Friday, July 06, 2007

Cats and Spinners

I've been looking at other spinner's blogs and websites and am finding that spinners seem to have a special preference for cats. I haven't yet seen a site that features photos of a pet dog, bird or other animal friend. It's always a cat. Seems that cats and spinners go way back, and I'm not sure why. But, true to form, I too have cats. Only two at present, unfortunately, but perhaps in this case quality makes up for quantity. So, since other spinners are posting pics of their feline friends, I thought maybe I should, too.

So first, but not necessarily best, is Ted. She has a strange dent in her upper lip that gives her a permanent sneer. She also has a 'don't mess with me' attitude to go with it, but is extremely affectionate - and playful, too, if you don't mind getting bitten!

Ted is an originally wild, homeless cat who had been hanging around my cabin way out in the boonies near Ukiah, CA. (See first posts for photos.) Ted is a girl cat, but because ginger colored female cats are rare, and because I thought for a long time that she belonged to a neighbor named Ted, I started calling her by that name. It turned out that the neighbor did have a ginger cat with long hair, but it was a male. Since I don't live up there full time, I only saw this cat intermittently and didn't pay much attention for quite some time. Then one evening after a scorching triple digit day she came right up to my door obviously needing water and food. Of course I obliged with a big bowl of milk and a can of cat food. After making all appropriate inquiries about her possible ownership, I took her in, and brought her back to Berkeley with me. The vet told me she was about 2 years old. This was in the fall of 2006.

Then I took her back up to the country with me and my other cat, Moose. It was a warm, balmy day in April that soon turned freezing cold with gale force winds that lasted for a week. As I was unloading the car when we first arrived and the weather was still reasonable, a very large, strange dog showed up at the door and started to come inside. I yelled at it and finally got it to leave, but in the meantime Ted had run out the back door. Moose was still under the table and hadn't even twitched a whisker.

I called Ted for days, phoned all the neighbors and put up a 'lost cat' note, but no Ted. About a week later, I reluctantly left without her. After a couple more trips up to the cabin and more calling without results, we gave her up for dead or kidnapped. However, we underestimated this tough cat's survival skills. A month later, in late May, we returned to the cabin and found Ted under the house meowing to come in! Wow - what a cat! She's now back in Berkeley, is gradually getting just a bit tamer, and even sleeps on the bed sometimes. She still prefers the backyard, though.

My other cat, Moose, is a whole different story. Moose is about 15 years old, and is part Siamese, though she doesn't look it. She has the yowlish voice though and seems to feel a need to comment on just about everything. Unfortunately Ted has not made friends. At least not yet. Ted seems to view all other animals as a possible threat, and so growls at Moose whenever she comes too close. Moose ignores her. She could care less. Both cats are very intelligent, each in their own way. Moose, being much older, has learned lots of words and understands me quite well. She has a much more cooperative attitude and aims to please.

has no hunting skills whatsoever, though, and after Ted left, I had to resort to mouse traps to rid the cabin of it's sizable mouse population.

The little pests were squeezing their way into my little electric fridge whenever I shut it off at nite to avoid draining the solar batteries. So every nite when the fridge wasn't on, the mice would go in. I finally got some traps that weren't supposed to kill them. After emptying the fridge one nite and putting two traps loaded with peanut butter in, I found two dead mice in the morning. Yuk! So, in an attempt to interest Moose in hunting I gave her one of the dead mice. Much to my surprise she chomped it right down and was standing by the fridge the next morning waiting for another. Guess she figured this was a new special treat I was keeping for her in the fridge! She still won't hunt, though.

**UPDATE 6/2/08
A few weeks ago I found out that Moose actually can hunt when she wants to even though she's lost 5 teeth including one of her front fangs, which I always thought were essential for killing prey. But apparently I was wrong.

Moose is now on a special diet for cats with kidney problems, and she hates it because it's low protein. She will do most anything to get some "real" protein and is constantly trying to steal Ted's food. So I have to feed them separately.

Shortly after we returned to the cabin in April, Moose started sniffing around the woodpile that we keep inside for the wood heater. It soon became obvious that she was stalking something, but we didn't take it seriously because she'd never been known to hunt. Then one night as I had just gone to sleep upstairs on the upper level of our split level round cabin, my daughter, Allie, who was down on the lower level in the kitchen area, let out a loud scream. I woke up thinking the house was on fire or something, but not - it was Moose chasing a mouse across the floor from the woodpile to under the old wood cook stove. Allie yelled something about "She's got a mouse!" and then "Oh YUK - she's eating it under the table." Moose had bagged a mouse with only one killer fang and toted it in her mouth across the kitchen area to her favorite hideout under the coffee table where she was making loud crunching noises. A couple of nights later she bagged another and ate that one, too. I took this photo of her sleeping it off the next day. (That's my handmade rug she's sleeping on btw.)

Meanwhile Ted, the outdoor survivalist, seems totally uninterested in hunting. Too well fed I guess. I suspect she has a preference for birds, which I don't like at all. She watches them from the window or from under the house, but has never caught one that I know of. But she's useless as a mouser. So my old decrepit, half toothless cat with kidney failure and wheezing allergies does all the hunting while my young, strong, healthy cat with a full set of very sharp teeth and claws just lays around either sleeping or preening herself.


herzeleidknits said...

I have cats and dogs :). I'm planning on spinning the husky fur into yarn.

lisa said...

Husky hair makes beautiful yarn. I also blend it with various other fibers.

Anonymous said...

I have a female cat that looks *just* like Ted. It's amazing because cats like Ted are rare :)

lisa said...

I've heard orange (or ginger) female cats are unusual. Apparently they are usually male - something about the orange gene I believe.