Jack has moved to a space adjoining Buff, the Charolais-Angus bull who has been spending time up against their shared fence.

Sweetest of all, chestnut Bebe, whose leg was injured the end of April, is nearly healed. She began prancing about as her grain was served yesterday. New tissue has filled the gouge and a sulfur-oil antifungal crème is being applied to complete the repair. Soon her bandage will be reduced to expose the edges of her wound to the air.

Tiger stripe kittens Ty and Mimi turned one year the end of May and both are solicitous of affection just like their mother Nikki. Tab, Alma, Gordy—orange tabbies—and sister Audrey enjoyed their first anniversary the beginning of June.

The only long hair in the group, Gordy, goes everywhere including the kitchen counter despite my admonitions. He is quick, whether leaping in the air on fly-catching missions or escaping capture jumping from the loft to the living room below.

When storms arrive, which have been occurring frequently, Peek, an all-American canine, panics. So she, and another canine Sam, and 17 year old feline Patches join me in the living room where we watch through the glass door tree branches sway and listen to the rain and sometimes hail spitter-spat on the metal roof.

Watching nature’s showy display with some trepidation we see lightning strikes and hear the thunder on its heels.

By grace we are settling into our new home.

Halting propagation

in the New Year

At three weeks of age Ty was named for Tiger Stripe

After this morning all five male cats and kittens will not be propagating thanks to a low-cost spay and neuter service. During the hour drive yesterday Mel and Grayson hardly spoke. The same was not true for Ty. The youngest at seven months he registered his complaints on the way there, at the clinic and all but the last 20 minutes of the ride home when he fell asleep. All that talk can wear one out. It is Gordy’s and Tab’s turn today. The females’ appointments are scheduled for the last week of  2010, and we’ll ring in the New Year without additional feline progeny. What a blessing!

Mimi and Ty roam, discover and then rest

Ty has begun helping Momma Nikki eat breakfast

Mimi cleans her paw as Ty sleeps
Romping, roaming and tug-of-war can tire one

At 29 days newly named tiger stripe kittens Mimi and Ty are everywhere underfoot. They also squawk like baby birds when I enter their room. Not as wobbly in their gate as they once were now they climb on my feet, sniffing and pawing at my ankles. And, they are not as sedate with each other—playing tug-of-war, nipping and grabbing each other’s tails as well as their mother’s when she walks by them.

Although Mimi was the first to be curious about me, Ty was the first to find additional food as a supplement to mother’s milk. A couple of days ago Ty began helping himself to Nikki’s food.

When they are finished playing Mimi and Ty settle in for a nap.