Lovely Ladies Luncheon League

March 22, 2013

Ménage à trios les chats

Filed under: Feline Adoration — LLLhost @ 1:31 pm

Never in a million years did I ever think I would become “that” cat lady. How does someone end up with a house full of felines? I’ve always had an affinity for them, but generally one at a time. My cat of 20 years, Max had recently passed away and I was still considering if I could bring another into my home.

Then I met Smokey.

Household of three cats

Ménage à trios les chats

It will be four summers now since she claimed me as I visited my friend June in Door county. Smokey was a feral cat who actually enjoyed the company of humans. Though wild, she would follow June all across her yard— which was immense—as if curious about everything she did and could even be helpful in some detached feline fashion. She never wanted to be picked up or to come indoors but provided such a sweet company for June she was, and is special.

It was August, very hot and humid, but fall was just around the corner and, all to soon after that, winter. June worried about what would happen to this friendly feral as she prepared for her annual journey to winter in Florida. Worst of all, Smokey was pregnant. So pregnant that her belly scraped the ground. How would she and a litter of kittens make it though a Wisconsin winter without human help? All of the shelters were overrun with cats, over a hundred when I checked the nearest so they would not take more. With so many, they have no choice but to euthanize them if not adopted quickly. No room for this pregnant mama.

Then it happened. As I sat outside, Smokey would join me in the sun, follow me through the field and walk me to the door each night. With every passing day, she would keep me close as if she knew my weakness for with cats would save her from the fate of some overcrowded shelter. The decision was made the day she gave birth. As we sat together, she on one chair, me on the other, I watched her stomach rise and fall, the contractions growing more frequent, I realized we had bonded somehow. I just knew,  I can’t really explain it. Even pregnant, ready to drop those kittens, she wouldn’t leave my side. I had to walk her to the barn—barely able to—and with every step, knew she would be coming home with me and that all her kittens would find good homes.

After a successful birth, she and the kittens remained in Door county until they were old enough to be picked up and moved to Madison. June took great care to make sure everyone was healthy and as soon as old enough, given shots and spayed and neutered, as responsible people do for feral cats. By the time moving day arrived, Smokey had started feeding them meat,  snakes, mice, she was such a good provider though she herself preferred the food June left out for her near the house. The kittens were getting enough milk and meat to grow strong and healthy.

Collecting them was challenge. Returning to Door county I was able to catch the shy one that no one had handled before but simply could not find the last of the four kittens. Hours went by and knowing that the kitten would certainly die without its mother, we still had no choice but to take the rest of the family and leave the kitten behind. Smokey walked into my tiny apartment with her other kittens as if she lived there all her life. She immediately used the litter box and settled the babies into a cozy box under a large table. Once fed and asleep, she started to frantically explore the apartment. Every day she searched for something making these mournful noises. She would attend to the other kittens but everyday I witnessed her searching and searching my tiny apartment, unwilling to give up.

June called a week later. They had found the kitten! Starving, but alive. My niece drove three hours there and back to retrieve the lost kitten and bring him home to Smokey. If ever we needed a video camera it would have been to document the homecoming of Smokey’s prodigal son. Unbelievable. The joy in both hers and the kittens body language couldn’t have been more obvious…playing, licking, rolling, snuggling, purring (something Smokey had never done before). She never let that kitten stray far from her side again, as if to say, I will not lose you again.

Sharing a small space with a litter of kittens is, well, all-consuming. Quite the handful. I thought, when it was all over, that Smokey and perhaps one kitten would remain with me. Our lost lad, Leo, eventually went home to my niece, and the tiniest tough guy, Spencer to my mum. As for me, I ended up with an extra, though I often say two-and-one-half instead of three. Smokey is with me of course, she is truly extraordinary and so little effort to live with I think of her as the one-half.. Lily, is a beauty with perfect ears and was the kitten I intended to keep though she is all sass and sheer attitude, and finally Luka, the runt of the litter and forever shy guy, who I was the first person to hold. He is huge now but still afraid of everyone and everything except for me so I just couldn’t let him go. They are still feral in so many ways, they don’t like to be held, to cuddle, they run from large people or heavy footsteps. Smokey usually gives me ten minutes of devotion when I come home but is quickly off to do her won thing (although there to help if I am busy) But, they are definitely house cats now. Only Smokey will venture outside with me in the nice weather. She will visit the backyard flowers and help me hang laundry, however, when it’s time to go in and I call her, she will quickly come running back inside,  into my crowded little space to rejoin her Ménage à trios, (as in household of three).


March 21, 2013

Figaro, Figaro, Figaro….

Filed under: Feline Adoration — LLLhost @ 10:32 pm
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What a sweet boy!


December 4, 2012

Why Cat’s Read?

Filed under: Feline Adoration — LLLhost @ 10:01 am
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Felines Honor ALA Read Posters

Every year the American Library Association hosts a Celebrity READ Poster. Many small libraries like MERIT on the UW campus will hold a similar week where they set up a camera shoot for people to come in and create their own personalized version of a READ poster to encourage and promote reading. Many bring props, sometimes their pets, infusing their personality into each posters which is then displayed in the library.

Obviously reading is central to the Lovely Ladies League and thought I would share my own version of the poster. Unable to bring the feline family in to the library, I took several photos, merged them together added a colorful wash background and voilà! The books were gifts from friends and are hysterical if you have a chance to view them. Women, cats and books…hmmmm.

Why Cats Read Poster

December 2, 2012

Portraits of Our Friends

Filed under: Feline Adoration — LLLhost @ 1:18 am
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Typical I know, females and their felines. Four of the six LLL ladies have felines in their lives so why not blog about them too. For me, I often feel I have two to many but when one bring home a feral with four adorable kittens I am lucky I made it with just these. I admit it, I have a weakness for all the attitude and independence. We tend to live with them I think, rather than the other way around. So here I am with these characters. I’d like to think that I elevate their photos and create portraits that capture a bit of each personality. Notice that Lily has two photos? It’s because she has personality to spare and can be a bit unpredictable from moment to moment.

Smokey Mama

Smokey Mama

Lovely Lily

Lovely Lily

The Lovely Lily

Lily in Her Chair

BIg Boy Luka

and  Big Boy Luka

January 24, 2010

Cat Love Vitality Mix

Filed under: Feline Adoration — LLLhost @ 1:45 am

1 cup brewers yeast
1 cup bran (oat or other)
1 cup lecithin
1/2 cup bone meal powder

Store in refrigerator

Stir 1/2 to 1/2 tsp. into a serving with water 1-2 timer per day

Cat Love Vitality Mix by Pam Johnson

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