The window by my desk overlooks our back yard. From time to time I will see a white cat walk through our yard. I think I saw the same cat in our yard last winter so we must be part of her territory. Yesterday, Frankie and Floki were on the catio and I went out there to check on them. When I did, I noticed their attention fixed on the white cat.
Nobody was howling or hissing or making a fuss. They were just looking at each other.
The last time this happened with another cat it was also a peaceful encounter. I speculated then that it must have been a female because another male would probably have elicited a different response. If I am right, this white cat is probably also a female. If anyone has a reason to confirm or reject my hypothesis, I would like to hear about it.
I mentioned before that there were a couple of older kittens that came around our house. One of them returned yesterday evening while my wife and I were out on the catio, without the cats.
I put my hand up against the screen and the kitten was rubbing his head on it. We talked about how bad we felt because we wanted to give him some food but we didn’t want to get him used to it because we are leaving in less than a month. Instead, I thought it wouldn’t hurt if I went outside and pet him for a while.
After a short time my wife decided to throw caution to the wind and brought out a plate of food. At first he didn’t want the food. He seemed to want attention more, but after a while he started eating.
The next door neighbor was outside at the time and I overheard my wife talking to her. According to the neighbor, the kitten, along with at least one other, are being cared for across the street from us. She also said the neighbor doesn’t want the kittens and is looking for homes for them. I wish we could take this one in because he, or she, is so cute and friendly, but we have a one cat limit in Florida and traveling with three cats is hard enough.
When we came to West Virginia we left Chris and Floki’s Cardboard Cat Homes at our Florida home, but we brought Frankie’s house with us. He really liked lying on top of it so I thought he would enjoy it here too.
I took it apart and when we got to our home here I put it on a shelf, thinking I would put it together as soon as I finished more important things. By the time those important things were done I just forgot about it until my wife reminded me.
I put it together Sunday afternoon while the cats were lounging on the catio and then brought it out there and set it down near Frankie. He gave it a few sniffs and seemed interested for about five seconds.
That is when a stray cat decided to walk past us within inches of the screen. It was like he, or she, owned the place. Frankie immediately ran to the screen and followed while the cat walked around the catio and into the neighbor’s yard. Neither cat made a sound, which surprised me. Perhaps it was a female and the hissing and growling are reserved for males. I don’t know how that works.
In any case, we brought the cats inside shortly after that and then I brought the house into the living room where Chris and Floki took an interest in it.
Later, when I sat down to write this post, Frankie lied down on top of the house, just like he used to do.
I guess there’s no place like home, even if it is cardboard.
Saturday night, after arriving at our West Virginia home, we decided to leave our bedroom door open even though we knew that was a bad idea. We did it because we wanted the cats to feel comfortable before locking them out of the bedroom. Of course, Chris disturbed my sleep all night long.
Sunday we decided that we needed our sleep so we closed our bedroom door and went to bed. At about 11:00 we were awakened by Chris making an awful howling sound. It sounded so awful I had to get up to see what was wrong with him.
The sound came from the bedroom across and down the hall that I use for my office. My wife left the light on in the bathroom across the hall from my office and closed the door most of the way. She feels the cats need light even though they can practically see in the dark.
Nevertheless, it provided barely enough light for me to see what was going on. Frankie was on the floor looking at Chris and Chris was on the middle part of the cat perch. I thought the two were fighting but then I realized Chris was looking out the window. I walked into the room to see what Chris was looking at. I was surprised to see a cat on the roof looking back at me. No wonder Chris was howling. I tapped on the window and the cat ran away and I went back to bed.
At 4:00 a.m. Chris jumped on the bed and lied on top my head. Not above my head, on top of it. I moved him and saw he had somehow figured out how to open the door. Maybe someday I will get a full night’s sleep. Maybe.
I work one day a week in South Tampa and sometimes stop at a Walmart near my job. Several weeks ago I was approached by a friendly black cat as I neared the entrance.
I was at that same Walmart again Wednesday morning and saw the same black cat napping at the door. My first thought was that Walmart hired a security cat that was sleeping on the job. I stopped and pet the cat for a minute before going inside.
I did not know if it was a male or female and thought the cat was either well fed or pregnant. After looking closer at the photo, I think one of the ears is tipped meaning the cat is fixed. I don’t know if Walmart or some of the employees had anything to do with fixing the cat or taking care of her, but if they did then kudos to them.
We got to our hotel room yesterday a little after 2:00 p.m. It was relatively early but the cats needed a potty break and my back was hurting from the car ride.
On the way to West Virginia we stayed at a Home2 by Hilton in Columbia South Carolina. It was a nice room inside the hotel where I didn’t have to worry much about Frankie escaping because even if he got out of the room he would still be contained inside the hotel.. This time we stayed at a Best Western in Walterboro, South Carolina. It was an outside room and not nearly as nice.
Going both ways I wanted our second day to be slightly shorter than our first because I figured we would be sick of driving by the second day, plus we needed more time to settle in at home. So with that in mind, Walterboro was the only option.
Rose typically likes to stay at Hiltons or Marriotts but those hotels, at least in Walterboro, did not allow pets. My only choices were Best Western, Econolodge, Motel 6, etc. We both thought Best Western would be the best of the worst so we picked that one. We may have been wrong.
We got a room near the end and when we pulled in a calico cat immediately came up to our car with a big story. I happened to have Stella and Chewy’s readily available in the truck so I put some down for her while Rose put the top down so we could remove our cats.
Rose thought she was pregnant but then we noticed she was ear tipped. I think she is just smart and knows how to get food out of visitors. It worked on me.
When we got in the room we noticed it smelled like dog. It also was covered with old carpet and Rose was worried about fleas. I wanted to put the litter box on a hard floor, not carpet, for ease of cleaning, but the only hard floor was in the tiny bathroom. I couldn’t put it there. Rose suggested putting it on a towel, which I did.
It wasn’t long before Chris pulled the towel back and then dumped a bunch of litter on the exposed carpet. It was then that I realized I had forgotten to bring a broom and dustpan. All I could do was pick it up with my fingers.
What surprised me was when Chris got into the crate that he was trapped in all day. I found Floki in the smaller crate too but I did not get a photo of that.
I went out later to get dinner and brought some food out for the stray. It was then that I noticed a shy black cat hanging out with the calico. Frankie noticed too.
We left this morning around 6:30. The first thing I did was bring out bowl of wet food and a bowl of dry food for the calico and black cat. The calico was there eating the wet food as I loaded the cats in the car. I never saw the black cat again. Perhaps he was waiting for us to leave.
It is now 8:00 a.m. and Floki is still howling. Yesterday it lasted three hours and then another two hours of on and off crying. Hopefully today will be better.
When we moved into our new home in West Virginia we met several people who were happy to talk about the house, the neighbors, and the town. I will write about the house soon but for now, I want to talk about stray cats. They are everywhere around us. Even so, I have yet to get a photograph of one because I usually see them from a distance or when I am not ready with a camera.
One guy talked about our next door neighbor feeding strays like it was a bad thing. One day, while I was bringing the trash to the alley, I counted four cats and a kitten in the back yard of the house behind us. As far as the neighbors next door, I have only occasionally seen a stray or two there but I was able to get a video of a confrontation between two cats. I first heard the howling sounds that cats make when meeting another cat that they don’t know. I then saw them out the bathroom window at the house next door. I expected a fight but it never happened.
My office is upstairs in the back of the house and I often will see a cat walk by, sometimes through our yard and sometimes next door or across the alley. Once, after it snowed, I saw cat tracks that came right up to our back door.
A couple of weeks after we moved in my wife somehow became Facebook friends with the woman who lives behind us. She said that a woman died at a nearby home who had 14 cats. When the son came to clean out her home he just dumped the cats outside. So, being a caring person, she felt compelled to take care of them. Strangely, we have yet to meet her in person. We bought two cases of wet food for her but when I brought them to her house, nobody was home. I also brought cookies over there for Christmas but only her son was home then.
There are other kind people too on the block. One neighbor said there are at least three people who care for cats but I don’t know if they all care for the same 14 cats or if there is more than one colony here. One man, we were told, leaves a heater on in his garage for the cats. If we were permanent residents I would not be opposed to leaving food out on the back porch and perhaps a shelter too but I wouldn’t want to get cats dependent on me and then leave.
I am glad to know there are many caring people in this neighborhood. I have always felt like most people are good but the bad ones seem to get the most recognition.
On another note. We are planning to head back to Florida this Saturday. This time we will have to cram the two cat crates in the back seat of my wife’s car, where they just barely fit. While it will be an easier trip than coming up here in the moving truck, I am concerned that the only way in or out for the crates is by putting the convertible top down. This could be a problem in an emergency. Let us pray there is no emergency.
I took Frankie for a walk the other day because it had been at least a week since his last escape and I had been procrastinating about taking him out so I decided it was time. Of course, he helped motivate me by being extremely annoying. Somehow he knows when I make the decision to take him out because he gets very excited and follows me around the house meowing constantly. Then I take his harness out of the drawer and the excitement level rises to epic proportions.
On this day we didn’t go very far when Frankie stopped about ten feet from a parked car and stared. I didn’t know what he was looking at but soon saw a black cat under the car.
The cat had a collar but I could not tell if it was a flea collar. Outside cats are not allowed where I live so either somebody is breaking the rules or someone put a flea collar on a stray cat as a friendly gesture. It could also be a stray or feral cat that someone has been taking care of and the collar is to discourage trapping.
Surprisingly, Frankie did not growl or hiss at the cat nor did the cat growl or hiss at Frankie. That could be because it was female. I don’t know. Frankie quietly inched his way forward and the truce lasted until he was very close and then the cat hissed and ran under the next car.
Frankie didn’t pursue. Instead, he found a tree about about forty or fifty feet away and left his calling card.
After her beloved cat, Pumpkin, died, my mother-in-law decided to open her home to another cat in need. This is Finnegan.
He is another ginger boy like Pumpkin but he is also not like Pumpkin. Just like all cats, he has his own personality.
I expected him to be shy around strangers and thought I would have to go look for him under the bed but I didn’t. Instead he came out to greet us. He is a very sociable cat but he is not a lap cat, at least not now. Perhaps when he is more comfortable he will be.
We visited twice since she adopted him. The second time I found him napping on the bed so he certainly feels right at home.
He is also not shy about blocking the doorway.
We brought him one of Floki’s mice to play with. I bought a bag of ten mice and still had a few left so we thought he might want one. He was mildly interested for about five seconds and then not so much.
Finnegan, or Finn for short, got his name because he looks like an Irish redhead. He is about three years old and was once a stray that was brought in after someone alerted the organization that he appeared injured or “beat up.” I don’t know all the details but he is far too friendly to be feral.
Another interesting thing is that he has no white on him anywhere. The tip of his tail is very light but not quite white. I don’t recall seeing a ginger cat with no white. I wonder how common that is? What do you think about Finn or about ginger cats with no white?
All my recent cat photos are still on my camera and Chris is on my lap so I decided to look through old photos for something to post today. As some of you know, my wife and I spent 16 months in Myrtle Beach between mid 2009 and late 2010. It is where we adopted Chris late in 2009. While there we enjoyed going to a place called Murrell’s Inlet.
Murrell’s Inlet had several shops and restaurants, one of which was called Creek Ratz. We liked eating there but I also enjoyed the company of a stray cat that was a regular visitor at the restaurant. I would always order a salad with grilled chicken when he was around and then slip him most of the chicken.