Cats… All 11 of Them!

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Ok, you asked for it.firecats2

We have 11 cats. Not counting the outside ferals we feed.

How did it happen? One cat leads to another… as any cat person will gladly tell you. In our case, it was a case of strays from a large colony moseying over to (cue Sam Kineson) where the food is.

Well, that’s not exactly correct. Our first “new” cat – in addition to the two that moved out to The Woods with us – was (and still is) Beezy Cat, a tuxedo female (black with a white chest spot). She came to us via the rear axle of some good ol’ boys and our friend and vet, Sharon Harris. Doc Harris happened to be getting gas at the local green meat store/fillin’ station when she noticed a kitten sitting on the rear axle of a jacked-up 4×4 that was also there getting fueled up. She asked the ol’ boy if he knew there was a cat under his truck and if it was his. Nope and nope. Doc Harris took the cat – a kitten – back with her to the office. Where we would just happen to be later that day for an appointment. Came with one cat. Left with two.threeamigos

That’s three so far.

Next came The Dude, a small black male (we later found out) who camped out on the back patio porch, looking small and pitiful and young. We later discovered he was just small and adult and malnourished. But very happy to have wormed his way indoors. This cat may be small, but he has a big personality. He yips like a dog for treats and is canny enough to understand how doors (and doorknobs) work. He has also explored our house’s ventilation system, accessed by flipping up the floor grates. Once, he managed to get stuck, despite being a very slender and slinky cat. I had visions of ripping up the floor to extricate The Dude. But – Bastet be praised – he eventually reversed himself out.

So, four cats.Lemonjello

Number five – if I am remembering the order correctly – was (and still is) Snowbear, or Lemonjello (as I call her, because her white fur has a tinge of yellow to it). My wife Jill found her when she was maybe seven weeks old out by the coop with a half-gnawed-off tail (possum, we suspect) which we tried for about a week to revive with antibiotics and various other costly poultices – none of which worked. She is now a bobtail cat. As a kitten, she would perch on my shoulder like a pirate’s parrot.bug

Six is a cross-eyed semi-Siamese we call The Bug because he bugs us for love all the time. He showed up one very cold winter day when I was working in the basement. I happened to look up and there he was at the window, staring at me with those big cross-eyed blue eyes. Feed me! Which, idiot that I am, I did. Which led to the inevitable. He went from hissing feral tomcat to purring inside lapcat. The Bug eats a special high-dollar food to (hopefully) prevent a recurrence of the urinary tract infection that almost killed him – and me, too. Have you ever helped catheterize a cat? I have. For a couple of hours. Luckily – Bastet favors us – the Bug pulled through and has had no further issues.

Meanwhile, our “originals” – Wheatboy and Stumpy, the two cats who came with us to The Woods – passed on. Wheatboy lived more than 20 years, ancient for a cat. His loss was especially hard on my wife, who’d had him almost since she was in college. He’s still missed, as is his companion, Stumpycat – who never liked either of us very much (female calicos are notorious this way) but loved her Wheatboy.

Momma Cat showed up around this time. Have you ever seen a Pallas Cat? This is a small wildcat with a stocky body, very short legs and a fierce countenance. Picture that in black (Pallas Cats are fluffy grey-white) and you’ll have an idea about Momma Cat. We’d catch glimpses of her, never the whole cat. Until one day she showed up very pregnant. Idiot that I am, I began to feed her, talk to her… and soon, was able to pet her. We decided to let her live in the garage, to have her kittens in a safe place. You know where this is going. After the birth of her brood (all adopted out to good homes) she moved in with the rest of us. She still looks fierce, but it’s mostly just for show these days. Mainly, she likes to sleep in her basket by the fireplace. Smart cat.momma2

Oh, I nearly forgot her son – who has her head shape but is as benign as she is fierce. A true innocent, this cat cannot conceive if anyone not loving him. Which makes sense, since everyone does. He is extra-large and uber-plush. The sort of cat you want to hug like Charmin. And he lets you, which is part of his charm. The Roll – as we call him, because his signature move is to flop on the cold kitchen tile floor and roll around – is a four-pawed exemplar of everything so many non-cat people mistakenly believe cats aren’t. He’s as friendly as a Labrador – and fetches like one, too. Throw him his “fish” – and he’ll bring it back for another round. And of all our cats, he has super-power hearing. No matter where he happens to be in the house – and whether awake or comatase – you will immediately find him right there if you’ve opened a bag of cat treats, no matter how quietly you thought you were opening that bag of treats. The Roll knows. And he’ll be thunder pawing your way the moment he does know. fuzz2

Then came Fuzz. Not a cop. A magnificent Maine Coon Cat in smoke gray. He’s got the characteristic double coat (like a Labrador Retriever) and the Bobcat tufts at the apex of his triangle ears, too. He’s huge. But like Maine Coons generally, he’s a sweetheart. A confident, friendly cat with a booming voice. A presence, everywhere he goes. Fuzz wandered over wounded one day (we’d been feeding him, too, for at least a year prior) and so we took him to Sharon, the vet. She patched him up and of course we couldn’t just toss him out. He’s been with us ever since.

As have the twins – littermates, we think – Half Hitler and Il Duce. HH is a “saddle cat” with a Charlie Chapin half-moustache. Il Duce looks nothing like Mussolini, but HH needed a collaborator and so the name came – and stuck. (There was a third member of the cat axis, Tojo, but he has since passed.)Half_crouching_on_chair_dec_09

Happy Cat is a totally silent mackerel tabby. In all the years we’ve had him, we’ve never heard him say anything at all. But he made his wishes plain after we caught him in the have-a-heart trap as a feral stray, took him in for “fixing” and he made no effort – expressed no interest – in leaving the garage. What can you do? Now he’s in the house, with the others.

Of which there is one more – our most recent acquisition – The General. He was originally General Tso (for all you Chinese buffet fans) but this eventually became just The General. An orange tom whom we’d fed – outside – for years. But last year – year of the endless polar vortex – we just couldn’t take seeing him shivering and wet on the steps out back. So one day, I leaned over and scruffed him and brought him (where else?) to that waystation to sanctuary, the garage. There I eventually gained his trust and now The General is among his troops, warm and well-fed, never to face the ice or snow or rain again.The_General_01

How many is that, total? I’ve lost count.

But who’s counting?

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  1. Chinese State – Taiwan Province Flash Mobs

    Happy 4 Kpop

    Get to know your Chinese province level divisions…

    Rank, Abbrev, Province Name, Pop in Millions
    1 GD Guangdong Province 104
    2 SD Shandong Province 96
    3 HA Henan Province 94
    4 SC Sichuan Province 80
    5 JS Jiangsu Province 79
    6 HE Hebei Province 72
    7 HN Hunan Province 66
    8 AH Anhui Province 60
    9 HB Hubei Province 57
    10 ZJ Zhejiang Province 54
    11 GX Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region 46
    12YN Yunnan Province 46
    13 JX Jiangxi Province 45
    14 LN Liaoning Province 44
    15 HL Heilongjiang Province 38
    16 SN Shaanxi Province 37
    17 FJ Fujian Province 37
    18 SX Shanxi Province 36
    19 GZ Guizhou Province 34
    20 CQ Chongqing Municipality 29
    21 JL Jilin Province 27
    22 GS Gansu Province 26
    23 NM Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region 25
    24 TW Taiwan Province 23

    25 SH Shanghai Municipality 23
    26 XJ Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region 22
    27 BJ Beijing Municipality 20
    28 TJ ianjin Municipality 13
    29 HI Hainan Province 9
    30 HK Hong Kong Special Administrative Region 7
    31 NX Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region 6
    32 QH Qinghai Province 6
    33 XZ Tibet Autonomous Region 3
    34 MC Macau Special Administrative Region 1

  2. “Knockin’ On Jannah’s Door”

    Allah, take this jihad flag off of me
    I can’t wave it anymore.
    It’s gettin’ dark, too dark to see
    I feel I’m knockin’ on jannah’s door.

    Knock, knock, knockin’ on jannah’s door
    Knock, knock, knockin’ on jannah’s door
    Knock, knock, knockin’ on jannah’s door
    Knock, knock, knockin’ on jannah’s door

    Muhamad, put my guns in the ground
    I can’t shoot them anymore.
    That long black hijab is comin’ down
    I feel I’m knockin’ on jannah’s door.

    Knock, knock, knockin’ on jannah’s door
    Knock, knock, knockin’ on jannah’s door
    Knock, knock, knockin’ on jannah’s door
    Knock, knock, knockin’ on jannah’s door

    – from ISIS unplugged at Sayyidah Ruqayya Mosque

  3. Orangey, steals the scene from the human cast at the end of Breakfast at Tiffany’s

    1961 was the last normal year for relationships, conversations, cars, clothes, and real objects and ordinary life. Soon the spending of governments and public sectors would become double, triple, and then many more multiples of the spending by individuals. Humanity ever since has become a minor footnote in the doings and battles of great men and great causes.

    Orangey: Greatest cat actor – a male marmalade tabby cat in the films Breakfast At Tiffanys and Diary of Anne Frank

  4. Human pet owners have the hardest time of all

    If you’re trying to raise non-clover human pets, here’s one thing you can do: If a baby/toddler human pet appears to hurt themselves (falls over, hits head, etc.) and they look to you, always meet their gaze and smile, no matter how bad it looks.

    Clovers when watching their human pets (who’re just learning how to walk or whatever) run straight into a table that is conveniently right at head height and they spaz and fail massively.

    The kid looks around for momma clover (or whoever), not quite crying yet but definitely on the brink of tears, and then clover mom freaks out and puts on a horrified face to match. Kid sees face and begins to cry hysterically.

    This can usually be avoided for the most part by smiling and not over-reacting when your human pet looks to you for help. They’re confused. They haven’t felt like this before (they’re 1 remember). They’re pretty sure this is bad but don’t know yet. They look around for help and to see how others are reacting to the situation. When you smile at them you are re-assuring them that everything is going to be okay. Pretty much without fail kids will calm down almost instantly in response to a genuine confident smile.

    Mostly they’re really just looking at you for facial confirmation that they’re not going to die. So if they’re not on death’s door, be a mensch.

    Later on you’re still going to want to check them over for any serious bumps or bruises and damage but when you have a chance to do that, still make sure you’re smiling when you do it.

  5. Wow:

    We thought we were cat people. We had 3 cats, but the eldest passed away 2 years ago. We’ve tried replacing her with another cat, but our youngest (Maine Coon) won’t tolerate any new cats being introduced. We had to give the “replacement” to my in-laws.

    2 questions (may not apply if they go outdoors to relieve themselves):

    How many litter boxes do you have?

    How often do you clean them?

    Our cats get by with a very large Rubbermaid tall sided storage box as a single litter box. Our calico would always seem to pee over the sides of any standard litter box I’ve tried. The storage bin works like a champ

    • Hi Blake,

      We have (get ready) nine big boxes (tall rubbermaid things I got at Lowes) and they get scooped once daily by your humble narrator…

      You get used to it.

      I sometimes feel like a two-legged major domo to a household of minor four-pawed nobility….

      • “and they get scooped once daily by your humble narrator”

        Two words, CAT DOOR.

        I have had about a dozen cats through the years and after the first two, never had a litter box again.

        I realize this is not always an option but thank Thor it is for me.

        • Ours are indoor cats… for several reasons – but the chief one being the colony of cats in/around the old lady down the road’s place… which is infected with feline HIV and other such nastiness. We don’t want our cats and theirs getting together. Also, fleas are a non issue for us, since our cats don’t go out. It’s one of the (few) upsides to scooping those boxes!

          • Yeah. Different situations. Neighbours suck.

            Here, no fleas. Too cold in winter for them to survive except in indoor cat populations. Someone visits from the coast with a pet and the permanent pets get infested.

            Out here in the wilderness, not many other cats to be seen, other than the odd Bobcat or Lynx. Cougars are here too, but you never see them.

          • Yup.

            In the past, when I got a kitten, I put a cat box together for the first 3-4 weeks just so they did not have to risk going out until acclimatized. Once outside on a regular basis, I remove the cat box and they just go outside. They usually have stopped using the box after 2-3 weeks.

            The first winter is always a bit confusing for them once the ground freezes, but usually they just find a spot in the woodshed or under a large tree.

    • Hi Bevin!

      We have another (I assume, female) calico who comes by every morning and evening for food. Though we’ve been feeding her for years, she’s still very suspicious of us. The best I’ve been able to do is touch her nose…. I built her a little A frame “chalet” to keep her warm and dry. She seems happy with that – and the free food!

      PS: Good to hear from you again; I was worried you’d “gone dark”!

      • Dear Eric,

        Gone dark! I like that! Very cloak and dagger!

        I guess I should count myself lucky I haven’t been “disappeared” for my anti-government remarks online. I’m probably much too small potatoes for the PTB to bother with.

        Alas, it was all considerably more mundane than that. The demands of ordinary life have been taking up much of my time lately. Among them, an ailing mother who is nearly 90, hospitalized a couple of months ago with pneumonia, currently recovering.

        The way of all flesh.

  6. Thanks for the great pics Eric, we have a pair of calicos, sisters from the same litter, great lap cats but both run and hide under the bed the minute anyone comes to the door. Should’ve named them Scairdy and Fraidy 🙂
    Also have a stray that adopted me a few years back, he lives in my garage but won’t come inside, even for the polar vortex winters we have; I got him a heated bed and water bowl, plus an infrared lamp over the bed so he’s toasty warm on the coldest nights. Have to keep shoveling a path for him too with all the rotten snow here, unfortunately for my cars the garage is a big storage shed and the driveway is too long to keep clear. Right now I think there’s a car under that mound of snow in the front of the drive, probably won’t see it til July, really considering packing it all up and heading to Florida.

    • Hey Mike,

      I have an “outside” Calico (see post to Bevin above) who also will not come in. So I built the crazy little thing an A-frame cat house (shingles and everything) with a heated dome thing I found in the Fosters & Smith catalog. She loves it/keeps her warm during these savage cold snaps.

      I, too, am about done with it.

      This naked ape is sick of being a shivering naked ape for 3-4 months out of every 12!

      • I recall a headline sometime back – maybe 6 months? – that the HAARP array was decomissioned, and the Gov’t ADMITTED it had been used for weather manipulation.
        Since about the start of HAARP (going by memory), we’ve had milder-than-normal winters in NJ.
        HAARP was decomissioned last year, IIRC.
        Now, after the hooplah of “Global Warming,” due to the lighter-than-normal / warmer-than-normal winters (coupled with increased size, therefore increased energy use, therefore increased HEAT in the cities, where they measure temperatures to confim “Global Warming”)….

        Maybe we’re just getting hammered because Earth is going back to where it was SUPPOSED to be?
        After all, in the 1970s, TIME magazine reported on “the coming ice age.”

        Maybe “the plan” is to end the period of wealth, following the WW2 boom, by driving the prices up and the supplies down (two sepearate items, BTW, linked but not fixed to each other.)
        Kill off wheat, veggies, and fruit; inflate the dollar so people don’t understand how their wealth is being devalued; raise prices on feed crops (e.g., produce corn for ethanol, and negate the feed supply that way.)
        Now there’s less meat, and it’s more costly.

        Add in the laws against agrarian activities (E.G., can’t own a chicken within city limits; can’t grow veggies in a front-yard garden; can’t have a house off-grid, even if it’s self-sufficient; can’t catch rainwater on your property in a barrel…)

        And now add in the circuses (Kardassians, Idol, etc; the reality TV + the soap operas, + the marketing for products no one needs at prices they cannot afford; + the “gay Agenda” [which DOES exist – like the SS vs. the German people, mind, but it’s still there. E.G., “Glee”, where EVERYONE is now gay or lesbian…. And the target audience is who, again…?] = Reduced population through non-reproduction, famine, war (didn’t mention the setup, Geobbels gave THE quote & it’s common knowledge), lack of social bonds (didn’t even mention how cell phones are ending the ability to talk to others), destruction of nuclear family (Marx’s goal; also, Steinem’s goal).

        Anyway, I’m going on a rant. Wonder how much of my “connect the dots” is accurate, and how much is basically fever-dream paranoia.
        I begin to think (fear) there’s NONE of the latter…

    • MiB, we have distant(geographically)friends with several cats, two of which are named Scairdy and Fraidy. I was visiting once and being the early riser I am was sitting in a recliner when a cat showed up and we had a good rubbing session. Once up and about they asked how I’d entertained myself. Among other things I said I’d been having a good petting session with a cat. They asked me to describe the cat and I did. They both nearly fell out. It was Fraidy, a cat they rarely see, just furtively goes from one piece of furniture to another. Seemed really chilly to me….but ain’t that the way of cats? I have lost track of the number of cats we have but it’s probably just shy of 20 or so, most being inside cats(inside/outside). Others won’t come in for love nor money. We lost our little black tom Blacky a few months back. It was colder than the proverbial witch’s titty and I was leaving about 0430. I told Blacky to come in but he was fired up and wouldn’t for some reason. He was one of the most vocal and endearing cats we ever had. I never saw him again and still miss him. He slept against Cholley Jack’s body, in the hollow of his gut or under his chin for most of his life or right against my head.

      That’s the way it goes I guess and while I don’t hunt coyotes I do bust their asses when they get close to the house since they’re not here for CJ for certain.

      Eric, you’re a lucky man to have so many great cats. A couple years ago to a year ago when I had a badly broken leg I know some gave me the moniker of Crazy Cat Lady. It was CJ and the cats who gave me the will to live and kept me going for a long time. We have plenty orange cats and they’re almost indistinguishable with Butter being the oldest(coon killed Bread, his identical twin, and the next day I killed the coon and cursed myself for not getting the job done sooner).

  7. You all make me think of my sister. She has 5 or more cats living in her house at any given time, all rescues. She also has an oversize two car garage; she leaves the garage door open about a foot all the time, and keeps cat food and pet beds all over the place in there. I think every stray cat in western PA has fed and slept in her garage at some point or another.

    Personally, I love cats but am highly allergic, as is my wife. So we have to be content with our rescue Jack Russell terrier.

  8. In some ways, it’s the cats that do the adopting, not the other way around. I never set out looking for a house cat. But there is a shorthair, black haired bombay with green eyes and a little white dot that lives here now. She started out as a stray, who liked to sleep on the front porch of a house my little brother was renting in college, and he named her for the minor civil war general (before he knew she was a she) the street was named for. She then moved to the enclosed back porch when she was expecting kittens. By the time the kittens were born, they were living inside.

    Since he wasn’t supposed to have pets in that house, after the kittens were old enough to be adopted out, I ended up with her after she was spayed (she always hung out with me when I was there). She is an explorer too, once getting stuck in the eave, when I forgot to put the ladder back up in the attic. I was starting to wonder where she was, and then i saw the ladder still out. Swore under my breath, looked in the attic with a flashlight, and saw two scared green eyes looking back. Ended up having to rip a vent and some eave boards off the outside to get her out since there was no way to reach her from the inside. I am more careful with the ladder now.

    She loves to be brushed, purring up a storm, and adores my folks when they are around. Walks around the place likes she owns it. ha ha.

    As my other brother said, it doesn’t take much for the “easy livin’ gene” to kick in. He would know, as the once tiny kitten, under 2 pounds, ended up ballooned up to almost 30 pounds. Its hard to put a cat on a diet when you have more then one cat (his cats like to eat each others special food).

  9. Hi Eric, et al,

    Well, dang….my main squeeze and I both lost our longtime cat companions last year….her’s contracted lymphoma and we had to put him down on her birthday in September….mine, a kitty friend of fifteen years, was killed by neighbors’ dogs in early December. We don’t have feral cats here but will get some down the road a bit. Both of ours were adopted as abandoned kittens in the wilds of Texas. Kudos to you for giving those cats some good vibes….your karma points will increase. Keep up the good work.


  10. Virginia Opossum, only marsupial found north of Mexico.

    A nocturnal opportunist the size of a domestic cat, it is the largest of the opossums. Often seen near towns, or dead on the road, the victim of incompetent clover drivers.

    No cause to hate on opossums. says pet rescue doc

    pet possum complains

    Good times w/ swamp girl the possum

    Virginia Opossums build a leaf nest in a hollow tree, log, rockpile, or abandoned burrow. They do not dig their own burrow, but will enter another animal’s, such as that of a skunk or woodchuck. Opossums do not hibernate.

    Virginia Opossums eat a wide variety of foods, including: fruits, berries, insects, crayfish, small mammals, bird eggs, young birds, frogs, earthworms, snakes, lizards, mussels, tadpoles, rabbits, snails, slugs, and other invertebrates. They most important food is carrion.

    Predators of opossums include hawks, owls, foxes, and humans.

    Virginia Opossums communicate with each other with clicking sounds, usually two males threatening each other or a mother calling to her young. Aggressive sounds made in the presence of humans are a complete bluff.

    Fake Type O Neg cover of Pride by U2

  11. We have 5 cats, but they are not in the house. They are BARN cats, where they work to keep mice out of the chicken and rabbit feed. Problem is, the neighbor likes to feed them canned cat food. Claims she thought they were strays, even though they all have collars.

  12. That is so cool. Thanks for posting about them–and more importantly, thanks for rescuing them. You guys are awesome cat parents. They’re all beautiful, but I think the black guy in the center of the countertop trio is too gorgeous.

    My sister has twelve cats herself, all rescues, from Toledo and Chicago. They are loving life in Texas now, where they have free run of her fenced back yard. My hothouse flowers have no interest in the outdoors. They’re all purebreds: three Siamese and three Orientals. The two commoners are a rescue orange tiger offered for adoption in a vet clinic lobby, and the kidney donor of one of my original Siamese. Yes. Around here we take cats so seriously that some of them are eligible for kidney transplants. If they did heart transplants he’d have gotten one of those, too.

    Thank for sharing them. Don’t be shy about updates, either. Kittens are a good way to lure women to your cause. Ask ISIS. And since so many clovers are chicks they might even learn the error of their ways. Everybody wins.

    • Paula, I can stand it no longer. I know someone of your name from Fisher county Tx. and she’s a gearhead. Anywhere near your origins?

        • That’s almost a relief. I like Paula but meeting here would be too weird. I enjoy your posts though so hang around if you would. No federal, state or local govt. agency has been able to figure out my moniker although they probably watch me in the shower and everywhere else. No doubt all sorts of algorithms have been used by the alphabet agencies to break the code. It’s a minor victory.

          • Heh. We have to take our triumphs where we can. HideMyAss can help with the anonymity, if you haven’t tried it yet. The price is nominal. I got it to fake out the BBC’s iPlayer software, but it works on the NSA, too.

            As long as Eric stays with the cats, the anti-cloverism, and the occasional Mustang review, I’ll be around.


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