Its been a while since our last blog and a lot has happened! Thought it best to get back to it with some recent pics of the cat kids. Now there’s five since Frankie Stray Cat is now our Frankie house cat! That’s a whole chronicle of its own! Stay tuned for new blogs! 🙂
I was volunteering for a rescue centre when I first met Tristan. He was crammed in a temporary cage with his four siblings at the back of the dog kennels. The cattery had been condemned & knocked down and a new state of the art one was being built. But in the meantime, no new cats could be taken in and the ones we already had were stuck sharing a building with the dogs.
Tristan and his siblings had been born on the streets and at some point after their birth, their mother had been hit by a car. She was rescued and then someone found her kittens and rescued them too. Unfortunately, kittens and mother were never reunited since her leg had to be amputated. So, at two weeks old, Tristan lost his mother and was put in a tiny cubicle.
One look at him and I just knew he was a Tristan. He and his siblings were crazy hyperactive and they didn’t look like normal moggies. Unfortunately, most of the staff at this rescue centre were dog people and had little knowledge about cats, so no one knew what to do.
At the time, I was also looking in on another litter of kittens. One was smoky black and I called him Midnight. I was torn between Tristan & Midnight. I knew I wanted another cat, maybe two more, since Isabel was home alone and missing out on a cat family.
Tristan was the smallest of his litter and getting bullied by the others. They were all male except one and she was the worst bully of all. I hated seeing them going at each other in that tiny cubicle and no one playing with them or spending time with them.
Midnight got adopted by someone else the next day. So, Tristan was ours.
My husband came to pick me up from work and I had Tristan with me in a carrier. Hubby said “oh how cute” and now we can laugh about that moment. Tristan was just under six weeks old. Yes, he was tiny, cute, slightly fluffy like a kitten BUT… We had no idea what TERROR we were in for!
We set up the guest bedroom for Tristan so he and Isabel (who by this time was 2 years old) would stay separated the first couple months. I had already kitten-proofed the bedroom: only the bed was still there along with his cat tower, toys, and handmade cat house. Oh and the curtains. But they didn’t survive the first week of Tristan.
We placed his carrier on the floor and soon little Tristan tentatively peered out from inside the box.
Within minutes he was exploring his room, running around, scaling his tower and climbing all over me! I innocently assumed Tristan was just expending all his pent up energy from being in a shelter cubicle and that he would soon collapse and have kitten naps. How wrong I was.
Tristan did not sleep. At all. He was so hyperactive, insanely playful, and somewhat aggressive. After 48 hours at his new home, he still had not slept a wink which meant I had not slept a wink. Even when he ate, he was a psycho. He would hear me open the pouch of kitten food and open his mouth WIDE like a baby bird and SCREAM feed me MEOW!!!
By the 49th hour, I decided to phone the vet. Surely, something was wrong with this kitten? This could not be normal. I was so exhausted I couldn’t think straight.
The main thing I remember from this first visit with little Tristan at the vet was the sound of laughter. The nurse laughing and the vet laughing at the precocious, cute, tiny kitten that was causing all this mayhem. Then the vet explained: this kitten is half-Bengal and half domestic. The smart, crazy, energetic Bengal side was definitely in control of my Tristan.
The laughter continued all the way into the waiting room. They could not believe that this little kitten had kept me up for two days straight: wasn’t sick or requiring bottle feeding so why not just sleep in another room they asked? Why? Because if I left the room Tristan would scream bloody murder and NOT STOP meow-screaming. So, no, I could not leave him alone. More laughter. Oh dear, the nurse said, so I guess we’ll nickname him Tristan the Terror!
Yep….Tristan the Terror.
This nickname holds meaning to this day. Tristan is now six years old. Although he is not as hyperactive as he was as a kitten, he sleeps the least of my four cats.
Tristan is the most intelligent cat I’ve ever had. He can open any sort of door in our house. He knows just how to alter the pitch of his meow to let me know what he wants. He (and Fernando will copy him!) often sits at the dining room table with us when we eat or sits there when he’s hungry.
He is extremely talented in the art of destruction. Sofas, curtains, window blinds, stair banisters, etc are no match for my Tristan! Luckily, he now has a big garden to spend time in and explore!
And…Tristan is a tiny bit of a sexual deviant. (Yes, he is spayed just like my other three cats). He has a favourite stuffed animal toy that he humps every so often and has a bit of a love obsession for Bridget! Honestly, I’ve never met a cat like him. It’s a good thing I mainly work from home. I dread to think what apocalyptic actions Tristan could undertake if left alone to his own devices too long!
But…Tristan is also affectionate, inquisitive, brave and loyal. We love him and that love is returned. If hubby is working in the garage, Tristan will be the cat who sits there and watches carefully. If he suddenly realises he’s on his own, he’ll seek one of the other cats or us out and sit close by…he hates to be alone. But, oh my, that love exhibits itself in serious bouts of jealousy at times. Tristan will literally push one of the other cats out of his way to get our undivided attention or lap time. He’s a dapper fellow and he knows it!
Tristan never ceases to amaze me. Yes, he is hard work to this day. Definitely not a low maintenance cat but I wouldn’t change a thing. No matter how much he deprives us of sleep or drives us crazy, we’ll love him forever…we just might need a drink or two every so often.
Sometime in early autumn 2014 I was in the back garden raking leaves and suddenly noticed a rough, quite large, and fierce looking tabby cat staring at me. He just sat by the back red brick wall of the house like a furry Buddha and stared and stared. He had such amazing green eyes and thick coat. I’d never seen this tabby pass by before (I make it my business to get to know the neighbourhood cats who pass through my garden whilst on their patrols and say hello) and he looked like he’d been sleeping rough for sure. Then, he opened his mouth and started to meow. And it was a sing-song loud meow let me tell you! He looked at me as if to say “well? I’m here, I heard you’re a cat person, I’ve seen the cats in your windows, you gonna feed me or what?” I obeyingly entered the kitchen and got a little white saucer and emptied out a pouch of wet chicken gravy cat food onto it. When I returned outside, tabby stray was hiding at the side of the house. He wouldn’t let me come closer than three feet to him. I placed the plate on the ground and stepped back. He gobbled down the food in three seconds flat. Then he stared at the empty plate and back at me. Suffice to say, I ended up feeding him four servings that autumn afternoon.
After that first visit, tabby stray disappeared, but within 48 hours he returned. On this occasion, I was inside the house. Its difficult to adequately describe the sound I heard echoing throughout the back garden and echoing down the street that day. I heard the loudest, most deep bassist, rocky mmmmeeeeeeooooooowwwwwwwooooooaaarrrrrrrr!! Repetitive caterwauling continued. It echoed around the house perimeter. All my four cats woke up from their snoozy afternoon naps and bolted for the bedroom where they hid like little cowards under the bed. Well, except for Tristan who quickly came back downstairs and demanded to know who dared wake him up from his nap. So, Tristan and I slowly went to the backdoor. There was tabby stray with his big, greenish, sad eyes staring back at me. Tristan hissed, turned and ran back upstairs. I sighed, looked at tabby stray and made up a plate of food. Then five more plates of food. I looked at him and knew he was an Elvis. This cat loved loud singing and loved his food. Elvis.
Needless to say, Elvis settled into our back garden. He would only enter the kitchen near the door to warm up and eat his food. He guarded and patrolled our property as it was now the base of operations for his territory. He soon established a little routine with me. A very loud, vocal routine that the whole neighbourhood was soon privy to. Elvis would start his day at 3am singing his heart out. He sounded so lonely at times. His long, drawn out meowing was the loudest I’ve ever heard. I started getting up at 3am just to open the door and say “Ssssshhhhhh!! Elvis!! Quiet down!!” Nope, that never worked unless the shooshing was accompanied by food. Elvis serenaded me on a regular schedule 24/7. There was the three am concert that, if I didn’t get up to feed him, would go on until 5am at which time he’d take a break and then do an encore at 6am when I usually got up to feed my four “in house” cats. Then he’d go on patrol until about lunch time and return to his garden kingdom out back and nap until 6pm when he’d promptly be outside the kitchen door waiting for his supper. Then more patrolling, then sleeping in our garden until 3am when the rock concert would kick off again.
Elvis the singing tabby stray soon became famous in our street. But unlike his famous namesake, he did not possess an adoring public. I soon began to worry. The comfortable Autumn nights were fast becoming long, bitter, cold winter nights. While I love cats, quickly adored Elvis, and didn’t mind getting up sometimes at three am to feed him, I can’t say the neighbours were happy about these night long outdoor rock concerts Elvis often performed.
Weeks of caring for Elvis tabby stray soon turned into months and we were in deepest winter. He still refused to come into the house except to devour his meals and warm his feet briefly near the radiator in the kitchen. We would leave the door to the shed open, hoping he would sleep in there at night but to no avail. He slept out in the elements on our green garden seat arbour. My husband realised a shelter was needed for Elvis asap. Luckily, he had already worked out some designs for outdoor cat shelters. He had some material left over from an exhibition in the warehouse where he worked and set to building a basic prototype of one of his designs. It had to be insulating, weather resistant, durable, and comfy. Something about a Scandinavian chalet gave him inspiration: Utilise a overhang that would offer extra dry coverage from the notorious English winter wind, rain, and sleet. So, within a few days Elvis had a shelter.
We placed a pillow and red fleece blanket inside his little “cat chalet” and he happily slept inside it snug as a bug through the night. Even the rock singing at 3am quieted down. He could finally sleep. Every morning from that point on, our schedule started at 6am. I’d open the kitchen door and quietly sing song call “Elvis, Eelll-vis?!” and out would pop his head from the shelter, tired eyes blinking at me. Yawn, stretch, out the shelter and into the kitchen to eat his breakfast of at least three plates of food. Patrol, nap on the garden seat, patrol, eat a large dinner, patrol, sleep.
But, unfortunately, Elvis jealously guarded his territory and started getting into fights. And some nights, loud meowing deteriorated into chainsaw thrash metal caterwauling. And even with the shelter, I worried about how the cold could affect his health. It was not an acceptable long term living situation for poor Elvis. I loved him more than any stray I’d met, but it was clear that Elvis was feral. He had no desire to live inside a human’s house. So, I phoned the Cats Protection Chiltern branch and they came to visit. After seeing Elvis briefly and hearing his story, it was soon arranged for him to go into Cat Protection’s care.
I’m not embarrassed to say I cried the day Elvis left. I made sure his shelter and red fleece blanket went with him. And the first few days with his foster carer, he stayed inside his “chalet” for comfort & reassurance. Cats Protection made sure he was vaccinated, checked, and spayed. A few weeks passed and after Elvis had been observed and had time to recuperate from his spaying operation, it was decided that he was not suited for traditional rehousing. But there is a happy ending…a few months ago I found out that Elvis had been relocated to a farm in Buckinghamshire. The last thing I heard? Elvis is apparently the “King” there and very happily living with many other cats. He has plenty of nice hunting and patrolling time there too. And I bet you that he serenades all his lady cat pals every night! Tabby stray who once lived in a cat chalet has lived up to his name. Elvis. The King.
Did you know that the patron saint of cats (or at least one of them) is St. Gertrude? Many ancient and current religions consider cats to be sacred. Let’s not forget Bastet of ancient Egypt or Muezza who was a favoured cat of The Prophet.
Well, some cat god or Saint must have looked favourably down upon us (probably a reward for surviving a year of Tristan the terror and still willing to adopt more cats!) because within one day of bringing our tuxie kittens home we knew we we’re blessed by the cat gods.
These two kittens simply radiated joy and playfulness. They were so easy to care for. It was obvious they were ecstatic to be out of their cattery pen and have an entire bedroom to themselves to run around and play in. They revelled in tumbling over each other and climbing their tower! From day one, they cuddled and slept together in bed. And, yes, to our relief, unlike Tristan, these kittens actually slept! We enjoyed the constant bom-ba-bom-ba-bom ba-bom-ba-bom-ba-ba-BOM of little paws running up and down the bedroom floor above our heads as we watched television downstairs. They were so happy.
Soon, they were ready for their first vet visit. They happily fit in one carrier together and were so very patient waiting for their appointment. I walked in the examining room and introduced our new family additions as Bridget and Willow, two female tuxies. The vet examined Bridget and stated everything was fine.
The vet nurse, when I checked out, chuckled “you’ll have to keep an eye on those two.” Oh sure, now I would be guardian of my cats’ chastity! Certainly didn’t want anymore little black and white fur balls running around my house.
I never realised that adopting two kittens would be easier than one at a time! I suppose it’s obvious…they entertain themselves & keep each other busy, having each other to play with. Fernando and Bridget were inseparable, occupying their own little world. I’d never seen such loving pals.
Did I mention earlier that they radiated joy? Well, they did. And there’s something very poignant about Fernando and Bridget entering my life when they did. It was a time in my life when I really needed an injection of joy. Tristan and Isabel were already fab companions don’t get me wrong, but there’s something about a little new life (or lives in this case) occupying your house…whether human or animal…it changes the whole feel of your house and for the better.
Our pal Dana Moody and her cat TSK just posted a lovely blog via blogspot but since we can’t “re-blog” here is the link:
And…some of her wonderful photos showing TSK enjoying his fir tree theme catcube tower with Pom-Pom toy & green handmade cushions. So exciting that one of our catcube towers travelled from London all the way to Oregon west coast USA!! There are also now pals in New York City & California that have catcube beds! This is very exciting for us four cats since our human mom is American! We can’t wait to send more to our pals there in America. We have loads of lovely pals all over Europe and UK who are already enjoying their catcubes, it’s great!
Thanks Dana for the great photos and make sure to check out her original post http://meanderingmoodys.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/cat-cubes.html?spref=tw
Here we go, our second guest post: Cutie Isabel by by our twitta friend @myfourcats1 !
————————————————————————————— All four of our cats were rescued by the RSPCA in UK. They all have different stories and traumas. Isabel was almost 3 months old by the time we adopted her (in Autumn 2008) so there’s not much we know about her early weeks of life. Sadly, we learned nothing about her from the RSPCA volunteer who was keeping kittens in her makeshift cattery (really a glorified shed) in her back garden. Isabel had no name, as I recall, when we went to see her for the first time. She was in a small cubicle with a chicken wire door with two other siblings. The other kittens had already been put on hold by someone else. Isabel was the only one with no home. She had stunted legs and tail compared to her sisters…
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I was volunteering at a rescue centre in 2011 when a pregnant long haired, mostly white, tuxie cat named Lucy was found on the street and placed in the cattery. The next night she gave birth. It was early April so still quite chilly in Britain and the cattery was not heated. There were no staff or volunteers on duty that night. Luckily, someone came to work earlier than usual the following morning and checked on the cattery first. One of Lucy’s kittens was found lying in their litter box and appeared dead. Quickly, the staff member wrapped the kitten in a towel and cleaned and warmed it up. Lucy seemed oblivious to all the fuss. She happily began nursing the wayward kitten along with the others. I would later find out that the kitten who almost died was my Fernando (who at first was named Willow, for a girl, but I’ll explain all that in Part Two).
Within a couple of weeks, the strange naked looking creatures turned into cutesy black and white furballs tumbling around their pen causing mayhem. Whenever I checked on them, the kittens looked like a massive pile of squirming fluff. But soon little individual characters began to emerge. I secretly named them. There was one poor kitten that had very unfortunate markings on his face. There just wasn’t any other name for him except Adolf. He seemed shy but he was always hoarding the food. Then there was Mouse who, I don’t know, just looked more mouse than cat. She hid a lot in the corner. Then there was Num-Num who just looked yummy handsome but like a runway model he didn’t have much personality. “Willow” seemed to always be crying. Sometimes laying in the litter box. Always following the others around. Jeez, talk about early childhood problems. This was a kitten with issues. But “Willow” seemed the most sweet of the bunch, always licking and cuddling the others, always watching out for them, and had particularly bonded with Bridget. Yep, then there was Bridget.
Bridget. Well, I don’t know why but as soon as I saw this kitten she just instantly struck me as a Bridget. And I knew I had to adopt her. She was the smallest of the litter but had the biggest head in proportion to her body. She was the boss of them all. Right from the beginning Bridget made it clear she was a princess diva. Whenever Lucy nursed the kittens, Bridget consistently pushed her way to the front of the queue. She particularly monopolised Lucy when it came to grooming & cleaning (a princess has to look good right?). If one of her siblings annoyed her, she’d put up her paw, shove it in their face and push them (ever so politely though) away. And to this day, Bridget still does the “talk to the paw” move. I must admit, it was her little black nose that got me (the rest had pink noses) and of course her kitten princess moxie!
Lucy was adopted first. Within a few more days, Adolf and Num-Num went to their human family. Mouse, “Willow” and Bridget were still in the cattery when I arrived for my next volunteering shift. I spent that day performing my usual duties blissfully unaware of certain forces at work. Now, fate? Hm, stupidity more like….stepped in next. The woman who was meant to adopt both “Willow” and Mouse phoned the centre. She’d decided to take only one kitten. Well, you can surmise (partly) what happened next. At the end of my shift, my husband arrived to pick me up. I got in the car with the cat carrier and casually informed him it contained not one but two kittens. His cute sarcastic reaction? “Only two?” Haha. He figured we had survived a year of Tristan the Terror (see earlier blog) so he figured….bring it on!!