lederhosen: (Default)
2017-02-01 07:16 pm
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Further cat developments

Mama Cat did not escape during the night, so we took her in to the vet to be spayed this morning and brought her back home in the afternoon. The vet told us to keep her inside overnight before releasing her tomorrow. She's a beautiful cat but undersized; she was also pregnant again. No wonder she was desperate enough to go to the trap for food.

We'd decided to go on feeding her after release, because we'd grown quite fond of her. Sort of a Sherlock Holmes/Irene Adler thing. (Book version not TV/film version TYVM).

But then the cat-rescue lady who lent us the trap volunteered to take her on. This is excellent. I think she may still be young enough to be domesticated by somebody with more experience than Rey and I have. I'll miss having her around but I'll be glad to know she's being looked after. We had already looked for shelters and couldn't find anything suitable (plenty willing to take on feral kittens... near-adults, not so much) so this was a real stroke of luck.

Photos of Queen Mother and Princess Bilqis below the cut.
Read more... )
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2017-01-31 10:42 pm
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I'm tempting fate by posting this...

Tonight we finally trapped Mama Cat. Again. Tomorrow morning we find out whether my work on reinforcing the trap has made it a bit more escape-proof than the last time. If she hasn't escaped, we'll be taking her to the vet to get spayed, and then presumably release her again.

She took quite a bit of catching, and we only managed to get her after trapping both the local toms. (We caught Ginger Tom the other night but let him go again; hopefully he'll have less reason to hang around once Mama and Miss B have both had the operation.)

Mama Cat had figured out what the pressure plate was for, and had taken to lounging around in view of our kitchen window waiting for us to bait the trap so she could steal the food from it. In the end we tied a long string to the trigger and ran the other end back inside the house. When she started sniffing around the trap I hid behind the door and Rey watched out the window and let me know when to pull the string. (Which I did so hard I gave myself rope burn. Oh well.)

She seems a bit less wild than Dad Cat; I wonder if she might have been a pet at some point. I'm hoping that she might get a bit tamer with feeding, if she forgives us for the vet trip, but the main priority is just to make sure she doesn't have any more kittens.

Meanwhile, Miss B is growing fast. She's over 1.5 kg now, and looking more like a mini-cat and less like a kitten. She's been very sooky today, and I'm fine with that; the way the world is lately, having a snuggly feline is no bad thing.
lederhosen: (Default)
2017-01-15 12:47 pm
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Cats update

Bilqis' two sisters both found homes, and have been named Grue and Nightshade. Seems appropriate.

Miss B is settling in very nicely and has both of us (but especially me) under her paw. She has a Twitter account for those who want cute kitten photos and videos.

She is quite a talkative little lady, with a range of chirps and squawks as well as a very loud purr. She likes to squawk at me until I get the message and lie on my back; then she climbs onto my chest and sits there, kneading my throat and pawing my face (with slightly more claw than I'd prefer) and purring non-stop as I pet her. She will happily take several hours of this a day.

Just about anything can be repurposed as a cat toy, but she's very fond of her catnip mouse. She invented "fetch" without us having to do anything by way of training.

She's pretty easy-going about noise; she's living a few metres from where she was born, so I suppose it's a similar environment (but with less rain and better food). Takes a few minutes to get comfortable with new people, but then she'll ignore them or perhaps try for petting.

All in all, she seems to be a very sweet-natured little lady, and as far as I can tell, pretty happy.

We're still working on trapping her mother. After we got back from Christmas holidays we started over, leaving food out progressively closer to/further inside the cat trap. Eventually we had it all the way at the back of the trap, and somebody managed to steal the food without setting it off.

At that point we figured we'd just keep trying, since she had to slip up sooner or later. Next night she showed up again... and while she was still stalking around the trap looking deeply suspicious, Dad Cat went for the food and got himself trapped instead. Not really what we'd been trying for.

Unfortunately, we didn't have any good options for Dad Cat. As far as we could tell, he was a lifelong feral: no collar, no chip, and very hostile (not that being trapped would help anybody's mood).

Our vet wasn't willing to operate on a cat that wild, and I wasn't comfortable just releasing him; I love cats but I also know that roaming cats are a major killer of native birds and other animals. We weren't able to take on the job of trying to domesticate an adult feral, and nobody else volunteered to do so. So we ended up dropping him at the Lost Dogs' Home, feeling pretty rotten because it probably means euthanasia.

(Uncharitable thoughts about irresponsible people who don't desex their pets and leave the rest of us having to make shitty decisions about how to manage the consequences :-/ )

Plan for Mama (if we can ever catch her) is still to spay, release, and feed. Yes, this is inconsistent with Dad. I could offer rationalisations - without Dad around, there's a better chance of feeding her enough to cut down the predation. But if I'm to be honest, it's more emotive than that. She raised three lovely kittens, we took them away from her and I know how hard she searched for them; I feel guilty enough about that without adding to it. Plus, she has a certain guile and... gravitas...? that makes it hard not to respect her. I don't know if all that is a good reason to treat her differently, but it is what it is.
lederhosen: (Default)
2016-12-16 10:46 pm
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Newest member of the family

Not going to post about politics just now (it's all horribly depressing, I have nothing to say that hasn't already been said better than I could.) Instead, something cheerful.

On November 1, Silverblue and Brandt (+ Velociraptor) came over to help us with our garden, which was getting *cough* slightly unkempt.

While pulling weeds, Silverblue made a discovery in an old compost bin:

thumb_IMG_0751_1024.jpg

Three tiny kittens, somewhere around three weeks old. We have a lot of roaming cats around, and evidently some feral mama had decided that this would be a good place to hide her babies.

They were much too young to be separated from their mama, so we weighed them, put them back, and hoped she'd keep them there. Unfortunately she was scared, so she took the babies away and hid them somewhere else - our neighbour thinks under his house. We put food out for her every so often, in the hope that she might come back, and she was happy enough to take the food.

Last Sunday, Rey looked out the back window and saw three not-quite-so-little scamps and their mother exploring our back yard. We tried to catch them but they bolted. At that point we borrowed a cat trap and baited it.

We checked just before bed on Sunday night - nothing.

Around five in the morning I woke up and went down to check the trap, and found this rather pretty black-and-white kitten: thumb_IMG_0800_1024.jpg

We set up the trap again on Monday night, and caught the remaining two. Rest of post cut for lots of pics. )