Autumn Cat Update

In Arizona, cool fall temperatures make the outdoor cats happy although some need to snuggle into their beds at night to keep warm. Here’s an autumn update on them. You will see that most of them have a tipped ear to indicate they’ve been spayed/neutered. We have worked hard to get them all fixed. Two don’t have tipped ears and that is because the vets forgot to tip their ears when they fixed them :(

Svengali is a very social cat, loves to get attention from visitors. He has somewhat taken over the role of WB, our late outdoor cat, as “uncle” to the other outdoor cats although a couple still find him a little scary.

These are the triplets, below: Ebony, Ivory, and Edie. Ebony and Ivory are pretty tame, can be petted, and picked up, but Edie is still feral after 4.5 years of living here and being fed by us.

Ebony is very sweet and loves Tony to brush him. I don’t think the mosquito bit him.

Ivory is sassy with an attitude.

Edie is shy and loves to hang out on the roof.

Then there are the little girls, the two sisters, Stripey and Grady. They had the same mom as the triplets (the late Isabella). They are 2.5 years old now.

Stripey is napping in the warm leaves on a cool afternoon.

Grady loves to hang out in the silk oak tree and watch the hummingbirds.

The stepsisters spend most of their time in the alley and come here to eat and snack:

Jessi has been with us for over 5 years. She doesn’t really care for Svengali much but she’s very sweet and tame.

Smokey looks a lot like Grady (one has a right-tipped ear and the other left-tipped) and she’s totally feral although we’ve been feeding her for 4.5 years when she showed up as an older kitten. We assume they have the same father, a big tom we call Balzac, who is the only un-neutered cat around. We don’t know if he has a home but he’s a big guy and, annoyingly, picks fights sometimes. Fortunately, he’s not around all the time.

And, last but not least, is Winky, the last cat we had fixed a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, even though she has been around for months and showed up skinny and scruffy, she had already been spayed so she got to have a second surgery for nothing. She’s fine now, though, and her ear got tipped this time. This is right after it was done so it looks less raggedy now.

Winky looks a lot like Ebony but we don’t think they’re closely related. Winky can be petted but doesn’t like it much and does not like to be picked up. We can’t brush her so she still looks a little scruffy.

Mookie was a cat who was in our neighborhood for a long time. We think he first belonged to an elderly woman who died a few years ago and who had several cats. Some were taken to the Humane Society and some escaped. Our other neighbors adopted Mookie but he also ate at our house quite often, especially for the last few months. He disappeared a few weeks ago and we looked for him around the neighborhood. Yet another neighbor found him and took care of him but he was very ill and had to be put to sleep a couple weeks ago. He was a very sweet cat, too.

A couple other cats, Romeo, a neighbor’s cat, Crybaby, another neighbor’s cat, and the previously-mentioned Balzac, also drop in for meals frequently.

Life Without Abbey

Abbey, May 2001- August 2012

Something sad happened in our multi-cat family last week. One of our three indoor cats, Abbey, died. She was only 11 years (and a few months) old. Her illness came on pretty quickly. She was perfectly fine when the above and below photos were taken on May 26.

She gradually started eating less and less maybe a month or so ago. When the mobile vet came out to see her a couple weeks ago, he did blood work and we found she had kidney disease. We’ve had other cats with that but cats can often live several months or even a couple years with kidney disease. However, she didn’t respond to sub-q fluids. We force fed her but she just wouldn’t eat and when she got weaker and weaker, we had her put to sleep on August 30. She really didn’t seem to be suffering, just sort of “out of it” and not having any enjoyment in life.

We found Abbey in June of 2001, abandoned alone in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. She was only about 4 weeks old. There are coyotes, snakes, foxes, hawks, and all sorts of dangers there but she was holing up in a tiny little cave. She was very hungry, though.

Abbey came to live with us when we had 3 other indoor cats, Cory, Miles, and Scottie. She and Scottie, an orange tabby, became best buddies and hung out together all the time.

Unfortunately, Scottie died in 2006 (at only 9 years old). By then Miles and Cory had also died and we had Marbles (still with us) and then got Google in 2008. Abbey never cared for either one of them and often kept to herself. The family room was her domain, often behind curtains, under the futon, back in a corner…maybe it reminded her of her babyhood in a cave.

In 2005, Abbey was critically ill with idiopathic chylothorax, a rare condition. After having fluid aspirated from her pleural cavity a couple of times, her lungs were permanently scarred. Her prognosis was “very grim.” But we force fed her back then, too, and eventually she began to eat again, regained her weight, started to purr, and didn’t need to take her meds regularly anymore. She was left with asthma so did need meds occasionally during her remaining 7 years. Back then the vet said that since she was allowed to lead a quiet, indoor life she might be able to survive longer. We’re lucky we got to have those several more years with her but it’s never enough, of course.

Abbey was a very sweet and good cat, never got into trouble like our current boy cats do. She liked rolling, being brushed (mostly by her dad, Tony), catnip, chicken, tuna, treats, grass, burying her uneaten food with toys, shoes, rugs, anything she could drag over her plate. She was cute and funny.

We’ll miss our little short munchkin. If you’d like to read more about Abbey, especially her rescue from the mountains, I wrote about her a little over a year ago here.

A Svengali Valentine

Here is Svengali’s valentine to everyone. I was trying to take a photo of a red boa in my front yard Sunday, a very windy day. All of a sudden Svengali came snooping around to see what was up. I thought that might make a cute valentine if he did something interesting. Little did I know that he would think I was preparing him a spot to, um, well, relieve himself. Fortunately, I grabbed the boa before he was able to implement his plan.

♥ Happy Valentine’s Day! ♥

The Cats and the Hat

Marbles with the Nikon D80.

Google with the Olympus fe-4020.

Abbey with the Casio Exilim EX-S200.

…All culminating (after the last photo) in a minor trauma involving bushy tails, hissing, growling, chasing, coughing, and cat barfing. All is now well after a brief timeout, cleanup, and some treats.

Google Christmases Past

Poor Google is feeling this way right now:

He has been in the tree, as usual, this year although I haven’t gotten any decent shots of it. I still have my 50mm lens on my camera and since it doesn’t meter, I can’t get the shots off fast enough. It might be time to switch lenses for the rest of the holidays. The other 2 indoor cats aren’t that fascinated with the tree but Google can’t keep his paws off and, since he weighs 17 pounds, when he lays in the tree, it does a little damage.

Google in the Christmas tree, 2010:

Google in the Christmas tree, 2009:

And Baby Google, Christmas, 2008:

So you can see I need to have a good Christmas Google, 2011, shot.