Apr 21

Sunday cat blogging

Well, just when the whole animal situation here at Dreadful Acres was starting to function like a well-oiled machine, boom! A cat incident.

I should point out that, although I am a crone, my familiarity with cats is but fragmentary. This is counter-intuitive, I realize, but rest assured I am working assiduously to bring my skill set in line with the customary cronal expertise. Hence this post.

Here’s the predicament. Feral Cat No.1 — I named him Smudge but — and it pains me to admit it — I actually call him “Kitty-Katty” — and I have been harmoniously coexisting since November. I give him turkey pâté twice a day. In return, he tags along when I feed the horses, and rolls around on my boots and purrs. Aww. Cute.

RogerBut three days ago an interloper staged an incursion. That fateful morning I staggered out to the carport as usual to chuck the turkey pâté in the cat bowl, and was jarred by the spectacle of a totally different cat in the cat bowl area. No doubt you will have surmised that this was none other than Feral Cat No.2. Smudge, my sentimental favorite, was a no-show. I naturally gave FC2 the turkey pâté, as he was looking pretty skinny and tragic and I am a pretty soft touch. I then set off to find the original cat.

A day later I discovered old Smudge cowering in the woods. He appeared to be terrified of FC2 and wouldn’t come near the house for all the cat food in Thailand. I was obliged to deliver Smudge’s meals to his remote bower while FC2 dined in the more luxurious carport location.

Until this morning. Compelled by who knows what mysterious and perverse feline conviction, Smudge unexpectedly strolled back into his old carport stomping ground, where, lo these past 3 days FC2 (by now answering to the name “Roger”) has been holding court. With Smudge back in the fold, I surmised (somewhat naïvely, it would turn out) that the situation was now resolved and we would all resume our happy carefree lives. I set some turkey pâté down in front of each of them — one cat over here, the other over there — then tottered off to toss some goat pellets at Notchy, my geriatric semi-tame doe.

Then all hell broke loose.

Did I mention that these cats are both intact males? Yes, yes, I know. Lecture me if you must, but don’t judge me. I’ve tried trapping young Smudge so I can get him fixed and vaccinated, but that’s easier said than done. So far all I’ve managed to catch is a gnarly-ass raccoon that eats all the cat food and then busts out of the Havahart so it can knock over my trash can at 3AM.

Well, the cat fight was epic. I believe it caused a disturbance in the Force: the dogs went ballistic, Notchy and the rest of her girl gang snorted and scattered, the furry woodland creatures went to ground, the birds all flapped off to distant trees. Growling, yowling, fur flying in slow motion, even the crickets stopped chirping. In the end, Smudge had reclaimed his territory and Roger was ousted from the carport.

Disturbing, to be sure, but I couldn’t stand around all day worrying about these felines. I had important things to do. A MacGyver marathon was on TV, for crying out loud. And I had to perform my usual weekly search on Dreamhorse (8-to-10-year-old bay tobiano ⅞ Arab gelding, between 14.2 and 15.2 hh, clean legged and barefoot, with some dressage and finished in competative trail and/or endurance, no vices, kid-safe temperament, priced reasonably and available for a 2-week trial here at Dreadful Acres. You will be shocked to learn that I have been conducting this search weekly for 3 years without result, but hope springs eternal).

Dusk. MacGyver saved “the girl” and got the bad guy, and my Dreamhorse search had come up bupkis, so I strolled outside with two cans of turkey pate and called the cats. Their replies came from an unexpected location: way up in an oak tree. They were so way up they looked like little balls of moss. Roger was teetering precariously at the end of a slender bough, and Smudge was yowling at him from a sturdier perch a few feet closer to the trunk. It was clear that Smudge had chased Roger up there and was now intent on re-enacting the limb-jouncing scene from A Separate Peace.

To my horror, Smudge advanced on his enemy. The yowling intensified. Suddenly the cats melded into a single swirling vortex of screaming fur, churning at the end of the swaying branch. Not once but twice poor Roger was nearly dislodged, and clung literally by a desperate claw to the limb before somehow righting himself. You know that “Hang in there” poster? Picture that, only re-think it as the poster for a Stephen King blockbuster.

After much cajoling I was able to lure Smudge down with the cat food. Roger followed some minutes later. He was missing some fur on his neck but otherwise seemed fine. I gave him his turkey pate behind the horses’ run-in shed, some 200 yards beyond Smudge’s sphere. It will not surprise you to learn that this arboreal cat fight scenario replayed twice more before I finally went to bed. This morning it was more of the same. I am becoming somewhat distraught.

If Smudge knocks Roger out of that tree — which at this point seems inevitable, given the frequency of his attacks and the narrowness of Roger’s escapes thus far — the 30-foot fall will certainly kill him.

Good times.


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  1. Pinko Punko

    Savage Death Island resists kumbaya. I very much hope they work it out. My pal takes care of those little Florida feral cats, and they have this seniority system where they wait in this little line. The have some fights I guess, but they line up and it seems OK.

  2. minerva koenig

    Might I suggest a drop trap?


  3. Val

    Aw, cats seem to have an uncanny superpower to survive long falls – just Google “high-rise syndrome in cats” & you’ll read many accounts of cats surviving multi-story drops ONTO CONCRETE NO LESS when they lean too far out of apt windows.
    Poor Roger might suffer a fractured limb, but that **might** make him easier to capture 😉

  4. Comradde PhysioProffe

    I am totally rooting for Smudge!

  5. c2t2

    Goodness! Is my give-narcotics-to-all-the-critters suggestion from the last post actually starting to seem reasonable?

    If, by chance, I happen to be bitten by the artistic bug and doodle fan-art of a marg-drunk crone surrounded by high horses, doped-up does, trippin’ retrievers, and stoned cats – all immersed in a surreal acid-scape – I shall be sure to post a link.

    Any other semi-tame critters I should add?

  6. Friend of Snakes

    I have a dear friend who feeds feral cats. Don’t become that person. Please.

  7. tuckova

    Maybe you should rename Roger “Phineas”. The Semi-Feral Super Suicide Society of Savage Death Island has a ring to it, in any case.

  8. The Crone of Cottonmouth County

    “Maybe you should rename Roger ‘Phineas’.”


    @Friend of Snakes: but they are starving. You would have me turn a blind eye and a cold shoulder to a suffering innocent?

  9. Arlene

    I am currently sharing my office chair (20%/80% in the cat’s favour) with a rescued feral cat – they will fight and injure themselves over food and territory so I think you’re wise to be concerned. If you can trap and neuter them they will settle down and might even become friends at some point. At the very least they will learn to tolerate each other. Poor old things, feral cats have such hard lives, it’s good that you care enough to help/feed them.

  10. ew_nc

    Yeah, poor cats. The life of a feral cat is the ultimate testimony for spay/neuter.

    Cat fights are so disturbing. There may appear to be minimal injuries at first, but a festering cat bite could be on the horizon. You may want to order up some antibiotics to sprinkle on the turkey pate.

  11. kdgd

    30 foot fall wont necessarily kill a cat. many cats will survive such a fall. leg injuries are pretty likely though

  12. Friend of Snakes

    You would have me turn a blind eye and a cold shoulder to a suffering innocent?

    Nice try. Don’t think your use of the singular noun escaped anyone’s notice. There is no such thing as one feral cat. Or two. Or three. But I take solace in the surety that your colony-to-be will soon be producing tasty, tiny offspring which in turn will nourish your mother rattlesnakes and enable them to gestate whopping big litters. The cycle of life!

  13. Hattie

    They must be Texas cats! Don’t mess with them.
    You could put knockout drops in their food and then sweep them off to the vet. Make the vet neuter them for free. My vet always does that for free.

  14. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    They need to be parted from the contents of their fuzzy little nutsacks pronto. I’m hesitant to recommend slipping them a mickey because cats and sedatives are sometimes unmixy things. Is there a local vet with whom you you can kibbitz? S/he might hip you to how to proceed. This is beyond my level of cat-expertise.

  15. Tarr

    There is nothing innocent about feral cats. Get over it.


  16. Friend of Snakes

    Get over it

    Readers, can I get an LOL? Or, would that be, a LOL? Or maybe, WTF.

  17. Helen

    What about this nice boy? (The horse, I mean, of course, not the dude!)


    (Not an ayrab, but presumably will have you in the dirt much less)

  18. Solo

    A couple I used to clean house for had animals that always got along. Dogs and cats. Their black lab used to groom the Maine coon while I was there cleaning. I could never figure out the secret for getting my animals to co-exist so peacefully.

    When they were getting ready to move, I was helping them pack and I opened a cupboard that they had never asked me to clean out before. I found a gallon-sized ziplock bag of pot.

    Maybe that’s the secret.

  19. Satchel

    So far all I’ve managed to catch is a gnarly-ass raccoon that eats all the cat food and then busts out of the Havahart so it can knock over my trash can at 3AM.

    That actually made me laugh out loud, which was an uphill battle. So thanks.

  20. pkf

    I pray to almighty Goddess that you get the balls of those 2 cats CUT OFF! Yesterday. Seriously.

  21. Veganrampage

    A truly feral cat would not come anywhere near you. These are not feral. When you ask for advice best to describe them as cast off pets. Trap, Spay and Neuter groups have got to be located somewhere around you, no?

    I’ve trapped about 15 cats in my time. It’s best to do your research and get the right trap so you can catch them the first time. Some cats are damn smart. They remember things forever. Best of luck. I wish I was closer and could help. The local ASPCA may rent you a trap, or similar org. The trap is key, as is the bait. Ask them.

    Hope you can manage it. Where’s Phil?

  22. Veganrampage

    For some reason I am thinking east Texas. If that’s wrong you can search for the proper geographical area and get many links yourself.

    These folks trap neuter and return your critters to you, and as far as I have ever experienced, for free. That may have changed since the banks bought the Judiciary, the Congress, and apparently the top job as well.

    Best luck to you and the cats. They will much happier, less smelly, less aggressive, and Dreadful Acres with be less dreadful when the insides of their nut sacs are torn asunder. Neutering now leaves males looking intact. Isn’t that sweet? Males also require less time to recuperate. Their equipment is not complicated. The first link has a whole passel of Orgs.




    Zelly says MEOWPS!

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