A New Tail


What is it about cats leaving their tails outside when they go indoors? As we’ve seen, ‘Nuki does it all the time with the various condos. And now, it seems we have a visitor who has the same habit.

You know, one of the major arguments behind Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) handling of feral cats is that it keeps the population constant; removing a feral cat from the wild just leaves a vacant territory that some other cat will move into.

I believe we’re seeing evidence of exactly that. With GT out of circulation–and I’ll have an update on GT’s situation next week–the owner of the tail you see in the picture above has been hanging around the house.

Not just in the Rose Cottage, either.


He’s* wandered around the food bowls several times, both in the evening after Tuxie and MM have wandered off, and in the morning, when cats often wander through, hoping for–and usually receiving–treats.

* Don’t assume gender bias here. Since we don’t have any evidence either way, I picked the pronoun by flipping a coin.

He’s not quite a chunky as that picture makes him look. From other angles, he’s actually quite svelte.

And no, we haven’t named him yet. We’ll hold off until we know whether he’s going to be a regular visitor. But if we do have to name him, it’s going to be tough to use our usual descriptive naming. BC? Uh-uh. Wouldn’t want anyone to think he’d been named after a comic strip. Beekay? Nah, sounds like a fast food restaurant.

Well, should it become necessary, we’ll come up with something. For now, we’re going with “Hey, the black cat is back.”  Not easily abbreviated, but it’ll do.

All the News…

Why yes, it is another GT update.

As I said in a comment last week, we had to put the Cone o’ Shame back on him, because he scratched his cheek too much and gouged some furrows.

But he seems to have healed nicely, and he is once again collar-free. We’re hoping he’ll keep his claws out of his face and finish healing. It’s a good sign that the fur is starting to grow back in on his cheek, even if there’s still some scabbing on his ear.

He’s eating well–we’re starting to transition him off of the gooshy food and back to the same krunchiez we’ve been giving him and the other outdoor cats–and he’s decided that he likes the bed Maggie assembled for him.

And yes, he’s also decided that getting his chin and ears scratched is totally delightful and justification for the existence of bipeds.

For all the time we’ve been feeding him outside, we thought he was mute. Turns out he just didn’t have anything to say. Once we introduced the ear scratching, he decided to grace us with his purr. And what a beautiful chirring purr it is.

GT Update

Good news and bad news.

The good news is that GT is out of surgery and doing well.

Unsurprisingly, he’s dehydrated, so he’ll stay at the vet’s for at least a few more hours, possibly overnight, so they can get fluids into him.

The bad news is that the blood tests showed he’s FIV-positive.

As the ASPCA says, this is common in free-roaming, outdoor, intact male cats: transmission from cat to cat most often occurs through deep bite wounds–and guess which cats are most likely to get into territorial fights.

FIV frequently remains inactive for years, but the infected cats who live in a stress-free, indoor environment do the best.

Put another way, GT would greatly benefit from a retirement home, either as a single cat, or with other FIV-positive cats. And definitely indoor-only. Unfortunately, there’s just no way we can take him on. Our house can’t be subdivided to keep him away from the FIV-negative cats and, let’s be realistic: with six we’re already perilously close to the “Crazy Cat Lady” line (and note that I don’t say which side of the line we’re close to…)

GT is a sweetie. Very mellow, and now that he’s been neutered, he’ll probably be even mellower. He’s obviously at least half-civilized and would, we’re fairly sure, respond well to being the focus of a caring biped’s attention.

So, anyone want to rescue a cat? Drop me an e-mail–the address is over in the right sidebar (bottom of the page if you’re on mobile)–or leave a comment and we’ll talk.


Update 7/20

GT has taken up residence in the garage guest quarters. He’s not at all happy about the collar, AKA “cone of shame,” but he’s eaten some food, and seems to be settling in. We’ve got a larger recovery cage on the way. Hopefully the extra space will let us rearrange the amenities (bowls and box) to make things a bit easier on him.

We Have a Visitor

We’re going to have a house guest! Well, not quite. Actually, a garage guest.

It’s like this: Sunday evening, we noticed that GT had a large raw spot and some very dramatic swelling on his right cheek. He was clearly having some trouble chewing the krunchiez. So Maggie took a small can of gooshy food out and stood guard while he ate it, so that MM and Tuxie wouldn’t chase him away from it.

He downed the entire contents of the can and then nibbled at the krunchiez, and was generally rather mellow, so we figured we’d keep an eye on him.

Yesterday, I thought the swelling was a little smaller, but it was hard to be sure. I gave him another can of the gooshy and hung out while he ate.

GT dropped by this morning, as members of the Backyard Bunch often do, and we tossed him some treats. The swelling made it impossible for him to open his right eye all the way, and he was obviously having trouble eating. Maggie went out and patted him for a bit, then decided we should take him to the vet.

I brought out one of the cat carriers and we loaded GT into it. He’s a very mellow fellow: he didn’t want to go into the carrier, but didn’t make a battle out of it. We put the carrier on end, Maggie lowered GT into it headfirst, we disengaged his paws from the edge of the opening, and latched it shut. At that point, he seemed to shrug and settled down. Clearly not the first time he’s been in a carrier. We’ve speculated that all three of the Backyard Bunch are strays or abandoned cats, rather than true ferals, given their friendliness. GT’s reaction to the carrier certainly lends additional support to that line of speculation. We’ll be very interested to learn whether he has a microchip.

At any rate, he handled the short car ride to the vet’s office with aplomb, and once the tech joined us, we managed to get him on the scale. As soon as she recorded his weight, GT declared the inspection over, hopped off the table, and hid under one of the chairs.

* Eight and a half pounds–less than I expected. I suppose I was fooled by his stocky frame.

The tech decided not to push the matter and didn’t even try to take his temperature. A wise decision.

And, somewhere along the line, his abcess started leaking. Poor guy.

So, as I write this, he’s being prepped for surgery. While they’re draining the abscess, they’ll also snip his pom-poms*. They’ll also give him a general checkup and test for FeLV and other nasties.

* We had been planning to take both GT and Tuxie to Fix Our Ferals, as we did with MM, but FoF has been having funding problems, and are (temporarily, we hope) closed. They currently have a fundraiser going as part of the Michelson Challenge. Please consider that a strong hint… Once everything settles down and they reopen, Tuxie will be paying them a visit and spending some time in the garage guest quarters.

In the meantime, we’ve evicted the car from the garage and are setting up the same palatial quarters MM used for recovery from her surgery.

More details on this breaking news story as the situation develops.

These Lazy Days of…

In some ways*, Tuxie is a very sensible fellow. As the weather warms up, he’s careful to stay near the water bowl.

Very careful.

* In other ways, not so much. The poor guy gets beat up a lot–most recently, he lost a chunk of skin from his cheek. Either he’s picking fights he can’t win, or he’s the neighborhood punching bag. I’m tempted to sign him up for some martial arts training in the hope that it’ll temper his aggression or give him some additional tools to defend himself.

Meanwhile, the visitors to the Cat Entertainment Device are becoming more numerous.

They’ve figured out that the feeder is too high up for any of the cats, including MM, to reach. So they quite literally flock to it. (Sorry.)

Much to Sachiko’s delight.

We don’t let her watch old cartoons. We don’t want her getting ideas about using her claws as glasscutters and going after the birds…


I’ve talked about ‘Nuki’s habit of dangling various body parts out of whatever structure he happens to be resting in.

Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with enclosed spaces.

An open-air basket with plenty of room to curl up, and what do we get? Three paws, one whole leg, a tail tip, and an ear all extended into the air. It’s a wonder he bothered keeping the fourth paw inside. Good thing he’s never going to go to an amusement park. He’d have a horrible time with that “Keep all paws inside the car at all times” thing.

Speaking of ears…

Yes, he really does have two. Granted, it’s rare to see them both at the same time, but they are present and (usually) accounted for.

And, speaking of being present (and to keep the Friday posts from turning into The Watanuki Show)…

The Backyard Bunch continues to hang around, even outside of dinner hour.

However, as you can see, MM and Tuxie continue to regard Cape Odd and the Rose Cottage as strictly beneath contempt for real cats.

Well, that’s a little unfair. Tuxie will occasionally duck into one shelter or another, usually right after Maggie changes the straw and sprinkles some fresh catnip inside.

But he rarely stays long, and MM has, as far as we can tell, never even stuck her head inside either of them.

She does frequently spend the night sleeping in that little cave between the cinder blocks and the house. Yes, right in front of Cape Odd’s doorway.

Meezers are exceedingly contrary.

Look Out Below!

Feeding time does not always go as smoothly as one might hope.

Allow me to assign blame appropriately. This was all MM’s fault.

Tuxie was minding his own business–also known as scarfing down food as though he hadn’t eaten in weeks, rather than hours–when MM decided the fastest way to her bowl was not to go around his rear end, but to duck under his gut.

Fortunately, Tuxie is a pretty easygoing guy. They remained in this position, both munching away, for nearly a minute before he stepped over her butt and sat down at his bowl.

The Green Thing

In the spirit of “Everything is a cat toy” and “If it fits, I sits” I bring you “Everything is a cat bed”.

There’s a disused downspout splash block in our backyard–colloquially known as “The Green Thing”. Being made of plastic and designed to channel water, it dries more quickly than almost anything else in the yard.

In the current wet weather, it’s become quite popular with the Backyard Bunch.

I’m sure the fact that it’s almost perfectly positioned to catch the afternoon sun has nothing to do with its popularity.

Of course, cats being cats, politics comes into play.

Fortunately, the art of compromise is not lost.

Though I think GT won that round of negotiations. Not only does he have The Green Thing, but he’s also got a butt warmer. MM just has a warm, dry spot for her left cheek.