Life in the Cat House

In Videos, even!

This is The Old Guy, Mr. Biggie. He wants me ta stop pointing the camera at him and put out a bowl of food.

When he is happy with us, he looks at us. When he is displeased, he will not bestow the boon of seeing his open eyes…

https://www.amazon.com/photos/share/l81z4PoL7Rn4ODuqktswEIVNHapgB6Bwas2EUhqFD0W


 

Shade is the name that we have finally given to Cienna and Bonsai’s middle sibling. He sneaks in occasionally with one of the other kits. And that day, we closed the door on him for a bit. He was not happy about it. And Bonsai … was not exactly sympathetic to his plight…

https://www.amazon.com/photos/share/R07ME16uHwoa8Uuyq5vmISi3UaHFIyAHS2ZpCfo7CSv


 

In other news, Bonsai finds and hides things. I found a cool leaf in my shoe the other day. And this … this is him trying to hide a toy he stole from Maggie in a cola box.

 

 

 


 

Last but not least, Bonsai may be bigger, but he still needs Mommy Cuddles.

 

 

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Just poking a bit at that story…

But first, a note:

One of my readers said that they are new to Word Press and uncertain how to navagate the site.  If you click the links at the top, it will take you to ONLY those posts, in order, from the beginning.  I hope that helps.


Now, to the story.  This is loosely a first chapter of the book I am working on, but a rough draft, still.  This is just me trying to get back into writing again. 

The wind hissed outside the window of the warehouse on 5th Avenue, in Midpoint California. The sun’s last light tinted the sky a deep, blood-red with hints of infection in the yellow-orange at the edges. It should have been disturbing, but Stephen actually found it soothing. The world revealed for what he believed it to be. Life. Pretending not be dying when it is already too late.

He sighed, leaning back in the chair he’d chosen to rest in after the feast, letting the bloody light not only fill the room he was in, but his eyes, and through them, saturate his brain in ruby-red.

It was a curious thing to have a physical body. It could feel so powerful, particularly backed by his magics. Yet it was still mortal, and fallible. And it required things his immaterial body had not. Which was frustrating, yes. But new, and, as he had just discovered… exciting.

His first kill lay in a darkened corner of the room, wasted blood soaking the carpet. He let his eyes linger over it. It felt wrong to leave it there in the darkness, for it had unveiled an epiphany.

To kill had been easier than he’d anticipated. Too quick. But the fear of the prey had been exhilarating. And the blood … so hot and fast and coppery. He’d known immediately that this, this flowing red river was to be the price he’d pay, quite willingly, for his stay on the planet. Every *jinn?* paid a price for a material body and the chance to infect the world with their ambitions, and the drinking of living blood would be his. How often, Stephen was still unsure. But he knew the human name for what he would be as he walked the Earth in physical form. Strigoi. Nosferatu. Vampire. He rather thought that he would enjoy that.

He felt a flash of sentimentality and part of him wished that he could keep that body there, as a keepsake, memorabilia of that most important moment. But he knew that likely, the humans waiting in the other room would remove it, as soon as they were sure it was safe to approach and clean away all traces of the deed because murder in this human world was illegal. And monsters, human or otherwise, needed to hide what they were.

Well, Stephen supposed, his memories would have to suffice.

He could hear them outside the door, in the room beyond, smelling like fear and excitement. Full of anticipation, and completely free of guilt. They had wisely left the room when they understood, at the last, that the demon they’d brought forth would take a life before it would “serve” them. Exiting quite quickly, just case Stephen might be tempted to take two. He chuckled.

Humans always assumed that the spirits they summoned would bow to their wills. Ridiculous. But he would help them. For a while anyway. It served his purposes to do so. He was fresh and new here, and allies were always wise when you were learning. And they were self-serving, amoral, power-hungry predators themselves. Which he appreciated. Hardly “human” at all. There had been almost no flinch of guilt when they left the weakest of their number to Stephen’s appetites. The “human” one, who chilled at the thought of murder as the price for personal power. Who had objected to the sacrifice of one of their number.

So they sacrificed him. Turning on him like a wolf-pack circling prey. Stephen remembered the look on his stupid, prey-face as they backed out of the room, abandoning him.

But that was rude, Stephen told himself. He really should be more appreciative. Fool or not, he’d been quite delicious.

Smoke = Bad. So Here’s Pics

Hi there!  I have been promising an update on the newest, feral kitten in our household.  But I have been kinda under the weather.  And with all the fires in California and Washinton all blowing their smoke up here for us to breathe, I feel pretty icky.

So here is the next best thing.  A bunch of pictures of the new boy, Buckaroo Bonzai.  From his first day, caught in the cage and refusing to eat.  To now, where he’s decided that inside the house is GOOD.  We have food, it’s safe, and he has a giant momma dog to protect him and keep him warm.

Enjoy!

Little Buckaroo Bonzai’s first day.  Lookit how tiny he was!

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Maggie becomes a Kitty Mommy

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Buckaroo Bonzai love’th his new mommy.

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Maggie cannot escape the kitten.

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Resistance is Futile.

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It really is.

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There is no escape.

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Though … they are kinda de-sheeting my bed.

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Aw well, I suppose I can remake it later.

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Have a great day!  And stay out of that smoke!

Oops, almost forgot!

Here’s a video:

 

 

The Fixing of the Ferals

In our lovely town of Port Angeles, Washington there is an organization that calls itself, simply, Clallam County Trap-Neuter-Return. It is staffed by dedicated volunteers in the area who go out into the wilds to trap our local colonies of feral cats, spay and neuter them, give them basic shots, a flea treatment, then releases them back to where they found them. The only exception to this is the kittens. If they catch feral kittens young enough to be socialized, they are moved to the Humane Society for adoption.

It is a lot of work. And a lot of care goes into what they do. And because of their efforts to spay and neuter every wild-cat they can find, the feral cat population here is steadily decreasing. So much so, that there are now very few feral kittens available for socialization. I find this amazing and wonderful.

And why I am writing about this is, as you all know, if you’ve been reading this blog, Jatina and I have our own small, feral-cat colony living under our house. Three boys, one mama, and one kitten. And it was slowly growing in size. Jennie, the mama, was having 1 kitten a year. And though we were okay with feeding four, feral kitties, now there were five. And we really didn’t want any more.

When we spayed Cienna (we got lucky with Zeeta, as she was ear-tipped and already fixed) it ran us about $300 for everything. That took a good bite out of our finances, and we knew that there was just no way we could come up with that kind of money for five, feral cats. So about a month ago, I went on to Facebook’s PORT ANGELES PAWA page and began inquiring about any low-cost spay/neuter options for our ferals.

Shortly after my post, I was contacted by a woman named Marion Wagner who was part of the Clallam County Trap-Neuter-Return group in our area. She was quite willing to help us.

As C.C.T.N.R works with our local Spay to Save Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinic, Marion was able to arrange four slots for our ferals on the 30th of July. Then she sent one of her volunteers over to bring us the traps, and to show us exactly how they worked, and to advise us on how to go about trapping our kitties.

I want to take a moment to say how much I really liked their traps. When we bought the small, Havahart trap for Cienna back in December 2016, it had a spring mechanism that snapped the door shut HARD. We were very worried it might slam down on her tail or a foot. And I wouldn’t recommend Havahart traps for that reason. (See Photo Below)havihartOwch!  Look at that scary door thing!

But the C.C.T.N.R. traps are designed quite differently and are far safer. When the trap is tripped, the door falls via gravity only, then locks securely, making it almost impossible for the animal to be hurt. Also, these traps had two doors, one which slides up so that you can put food or water into the cage without an escape. And I liked that, too. (See Photo Below)

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Aren’t they great?  It is the Humane Way 914048 Live Trap Animal, Medium 32″x12″x10″

The volunteer that came to our house on the 14th was named Bruce. He went over the use of the traps more than once to make sure we understood how to use them. And then explained the plan.

We were to start feeding the ferals from inside the unset traps immediately. We would do this for a couple of weeks, and then, two days before our appointment at the clinic, we would stop all food. Then, the day before, on the 29th, we’d set the traps and bait them, and our hungry boys and girl would come running, and find themselves captured.

There was one exception. They brought one trap with a “kitten door”. It was a piece of plywood with a small entry hole cut in it and secured near the front of the cage. This would keep the big cats out, but let the little one in. Bruce wanted us to catch the kitten right away, and begin socializing it. That way, should we decide not to keep it, it would be accustomed enough to humans to make it adoptable at the Humane Society. (I will write about this process soon.)

Catching the baby turned out to be incredibly easy. Since we had stopped all food the night before, everyone was hungry. And since only the baby’s trap had food, it wasn’t even an hour before we had the little one.

We brought the baby in and transferred him/her into a dog crate with a small cat box, food, water and a blankie. Then we removed the kitten-gate, and put that cage back outside with the others. Then put food out for all the hungry ferals, inside the new, blanket-covered boxes.

It took no time at all for Jennie, Little Boy, and Biggie to start eating out of the covered traps. They seemed to really like it, to be honest. They thought they were cool, new cat things, and they’d come daily, sniff around, stretch, and go in and eat. Biggie even claimed one for himself, laying outside it between meals, and mostly the others respected that. They each seemed to pick out their favorites.

The only one I was not seeing regularly was the one we call “Papa”. In fact, it is possible I’ve confused seeing him with Cienna because he looks exactly like her. Also, I did see him recently laying on a lawn of a house down the street, relaxed, even with people sitting on their porch. So … maybe Papa isn’t so feral after all. And that’s a good thing.

All this said, I still have to admit that I felt a bit guilty setting them up like that. But I knew that if we fixed them, we would be helping to keep the feral population down. And that’s a very good thing. Plus we were worried about the fighting. Whenever a lady-cat went into season, everybody went crazy, and eventually, someone was going to get hurt. Not to mention that our Mr. Biggie is getting very old.

And then, the 28th came before we knew it. We kept Cienna and Zeeta in to keep them out of the traps, emptied out the food from all the cages, and waited until the afternoon of the 29th. Then we baited and set the traps.

We caught Biggie first, poor old boy. And an hour later, Little Boy was trapped, too. But Jennie. Jennie was crafty. She made in and out of her preferred trap 3 times before we finally switched it out for our other free trap. And then, we caught her. There was much cheering in the household because she was our main target.

The last trap remained empty, though. Not because of any malfunction in its door mechanism, but simply because we saw no trace of Cienna’s Papa. I guess, if he has a home, he just doesn’t feel the need to eat here all the time.

So. Our feral kids spent the night in their covered cages. And the next morning we put them in the back of my 1989 Silverado and drove them to their appointments. Mostly, they were very good about it. Little Boy threatened to kill us when we reached for the cage but settled fairly quickly when we picked it up. Biggie and Jennie were mostly quiet but were a bit jumpy when we first picked up the cages.

We arrived at the Clinic at 8:30am, filled out paperwork, and with the help of one staffer, put the cages in the shade next to the Mobile Clinic. And that’s when we found out that they don’t just spay and neuter the feral kitties. They also give them free shots and a free flea treatment, too. And they fix ferals for FREE. I was quite surprised. And left a donation with them as thanks.

We were told to come back at 4:30pm for our ferals, and once home, to leave them in their cages till the next morning. We thanked them and drove home to wait.

At around 3pm, however, we got a call.

Upon examining Jennie they discovered that she had a disease called Stomatitis, an extremely painful condition that is very hard to treat. They said often it is incurable, and only gets worse with time. They told me that they’d brought in another vet to get a second opinion, just to be sure. And everyone agreed that she had it, and it was advanced. I was told that she was in extreme pain, and after talking to Jatina, we agreed to have her put down. They said that they could do it for us there.

And … I … am quite sad. But also grateful to the Spay to Save Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinic for taking care of our little girl.

But, the boys seem to have done well. We brought them home and kept them inside in their covered cages overnight. The next morning we let them loose and they went straight under the house. We haven’t seen Biggie since, but likely he’s ticked at us and it may be a few days before he is willing to tolerate our presence. But Little Boy… Little Boy was out hanging with our Cienna within a couple of hours of being released. He looks pretty happy.

And that is the story of the Fixing of the Ferals. If you have ferals yourself, you might google your local area for a similar group. There seems to be people all over the country coming together to help keep down the feral population.

And even if you are feral free, but have a pet you aren’t sure you can afford to fix, look for a local “Spay to Save Mobile Clinic”. Ours will fix your fur babies, cat or dog, for only $20 for the girls and $15 for the boys. And shots and flea treatments are also available for a discounted price, as well.

Both groups do very good work. If you are looking for a place to donate to, please consider:

Spay to Save Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinic
Clallam County Trap-Neuter-Return

And thank you! I hope you all have a wonderful and inspiring day!

Another bit of that story.

I’ve been writing for weeks now on it.  Bits and pieces.  And here’s one I think that I can share.  I don’t know if this will turn into a story or not.  But I hope it will.

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The view from the bluff was breath-taking. You could see the flat desert spread out before you for miles and miles in the dark. Lights from homes in the city twinkled in the faint, but the persistent fog of December.

Marsha took a deep breath and stared down at the city of Midpoint, California. The sight reminded her of strings of Christmas bulbs carelessly dropped upon the floor. But it was so much more than that. Each light marked where life existed in spite of the night that tried to swallow it all whole.

She leaned against her 1968 Crown Toyota, just breathing. Not thinking. Not feeling. Just pulling the air in and out of her lungs.

She was hurt, she knew it. Deep, deep in her soul.

There are things that can never really be healed. Parts of the soul, once surrendered, that are lost forever. And loss so great that you can’t even cry. So instead, Marsha focused on breathing. And it felt like she was breathing in the entirety of the night. All of it flowing into her as she tried, almost without thinking, to transmute each particle into strength. And Will. And … whatever she needed to go on. And to, God willing, find some way to defeat the monsters.

She was alive. And that was still … something. She knew it was, at least in part, because Stephen intended her to be so. But also, she knew, that he wanted to break her. Smash all the parts of her that mattered into shards of glass and dust that would eventually be blown away by the stiff, desert winds. He thought he had succeeded. But she was still here, hiding in the shadows of her mind. And she knew that he was completely oblivious.

Marsha knew that this was a victory of some sort. She wasn’t sure yet what kind. But it seemed so incredible to her that she couldn’t believe that it was her own, small, mortal victory. No. There had to be something more to it, something Higher. Perhaps if the Evil she’d seen, this hideously intense, brutal Evil could exist in the world, then Good, too, must also be real. If evil planned, and plotted, and pulled people into its web as cat’s paws, certainly Good must do the same?

During the day, it was hard to believe that. But here, surrounded by the night, looking down into the Valley where the little lights burned, she could almost believe. Almost have faith.

The lights persisted. They filled her eyes, almost seeming to promise that this Night would fade into Dawn. And that sunrise … someday, would feel clean. And be something that mattered. And not just a dingy, soiled light that pretended to have defeated the Dark.

Somewhere out there, she knew, lives were being extinguished. Not always released into death, but molded into those who served the monsters.

As Stephen thought she had been.

He was partly right.

The monsters were so damnable good at breaking and recreating personalities. Part of her had become exactly what Stephen wanted, a laughably bright and cheery, human-monster. But by some miracle, a tiny part of her persisted. It held on to who she was. It existed separate from the rest, watching from the shadows of her mind, and only coming out when she was completely alone.

And it wanted to be free. It wanted the monsters dead.

The lights of the Valley twinkled in the night, and Marsha pondered that victory. She couldn’t even imagine how it happened. It didn’t feel like something she’d done. She saw others like herself every day. None had any light at all in their eyes beyond the parts they now played. She wondered, breathing deep, had something intervened?

Now that, Marsha thought, shuddering, was almost too terrifying to contemplate. If something had, then there was a reason, right? But nothing had told her what that was. The night, with its lights, and it’s canopy of darkness, remained silent.

Maybe it was nothing more than allowing her to keep her soul. To be aware. To understand what was going on around her on a Moral Level. And that was not a gift.

One day, Marsha knew she’d pay a high price either way. For the things she had done. And for the things that she would still do. Win or lose.

And she prayed. Out there in the dark. To Whoever listened. For hope, for strength, and for aid, and for answers. Prayed hard in that quiet intensity of the night.

Cienna is Ticked

All day today Cienna has been nipping us.  Not hard, but consistently.  Because today we are evil humans.  So evil and untrustworthy, that we are not allowed to pet or hold her.   And after some consideration, we think that we know the reason why…

Historical Video Below:

About two years ago, we caught Cienna in “The Contraption”.  Since then it has been stored in the garage, dusty and closed, with boxes on top.  Cienna has seen it every time she goes in there to play, and it has never been a problem … closed and dusty and empty.

But you see, we have this problem.  One of the ferals we feed is a lady-cat, and she keeps going into season and having a kitten.  Only one, I suspect, because she’s kinda tiny.  But she’s been having them consistently.  And it needs to stop.

So, I looked up this group in Port Angeles that arranges very low-cost spay/neuter services for feral cats: $20 for the ladies and $15 for the fellas, and they’ve agreed to help us.   But we have to catch her first.   And so, we have set up “The Contraption” again for the mummy and the wee kit.  It is now in the greenhouse where they tend to hang out, door open, and food and a blankie inside.  And Cienna saw it this morning.  And Cienna is @#$ed.

She came right in, yowling complaints, and refusing to let us touch her at all, pinching us with her teeth whenever we try.

It’s been going on now for hours.  And I suspect that she’s going to be even more ticked when we catch them and bring them inside.  Mum and Baby are not going to be happy about it.   And I suspect that it will be contagious.

Who says cats don’t remember things after 6 months.  Cienna remembers just fine.

fun fun fun

Damn it.  It is HARD being a responsible human sometimes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shadows

I sat in my room, in a brand new town, unopened, packing boxes scattered about and used as replacements for furniture. I stared at the blank canvas in front of me. It was old now, and a bit banged up, sitting on my easel, a symbol of hope. But nothing stirred inside of me. The creative light that had once enlivened my world, lay dead and still, lost in the dark.

I heard a noise behind me. And I knew what it was. It was My Monster.

He was courteous that way. If he’d wanted to, I’d have never known that he was there. But whenever he tracked me down, and these days it was always too soon, he’d announce himself by the scuffing of a shoe on the floor, or a quiet cough.

I turned to look at him. It was all so damn ordinary now, the horror. Here was the eater of my creativity, and my life. He smiled. I think he liked showing off his teeth. But, lately, my lack of response disappointed him.

“Hello Marsha”

I didn’t even bother to speak. He walked around the room, glancing at the packing boxes with aged tape, and coffee ring stains. Dusty spiderwebs decorated the cracked ceiling of the cheap apartment. Unadorned, smudged windows muffled the muted light of the night outside. “This is so dreary.” Stephen said, “You should come back to California. Back to your job at the factory.”

I narrowed my eyes. I felt the depth of the “Not Care” within me. “Stephen,” I finally said, “…stop playing with me and get it over with.”

The vampire lowered his eyes and softly chuckled. “Oh, dear, sweet Marsha. You really think that I’d kill you? Ho ho! Never.”

I flew off the chair, took two or three determined steps toward him in a brief flash of fury before that drained away into nothingness. Then there was despair, but even that found no foothold. Finally, quietly, I asked, simply, “why?”

He looked at me, a smile bubbling like dark, boiling oil in his eyes. “Because, You Know. And it amuses me.”

I flinched. Surprising myself that I had that much life left in me to react. And he began to walk about the room, examining the manifestation of my ruin.

“We live in a world, Marsha, where everyone has already decided how things work. Things that do not fit the script are relentlessly unseen.” He paused at the window, breathed upon the soiled glass, and drew a smiley face in the circle of fog. “My kind live among you. We take, we kill, and do such wonderful, deadly, powerful things. And nobody ever sees it. Do you know what that is like?”

He found my “kitchen”, opened the refrigerator door to reveal grape soda cans, HoHos, and American cheese, and nothing more. He frowned for a moment, then continued.

“Before you, for too many years, I have burned to tell someone my secrets. To let anyone know that death walks among you. And I … have been so bored. I have sprinkled hints here and there, taken chances, and still, nothing ever happens. Decades pass, half centuries, and I am alone in what I do.”

His circle of my apartment left him now, standing beside me, and he reached out a manicured hand and brushed my cheek. I held myself still. I’d long since given up hope of escape.

“And then you came to work at my factory. Perky, little Marsha. So efficient, so determined to anticipate needs … and then one day, you saw something. You almost pushed it out of your mind, but then you saw more bits. I could see the wheels turn. It was lovely. And suddenly, I knew that I was no longer alone with my secrets.”

He leaned his face in close to mine. “Yes, I could kill you. But I have so many others ready for my knife. But only one Marsha.”

I wanted to not tremble. I sought to be dead inside, empty. So I would give him nothing.

And he only smiled. Turning from me, he walked to the window. He opened it up, and slid outside, floating in the air.

“I’ll deposit another 10 thousand into your account tonight. Eat something. You’re getting too thin. Then feel free to run if you want to. I like finding you. But feel free to stay. And I’ll drop in from time to time and tell you about … my day.”

Then he was gone.

I sat a long time. Outside, the night surrendered to the morning. My bones ached. I was so tired, but I knew I could never sleep after a visit from Stephen.

It was just too much. Knowing he was out there. Knowing what he did. Knowing people were suffering and dying. And I could do nothing. I could tell no one. For who would believe me? Like Stephen, I was alone with his secrets.

The canvas behind me glowed a bit in the growing sunlight. It was almost as if life itself asked me to rise above this. To try, to live. But there was nothing in me to give.