Sunday, April 16, 2017

Cats and More Cats (part 5)

Its been a week since my last post, and there are several developments.  Although the cats are still wary, they are getting used to me.  Several are there waiting for me when I bring food, and I see them watching me in between times.  And they approach us.  Not closely, but enough to watch and see what we are doing.  The most interesting thing that is happening is that several of the cats are starting to come to MY side of the food bowls after eating, to clean and doze, rather than the far side of the food bowls.

The tabbies, eating
 I haven't seen all the tabbies the last few nights.  Bob is always there, waiting for me, along with Sally Rose.  Bob watches me while I am there, either with my book or my camera.  Logan came later last night, but Tiger I have not seen in four or five days.

Bob, watching me
Frank, dozing after eating

Frank and Cookie, who are always together
Frank and Cookie are always together.  They eat out of the same dish most of the time.  After eating, Frank walks over to a patch of sun and dozes.  Cookie comes closer to me, about 3 feet or so, and sits and cleans herself.....she skitters back and forth between the patch close to me and over to sit with Frank.  They both have started talking.  Frank has a yowl which he lets out every once in a while, and Cookie has a quiet meow.
Sally Rose, watching the others eat
Sally is the other cat that is curious about us.  She will approach, and sit, just out of reach and watch us.  I think she will be the first to really come close and make contact.  I have not heard her meow, but she seems comfortable in my presence, dozing.

Laura, our latest colony addition
Laura was one of the first cats I trapped.  Then after I brought her back, she disappeared.  I saw her at a distance about five days ago, lurking until I left the feeding area.  A couple of nights, she came with the four (Bob and Sally, Frank and Cookie), and waited until they started eating, then after they were done, she approached the dishes.  Last night, she cautiously approached while they were eating.  Frank stopped eating, they touched heads, then she ate with Frank and Cookie, although there were  bowls of food available with no one eating from them.

It is interesting to read about feral colonies and compare my set of cats to the "standard".  I think I may have a mix of strays and feral.  And the fact that it may be a patriarchal group, as all the females are younger.  But, I am not sure if the "leader" is Bob or Frank......  I never see any fighting, but Bob wants no one to eat out of the same bowl with him, although Frank will let the other cats eat after they rub heads.  It is also interesting that the females will often share bowls, although there are enough for all of them to be eating out of their own bowl.

Stay tuned for more on the Puryear cat community.  I am naming it thus, as we live on the "old Puryear place"

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Cats and more cats (part 4)

Since the time in which I started writing, published a couple of these posts, and life happening, I have continued to trap.  I caught the siamese cat, which then disappeared.  I talked to some neighbors about what I am doing so they would be aware and so I could check and see if they have cats (which they do, but they have collars).  I did find out that the neighbor who moved, and whose cats I have inherited, DID neuter HIS cats and take his cats when he left, but did not trap and neuter any of the other cats he fed, so the multiple cat problem persisted.  But, I totally understand his situation; TNR is difficult.

This is my cat.  For better or for worse.  He is the offspring of one of the strays a couple of years ago. Found abandoned in the barn, bottle fed....and now our indoor cat.  He sleeps in my chair, and anyplace he thinks may be comfortable (like my computer when I forget to close it).
KitKat, then

KitKat, now

But back to the outdoor cats.  I trapped a total of 9 cats.  The humane society aged them all at 2 years, except Frank, who they said was 4.  All were healthy.  One cat went to a friend for a shop cat.  That left me with 8.  I was seeing 6 of them consistently.  4 tabbies, a bicolor and a calico.  Bob, Sally Rose, Logan, and Tiger were the names settled on for the tabbies.  Frank was my big bicolor, and Cookie was the calico.

Bob, the biggest tabby, is the head of the group.  Pretty much, the others defer to him.  Last night, he batted some of the others away as he ate if they tried to share his bowl.  He ate his fill, then stretched, and walked to the nearest tree, washed up and dozed.  Tiger is almost as big as Bob, but just eats and runs away. Sometimes he will linger in the area, but not close to the others.   Logan, I think, is the female I trapped.  I am not sure which is the male and which is the female between Logan and Tiger.  I trapped them both on the same day, and couldn't distinguish between them at the time.  Now, I can see distinct differences.  Sally Rose is smaller than the other tabbies, and has orange coloration in her stripes.  She is the most interactive of the tabbies within their group, sitting and lounging with the other cats.

Bob and Tiger

Bob and Sally Rose, and Cookie.  Logan in the background.

Then there is Frank.  He is the biggest of the cats, and seems the most easy going.  He is around the most, and I see him, even when it is not feeding time.  He seems to be watching me.  He is the favorite of Cookie.  Cookie is the one who bunts the other cats.  She seems to want attention, feeding in the same bowls with various members of the group.  She is constantly with Frank, and is the cat we can get the closest to.

Frank and Cookie

Then. last night, for the first time since I trapped her (two weeks ago), the "torby" showed up to eat.  The humane society labeled her a torby, and I really can't say, even after reading all the definitions. She hung out in the brush while the others ate, then come over at the end.  I was glad to see that she had survived and just was very shy.   

And last, after Laura showed, came Cream, the siamese.  She is a tiny adult cat, weighing in at less than 5 lbs.  She ate, guardedly, and I left while she was still eating to give her some peace.

So, that is my clan for the present.  I ask myself, what next?  So, for the time being, I will feed them, make them a place to hang out, and hope they stay safe.  If any of them become socialized, I may try to find them GOOD homes.  

Not ever having been a cat person, it has been interesting to watch them and learn about them.  I will still be hanging out and trying to get them to accept me, so check back for updates in a week or so.  

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Cats and more cats (part 3)

Trapping involves a lot of effort.  First, I have to make an appointment with the humane society. The location is an hour (in good traffic) from our house.  Our local shelter has loaned me the traps and wished me much success.  So, I put the traps at various locations where I have seen cats and bait them with food.  At various times throughout the evening, I look (with binoculars) to see if the traps are sprung.  If I have a cat, I move the trap close to the house.  Before 600 am (yes, in the MORNING), I get up, get dressed in clothes I have laid out, pack the traps loaded with cats in the car, put in cat carriers and take off for Austin.  If I am lucky, it takes an hour to get there.  This is all without COFFEE so I don't wake up everyone in the house.  I sign in, fill out paperwork, put tags on the traps/carriers, and they take the cats and carriers.  I travel back home (in traffic, by this time).  Then around 300 in the afternoon, I make the return trip.  Pick up cats and get stuck in Austin traffic.  Coming home takes at least 1 1/2 hours, maybe more.  I drop off the females with Thundering Paws (THANK YOU) then take the males back to my place to over night them in their traps or carriers.  The next day, I can release my males, and go to Thundering Paws to get my females and release them.  Yes, mine.  I am taking ownership.

Tonight, I fed my regulars.  The four tabbies were waiting for me.  There was no competition between them, they shared bowls, and went back and forth between the two bowls.  Then through the underbrush came Cookie.  She timidly approached.  Bob stepped back from the bowl and she ate, then they all started eating together again.  I went to set traps, then came back.  The bowls were all empty, and Frank was sitting by them.  I went back to the house and got more food for Frank.  He started eating, then Cookie came out and brushed against him and ate with him.  Bob came over and watched them, but didn't interfere, or make any sounds.  I felt good that I saw them all eat.  And no aggressive moves between them.

Maybe I will get some new cats in the traps tonight.

I am looking to trap a siamese and a skinny white cat I saw the first week, but have not seen in a while.......then I am done!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Cats and more cats (part 2)

Up until this time, I had one cat.  Our KitKat.  Found in the barn as a kitten, bottle fed, nursed back to health, and now our cat.

So, I trapped 8 cats over two days.  Drove that long drive to Austin (several times) to have them spayed/neutered.  A friend of mine, who knows animals, wanted a "shop cat".  She has the ability and the knowledge to re-home a stray, and took one of the cats I had spayed.  She was ready with a large cage and a carrier to keep the cat enclosed for weeks until it can call her place her home.  I have no doubt it will be safe and well fed.

And another of the cats I trapped I have not seen since.  Its possible it was some one's pet (now spayed and ear clipped......oooopps).

So, that leaves me with a community of 6 cats.  So far.

Bob is a male tabby, very smart and has an amazingly beautiful color pattern.  He seems to be in charge of a subset of the community, the four tabbies.  Would it be called a pride?

Rose is a small tortoiseshell/tabby.  She is always with Bob.


Two tabbies are with Bob and Rose.  One is a male, the other is a female, but I don't know which is which.  This so makes me regret I did not take pictures of them when I took them in to be spayed/neutered in their traps.  So, I am calling them Dart (very shy and runs at the first sound of my coming with dark tabby markings) and Logan (a "washed out" tabby color).  I think Logan is the female.

Frank is a large bicolor.   He is always the last to find the food, and sometimes, like a couple of nights ago, he sits on the driveway and wails (which makes me think he missed his supper).  I see him alone, mostly, sometimes with Cookie.

Frank and Cookie
Cookie is a true calico.  She, too, is very shy.  I can only see her at a distance most days.  I call her my "teenager".  She runs and hops, leans into Frank when he is feeding and head butts him.  He just keeps on keeping on.

My routine is to feed in one spot, in a clearing on our 5 acres.  I give about half a portion in two bowls.  I am pretty noisy as I approach, sometimes I see a cat, sometimes I don't.  I call, "cat-cat-cat" and shake the food.  Then I leave that spot to fill a couple of other bowls, one under a table, the other closer to the property line, for the cats I have not yet trapped.  I come back to the first site, where usually the four tabbies are eating.  I shake the bowl, they move off about 20 feet, I fill their bowls, then I back off about 20 feet and sit and watch them as they come back and feed.  They get their fill, then stretch, walk off a couple of feet and lay around like one sees lions do on nature programs.  We watch each other for awhile.  Then I leave.  Rose is curious, has walked a couple of feet towards me occasionally while I keep very still, then she returns to her group.

So far, this is like some nature project.  I keep notes, watch them (and they watch me).

Cats and more cats (part 1)

So, let me make it clear.  I never liked cats.  I thought they were shifty and independent, not able to be trained.  The way my parents talked about cats was probably the root of those thoughts.  My mother was afraid that cats would wind around her feet and trip her.  My father talked about how cats sucked your breath while you slept and suffocated you.  The barn cats would sit on the window sill on the old farm house and stare at him through the windows as we ate supper, and he would be constantly chasing them off.

My children loved cats, although we never had them.  And while I would talk about how I disliked cats, at every house I ever visited that had cats, the cats would find my lap to sit in, or twine around my feet.

Then in a "magical" moment, we found puppies under the barn on our place, abandoned puppies, and I bottle fed one after finding homes for the rest.  My children would ask, if we found a kitten under the barn, could we keep it, and I would distractedly say, sure.  I mean, what WERE the odds.

And indeed, one day, my son came yelling, "we found a kitten".  And, yes, he had.  It fit in one of my palms.  Its eyes were matted shut and it was covered with fleas.  Its nose was runny.  "Mom, we can't let it die!" was the cry.  So, I googled a milk-like concoction to keep it alive and the next day, I drove the little piece of fur to a local veterinarian.  He shook his head and said he had doubts that it would survive.  It had an upper respiratory infection, was dehydrated, and other other issues.  They gave him fluids and antibiotics and vitamins, gave me formula and oral meds and tips for care and told me to come back in a few days if it was still alive.  The kids called it KitKat.  I fed it every few hours, forced medicine down it throat, gave it a warm bath, wiped its little nose and eyes and bottom.  And it survived.  The vet's office gave it more fluids, more antibiotics, cleaned out its ears and finally determined it was a little boy.  And gave it a poor chance of survival.  I persisted, taking care of that 8 oz bundle.  I nebulized it, bottle fed it, made a tiny sized litter box, paid the vet bill.  And then, we had a cat.  I treated it more like a dog, so it begs for food, plays with ball and is very vocal.

Our KitKat was probably an offspring from the neighbor's cats.  He had lots of animals, including a pack of cats, which he fed, but did nothing more for.  It was a bit of a problem as they would come to the barn, spread fleas, have kittens, etc.  Then this winter, he moved.

The neighbor took his goats and chickens and doves and ducks and dogs and the cats that were "his".  Apparently, he spayed/neutered the cats that were his, but not the others.  He left behind a dozen or so cats.  Some residents said they would shoot the remaining cats if they saw them.  For some crazy reason, I could not let that happen.  So, I started doing research into feral cats.  Not really feral, these cats were strays and scared and confused and wouldn't trust me.

I called the shelters and rescues, read about cats and traps.  I started feeding them and then borrowed some traps and set up appointments for having them spayed/neutered, a local rescue would keep the females overnight, then I would bring them home.  Thus, the great animal trapping of 2017 began.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Share an image you really love right

AN image....I can't.  There are multiple images that I love and keep with me, Snapshots of moments in time that I can picture in my head.

Pictures are so very important.  Somewhere in my possession is an old black and white photo of half of my dad.  That was part of the first roll of pictures I ever took.  When they were developed, either my mother or father questioned why I didn't take my time to focus.  I did....I just couldn't see what to focus on, and soon after I had my first pair of glasses.

This is one of my favorite pictures of my mother.  A very independent woman to the end. I miss her.

This is still how I see myself.....  this is my first car.  I will never forget how I felt when I got it.  $297.  The drivers window wouldn't roll up, the trunk wouldn't open unless you "thumped" it, and when it rained (which it did a LOT in Southern Illinois) the carborator stuck.  But that feeling owning your first car!

I still remember taking this picture.  I was driving back from a 10 day job at the Illinois State Fair.  That 10 day job paid for a semester's tuition.  As I was driving, a rainbow appeared.  The one way sign was just serendipity, but I always feel like I am headed to the pot of gold when I see this picture.

This is my beloved.  It was a big road trip to Maine, from Texas.  This is a cool morning in West Virginia.  Forever will I remember that trip, and someday, we might do it again.

This is from our first road trip together to Big Bend.  I knew I loved him, but this trip just sealed it.  The vistas you could see made you think in terms of "forever".

When my son was younger, one day he took my camera outside and played at taking pictures.  I have NO IDEA how he took this one, but it is a favorite of mine.

This is from my first road trip alone with William.  We went to a place that I remembered as a child, Elephant Rocks, and played in the rocks.  Its so special because he saw the place as I did as a child, and it made me childlike again.

 This is my wonderful Grace.  She has grown into the most awesome adult.  I am so proud of who she has become.  Words cannot express it.

I LOVE these images.....and they can bring tears to my eyes and make my heart happy.

I am curious as to what images the others in our group love:

Kathleen Krucoff:

Saturday, August 20, 2016

know yourself

When I saw the topic for the month, I thought, "oh, this will be easy".  I mean, we are getting ready to host the homeschool "back to homeschool" party, and I am in charge of it, and I tell new people to look for me ".....look for the very short woman with long grey hair and glasses".  But, then I thought, yes, that is what I look like, but not who I am.

I am John and Nida's daughter, farm raised and George and Marie's sister.  In the town I was born, I was part of the "Moses" family.....I would have old people stop me on the street and say "you is a Moses, I can is so and so".

Then, at one point, I defined myself as a student, then a very unhappy air force lieutenant who was also a chemist.  I was very happy to re-define myself as a field investigator for the state of texas, who was protecting the environment.

But , back to the topic.... how DO I define myself?  ..... I mean, I am a very happy mother of two, delighted to be the wife of an amazing man. I have chickens and a dog and a cat.....or maybe they have me.

I have my own business and am the manager of the farmers market in which I participate.  I am a library volunteer, I am a teacher, I am the crone in our homeschool group.

I am old enough to know things I don't care to have in my definition of self....  I will never be beautiful in the classic sense, too short, with a ski slope nose, chunky, not thin. But, I am comfortable with my looks.  I will not be rich, although I tend to be generous.  I don't care for cities but someday I would love to travel.  Technology is fun, but I have no desire to be an expert.

But, in some way, I feel those things are only who I am, they don't define me....  I talked to a friend of mine, a wonderful woman, who teaches yoga, among other things (but that does not DEFINE her) about this topic.  We talked about how yoga teaches that if you define youtself, then does that make you that it better to not define one's self so that you can change, don't put yourself in a box. And don't we change who we are every day, as we learn and grow.  There are some definitive things, personality traits that are with us all our lives.  I have taken various personality tests over the years in my jobs.....and the traits that have stood the test of time for me are loyalty, loving and steadiness. I think admirable traits. So, I guess I am a german shepard (ha!)

So, lets see if the other bloggers in this group know themselves: