Friday, January 15, 2010
Hope the new year is treating everyone well so far. We are still working on the office re-vamp...I've mentioned before that Dan and I work reeeally slow, plus a few weird obstacles have arisen during the seemingly endless job to make it feel like we'll never get done....so, I haven't posted for 6 weeks, not that I've been sitting around doing nothing! We have been quite busy working on the office, and got through the holidays unscathed.
But anyway, today I want to address certain things we deal with as the lucky guardians to a few feral cats who live in our yard. It was freezing a few nights last week with really cold days in the 30's (weird for Texas), and now it's raining, so we have been more than slightly concerned about these homeless felines. These kitties are the less fortunate "outsiders", as we call them. They are all feral cats who came with the house when we bought it. Our neighborhood was jumping with feral cats so some of the neighbors and I systematically rounded them all up, got them spayed/neutered and in most cases adopted. Since these cats were already here when we moved in, and since this was their home before it was ours, here they stay, and here we are taking care of them to the extent that they let us.
We have been worried for awhile about how to keep them warm during the winter. We have tried baskets, boxes rigged with plastic and blankets, and tarps to keep wind off the porch (the porch seems to be a favorite hang out). Last year we discovered the Mylar pad. This thing radiates body heat so when a cat (or a cold human butt) sits on it it gets warm. It seems to work pretty well with a couple of blankets to make a little cat nest. There is usually some kitty sleeping here day and night when the weather gets cold. We also have a regular pet basket with a sheepskin pad in it, also usually occupied. But this year we decided to go higher tech and we found this amazing product:
This thing is called a Snuggle Safe. It kind of looks like a big hockey puck with some kind of goo inside it. Throw this baby in the microwave for 5 minutes, put it in the kitty nest, and you will have a warm and happy cat for up to 24 hours. Below, see it in it's flannel paw print cover with the kitty bed blankets that are on the porch love seat.
This certainly isn't as great as having a nice cozy indoor chair or bed to curl up on, but it seems to do the trick pretty well and I'm glad the cats are using it.
Now, without further ado, may I present the Outsiders:
This is Onions. His name used to be Balls, but after he was fixed he needed a name change. Dan named him Onions and the name just somehow stuck. Balls was a tough, beat-up street punk who is probably the sire of all the cats in Texas. Once mean, skinny, and miserable, he is doing much better by simply getting fixed and being fed regularly. He's probably about 10 years old but has had a pretty rough life leaving him blind in one eye and with bad teeth. We attempted to catch him and take him to the vet but that didn't get very far! He looks pretty happy on the Snuggle Safe in this picture:
This is Calpurnia. She is calico, hence the name, aren't we so clever. She is a small female, very sweet. She was probably someones pet at some point because she's pretty friendly, and is so cute I can't imagine someone not wanting her, let alone leaving her to fend for herself. She is probably around 8 years old. Someday we hope to lure her into the house and make an honest woman out of her.
Then there is this poor guy, the latest cat who appeared in the yard yowling like a siren, looking for food and a sponsor. We named him Carlo after the freeloading "artist" in the movie "Our Man Godfrey" (great movie..if you haven't seen it you should). He is some kind of weird Persian/Siamese mix, with crossed-eyes. I like Carlo but he doesn't trust people at all and keeps his distance at feeding time. His fur gets a little matted but there is no way in hell he'll let us near him, so sometimes he looks pretty ratty. Too bad, he could be quite handsome if he was cleaned up a little. You can see him hiding in the bushes if you look close.
So there you have them. Although these cats are not actual "pets" we do consider them to be part of the family. We are die hard cat lovers and really if we don't keep an eyeball on them I don't know who will, especially in our dog crazy neighborhood.
I love dogs, too, but I love cats more.