Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Counting kittens


How many? I can't tell. Still. Even though I think there might be only four, this place is getting a distinct air of St Ives about it. If I start collecting wives next then maybe I'll at least have somebody to do the vacuuming for me.

I've started "taming" these little guys early. Mom cat believes strongly in benign neglect as a kitten raising philosophy and it seems to be working. I almost never see her in the same room with them, but they're always clean, dry, well-fed, and sleeping in a pile whenever I reach under the bed as far as I can and lay hands on them.

Today was a big day for one or two of them. Yes, that one kitten's eyes are open in the picture. And that one or another one crawled out from under the bed and out into the hallway in search of breakfast early this morning, squeaking as loudly as it could [which wasn't very].

I and almost-cats thing1 and thing2 were standing in the hallway, at once bemused and entertained by squeaky kitten. The dog, ever the auntie-of-helpless-kittens, was trying to gently steer squeaky kitten back in the direction of the nest, but squeaky kitten's motor skills, while admirable, are still uncertain and resulted in a complete tour of about one square foot of carpet.

Eventually mom cat moseyed on over, but she just sat down and watched the rest of us, with a bit of a Mona Lisa smile on her face. Curmudgeon cat has taken the approach If I can't see them, they don't exist and offered advice, loudly, from another room.

I eventually restored order in the fiefdom by picking up squeaky kitten myself and putting the little wanderer back under the bed. Mom cat sighed, rolled her eyes at me, and slipped under the bed. All squeaking stopped abruptly, so presumably breakfast waas served.

15 comments:

Steve Bates said...

At least you don't have to wonder, as apparently many Americans do, whether there are terrorists under your bed! That's a charming picture, however many kittens there may be in it.

[wkufsex - wake up for sex - I swear I did not make this up!]

hipparchia said...

well, fuck. no meed to wake up for it.

Steve Bates said...

Gosh, if it appeared on House, M.D., the malady "sexsomnia" must be for real.

I'm reminded of a parody of an old song:

  You made me love you,
  You woke me up to do it,
  You woke me up to do it...

To this point, I had assumed that the captcha texts were filtered to omit "interesting" fragments. I'm happy to see I was mistaken.

hipparchia said...

if anybody's filtering, it's not me. but even the uninteresting can be made, um, interesting.

always hard to tell quite what pictures i'm getting until i move them from the camera to the computer. i just stick the camera into the darkness under the bed and aim it in the general direction of the dark-colored pile up against the dark-colored blanket. then i shoot quickquick, because mom cat, for all her casualness, rushes in and wraps herself around the pile of babies to hide them from me. she's not defensive beyond that point, and will even purr contentedly if i reach out and pet her [though i've read that purring can be a sign of stress too].

Steve Bates said...

[though i've read that purring can be a sign of stress too].

Many years ago, a friend had a very elderly cat who had suffered some sort of neurological damage or event (a stroke, perhaps?). The poor thing could only sit and purr constantly, not in reaction to anything, just constantly. I consider it fortunate that the cat did not live very long in that condition... it was just too sad.

[badcsq - bad consequences]

Steve Bates said...

I've also read that frequent sex can also be a sign of stress. Whether it alleviates or exacerbates the stress depends on the circumstances...

Bryan said...

Well, we can all agree that unprotected sex was the problem here.

I'm still waiting for a "cat pill" that I can add to the food to at least interrupt the cycle I'm dealing with among the ferals.

They have something for pigeons, so you would assume someone could come up with a non-surgical solution.

Steve Bates said...

Even surgical solutions are imperfect. Stella's cat Samantha was "fixed" at the appropriate age... and again six or seven years later, after a vestige left by the original operation began growing, tumor-like. It wasn't easy to find a vet who could make the correct diagnosis, let alone do the surgery. Samantha is one very lucky (and expensive) cat.

But yes, certainly, a "cat pill" is something we'd all like to see invented.

hipparchia said...

cat contraception

Steve Bates said...

Cool. No surprise it's controversial; hell, human contraception is controversial among the nutjobs.

That said, it sounds as if it would work better in small, controlled populations (e.g., an individual human's "personal" collection of feral cats) than in the wild. That's a harder problem, and a bigger topic.

hipparchia said...

it's a real challenge trapping feral cats, especially for surgery.

if you trap only a few at a time, the others notice and can become trap-shy. good luck catching them.

if you decide to trap an entire colony all at once, it can be difficult coming up with enough traps. not to mention the possibility of overwhelming the vet clinic with more surgeries than they can perform in a day.

birth control pills should be doable in a managed colony. if you're worried about other wildlife ingesting the hormones, you can set the food out only at scheduled times, and take up any uneaten food right away, after each meal. not everybody can put this much time or effort into it, but this alternative ought to be freely available.

Steve Bates said...

These days, it's also a challenge trapping the feral guvmint... and the Executive branch in particular needs to be neutered.

hipparchia said...

too bad we can't put birth control pills in their food.


hmmmmm....

Bryan said...

Connecticut only on the pills. I'll have to ask my vet about it.

hipparchia said...

good luck. it's certainly something i wish i'd thought to ask the vet about a couple of months ago.