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Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Boys: Charlie and Bruno

We have cats. Anyone who lives in the woods knows you either have cats, or you have mice. Years ago, it started with two kittens that we'd gotten from a neighbor, and brought to my in-laws. Some time later, we ended up moving in with my in-laws, and since then, we've had a lot of cats.

Originally, the two we brought were mostly indoor cats who went outside now and then. As the generations came and went, the brood sort of transitioned from indoors, to out. They now prefer to be outside, and come in only once in a while for short periods of time. They are without question more feral than anything else at this point.

During the cold months, they camp out in the garage where there's some old furniture they can cozy up on.

We've considered taking them to shelters (with the exception of one or two) but the shelters are so over burdened around here, they'd have to put them down. At least right now they're enjoying themselves for the most part. More often than not, they end up leaving. We see some now and then from long ago in neighboor's yards.

I'd watched a documentary once about the most ruthless killer animals (which didn't include humans, by the way. People always seem to forget that Humans are animals!). The list included lions, tigers, bears, hyenas, crocadiles, etc... All the usual suspects. However, the most surprising was the domestic house cat, which came in at number 1.

Out of all the animals that kill proficiently, only the house cat DOESN'T actually NEED to. Take a domestic cat who gets fed regularly; that cat will still kill birds and mice, etc. If not to eat, then why? Because they can?

Evidence of their ruthless efficiency is always readily available in the yard. Living on the lake as we do, their scope is pretty wide.
It's tough to tell the relative size of these, except by the nail heads in the deck. They're on 2x6 planks, so I'd say they're around 4 to 5 inches long.
I took this picture, and then realized the poor bugger was still alive.
Same frog from the picture above. I threw the glove in there to give some perspective to the size, and then the killer "Sunny" came along to check on her kill.
A couple of months ago, while the world was watching hurricane Irene, one of our cats, Abigale, had a few kittens. A few days later, she passed away, leaving three small kittens behind.

My daughter found Abby in the neighbors yard, and she and I buried her. My daughter was remarkably stoic about it, taking it all as a matter of fact. I don't think she cried at all at the time.

Today, my daughter was out on her swing set. Twenty minutes or so later, she came in crying because she missed Abby. I guess it hits kids like that sometimes.

The kittens she left behind were still too small to even walk, so we had to bottle feed them. Unfortunately one, the female died.

The first thing you realize when you're faced with raising orphaned kittens is that you'll need to feed them. The LAST thing you realize is that you'll not only have to clean them, but when they're that young, they need to be helped to go to the bathroom.

You have to get a warm cloth, and wipe their backsides to stimulate going, otherwise they can get blockages.

Me and the boys, post bath. See the little bottle? Notice also the towel. I think that was my third shirt of the day.

They needed frequent baths, because in the beginning they are not very careful where they go to the bathroom. Remember that when you're cuddling with them. Be willing to change your shirt a lot.
As cute as they may be, they're always sort of ugly-cute when wet.
They love being snuggled, and love being together.
This is "Charlie" on the left giving some attitude to "Murray" on the right. Murray is not overly fond of the kittens, but he tollerates them. He's one of the outdoor cats who frequently comes home with battle damage from fighting with god knows what out there. 

That's my giant head on the left, Bruno in the middle and Charlie on the right. Bruno is a snuggler, always happen to sit and fall asleep. Charlie likes to explore and run around a bit before calling it a day.
I produce a lot of heat, especially in my very over-sized bathrobe. Bruno: left, Charlie: right.
Bruno doesn't like the light when he's lounging.

Bruno lounging in the crook of my arm just this morning. Have you ever seen a more content looking kitten?
The attachment I have on these kittens is one that I haven't had on a critter in a long time. As a father of two girls, it's nice to be able to say I have boys too. :)