Kittens in, kittens out #Caturday


Here on Insel Lyr Farm we had a visit from the dead-kitten fairy— lost two pretty kitties to ‘dead kitten disease’ which seems to be caused by mama cats marrying their brothers generation after generation. (I’m seriously thinking about getting a male ‘free kitten’ and letting him be the Head Tomcat in Charge.)

We lost mama cat Moxie’s two babies, though she seems happy enough nursing her sister’s only-child kitten Jon-with-Rice. He’s bigger than her two were so she thinks he’s better. But by the end of the day, Charybdis came walking down the driveway with two large kittens, both girls.

I no longer name newborn kittens unless it’s an auspicious saint’s day (that’s how girl-cat Norbert got her name— St. Norbert’s Day.) But these kittens are nearly as big as Jon, who’s getting to be a big boy and can climb into not-allowed places he wasn’t even aware of a few weeks ago.


Since the two kittens we lost almost got named Declan and Moira after writers Declan Finn and Moira Greyland, I was thinking of naming the two new ones Declan and Moira. But they are both calico kittens which means they are both girls. I have given out gender-inappropriate names before— Charybdis used to have a sister named Scylla who turned out to be a boy kitty. And Norbert got her boy’s name on purpose. I’m thinking of naming the second girl kitten Declanna instead of Declan, though. (If you will look at the picture you will see Declan/Declanna has one infected eye— we are taking care of that.)

Charybdis the mama is, like all the cats, a barn cat with ambitions to get promoted to house cat. And now she has kittens, she does get to stay in the house. I like to have the kittens indoors for their formative days so they get used to people and to using the litter box, in case some of the kittens need new homes someday. She has lived in the house before, Charybdis and her brother Boy-Scylla loved to lounge the day away in MY GOOD CHAIR. That’s where they were when I noticed Scylla had awfully big balls for a girl kitten.

I don’t know where Charybdis gave birth to the kittens or raised them to the stage they are now at, but I found the kittens in the long grass. So either the mama gave birth outdoors instead of in the barn, or she moved them outdoors so they could get rained on. Mama and both daughters seem happier to be in the house. Though all three tend to hiss at me and at the cats and kitten already living in the house.

Kitten Jon-with-Rice is a little bit unhappy with the new situation, though. He’s the son of Refrigerated Roxie, who got trapped in the refrigerator overnight as a kitten. He’s tried crawling in the fridge himself but I caught him both times, so he didn’t have an overnight stay. When he discovered his aunt Moxie’s two kittens, he absolutely refused to go back into his own kitten box and moved in with his cousins, who turned out to be his favorite chew toys. But now they are gone, he’s stuck with two replacement kittens who don’t know him, and all three of the grown-up kitties have been hissing a lot. Jon spend the night curled up on my neck so he’d be safe from all the hissers.

Jon-with-Rice sitting in The Good Chair.

Jon-with-Rice was named after author Jon del Arroz, who is pretty cool about my claiming his name means ‘Jon with rice’ and is also OK with having a kitten named after him. Jon the kitten is a friendly little guy though he does tend to bite to show affection like one of my other cats, Eleanor. (That’s why Eleanor isn’t living in the house right now. I just can’t handle an ankle-biting cat first thing in the morning. Also, she hisses at Jon a lot.) He’s pretty sweet, otherwise, and he didn’t bite the other kittens too hard. They sometimes mewed a little but Moxie and Roxie came running to their rescue each time so Jon never overdid it lest his mommy and aunty might start to blame him for the kittens-in-distress. They never did figure that out, though.

NOTE: Animal rights advocates who want to bully me for being ‘cruel’ enough to have living cats at my place, be warned: I will eat an extra helping of MEAT for each bullying attempt. And since I am a person with Asperger’s Syndrome, bullying me should make you feel ashamed, anyway. Of course, so should any bullying, but that’s not the world we live in right now. 



#Caturday post: Julianne and Norbert

My cat Julianne used to be a very tiny cat. I could always tell her from her brother Derek, who had similar orange-and-white markings, because she was so tiny. But then Derek got Julianne pregnant.

Julianne gave birth to two kittens and got ‘stuck.’ I took her to the vet when no progress had been made. The vet gave Julianne a caesarian section to get the two dead kittens out, and neutered her. She thought Julianne was just a 6-month kitten due to her size, but she was two years old at the time.

I brought Julianne home from her surgery, but her kittens had not taken in food because they would not accept artificial feeding. Julianne was too groggy to get them started nursing, and by the time she was able to be a mommy again, her kittens were already doomed. They no longer thought of mommy as a food source. Both died.

Julianne was very sad about it. I cuddled her a lot. There were no other kittens around for her to expend maternal energy on, except for Norbert.

Norbert was six months old. She was the only-child kitten daughter of mama cat Umberto, who was herself an only-child kitten. Norbert was born on the feast day of St. Norbert, also known as D-Day, June 6th.

I solved Julianne’s problem by showing Norbert to her and saying ‘that’s your kitten.’ Julianne fell for it. She cuddled with Norbert all the time. She still does. She even cuddles with Eleanor, a younger unrelated cat who has similar calico markings to Norbert. (Norbert has a white stripe on the nose, Eleanor has a black nose and bites me to show affection.) Also, since Julianne got neutered she has grown. She no longer can ‘pass’ as a kitten, and sometimes I even mistake her for Derek when they are not together.

What about Derek? He is now the Head Tomcat in Charge. His sister Julianne doesn’t like it when he’s getting romantic with other cats, so she hisses at him when he’s being a tomcat. Derek gets along with all the other cats, now that I’ve started neutering male kittens before they get old enough to be all manly. Derek doesn’t know that if we have a really cute male kitten this year, it’s going to be him instead of the kitten that gets neutered— we need to have a young, vigorous Head Tomcat so he can chase off all the neighbor tomcats that might be coming around to eat our cat food and mate with our unneutered lady barncats.

Celebrating some small things….

It’s time for the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop. The blog hop is hosted by Lexa Cain, who has been ill and not able to participate lately, so prayers are called for.

This week I’m celebrating the newest small things in my life: kittens! It started like this: my cat Consubstantial 2 had kittens. A couple of days later my cat Charybdis had kittens. A couple of days ago Connie 2 went absolutely crazy and started stealing Charybdis’s kittens. Charybdis started stealing kittens back. When they started playing tug-of-war with a kitten, I decided this must stop. I cleared out an extra-large kitten box and put everyone’s kittens inside.

Connie 2 and Charybdis settled down at first. Then Connie 2 went nuts again and started moving the kittens behind the television. She also chewed some toes off of one of her kittens. I threw her out so she can be a barn cat again and Charybdis was left with eight kittens to raise.

Then another pregnant cat, Umberto, jumped in the kitten box and had a kitten. Just one. She was an only-child kitten herself and tends to have small litters. But she also adopted all the other kittens and currently is helping Charybdis raise the whole tribe. She does try to let her own kitten eat first but since it is 9 days younger than the rest, she needs the extra help.

Umberto is accustomed to raising kittens with other cats. In spring Umberto had kittens, as did Umberto’s daughter Angelica, as well as Consubtantial 1, Consubstantial 2 and perhaps Charybdis. They raised the kittens together— there were a few kitten deaths so we were left with 3 of Connie 2’s babies. Umberto was willing to let the babies nurse when Connie 2 wanted to wean them so Umberto became the most important mother.

I might mention that all mothers are normally barn cats but I take them in the house when pregnant so the babies are socialized. Barn-raised kittens are so wild, I had one jump out of the barn loft when I approached it. (The kitten was OK.)

Other things I am celebrating is that I found a new weekly blog hop, Rebekah Loper’s Worldbuilding bloghop. It’s not only fun it actually does help in the worldbuilding process.

I’m also celebrating that I have found some popular topics to blog about. I wrote a post about conservative church congregations trapped in liberal denominational bodies and that post did better than even my famous Lutheran Rosary post which is a perennial favorite here.

Celebrating poverty

Celebrate blog hopFor this week’s installment on the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop, I’m celebrating my poverty. Celebrating poverty? Yes.

Poverty actually is a good thing for a writer or poet. It means you can’t afford a lot of the things that might distract you. If you could afford a brand-new sports car, you’d probably spend a lot of time on the road trying it out. Time that could be spent writing, or reading books that would count as research for your writing projects.

And poverty gives you a chance to do creative things other than writing. I sew, make bread, and do a lot of cooking-from-scratch in part because it saves money, but it also gives me a creative outlet that is different enough from my writing to be a good break from it.

Since the business of the writer is to make trouble for characters, experiencing a little poverty first-hand is a way to learn to be more realistic in your writing about characters in poverty. This might not help you with the upper-crust reader who knows all about poverty from reading what upper-crust poverty experts have to say about it. But to readers who grew up poor or are poor now, you can make a strong connection by having this knowledge and personal experience.

Another factor is that the writer-in-poverty can’t just buy any book they want. They are more likely to give library books a try, or temporarily-free ebooks. And I think you can learn a lot more by trying books out of your normal reading rut of the same authors in the same genre. Poverty made me try Amish romance— not my chosen genre by any means, but in good examples, such as those by Beverly Lewis, they are well worth reading, giving you a picture of an entirely different group of people living a different life.


Chicken #221 is on the porch in a cage while he recovers from frost-bitten toes. My young tomcat Simon (named after the Chipmunk) is in the house by himself as he recovers from some infected tomcat-fight wounds. Since he’s not feeling all that well, he’s behaving far better than other tomcats do in the house.


During my morning Bible reading I ran across the fact that Judas Iscariot was considered a bishop (Acts 1: 20, KJV). Worst bishop ever?

Read some more Elemental Masters books by Mercedes Lackey and realized I am missing book #2 in the series. Shall have to get that one. Then started re-reading the Dragon Jousters series by the same author, which is set in a magical version of ancient Egypt under another name (Tia and Alta). But I’m longing for something NEW to read and so may stop off at the local library.

What are you celebrating today?

Something great, or something nice, or something not-so-nice that has nice side effects? Share your celebration in a comment!



Celebrate the Small Things; new books

Celebrate blog hopThis is a post in the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop. Join us at:

Today I am celebrating two new books I read recently. The first is one in the Elemental Masters series by Mercedes Lackey, Unnatural Issue. These books are a series of fantasy-romance novels set in Edwardian England. The first in the series was rather ruined for me because the heroine, a female doctor, had a clinic to hand out quack birth control to prostitutes and other loose women, and there was a certain hint that the doc may have done illegal abortions as well.

The current book in the series doesn’t feature hints at prenatal child killing, but there are the usual Neopagan/Wiccan elements, so I wouldn’t recommend it to readers under 21. The heroine of the story is a girl, daughter of a Earth-element mage, whose mother died at her birth and whose dad handed the child over to the servants with orders that he never see the child again. The girl, Susanne, was raised by the servants and worked as one. Until she grew up and Dad, who had turned to the forbidden art of necromancy, saw she was the very image of her dead mother— and just what he needed for his planned spell to bring his dead wife back to life. Susanne has to flee and runs in to the elemental mages who are tracking down her dad because he’s working forbidden necromancy. The story ends, after much thrilling struggle, with the defeat of the evil mage and a romantic attachment for Susanne.

The other book is one I ordered as part of my current studies on the subject of Islam. ‘The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran’ by Robert Spencer. It’s not so much a religious studies book as a current affairs one, showing why, in the author’s opinion, the Koran and its contents are quite relevant to much that is going on in our world today. I would recommend reading it as part of a reading program that includes other books on Islam by other authors and from other points of view.

Other News

My young tomcat Simon is resting in the house today. He’s got an infected sore, probably from being the victim of tomcat-on-tomcat violence. He really likes the attention he gets being in the house by himself instead of being on the porch with the other cats— most of whom stay on the porch all winter rather than in the barn like good barncats. Because the porch leads to the basement, which has a furnace.

And today I’m finally making the lentil-sprout soup I’d planned for some days now.  I had to put the finished sprouts in the refrigerator for a few days, taking it out some days to rinse the sprouts and keep them alive. Today I finally decided to get the soup started.

Celebrate: Mama Cat Consubstantial 1

0825161400aFirst thing to get out of the way: yes, I do have not only one, but two, cats named Consubstantial. Originally one Consubstantial had a different name but since it’s so hard to tell the two apart, they somehow both became Consubstantial. Consubstantial 1, in the picture, used to be the friendlier one. But now Consubstantial 2 is also mostly friendly. Except yesterday when she slapped her own kitten for standing too close to her.

The Consubstantials, often called Connies for short, are both barn cats and both have kittens this year. And so both are living in the house so the kittens get socialized. But Connie 1 has been having some problems. She got very scrawny nursing kittens this year— perhaps because Connie 2 and another barn cat, Charybdis, had kittens about the same time and everyone’s nursing one another’s kittens.

Connie 1 also has been having ‘digestive issues’ but otherwise seemed healthy. Until a couple of nights ago when a noise woke me up, and I discovered Connie 1 was having a seizure. When it was over, she slept for a while and then jumped in my lap for attention which she never does.

We weren’t able to discover why Connie 1 had the seizure but my guess is possible dehydration, since she’s nursing a lot of kittens and her ‘digestive issues’ are playing a part. I tried feeding her some yogurt. She likes it but it hasn’t fixed the ‘issues.’ So after doing a little research I decided to give her one of my probiotic pills, crushed up. After the first time her ‘issues’ improved, so I am optimistic that she will continue to get better.

Connie 1 nursing kittens. Not her own kittens.

Connie 1 nursing kittens. Not her own kittens.

This is a post in the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop. Click on the link and you will either find out more about the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop, or the universe will explode.

Belated Celebrate: Barn Kittens

0729161314The picture above is what happens when a barncat mother of 6 wakes up to find 5 extra kittens in the kitten bed. And it looks like she’s going to have to keep them. Charybdis, first time mama of 6, has to take care of the kittens of Consubstatial 1, who ran out the door and hasn’t come back.

Escaping mama cats is a chronic problem around here. Most of my cats are barn cats, but I bring the pregnant ones in the house so the kittens will be properly socialized. Many people want to get barn cat kittens, but they expect them to be friendly, not the hostile little monsters that you get when you leave barn kittens alone until their mama moves the litter to someplace you can find.

But mostly mama cats come back to my door after an hour or two of freedom. So I’m pretty worried Consubstantial 1’s kittens may be orphans.

These kittens are very young, but not too young to be started on solid food. And Char’s kittens are about 4 weeks and just started on solid food.

Since Char can only feed 6 kittens at a time because she only had 6 nursing before, I’m feeding them in shifts. I put Connie 1’s kittens in the lower bin of the multi-level cat bed, and Char’s on the next level up. When Connie 1’s babies are done, Char’s babies get a turn. And I’m keeping solid food available at all times for Char’s babies and have let Connie 1’s babies sniff at it.

I am hoping that I can manage to keep all 11 kittens going that way if the mama doesn’t come back.

In other cat related news, escaped pregnant cat 2 has been recaptured, and this morning had 4 newborn kittens in her nest. I REALLY hope she will stop at 4.

This is a post in the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop.