Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Garage Cats

I was going to post the simple fact I had finally set up the porch for the garage cats for the winter, but then I figured - why be simple? :) So, here's a little introduction to the garage kitties.

We have 6 cats that I know of on the farm who have hung around or shown up. The garage 3 are the more social group of cats we have here on the farm. Spring, summer and into the fall, they mostly live in the Conestoga building we have right by the house which has a lot furniture from our old home (the cat particularly like curling up in the upside down chairs), my dad's tools and some of my rescue stuff - a few cages and a trap or two. However, for the winter, I set up the side porch (which has a hole cut into the screen for them to come in through) with a heat lamp, some soft blankets and a bed that warms up a bit too. The screen door and window also get covered up with plexi-glass so the kitties can still see out, but there's no real breeze in there. This year, they'll have to deal with the unplugged, no longer being used refrigerator, but I think they'll manage - less room, which means more snuggling :)

Here's who will be on the porch this winter, the garage kitties one by one...

Meet Norman - a huge beast of a cat who also happens to be FIV+ and a real love bug - no fighting from him so far. Norman I brought on in a desperate attempt to get Wilson to eat - I'd had him for about 2 weeks and he rarely ate a thing I left for him. Thinking he was lonely, I brought Norman in ... this is how he got his name. Although Wilson was named for the volleyball in Castaway, I always thought of the neighbor from Home Improvement - "howdy ho, neighbor", which is also the cute phrase the old man, Norm, I grew up next to used to greet us all the time. So, Wilson and Norman, the cheery older neighbors. Norman remains pretty evasive, though sometimes he'll let me pet him. I don't think he'll ever be as affectionate as he was when his best friend for life was still around, Buddy. Looking at Norman makes me still ache for Buddy and the pals they were together. He's also the biggest wanderer out of the garage cats. I've seen him everywhere from back by the back barn (trying to steal food for the kitties back there) to in the woods to down near the front of the lake ... I promptly hollered at him for that - once passed the lake, it's only another say, 50 feet to the road.

This little lady is simply known as "Momma" or "Irish Momma". She came to me from my great uncle who was feeding a cat outside his home and one day she brought him kittens. I sat outside for hours until I caught them all - the whole litter consisted of 4 female kittens. I hate to think how many kittens there would have been if I hadn't caught them!!! All the little girls were given Irish names (my great uncle is VERY Irish) and adopted out in pairs. Irish Momma wasn't a friendly house cat though, so I set her up in the garage where she has never left. I pet her for the first time in, wow, maybe the 4 years I've had her just the other day while she was eating. She's always around, but won't let me approach her. She's endeared herself to me with how adorable she is though. Her favorite spot? The stairs leading up into the hot tub or on top of the cover. She's a smart girl! :) I don't know if it's because she came from a small town with busy roads, but she's the least likely to wander. She's always pretty much in the garage, by the hot tub or in the garden between the garage and the house, though sometimes she'll wander up to the front porch ... so, as far as I know, her life consists of mainly a, max, 75 foot radius.

The most recent addition to the garage crew is Champ. I had just lost Buddy recently when a new cat was coming into work. The business behind us, Champion Tire, was nice enough to feed and love up some ferals (all fixed), but someone had dropped off a cat recently and they were just maxed out. Work agreed to take the cat in and try to adopt it out ... however, while doing our intake exam, we found out the poor guy was FIV+ and our FIV Suite was already full. Fresh from the loss of Buddy and looking at this poor kitty who was FIV+ like Norman and now with an unknown future (the tire place didn't want him, that's why he came to us and we couldn't keep him because we were already too full), I took it all as a sign and agreed to take him. "Champ" came home with me and though he's not wrapped up with Norman like Buddy used to be, the two seem to hang out a bit and he's a nice addition. I'm not sure if you can tell from the photo, but he's a real beast of a cat - huge! Long legs and a stomach that looks like he's swallowed a basket ball.

To say the kids were excited the side porch was set up is an understatement. As soon as I was out there, Irish Momma was walking in and out of the hole in the door, Norman was sitting at the bottom of the steps and even Champ wandered by as I set everything up for them. Below is a photo of the garage cats already settling into the side porch: Champ curled up under the heat lamp and Irish Momma eating. Norman's either off wandering or maybe tucked behind Champ. Nothing was more adorable than when Norman and Buddy used to both curl up in the heated bed together! Sometimes the only sign they were both in there was what looked like a fifth white paw on Norman - Buddy would be buried under him asleep with just his little foot sticking out from under Norm.

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