Thursday, October 25, 2007

Abby's Story

I took this photo of Abby on July 23 this summer. She is a lovely 4 year old Lady Cat now in residence at the shelter in Conway. She is safe there and taken care of but she is not happy.

Abby's human died last summer and Abby doesn't understand why he is gone, why he didn't come back for her and what she is doing in this strange place with strange people and lots of cats. She is rather pissed off about it and feeling depressed and cranky. And she doesn't understand that she would have a home in a second except for one thing.

She can't stand other cats.

Her human's sister would love to give her a home except that she has other cats and that would make everyone miserable. Abby needs that rare creature, a kind loving cat person with no cats.

Abby's story is a reminder to all of us that we need to make plans for our beloved felines in case something happens to us. I know that if I died, my two would be safe in their home with Olof. If we both left this planet unexpectedly, my in-laws would do their best to take them (as we would take care of Uncle Sid for the rest of his life if he needed us).

But they are 80 and we are in our fifties and I need to keep that in mind for the future. For one thing, at some point I believe that older people should not adopt kittens. I might have another kitten in my life but probably only if that kitten was Brendan returning. My mother, who is 76, has been adopting only adult cats for some time now. Her current feline is 13. If she needs another she will go to the shelter and look for the oldest and least adoptable feline there and give them a loving home.

The shelter sees elder humans coming in and wanting kittens (and puppies) all the time. That's fine if there is a famiy waiting in the wings to take care if needed. But a kitten could also end up in the shelter a few years down the road if there is no care plan in place.

Like Abby, who is confused and sad and angry at what has happened to her. None of us want that for our beloved felines so it is part of our responsibility towards them to have a plan for their care if needed.

Abby will find a home eventually. There are wonderful people here in New Hampshire and someone will come along who will help her. But how much better it would have been for her if her human had chosen someone beforehand and she had never entered the stressful environment of the shelter.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ramona's Dawn Patrol

Ramona likes to keep watch on her King (oops, Queendom), from a suitably high road.

La da di da...Nice morning for a stroll.

What's going on here today?

Would you look at that now! How many guys are working today? And did that big dog come?

Nope, no dog. Cool.

Gotta turn the corner here, this can be tricky. It's a delicate manuver.

Whew! Need a rest after that!

I'll just rest my paw here while I check on how things are going over there.

Um mum da dum. It's good to be Queen.

Down we go! (she was so fast this shot is blurry)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Queen

Oh I am Queen
Of all I see
All I see
Belongs to me

la la la la
la la la la!

I am Queen of the World!

Like my song?

I will rule wisely, with a gentle paw.

Queen Ramona

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Harper Makes A Mistake

On Tuesday Ramona and I went to the vet to have her gums looked at. Ramona had some acupuncture (she fell asleep in the vet's arms) and we were told she should have a dental and no more Fancy Feast or any food with grain in case she is allergic to something in it. After a dental we could start trying a regime of herbal remedies and maintenence.

We were goine a couple of hours.

When we came home Harper came in and walked up to Ramona and...

He didn''t recognize her.

She must have smelled different, all those smells of other animals from the vet. Our vet is very much hands on and after an hour of being held on her lap, Ramona might just have smelled like a

Harper turned into a growling monster. His tail expanded to four times its normal size and he went after her. Poor Ramona fled to a spot under the washing machine but Harper struck at her and hit her in the head. She quivered under the stairs while I got Harper into another room. When I got Ramona out she had a claw stuck in her head and she was indignant.

I gently removed the claw.

"My brother is an idiot," she said.

Harper was adamant. We had removed his sister and returned with a stranger.

That night we shut him out of the bedroom and kept Ramona with us. Harper came and howled miserably at the door when he wanted his middle of the night hug.

The next day he hadn't come to his senses. I put him in a crate and let Ramona come up to him. He growled and hissed and she growled and hissed back,

The situation was ridiculous and we worried that we would have to keep one of them in the studio for the rest of their lives. I put Harper in a harness and tied him to a chair in the living room where he and Ramona could stare and growl at each other.

I left them and went upstairs to watch TV.

Suddenly I heard the sounds of racing, hissing, growling cats and I ran downstairs.

Harper had slipped out of the harness and cornered Ramona under the living room stairs. And then..

She turned into a growling, hissing, spitting fireball of furious feminine tigress.

He not only backed off, he suddenly realized he had made a huge error.

This was his sister, his beloved sister, he had attacked.

And she was PISSED!

From that point on he backed off and began to work on getting back into her good graces. And Ramona saw that she was now in charge of the situation. She would growl and Harper would slowly slink away and then creep back as close as he could get to her. He would sit under her glacial stare and wash his paws, trying to say "See, I'm just a nice guy sitting here washing."

Ramona decided to make him eat a lot of crow. She wouldn't let him on the bed with us. Harper was miserable.

Then the next day as I looked out the window I watched as she played along the rock wall in the garden. Harper was watching. Ramona knew he was watching. She let him come close to her and give her a sniff while she pretended she didn't see him. I let them alone to work things out.

That afternoon Olof and I went to sit in the last warmth of the autumn sun in the garden. Both cats came up to join us and they were playing at walking along the top of the wooden fence along the garden's edge. Then Ramona made a play leap at Harper. He sat down with a happy, surprised look.

"She's going to forgive me!""

And carefully he hunkered down in the carrots and wiggled his butt, then gently sprang at her in a play attack. The two of them ran off and then continued to leap at each other.

And when Ramona had had enough she just said so.

Now things have changed a little here. Harper no longer disturbs Ramona's sleep by licking her until she comes and wrassles with him. The family has a new Top Cat.

Ramona is in charge.

"It is good to be Queen," she says.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ramona's Ritoileys

Ramona is a bit of a foodie.She appreciates the good things in life and Stinky Goodness is one of them. When they were little I would make a point of whistling whenever I brought their food, planning ahead for when I might want then to come when I call them.

Now I can stick my head out the door and whistle and both cats will arrive. Ramona usually runs. Then I look at her and whistle softly and most of the time she will answer...Yeah! Feed me!

Sometimes she will now say Yeah Feed Me without a whistle asking her first.

She is also our Sub Dorker. That means she loves to get under a blanket under our knees, which is where she is right now, gently persuading me to stay in bed just a bit longer.

Todsy she and I will go see our holistic vet. Ramona still has red gums and I am concerned about it. Ramona is terrified of anything to do with a vet's office but this is not quite the usual bright lights and stainless steel table thing so I hope she will not be so scared. And I hope to get some good advice on making sure Ramona doesn't have issues that inflame her gums.

Last night Ramona was sitting with me in front of the Noisy Box when she suddenly got up and walked over to Olof where she settled herself on his lap, much to his delight. These two have not divided up their possesion of us, they split their affection evenly, helping to make a contented and peaceful Animal Family.

Brendan told Ramona to take care of us and she is a grown up girl now taking over her responsibilities. Brendan would be proud of her.

They are not quite two years old. Their birthday is February 7th which is still over three months away. So they are one and three quarters years old.

Fat Eric has given is a blogging award which I will try to post. Thanks Eric! I remember Ramona was also given a Rocking Girl Blogger award a while ago which I will have to try to find and post.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Time Goes By

This winter the kittens will be two. The time has flown since that cold day in April we drove one thousand miles to collect them from a shelter in NY State. We agree they are worth every mile.

I love the way a feline's personality and their relationship with you grows. On the drive back, Harper calmly sat next to me in the back seat of the car, looking up at me and giving me eye blinks. He looked like a mini Yoda with those big paws. Ramona was shyer but she came out of the crate too to sit closer to me. She was ill with an infected eye and URI and they were only seven weeks old. The shelter's vet had said the best thing for them was to get them out of the shelter, which was cold and overcrowded since it was new and under construction. Their beautiful mother, Maya, had been adopted.

So they came here and we put them in a room of their own and every night I would get up around 2 A.M. and bring them some warm, wet food which they would gobble up. Then Ramona went through a phase where she was so ill she wouldn't eat. She pulled though and her eye healed, much to our relief.

When she got better she pursued Brendan until her admiration won him over. The rest is history, as you know.

While Brendan was alive he slept on the bed in between us on his special heat pad, which no one else ever lay on. After losing him, both kittens have joined us. And in the evenings they have learned to come upstairs for a lap sit in front of the Noisy Box. Lately I get Ramona and Olof gets Harper.

It always amazes me that we can develop an understanding relationship with these small tigers. Some tine ago Ramona was on my lap when she looked up into my eyes and we gazed at each other for a long time. I felt the understanding coming from her, we are two species yet we connect and we are one tribe. If I pick her up she purrs and I always wonder when they start to connect being safe with being with us. And when they learn that the feeling we have for them is love.

They are developing their own ritoileys too. Those are the things cats figure out that they do every day with you. I think cats find ritual very comforting. Brendan used to say that a good day was a normal day. And I think a cat has a normal day when the ritoiley happens on schedule.

For Ramona it is running down the stairs with me in the morning for breakfast. Then going out after Dawn Patrol and coming in at noon for lunch and then in the evening to have the door shut. She is also learning the evening lap sit. Harper has the ritoiley that he doesn't eat until I put a taste of his food on my finger for him. And he loves to hop up on the toilet seat and get a firm grooming session. He'll put his paws up on the back of the toliet and snorkle loudly to show how much he lilkes it. Now when he hears the shower running her will wait outside the door and yell until you open up and brush him.

Harper also comes in for a hug in the middle of the night, yelling to wake up his chosen hugger to make room for him. And he climbs up and puts his head on my chest in the morning while I read the news.

I think there is another stage in a cat's understanding on their relationship with humans when they learn that they give you comfort. Then they start seeing your well being as their responsibility. That's when they come to you if you are wide awake at 3 AM or sick in bed. I believe Ramona remembers being sick and being cared for and now she cares for us.

I think that when you reach that stage your understanding of each other and your bonding is complete.

Harper is communicating that I will not get another cuddle from him until he has been Out and Border Patrol must be done.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

October Arrives

and we prepare for a cozy winter. I hope we'll get to sleep a lot and llie around late reading with this cuddled up to me.

Most of the apples are gone off the tree and I have five buckets waiting to be sliced up and dried into delicious apple chips. It takes time to peel them, take out the cores and slice them thinly on the drier trays. Then at least overnight to dry them. Usually we wait for a frost to pick the apples but this year we still haven't had one and since the bears weren't going to wait to eat the crop, we decided we better pick the apples now if we wanted any.

I still have eggplants and tomatoes ripening in the garden. In October. Next year I will try to remember that it is possible to have such a long season and I will replant some things. This summer was so busy with the studio renovation and visitors I didn't have time to think about the garden. The weeds took over but it was very productive anyway. Maybe with global warming New England will have more farms again and more farmers markets.

Yesterday the kits were out until 4 P.M. when it started raining. Harper had nabbed a goldfinch which I rescued, and after I lugged him in and gave him dinner he carried on for quite a while complaining about it even as the skies opened up and the rain poured down. Today is a dark, dark morning. We are moving all of our stuff upstairs to the new studio so the guys can build the first floor kitchen. I will be working on our boating video project. Yes I know it is Sunday but we need to have this piece in progress and it is painstaking work, hunting for the exact clip which illustrates what the narrator is saying.

Soon we'll expand the cat fence over to the studio building and maybe figure out a way for the cats to be able to get to us when they want to. Before we had the fence we would leave the doors open when we could and Finnegan would be so proud of himself when he found me at work. I'll never forget the time he scaled a slick plastic shed and a story of barnboard wall to hang by his nails under a window screaming for me. We had to open the window (one of those that cranks out) without knocking him off. So I cranked and Olof grabbed and we dragged the fourteen pounds of feline in. He was very proud of that feat, let me tell ya.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Ramona doesn't like

the bear poop in the yard.

No kidding, I have cleaned up maybe thirty pounds of bear poop the last few days.

They are coming over the fence in the dead of night and eating my apples. I don't know why I didn't notice it until most of the Red Delicious were turned into bear poop. Then I got out the ladder and picked all the rest I could reach. But the bears are still coming though I don't know how they are getting out on the thin branches for the remaining apples.

They have been getting over the fence without doing much damage. I guess they're somewhat considerate, for bears. They arrive when we're all sound asleep, shimmey up one side of a tree until they are above the fence, swivel around and shimmey down the other side. But I do a complete Border Patrol before letting the kits out.

Ramona says bear poop is yucky.

I agree.