Archives for category: cat

Guarding His Turf

 

This crew marches through every few days. There are distinct patterns to their occupation of the area. In very early spring, ALL the turkeys are in attendance. It’s like a festival–the males in full display, with the females standing around the edges of the gathering, gossiping.

Then, they split up. Each female finds its own little safe place to nest and rear her young when they are very little. As soon as the young’uns are ambulatory (and can fly), the females congregate and forage in large groups, like the one above. Child care is easier with many eyes, and I’m sure there’s comfort in numbers–plus, they can gripe about the challenges of solo parenting a large brood. Early and mid-summer, it’s fun to watch the mother turkeys showing the chicks the finer points of the foraging arts. One year, I watched in awe as a turkey mom showed her clutch how to jump up to get the better raspberries.

Of course, those were ‘my’ raspberries they were gobbling up.

This year’s batch are lanky teens now. They meander through the fields and forests, making trouble. The cats are fascinated. The turkeys are cautious. I don’t now what either cat would do if they actually caught such a big bird. Mostly, the cats just make sport of them, stalking and flushing them, and then preening to celebrate their awesome success.

Here, Stanley is standing them off at the top of the path. While the cats may be forced to share their environment with the marrauding turkeys, he’ll be damned if he’ll let them near his house.

We knew they were around, you’d catch a whiff from time to time. And, comet or no, we haven’t been wandering around outside in the evening. Last night, just before dusk, we saw clear evidence supporting our caution.

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There are five of them. Mamma and four baby skunks. Mamma and two of the kits have all white backs. The other three are the more standard black and white. We keep our watching from a distance. This expains some of the digging–but not the attack on the chickens. That critter was far taller.

We couldn’t get a better picture–low light and playing defense. These little guys run around shoulder to shoulder. You cannot tell when one starts and the other ends. It’s a wiggling ball of fur. The cats aren’t interested at all, and that’s a relief. So, we’ll be careful not to surprise anybody and we’ll enjoy watching their antics, from a distance. Pretty soon they’ll grow up and move away.

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Both of them, works in progress.

IMG_2661Stanley has decided to help write the novel.

IMG_2662He’s no help, though, with the working title. Sometimes I wonder about his priorities.

But just as cuddly.

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Two bundles of grey fur. There are those who will say that animals do not have “personalities,” that they merely respond to your training. Try getting two. Siblings. Biologically, these two kittens are pretty close, brothers and littermates. When they first arrived, the primary difference between them was size. One was the runt and was just slightly over half the size of the other.

Now, he’s catching up. So much so that we sometimes have trouble telling them apart. Their markings are near identical–grey coats with a whisper of tabby. But you need only watch them for a few minutes to know who is who. The runt is bouncing-off-the-walls-batshit-crazy. He’s totally engaged, and addicted to his people. For him anything is a game, and he is up to the challenge. He follows us everywhere.

The larger kitten, Ollie, is mellow and reserved. Sometimes we wonder is he’s okay, but only because the comparison is so dramatic. He’s just fine. Really. We know that because he becomes fully engaged when he goes outside. He’s all cat–brave and intrepid, exploring the property, even in deep snow. It’s not even that he’s shy inside, but next to Mr. Personality, he seems so. He’s just a softer, gentler version.

Obviously, these doppelgängers have the same food, the same environment, and similar genetics and yet the differences are marked. We don’t think that we contribute to the difference in how they’re treated (although that little guy sometimes requires self-defense maneuvers.) So, innately they must come pre-wired with different characters. Not so different than the rest of us.

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It’s been a long time since we had kittens. One forgets. They’re into everything. I thought I kept a moderately tidy home, but they show up wearing dust bunnies, from God only knows where. I guess the bright spot is that they’re dusting areas that I’ve clearly missed.

They follow me around making trouble with whatever it is I am trying to accomplish. Today was laundry. First, they kept running off with the socks. Then, finally they settled in for a nap. I guess I can do without the laundry basket for a while.

Thankfully, there are two. For the most part they keep each other busy, which is good because I don’t have that kind of energy to entertain a kitten.

We’ve set firm rules. For the most part, they’ve been pretty good. We decided at the outset, no kittens on the bed–and that’s been the hardest thing to enforce. They want to be where we are. I should take it as a compliment, but at 2:00 am, I’m not easily flattered.

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Because, no matter how painful the losses, there’s always room for more loving.

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Without a doubt, he is. The hearth-cat is in charge.