Tales of the
Moggy Horde
cat face
How I learned
To Stop Worrying
And Love Bast

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cat line drawing
1 Jan. 2006
Zoe finally got into my lap today. I was starting to worry, because she was such a dedicated lap cat before, but hadn't gotten into my lap since she got back. I thought she might not forgive me for her traumatic experience. She's curled up with her head against my right arm in her usual position. It's nice to have my little lap cat back.

Happy Birthday to Querida! I don't know her real birthdate, but my best estimate puts it sometime around Jan. so I gave her a Jan. 1st birthday. The Dowager Empress has made it to the grand old age of 19. She's doing pretty well for a girl of her advanced years. She gets around fairly well, she has a good appetite, and the antiboitics seem to be taking care of her latest urninary tract infection.

I was greeted by another cat toy massacre this morning. A squishy mouse had gone to its doom. I took a photo, but I warn you, it's not for the faint of heart.

Photos of:
cat toy
Death of a squishy mouse: first they tore off its ears, then they disembowelled it!
Theseus takes over my footrest.
cats & umbrella
The moggies discover something they've never seen before - an umbrella. L to R: Diva, Sapphire, Zoe, Jetta
cats & umbrella
Jetta and Kate check out the umbrella.

3 Jan. 2006
Knobby's neck is healing up extremely well, but his general health is still not so good. He throws up nearly every day and isn't showing much interest in food. He's been on my list of cats to get to the vet, but the more urgent ones have had to go first. Tribble is throwing up a huge amount again, so I really need to do something about Tribble as well. It boils down to what I can manage to do.

Zoe's almost entirely back to her usual bouncy self and is spending a lot of time in my lap.

Ariel cracks me up because she'll lie somewhere quite close to me until I notice her. As soon as she realizes she's been spotted, she has to jump up and run off.

5 Jan. 2006
I had a major incident with Puck this morning. He attacked Theseus, and it was a vicious, prolonged attack that I had difficulty breaking up. I weighed Theseus the other day, and he's up to 19 pounds! In spite of his heft, Puck had Theseus on the defensive. It wasn't safe for me to even try to touch Puck until I'd gotten them apart for a few minutes. Then I finally got hold of Puck and locked him in the cage to think things over for an hour or so. This is getting to be quite serious with him.

And last night he was fawning all over a friend of mine who came to visit. He rubbed her shoes up like a total slut-kitty. Zoe tried to eat her camera strap. Nearly all of the Horde came out to greet her and perform for her. In the house, Pippin was a friendly boy, but Opal took one sniff of my friend's hand and ran away. We never could figure out why Opal acted so oddly the whole time.

At any rate, I took Tribble and Knobby to the vet this afternoon to deal with their vomiting problems. They had blood work done and I'm waiting for results. The vet thought Knobby seemed to be in pretty good shape in general, though his fur doesn't look so great. But Tribble is doing poorly. He's lost yet more weight and is under 7 lbs. now, and his thyroid is enlarged. Enormous, in fact. One possibility we discussed is having the thyroid surgically removed. My worry is that Tribble is too frail to endure that kind of operation. We'll make that decision after we see what the blood tests show.

Meanwhile, he gave me something to try and control the vomiting, plus he gave me something for Puck to take the edge off his aggression, we hope. A mild kitty-prozac, so to speak. I'm not crazy about the idea (though I'm the one who brought it up), but I can't let Puck go on like this. Sooner or later, one of the cats will get seriously hurt, more than a mere abscess. I'm hoping this works. The next alternative would be to give him away, and I really hate the thought of that.

6 Jan. 2006
Interesting article on the evolution and genetic development of modern cats. You may have to register with the NY Time to read it, but it's a simple registration and there's no fee.

I didn't start Puck on the kitty-prozac until this morning. I wanted to be able to observe him during the day when starting something new like that, just on the extremely rare chance he didn't react well to it. He has seemed more subdued today, so I'm going to only give it once a day for now. I don't want to lose the Prince of Mischief...I just need to tone down the nature of the mischief a trifle.

Amidst all the other medical news, I forgot to mention that Saffy scratched an eye, so I've had to put ointment in her for days. There are two things I try to always have on hand -- eye ointment and amoxicillin. I inevitably end up needing them.

Saffy has also developed a bad habit of harassing Querida. Nothing major, but Saffy will take swipes at Querida at the water bowl, for instance, and my poor old girl isn't up to dealing with uppity youngsters any more. I need to put a stop to that behavior fast.

Late today, the vet called with the results of the blood tests on Tribble and Knobby. Not much in the way of good news.

With Tribble, the thyroid is well-controlled, but it could be the thyroid med itself that is causing the GI problems. Or there is always the possibility of a cancer, but I'm not going to subject Tribble to a biopsy. So we're going to cut back on the Methimazole, let him be borderline hyperthyroid, keep giving him the anti-nauseau med, and watch carefully to see how he goes on this treatment. The next step would be surgery to remove the thyroid so we can take him off the thyroid meds, but given his condition, surgery would be extremely iffy. As the vet put it, we're between a rock and a hard place with Tribble, and running out of alternatives.

Knobby's news is a bit worse. He had abnormal results all over the place which indicate serious problems with his kidneys and bladder. It could be a) kidney failure, b) a urinary infection that turned into a kidney infection, or c) a kidney infection that led to a urinary infection. For now, we're putting him on heavy-duty anti-biotics to see if it can be controlled.

Zoe and Saffy have heaped into my lap, making a large furry pile to type around.

10 Jan. 2006
My tabletop water fountain arrived and has been set up in the bedroom. My doctor suggested it for adding humidity to the room. I have me doubts. I can't see that this little thing will do much in that direction.

But it's a pleasant little thing, bubbling quietly away, so I don't mind. It's square with three tiers, each tier larger going down, a bit like a pagoda (minus roof). The water bubbles out of the top and down the tiers where it goes into the reservoir at the bottom. It came with polished stones that I could arrange as I liked, to which I added some Viking rune stones that I had.

We set it on the floor so Opal and Pippin could check it out. Opal ran around, caught between fascination and fear. Pippin spent a long time sniffing it, then decided it wasn't that interesting after all. I suspect they will eventually end up drinking from it.

Saffy's eye is healing well, now that I stopped putting ointment in it. It seemed to me that her eye was getting worse instead of better, so I stopped. I had this happen many years ago with Unicom. He had an injured eye and I used the standard eye ointment my vet gave me. His eye became worse and worse until the vet realized that Uni had to be allergic to one of the ingredients. Uni nearly lost that eye, but managed to heal up eventually. I was amazed, considering the condition it was in. Consequently, it's made me cautious about how cats react to the ointment.

I made a trip to Bakersfield yesterday to pick up Clavamox for Knobby and some more anti-nausea med for Tribble. In spite of everything I'm trying, Tribble threw up a large amount today. I'll see how it goes tomorrow, before I call the vet, since I don't think there's much he can do at this stage anyway.

I also bought Tribble a new bed. He's so skinny and bony, I wanted to get him something very soft, with high sides and lots of padding. I found one that was just the right size, soft plush, with cushy eggshell foam padding in the bottom. Tribble seems to like it a lot.

11 Jan. 2006
Tribble has been enjoying his new cat bed all night, but during the day, Puck has taken it over. He loves it.

It occurs to me that a lot of what I write about has to do with my cats' medical problems, which might get rather boring. But it's a major part of my concerns, so it would be odd not to write about it. I have two other reasons. What I learn and go through may be of help to other readers. And other readers often have words of advice or tidbits of info that help me.

Today's medical news...I weighed Owl and I'm unhappy to say that it looks like he's lost more weight. He only weighed 8 lbs. Consider this, Zoe, a mere 7 month old who is half his size, weighs 7 lbs.! That is not good. And yet Owl is eating well and what I'm seeing in the cat box looks improved. I think it's time for a follow-up visit to the vet.

And now, tons of moggy photo adorableness.
A happy pile'o'moggies. Clockwise from top: Querida, Jetta (stretching), Theseus, Kate, Diva.
cat medicines
The cat pharmacy (blue object is for cutting pills).
Opal loves the cylinder on top of the Treehouse.
"No, you may not get in here with me, human."
Pippin contemplates what he'll do to me if I keep taking flash photos.
Opal with her squishy mouse and the xmas lights. The "lights" at the right top of the stairs are actually Pippin's eyes.
Everybody sing, "Hush, my darling, don't cry, my darling, the leopard sleeps tonight...." However, the panther is wide awake.
Sapphire & Puck
"Puck, my darling!"
"Saffy, my dearest!"
Sapphire & Puck
All together now, "Awwwwwww...."
Jetta & Theseus
Jetta and Theseus cuddle. Theseus: "Don't you dare write one of those sappy captions for this."
A happy ball of Zoe.
Tosca & Diva
Mother & Daughter reunion. Tosca at top, Diva below.
Jetta, Sapphire, Zoe & Puck
"Hey, it's that umbrella creature again!"
l to r: Jetta, Sapphire, Zoe & Puck.

12 Jan. 2006
I was terribly worried about Tribble last night. He showed no interest at all in the canned food. Usually he's begging non-stop and right under foot, anxious to get at the food. Even when I put him in his cage for the night and put the food under his nose, he showed no interest, and he acted as though he was not feeling well at all. I was so worried, I ran out to my office to do a quick, last-minute check on him just before I went to bed.

This morning the food was gone and he was back to normal. I was one, very relieved person.

Pippin took another stab at trying to drink from the little water fountain. He got his paw wet and his nose wet, but couldn't quite figure it out.

14 Jan. 2006
Owl and Querida got a trip to the vet yesterday for their lucky Friday the 13th. According to the vet's digital scale, Owl weighs 8.9 lbs., compared to my scale at home which says 8 lbs. But as I feared, he's dropped more weight, nearly a pound, since last time the vet weighed him. Owl conveniently provided me with a fresh stool sample that morning and the good news is that there was no blood or other problems in it. The bad news is...he's still losing weight and we have yet to find the reason.

As I feared, Querida has a lot of blood in her urine even after being on the Baytril for weeks. The vet has thought all along that she's more prone to a sterile cystitis rather than infections, which is why the Baytril isn't helping. She has also lost weight. The problem we have with her is the treatment she needs for the sterile cystitis is steroids, but the minute we give her steroids, her URI flares out of control.

He's sent out blood work on both of them before we decide what to do next, but Querida especially seems to be one of those no-win situations, unless he can come up with some other kind of anti-inflammatory treatment.

Knobby has gotten hip to the medicine routine, consequently it's getting harder and harder to catch him at the right time. One minute he's there behind me in a catbed and the next minute he's slunk off, trying to stay one step ahead of me.

The Three Mousketeers - Zoe, Sapphire and Jetta - get really crazy, racing around, pouncing and wrestling and carrying on like the little lunatics they are. I suspect Opal would get a lot crazier and even more energetic if she were out here with them, but she's around Pippin, who is Mr. Mellow. I'd say he's one of the most mellow cats I've ever lived with. He's playful, but not wildly so, and he's quite happy to flop on Randy's lap and sleep there like a pool of molten ink. What cracks us up is that sometimes Pippin sloooowly oozes off the edge of the sofa and sort of oozes onto the floor where he promptly goes to sleep again.

16 Jan. 2006
Randy decided we could try an experiment Sat. night. Rather than putting Pippin and Opal up in their own room, we let them sleep with us. They were rather taken aback at first to find humans under the bedcovers. "Look, Opal, something's moving!" POUNCE! But that didn't last too long. In fact, they were perfect angels. They were quiet, behaved themselves, and settled in without a fuss. Opal liked being between Randy and me at about mid-torso, while Pippin made himself at home at my feet. Around seven-ish, Randy said that Opal stuck her face in his and tickled him with her whiskers, trying to wake him up, but when it didn't work, she went back to sleep.

In spite of being so well behaved, Randy didn't sleep well. He needed to move around more, but didn't want to bother the cats! My only problem was the I woke up each time the cats noisily used the catbox in the bathroom. SCRITCH! SCRATCH! SCRITCH!

Consequently, they spent last night in their upstairs room, but I suspect Randy will relent and want to try leaving them downstairs again. We shall see.

I decided on my own to start giving Knobby the anti-nausea medicine that I have for Tribble. I figure it can't hurt, given how much Knobby continues to throw up.

Zoe is being adorable, curled up in my lap on her back with her hind feet sticking straight up in the air.

17 Jan. 2006
I had a long, long talk with the vet late today to go over the results of the blood tests on Owl and Querida.

To keep it short, Owl seems to have an underlying infection which could be in both the liver and the pancreas, so he's going onto the same antibiotcs as Knobby.

As I feared, we're rather at a standstill with Querida. It does appear to be a sterile cystitis, so the antibiotics aren't helping. The main treatment would be steriods, but we've already discovered that she can't tolerate the steroids.

The Irish Contingent of readers sent me some interesting info about a homeopathic remedy. I've read up on homeopathic remedies and studies over the years. The most recent studies indicate that for whatever mysterious reason, the remedies seem to work even though science can't explain it. At any rate, it can't hurt and Querida will quickly decline if I do nothing. My research has pointed toward a particular remedy to try and it's quite inexpensive, so that's next on the list. I mentioned it to the vet and he was entirely supportive, since he had no good options to offer. He said to let him know how it works.

And of course I'd love to hear from anyone who is an expert in homeopathy, or has useful info.

19 Jan. 2006
Tribble and his cage were a major mess this morning. He had again thrown up which was all over the floor and soaked his bed, plus he had crap on the floor, in the bed and on his rear end and tail. Poor, poor old cat. I spent quite a bit of time getting him and the cage cleaned up. I have to handle him so carefully these days, because he really doesn't have an ounce of flesh left on him. I took the cover off the cat bed and washed it, along with a few other cat bed covers and blankets. May as well do a whole batch at once.

Saffy and Puck are at it again, the lover-cats.

20 Jan. 2006
I had to make a trip to Bakersfield today to pick up medicines and prescription food. Now that the Big Three (Owl, Querida and Tribble) have tasted the canned food, they adamantly refuse to have anything to do with the pouch food. Naturally, the canned food is more expensive. :P

While I was in town, I also had to do some human food shopping at Lassens, a large organic foods store. It occurred to me that Lassens would probably carry homeopathic remedies, and sure enough, they had a full line of them. I purchased the one I want to try on the Big Three. Now all I have to do is figure out how to get a cat to allow a teeny-tiny pellet to sloooowly dissolve under its tongue. Uh, yeah, that's gonna happen. And no, you can't add them to food. Will have to think about this.

I started playing the MMOG (massively multi-player on-line game), World of Warcraft. Tonight's mission was to slay a bunch of nasty little creatures called kobolds. Zoe and Sapphire were extremely intent on helping me slay the kobolds. They were so intent, I could hardly see the screen. The girls knew there had to be a way to get in there and get those things moving around and making weird noises, but alas, the kobolds eluded them.

21 Jan. 2006
I are an idiot. Math is not my strength, you see. When I bought the homeopathic remedy, I failed to take into account that I would be giving it to three cats, and since I can't do math worth a damn, the small bottle I bought will only last 2 days. Arrgghhh!

Not knowing how else to approach it, I've simply been putting the pellets into their mouths. I hope that works.

Today Jetta joined Zoe in "helping" me play WoW. They wanted to slay the kobolds and it was quite frustrating for them when they couldn't. What's really funny is that a friend of mine who's been playing the game much longer sent me some in-game gifts. One of them was a cat! She said of course I had to have a cat in the game. So now I have an orange and white tabby that follows me around wherever I go. I can't escape the moggies, not even in the virtual world!

22 Jan. 2006
Tribble hasn't thrown up for about 24 hours. I'll take that as a good sign.

I got on-line and ordered more of the homeopathic remedy in a liquid form this time. I'm not sure how much faith to have in this stuff at all, but I want it in a form that I can feel reasonably sure is being assimilated. One thing about cats, if it does work, I can be sure it's not a placebo effect. I tried explaining the placebo effect to Tribble. He said, "Woof!" He says that sometimes and it usually means "Why aren't you feeding me?"

The Girl Terrors have gotten tired of the on-line game. They're ignoring it now. Zoe slept upside down in my lap the whole time I was playing.

25 Jan. 2006
Moggyblog entries will be spotty for the next week or so due to heavy work commitments and an upcoming business trip.

Pippin has taken to attaching himself to Opal's butt and giving her no peace. Randy has realized it's time to get Pippin fixed. Yes, indeed. I'll call the vet tomorrow and see if they can do it this week. If not, it will have to wait until after our trip.

I decided to repurpose the cat box in the bathroom which was originally bought for Nefreet. It's a purple Booda Dome. It's always been a pain to clean because of the round shape. I figure one large cat box upstairs is all Pippin and Opal need, and one less cat box to clean is fine by me.

I washed it out thoroughly, disinfected it and turned it into an enclosed cat bed. It caused much interest when I first brought it into the office, and is getting occasional use. Meanwhile, Diva has pretty much taken over the cat bed on top of the spiral step cat furniture. She loves it.

And now, because nobody in particular demanded it, lots more cute cat photos.
cats and dome
Jetta, Theseus, Puck and Zoe, with Sapphire inside the Booda Dome.
cats and dome
Owl, Jetta, Theseus, and Puck, with Zoe inside the Dome.
Sapphire & Puck
Puck: "We found this one in the Kama Sutra."
Sapphire & Puck
"Then I get to watch her take a bath."
Sapphire & Puck
Saffy: "Think I'm letting him get away with too much?"
Theseus & Querida
The Giant Belly of Theseus! Next to Querida.
Tosca: "I'm going to BITE YOUR HEAD OFF!"
A series entitled, Zoe Savages the Cat Toys.
Taking a break from the savagery.

29 Jan. 2006
Tribble has been sniffing at the door and peering out the door when I come and go, so this morning I took him outside with me for a few minutes. It was a sunny, pleasant day, not too cold. He used to love to go outside and I figure the poor old boy doesn't have much time left. He sniffed at the bushes and was cautious about the strange new environment, but I think he enjoyed the interlude.

Owl's been climbing into my lap for attention and complaining about being hungry, so I must go tend to the Horde.

I just bought some more cat trinkets from Red Tango. I love this woman's cat designs. Check out her gift shop at Red Tango.

3 Feb. 2006
We're back from the business trip and the moggies are terribly glad to see us. Randy said Pippin wouldn't let him alone all day and insisted on being in his lap.

The liquid form of the homeopathic remedy arrived today. I'm going to have such fun putting the drops into their mouths and I'm sure they'll be so cooperative. Hah!

There was another fight while I was gone, as I could tell from numerous tufts of fur in one location. I suspect it was Puck and Knobby again. I checked Knobby over as thoroughly as possible. If he develops another abscess, I will be highly annoyed. I already have appointments set for next week to have Pippin fixed and have Knobby's kidney functions rechecked to see whether the Clavamox made a difference.

Meanwhile, they want to be fed and Tribble is employing his patented Whine Torture technique, so I must deal with it before I go mad.

5 Feb. 2006
It's a good thing Pippin goes to the vet soon because he's starting to drive Opal nuts. He follows her around, nose to butt, and I've seen him try mounting behaviors on her. She's having none of that, of course. So far they're still good buddies and I'd hate to see that change.

One more day, Opal. Hang in there.

6 Feb. 2006
It's been weeks since we've seen any sign of Bowie or the other ferals, for that matter. It's been warm and dry, so it's not the weather keeping them away. I know it's silly to worry about ferals when I have so many of my own moggies to worry about, but I can't quite help it.

I put a batch of my cat clothes in the washer and when I took them out later, I found a freshly washed catnip fish toy in the bottom of the washing machine. The cats somehow managed to put the fish into the laundry bag. How clever of them. Zoe's wandering around with the fish in her mouth as I write this.

8 Feb. 2006
I took Pippin and Knobby to the vet yesterday. Pippin had to spend the night, so he could be fixed in the morning. He didn't utter a peep the whole way there. He burrowed under the towel in the carrier and hid, poor little guy.

Knobby meowped quietly most of the way. Unfortunately, the follow-up tests did not provide good news. The Clavamox cleared up whatever urinary infection he had, but it leaves behind positive proof that he is in the early stages of kidney failure. All I can do now is feed him the same special food the Big Three are getting, give him one other medication that will help a little, and watch him carefully as the disease progresses.

Randy made the return drive today to pick up Pippin. He missed Pippin terribly. Opal also missed her brother. She looked for him in the house last night and meowed a couple of times for him. I could hear her crying when I got up this morning because she was alone in her room. But he's back and all is well, though he needs another night to recover from changing from a tom to a tim. {g}

A pile'o'moggies: Theseus (top), Jetta on top of Kate, Owl, and the catnip fish.

10 Feb. 2006
I tried putting Knobby in the cage to eat the special canned food. There was nothing else in the cage except a clean cat box, but Knobby went completely berserk. He wouldn't give the slightest attention to the food. He simply went psycho and soon I had a cage that was complete mess with litter scattered everywhere.

I've sinced tried putting him into the Cave with Owl and Querida. That works better. He doesn't like it much, but at least he doesn't go crazy. Yeesh.

11 Feb. 2006
Ariel and Saffy were playing! They were racing and bouncing around from shelf to walkway to boxes to another walkway, and having shadow-boxing matches. I love seeing Ariel play, as she keeps to herself too much. Her policy on being touched by humans hasn't changed, though.

The moglets are now going on 11 and 10 months old (Zoe being the young one), which means they're nearly full-sized. They smaller than I expected them to be, with the exceptionn of Zoe who was an itty-bitty tiny kitten from the beginning. Must be a small-sized gene in the area. Pippin had such a big head and big paws, I really thought he was going to be a huge cat, but even though he's a fair size bigger than his sisters, he hasn't become the monster cat I thought he would. What he is instead is stocky. He's a solid fella. The girls have remained petite. Just as well, as they fit better into my lap that way. ;)

14 Feb. 2006
Dear old Querida seems to be pretty much out of it these days, except when it's time for food. Then she rouses herself, goes over to the Cave and makes herself heard. The rest of the time she sleeps or sits lost in her own private world.

Tribble and Owl remain painfully thin. I haven't weighed them for a while because, frankly, I'm afraid to see the results. They both have large appetites, they eat and eat and eat, but don't put on an ounce of weight. It's discouraging.

Opal's spongy pink mouse is slowly disintegrating. She loves that toy. Loves it to death, literally. The material is too flimsy and porous, so it has holes all over where the stuffing comes out in small bits at a time. I sewed up one seam, but it's already sprung a dozen other "leaks". I hope it lasts a while longer since Opal looks so cute walking around with this big pink mouse in her mouth.

20 Feb. 2006
1 May 1989 - 20 Feb. 2006
Tribble went downhill rapidly this weekend. He stopped eatingly completely, and he was down to no more than fur on bones already. I couldn't even get him to lick baby food off my finger today. I also couldn't get him to drink water. There were other bad signs that I won't go into, but it was painfully obvious he had reached the end.

Randy drove me to the vet. I sat in the back seat with the door to the carrier open and petted him during the drive. I've had Tribble nearly 17 years, since he was born in my closet, part of Querida's second litter.

He was one of the sweetest, gentlest, most loving personalities I've ever known. Tribble loved people. His method for getting their attention was to reach up and stick a single claw into their legs. I've had many a guest jump and yelp because Tribble wanted their attention. He was always there to greet anyone and demand affection.

He was a big, fluffy, floopy love-muffin. I'll miss his funny "whuff-whuff" sounds. I'll even miss his incessant Whine Torture.

He was a good gopher hunter in his prime, and brought me many a trophy. May he frolic forever in sunny fields of catnip filled with lazy lizards, slow fat gophers and low-flying birds.

21 Feb. 2006
My gratitude goes out to those who wrote kind email of sympathy over the loss of Tribble. It's so strange not to have him around.

Querida wandered the office like a lost soul today. I had to jump up from my desk and rescue her a couple of times when she got into places I considered too precarious for an ancient moggy who has a rather dim awareness of where she is. I don't know whether she was looking for her son, or whether it was plain old senility, but I think it's possible that she misses Tribble's presence. I know cats can miss other cats and can miss their people, so she very well might miss him.

Saffy brought me a toy with which to play fetch, but alas, it had lost all its stuffing. This makes it hard to throw, since there's nothing left but a cloth shell with no weight. I threw it anyway because I've learned that once Saffy sets her mind on a particular toy, no matter how feeble it is, there's no point in substituting anything else. She ignores it.

Zoe is upside-down in my lap and making it as hard as she can for me to type, the l'il darlin'. She still has the elfin cuteness thing going for her, so naturally I put up with it.

22 Feb. 2006
I've received more very kind email. If I haven't answered, it's because I'm heavily tied up with deadlines for the next few weeks. But I appreciate the thoughts and wishes. There's a Tribble-sized hole in my life.

I find a fish or other cat toy floating in the water bowl nearly every morning. That's Saffy's work. Her sister, Opal, hasn't done it with her mousie lately, but the genetic tendency to drown their prey is the same.

Pippin seems more bouncy and energetic than ever after becoming a "tim". He and Opal race around like crazed fools, bouncing from the cat furniture to bookshelf to staircase, up the stairs, down the stairs, around the living room....

Owl and Querida have decided they don't care much for the special canned food any more. They've barely been touching it for the past 10 days or so. I've tried mixing some baby food in with it, but that only seems to help a little. Owl is still painfully thin, blast it. Querida...well, Querida just hangs in there, day after day.

25 Feb. 2006
This morning Zoe brought me a fishie, I threw it for her and she brought it back! We played several rounds of Fetch before she became more interested in doing something else. That's the first time she's ever played Fetch.

While I was throwing the fishie for her, I finally discovered where the missing jar of baby food went. A couple of days ago, I was baffled because the jar of baby food I had been using was gone. I was pretty sure I hadn't finished it off and thrown it out, but I couldn't find it anywhere nearby. That's because some moglet, whose name probably begins with Zoe, transported it waaaaay to the back end of my office.

Speaking of the adorable girl, here she is in full stretch.
And here's Owl relaxing on top of her. She didn't seem to mind.

26 Feb. 2006
Zoe was so cute this morning. She brought me the fishie while I was at my desk working and insisted I keep throwing it for her. She'd race back and drop it on my keyboard or in my lap. She's such an irrepressible little thing. I noticed for the first time that her whiskers start out black at the roots and abruptly turn white for about three-quarters of the length, except for maybe three or four whiskers that are entirely black. It helps the whiskers blend into her tabby markings.

I'm hauling my ancient dame to the vet tomorrow. Querida is so congested she can hardly breathe, yet again. And I don't like the look of the ulcer on her lip, the one that was already removed once but seems to be making a comeback. This afternoon, Querida actually got into my lap and wanted attention, which she got. That happens maybe once a year. She has never, ever been a lap cat. She seemed somewhat feeble and confused about getting off my desk once she'd had enough, so I quickly set her down on the floor. She's not going to be happy with me on the morrow.

27 Feb. 2006
Zoe and I had another wonderful session of Fetch the Fishie. She's really gotten into it. She's lightning fast, so I barely get to throw the fishie for her before she's back on the desk dropping it in my lap.

Querida had her visit to the vet. They nebulized her with some anti-biotics, and they're running a test to see if she could have a fungal infection. Meanwhile, I have anti-biotics for her to see if we can get the nasal congestion under control.

We picked up more cat food at Petsmart and we bought Opal a new mousie. The pink one is in much distress and probably beyond my ability to patch it up. The new mousie is made of wool, is large and soft and Opal loves it. She immediately took to carrying it around in her mouth and batting it across the kitchen floor. And it's too big to disappear under the stove or fridge! The perfect toy (until she gets tired of it).

1 March 2006
For some mysterious reason, in the past ten days or so Owl has developed a passion for drinking from the stream of water as I refill the water bowl. I don't have running water in the office, so I have to pour from a jug. He's gotten to the point where he sits next to the place where I put the water bowl and talks and talks to me until I pour the water. He never did this before, and none of the other cats do it, so I have no idea why he suddenly got the idea into his head. He's not very good at drinking from the pouring water either, but I try to do it slowly and carefully to let him give it his best shot.

Meanwhile, in the house, Pippin suddenly developed a passion for trying to open the cabinet doors in the kitchen. We'd hear BANG BANGA BANG and find him using his paw to almost get the doors open. He was doing his best to work it out, so it was only a matter of time. We don't especially want a bunch of black cat hair all over the pots and pans, so Randy rigged up a wire "latch" to keep the doors from opening. Next thing you know, I find Pippin working on the latch, trying to figure out how to get it off the door knobs! If he had thumbs, we'd be in such trouble.

Pippin has also discovered the joys and frustrations of bird-watching. He's been chittering away next the windows and glass doors, just dying to get out there and get those birdies.

4 March 2006
The vet had to call and tell me that the lab never received Querida's bloodwork from the last visit. That means having to take her in again when I really don't have time for another trip to Bakersfield. Crapcrapcrap.

Owl is not looking good. Absolutely nothing has helped and he continues to lose weight. He seems weaker to me, is horribly skinny, and I'm out of options, short of having him biopsied for cancer. I see no reason to subject the poor cat to that procedure. I'm not sure he could make it through that procedure. No matter what the results were, it wouldn't change the situation. The vet is having me wean him off the steroids, but unless a miracle happens, I fear the worst.

On my last trip to Petsmart, I bought a wool mouse toy for the office cats. I thought it might be more durable than some of the others. How naive of me. It took the monster-moglets all of maybe half an hour to destroy it. I don't simply mean rough it up a bit, I mean deconstruct it entirely. See for yourselves. Yet another pathetic cat toy saga.
Wool mouse before.

Wool mouse after.

5 March 2006
All of the kittens' websites need updating. Yes, I still call them kittens. When they're a year old, they can be moggies. Until then, they're moglets.

Anyway, I only got around to adding one new photo to Pippin's webpage, showing how much he's grown. Scroll to the bottom for comparison photos with the brass & glass turtle.

9 March 2006
I took Querida back to the vet to redo the bloodwork. She didn't appreciate that. Not that she complains or gives me any trouble, but I know she doesn't like being locked up.

I had a talk with the vet early this morning before I left. Owl continues to deteriorate and I wasn't sure it would do any good to take him to the vet again. Owl is nearly as skinny as Tribble was. I have to be so careful when I pet him because he's all bones. His eyes are getting goopy, and he seems weaker. Given that we've tried diet, meds and even homeopathic remedies, I think it's probably cancer that's getting him. The vet agreed. His advice was a course I'd already decided on, to pamper him and make him as happy as possible until I have to make the Terrible Decision.

So I'm not going to put Owl in the Cave at night anymore. He hates it, plus I can tell he'd rather sleep closer to the heater on these cold nights. I've put his cat bed next to the heater. I bought more of his dry prescription food and I'm going to mix it with a small amount of the regular dry food and let all the cats eat it. It's horrendously expensive to do that, but Owl is worth it.

10 March 2006
The vet called to let me know that Querida's blood work was negative, meaning she doesn't have a fungal infection. He figures it's a chronic viral infection that makes her congested all the time. He's prescribing another kind of antibiotic to start giving her, which I'll pick up at the local pharmacy on Mon. He warned me that it tastes terrible, but he's prescribing a children's version in the hopes it's flavored in some way to make it more palatable.

Speaking of the Dowager Empress, she climbed into my lap twice today. I think that's a record.

Owl is a happier moggy not being locked up at night. I don't think the rest of the cats are enthralled with the prescription food, but they'll cope. But he's doing something else that's different than before. He's trying to get outside. I don't know what suddenly makes him so intent on getting outside, but I really have to watch out for him now when I head out the door.

13 March 2006
Querida has become quite demanding at food time. She squeals at me for food. This is good. Poor Owl hardly shows any interest in food and is looking worse and worse.

I picked up that powerful new antibiotic for Querida today from the local pharmacy. It was bloody expensive, too. I have to try it on her in a few minutes. I hope it doesn't make her foam like a rabid creature.

14 March 2006
This is hysterical. Short video called Cat Fight.

15 March 2006
Opal showed no interest at all in the new toy I bought for her, so I brought it out to the office to become the next sacrificial victim. Saffy and Jetta love it, and Zoe brought it over to me later in the day.

Meanwhile, one of the naughty moglets in the house, either Pippin or Opal, knocked over a potted plant. It heaped dirt all over a dozen electical plugs in a power strip and onto a battery back-up unit for the TV. What a mess. I had to drag out the vacuum cleaner, but the house was overdue for a vacuuming anyway, so there you go.

I've been in emotional turmoil all day because of Owl. He wanders the office, cries, and seems to be looking for something. I wish I knew what it was. He was desperate to go outside this morning. It was a lovely, fairly warm day so I spent some time letting him wander in the yard. I think he was in search of grass to eat. That used to be the first thing he did when I let him outside at the old house -- find grass, eat it, come inside, throw up. I took him over to the section of yard that has grass, but apparently it wasn't what he wanted. At least he had some time in the sun and fresh air. If it's nice tomorrow, I'll do it again.

I must take him to the vet soon. I wasn't able to get him to eat anything today, and I suspect he hasn't been eating for a couple of days. I thought he was, but having watched more closely today, I think it's actually been Querida making a dent in both bowls of food. I tried putting him in there alone to eat, but he wouldn't touch it. I can't let him go on like this much longer, but I'm having a hard time finding the emotional strength for what I have to do.

In preparation, I bought a new carrier this afternoon. It's the new type that has snaps for the lid, rather than those blasted screws that take forever to remove. With this kind, I only have to unsnap a few places and the lid comes right off. It will be easier on Owl that way, especially with his bad leg.

16 March 2006
c. 1993 - 16 March 2006
This was the final picture I took of Owl. I wish I could have gotten his beautiful blue eyes to show up. He had some more time outside this morning before I took him to the vet. I made one last attempt to get him to eat, and when that failed, I knew beyond doubt his time had come.

He was a unique, strong-willed, quirky, sweet loving moggy and I will miss him. May he frolic forever in sunny fields of catnip filled with lazy lizards, slow fat gophers and low-flying birds.

18 March 2006
The tremendous and heartfelt outpouring of sympathy over losing Owl has helped me a lot. I appreciate it very much. This morning, I automatically put out Owl's medicine when I was preparing the pills. That hurt. I'm down from three cats on thyroid meds to only one.

Yesterday I was trying to work when I heard a puppy screaming and yelping in severe distress. I jumped up and ran outside. The neighbor behind me is only about six feet away from my back office wall and he has a pack of about five or six puppies. For some reason, the others had made one female the pariah dog and beat the crap out of her. She was making the most heartrending sounds. I yelled and yelled at the pack through the fence and finally the owner came out to rescue her. The owner was a nice enough guy, if slightly clueless. We had a pleasant chat and I offered to put him in contact with the Cause4Cats and Dogs people so he could find homes for the puppies.

Ten minutes later it happened again. I ran outside, yelled some more. This time the guy came out much sooner, and I further offered to temporarily shelter the girl puppy in my yard. He didn't take the offer, but I simply can't abide hearing an animal in pain, so if it keeps happening, I will take some kind of action.

Puck was an extremely naughty boy this morning. He chased Jetta around and beat up on her. He knew he was in big trouble, so it took me a while to get hold of him, then I locked him in the Cave to get my point across that I won't tolerate him being a bully. I may need to up the dose of the kitty mellow-meds.

Pippin has developed birdie lust. He sits at the back door chatting and moaning away as the birds taunt him from the trees. Sometimes Opal joins in, but she quickly gets bored and wanders off. Pippin would love to go after those birdies!

Time for more cheerful moggy photos:
Querida's favorite new sleeping place, a box full of scrunched up packing paper. Out of all the nice soft cat beds she could choose from....
Saffy savages the new toy!
Take that! And that!
Zoe contemplates her next assault on the hapless toy.
Jetta takes her turn.
A Zoe butt!
I just had to get a shot of how silly Zoe is when she sleeps in my lap. She really does sleep like this with her hind feet in the air. I held the camera up over my head and aimed down.
Jetta & Diva
This two-headed mass of black fur is Jetta and Diva.
Ariel, Queen of 'Tude.
Theseus doesn't even bother to stand up at the food bowl anymore.

20 March 2006
I asked the vet to do a necropsy on Owl so I'd have a better idea what happened to him. He called today to say it wasn't cancer, it was a very long technical word that came down to such extreme inflammation of the intestines that he couldn't process food and was leaking blood. That combined with a sensitive stomach and hyperthyroid was simply more than his body could handle. There really wasn't anything else I could have done, which was the main thing I wanted to know.

Saffy was so cute. She brought me a ball in her mouth this morning for our round of fetch.

A few days back, I mentioned the puppies at the house right behind us and the girl puppy that was being attacked by the others. Yesterday, the people went away and left her tied up to some stairs on a short leash ALL DAY. We couldn't tell whether she had food or water, but she had no shelter and couldn't go anywhere. After dark, they came home...AND LEFT HER THERE.

By 10 pm, we'd had enough. This is a very short-haired puppy (4 months old, it turned out), out in the freezing cold with no shelter, unable to move more than a couple of feet from one spot. We got in the car, drove around, faced the lights toward their house. Couldn't get close because of a chained gate and the father dog, a big tough pit bull type called Hercules. We brought flashlights and shined them through various windows until we got their attention. The man came out and we had a friendly chat, apologizing for bothering them, but explaining our concerns. He said he "forgot" about her. {gritting teeth} We again pushed to help him find homes for the puppies, or to let us take the little girl inside our place. The big cage I got for the feral cats is actually a dog crate and would have worked fine. Apparently, the wife can't decide which or how many of the puppies to keep, so is dithering. Anyway, he took the puppy inside. We wouldn't have been able to sleep otherwise, thinking about that poor creature out there. Bloody nitwits. They have no business breeding puppies.

21 March 2006
All's quiet with the Horde, for a change. Puck managed to dart past me and get outside, so I let him sniff up the bushes for a while. But as usual, when I brought him inside, the first thing he did was aim for Knobby, so I had to run interference immediately. Randy thinks Puck doesn't look so great these days -- too fat and no muscle tone. It's true, I'm afraid. Puck doesn't do any exercise inside. He urgently needs to be able to go ouside, but it just isn't safe here. It's a terrible dilemma. I'd build him an area outside, if it was affordable. The cat enclosures I've looked at are way too expensive.

Poor Querida, she hates the liquid antibiotic (with good reason), but it seems to be helping her. The congestion isn't a lot better, but overall she behaves as though she's feeling better. Her appetite is certainly good. I'd like to see her regain a bit of weight, though.

We're off on a business trip, so no moggy news for a few days.

25 March 2006
Back from the trip, deeply exhausted and a lot to catch up on. The moggies were very happy to have us back. Today Jetta got on the desk and was much more affectionate than usual and even purred for me. They let us know that they're happy to have their people back.

26 March 2006
I thought I might have to take Theseus to the vet tomorrow. He was crying this morning, as though distressed about something, and seemed out of sorts. But he ate well (he always eats well) and hasn't done it since, so I guess I'll just keep an eye on him for now. He is grossly fat. I suppose it's only a matter of time before he has some kind of health problem.

If you haven't come across it yet, please bookmark and read the Cause4Cats blog. And please promote their URL, add it as a link or ask others to add it as a link. They're doing such good work and are so desperately in need of promotion and donations. Thanks.

28 March 2006
I heard Puck scratching at the cat furniture to the right of me, or so I thought. When I looked more closely, I realized it was Ariel. How very brave of her.

Speaking of the Puckster, he got aggressive the other day and I discovered why when I found one of his pills on the floor near the food. He's getting more clever about fooling me into thinking the pill has gone down when it hasn't.
Another heap'o'moggies: Theseus, Puck and Kate.
Theseus, Puck & Kate
29 March 2006
Opal and Pippin want to munch on the house plants, which is a bad idea because none of the house plants (spider-plants, forex) are good for them. So we grew some oat grass for them and set it down where they could discover it and munch on it this evening. They were quite curious about it and Pippin quickly discovered it was good to eat.

Pippin is so cute when he romps. He's a solid moglet, so when he romps, you hear it. ROMPITY-ROMPITY-ROMPITY-THUMP.

31 March 2006
Oooh, I got to stroke Ariel on the back. She was distracted by Theseus, so I was able to come alongside her and run my hand gently down her back one and a half times. She took it pretty well, which is to say, she moved to get away from me, but not in a panic and she didn't go too far.

Zoe has become even more of a fetch cat than Sapphire. Zoe loves the now terribly beaten up yellow toy that she wants me to throw for her while I'm at the computer, then off she bounces, scattering papers in her wake. But I keep throwing it for her, of course. She's too cute to resist.

1 April 2006
The moggies decided to greet me with an April Fool's prank. This is what I found when I came into my office this morning. An entire box of styrofoam peanuts on the floor.
That's Diva in the picture, though I doubt she was the original culprit. She does't go up to the very top of the shelves where the box was stored. It may not look like much here, but there were peanuts strewn from one end of my office to the other. Peanuts in the food. Peanuts in the water bowl. Bits of peanuts stuck to cat fur by static electricity. I started picking them up by hand, but quickly gave up on that and swept them in batches into a dustpan and tossed them out.

And here's Jetta being cute with another box.
Happy birthday to the four moglets from the feral tortie cat's litter: Pippin, Opal, Sapphire and Jetta. I don't know exactly when they were born, of course, so I picked the closest approximation and gave them this as their birthday. One year old today! Although Opal and Sapphire were nearly identical as kittens, I can see more distinct differences in build now that they're older. Saffy has developed the classic, somewhat round-faced tortie look, while Opal has a more narrow, refined Oriental face. Opal also has black whiskers and Saffy has white whiskers, which is an odd difference. They're still much the same in personality, though.

I gave the same honorary birthday to Puck and Ariel. Puck is now five. Wow, five years old. Hard to believe. Ariel is two.

Diva turned 10 sometime in March, very approximately, which means her mother, Tosca, must be at least 11.

2 April 2006
The house moglets love to chase balls. Opal prefers the ping pong balls, while Pippin loves the jingle-balls (plastic balls with a jingly bell inside). He's big enough that he can pick up the ball in his mouth and carry it off as a trophy when he's tired of chasing it. Yesterday, he decided to stash the ball inside one of Randy's hiking boots, which is where Randy found it. [g]

Neither Opal nor Pippin have shown much interest in the pot of grass we set out for them, so I brought it into the office. In no time at all, the moggies were mowing it down. Here's Jetta, Zoe, Saffy and Puck munching their greens.
Jetta, Zoe, Sapphire, Puck

3 April 2006
My darling moggies knocked down the box of styrofoam peanuts again. There weren't as many to clean up this time because it fell on top of the flaps which kept most of the peanuts from escaping. I taped it up again, but I can't find my heavy-duty tape gun and had to resort to mere sticky tape. I suppose this could keep going on until I finally have the brains to just get rid of the peanuts completely. :P

As expected, the munching of the greens led to the throwing up of the greens. It wasn't too bad, though. I'd rather clean up bits of grass than the other messes they leave for me.

Querida is looking and feeling terribly frail these days. On the plus side, she's eating well. I will be amazed if she makes it to 20, but she's a tough old thing.

6 April 2006
The three Moglets of the Apocalypse - Sapphire, Jetta and Zoe - wreaked much havoc this morning in fits of boundless energy. Numerous boxes were knocked over, pounced upon, and generally terrorized. All in good fun, of course. Puck got into the act for awhile and Saffy ran to me for protection as Puck's idea of "play" gets pretty rough. I had to rescue Zoe from him yesterday when play degenerated into beating up on her.

Jetta is being a monitor ornament. She hasn't done that for a fairly long time. I'm glad she stayed a small cat, though!

9 April 2006
Querida is getting very, very thin and hardly moving. The strong antibiotic did nothing to help her nasal congestion and she continues to wheeze. I thought she was eating well until I decided to feed her separately from Kate. Then the food was barely touched, so I think it was Kate who was eating most of it. I'm glad Kate is eating well, but now I'm even more concerned about Querida.

I got out the laser pointer and let the moglets chase it around. Saffy is so smart that the minute she hears me open that particular drawer where I have it stored, she races over and waits for the Red Bug to appear. Even Theseus did a bit of chasing, when I could get him a space free of the three crazed girls.

10 April 2006
Much of today was spent worrying about and taking action on the condition of the puppies in the house behind us. Some of you might remember that I posted about one of the puppies, a little female, that was being beaten up by the other 5 puppies. We intervened. Then one night, the owners left the little girl tied by a short leash to some stairs for about 12 hours, no shelter, no food or water that we could tell, they came home late at night, it's below freezing and THEY LEFT HER THERE. We finally went over around 10 pm and intervened again.

Well, these asshats have been gone for FOUR DAYS and have left the 6 puppies and father dog WITH NO FOOD, NO WATER AND NO CARE. Worse yet, the little female is tied to a short leash on the upper deck, so she's had to crap and pee in the small radius where she is. No one has been coming around to feed or water them. No one can get in the yard because Hercules, the father pit bull, will take your arm off. But the puppies are being starved. You can see their ribs and backbones. They are STARVING, and not just for the past few days. Given that there is no mother dog, it looks fairly certain (though we can't prove it) that these puppies are being bred to fight.

Plus Hercules BARKS ALL NIGHT. We've had precious little sleep for the past three nights. We are furious about the entire situation.

And so, it turns out, is one of my next door neighbors (who has three dogs and is a serious animal-lover like us). She's been talking to other neighbors and getting them to call Animal Control. It began when I called Patrice, who is a trained Humane Officer for this county, and got advice from her. She told me my neighbor had already called about this and has intervened to help the puppies a couple of times herself.

Phone calls were flying. Then I called Animal Control who said they were coming out this afternoon. I gave them an earful and told them to come see me, because you can only see the four skinniest puppies from our side, at the back of the other house. He did come by, was a great guy (loves dogs and has 3 Labs), but he was unable to do anything today because he couldn't enter the yard without injury from Hercules. While we were talking, it began to rain, so we moved to the porch and talked some more. At least with the rain, there's a chance for the puppies to get water into them.

He plans to return tomorrow with an assistant, so that one of them can deal with Hercules while the other feeds and waters the puppies, and puts up a 48 hour notice. If the people do not call by and prove they've changed the situation within 48 hours, the puppies can be rescued and taken away for adoption.

After he left, my neighbor gave me a couple large bowls of dog food which I dumped over the back fence for the four starving pups, who attacked it ravenously. I only regret I can't help the little female. I didn't feed Hercules or the other male pup that is in the larger part of the yard with him. They've been tearing apart bags of trash and have probably gotten something from that.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I want to rescue that little female. No, we can't really accomodate having a dog, but damn...she tears my heart out.

11 April 2006
The asshats came home around 9 pm last night, but did nothing for the puppies around the back. I saw the Animal Control officer show up this morning and talk to the man, but we had to leave, so I was unable to talk to the officer then. I've been checking on those puppies all day and I see no sign that they got either food or water!!! Damn it all. I've left a couple of messages for the officer and hope to talk to him tomorrow.

On the moggy front, things are the same. The young'uns are full of energy and bouncing off the walls. The old ones are hanging in. Querida will eat baby food by itself, but isn't interested if I mix it with other food.

12 April 2006
Jan. 1987 - 12 April 2006
mid-April 1991 - 12 April 2006
This day was looming inevitable and it came. Last night it became painfully obvious to me that both Querida and Knobby had reached the end. Knobby was having trouble with his back legs and could no longer walk properly. Querida had lost a devastating amount of weight and spent hours hunched at the water bowl with her chin resting on the edge of it. Knobby seemed to want water, yet couldn't or wouldn't drink. Neither one of them would touch food, not even baby food.

This morning I called my vet and took them to Bakersfield. You can imagine what sort of a day it's been for me. Querida, my Grand Old Dame, made it to 19, which is a good long life. Knobby made it to 15, give or take a few days.

Losing Querida is like losing a big chunk of my life. She was around for much of my marriage to my late husband and his death. As go the cats, so goes my past.

I've now lost the last of my blue-eyed cats. No more blue eyes in the Horde. And Knobby was the last of my tuxedos. Also, I suddenly no longer have any medicines to give out or worry about. That feels wrong, somehow.

Kate now becomes the Eldest at 15. Then Theseus who is approximately 12, though his age is quite vague. Tosca's 11, Diva's 10. The rest are considerably younger, so I'm hoping the number of the Horde stablizies for a time.

14 April 2006
I was too depressed yesterday to make an entry, and have been busy with work, so I must make this quick.

I've had an outpouring of condolences and sympathy, and I appreciate every bit of it. Thanks to everyone.

On Wed. afternoon, after I got home from the vet, I took a walk. I needed to clear my head. I saw that T. was home. T. owns The House That Is The Source Of All Cats, but she works in a city about 90 miles away and is rarely up here. Basically, the house has been turned over to the feral cats. A neighbor comes by and puts out food every day, the cats can come and go freely. Nice arrangement for the cats.

So I stopped by to visit with T., who is a terrific lady. She's managed to trap and neuter about 18 of the 30 adults, but the last batch are proving too cunning and elusive to catch. She was extremely happy to hear about the ones I managed to neuter. She was in the process of doing a kitten inventory. When I came in, she was in the kitchen on a stepladder. On the top shelf of the very highest cabinet in the kitchen, she found five kittens! Mama cat somehow got up there to have her litter (probably via the attic). She handed me a tiny ball of adorable fluff and I held it for about ten minutes. I can honestly say I had no desire to bring it home. That litter looks about 4-5 weeks old. She had a feral mama in an open carrier who was nursing three kittens about two weeks old. Bast only knows how many more she's found since. She has a good shelter in the city where she works that will take them, so she's going to be hauling all the kittens that are old enough to go back with her.

But none of the ferals live all that long around here. The coyotes know that this house is a source of snacks. It's well-fenced, but cats wander.

On the puppy front, I've had a couple of cordial talks with the neighbor who seems to harbor no anger about the visit from the Animal Control officer. If anything, the situation has improved. He left this weekend and took two puppies with him to new homes. Before he left, he dropped off bags of dog food so that I can toss it over the fence to the rest of the puppies while he's gone. It's an improvement.

I quit giving Puck the kitty valium. It was turning him into a sluggish, sleepy zombie and I hated it. He's bounced right back to his old puckish self, fully of mischief. I know I'll still have problems, but I like the Prince of Mischief much better than zombie cat.

15 April 2006
My life is filled with chaos and distraction, and it's all my bloody neighbor's fault. I went out this morning to feed the puppies. I went up to the fence and called them. They are usually there instantly, clamoring for food and attention. There was silence and emptiness. No puppies. Obviously, they had escaped the back enclosure. I called for them, hoping they were in the rest of the fenced yard with Hercules. No luck.

Randy and I stood in front of our house debating what to do. We can't go into the yard because of Hercules, but I wouldn't be able to feed the puppies if I couldn't get to them. I put the food in my old car, about to drive around to the front of the neighbor's house when I saw three happy puppies, tails wagging and ears flapping, prancing down the street. They came right up to us. With the additional enticement of food, they followed us into our yard and we put them into a smaller, well-fenced area that is immediately behind our bedroom and small back deck. We gave them plenty of food and water, then debated even longer over what to do.

The puppies have been frantically digging at the base of the fence, which borders the yard they know as home, and they've been chewing at holes in the fence. We're worried about the damage they may do. But we can't get them back into their own yard first because of Hercules, but also because they'll simply get out again. They can slip through a gap in the wire gate across the driveway. They have no collars or tags, so they're fair game for anybody if they're running around, not to mention the hazards of cars and coyotes. I checked on the fourth puppy (there were six, but the neighbor took two with him to go to new homes) and found that he was in the main part of the yard with Hercules and had no interest in coming over to me. I think he's slightly too big to squeeze through the gap, but since he seems intent on staying put, I'm not worrying about him.

So we figure we're stuck with the three until the neighbors get back on Sun. The next worry is that it's supposed to get below freezing tonight. There's no real shelter for the puppies, they're short-haired, and we can't do anything else with them (like put them inside). I started making phone calls. Lolette gave me the number of a woman who lives nearby who had a large dog igloo she wanted to give away. Our wonderful neighbor up the street took Randy and I over to the woman's house in his big pick-up and we brought the igloo here. The instant we set it under the deck, the puppies bounded into it and made it theirs.

They're the sweetest puppies, desperate for love. We think they have a serious case of worms. We can see their ribs and bones, but they have huge distended, hard bellies. I'll bet the nitwits didn't worm them properly. I've called the direct number for the AC officer and left him a loooong detailed message about all of these events and my opinion about the puppies' condition. Unfortunately, I know he won't get the message until Mon. at the earliest.

Pippin and Opal were fascinated by the puppies, of course. They've never seen a dog or puppy before, so they have no fear. Pippin even pawed at the glass.

I was going to my office when I saw Gizmo, one of my other neighbor's sweet black cats. He was a bit freaked out by the puppy sounds. As I opened the door, Puck shot out, went INFLATE! and immediately chased Gizmo out of the yard. I quickly caught Puck and put him back inside. Poor Gizmo.

Zoe and Kate had a smellathon when I sat down. I had puppy smell all over me. They were fascinated. I'm waiting for them to accuse me of two-timing them.

16 April 2006
It's 10:25 pm. The neighbors got home about 15 minutes ago and have yet to come over and inquire about their puppies. Have they even noticed they're gone?

Between the father dog barking all night and the puppies having a short yip session early in the morning, we haven't had much sleep. We put out three good-sized bowls of water, but they were dry by morning. The first thing Randy did after we got up was to get water to the puppies. They drank and drank and drank. Here's what the sweet things look like:
pit bull puppies
Diva came around and gave me a good talking to about how she wasn't getting enough attention lately, so I brushed her and petted her up. Looking at the condition of her coat and eyes, I can see it's time to start giving her Lysine again. My few free days of no pills to give are over.

17 April 2006
I'm glad I found that igloo for the puppies because it got unexpectedly cold last night and we woke to a smidgen of snow, though it was soon gone. As the morning rolled on and the neighbors did nothing to contact us, I decided to call Animal Control again. I talked to an officer at length about my liabilities, what I was responsible for vs. what the owners are responsible for, the condition of the puppies, etc. The officer who was up here before wrote in his report that he judged the condition of the puppies to be normal. Well, what the hell do I know?

At any rate, because I had made prior arrangements with the neighbor to feed the puppies, I couldn't claim them as simply "found", and I needed to make what he called "reasonable attempts" to get in touch with the owners. Since I don't know their last name and don't have a phone number and can't go into the yard, that limits my options. He suggested leaving a note on their gate.

I wrote up a simple note explaining how I came to have the puppies here and ended by saying that if I didn't hear from them by tomorrow, I'd take the pups to a rescue shelter. I walked around to the house where I saw some kids outside and one of them took the note into the house. I walked home and about five minutes later, the kids were on my porch ready to take the puppies back. We handed the puppies over the back fence to the man one by one. I chatted with him a little bit and he claims the puppies are getting a series of three shots for worms. I hope he's telling the truth.

So the puppies are gone, to my mixed sense of relief and frustration. I can get back to concentrating on work and my own moggies. But we're keeping the igloo in the back yard...just in case. Meanwhile, the puppies have been fighting and making a lot of noise right outside my office window. Sigh...

18 April 2006
Happy arbitrary unofficial birthday to Kate! A grand old lady of 15. Though she's lost some weight recently, she seems to be doing fine and is eating well. She needed to lose some weight as it was.

Puck has been raising hell and is back to his old tricks. He just jumped Theseus after harassing him a bit first. I intervened during the initial harassment, but the minute I put Puck back on the floor, he went after Theseus. I know what I need in my life. I need a water squirter!!! I'll squirt his mischievous brains out.

Knowing Puck, he'll probably just learn to ignore it.

How many black cats can squeeze into one catbed? Tosca, Jetta and Diva find the answer to that.
Tosca, Jetta & Diva

19 April 2006
Puck is driving me INSANE. It's like he's trying to make up for all those days I had him on tranks by outdoing himself in the chaos department. He's been chasing cats, starting fights and generally behaving badly.

The moggies knocked down the box of styrofoam peanuts yet again, and since I had taped it up too well, they simply tore a hole in it to get at the peanuts. There weren't as many to clean up this time, but they were more shredded which made for more small bits to pick up. Do you think I've been hit over the head enough times with the clue bat? As in, get rid of the peanuts already?

Bast has it in for me.

20 April 2006
Jetta's been helping me type by hanging over the monitor so I can't see anything. She got offended when I kept moving her front legs, so she sat up, turned around and draped her tail down the center of the screen.

Puck continued with the mischief today, but then what did I expect? Even as I typed that sentence, I caught sight of him in my peripheral vision and realized he was about to pounce on Theseus, who was using the catbox. I gave out a stern "PUCK!" which in turn set off a cat grenade. Even Theseus ran. Everybody but Puck ran. Puck has been giving Theseus a hard time the past few days. When I thought about it, I realized that I'm down to only two male cats in the office Horde - Puck and Theseus. Other than Pippin in the house, the entire rest of the Horde is now female.

Maybe Puck thinks they're his harem. {g}

21 April 2006
The people behind us went away nearly all day and left the puppies without a drop of water. All they have for a "water bowl" is an overturned lid from a large plastic container. I dragged my hose over to the fence and filled it as best I could. I also had another chat with the AC officer, who I think had a chat with them by phone. At any rate, they suddenly remembered to feed the puppies after I made that phone call.

After lunch and my walk, I stopped off to chat with T. again at the House That Is The Source Of All Cats. She's every bit as annoyed about the neighbor with the puppies as we are. The kittens that were in the high cabinet are gone, so she has to explore her attic and figure out where they went. I offered to help her with some trapping when she gets back up here on her next trip.

Zoe took lessons from Jetta and perched on the monitor, hanging her paws down on the screen. But she's a heavier girl than Jetta! She was making my monitor rock. Luckily she got down and is in my lap, a much safer place for her to be.

Opal and Pippin have been complete lunatics lately, racing around the house at lightspeed, up and down the stairs, bouncing off the furniture. They launch with such force off the top of the cat furniture that it rocks violently. The other night, I swear, it almost fell right over. I expect that to happen any time now.

22 April 2006
Poor Randy. When I came into the house for lunch, he showed me his bloodied arm. He had a long, ragged scratch on his forearm, along with smaller scratches and some puncture wounds. While he was washing dishes this morning, Pippin decided to jump onto the top of the stove. There was a large skillet full of soapy water left to soak on the stove. When Randy went to pick up Pippin to remove him from the stovetop, Pippin latched onto a small handle on the skillet. Randy didn't realize this until he lifted Pippin and the skillet started to come along. But of course Pippin then let go. The skillet CRASHED back onto the stove top and Pippin went ballistic in the kind of mindless panic attacks that cats can do so well. Hence the blood and war wounds on hapless human.

24 April 2006
Pippin and Opal sat by the glass doors in the bedroom where they did a chatter duet at the birds. Pippin doesn't only chatter, he also makes meowy moans. They are frustrated moggies.

Our water company up here is completely inept. We received a notice that our side of town would have no water all day while they dug up and replaced some pipes. So last night we filled the bathtub with water to have water for flushing the toilet. As usual, the water company failed to do what it said, the water was never turned off, but we've left the water in the tub as a precaution. They'll probably do it tomorrow or some other annoying time. Anyway, a moggy whose name probably begins with Opal decided the bathtub needed to have toys in it, which is why I came into the bathroom and found three rubber frogs and a rubber duck floating in the tub. Pippin thinks the toys are fascinating, but fortunately isn't inclined to go for a swim.

26 April 2006
Opal was the one who nearly took a swim. We were sitting at dinner when we heard SPLUNK! Opal raced out of the bathroom and proceeded to lick her wet hind leg. I figure she was playing with the floating toys and half slipped into the water. I let the water out of the tub after that.

I had Zoe nestled in my lap last night as I was trying to log in and do some online banking. Each time I tried to enter my password, Zoe would move around and I'd mess up. After several times of messing up, the site decided I was a would-be hacker and wouldn't let me in! I had to call customer service today and get it cleared up. Ah, cats... ;)

27 April 2006
There was some sort of chaos and mayhem afoot in my office overnight. When I came in, I found my keyboard in two pieces on the floor (luckily not broken, the other piece snaps back on) with the mouse and Rubbermaid cover also on the floor, along with some of my papers. And they overturned the large tub that holds the dry food. I demanded to know who was responsible and received many innocent looks and no confessions.
Zoe's butt.

29 April 2006
I've been finding scabs and minor hurts on Diva's head and neck area. I suspect that it's from Puck giving her a hard time when I'm not around to protect her.

I turned around and found Ariel lying not far behind me on a pile of clothes and old towels that some moggy had conveniently knocked off a shelf and onto the floor. Of course, she had to leave once she'd been spotted.
And then there's Saffy being cute.

1 May 2006
Happy unofficial Birthday to Zoe! She is now one year old, but as much of a kitten as ever. I was scanning a huge stack of documents yesterday, which meant having to grab a piece of paper from a pile, put it in the scanner, remove it from scanner and put it into the completed pile. Zoe just wanted top play fetch. It became a pattern of throw toy, pick up paper, put in scanner, Zoe returns with toy, throw toy, scan document, throw toy, remove paper from scanner and put in new page, throw toy...etc. She's such delightful, bouncing bit of furry joy that I don't really mind.

Ah, Ariel is curled up in a cat bed right behind me. As a good friend said in email yesterday, "Ariel is slowly sneaking up on you." {g}

2 May 2006
Zoe went crazy over my hair today. She has the same Pantene-obsession that Puck does. There's something myterious in that shampoo.

Theseus' fur has reached that concrete mat stage again where no comb or brush in the known universe is of any use. I fear about the only solution when it gets like is plain old scissors. Just cut it off. He looks grotty for a while afterwards, but it's either that or the Dreadlocks from Hell.

4 May 2006
Puck was having fits about getting outside this morning. I couldn't blame him as it was a gorgeous morning -- sunny and warm, but with the perfect touch of coolness. Randy was doing a spot of yardwork, so it seemed like a good opportunity to let Puck have some time in the great outdoors (or rather minor outdoors, in this case). I stayed out there with them and spent ten or fifteen minutes pulling weeds. The weeds are already rampant.

Puck was in heaven. Dirt baths! Grass to eat! He was very good about staying in the yard and close to us. Then it happened. Exactly the thing we were afraid of. We're the second home to Salem and Gizmo, our neighbor's black cats (both fixed males) and they hang out on our front porch much of the time. Puck spotted Salem on the porch and in a heartbeat he raced forward and attacked. They went at it with fur flying everywhere. It's impossible to handle Puck at all when he's in that state, so I wasn't having much luck breaking it up. Finally Salem sprinted across the yard, over the fence, across the road to home. Puck, thank Bast, stopped at the fence. Then he retreated under the front porch. We had to let him calm down for a while before he was safe to handle again. Once he had calmed down and come out on his own, I took him back into the office, making sure he didn't turn around and attack another cat as soon as he got there.

I checked him over thoroughly a short time later, looking for bite or claw marks that could cause an abscess. He purred like a diesel engine. This is a cat that never purrs. At least, not audibly. Sometimes you can feel a purr deep inside, but not that you can hear. This was the loudest purr I've ever heard from him.

So let me get this straight -- to get an audible purr out of Puck, I have to let him beat up another cat. Yeah, right.

Getting back to Salem and Gizmo, I got disturbing news this afternoon. These neighbors are being evicted and have to be out by Mon. It's bad enough that they have three young kids being evicted with them, but then there are the animals. They have a huge Great Dane puppy not yet a year old, four outside cats and at least one inside cat. We love Salem and Gizmo. They're sweet, affectionate cats that we've been feeding and petting for the past couple of years. Her older cat, Duncan, and a tabby with a malformed paw named Tom are also very nice cats who visit us from time to time. I'm worried about what will happen to their cats. Since they're already outside cats, we could continue to feed them and take care of them, but I'm equally worried about taking on the extra responsibility.

Salem was on the porch when I came out to my office this evening. He wanted lots and lots of attention, which I gave him. He isn't hurt, I'm happy to say. He stayed underfoot up to my office door. "You wouldn't want to go in there!" I warned him. Puck must have had a bad experience with a black cat when he was a kitten, because he has a nasty attitude toward black cats now. If it weren't for that, I'd seriously consider letting Salem and Gizmo inside to join the Horde.

What a sucky situation.

6 May 2006
The crazy neighbors are moving out. Poor Salem has been desperate for attention. He even let me pick him up and cuddle him today, for the first time. I haven't seen any sign of Gizmo or her other cats. The poor Dane puppy is utterly ignored. People like that have no business having animals. I could just go over and ask the woman what she intends to do about her animals, but she becomes irrational and unpleasant at the drop of a whisker, so I prefer to avoid her.

Opal and Sapphire are losing interest in playing fetch. They still do a bit here and there, but not with the enthusiasm of a kitten.

I did a huge amount of cleaning up the papers on my desk, which meant a lot of filing afterwards. I was heaving the heavy file drawers open and shut before I stopped to think about Ariel, who spends most of her time in a box on top of the filing cabinet. It's her bed and hideout. I looked up there and she was squinting madly at me, a sure sign that she was stressed out about the noise and movement, not to mention having a human being way too close to her. She took off a minute later and hid somewhere else. But now she's happily curled up in a cat bed off to my right, not all that far away, so it couldn't have too traumatic.

7 May 2006
The neighbors have to be out by tomorrow and I hear through the grapevine that their stuff is going into storage and they'll probably be living in a motel until they find a new place. I can't see any motel accepting a Great Dane and four cats. The woman is so crazy that nobody can deal with her right now, so I have no idea what will happen to the lovely animals. Will she simply abandon them?

I'm in regular contact with the neighbor to one side of us who is a serious dog lover (she has three) and we've agreed that if the Dane, who is tethered, is left there tomorrow, we will have to take some kind of action. She can't tell whether the poor thing has been fed for the past few days. The cats are able to come here for food, so they're less of a worry. I have to say, I'm growing heartily sick of having to worry about other people's pets.

Zoe is perched on the monitor staring at invisible Zweerdles in the air above her. Zweerdles are those little invisible things flittering in the air that only cats can see.

8 May 2006
Laboring under a heavy deadline, so this must be quick. Evidently the owners of the house across from us were deadly serious about the neighbors being out. At 10:30 am, the owners showed up with two Sheriff's deputies, but the neighbors had pulled away with an apparently final truckload a half hour earlier. I told the owners about the cats and that we would take care of them. They seemed fine with that.

The dog, I noticed, was gone. But it looks like we've inherited Salem, Gizmo and Duncan. I haven't seen Tom, the limping tabby, for a while now, so I don't know whether he's still around. Salem has been sticking close to us and soaking up every bit of affection he can get.

I last saw Duncan, the older black and white cat, this morning. I'm hoping he shows up for food soon. Poor little Gizmo was hanging out at their front door, lost and alone. I set up the Cave and brought him over. He wasn't at all happy about being brought inside with a bunch of new cats. There was growing and hissing. The other cats are circling the Cave at some distance, going "what the hell?" I have no idea whether Gizmo can be absorbed into the Horde. I can but try. If not, he becomes an outdoor at again.

9 May 2006
Working late, exhausted, so quick update. One of the neighbors spotted Duncan, the older white and black cat, so he's around. I've gone looking for him a couple of times and keep calling him, but I haven't seen him yet. He's friendly, but shy.

Randy said Tom the Limping Tabby (he has a deformed front paw) came around for food last night. Tom is very friendly, but quite independent, so I'm not worrying about him too much.

Salem is becoming a real lover-boy. Randy can even get him to drool!

In the house, Pippin has taken to perching in the front window to watch Salem.

I got into the Cave a couple of times today to comfort Gizmo, who is hiding in the deepest, darkest corner and is not a happy camper. Late this afternoon, I went to give him a scratch under the chin and discovered he has an injury there. It looks like he must have been in a fight in the past couple of days and has bites under his chin. I got out the cotton balls, peroxide & water solution and the Neosporin. He let me know when it hurt, and it did, but he didn't try to do anything about it. He was a very good boy. I cleaned it up and put on the Neosporin. Poor little guy. No wonder he's in such a bad mood. I don't think it will abscess, thank Bast.

The other moggies wander over to the Cave occasionally, get hissed at, look confused and wander off.

10 May 2006
I haven't seen Duncan at all since he was abandoned, though my next door neighbor said she saw him. I really hope he comes around for food. I've petted him in the past, but not any time recently.

This morning I heard a cat fight, so I ran outside and had to rescue Salem from Tom. Tom had him cornered. He ran off when I came up. Tom may have a deformed paw, but he's still a tough guy. It doesn't slow him down one bit. Salem then ran back to the house with me. We're slowly drawing him into a closer orbit. Tom, however, may end up going his own way. I don't think there's much we can do with him.

Gizmo is not calming down much. He continues to growl, snarl, hiss and bat at the other cats through a hole in the Cave if they get too close. He sure loved getting a bit of canned food tonight, though. He inhaled it. He's eating well now and has finally used the cat box. I took off his collar, which had a large annoying tag (the info on which is defunct), so that the wounds under his chin wouldn't be aggravated and could heal better.

Not sure whether I mentioned it before, but Gizmo is young. I think he's barely two years old at best, so he should have enough time to calm down. I hope.

The other cats don't get what Gizmo's problem is. They're perplexed and agitated. I've had a couple of Cat Grenades go off just because they're all so twitchy at the moment.

11 May 2006
I had a nice love session with Gizmo, who is a sweet, affectionate cat. He rolled onto his back so I could scritch his belly and he purred a little. When he was an outdoors cat, he was the friendliest of the bunch, always ready to be petted, unlike Salem who is extremely skittish. Gizmo continues with the hissing, but I think there was slightly less of it today.

After two days with no sign of Duncan, he finally showed up across the street late this afternoon. I grabbed some chicken scraps and a cat carrier and went over there hoping to catch him. He wouldn't let me get close, nor did he show interest in the chicken. He finally got tired of me and wandered to the next house down the street, where he may be hanging out.

About fifteen minutes later, he was back at the old house. I took over some dry food to try again. Salem showed up. Then Tom and Harley showed up. I haven't mentioned her other cat, Harley, because my dog lady neighbor (who seems to know every bit of gossip about the neighborhood) said Harley had gone off and adopted some other people. I was relieved to hear that because there's no way I could take in Harley. He's a gorgeous cat. I think his crazy owner said he was an F2 Bengal or something like that. At any rate, he's huge. And dominant. With the rest of the cats showing up, I was unable once again to get near Duncan. He seems okay, though rather dirty. I'd still like to catch him and let him be an indoor cat. Based on what the crazy owner told me, he must be around 13 and that's getting up there. What I probably should do is go to that house where Harley and Duncan seem to be hanging out and find out whether the people there have adopted them.

My other next door neighbor came by this morning when she heard me calling for Salem and Duncan. She wondered if one of the cats I was looking for was orange because an orange cat was just killed by a car down the street. The crazy neighbor did have an indoor orange cat called Nugget. My dog lady neighbor said that Nugget got out and ran away. I don't know any more than that, but it's a possibility that it was Nugget who was killed. Sigh...

The crazy neighbors also had two enormous Great Dane puppies (about 8-9 months old now) and one of them escaped from the yard and was killed by a car only a week or so ago. Obviously, responsibility for animals was not their strong suit.

12 May 2006
I was very pleased to see Duncan on our porch eating late last night when I came into the house from my office. He ran off when I approached, but at least he knows the food and water is there.

On less happy news, the crazoids returned to haul a bunch more stuff they'd left behind in the garage, with the manager of the property standing watch. Randy said the male half was trying to catch Salem. We don't know whether he succeeded, but we haven't seen Salem since. I'm not at all happy and Randy is even more upset, because he was building such a nice relationship with Salem. It's now hours later with no sign of Salem, so we must assume he's been taken away.

14 May 2006
Very sad that Salem is no longer around. I hope they take good care of him. We haven't seen Duncan either, so we don't know whether he's still here.

Bowie is back!!! He's the feral that we trapped and neutered, who has the blue eye and gold eye. Long haired orange and white cat. We didn't see him all winter and all spring until finally today he showed up again today. We also got a visit the other night from Smokey, the Siamese feral we TNR. Spring is bringing them back out, it would seem.

I decided to let Gizmo out of the Cave today. I left the door open this morning, so he could come out when he was ready. He didn't wait long. He began cautiously to explore, with the occasional hiss. As I feared, within five mintues Puck jumped him and was chasing him around the office. I broke that up quickly as Gizmo went into hiding. Then I gave Puck a trank and let him mellow out for the rest of the day. That worked pretty well. Gizmo explored much of the office, though he avoided the other cats and they avoided him. Gizmo answered me when I called him to check on him during the day. He talks. He likes to give head butts, too. I think I'll let him spend the nights in the Cave until I'm sure there won't be too many fights going on when I'm not here to mediate.

Gizmo on his first day out, looking more wicked than usual.

Tosca wondering what is up with this hissy black guy.

15 May 2006
There's a new wrinkle in the neighbor cat situation. They didn't actually go off and abandon the cats. They've been coming back to get them and have now taken Salem, Duncan and Tom to whatever new home they have. And they're looking for Gizmo (as I heard from a neighbor), though why the hell they haven't come to see me is a mystery. If there's anyone they should have come to, it would be me, yet they haven't come by or said a word. Salem and Gizmo practically lived in my yard. They know we petted them, fed them and enjoyed their company. Wouldn't it be logical to inquire here first?

Which places me in an ethical quandry. I don't have the right to hold onto a cat that belongs to someone else when they're making an honest effort to find him. I don't know how to contact them, either. All I can do at this point is wait and see if they show up here again.

Meanwhile, Gizmo has been doing fine. I let him out of the Cave first thing this morning and he's been napping in the same spot on top of some boxes. He continues to avoid or hiss at the other cats. I've managed to keep Puck away from him, so things have been quiet. At the moment, he's exploring the communal food bowls, which is rather brave of him. He hissed at Kate, silly boy. Kate, most harmless of moggies.

16 May 2006
Gizmo has gone home with his people. They came by again today and definitely wanted him back, so amidst much pleasantry and many thanks for taking care of him, off he went. He's rejoining the rest of his familiar cat family, so it may be for the better. He wasn't all that thrilled about my cats.

Opal is such a burrower. Maybe it's a tortie thing. She did just what Nefreet used to do and burrowed under the green blanket on the bed. She'll burrow under the extra pillows on the sofa, and she'll burrow into Randy's back. Such a funny girl.

17 May 2006
I have to admit, the rest of my moggies are a great deal more relaxed and happy with Gizmo gone. Let's see, currently I have Puck to my left, Zoe in my lap, Kate across the top of the keyboard and Tosca to the right of the keyboard. Earlier, Puck decided that one of the keys was made of catnip and wanted to make love to it or eat it, he couldn't decide which.

Bowie is coming by regularly again. It may be pure coincidence, but he only started showing up again after the neighbor's cats were gone.

18 May 2006
Pippin and Jetta are not much alike in temperament, and only similar in coloring (black with hints of white), but they both inherited the paper-eating gene. Pippin loves to play in cardboard boxes which he then tears apart in bite-sized pieces. Jetta has a taste for paper of any kind -- the papers on my desk, my file folders, cardboard boxes...she's an office menace!

We were visited by a new feral last night, a young tabby. I'm guessing six to eight months old. He/she has a beautiful face, quite elegant, that reminds me of Zoe. I was coming into the house around 11 pm from my office, noticed the outside bowl was empty and knelt down to add some food when I saw the feral. He was only about five feet away near the corner of the porch and didn't run off. After he ate, Randy went onto the porch and talked to him and he tolerated that, so he's fairly bold. With luck he'll keep coming by and we can nab him to be fixed.

We had a brief and unexpected thunderstorm pass through our valley this afternoon, bringing rain, thunder and lightning. It was delightful and cooled down the day. The moglets, however, were not happy. They hadn't experienced thunder before and they weren't sure they liked it at all.

19 May 2006
Theseus' fur is totally out of control again. It's a hideous, matted mess beyond the help of any comb or brush. And his butt is...I will spare you the description, but he stinks. I must break out the scissors and see what I can do. I actually had it under control for a while there. Sigh...

It appears Saffy has inherited the paper-eating gene as well. I found her sitting inside a cardboard box tearing off bite-sized chunks from the edges.

We saw Smokey the Siamese and Bowie this afternoon. The outside food is disappearing rapidly, so I'd say our ferals are coming around on a regular basis now. We haven't seen the lovely tabby again though.

20 May 2006
I tortured poor Theseus today, though he did his share of torturing, too. I knew this would be difficult, so I gave him a trank ahead of time. It didn't help much. I cut off the worst of the matted hair with scissors, then I got out the heavy-duty shaver. Trying to hold onto him is a feat. With most cats, there's plenty of loose skin at the back of the neck where you can get a good grip. Not Theseus. He's so grossly fat, it's nearly impossible to get a grip on anything. It's like he has no neck. I managed to get a good portion of him shaved and some of the worst stuff off his butt area, but there is more yet to do. I'll have to work on him again tomorrow. He got very pissed off toward the end, so I want to give him time to cool off.

I was also hissed at by Ariel. She was in the box she likes to sleep in and I pushed a bit too hard on trying to reach in and pet her. She let me know it in no uncertain terms. Touch me and die, human!

At least the rest of my moggies are sweet and adorable, though Puck kept trying to push the keyboard into my lap while I was playing an on-line game.

21 May 2006
Zoe wanted an extended play session of Fetch the Fishie which would have been fine, but she discovered she could bat the fishie beneath the plastic filing box that holds my monitor. The box has feet so that it sits an inch off the desk. This meant that Zoe had to sprawl her body across my keyboard to go reaching for the fishie she had just batted out of reach. This in turn meant my keyboard was pushed into my lap over and over again. She gets away with this because she is so blasted cute.

I didn't get a chance to finish the Great Denuding job on Theseus. It's probably better to give him more time to decompress anyway. Here's how he looks at the moment, with half his back shaved.


22 May 2006
As I was driving up to my house, I saw a cat that was almost a twin of Sapphire. Extremely similar tortie markings and somewhat similar in shape and size. I figure if it wasn't her mother, it's a half-sister.

Speaking of Saffy, she just finished a long session in my lap. When she vacated a minute ago, Zoe moved in and has her chin resting on my right arm, apparently unfazed by her head being constantly jiggled as I type.

Randy was a happy, happy man earlier this evening when both Opal and Pippin climbed into his lap. They rarely do that any more, preferring that only one of them have the entire lap rather than sharing.

26 May 2006
I'm in major crunch mode finishing up a large, complex book project, so I haven't had time to write about moggies. They're all fine and dandy and keeping us entertained. Puck has had a few too many Naughty Moments when he was picking on Ariel or Saffy or Diva or whoever. I haven't found the time to finish the Theseus Shearing Epic, but I definitely need to.

27 May 2006
Bast has decreed I shall never go very long without acquiring another cat. It was early twilight, around 8 pm. I was watching the big orange and white feral, Bowie, through the front window as he came by for his evening meal. I saw him react to something, then hiss at what had to be another cat coming around the corner of the porch.

I went outside to maintain law and order. I saw a sweet little gray face peer around the corner. Bowie ran off. A small, fluffy silver-gray cat with yellow eyes immediately ran right up to me and demanded love. I petted him up and showed him to the food, then called for Randy. The gray boy (as I determined he was) was extremely hungry, but he wasn't the least bit bothered by Randy and me petting him as he ate. This is clearly a very tame cat, not at all feral. He's not terribly skinny, so if he's lost, it hasn't been for too long. He does have some grass and seeds stuck in his fluffy tail. His fur is exquisitely soft.

We're having a cold snap, so we decided we'd better hold onto him in case he didn't return. I don't know how well a cat this tame could fend for himself, plus he seems rather young. I'm guessing maybe 8-10 months, since he's still pretty small. Or he could just be a small cat.

He was totally relaxed when I picked him up and carried him to the office. He's not thrilled about being in the Cave. There's been a growl-fest going on. After about 20 minutes, he somehow got out and I had spats breaking out. I was able to catch him and pick him up with no trouble, further indicating how tame he is. He's back in the Cave with the narrow slot on the side blocked up, which is the only way I can figure he escaped.

I'm hoping he has people who are looking for him. I put the word out to Lolette and a few other local pet rescue people in case they get inquiries. I'll keep an eye out around the neighborhood and make some inquiries myself. He sure is a sweetheart.

28 May 2006
The gray boy is settling in very nicely. I don't think I heard a single growl all day. But I'm wary of letting him out until he's been checked by a vet and had shots, which I don't want to do until I determine whether anyone's looking for him. The problem is, I hate to keep him cooped up for that long. Such a conundrum. He seems healthy enough, other than few nicks around the neck and shoulder area, most likely from having to fight off the neighborhood cats.

He sure is a sweetheart. He talks to me and he rolls over happily to let me rub his belly. He's such an affectionate cat, which means he must have been treated well prior to this. Tomorrow I need to get out, pick up a local paper and check the local store for "lost cat" posters and so on. I should also put up a "found cat" poster, come to think of it.

29 May 2006
I'm a softie. We all know that by now. I let Gray Guy out to roam around the office at will during the day. He explored the back half of the office, but Jetta gave him such a hard time that he went into hiding. What cracks me up is how reactionary cats become when they're in a tiff. Theseus was bent out of shape over the Gray Guy, so what does he do? He turns around and launches into a fist fight with Puck. Amazingly, Puck has caused the least trouble with the new boy so far.

After a short period of hiding, Gray Guy explored some more, after which he retreated to the Cave to sleep off the afternoon. There continue to be minor hissy fits and the occasional growl from the other moggies and from him, but nothing serious.

He relaxed enough during the day to let me comb the rest of the stickers out of his tail. I got him to play with a cat toy on a string. He's been exploring my side of the office tonight. At the moment, he's gotten up on my desk and is checking it out.y777777777777

Ah, he just walked on the keyboard. Now Jetta and he are having a little face-off. I'll bet it won't take more than a couple of days before they're playing together.

30 May 2006
The settling-in process continues. Theseus is being rather hissy about the Gray Guy. Zoe touched noses with him once, but remains shy of him. I gave GG and the rest of the Horde some canned food. He didn't seem to recognize what it was. He had to think about it for a few minutes before he decided to try eating it. He wandered around the office crying plaintively tonight, maybe feeling a bit lost. I petted him up and reassured him.

When I went out to do errands after lunch, I put up a few notices around town for a found cat. I didn't give a description, though, because whoever calls will have to give me the description. I'm not giving this little guy up to anyone unless I'm absolutely convinced it's his person.

I'm not entirely surprised to say that one of my ex-neighbor's cats has shown up at our house again. It's Tom the Limping Tabby. That leaves two possibilities. One is that the ex-neighbor lied and didn't take him with her. But I checked around with a couple of other neighbors, one of whom feeds cats, and they haven't seen him around. Or he may have come all the way back on his own. That would be quite a distance for a cat with a bad paw. As the crow flies, maybe only four miles, but in terms of the real terrain it's difficult and dangerous. He looked to be in good condition. At any rate, he's welcome to stay. I don't know how to get in touch with the ex-neighbor and damned if I'm going to bother trying.

31 May 2006

The cats are driving me crazy. Gray Guy spent the morning wandering because he's getting bolder. This lead to numerous run-ins with my other moggies who are still being pissy. GG wanted to follow Saffy and Jetta around, but they weren't having any part of it. He would wail and wail and wail. I thought at first he was frustrated because he wanted to play and they wouldn't play with him. He's been getting more playful. But on second thought, I suspect it has nothing to do with playing. I think he's horny. And he'll get no joy from this pack of females.

The bad news -- he sprays. I caught him spraying this morning. I was really, really, really happy that I no longer had males that sprayed. Knobby was the last problem sprayer I had. It's been so nice not to have stinky pieces of cardboard around as shields and not having to worry about protecting the bookshelves and filing cabinets.

So if GG stays, he gets fixed plenty quick. Not that getting fixed is any guarantee to stop the spraying, but I don't want my other males to get bad ideas because of him.

There's more talking and wailing and little spats tonight. I'm locking him up in the Cave at night as a precaution. He likes it in there anyway and oftens goes in there to sleep on the pillow during the day. GG and Jetta are chirping at one another now, having some sort of get-acquainted discussion. No more peace for me for the immediate future.

1 June 2006
Gray Guy is definitely settling in. Things are calmer today. He likes to give head butts and he'll present his head to Puck or other cats, seeking acceptance. So far, Theseus and Saffy are being the nastiest.

But I think he mainly has hopeless lust for Jetta. He keeps wailing and wandering around after her. He also came and visited my lap while I was playing an on-line game. Lying down on my mouse when I'm in the middle of battle is not helpful. {g}

3 June 2006
I guess it's time to start thinking of a name for Gray Guy. No one has called and I have a hunch no one will. I haven't locked him in the Cave for the past couple of nights and his integration into the Horde is going just fine. I haven't seen actual play break out with the younger cats, but I'm betting it will happen.

By Bast, he is a talker. He talks and talks and wails and wails. He hasn't told me his name so far, but I'm almost tempted to name him Pavarotti. Almost.

4 June 2006
I was holding Opal in my arms last night when she decided to launch herself away from me so she walk on Randy's back. He was bending over to put Pippin onto the floor and his back was too great an allure. However, the act of launching herself left a two inch scratch down my left boob. Yowtch.

Darling Diva choose the single most inconvenient place she could possibly find to throw up -- down the front of the wire mesh of the folded-up cat cage. You can imagine how much fun that was to clean up.

Gray Guy tried to get out the door. He wants out. No such luck.

One of the cats must have danced on just the right combo of keys this afternoon to change a setting in Word that had me baffled for quite some time. I finally tracked down a tech site that had the fix. I've lost count of how many times I've had to figure out how to undo some random thing a moggy has done to my programs.

6 June 2006
Someone finally called today looking for a lost cat. And she was looking for a lost gray cat. Sadly, it was not this one. I hope her cat shows up. Meanwhile, Gray Guy is getting along fine, but continues to wander the office periodically wailing and crying about his state of affairs. "But WHY can't I go out?" seems to be the gist of it.

I saw a couple of ants on my desk tonight. The spring/summer ant invasions have begun. I went over to check and sure enough, they'd invaded one of the cat bowls. I tracked them to where they were getting in and zapped them with ant spray.

I'm not sure, but I think Kate may have lost more weight. I must haul out the lovely weight scale that was so kindly donated and start tracking her weight.

7 June 2006
Okay, forget the opera part. Gray Guy is not a singer, he's a complainer. "But WHY can't I got out? WHY can't I go out? WHY can't I go out? WHY is the rum gone?" On and on. And I caught him spraying a wall last night. Who knows how much spraying he's doing that I don't catch.

Therefore early tomorrow morning, he goes to Lolette at Cause4Cats and pays a visit to her vet to have his gonads removed. By the way, Lolette's having a tough time right now. Her husband broke his ankle, so she's had to take time off work to care for both him and all the cats. If anyone can spare a donation in her direction, it would be a great kindness. There's a link down the page on the left. Thanks.

8 June 2006
I had to get up much earlier than usual to take Gray Guy to Lolette's. I'd locked him in the cave overnight without food and water, as you're supposed to do. The little bugger managed to get out! I had a heavy container up against the gate, but to my amazement, he'd budged it enough to squeeze out.

When I arrived, poor Lolette was exhausted. One of her volunteers failed to show up, so she had been up all night taking care of cats. No sleep, but she was heading off to the vet's with a van full of moggies. I offered to spend an hour there on whatever task she needed. She set me to work on one small room that is stacked floor to ceiling with kittens. When I arrived, she had 83 kittens!!!

While I was there, that went up to 88 when a woman showed up with a box of five kittens whose feral mother had apparently disappeared. I set up a cage for them with box, food, water and towel. The tiniest one was a little gray and white girl. Every time Russ and I turned around, she was out of the cage! I kept having to find and catch her, then she'd get out again. We started calling her Harriet Houdini. It was hysterical. We realized she was simply squeezing her tiny self through the bars of the cage. In the end, we had to put her inside a large carrier. She was so pissed off! What a character she's going to be.

I ended up working there for three hours to get the one room done, which was only about a third of the total kitten population. This isn't counting the 150 cats. I dumped out and replaced catbox litter, played with kittens, replaced water bowls, played with kittens, replenished food, played with kitten, petted momma cat (the one tame one), etc. This totally adorable, tiny Siamese kitten kept climbing up my leg.

When I got home, I had to immediately dump my clothes in the laundry and take a shower, before Randy's allergies took a serious hit.

So once again, if anyone can spare a donation for Cause4Cats, that would be great. Please use the Cause4Cats link further down the page on the left. It's easier to have the donations go straight to her. Thanks much.

9 June 2006
I picked up Gray Guy this afternoon. He was pretty unhappy about the whole situation, poor little fella. The first thing he did upon getting home was to eat, then he napped for the rest of the day and into the evening. He's complained a few times, but otherwise seems glad to be back. I'll post pictures soon, I promise.

I've put new Paypal links on the Cause4Cats pages temporarily so that the donations will come to me and I can forward them to Lolette, until she gets things straightened out on her end.

Tom the Limping Tabby has been coming around regularly for food. He wants petting and attention as much as he wants food. In fact, he wants petting and attention while he eats food. We give him as much petting as we can. I wish I had the kind of money it would take to get surgery on his deformed paw and see if it could be improved for him, but frankly, if I had the money, I'd be taking care of Theseus first. He's had a large, benign cyst in the corner of his mouth for years and I haven't been able to afford the surgery to have it removed. We do what we can.

Bowie is coming around every day and usually two or three times a day for his meals. Smokey the beautiful feral Siamese is showing up regularly now, as is the tabby we TNR'd last year. I looked out the kitchen window this morning in time to see Smokey perched stone-still on the edge of the birdbath where he had been getting a drink. He was entirely fixated on something. I followed his line of sight and realized it was a butterfly on the ground. Before I could do anything, Smokey pounced and the butterfly became a snack.

We made a new acquaintance, an affectionate young black cat that isn't feral. We think it lives up a side street not too far from us. It has no collar and hasn't been fixed. If he keeps coming around, we may take it upon ourselves to have him fixed.

Oy, it turns out Lolette is having a problem with Paypal right now that she is working to fix. If you attempted to donate money to Cause4Cats and received an error message, you may send the donation to me with a note earmarking it as a donation to C4C, and I'll see that she gets it. Thanks.

I'll be running over there this afternoon to pick up Gray Guy, but this time I can't stay and play with kittens for hours. {g}

Opal has been a total piece of mischief lately. She's been doing everything she's knows she should't do, like jumping onto kitchen counters and onto the top of the bookshelf lined with plants. When we scold her, she gives us the Huge Eyes and Cute Meeps, two lethal moggy defenses against scolding.

10 June 2006
Gray Guy has finally given me a name to use. It's rather an odd name, not one that would normally occur to me, but it seems right for the moment. SIMON. And when he's going on and on about something, I respond with, "Simon says..." Simon has a lot to say. Meet Simon the Silver-Tongued Devil.
12 June 2006
Thanks to Alex Burr for this link. A cat chases a bear up a tree.

Simon is nicely settled in now. He hardly yowled at all today. Saffy continues to give him the cold shoulder with an occasional hiss, but nothing serious. I expected some playing to occur by now, but he's somewhat reserved about that. Lolette estimated him at about 11 months, not quite full grown. I'm curious to see how much more he grows. At the moment, he's the smallest cat I have, slightly smaller than Zoe.

13 June 2006
Simon got very playful this morning. I pulled out the laser pointer and had Simon, the three crazed girls, Puck and Theseus chasing it around. Much fun was had by all. Simon pulls back rather than come into too much contact with the other cats, so I had to work it out to give him his own private moments to chase the glowing red dot.

Tom the Limping Tabby was around for his usual meals today and I noticed that the smaller, split-off part of his deformed foot had a long, thick claw that was unlike a normal claw. It looked like it was adding to his problems. Armed with the nail-clippers, I set about to trim it. Holding his paw was out of the question. I could quickly tell he wouldn't tolerate that. I let him get involved with eating while I petted him with one hand and casually reached down with the clippers in the other hand. He tends to hold that paw up rather than stand on it for more than a few seconds, but in about three successive snips, I was able to trim it way back without bothering him at all. I watched him walk around a bit afterwards and I think it helped. I took photos of Tom and his paw which I'll post along with a bunch of other photos, but not tonight. I ran out of time for that tonight.

14 June 2006
I suspect that Kate is having trouble drinking water. I don't know whether her tongue doesn't scoop well anymore or she's having depth perception problems. She's taken to dipping her paw into the bowl and licking the water off her paw. I hope she's getting enough water that way.

Here's a humongous batch of photos. You'll notice one section that has a theme: Puck snuggling with other cats. Considering how much trouble he gives the other cats when he's awake, it's amazing how much time he spends cuddling with them when he's asleep. Come see pictures of:
Simon says, "Break out the treats!"
Simon says, "Like my tail?"
Simon says, "why yes, I do deserve a penthouse suite."
Sapphire squints in my general direction.
Ariel at the mostly destroyed scratching post.
Jetta does her Garbo imitation, "I vant to be alone."
Kate & Sapphire
Sapphire gets silly with Kate.
Puck & Ariel
Puck snuggles with Ariel.
Puck & Kate
Puck snuggles with Kate.
Puck & Zoe
Puck snuggles with Zoe and gives her a bath.
Puck & Theseus
Puck snuggles with Theseus.
Puck & Theseus
Theseus returns the favor by getting Puck in a neck lock.
Tom the Limping Tabby.
Tom's deformed paw. This is after I snipped off the over-sized claw.
A happy Tom.

16 June 2006
A couple of people asked for clarification about Tom's paw. According to Tom's previous person (not the most trustworthy source) when I asked a couple of years ago, it's a birth defect, not the result of an injury. It looks like a birth defect to me. He's compensated quite well for it, as far as I can tell.

Poor Simon was minding his own business, taking a dump in the catbox, and Saffy took advantage of his vulnerable position to walk up and whack him. I happened to be right there, so I gave her a piece of my mind. She's being such a snot to Simon.

He had great fun with a string on the spiral steps this morning, though he insisted on looking princely at the moment I snapped this shot.

17 June 2006
Oh joy. I had cat vomit to clean up when I came into the office. Then Saffy threw up another bunch of times. She behaves perfectly fine otherwise, so I'm hoping it's one of those passing mysterious upsets that cats get.

Simon may have been in an altercation the other night because I found tufts of black fur and gray fur in one spot of my office a couple of mornings back. No one has any scars to show for it, as near as I can tell.

Pippin and Opal get soft treats at noon. Today Pippin had to make an effort to chew and chew at the treat, then coughed it back up a couple of times. I couldn't see anything obviously wrong in his mouth, and he certainly hasn't lost any weight and seems to be doing all right when he eats his dry and wet food. Randy remembered that Pippin ate a smal bug right before getting the treats, so now we're speculating that the bug affected Pippy's sense of taste, or might even have bitten him. We watched him for the rest of the day and he seems all right.

Pippin is especially fascinated when Randy pours water from the pitcher into the water bowl. He lurks over to the bowl, watches the stream of water intently, then attacks the splashing droplets. It cracks us up.

20 June 2006
We had fun with Pippin and Opal last night. While we were at Petsmart buying food yesterday, we also brought home some catnip-laced bubble lotion. Randy blew bubbles for them. After a couple popped, Opal freaked and kept her distance. She watched the bubbles, but wouldn't come near them! Pippin popped many bubbles with his nose, then learned to pounce on them instead. He was a brave bubble-slayer.

There was mayhem in my office last night. I found my keyboard cover on the floor, the keyboard tottering on the edge, my mouse on the floor with the batteries knocked out of it, and scattered papers.

I used human logic and left the two brand-new bags of cat food out after we got home from our shopping trip instead of transferring the contents to the big plastic food bin. I reasoned that the moggies had all the food they could want in their bowls, so they didn't need to bother the bags. Right?

Silly me. Both bags were ripped open by this morning. Why? Because they're there! Sigh...

Puck barrelled out the door, shooting past my feet. He ran straight over to the lawn and chowed down on grass. I let him do the lawnmower bit for a few minutes. Naturally, the grass soon came back up (in my office), so I have that mess to clean up.

Remind me again why I want so many cats?

24 June 2006
The summer ant invasions have begun. Every day I find ants on the cat bowls and have to track them down to their entry point. Their many entry points. Yesterday I zapped one point, but a few hours later they were back from another point. And so it goes.

It's been very hot, so the cats have been grateful for the A/C. Or would be grateful, if they knew how lucky they were. Naturally they take it for granted that I will provide them with a home that is neither too hot nor too cold, and so I do.

Saffy is no longer hissing at Simon, but I'm still waiting for some actual playing to go on between Simon and one of the girls. I get the sense he'd like to play with them, but he holds back. I guess it will take longer than I thought.

21 June 2006
Simon is showing more of his feisty side. He gets bitey sometimes, as in I go to pet him and he acts like he wants to bite me. He never does, of course, because he's such a sweetie. His favorite new sleeping place is a folding canvas chair that long ago became a cat bed.

25 June 2006
One of my demented moggies insists on peeing in a spare catbox that I have stored on a low shelf. The box has litter in it, so that's somewhat understandable. However, there is clearance of only four inches from the top rim of the catbox to the top of the shelf above it. It has to be one of the smaller cats, but I doubt the cat could do more than crouch at best. I can only shake my head and wonder.

Ariel plans her escape through the nearest wormhole if I get any closer.
Opal: No, I do not look silly.
Opal's tail
The funny kink in Opal's tail.
Pippin wonders, "Does this tube make my butt look fat?"
Pippin: Hey, what's with the kitty porn?
Pippin: Why yes, I'm perfectly comfortable. Why do you ask?
All that hanging around in the tube has left Pippin exhausted.
Simon finds a convenient place to relax...
...within easy reach of the scratching post (what's left of it).

26 June 2006
Poor Puck! He was asleep along the top edge of my keyboard, where he often sleeps, when I had to break for lunch. This means I need to put the cover over my keyboard before I leave the office. It's not unusual for me to lift Puck from his sleeping spot to I can put on the cover, then deposit him back on the desk. But today when I lightly touched him on the shoulder, he totally freaked. He nearly turned himself inside out and came very close to biting my finger off. Luckily, he must have realized it was my finger before completing the attack and I escaped unscatched. My guess is that he was deeply asleep and must have been having a frightening dream, or the kind of dream that would make him react that violently, whatever it was.

I held him in my lap and soothed him to make sure he was all right. He seemed fine once he was awake. I'm not sure which one of us was the more startled.

Tom and Bowie showed up for food at the same time. Randy had to run an intervention. He put out a second bowl of food and the cats settled down, though Tom seemed to mainly want attention. Poor guy, he asks for attention a lot. We do our best to give it to him. I've taken to calling him Tom-Tom. He has an interesting method of "herding" humans by hissing at us when we don't do what he wants, but most of the time he's a sweet boy.

27 June 2006
The Ant Wars continue! Gaarrrr!

Ariel is prowling around the outskirts of my desk, on top of a table that butts up to my desk. I try not to look at her directly, so that she won't be discouraged from staying there. Wonder what she's up to?

Just three photos this time:
Simon & Sapphire
Simon and Sapphire almost playing, though it quickly degenerated into a brief whacking match. Zoe looks on.
Puck finds a wonderful place for a nap, amidst crunched up packing paper and a decrepit old lambswool duster.
Pippin thinks an overturned laundry basket is an even better place for a nap, if people would quit bothering him.

28 June 2006
I had a pleasant surprise when I got up from my desk after a long afternoon work session. I pushed my office chair into place, glanced down and realized that Ariel was sleeping on a cushion no more than a foot from where my feet had been. It's possibly that she actually likes to be near me. It's just the whole touching business she can't deal with.

29 June 2006
Last time I went pet food shopping, I wasn't able to buy the type of cat treats I always get, moist salmon-flavored treats. I bought a different brand of moist tuna flavored treats instead. My spoiled moggies are turning up their delicate little noses. Well, some of them. Tosca, Diva, Puck and Theseus eat pretty much anything you give them. But Zoe, Saffy and Simon are disgusted. "These treats suck!"

Puck gave me the Big Eyes treatment this morning, so I caved and let him go outside for a few minutes. The first thing he did when I brought inside was to jump Simon. Puck is incorrigible.

And here he is with his ear folded back giving me the Evil Slitty Eyes of Disdain.

30 June 2006
I petted Ariel this morning!!! Almost, sorta, kinda. She was lying on a cat bed when I walked up to her. She didn't run off, so I held out my fingers for her to sniff, as I often do. Then I casually stroked her along the side a couple of times before she leapt to her feet and darted off.

I finally got around to adding Simon to the main index page for the Moggy Horde, as well as creating an individual page for him. I updated a few of the other photos on the main page. That led to a mad rush of creativity and I redesigned the entire page. It really needs to be redone with more updated html, but I didn't quite have the energy for that. Let me know if you hate it.

1 July 2006
Ariel is making me pay for my audacity of yesterday. If I so much as look in her direction, she runs. She's not letting me get within five feet of her.

We have a corps of ferals who are regulars now: Bowie of the blue and gold eyes, Toby the Tabby, and Smokey the Siamese. Those are three that we trapped and fixed. Once in a while, a pale orange tabby shows up. He probably needs the TNR treatment.

Then we have the tame regulars -- Tom, of course. Poor guy is as hungry for attention as he is for food. I can't remember whether I've mentioned the affectionate young black male who's been coming by. He has Pippin's coloring but Opal's Oriental build. We see him consistently at a house about half a block away down a side street, so he probably belongs to someone, though he doesn't have a collar. He can soak up the petting and attention. And he drools. [g] He almost folllowed me into my office last time he was here. I don't think that would have gone over too well.

Simon doesn't yowl much any more while I'm in the office, but when I leave for the night, he wails and wails. The office window is open for the cool air and I can hear him yowling for me to come back.

2 July 2006
As I was about to leave the office last night, I found that the cats has discovered a large box of rubber bands that I had foolishly left on a bottom shelf. They're thin rubber bands, ideal for scattering hither and anon, which they had. I spent some time cleaning them up and put the box theoretically out of reach. Of course, it's nearly impossible to put anything out of reach of a determined cat.

Simon got playful this morning. He was racing around trying to get one of the girls to play with him. He got into a tussle with Sapphire that could have been playful if she would have taken it that way, but she got defensive. About ten minutes later, all hell broke loose. I had to rescue Simon from Puck, who was beating up on him. Sigh...

Opal is determined to get out the front door. She's made several attempts. After what happened to Nefreet, you can imagine how anxious we are about this. Nefreet was an experienced outdoor cat, yet she managed to get herself killed when she got outside here. Opal hasn't been outside since we caught her at six weeks old. We worry a lot about what could happen should she get out.

When I came in for lunch, Randy informed me that the crazy neighbors had made a reappearance at their old house across the street to haul off more stuff they'd left behind. That led us to wondering about Tom. We know Tom still hangs out at the house because that was his home. We thought he may have been waiting for his people to come back. I'd be surprised if Tom didn't make himself known when his people were there, unless he was off sleeping in some other location. And if they did see that Tom was there, would they have taken him with them?? We're now waiting to see whether Tom shows up here again. If not, we can guess they took him. If he does show up, as far as I'm concerned it means he is no longer their cat. While we can't quite consider him our cat, we do feel responsible for him and we'll take steps to take care of him.

LATER: Tom is still here. The little black cat and Tom have been asking for lots of petting, and getting it.

Simon needs an arbitrary birthday. I can only guess at his real age, but I've decided to give him his one year birthday either on the 4th (and make him a July 4th baby) or on the 6th (and let him share my birthday). I'll take a poll. Which should it be - the 4th or the 6th?

3 July 2006
Last night I got out the laser pointer and let the moglets chase the firebug around. Simon was more outgoing about it this time. I admit to laughing at the sight of the moglets skidding around on the concrete floor trying to change direction on a dime. Puck has become too grown-up and jaded to chase the firebug. Theseus likes to chase it, but he's put off by the young cats darting around him.

Ariel remains in Deep Hiding, barely making an appearance. I have truly offended her sensibilties.

Henh...Saffy made a bluff charge at Simon and all he did was chirp at her. Then, like a typical teenager, he took a whack at her. Like the boy who thinks that the way to show a girl he likes her is to pull her hair.

So far the votes on Simon's arbitrary birthday are running four in favor of the 6th and two in favor of the 4th. At this point, I'm leaning towards the 6th. He'll be one year old, and I'll be...uh...we aren't going to talk about that. Older than I want to be. ;)

4 July 2006
Randy said he heard Opal crying and crying to be let into his office last night. When he opened the door, he found that she had brought him not one, but two mousies and laid them at his doorstep. Now she knows that bribery works. LOL.

5 July 2006
The little black cat has totally adopted us. He lives on our porch nearly all the time now and waits for us to come out. He's an affection sponge. When either one of us goes out of the yard, he follows us to the gate, then sits in the yard and waits for us to come back. Today he took some whacks at me because I kept walking toward my office (after petting him first!), then threw himself between my feet and almost sent me onto my face.

He's a sweetheart, but a little bit aggressive and possessive. He continues to give Tom a hard time. However, Randy said that at one point today the black guy made one of his bluff charges at Tom and Tom finally got fed up. He turned to face the black cat who literally skidded to a stop. [g]

Randy needed to borrow the tough, old vacuum cleaner from my office. While we were getting the VC out the door, Puck slipped out. The first thing he did was pouff up and head for the little black cat. Fortunately, Randy and I were able to round up Puck and I got hold of him before mayhem could ensue.

Yesterday, our nice neighbors across the street told us there was a mama cat and some kittens in the yard just up and across from them. We saw two adult cats, but no kittens then. It's a house that no one lives in. Whoever owns it shows up about once a year to do some maintenance and the rest of the time it's empty. The yard is well fenced with everything padlocked, so there was no way to go into the yard to check. This makes it a very safe space for the cats.

Today as I headed up the street on my walk, I saw two adorable kittens in the yard, along with the two adult cats. One was a brown tabby and the other a marbled orange tabby in patches over white. I figured about eight to ten weeks old. I walked around to the other side of the house (it's on a corner) to see whether I could spot more kittens. I was figuring out how to start trapping them, on the assumption they're feral. The neighbor who lives in the house behind that one asked me what I needed. It turns out they're her cats and not feral at all. They go freely back and forth between the two yards. I've spoken with her before. She has four cats and a bunch of chihuahuas, and now the two kittens.

She said they're ten weeks old and she's about to find homes for them (and get mama cat fixed through Cause4Cats). As we spoke, the tabby tried to worm his way through the hurricane fencing to get to us. He got his head and part of a shoulder through, realized he was stucked, eeped, then backed out of it. Next, the two of them found a drain pipe that leads from the yard to the road and came up it. The orange one was too shy and scampered off. The tabby batted at my finger. The neighbor called him to her and I was able to give him some scritchies while she held him. He's adorable. I suspect she may end up keeping him. She's already got him named -- Gato.

And I am tremendously relieved because they're not feral and I don't have to worry about them. Thank you, Bast, for small favors.

7 July 2006
Happy Birthday to Simon as of the 6th. He's theoretically now a year old. I wonder how much more he might grow. At the moment, he's the smallest cat I have.

We were gone all day, from early morning to late night, on Thurs. Of course, it doesn't matter how tired I am or how late we drag in, I still have to tend to the Horde. That's when I discovered that Jetta has hurt her left eye. The inner eyelid is red and inflammed. I'm using eye ointment on it, but it's not looking much better yet. If it's still that inflammed by Monday, she goes to the vet.

Tom may be going back to his new home for the second time. His previous people showed up here yesterday, having been given a deadline by which to remove the last of their stuff from the garage across the street. My next door neighbor made a point of calling across to them to let them know that Tom was here. I went out and had a long chat with them.

They were astounded that Tom had somehow gotten all the way from their new place to here. It simply never occurred to them that he could have done that. When he disappeared from the other place, they assumed a coyote had gotten him. She told me how she first found him, when he was a tiny kitten limping and hopping his way down the middle of the main street through town. She stopped the car to rescue him.

It was mid-afternoon, when Tom rarely appears. We called him to no avail. She gave me her new phone number, so that I can call her when he shows up and she can come over for him. He showed up around 8:30 last night. I dutifully called, but by that time of night she has kids in bed and no way to get here, even if she had someone to watch the kids.

At this stage, I'm reluctant to keep calling, yet I feel I have an obligation to do so. We'll see how it goes.

8 July 2006
Jetta's eye looks the same this morning, meaning it hasn't gotten any better. I'm going to stop using the ointment in case she has the same problem that Unicom had with certain eye ointments and is allergic to it.

9 July 2006
Short on time, so I must be quick. Two things: Tom is still here; and Jetta's eye looks a little better.

10 July 2006
Jetta's eye looked better this morning, though still somewhat inflamed. Tonight it looks a little better still. I'm thinking we may have avoided the trip to the vet.

Simon found an interesting new toy to play with -- a dried-up hairball! Ewwww....

Speaking of the Silver Prince, he's getting more and more playful. I think there was even a small bit of romping going on with Saffy and Jetta the other day. I keep hoping.

Zoe was rolling around being cute on my desk when she set a cascade effect of cat freak-out into motion. She knocked a paperweight off my desk which startled her and knocked over the plastic tub I use to cover my keyboard which made Zoe launch off the desk knocking over my large rolodex and a few other objects which scared the bejeezus out of poor Kate who was sleeping down below for a total of about half a minute of cat panic.

Ariel has been careful to offer me no second chance at all of committing the unpardonable sin of petting her.

11 July 2006
It looks like I may be taking a drive to the vet tomorrow after all. It's been nearly a week and Jetta's eye remains inflamed. I'm not happy with the lack of progress. Poor little girl. I hope the vet can get her in on such short notice, but that's one thing I like about this vet -- they always find time for me if I think it's urgent.

Tom is still here. He only shows up at night, so I haven't called his people. Bowie and the little black cat are also showing up regularly.

Pippin likes chasing the catnip bubbles. When Randy gets out the bottle, Pippin sits at his feet and meeps at him to blow bubbles. After awhile, I think Pippy gets frustrated because there's never anything there when he pounces on the elusive bubbles. That's why Randy gives him some real catnip afterwards.

Opal, however, continues to watch this activity with a large measure of distrust. I don't think she knows what to make of the bubbles, but she knows they get her wet when they pop!

12 July 2006
Got up this morning, called the vet's right away and made an appointment for the afternoon. When I got out to my office, I found that Jetta's eye was significantly better. I cancelled the appointment and saved myself the trip, but I swear she's doing this to drive me crazy.

13 July 2006
At this point, Jetta's eye is almost completely back to normal. She favors it the slightest bit, but the inflammation is gone. It's funny, the more I bother her, the more she seems to want to be around me. I pry her eye open, then I harrass her with brush and comb because her coat is a mess. Yet here she is, right next to the keyboard.

Puck ZOOOOOMED out the door this morning. I let him play lawnmower for a few minutes. I brought him back inside where he promptly horked up the grass. I wish I knew what deep need is satsified in cats when they eat grass and throw it up five minutes later. Nobody quite seems to know. I sure don't.

15 July 2006
The moggies knocked over one of my torchieres. I came into the office and found it lying across the metal oil radiator that I use in the winter. The only light I have for this room are three torchieres, so I can't afford to lose one. The fluorescent bulb had popped out and was lying on the floor. The control switch was smashed open (the original dial switch broke a long time ago, so I had to add a new control switch to the power cord).

I plugged the bulb back in, but it wouldn't come on. I tried the bulb in one of the other torchieres and it worked, so I knew the bulb was good. I put another bulb into the torchiere and this time it was fine. But I had numb fingers from when I flicked off the switch, not realizing the bare wires inside were exposed. I tried putting on a new switch today, but I can't get it to work. Very annoying. At least the light itself is working.

I decided to slightly rearrange where the torchiere had been standing. It was right next to the door, an easy place to be knocked over and it was continuously in the way whenever Puck was trying to get out and I needed to block him. Instead, I moved a large, upright tool chest over about a foot, then moved the torchiere between the tool chest and a bookcase. Perfect! It's protected. Better yet, I discovered another set of power outlets that had been hidden behind the tool chest. That let me get rid of a large extension cord that had been snaking clumsily through a crowded part of the office. A much better arrangement all around, thanks to the destructive mogs.

As usual, the cats love to use the cat boxes while I'm trying to clean them. I was sitting at one box cleaning it when Zoe left a smelly dump in the box right next to me. She did an enthusiastic job of covering up, so enthusiastic that she showered me with sprays of litter.

Simon raced around the office like a loon this morning. I was delighted to see Jetta join in the chase. She never actually went so far as to catch him, but at least they were romping together.

Earlier this evening, I was giving Tom-Tom his usual petting. He decided to roll in the grass, so I went over to rub his belly. Randy thought we were still on the porch and turned on the sprinkler that was right next to us. Aaaiiiee! I don't know who moved faster, Tom or me. He alighted on top of the fence and gave me a disgruntled, cock-eared look. I petted him up and assured him that I was as wet as he was! He decided it wasn't my fault and forgave me. ;)

17 July 2006
It was one of those moments when you'd sell your soul for a videocamera. Opal and Pippin were sitting at the top of the stairs in identical poses watching an insect above them, eyes up, ears perked, their heads moving back and forth, back and forth in unison like spectators at a tennis match.

20 July 2006
The little black cat has made himself very much at home in our yard. He demands attention, which he gets. He throws shin blocks at me if I try to walk way, or lunges up and grabs at my arm with his front paws. He's a character. He purrs and drools and rolls over to have his belly rubbed.

As Randy and I were coming home from our walk at dusk, we saw our neighbor's dog chase the little black cat up the side street where he lives. I've been meaning to track down his people, so I walked over there and made the acquaintance of a very nice tattooed young man, Jeremy. I've learned that the cat's name is...wait for it...BOB. Yes, Bob. So we have a Tom and a Bob. Bob is a couple of years old and Jeremy rescued him from an abusive situation. You'd never know he'd been an abused cat! Jeremy has two cats and hoped Bob wasn't bothering us. We had a nice chat. It sounds as though Bob has Jeremy well trained and is now training us as his back-up human slaves. At any rate, we no longer have to worry about the cat. We know he has a good home and now we know what to call him. If I can keep from laughing.

22 July 2006
Simon is the Mighty Broom Slayer. He has decided that the broom is a menace that must be pounced upon and disembowelled, but only when I'm using it.

The moggies have been getting into the styrofoam peanuts again. I've spent the past two days cleaning up peanuts or their remnants. I clean up one batch and pretty soon there's a second batch.

And fighting off more ant invasions, too. There's no end to the fun!

23 July 2006
The day was beset with crises. That's crises, plural. I don't have the time or energy to recount it all yet again, so I'm going to refer everyone to the explanation in my LiveJournal post.

Here is the LiveJournal post, in case it should one day become unavailable.

We are caught in the Chinese Curse. Today has been way, way too "interesting".

5:49 am -- the old fridge, which had a tendency to clank and clunk, decided to have a coronary. This was not a silent coronary. The compressor began to sound like a jackhammer, jolting us awake. All we could do was turn it off and get a couple more hours sleep.

It was obvious the fridge wasn't going to last much longer, nor would we have the slightest peace with the jackhammer going. Fortunately, our landlord had another fridge stored in the laundry room since before we moved in. We could only hope it worked. We had to move a bunch of our stuff out to get to it, then plugged it in to see if it ran. It did.

We then spent the rest of the morning getting it ready. It had years of grime that had to be cleaned from outside and inside. Due to the tiny size and peculiar configuration of the kitchen, it's only possible to put a fridge in one place and it has to open from one specific side. This fridge's doors were hinged the wrong way. But Randy taught me something entirely new -- fridges are designed so that you can reverse the location of the hinges.

I did the cleaning. He did the hinge-reversing. A long, tedious job it was.

I drove to our handyman's to borrow a dolly. On the way, I watched a thunderstorm cell and saw several flashes of lightning.

One of those strikes hit a mountain ridge about 2 miles west of us and started a raging fire. There hasn't been a cleansing fire for 200 or so years. The hills are dry and full of fuel.

We spent all day laborously getting the replacement fridge out of the laundry shed (down steps) and up more steps to the porch and into the house, moving out the old fridge, transferring the food, removing and replacing my ten thousand fridge magnets, and getting the dying fridge down the porch steps and up the laundry shed steps into storage. It was Randy and the dolly. We didn't have any other help. I was rather worried as there were a couple of times I thought he was going to hurt himself, but he managed.

However, we also stopped to take walks and get a better look at the fire. We could easily see the towering flames from our street. The fire made a stupendously massive cloud of smoke that turned into cumulus cloud above that. The thunderstorm cell moved on, so at least there was no more lightning, but there was no rain and too much wind.

We've talked to dozen of neighbors who are out watching the fire and evaluating what it will do. One neighbor turned out to be a firefighter for L.A. county (we're in Kern County, just barely) and he was expecting to be called to duty any time. He was impressed that the fire was already creating its own weather system. Ash fell like a light snow flurry.

During the day, the wind blew it toward the northwest, away from our neighborhood. There was a spotter plane doing circles above the area, and about five helicopters dumping water until it got dark. They can't fly at night.

With night comes the off-shore wind blowing west to east, so the fire is now being pushed in our direction. There is only one ridge between the fire and our neighborhood. Randy and I took another walk after we finally got the whole fridge epic done and had dinner. It was late dusk, early evening. We saw an entire peak crowned with flames towering a hundred to two hundred feet high. Trees exploded and sent more towers of flames upward. The peak looked like Mt. Doom.

By that time, I was so exhausted I couldn't walk any further. I was grimy and sweaty, so I came home and took a shower. Randy got home about half an hour later and had a shower. Now he's taken another hike to check out the situation.

We've been discussing what we'd do if we have to evacuate, and how to deal with evacuating 12 cats with only 5 carriers. Obviously, that's not enough, though I could probably manage to get 10 cats into them in a real emergency. I can get more carriers from my cat-rescue friend, but if we had had a mandatory evacuation, they might not let us leave the area and return to get more cats. I've been trying to gradually acquire more carriers, but still don't have as many as I need. At least we have somewhere to take the cats. The same cat-rescue friend called during the day to check on us and assured me we could bring the cats there.

Other than that, we'd mainly grab CPU's, back-up disks, vital papers and maybe a few clothes. I'd grab jewelry, too. I "inherited" Katherine's fireproof lockbox, in which we both keep vital papers such as birth certificates, passport, etc., along with disks with tons of photos I took of everything in the house and offices, so there would be a visual record in case of loss. I did that after we moved in.

I don't think we'll sleep well tonight, not with the wind blowing this way. Randy just got back and said it looks like the fire has died down a bit, but it's hard to say for sure. No immediate danger, at any rate.

That's enough of this day. Got none of the work done I urgently needed to get done, either. Glargh....

26 July 2006
The fire is either under control or has moved away from us after a couple of hotspots flared up yesterday. At any rate, I think I can stop worrying about evacuation, but it does bring home to me the need for more carriers. I need to gradually acquire more, preferably the kind that can be folded flat. Otherwise, I have no clue where I'd put them all.

A couple of friends suggested putting a cat into a pillowcase for transport. My mind boggles at the thought. I might see it in an absolute emergency, but I can just image how well any of my moggies would take to being tied in a pillowcase!

After I removed the one box of styrofoam peanuts, the Horde found a second box of them that I didn't know was on the shelves and proceeded to spread those peanuts around the office. I cleaned up the mess and got rid of that box. However, I was still finding the remnants of peanuts around the office each morning until I found the culprit.

Simon has learned to jump onto a certain bookshelf which gives him perfect access to one of my tall wastebaskets. From there, he simply helped himself to some of the peanuts I had swept up. I was also finding shredded paper towels and other goodies he was fishing out of the trash. He has a streak of mischief in him.

27 July 2006
Zoe, Saffy and Jetta rescued me from a wasp. I had seen it drifting lazily through the air in my office the day before, then couldn't find it again. I'm seriously, dangerously allergic to yellowjacket stings, so I imagine it would be just as bad were I to be stung by any other kind of wasp. I was uneasy about knowing there was one around somewhere. Then I saw the Three Mousketeers follow a flying something and pinpoint where it had landed on the side of a cabinet. I looked and there it was. I grabbed a PS2 game box and walloped it. No more wasp! Good girls.

Yikes! Jetta and Simon have spotted ANOTHER ONE! But it's way up by the high ceiling and out of reach. Where the hell are they coming from? No, there's TWO! Gak! I hope the cats don't get too close and get stung.

29 July 2006
Poor Kate, I almost gave her a heart attack. She was sleeping along the top of my keyboard and I tried to gently move a rear paw off one of the keys. She almost turned inside-out, she jumped so hard.

I dispatched the last two wasps or hornets (whatever they are). As I was leaving the office last night, I found one perched on the edge of a torchiere. I zapped it with some ant spray and smushed it when it hit the ground. This morning, Simon found the other one. It was crawling on the floor with Simon batting at it and sticking his nose at it. None of my cats have any concept of an insect that can fight back. I lifted the large catbox, the wasp crawled under it and I dropped the catbox on it. Worked great.

But Saffy has found yet another wasp today. It's currently on the ceiling far above me.

Sapphire gave Simon a run for this money the Broom Slaying department. I guess she figured that if he attacks it, it must be dangerous and she should attack it, too. Makes it hard to sweep the floor around here, between the two of them.

Speaking of Simon...he's an imp. A djinn in the guise of a cat. I hereby promote Puck to Lord of Mischief because Simon has fully taken over as the Prince of Mischief. I think Simon spends all his spare time figuring out what he can get into next. He tipped over the trash, leaving me a mess of styrofoam peanuts, food cans, shredded paper towels, shredded plastic bags and other detritus to clean up first thing in the morning. He ripped open two of the bags of chicken feed that I use as cat litter, making another wonderful mess. He had to audacity to go back to rip at the hole some more while I was watching. After being soundly yelled at, he retired to the door where he proceeded to rip out pieces of the plastic foam insulation I had sprayed into the cracks in the concrete.

An imp, I tell you.

Bob hangs out...
...and practices being cute.
Opal the Mole, burrowed under a blanket.
Pippin: "What? I'm trying to sleep already."
"All right, if you insist on bothering me..."
"...I flash in your general direction."
Puck and Ariel
Puck with his best girl, Ariel.
Puck and Ariel
Puck: "Move along. There's nothing else to see here."
Puck and Ariel
"Don't make me come down there and rip your throat out."
Sapphire makes sure my files don't float away.
Simon slays the vicious broom!
The broom doesn't taste so good. Note the bits of styrofoam peanuts on his butt, proof of his mischief.
Zoe: "I know nothing about these styrofoam peanuts bits! I'm innocent! I shoot innocence rays from my cute pink tongue!"

30 July 2006
With some help from the cats, I've killed five wasps inside my office, but there are still two more on the ceiling. I have to figure out where they're coming from! The cats are good at spotting them in the air, and also very good at finding them on the floor. I've gotten four wasps on the floor thanks to the cats. I looked down from my keyboard at one point and saw Saffy about to eat one only a foot away from me. I quickly dispatched and removed it. I whacked one with a broom when it settled far enough down on a wall to reach it.

Opal has almost completely given up on fetching the mousie. She brought it to me this morning for the first time in ages, but when I tossed it, she didn't bother to fetch. Saffy remains the most enthusiastic and plays fetch the fishie almost every day. Just as I was lamenting that Zoe has lost interest, she bounced onto my desk with the fishie. She fetched it once, but on the second throw, she got distracted and that was that.

Tom did something I've never seen before -- he played! He got wildly playful, with emphasis on the wild. He's not exactly gentle. I have a couple of holes in my hand to show for it. We got a string out for him and he had a great old time chasing that.

My non-fun for the day was cleaning the hideous butt of Theseus. It took several tries, starting with scissors, graduating to the shearing clippers, and finishing off with more scissor work. He can now walk around without the trailing miasma of crap emanating from his nether regions. Bast, what a mess.

31 July 2006
With help from the cats, I killed five wasps today, but there are at least three more on the loose. I took a walk around the outside of the office and found a gorgeous paper wasp nest under the eave at the back corner. I say gorgeous because it was beautifully built, almost perfectly round, about the size of a grapefruit. I regret having to destroy something that lovely, but I can't take the risk.

Actually, Randy took the risk. He went up on a ladder and doused it with poison deathray.

2 Aug. 2006
The wasp-slaying continues. The cats are so good at finding them that it makes the job much easier. It seems like there might be slightly less of them showing up. I hope so.

Tom went home today. It was late morning and I'd been thinking about the fact that Tom's person had never followed up with phone call. The phone rang and it was her, inquiring whether he was around, was being fed, did he look healthy, etc. She said she was keeping the carrier in the car and would drive by during the day, but hadn't seen him. I explained that he's only been showing up at night, but since she said she didn't have a car in the evening, I hadn't called her. She now has a working car again night, so she said she'd try coming around at night.

Five minutes later, Tom showed up. I called her back to say that he must have heard us talking and he was here. She quickly put her four kids into the car and came over. I gave Tom's weird claw one last clipping and sat on the porch saying my goodbyes to him. When his people first arrived, he hid under the porch, being a cautious cat. She coaxed him out and he seemed happy enough to see her. What he wasn't at all happy about was being put in the carrier. Dear Bast, how he howled.

I hope it works out well and that he'll stay put this time. No more Tom, but Bob remains, wanting lots of attention.

Randy is gone for a couple of days on a business trip. Poor Pippin and Opal are noticing his absence. Pippin got on the sofa tonight and looked confused because his human pincushion wasn't there. He chose to use me for a kneading pillow instead. Must--ouch--trim--ouch--his claws.

I forgot to mention that after I complained about Opal not playing fetch the mouse any more...she began fetching the mousie. Yet more proof that cats are telepathic.

I also keep forgetting to mention that Junior reappeared a couple of weeks ago. He's the white and orange feral tabby that we TNR'd a year or so ago when he was about six months old. I kept him inside my office in a cage to see if he could adjust, but decided that one Ariel in the Horde was enough. After I let him go, we never saw him again. I guess he's finally decided to risk coming back. He's all grown up now, of course, a big boy, as wary as ever.

3 Aug. 2006
As luck would have it, I ran into Tom's entire family of people at the local market. I asked her how Tom was doing. She said he was a little weird at first, but by nightfall he was happy to come inside with them, and that he was remaking the acquaintance of his furry friends -- Salem, Gizmo and Duncan. Sounds good so far.

I decided to experiment with letting Pippin and Opal sleep with me last night. They were reasonably well-behaved after the initial period of curious inspection and toe-pouncing-upon, but they woke me up just often enough to ruin getting a good night's sleep. Don't think I'll be doing that again.

On a note of good news, I didn't see any wasps in my office today. I'm thinking the one I saw yesterday might have died on its own, or a cat got it. Let's hope that's the end of them.

5 Aug. 2006
It looks like the wasps are gone. What a relief.

Randy got home late last night. Opal and Pippin were very happy to see him. When it was time for bed, he didn't have the heart to shut them out of the bedroom. We didn't get much sleep, between the toe-pouncing and one of them finding a jingly ball to bat around underneath the bed. I don't think he'll object to keeping the little darlings out of the room tonight.

6 Aug. 2006
When I came into my office, I was greeted by what I will call "Simon stunts". I don't have absolute proof that he's the culprit, but I figure it's a safe bet. First, I went over to change the water and found an odd cluster of two cat toys and a soaking wet paper towel lying on the floor near the water bowl. The toys I can live with. But the sopping wet mass of paper towel required that a cat a) get hold of a paper towel, b) put it into the water bowl, then c) take it out of the water bowl! I cannot begin to imagine why.

Then I discovered that the bag of cat treats was on the floor. That's not unusual. I picked it up and treats began falling out through a hole in the bottom. That definitely has the earmarks...or shall we say fang marks of a Simon stunt.

Last night, I was about to leave when it sounded as though a hundred bulls had run through an entire china factory and a cat grenade went off with cats racing wildly in all directions from the scene of the crime. Moggy Unknown had made this delightful mess on my floor. The one relief is that nothing was broken.
the moggies make a mess

7 Aug. 2006
Bob is a love sponge. Every time I go outside, Bob is there begging for attention. I even picked him up and cuddled him, and he loved every minute of it. Randy thinks he must not get enough attention at his home. I figure he knows when he's got a couple of suckers wrapped around his paw.

Today's Simon Stunt was finding and shredding a styrofoam peanut. He must have had one stashed somewhere. I hereby dub him The Shredder. Not only is it appropriate, but it's an inside joke. The episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that I wrote was called "The Return of the Shredder".

8 Aug. 2006
A beautiful new cat showed up on the porch this morning. I think it might be the female cat that lives with Bob. She was fluffy, a bit of white but mostly pale tortie markings, and with the most enormous green eyes. If it is Bob's housemate, she's shy because she vanished as soon as I opened the door.

Opal has an extremely peculiar method of drinking water. She doesn't sit or crouch at the water bowl like most cats. Instead, she lies down by the bowl, often wrapping herself around the bowl, and drinks lying down. We can always tell when she's been drinking water because her entire chin is wet. Such an odd girl.

9 Aug. 2006
Talking cats! Hysterical!

Tosca and Diva talk a lot but so far it's all in Moggish rather than English.

11 Aug. 2006
I was working on the proof pages of my big, fat book (these are copies of the final pages before they go to the printer, so it's my last chance to fix mistakes), so naturally this was the afternoon that Zoe rediscovered how much she likes to fetch the fishie. We did much fetching of the fishing in between the proofing of the pages.

Randy is home after being gone for a week. Pippin and Opal are delirously happy, racing around the house. Randy is equally happy, having missed his moggies very much. Everybody's happy!

13 Aug. 2006
I met Bob's friend and it's not the fluffy pale calico at all (who Randy got to see briefly the other day). Bob's housemate is a tortie who is very sweet and let me pet her, though she's a bit more cautious than Bob. If she's from this neighborhood, then she's definitely related to Opal and Sapphire. She has Opal's slim build, Saffy's kind of markings, and the same kind of soft fur they both have.

I went to Lolette's yesterday to give her a donation for Cause4Cats that had come in via me, plus some vouchers I'd gotten from another local animal group to help with spaying. I also had to buy some cat food and get Simon's second shot. I brought it home and gave it to him myself. He was distracted by the new bag of food that he immediately wanted to rip open, the little snot.

Lolette has some Siamese kittens. Siamese! They're adorable. I miss my beautiful Siamese boy. I mentioned it to Randy and his eyes lit up. He doesn't think we should take on any more cats, of course, and he's right, but I suspect he wouldn't kick that hard if I happened to bring one home. Oh, dear Bast, the temptation....

14 Aug. 2006
The wasps aren't gone after all. The cats found one a couple of days ago and the next day I found it crawling in the cat litter where I dispatched it. They found another one today and I was finally able to zap it with spray when it came down onto one of my torchieres.

Simon pulled two more Simon Stunts. He keeps knocking down a packing box, the one that my color printer came in. I keep the good boxes like that for future moves. It has shaped Styrofoam pieces that hold the printer in place, so I think Simon is after that. I keep having to pick it all up and put it back on the shelf where it's stored.

And, as I feared, he has learned that he doesn't have to chew up a mere paper towel. There's an ENTIRE ROLL of paper towels he can attack! Which he did. I can no longer keep the roll of towels anywhere handy. Noooo, I have to put them in an obscure place where, theoretically, they are beyond the reach of The Shredder.

15 Aug. 2006
I was printing a label and as it came out of the printer, Simon spotted, grabbed it in his little pointy teeth and tried to make off with it!

When I'm not using the printer, it serves as a cat bed, which is why I have a nice, thick plastic cover for it.

16 Aug. 2006
Usually Simon plays a bit too roughly for the girls, but tonight he was being very sweet to old Kate. He gave her a mini-bath and gently licked her head and ears. It was nice to see.

The cats found me another wasp and I zapped it quickly with spray. Here I thought I was rid of them.

Bob's tortie girlfriend is showing up with him nearly every night. She's sweet, but shy of us. They were romping and pouncing on one another and rolling around in the grass. It's funny that we have a black male and female tortie in the house, plus out in the yard, plus black cats and tortie in my office.

17 Aug. 2006
That Simon was at it again. I had to shoo him away from a bag of chicken feed that he was ripping open, then barricade the bag with cardboard to keep him away from it.

I realized why Theseus is always so desperate to have me scratch him under the chin. This cat is so fat, he can't scratch himself! He really is desperately fat, but there's nothing I can do about it without depriving the entire office Horde of food at the same time. And you know they would all be driving me completely insane without access to food. It's a terrible conundrum.

20 Aug. 2006
There's nothing quite like coming into the office and finding cat vomit on my desk. And on my papers. I know, I know, you'd think I would know better by now than to leave papers on my desk, but I'm not that organized. I try to clean them up, but they creep back and pretty soon my desk is littered with notes and reminders of things I need to do. At least none of it is critical. I'm not that silly. ;)

I was petting Bob on the porch last night. He was purring madly and soaking it up, but I finally needed to go inside. He was so upset that I was leaving that he actually attacked my leg! I yelped loudly enough for Randy to come to the door to see what was wrong. Bob is a nutso cat.

I gave the Horde some "pixie dust" (catnip) this morning. I took a sisal mouse that they usually ignore and coated that with catnip and suddenly it became much more interesting. The rolling around and general stoned frenzy is over. Theseus is sleeping off a catnip hangover, I think.

I've noticed that Simon isn't a uniformly grey cat. Aside from a few bits of white in his coat, there's also a dark, almost black, patch on his back. And amidst all his grey whiskers, he has a solitary, long white whisker.

21 Aug. 2006
Saffy suddenly leapt onto my desk, nearly onto my keyboard and was wildly batting at something at about my eye level. I suddenly realized it was a drifting wasp heading around to my left. I bolted out of my chair, but by the time I gathered myself to look around, the wasp has disappeared. I praised Saffy for being a good girl and told her to find it again. I suspect she will eventually.

Zoe wanted to play several rounds of Fetch the Fishie, which we did, but poor old Kate was most annoyed. She was trying to have a quiet nap along my keyboard and Zoe kept bounding onto the desk and dropping the fish next to Kate's head.

24 Aug. 2006
I have a major pain in the ass. Unfortunately, it's not a funny pain in the ass. It's a literal one. I can barely sit by perching on the edge of my chair.

I went out for my usual walk after dinner. Randy went to the gym. We've gotten to be friends with Doug, whose house is about halfway around the hilltop loop that we do. Doug has a dog named Tondo. The poor dog was terribly abused and Doug rescued him. He's tried very hard to salvage and rehabilitate this dog. Tragically, it hasn't worked. Tondo has attacked a number of people, including Randy. He nearly took a chunk out of Randy's arm and was only prevented because Doug was holding onto the dogs's leashat the time. Yes, the dog attacked even when the owner was there and having a quiet friendly conversation. However, this is a large, extremely powerful dog and hard to control. I think he may have some Ridgeback in him.

Tonight, well before I got to Doug's house, I was surprised by Tondo. He should never, ever have been out of the yard and not under control, but there he was. I said, "Hi, Tondo," hoping he would remember me as Doug's friend who has petted him several times. I was far from any other house and had nowhere to go.

Instead, he lunged and attacked me, then ran off. He ripped a large hole in my jeans, through my underwear and, to put it bluntly, bit me on the ass. It hurts like hell. Two other women about 100 yards behind me on the same walk witnessed the attack. They're both nurses, so they took a look at me and walked me home.

I had to call Doug and give him the bad news, not to mention informing him that I will file a report with Animal Control. Doug was very upset over what happened. He's a nice guy and I know he feels terrible. He was at work, but plans to stop by and see me on the way home. Doug say he would have Tondo destroyed. I also feel terrible, in that I hate to bring about the death of an animal, but this dog is simply too dangerous and unpredictable.

25 Aug. 2006
Doug came by this morning to check on me and give me hugs. He's truly devastated by what happened, and seems resigned to having Tondo put down. Such a tragedy. Doug was in tears when he left.

I found Pippin asleep on the bed and indulged in some cat therapy. I petted him up and told him what a good boy he was and listened to his stomach gurgle. Then a lump in the bed chirruped at me. Opal was only inches away, burrowed under the covers. She wanted to make sure I gave her some love, too, the sweet thing.

27 Aug. 2006
This morning's Simon Stunt: he knocked over a tall wastebasket. I found cat food cans, paper towels and various debris scattered around that area of the office. And even though I went out of my way to keep him from getting to the bags of chicken feed, he ripped a small hole in the one I just brought in. He has also developed a talent for throwing up in the most inconvenient places he can find. I'm concerned that he's been throwing up for the past three days. I should try some hairball medicine on him.

I have the Mother of all Bruises. Half my right gluteus maximus is a solid mass of purple-black-red bruising as a secondary result of the dog bite. It looks rather spectacular. Too bad it doesn't feel spectacular.

Opal brought me the mousie this morning for the first time in weeks, but she only fetched it once before losing interest. Saffy continues to play fetch, though not with the same enthusiasm. She lets herself be easily deflected if one of her sisters goes after the fishie. I have to be careful not to throw it anywhere near Puck or Simon because she won't go up against them to get the fishie. Zoe brought the fishie to my desk later and fetched it a few times, but she's getting the point where about three times is enough.

Randy loves to let Pippin knead him on the stomach, so I have to keep Pippy's claws trimmed to prevent the ground hamburger effect. I've discovered that if I hold Pippin upside down cradled in my lap with his head resting against my stomach, he is entirely relaxed and gives me no trouble at all about snipping his claws. He is such a mellow boy. Very jumpy about sudden, unexpected noises, but otherwise mellow.

30 Aug. 2006
When Opal gets going, she's a rocket. She whizzes around the house at warp 10 bouncing off furniture and using humans as launching pads. Last night, my shoulder became a launching pad for a furry streak at full speed, which is why I have a nice set of claw marks on my back.

Simon continues his stunts, knocking over the wastebasket, shredding papter towels and his stunt today was chasing Saffy all over the office. I finally scooped him up and put him inside the Cave to cool down and give the poor girl a break. But I didn't bother to secure it with the bungie cord, so he was out about five minutes later.

It occurs to me that Simon may not have been simply a lost cat. I wouldn't be surprised if people dumped him because they couldn't cope with his antics.

I pulled a freshly washed pair of track pants from my dresser drawer and was baffled to find they had no drawstring. I couldn't imagine how the drawstring could have come entirely out in the wash. I looked around for it in the dryer and laundry basket and finally gave up. Then Randy found it under the bed and the light dawned. Cat toy. I'll bet Opal or Pippin started playing with it while my track pants were in the laundry basket, pulled it out and made off with it.

1 Sept. 2006
Randy's been telling me the most adorable stories about Opal. His office being in the house, he's available to Opal and Pippin during the day when I'm out in my office with the rest of the Horde. Part of Opal's regular routine is to get on Randy's lap, knead his stomach, then settle into his left arm for a nap with her head tucked into his armpit. If he's busy or doesn't notice that she's there, she meeps at him and she leaves a mousie at his feet as an offering to show just how sincere she is.

Zoe was a fetching fool yesterday. We had extended sessions of fetch-the-fishie as she bounced onto my desk, dropped it next to my keyboard, then went bounding off to chase it. I have to be careful when I throw it because if she's standing on papers when she launches, the papers go in all directions.

On a less than thrilling note, I received a letter from Animal Control today to tell me, in essence, that they couldn't locate Tondo and have consequently done nothing. This could possibly mean that the dog is gone and that Doug had him put down as he said. At this stage, the only way to know for sure is to get in touch with Doug and I really, really don't feel like doing that because a) if he has done it, he's going to be terribly broken up about it, or b) if he hasn't done it...I'm not sure how to deal with it. I'm healing up fine, but that's only part of the overall issue. I wish it had never happened.

LATER: Uh-oh. I've been a baaaad girl. I've committed kitten. Or maybe. We'll see how Randy reacts when he gets home. Back on July 5th, I mentioned in the Moggyblog that a mama cat had two kittens and was living in the well-fenced yard of a house that no one lives in. They were about ten weeks old then, so they're a bit over four months old now. The woman how owned the mama cat kept saying she was going to find homes for them, or maybe keep the tabby kitten.

As I started my evening walk, I saw the two kittens for the first time in a few weeks, so she obviously didn't get around to finding homes for them. My worry is that they might be growing up feral and not being socialized. The kittens come and go from the yard to the road through a couple of large drainage pipes and they were sitting just outside those pipes as I walked up. By being careful and encouraging, I was able to get close before they scampered inside. I sat down just outside the pipe and waited. The kitten that is white with large marmalade swirls crept up the pipe, dashed out past me, then sat barely out of reach. He didn't look worried. I held out my hand and he sniffed at my finger, then began batting at it. I started playing with him. Pretty soon, he "chased" my fingers closer and I was able to pet him. He's not at all feral, that's for sure. Quite well socialized.

As you may have guessed by now, he came quite close and I was able to pick him up, put him in my lap and pet him some more. He was entirely mellow about this and seemed perfectly content with it. So I stood up and carried him home. He was relaxed, didn't squirm at all, didn't freak out, didn't meow. I brought him into my office and set him up with catbox, food and water inside the Cave. The other cats have been checking him out but there hasn't been a single hiss, growl or meow. I took him out a little while ago and he was again mellow and sweet as anything.

Oops...I think I hear Randy's car. Here comes the fun part.

2 Sept. 2006
Randy immediately fell in love with the cute little guy, but he thinks I'm crazy to adopt another cat. He's right. Give our precarious finances and the fact that we rent, it's totally nuts of me. And although Randy thinks I'm nuts, he was the one who insisted we stop at the feed store today and buy special kitten food.

After losing our dearly beloved Unicom and Tribble, I've missed having an orange tabby in the Horde. This is not a good reason, I know, but it's the only one I have. He has the cutest marmalade swirls on his sides, as you can see in the photo below.

Randy also insisted I talk to the people who have the mama cat in case they changed their minds about keeping the kittens. It's only a two minute walk, so I went up there this morning. The woman's daughters answered and I asked whether their mother still wanted to find a home for the orange kitten. I got an enthusiastic round of "Yes!" from them. They wrote down my name and number so their mother can call me later. I highly doubt she's done anything like getting shots for the kittens, but I want to find out first.

I gave the orange boy a fishie toy to play with last night and he went bonkers over it. Tossed it all over the place. He isn't so sure about the ping pong ball and has mostly ignored it.

I put the orange boy in my lap this afternoon. He was utterly relaxed and happy. He purred. After a while, he gently ravaged my finger with his baby teeth. What a sweetheart. I hope Simon and he will get along because I think orange boy will make a great playmate for Simon. Speaking of Simon, he's been throwing up every single day for nearly a week. If he doesn't get better over the weekend, he'll be visiting the vet soon.

Because I know you're all dying to see what orange boy looks like, here you go.
orange & white kitten
marmalade & vanilla boy
The ever adorable Zoe, just 'cause I felt like it.

3 Sept. 2006
I got a call from Rhonda, who has the mama cat of orange guy. She was delighted to have me adopt him. She even knew the day he was born: April 24. It turns out that the lovely, long-haired pale calico I mentioned, who has come around here several times, is the mother cat, Sabrina. She's so shy, I assumed she was feral, but she's not.

It's been a busy day for the little orange guy. He desperately wanted out of the cage. I WANT TO GO OUT AND PLAY, he said. I made a quick trip to Lolette's to buy cat food and get his first shot for him. He was excellent about the shot. Then I let him explore the office. Things went quite peaceably. It took him about ten minutes of exploring to bound up onto my desk and make himself at home, biting my fingers and sitting on the mouse.

I still don't quite trust Puck or Simon yet, so I lock orange guy in the Cave when I have to leave for lunch or dinner. He gets very unhappy about that and I'm sure he'll be unhappy about being locked up tonight. Simon is taking an Attitude and Puck is jealous, so I'd rather be cautious.

Orange guy himself is fearless and resilient. Nothing much bothers or intimidates him. He had a brief run-in with Ariel which left them both pouffy-tailed. This evening he even chased Saffy around the office full-tilt! It was hysterical. His tail was all pouffed out and he was so full of himself. Then he gave Jetta a chase. It didn't end in fights or trouble either. In fact, Jetta's following him around now.

He hasn't told me his name yet, but it must be the name of a fearless, red-haired adventurer.

5 Sept. 2006
The little orange guy told me his name. He sat at my feet, looked up at me and clear as anything said, "I got my MOJO working!"

"Mojo?" I said.

He gave me a bright-eyed look to confirm it. Mojo it is. Mojo is now on the main Moggy Horde page and there are some new pictures on the spanking new Mojo page.

He's settled in with a minimum of fuss. Saffy let him chase her around the desk again yesterday. I say she let him because she had no pouffy tail at all and stopped when she'd had enough with no sign of being aggravated. I introduced him today to the ball-in-a-maze. He loved it. That kept him totally occupied for a full ten minutes.

Mojo doesn't lack in confidence. He bounds around the place, chews on my fingers, plays with my hair, licks my ear and purrs instantly when I hold him and pet him. He is truly a spellcaster or a lucky charm. He hates it when I lock him up at night for his own protection. He wails and wails about it.

I'm debating what to do about Simon. He seems all right in every other respect except throwing up every day. I've given him a couple doses of hairball remedy, but I can't tell whether that's made a difference. He might be less energetic than usual, but that wouldn't be unusual if he isn't eating well. He's getting high quality food, which doesn't rule out a food allergy, but makes it less likely. Oh, I give up. I just called the vet's office and I'm taking him in tomorrow. I can't really afford it, but I'd rather rule out that anything more serious is going on.

Diva has a raw sore spot on the back of her neck. I'm worried it's her skin allergy kicking up again. Many years back this got so bad that she scratched huge raw wounds all over the back of her neck and shoulders. The vet tried everything to get it to calm down. I finally had to tie a t-shirt around her to prevent her from continuing to lick it raw. There are still spots on her neck where the fur didn't quite grow back in. I've cleaned it up and put Neosporin on it. Now I'll have to watch it closely to make sure she isn't aggravating it.
Look what the destructo-moggies have done to the cat furniture!
That's Zoe lurking.

7 Sept. 2006
Mojo remains on the Cute Warpath. He crawls into my lap and purrs. He bites my fingers when I'm trying to type. He attacked my headset and phone, figuring it had to be a toy what with that wire and all.

You know how it is when your car is making a noise so you take it to the garage and the minute you get to the garage, the noise stops? Cats are like that, too. As soon as I made the vet appointment for Simon, he stopped throwing up and started bouncing around full of energy. So he didn't go to the vet yesterday after all.

However, the unfortunate Theseus went. He was most unhappy and told me about it the whole way there. Pathetic meows, they were. He weighed in at 22.3 lbs! Many were the comments by clients and staff alike. I wasn't able to see my favorite vet because he was tied up in surgery. Another vet looked at his mouth. Five years ago this month, Theseus had a growth removed from the left corner of his mouth. I was told it was a benign cyst. Two years later, a new growth appeared there and he's had it ever since. With all the other vet bills, I couldn't afford to deal with it.

This vet doesn't think it's a cyst, nor a tumor. She suspects something called Eosinophilic Syndrome (also known as a "rodent ulcer"). I need to do some research on it, but she's treating it with antibiotics. The only way to know for sure what it is would be to do a biopsy, but that requires an overnight stay and scheduling, so I couldn't do it then. Also, it's unlikely they could remove it with surgery. It's too large and impacts too much of his mouth. That amount of surgery would mess his mouth up pretty badly. The biopsy would help a lot in terms of knowing exactly how to treat it.

If it's some kind of infection, we might be able to clear it up. I hope. Meanwhile, the powerful antibiotics have instantly given Theseus diarrhea. Poor boy.

9 Sept. 2006
Naturally, Simon threw up again after I didn't take him to the vet. But he's acting as though he feels just fine. There was more vomit this morning, though I have no way of knowing who it came from.

I'm a little worried about Mojo, too. He's thrown up several times lately and today he seems rather quiet, not his usual exuberant self, plus he gets growly if I play too hard with him. I really hope he's not sick.

Puck had Ariel pinned by the back of the neck until I yelled at him. They were way up out of reach. Zoe has been hassling Diva, which has me quite upset with her. Zoe's been such a darling girl, I didn't expect that from her. Diva's raw spot still looks raw. I've been putting Dermacool on it, something I got for Owl to help him from pulling all the fur off his back. It didn't work for him. I don't know whether it's helping Diva any.

Opal and Pippin apparently decided to have a Litter War last night. When I went upstairs to let them out of their room, there was litter spread everywhere across the floor. Half the box was empty. That took a while to clean up.

Opal has figured out how to open the sliding mirror doors on the closet. If she paws at them just right, they'll slide open enough for her to squeeze inside. Then she climbs up Randy's clothes, much to his dismay. I had to pluck her from the top of the hangars.

We have a new neighbor moving in across from us, in the house vacated by the crazy neighbor with all the cats. She had a huge, spotted Bengal-type cat, but very brown in color, named Harley. Harley, besides being really, really big, is quite a character. He decided to adopt a woman a little further down the street, so when my neighbor moved, Harley stayed. I rarely see him, but yesterday I was out watering the yard as the new man was moving in and I saw him shoosh Harley out of the old house. I called over, told him Harley's name and explained that Harley used to live there. The man said Harley was inside spraying all over! He seemed more bemused than angry, luckily. I guess Harley figures it's still his house.

11 Sept. 2006
Whatever had Mojo down for a day has passed. He's back to his bouncy, bitey self. He is loudly miserable when I locked him up in the Cave for the night, so last night I didn't. It was his first night out and he sure seemed happy about it this morning.

He also spends a lot of time sleeping in my lap during the afternoon. He's a lover-boy.

14 Sept. 2006
I can tell that Mojo is a boy because he has a perpetually dirty nose. I don't know what he gets on it (and I think I don't want to know), but it doesn't come off easily with a bit of water and he gets annoyed at having his nose rubbed too hard, understandably. So he has a dirty nose all the time. Not around his nostrils, but on the top of the tip of his cute pink nose.

I haven't caught Simon throwing up for several days now. I'm finding small amounts of vomit here and there, but there's no way to know who's leaving it. He always acts as though he's perfectly healthy. He sure has beautiful, soft fur. It's such a pleasure to pet him.

Diva's sore spot is healing up, but she's terribly skittish. She tends to run away and hide rather than eagerly showing up for treats as she used to. I hope she calms down and returns to normal soon.

15 Sept. 2006
I was standing at the kitchen sink when a cat's face tentatively popped up into the window in front of me. Ears came up, then the blue and gold eyes and I realized it was Bowie checking out the inside of the house. He didn't panic and run off when I spoke to him, either. That's the closest I've been to him, albeit separated by a pane of glass.

I gave the moggies some canned food. Mojo is a smart boy. He already knows what it means when I get out the bowls, even though I've only done this maybe twice since he's been here.

About ten minutes later, after that food had been polished off, I caught Mojo going nose-first into the trash bin after the empty cans. I chased him off, but another five minutes later and the bin was knocked over. Naughty kitten!

17 Sept. 2006
When Nefreet was alive, we had a special catbox for her called a Booda Dome. It's round, purple and has a domed cover. After she died, I cleaned it out thoroughly, put a round cat bed inside it and put it in my office. The cats enjoyed sleeping under the dome.

Then I decided to put it on the front porch and see whether any of the feral cats would use it. After a year of never seeing a cat go near it, I was thinking about bringing it back inside. Last night as I came onto the porch, a pale orange tabby erupted out of it in a panic. This is a new feral we've been seeing lately. We'll need to get him trapped and fixed. At any rate, I'll leave the Booda Dome out there now that I know at least one cat is using it.

It looks like we have another raccoon to trap, too. I've suspected it for about a week, but today I'm pretty sure. The food on the porch was entirely gone, even the tiniest bits of broken down cat food. The plastic container containing extra food had been pulled onto the deck in an attempt to get it open (they failed). And there was the kind of grit and food debris in the water bowl that is characteristic of what a raccoon leaves behind. Watch out, Rocky. We're out to get you!

I just found out that the crazy neighbors who were evicted across the street have now been evicted from the free place someone had given them to live in. Apparently, they're back at the local motel. I wonder what's happened to poor Tom, Gizmo, Salem and Duncan. I know ultimately it's not my problem, but I worry all the same.

20 Sept. 2006
The trash bin was knocked over when I cam into the office this morning. I suspect the culprit this time was Mojo, rambunctious youngster that he is.

Kate isn't doing well. She's had diarrhea and she's been throwing up. Given her age (15 1/2), it could be any number of things. I should get her to the vet, but other bills have piled up so I'll have to see how it goes.

Simon is also continuing to throw up periodically, but he seems completely healthy in every other way. I'm reserving judgment on him unless I see more serious signs of something wrong.

Pippin has turned into a hefty boy. We should probably put him on a diet food, but Opal would be stuck eating it, too. And Opal has remained thin, almost too thin. It's a conundrum.

23 Sept. 2006
Somebody stuck rockets up the cats' butts! Saffy, Zoe and Simon are zooming around the office at warp 10, Cap'n! Mojo is watching the insanity from his perch on the lid of my laptop.

Poor old Theseus has a long scratch all the way down the middle of his nose. I wonder who got him?

I've gotten out the Red Firebug (laser pointer) a few times and Mojo loves it as much as the other young moggies. It gets hard trying to give each cat a separate chance to chase it without colliding with one another and starting spats.

24 Sept. 2006
Randy came out for a visit with the office Horde. Being as he's so terribly allergic to cats, he can't stay for long. Puck adores Randy and wants to make love to his shoes. Zoe, Saffy, Tosca, Diva and Kate are quick to say hello and strop his legs. Simon and Jetta were more aloof, but allowed as Randy was acceptable in the petting department. Mojo was somewhat afraid, but once Randy played with him a bit and Mojo was able to savage Randy's hand, they could be declared friends. Ariel and Theseus were, typically, in hiding.

Puck slipped past me and out the door this morning. He bounded across they yard and up to Bob, who wasn't prepared for that. Luckily, I was on Puck's furry heels and managed to scoop him up before he could jump Bob.

25 Sept. 2006
I made the mistake of getting my face too close to Pippin's paws when he was in a wildly playful frame of mind. I have joined Theseus in the Scratched Nose Club. A nice long scratch across the left nostril.

The moggies did a superb job of getting in the way this afternoon as I had to rearrange parts of my office and move a large, heavy, very old computer monitor from my desk to a safe spot elsewhere. The monitor is about 20 years old and being reluctantly retired. It also weighs about 50 friggin' pounds and the last thing I need when I'm staggering through my office with a bulky, heavy, delicate object is to have Tosca casually sprawled in my path, blissfully ignoring her pending doom. Screaming "MOVE!" at the top of my lungs did have the desired result, however.

Blast that Puck, he's harassing Diva again. He's been harassing her all day. He's in One of Those Moods.

28 Sept. 2006
Tuesday I made the quick decision to take Diva to the vet. The night before, she had scratched the hot spot that was healing until it was red and raw again. When I came in the next morning, she'd added a new raw spot above her right eye. I know how bad this can get, so I immediately called the vet and they had an opening in the afternoon. Diva sang pathetic opera to me on the drive. She had a cortisone shot and is on antibiotics to prevent infection from setting into the spots she scratches.

I made another attempt to clean the line of dirt from Mojo's nose, this time using a Q-tip. I dipped it in a 50-50 solution of water and hydrogen peroxide, but you'd think I was attacking him with pure acid from the way he reacted. He was sooooo pissed off with me. I had no luck getting his nose clean and gave up because he was fighting me too much. When I let go of him, he reached out and whacked me a few times to make sure I knew exactly how pissed off he was. Whatever he has on his nose will have to wear off in its own good time. Maybe he's had it tattooed on.

Simon seems to have gotten over the vomiting phase. I haven't seen any signs of it for days. Kate seems to be doing better, too, after she finally horked up a big hairball.

30 Sept. 2006
I'm worried about a new behavior from Mojo. He's been peeing in the cat beds. I caught him in the act yesterday, scooped him up and deposited him in the litterbox. I had to wash a couple of the beds. I'm hoping it was a temporary aberration. I figure he may be getting hassled in the litterbox or feels insecure. Jetta tends to give him a hard time. I warned her that wasn't a good idea since he'll keep getting bigger and bigger.

Theseus now has a claw gouge on his nose to go along with his scratch, poor guy.

Diva is doing better. She's being good about taking her pills and the hot spots are improving. She's getting over the terrible trauma of the vet visit. ;)

1 Oct. 2006
I was unhappy and disturbed by Zoe's behavior today. She spent the afternoon chasing and harassing Ariel. Poor Ariel has gone into Deep Hiding, which is even worse than her usual hiding, plus she's growling, hissing and spitting each time Zoe comes near her. And with good reason, since Zoe was aggressively going after her. She chased Ariel away from getting a drink of water at one point. I grabbed Zoe by the scruff of the neck and has Serious Words with her. I have no idea why this is going on suddenly, but I need to put a stop to it immediately. Here I thought she was my darling sweet Zoe and instead she's turning into Miss Puckette.

4 Oct. 2006
In keeping with the patterns of the past, the cortisone shot hasn't done much to keep Diva from scratching herself raw. The spot over her eye looks terrible tonight, blast it.

I haven't seen Zoe go after Ariel again in the past couple of days, but Ariel has been in hiding most of the time, unfortunately. She was getting happy and relaxed before this, so it feels like a setback.

I spent a bit over an hour at Cause4Cats this morning cleaning cat boxes, taking care of water and food. Lolette is in terrible pain from a back condition and her husband, Russ, is still recovering from a severely broken ankle, so they need all the help they can get. I wish I had more time to give them, but work is heating up suddenly and my schedule is about to become tighter than ever.

Cause4Cats is also in dire need of donations for food and litter, so if anyone can spare her a donation, please do. See the link on the left side of this page. Thanks.

6 Oct. 2006
It occurred to me that I might be able to at least reduce the damage Diva does to herself by trimming back the claws on her right rear foot, which would be the one she'd use to scratch her hot spots. She was extremely good about letting me do. She didn't budge or fuss at all. It may have helped, but it's too soon to be sure.

Kate is still throwing up, unfortunately. It's always liquid, rather than food, so I'm worried about her kidneys. It reminds me of what started happening with Knobby. I can't afford to get all the tests done on her right now, so I'll have to wait and hope she doesn't get worse.

Zoe continues to harrass Ariel. Ariel isn't hiding all of the time, I'm glad to say. Right now, she's in a cat bed to the right of my desk and....dammit! Even as I typed those words, Zoe chased her off. I don't know what else I can do except discipline Zoe each time I catch her at it, though that doesn't seem to be having much effect.

I ran into D., the owner of Tondo, at the post office the other day. Tondo is the dog that bit me. D. gave me lots of hugs and was emotional about seeing me again. We haven't talked since the dog attacked me. As I suspected, D. didn't have the heart to put Tondo down. He's setting up an electric fence enclosure with a shock collar on Tondo to make sure he doesn't get free again. I hope it works, but I won't be taking that walk any longer. D. also wants to give me money, enough to cover the torn clothing and a bit extra. I'm waiting to see whether he comes through with that.

The moggies have been having fun chasing the Red Bug. Saffy is so smart that she knows the subtle sound of me taking the laser pointer out of the desk drawer. She races over to me and instantly goes on alert, looking around for the Red Bug to appear, every muscle a-quiver. That sets off the other cats who gather around her. The hard part is trying to give each one of them a fair chance to chase it without running into one another.

I discovered that Opal hasn't lost interest in fetching the mousie. We've had nice fetching sessions for a couple of mornings. The trick, it turns out, is that Pippin can't be on the stairs or anywhere around or Opal simply abandons the game. I don't know why this is because she's never intimidated by Pippin in any other way. She holds her own with him in other forms of play. But for some reason, she won't fetch the mousie in his presence. I think it may be a female-deferring-to-male behavior. I've seen that in Saffy, too, when we play fetch the fishie. She'll drop the fishie rather than carry it past Puck or even Mojo, though she'll turn around and intimidate Mojo any other time. Ah, the mysteries of moggy psychology.

8 Oct. 2006
Diva's hotspots are looking slightly better. Keep thinking positive thoughts in her direction.

I've tried using my thumbnail to gently scrape some of the dirt from Mojo's nose. He actually tolerates this better and it works better than anything else I've tried so far. But he still had a perpetual line of dirt across his nose.

Jetta is a lovely cat, but what a scruffy girl she is. She must not do a good job of grooming. I could brush her every day and she would still look scruffy. She's not fond of being brushed either, so that's not an easy job. After I brush her...she looks as scruffy as ever. Sigh....

9 Oct. 2006
I gave the Horde a couple of new toys -- furry mice that are hollow and have a velcro opening so that I can stuff them with catnip. I used the last of my catnip stuffing the mice and sprinkling what was left on the "cat spa", then tossed the empty catnip cup container on the floor.

Hilarity ensued. Happy moggies rolled around on the floor. Jetta and Zoe were delirous over the mice. Afterwards, I tried to get Saffy to fetch the fishie. I tossed it, she gave me an owlish look and didn't budge. A minute later, she brought the catnip cup over and dropped it pointedly at my feet. LMAO! Do you think she was trying to tell me something?

And now I know that Mojo is a total catnip junkie. Here he is in the throes of his newfound addiction. "My Catnip, O My Catnip, how I love thee!"

10 Oct. 2006
A batch of moggy pics:
Mojo, Mr. Satisfied Sophisti-cat
Pippin & Opal
Pippin and Opal discover Randy's office window with a second story view.
Pippin & Opal
Pippin & Opal
Pippin, Opal.
Pipppin & Opal
After a hard day in the window, they rack out in the chair on top of Randy's sweater.
Mojo discovers the plank walkways.
Growing into a handsome young boy.
Devastating Cuteness Beams -- Power On!
Simon & Saffy
Simon contemplates what mischief he can wreak on Sapphire. Saffy says, "Bring it on, buster."
Katie is showing her age.
Opal snuggles under a sofa pillow with her mousie.

15 Oct. 2006
The Horde gets terribly excited when I have to move things around in my office. I've been rearranging my computer and a new monitor while I wrestle with variouis computer problems. In their excitement over the changed terrain to explore, Zoe knocked my keyboard and protective cover off the desk with such force that the keyboard fell apart into its respective pieces and the batteries popped out (it's a wireless keyboard). I had to put the pieces back together, after which the keyboard didn't work! Gaaahhh! I took out the batteries, put everything together again and now it works.

The office is a disaster area because my new monitor came packed in large styrofoam pieces and Saffy finds the styrofoam irresistible. You'd think it snowed in here. Or I have really bad dandruff. I was going to vacuum this morning only to discover that the cleaner bag is full and I'm completely out of spare bags. Therefore, the office is still a mess.

I've been worried about which cat has had the diarrhea lately, including a bit of blood in it. I figured maybe Kate or Theseus or one of the older cats. Then, while cleaning the catboxes, I discovered exactly who it was and it was someone I never would have suspected in a thousand years -- Jetta. In every other respect, she seems perfectly fine. Happy, healthy, active, etc. I don't know what to make of it.

Pippin was uncooperative about having his nails trimmed. Usually he's calm and utterly relaxed about it, but not today. This was a Do Not Touch The Claws day.

I put some chicken skins in a bowl for the feral cats last night. Around eleven, Opal became excited as she watched the front porch from the living room window. I heard the bowl being scooted around on the deck, which made me suspicious. I looked out the window and a large raccoon stared back at me. He had polished off the skins, but he took off when I went to the front door, leaving a trail of greasy chicken-fat soaked pawprints across the porch. I brought the dry food in for the night as there's no point feeding it to the raccoon. This afternoon, I borrowed a trap from a neighbor and with luck Mr. Coon will come back tonight and conveniently get himself caught. I hope.

19 Oct. 2006
A business crisis yet to be resolved has been eating up my time for the past couple of days, consequently I'm late in posting that the Moggyblog: Tales of the Moggy Horde was chosen as the Blog of the Week by Franny Syufy's About Cats site. It's one of the entries for 10/18/06.

We're having problems with Harley, the large F2 Bengal or whatever-he-is that was left behind by his original owners. Another woman further down the street is taking care of him, but he's an outdoor cat who prowls around his old house across the street from us. He also thinks he owns our porch and yard. He's a beautiful cat, quite large, tan and black spotted and he really deserves to have his own dedicated people. We can't give him that. The problem is that he's attacking and driving away all the feral cats that we're trying to help. We wondered why we weren't seeing the usual cats. We also hadn't seen our friendly visitor, Bob, in about three weeks and we were worried that something had happened to him. Bob finally showed up again the other day, but now we can be sure the cause was Harley.

We had to chase Harley off several times in the past few days when he was attacking Bowie and Natasha (black female who was TNR'd by someone before us). Sadly, we have resorted to chasing Harley out of the yard with the garden hose. I hate to do it, but he is too much of a bully. He has a house with plenty of food right down the road. He'll have to learn to stay there.

Diva had almost completely healed up her hotspots, but today she has scratched open the spot above her right eye again. And I was feeling so hopeful about how well she was doing.

I found a mousie floating in the water bowl. It's amusing that the four kittens from the same litter, though separated when about five months old, have the same habit of dunking their mousie toy in the water. I put it on a high shelf in a bookcase to dry off. Jetta, Saffy and Zoe kept trying to climb the bookshelves to get to it. Perhaps the smell of wet catnip was too enticing.

We've had no luck catching the raccoon, primarily because the cage we borrowed is way too small. It's also getting very cold at night and we hesitate to have any creature caught outside in a trap when the temperature is dropping as much as it does at night. He may get away with his thievery for a while longer.

20 Oct. 2006
The monster mogs found a new way to torment me. Way up on a top storage shelf, I had a large box with a roll of bubble wrap in it. They knocked the box to the floor and my office is strewn with shredded bubble wrap. Strewn, I tell you!

Ariel continues to hide out in her box under the plank walkways. I haven't seen her budge outside of it for weeks. She must be coming out at night to eat, drink and use the boxes, but she's sure not coming out when I can see her. It's partially because of Zoe harrassing her, but also partially because she hates the kitten. She has decided that Mojo is a huge terrifying brain-eating kitten! I make a point of checking on her, putting my fingers in there for her and sometimes I gently stroke her a few times on the back. She hates that, silly girl, but I do it because I am determined that one day she will understand the pleasures of being petted by a human. Of course, she seems equally determined not to understand it. We shall see.

29 Oct. 2006
I missed posting on the 24th which was Mojo's half-birthday. He's six months old and totally full of himself. He had the temerity (or perhaps a death wish) to go up and start whacking at Puck. Puck put a stop to that instantly. Mojo definitely knows his name now. He was about to go dumpster-diving and when I called his name sternly, he bounded off like a bunny. He wants to play too roughly, so I've been trying to gentle him down. The other day, he decided that he had to eat a button on my keyboard. He couldn't actually get his fangs around it, but he tried. He spends quite a bit of time in my lap with his excellent purr-machine running.

I have a new keyboard and mouse to replace the ones that were cat-damaged, but a minute ago I discovered that the cord to my computer microphone has been chewed entirely in half. Cats is a four-letter word.

Some of Jetta's intestinal problems may relate to her fetish for chewing on plastic. She's almost as obsessed with it as Owl was. She has a thing for duct tape and I'm sure it can't be good for her.

I've been feeling bad about Ariel, who continues to lurk in her box. When I give out the canned food, I put some close to her and she'll come out to eat it, but that's it. I've been reaching in each day to let her sniff my fingers and to carefully stroke her back a few times. Today she went completely feral on me and I have a couple of claw punctures in my arm as a result. Randy and I have discussed whether she'd be better off outside free to live as feral cat, but I'm torn about the idea. I guess I'll wait and see whether we can get her past this bad spell. I would love to see her relaxed and happy again, hanging out around the office, lying in a bed not far from me and getting along with the rest of the Horde the way she used to. This feels like such a set-back.

I caught Theseus rolling around on the floor disembowelling a catnip mousie. It's rare to catch him playing like that.

Simon continues to throw up occasionally, but he's packed on a good amount of weight and no longer feels the least bit bony anywhere, so it can't be doing him too much harm.

Randy and I had started our daily walk a few days ago when T. came down the street in her jeep and stopped to chat with us. T. owns The House That Is The Source Of All Cats, which she doesn't live in, but has left accessible to feral cats. She comes up for short visits as she can. I asked her how the Great Kitten Capturing Crusade was going. She took 72 kittens down to Santa Barbara for adoption at a shelter! She must have been finding them everywhere. Now she's trying very hard to get the last dozen ferals caught and neutered. What an effort.

I spent a couple and a half hours at Lolette's on Friday afternoon cleaning cages. She continues to be in terrible pain from her bad back and urgently in need of any donations that can be sent her way. There's a link for CAUSE4CATS on the left side of the blog.

2 Nov. 2006
Sometimes the simplest decisions can lead to a long, complicated series of actions. It began by smelling the not-so-desirable odor of cat crap every time I came into my office. Some cat is leaving small piles of crap all around the office and I have no idea who it is. Initially, I suspected Ariel thinking that she might be too intimidated to use the communal cat boxes. That suspicion was reinforced when I stepped in a soft pile of crap at the base of the filing cabinet on which she lurks in her hidey-box. And there's nothing quite like stepping in cat crap in a waffle-soled boot.

I decided to start putting bowls of food and water right outside her box, and decided it might help to put a cat box close by as well. When I was cleaning up at Lolette's, I noted that she had covered cat boxes for all the feral cats. If Ariel is afraid of being jumped, a hooded cat box seemed like a good idea. I still have the Booda Dome that used to be Nefreet's catbox, but I'd cleaned it up, put a round cat bed in it and set it on the front porch to see if the ferals would sleep in it.

But first, I had to clean up the space to put it in, which meant vacuuming the office. The vacuuming was way overdue because I couldn't buy vac bags locally and had to order them at Ace Hardware. They arrived, so I no longer had an excuse not to vacuum. That took an hour, given how messy the place was. I had finally gotten rid of the giant box that the computer monitor had come in, which the cats had turned into a scratching post and which was filled with large pieces of chewed up styrofoam.

I was thinking about how tough my vacuum cleaner was. This Kenmore canister has to be one of the toughest vacuum cleaners ever built. It must be twenty-five years old if it's a day and it keeps on working. I was down to the last two inches of carpet when the beater head snagged on some carpet fringe and the beater abruptly stopped working.

This led to taking apart the beater head to see what had happened. Removing the only two apparent screws didn't seem to help, then I realized there were directions in raised letters along the plastic edge, deeply buried in twenty-five years of grime. I cleaned off the lettering and lo! some foresighted engineer had kindly provided me with the final clue to pop the beater head apart. I discovered exactly what I suspected, that the rubber belt had snapped. Replacing that will be another epic for another day.

At any rate, the vacuuming was done. I went to get the Booda Dome. I had to crawl through dirt on my hands and knees under the front porch to put the cat bed that was inside the Dome into the large dog igloo we've put under the shelter of the porch in the hopes the ferals will use it in the winter. We have padding and some beds in there already. Then I had to thoroughly clean the Dome which had months of accumulated dirt that blows off the dirt road and gets on everything around here.

At long last, I had the Booda Dome set in place, ready to be used...and discovered I was completely out of cat litter. That in turn required a trip to the feed store for the chicken feed that I use. But at long, long last, everything was set up and I can only hope it makes things better for Ariel.

Unfortunately, it didn't solve the issue of the Phantom Crapper and I stepped in another pile of it today. Sigh...I really have to find out who has the problem and why.

5 Nov. 2006
I have some gross stuff to relate about Theseus (who is fine), so if you're easily grossed out, you can skip the end of today's entry.

Ariel hadn't budged from her cardboard box in weeks. I've been saying hello to her two to three times a day and the other day she actually said hello back. It was a tiny little "hello", but it's the only time she's done that.

Today, I didn't like the way she looked. I'm worried that her health might suffer from hiding out in a confined space day after day. It may sound trivial, but I noticed that the color of her nose, which used to be quite pink, has changed and become dark. I saw that kind of a color change in Tribble's nose as he became progressively more ill. I asked my vet about it (in Tribble's case), but he had no response to it. I may mean nothing. I can't say for sure. All the same, I decided it was time to shake up the situation.

I placed a carrier in front of the box so that it blocked the entire opening. I put on heavy leather gloves. I used a trick I saw Lolette use when handling feral cats and I used a flat, soft cat bed as a "shield" so that I could open the back of the box and move Ariel forward into the carrier. Other than the fact that she emptied her bladder and bowels in the process, it went quite easily without resistance.

I had the Cave all set up for her and she came right out of the carrier when I set it inside. Now she has room to move around, but with secure solid walls all around her. I can monitor her food, water and cat box use. And she can interact a bit more with the rest of the Horde through the large child gate in the front. I'm hoping I might be able to "reset" her level of interaction and that this will only be a temporary move. When she seems ready to come out into the open again, I'll be happy to let her out. We'll see how it goes.

About Theseus (stop reading here if you're squeamish): I finally discovered on Thursday night where the persistent smell of cat crap was coming from, and yes, it was his behind. My only excuse for not thinking of him earlier was being so distracted by other cats and the Ariel situation. I happened to look over and see him trying in vain to reach his butt, which he is too fat to do, and realized that his rear end was completely caked with crap.

I set about trying to clean him up, but it was pretty hopeless. He was clearly in pain and tremendously unhappy about letting me do anything back there. I got one large glob off and realized he was in bad shape. His anus area was red and inflammed, possibly infected. I hauled the poor beastie off to the vet first thing Friday morning. They knocked him out, shaved him and cleaned him up. He's doing much better and is on anti-biotics as a precaution. As a bonus, I haven't found any more Random Piles of Cat Crap around the office since then.

However, if there is anything less endearing than having to smear oinment twice a day on a sick cat's ass, I don't know what it is. :P

6 Nov. 2006
I'm glad I decided to move Ariel. She's been eating steadily, but more importantly, she drank a huge amount of water. She may be have been getting dehydrated. She's still not a particularly happy cat. Zoe came near the gate and Ariel growled at her, so we have a ways to go yet.

Randy bought a realistic toy mouse for Opal and Pippin, thinking they might find it more interesting. No luck. Neither one showed the slightest interest, even though it has the entire shape and features and coloring of a real mouse. Opal definitely prefers her more amorphous fuzzy mousie. Pippin shows an occasional vague interest in it, but mostly I refer to it as Randy's mousie. He likes it better than the cats do!
Pippin with Randy's mousie

Puck makes himself comfy on the clothes and towels.

Beautiful feral boy, Bowie.

9 Nov. 2006
Ariel is doing well. She's eating lots of food and drinking lots of water, which I suspect she badly needed. I let Puck inside the Cave to visit with her briefly a couple of times. Puck is the one cat in the Horde that Ariel would regularly cuddle with, so I wanted to encourage some socialization with a cat that I know she likes.

Mojo has discovered treats. I give out treats in the morning and at night to those cats who like them - Puck, Diva, Tosca, Saffy, Zoe, Simon and Theseus. I offered treats to Mojo several times, then had the idea of breaking them up into smaller bits. He found the smaller bits easier to manage. He's not a treat junkie yet the way Simon, Saffy and Zoe are. They get right in my face and demand their treats. We'll see whether Mojo turns into a treat junkie or is more like Puck, who is happy to take one, but doesn't beg.

13 Nov. 2006
Simon is a passively affectionate cat, meaning that he enjoys attention while not actively seeking it. The other day he had a rare burst of wanting affection and got on my desk to demand it. I petted him, told him what a good boy he was, then tried to get back to work. He was having none of that. Every time I tried to use my keyboard or mouse, he'd bite my fingers. After a few bouts of petting interspersed with finger-biting, he'd had enough. I swear he gave me a disgusted look as he jumped off the desk.

I keep forgetting to mention that a couple of people emailed me with interesting links or info over a month ago. Each reply I sent would bounce back. If you sent me something and I apparently didn't reply, please consider this a thank you.

15 Nov. 2006
Simon pulled his "If you don't pet me I'll bite your fingers" routine again. He wanted to be in my face, not in my lap. I finally had to get regrettably stern with him.

Kate goes to the vet tomorrow. She keeps throwing up liquid, has diarrhea and is losing weight. Not good signs.

Someone wrote to ask me about The Cave, in which Ariel is currently dwelling. The basic structure is a three-angled wooden desk that my late husband made for me to use as a computer desk. It didn't work for that purpose well enough, so when Randy and I needed a way to keep Owl comfortably confined for three months after his knee surgery, we simply blocked up the openings of the desk with bookshelves and other heavy flat objects, then attached a child gate to the front.

Mojo and Ariel
The front of the Cave. Mojo says hello to Ariel, who lurks in the back with glowing eyes.

Ariel in one of the back cubbyholes. Her catbed is to the left and her catbox is to the right.

Mojo is fascinated by the cursor.

22 Nov. 2006
I've been distracted with work, meetings and setting up a new computer system. It always takes a while to get the software reinstalled and everything back where I need it to be.

So, about Kate. I did indeed take her to the vet last Thursday where she was diagnosed as having a raging kidney infection and being somewhat dehyrated. They gave her fluids and she came home with a powerful anti-biotic to take. For some reason, the vet didn't seem to think the vomiting and weight loss was due to the infection. So far, Kate seems to be doing fine, though she has thrown up at least once that I know of since starting the meds. That's better than before, though.

She hates taking the pills. I think she bribed the other cats into trying to hide the pill bottle because I had to search ten minutes to find it the next day. Either that, or it was Simon trying to figure out how to extract treats from a sealed bottle. At any rate, somecat knocked the treats and meds onto the floor and proceeded to cunningly "hide" Kate's pill bottle.

Speaking of Simon, he loves to tread on one certain button on top of the printer which causes it to print out a test page. I've lost count of the number of test pages that Simon has printed so far.

I finally had to squirt Zoe with the new Water Squirter of Doom. She was harrassing Ariel right through the child gate while poor Ariel was trying to use the cat box. Zoe was greatly startled. I think it affected her for all of...oh, two minutes before she was back to bouncing around the office.

We'll be gone for a few days for Thanksgiving, so have a wonderful holiday and pet a few moggies for me.

28 Nov. 2006
We had a pleasant Thanksgiving trip and the moggies were happy to see us. My office mogs were so happy in anticipation of my return that they trashed the office. They broke one of their ceramic bowls in half. Saffy knocked down the box of bubble wrap and extracted the last of the roll, which she (no doubt with plenty of help) shredded and spread everywhere. I will be picking up stray bits of shredded bubblewrap FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.

Simon promptly tested my printer for me...again.

Kate seems to be doing well, although the petsitters were completely unable to give her the pills while I was gone. I didn't take into account what a difficult cat she is to get a pill into. She fought them too much the first time they tried. After that, they never saw her again. She's an adept stealth cat when she wants to be. I gave her the last two pills after I got back, so she was at least at the end of the course. I haven't seen her throw up in a week now, nor have I found signs of her throwing up, so I hope she's all better.

I caught Zoe with a fresh puddle of pee she was attempted to cover up on a piece of cardboard in the back part of my office. I'm not thrilled her recent behavior. She went from being a tiny, sweet runt kitten to being an aggressive alpha female. Why she felt compelled to pee on the cardboard is beyond me, but I hope it's not the start of bad pattern.

30 Nov. 2006
I'm greatly heartened by Ariel's behavior the past couple of days. She's had a couple of toys in there from the beginning, but I actually heard her playing with a jingle-ball for the first time. Not extensive play, given that she doesn't have a vast amount of room in there, but she batted it around a little.

Then this afternoon, I found her right at the child gate, looking out with interest, rather than in the back of the Cave. When I came up, she drew back somewhat, but sniffed my finger through the gate and didn't entirely retreat. Tonight, Mojo saw her at the gate, bounded over and they touched noses! This is fantastic improvement.

A few days ago, I told Ariel that when she was ready to come out of the Cave, it was all right. I think she heard me. The problem is, I have to leave for another trip and will be gone several days (with no computer, so no blog). I don't think it's wise to let her out now when I won't be around to supervise and make sure we're past whatever the blasted crisis was. When I get back, I'll see how things are going, but I would love to have her out and about getting exercise and interacting with the rest of the Horde again.

Mojo has been totally cracking me up. It's been bitterly cold, so I'm wearing an old wool sweater. Mojo thinks he should groom it. He tries to lick it..and his tongue sticks to the wool like velcro! I feel tugging and look down to see Mojo trying to pull his tongue free. He also tries to do the grooming-nibble on it, but the velcro tongue routine is hysterical.

He's also reached that age where I can see the early hints of the cat he'll grow into as he leaves kittenhood behind. He still totally cute, though.

1 Dec. 2006
I'm heading out of town to vist family for several days, so there won't be new Moggyblog posts for close to a week. I'll miss my moggies!

10 Dec. 2006
The moggies were happy to have me home again, as they always are. Saffy brought me the mousie for an enthusiastic bout of fetch until Zoe stole the mousie so that she could play fetch. Then Mojo stole the mousie and Zoe had to chase him around the office until she got it back.

As soon as I got back, I told Ariel she could come out of the Cave any time she wanted. I've been leaving the child gate open just enough for a cat to go in and out, hoping to encourage a gradual level of interaction between Ariel and the other cats again. It was working fairly well. Puck would go in and out without a problem. Mojo has gone in a few times and not reacted to Ariel, though she gave him a low-level growl. I've seen Jetta, Theseus and Saffy go in and out. Saffy harrassed Ariel a little bit, but nothing major. Then yesterday I heard an all-out fight, but by the time I'd jumped out of my chair to see who it was, the culprit had fled. I thought I glimpsed a dark shape and I strongly suspect Zoe, since that is still who Ariel reacts to with the harshest growls. Anyway, I found Ariel huddled in a back cubicle and water spilled all over, which is not a promising step in reintegrating her.

Henh, Simon and Mojo just had a boxing match on my desk. Whapwhapwhappitywhap!

We've lost our friendly visitor, Bob the black cat. Apparently, his people have moved out and taken Bob, Kit and the two dogs with them. We miss petting him.

I didn't have to go without a cat fix while I was visiting family back east. My brother has a lovely, mellow cat named Pucket who kept me company by sleeping on my bed most of the night. In another life, that could have been Ariel.
Pucket the mellow

12 Dec. 2006
Yowtch, I made another attempt to pet Ariel and she nailed me through two lawyers of clothing. Only a small hole in my arm, but it leaves me wondering whether I really should abandon any hope of making progress with her. I've continued letting the other cats go in and out of her Cave during the day with no other altercations so far. I also put a cushier cat bed in there for her because it gets rather chilly in my office these days and I want to make sure she's comfy.

Pippin is so cute when he gets to romping. He has a particular gallop he does that sounds like the famous section of the William Tell Overture. Padarum padarum padarumpumpum. Then he stops. Maybe one day when he's excessively frisky he'll do the entire piece.

13 Dec. 2006
Ariel made a hopeful move which then turned to disaster late yesterday. I looked up to see Ariel sniffing at the edge of the child gate which I'd left propped slightly open. Slowly, cautiously, she came out of the Cave and began to move out into the main part of the room. She hardly got more than a few feet when Zoe spotted her and flew to the attack. She chased Ariel around the office until I nailed Zoe with the WMD (Waterpistol of Moggy Distraction). I chased Zoe and squirted her some more for good measure, then grabbed her and put her into a carrier to think about her transgressions.

I found Ariel cowering on top of the desk that makes up the body of the Cave. I gave her a few minutes to calm down, then I opened the child gate wider and "encouraged" Ariel to go back inside to her safe area, which she quickly did.

Zoe is definitely the problem here and I don't see an easy solution. Maybe Zoe will calm down as she gets older, but that could take a while and meantime poor Ariel is stuck in a confinement she doesn't deserve. Mojo did manage to sneak in there and use Ariel's cat box this morning, but Ariel doesn't have a problem with the other cats, only with Zoe.

It's hard to stay mad at Zoe when she's so blasted cute.

Saffy says "I'm cute,too!" especially when perched on top of my computer.

Mojo strikes a silly pose in my lap.

16 Dec. 2006
I've decided to start Ariel on a mild dose of tranks to see if I can break the cycle of nervous reaction she's developed due to Zoe. Of course, as long as Zoe is being a snot, that's only going to help so much, but I've had some success helping cats in the past by this method. We'll see.

I had to put the pill into canned food in order to get it into Ariel. Opening any can of food leads to an immediate frenzy in the rest of the Horde, so I had to give them some, too. They got so nuts trying to get to the bowls before I could finish spooning in the food that they knocked over one of the big dry food bowls and scattered dry food everywhere. You'd think they were abandoned, starving waifs or something.

17 Dec. 2006
I looked down and found a mouse next to my mouse. A gift from Zoe, dropped next to my computer mouse.

Ariel and I are having a battle of wills. She's trying to outstubborn me and I think she may win. I put half a trank in some canned food and gave it to her on Friday. She got a tiny taste of the pill (which is pretty bad tasting) and that was it. Yesterday, I crushed the piece of pill and mixed it into some moist food. She didn't touch it all day. She didn't touch it all night. I threw that out this morning and tried again, crushing another half a pill into a different kind of food that I thought might disguise it better.

So far, she's refusing to have anything to do with it. Sigh...

Mojo got inside the Cave briefly and took some whacks at Ariel. She reacted so defensively, that I know the trank would do her some good, just to give her temporary relief from the stress. But I have this sinking feeling she's going to win this battle. I can hardly let the poor girl starve. I'll give it one more day.

19 Dec. 2006
Ariel refused to touch the food all day and barely nibbled at it during the night. She knows that it's POISONED. I have given up and put her back on her regular food. The only way I'll be getting a trank into that girl will be a dart gun or aerosol spray. I don't think that will be happening in the near future. :P

The rest of the Horde has been in a feisty mood, running around taking whacks at one another. Mojo has a long scratch on his nose. Zoe and Saffy are running the Kittyannapolis 500.

22 Dec. 2006
The PR people at Iams discovered the Moggyblog and sent me a blurb about a new website. Here's how they describe it:

Recently we've completed what we think to be a fun and entertaining website called The Great American Cat Stare-Off. This highly interactive site lets users meet and challenge 9 real cats to an eye-to-eye stare off and rewards them with a coupon for $3 dollars of Iams Multi-Cat food.

I checked it out and it's a cute site with funny cat bios and lovely cat faces. Here's the link:

The Horde has been going rather bonkers lately. I don't know if it's the weather or what but I had to grab the water-pistol three times yesterday and threaten Dire Consequences. Fortunately, the mere sight of the WMD in my hand is enough to cause second thoughts in furry little moggy brains.

We've been seeing new feral cats showing up for food and water this winter. The old-timer we see every day is Natasha, a black cat. Bowie is still around, but I don't see him as often. Lately, we've been seeing a cat with unusual markings. He's mostly white, with a patch of orange tabby mask on his head, then round splotches toward the rear end which join up like blobs in a lava lamp and give him an orange butt, with an orange tabby tail. We started calling him Orange Butt, which was shortened to O.B., which morphed into Obi. Last week, Obi climbed to the top of the sequoia (which is about, oh, twenty feet tall) in his lust for birds. The sequoia is where I hang the bird feeder. We locked eyes from the second story window and he quickly worked his way down.

And he has a twin! Except that instead of orange coloring, his twin has the same unusual markings in gray and black. We rarely see him, though. We had a long-haired dark tabby show up along with the short-haired tabby that we TNR'd, and yesterday I saw a new one who looks like a big, grown-up version of Mojo. Very skittish, he was, and took off like a flash when he saw me.

Here comes Puck for some lap time. Or so I thought. He walked across my lap and kept going. Now he's perched on the back of my chair. I am but Cat Furniture.

26 Dec. 2006
We had a visitor yesterday who insisted on meeting the entire Horde. Theseus and Kate instantly went into Deep Hiding. The rest of the shameless moggies thronged the hapless guest and demanded scritches and adoration. Puck went further and buffed her boots to a fine shine. He has such a shoe fetish, that cat.

27 Dec. 2006
Poor Puckster was pawing at the door this afternoon because I had filled the birdfeeder and he could hear ten thousand birds right outside the door. It was driving him crazy. Never mind that there's snow. There are BIRDS!

They can hear Randy out there now working with the snow shovel. We only have a couple of inches so far, but it could keep snowing all night. You never know. I saw the footprints of the feral cats in the snow as they made their way to the porch for food. My moggies don't know how good they have it.
The Puckmeister in a favorite sleeping spot.

30 Dec. 2006
I spent a couple of hours on Thurs. and couple hours yesterday at Cause4Cats giving Lolette a hand by feeding and watering cats. Her usual person came down with pneumonia, so she needed the extra help. While I was there, she asked me if I would take in a foster kitten for a couple of weeks. Someone dumped this kitten at Lolette's place and she found him wandering the grounds.

Those of you snickering in the peanut gallery can stop it RIGHT NOW.

I said no at first because I know how I am and I realize the odds of giving up this kitten two weeks from now are dubious. On the one hand, I really don't want another kitten in the Horde. On the other hand, he's a totally adorable love-sponge. He's soaking up the love in my lap right now as I work on teaching him The Rules about not dancing on the keyboard. He has a phenomenal Purr Machine, one of the loudest motors I've heard on a kitten, and he purrs at the slightest touch.

He has been named Zebedee ("the gift of God"), which is a Biblical name. Zebedee (or Zebediah) was a fisherman and the father of two apostles, James and John.

I had already brought home a large cage that Lolette loaned me, one of the kind that had multiple levels of shelves so that a cat can jump around a bit. I set it up with the idea of putting Ariel in it. Once I had it in place, though, I had serious seconds thoughts. It would be difficult to give Ariel enough barriers so that Zoe and other cats aren't able to harrass her at any time. Not to mention the difficulty and stress caused by trying to transfer her from the Cave to the cage. It may yet happen, but not right now.

So instead, I brought back Zebedee yesterday and he went into the cage, which was perfect for a kitten. I figure he's probably about four months old. He certainly bounced around from level to level. He also complained about the situation for hours last night. "I want OUT! OUT!"

Late this morning, after the requisite sniffing around and growling had been done by certain members of the Horde, I let Zeb out. He went into Warp Drive and didn't stop for a good ten minutes, racing around the office, getting into every nook and cranny, exploring every inch of the place, discovering my desk and shelves and wastebaskets and generally wreaking typical kitten havoc.

Mojo has following and romped and chased around with him. He seems to be thinking, "My little brother! And he's orange!" Saffy, Jetta, Simon and Zoe have been having Snark Fests. Saffy is the Queen of Snark, closely followed by Simon and Jetta. Zoe mainly snarked when she had a run-in with the kitten. But the general snarkiness level has dropped off already, though I think I'll keep Zebedee in the cage during the night as a precaution. At least for a little while.

And now, a photo essay entitled Zebedee Arrives for a Visit.
the Horde investigates
Jetta, Zoe, Puck and Saffy investigate the cage as I prepare to set it up.
Zebedee's first night. Simon, Jetta and Mojo check him out.
On the loose! So much to explore!
"Anybody under here?"
Puck taking a jaundiced view of the whole situation.
Zebedee finds water.
Zebedee peeks, and Saffy peeks in the background.
Mojo & Zebedee
Mojo is ready to play, but Zebedee is bent on exploring.
Mojo & Zebedee
Zebedee uses the cage door as a strategic location to play with Mojo.
He wore Mojo out after a while.
Zebedee finds the ball in a maze!
Zebedee finds the wastebasket! A minuter later, Zebedee tips over the wastebasket.
Zebedee finds the catnip! Yes, it's another catnip junkie.

31 Dec. 2006
Zebedee has settled in and been accepted much more easily than Mojo. Perhaps Mojo paved the way and the rest of the mogs can't be bothered to keep up the hissy-fits. Except for the Queen of Snark. Saffy still gives the random hiss and occasional whack if he wanders too close.

I was coming into my office after lunch when Zebedee raced toward me, an orange streak, and I just barely managed to block him before he got out the door. I'm not sure he was really trying to get out. I think it was more a matter of streaking around the office and being sucked in by the open door.

He was most unhappy about being locked up last night. Given how well things are going, I may not do it for much longer.

He's spent most of the day in my lap and is asleep on my right arm as I type this, utterly content.

May you all find equal contentment in 2007.











Puck with ball


Theseus & Tribble