What a nice day for a nap session lined up on the bed. I changed the bedspread and throw for June to one of my favorite summer spreads, and they were all over the bed exploring it even though they’ve seen both things in the past, but I guess everything old is new again. Below, four on the bed, with little Mimi rolled in a ball. Apparently only Mimi is permitted to sleep on the quilt. I’m not always informed of the rules.
A little later, Mewsette gives Jelly Bean a bath and watches over the two boys, and then…
A kitten’s need for mama kitty kisses never changes–even when she’s about twice as big as her mama!
A little later…
Our Sunday really was very easy, mostly…until later in the day. The day was dark with rain anyway, so in the early evening as everyone was gathered on my desk downstairs it was darker than usual, milling around waiting for me to heed the call and head to the kitchen, the long-haired black kitty who roams the neighborhood came to pay a visit. He visits regularly at both the front and back doors and no one likes it—he’s an unneutered male and sprays things, and though he’s a nice cat I’ve not found an owner for him. I’ve been intending to trap him and get him neutered at one of the clinics, but I don’t want to trap him on my porch or where my cats can see or smell him, and here’s why.
When he’s visited before, Mimi is right on it and tells him to get the H-E-double-toothpicks out in no uncertain feline terms, and she’s a kitty who knows how to handle unneutered black male cats. He doesn’t question. He leaves. Mimi is triumphant. Often the other cats see him and watch this process, blink a few times, glare, and go back to their naps.
But with all five gathered together looking out the front window and only the full-view screen door between the intruder and the family, and the fact they were already on heightened alert begin hungry and in active mode as they paced around, when he came right up to the door and Mimi leaped down and yelled at him, so did everyone else, and it turned into a huge, loud fray of black cats fighting in such a ball I couldn’t even tell how many were there. The screen door held shut as did the screen itself as 50 pounds of black cat fury hit it from inside and he hit back from the outside.
He took off sauntering a lot faster than usual—the photo is from another visit—and I looked at this writhing ball of cats, puffs of fur flying, screeching, white claws flashing here and there and quickly thought about how I could get them out of this literally tight spot, 3′ x 3′ inside the open door and the table next to it, plus all my stuff piled up behind. I watched them raging at each other and they just looked like balls bouncing around or popcorn in a popper or, as I called them when they were little beans, little Mexican jumping beans. There was no beginning or end of the movement. The black cat was gone and this had turned into a huge case of transferred aggression, and I knew they could do serious physical damage to each other as well as to me if I went anywhere near them, and the psychological damage could be permanent, breaking up this wonderful family.
I got up and walked slowly toward the door and began speaking firmly but calmly saying it was okay and they were brave and he was gone. I slowly reached over them to gently start moving the door closed so that it nudged the ball of fighting cats and, thrown off balance, they stopped fighting for a moment and regained their bearings. They broke apart but kept scuffling as they moved away, but Sunshine and Mewsette were really having it out in front of the screen door. “Come on, come on, it’s over, it’s dinner time,” I said evenly, and as I kept moving the door Mewsette got away and ran and Sunshine chased and I closed the door.
They all ended up around the landing of the stairs, on the stairs, on the cat tree, on the floor, and still growling and yowling and really puffed and tense and really upset and anything could set them off again. I really needed to distract them at this point, and I said in the voice I use every day, though a little more slowly and not so high-pitched, “Dinner? Is everyone hungry? Let’s go in the kitchen and have some treats.” Then, though they were still tense, each of them glanced at me and back, and they began to move apart, keeping their eyes on each other. I slowly backed into the kitchen and then quickly got the jar of regular human brewer’s yeast tablets I give them before each meal and gently shook the bottle as I always do, walking back into the room. The familiar sound got their attention, and though they were still completely puffed and walking tensely, not touching each other, they came into the kitchen.
Slowly, slowly, they relaxed as they jumped up on the cabinet, then back down, paced and sat in their spots. As I mentioned, the treats are human-grade brewer’s yeast tablets that I buy from a health food store, a carryover from the days when I used them to battle fleas. The animal variety of brewer’s yeast always has garlic and that isn’t good for kitties, and these are inexpensive–500 for under $10.00–with no calories or fillers or preservatives. There are better treats but the purpose of these isn’t simply to treat them. They do their part in flea control, but I’ve always said I keep the treats for “crowd control”, and this was one of the crowd situations I’d used them for. I shake the bottle and give each of them one treat before each meal, and I rarely give them these treats otherwise so they always associate them with food and gathering together and happy moments. Another time I’d used them was when a tornado warning was issued and I wanted to get them all into the basement, and that got all but Mewsette.
In this case it helped distract them when I softly shook the bottle, then progressively louder and invited them to dinner. This time they got two rounds of treats, then because they were still obviously tense and I wanted to make sure they were more relaxed before their dinner, I pulled out a package of freeze-dried treats and handed out two rounds, hoping the protein in them would be more satisfying than just a tasty yeast tablet they were accustomed to eating.
When I got their food ready, they were back to crowding together to watch me, circling my legs and talking—and purring loudly, as they do when I get their food together. They ate dinner in peace, and no one was sick afterward, which is the other thing I was concerned about.
Just a short while later as I was back at my computer trying to get my posts done I still had the windows open. We all heard rustling outside, then more and more rustling, coming closer to the porch, and they all grew tense and quiet once again, gathering at the windows and door. I have ivy all over the place outside the front of my house, plus all those trees. I knew this wasn’t the cat returning, cats are simply not that noisy, though it was definitely a smaller animal, possibly a squirrel out late, or someone’s dog who’d gotten loose, though I heard no tags jingling or…a raccoon. I turned on the porch light and we all saw our buddy rummaging around in the ivy at the base of the maple tree, then heading to the porch. I heard some low growls which was unusual and really just wanted the raccoon to go elsewhere this once. I couldn’t yell or clap my hands with the tension among the cats so I just leaned forward and waved my hands above my head, which the raccoon saw and, thinking I was dancing to YMCA, decided she had better places to be and went off toward the side of the house. We heard her for a while in the darkness under the window and near the shed, then all was quiet.
After that I put everything away and spent some time with them all, playing and just walking around the house to spend some time in one room and then another so they could find their places to settle down and nap. That’s why I’m finishing yesterday’s post now, and didn’t get around to a daily sketch at all yesterday, though we had spent part of Saturday moving the kitchen computer to the studio and cleaning and rearranging things in the studio and bedroom so that I can work up there again.
Whew! You just never know when the situation will change! But transferred aggression is common when things like this happen because cats will act first to protect themselves and their territory and for that time you, as the human, don’t come into play as their loving caretaker, and the trauma of the incident can be permanent. I had just be ready to remark on how they use the scratching areas of the cat tree on a regular basis and everyone’s claws were needing a serious trim, and I thought of all those sharp claws scratching eyes and ears, but the only injury that I found was a bloody hind claw on Mr. Sunshine’s right foot, leaving little blood spots here and there as he walked around the house. He was still too tense for me to cleanse it so I kept an eye on him as he cleaned it several times and later the claw had no blood on it and I fond no more blood spots. Today it is fine, no limping or tenderness. But the worst injury would have been a change in the emotional balance among this wonderful family. As I explore the topic of multi-cat households this is one of the things I’ll be writing about. I’m glad our Sunday ended up just as easy as it had begun!
And now for some happier photos again.
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What other photos did I feature on this date?
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Interpretive Paper Towel Art, an Interactive Exhibit, by Mr. Sunshine, 2013
If Mewsette can be an artist from chewing cardboard, then I’m an artist with texturizing paper towels!
The drama was already in process when I came home from an errand today, and I’m sure it was Mr. Sunshine who set the rolls of paper towels free from under the table and tackled and subdued each one. Ultimately everyone got involved, and I can spare a few sheets from rolls of paper towels for the kids to have a good time!
Giuseppe walked in circles around a roll and wasn’t sure what to do with it.
I wouldn’t have guessed Mimi for a paper towel shredder, but she hopped onto a few sheets and rolled them into a ball and energetically tore them to pieces.
Jelly Bean takes a rest during the paper towel massacre, stuffing his paw in the convenient paper towel holding spot so his personal roll won’t escape.
At one point, everyone was involved in shredding rolls of paper towels and wrestling—this photo including four was the best I could get!
Then Mr. Sunshine settled down amid all his work and had a nap.
A good day was had by all.
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Adopt your Paper Towel Interpretation Artists during Adopt a Cat Month!
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The Apple Doesn’t Fall Too Far From the Tree…2012
Wait a minute—seeing double, or what?!
What are the chances I’d get a comparison this clear? Jelly Bean doesn’t really have his mom’s facial features and his head isn’t quite as round, but he’s built just like her down to the divots around their shoulders. They have the same short fur with the distinct mahogany cast, petite paws, shorter tail, pleasantly rounded figure even to the angle of their front legs.
Wonder if Mimi is proud of her children? I’m sure!
Bean looks a little startled because we woke him up.
Here’s another comparison with her children, with Giuseppe in a box where you can clearly see the similarity in their eyes.
I got dozens of lovely photos on this sunny morning when all were gathered in this sunny area, but this one really stood out. Hope they gather there again so I can show off more of how beautiful they are on a mild sunny spring morning!
It’s all in the family for Adopt a Cat Month—adopt siblings or mom and kitten!
Browse some rescued cats and kittens!
All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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- Petties 2014
Read more about the Petties in this post.
© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Bok Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!