marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

In case you haven't been online or reading lately, Bowie's my new kitten. This is hardly an exhaustive list and will probably grow right along with him...

In order of what he played with first...

  • Catnip-stuffed mice, birds and fur-covered roll-y balls
  • Homemade catnip socks (take a small Ped footie, stuff with catnip, knot closed)
  • The ring toy I bought Stuie before I realized he was too sick to enjoy it; scratches his claws thoroughly on the scratch pad and bats the attached ball around - added another ball today with a rattle in it that also spins through the groove perfectly
  • The Blue Bird of Happiness (a mouse with feathers on a long stick; eyes light up and flash on/off while it sings like a bird; hangs off a long plastic stick with feathers at the human-end which are fun to bat at and chew on, too)
  • My hair, fingers, toes, hands, arms, and the sides of my bare legs, the latter of which for some reason are fun for scratching, but only when I'm asleep
  • Toes and fingers under the sheets and comforter, and why walk toward them when you can hop and jump, instead
  • Batting toilet paper and paper towel rolls around is fun
  • Hanging off the scratching post batting at the catnip sock nailed into it? Fun
  • The toilet paper on the spindle is sooooooo much fun to unroll!
  • Paper bags - smaller ones for jumping on and tearing apart (which also make good balls for chasing when crumpled up and tossed) - bigger ones for hiding inside of, especially with toys, which we continually eject from the bag like foreign objects
  • The shoelace from the hood of my sweatshirt is one of the greatest toys of all time. Kudos to mommy for "inventing" this
  • Tin foil balls, especially when stuffed into a toilet paper roll so they're reeeeeeally hard to get
  • Balled up paper dinner napkins are fun to shred and leave all over the living room for mommy to pick up later
  • Balled up paper towels are not as shredd-y, but are much more fun for mommy
  • The six foot tall fake tree in the living room is fun for climbing
  • Playing with mommy's fingers through the open steps of the staircase? Lotsa fun
  • Chewing mommy's knuckles is fun, earning him the nickname "knuckle-biter". He rarely hurts when he bites or scratches and seems to go out of his way not to. My calicos, by contrast, will shred any part of your body you use to play with them, on contact.

Things Bowie will eat

Bowie has turned out to be unbelievably fussy about wet food. He doesn't like anything organic or with seafood or beef, though he pretended to the first week or so he was here. But he loves (non-organic) chicken because OMG yum...I have no idea why he likes it so much (but doesn't like fresh-roasted chicken right off any chicken I just roasted...he pretended to like that, too, for a while, but no longer does...go figure). Bowie also loves...

  • Fancy white albacore tuna in oil (can't do this too much because tuna leeches taurine from their bodies; without taurine they can't function)
  • Dry food. He's eating adult (Purina Naturals) because that's what the twin calicos eat and I just haven't bought kitten chow. But I'm thinking I should; I'm just afraid it's going to make two fat calicos even fatter, but it might be best for Bowie's energy needs (ETA: a human's currently at the store acquiring Kitten Chow).
  • Crunchy cat treats...right now it's Frisky's Party Mix Crunch in Chicken, Liver and Turkey flavors
  • Deli ham and deli turkey
  • Swiss cheese
  • Crackers
  • Likes to lick the salt off any salty snack (last night, it was nuts)
  • Thinks mommy is a goddess after she fed him a piece of linguine with buttery sauce on it yesterday. The looks of pure love and adoration he beamed my way afterward were priceless. :)

Places Bowie likes to sleep

  • The two-cushion sueded couch, laying on the blanket
  • The three cushion leather couch; always chooses the cushion by the patio
  • The leather hassock
  • My bed
  • On the floor next to my night table (this is sort of a nightmare because I'm afraid of getting out of bed and stepping on him, especially in the dark)
  • The living room rug by the patio
  • If Bad Calico is giving him grief, under the leather couch (I usually spray her until she runs upstairs, then call him out if I catch him in time, because I don't want him to grow up being a hider. He responds to a high pitched squeal I give him which roughly translates to the word "baby" and comes running back to me, every time).

I found a low cost clinic that will neuter him but not until he's three months old or three pounds, whichever he achieves first. I've been trying to tell Other Person he's already three pounds but he doesn't think so. I think he is. He has giant hands, feet and fingers which prove he's going to be a mountain lion large cat when he grows up, and I think he's at three pounds now. Without the I'm A Poor Person Discount, the total comes out to around $150ish. With, about $80 bucks. Includes pre-exam, shots, rabies shot, the surgery, pain meds and fluids.

I've also found other low-cost clinics and groups that give out vouchers but that's for neutering only. I want him to at least have a cursory exam and his shots, too. Because we can't agree on how much Bowie weighs and I don't have a way to prove it, I'm going to wait a few more weeks; he'll surely be three pounds, if not more, by then.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

He took my heart and ran with it

Not that anyone's asked, but all the same, Bowie's doing great! I estimate he was eight weeks old when I got him; he's nine and half weeks now and already bigger and longer. He's filled out, his fur is getting a nice sheen to it that it didn't have when I brought him in, and his eyes are beginning to change from olive-greenish-brown to pure golden amber. Both colors are very unusual on a cat.

He's not showing signs of having any kitty cold, fleas, worms, or any other problems, and he's so high-energy he runs me ragged. Luckily I've had enough time and energy to keep up with him.

His days follow this routine:

  • Get up and scream for food - he has a set of lungs, lemme tell you. There's dry food (which he likes) and cold, clean water out 24/7, both upstairs and down - in case any kitty doesn't feel like dragging themselves around (ditto litter boxes) - but he wants, and will get, wet food as soon as he gets up because if he doesn't you'll never hear the end of it OMG nothing has lungs like this.
  • Then it's time to drink water, use the litter box, wash and play - in about that order.
  • Then it's time to eat again - more wet - then it's time to drink water, wash, and sleep. Luckily he sleeps for hours at a time, which gives me a small chance to recover between frenetic bouts of kitten.
  • Rinse and repeat above schedule about four more times each day.

Luckily I've somehow convinced him everyone sleeps at night (well, except me, of course) so he should, too, because right up through this weekend I couldn't convince him, so I was stuck with frenetic kitten between 2-6am every single night. He's gotten much better about sleeping almost straight through now, or from about 12am-6am.

His mom stopped coming to see him about four days ago, I guess when she realized he wanted to nurse and wouldn't leave her alone. I was sad for him for a few days because his mom...but in the ensuing days I think he's decided I'm his mom, because now he tries to nurse my face and armpit (I have an adult cat that goes for my armpit, too, who did so long before he arrived, which I cannot understand). When he gives up - always within seconds - he curls up under my chin, after washing my face for a minute, of course, and just falls sleep.

I have a pretty expensive cat toy - a bird on a rope hanging off a long plastic wand. When it sings it sounds like birds we have outside, and any continuous movement lights the eyes, which flash on and off hypnotically, and makes it start singing without end. Bowie can't get enough of it. I bought it last winter not realizing Stuie was too sick to play with it, got limited interest out of one of my calicos, put it aside for I don't know what, and then along came Bowie. I'd say he gets 60-70% of his daily exercise from chasing it around.

Other toys proven to be huge hits: an extra-wide lace from my sweatshirt, about 3 feet long, which I pulled out one night when I realized he kept batting at it; empty cardboard toilet paper and paper towel rolls, the still-new ring toy with a rolling ball inside the track and cardboard scratchpad on top to hold catnip, that I got Stuie the same day I got the bird (he wouldn't play with that, either, which was how I knew for sure he wasn't well...because he always loved his ring toy), and all the socks I made for Stuie that I stuffed with catnip and knotted closed that he would roll around on the floor with until he was stoned. There are also cat balls with catnip and bells inside of them but he's not as crazy about those.

Luckily my furniture's mostly not new, because he's tearing it up. We have carpeted scratch posts built into posts around the staircase that Other Person installed for the calicos after we moved in, because they were also tearing up our furniture. Well, they took like ducks to water to using scratch posts (we nailed some of the aforementioned catnip socks to them until they got the idea; one post still has a sock nailed to it but the other got torn off) but try as I might - I literally hook him by his claws into all three scratch posts 2-3 times a day, then support him by his bottom as he edges his way back down - I can't seem to make him get the idea that scratch posts are for scratching, not everything else I own. But he's young! He'll get it eventually.

He still needs to go to the vet (I have to save money to take him to one; I thought when I wrote my last post about him that I had some hat to pull "vet money" out of, but predictably enough, after going over what I've got, I don't) but in the meantime I'm watching him like a hawk for Anything Bad and don't see anything, at least not yet.

I can't describe how much fun he is...and I never have fun with kittens. I feel like I'm constantly pulling them down and off of and away from things and like they don't grow up quick enough to unchain me for this agony but this guy's nothing like that. Don't get me wrong: he's an absolute barnstormer. He could throw a party for 30 people and whoop it up like they all came even if not one damn person showed up. Mr. Personality. But he's really good, at the same time - there's not a mean or crazy bone in his body, and he's so sweet that when he is less than angelic I don't really care. He lights up my life.

I have to give one of my calicos credit for getting me to the point where I could ever get another cat, especially a kitten, and especially another black and white, without going nuts because I know it's not Stuie. That wouldn't have been possible without her, but in the months since he's passed she's taken to sitting on my chest every night while I get ready to fall asleep, washes my hands and face, follows me around the house giving me body and nose rubs, and talks to me almost as much as Stuie did. She's sort of dulled the ache in my heart that will always be my little man.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Bowie..yes, come say hi to my new kitty!

The kitten the other person plucked off a tree for me the other night? Is a boy. I've named him Bowie, because a) I liked the name Bo when I was looking up baby names today and b) I wanted a good way to honor David Bowie's passing.

Bulbs

As I've been discussing with [personal profile] darkoshi, my electric bill's been crazy high lately because we have an upstairs bedroom which doubles as a greenhouse - plenty of light and humidity - though it doesn't get enough direct sunlight to grow any full-sun plants, which is too bad, because I'm growing herbs, spices and spider plants this year, while other person is starting their own farm alongside my plants on the back patio - with cherry tomatoes, celery, shallots and onions (the onions, sadly, are failing).

Because the bedroom and bathroom take up the entire second floor, their atmosphere is cut off from the downstairs, so it's consistently about 10 degrees hotter upstairs than down. This causes us to lower the A/C four degrees more than we need to so the upstairs will stay sufficiently cool for sleeping, which I estimate is adding an extra $100 a month to our utility bills.

While we've made tons of concessions to accommodate our excessive A/C needs - less and shorter showers, lights off when we're not in a room, power strips switched off when things plugged into them are not in use, not running the dishwasher, keeping the hot water tank shut off unless someone's about to take a shower, running bigger loads of laundry less often, keeping the water off while we scrub dishes before rinsing them, flushing the toilet less often, and so on - our utility bills are still about double what I'm used to paying this time of year.

I used to think Duke Energy was bad but compared to co-ops or city utilities, Duke was great. With this utility we get charged for water, for running the water, for trash and storm water runoff and sewage treatment, and for the electric. We get charged both for what we use and for using it - there are separate charges for each - so it's like, you don't just turn on a light, you get charged for the act of turning it on. You don't just do the dishes and get charged for the water, you get charged for the act of using the water, too.

Between that and how much we run the A/C, our bills are high. So as another concession? We've decided to switch out the incandescents I love - and, in the process, get rid of the fluorescents I hate, which make up roughly the other 50% of lighting here - for LEDs. We've bought five LEDs so far, at an equivalent of 60W per bulb. We've been getting them at Walmart for a few dollars each. They're rated to cost just $1.02 per year of use, per bulb.

We screwed the rest of them in tonight so now we have all the table lamps in the living room and bedroom and one wall sconce in the bathroom on LEDs. I also want to replace the five bulbs in the kitchen - all fluorescent tubes - with LED equivalents. There are 4 more bulbs in the bathroom to replace, one in the closet, and one each on the front and back porches.

There are also lights along the stairs and in the track lamps up by the raised ceilings in the living room and bedroom, but those lights go on so rarely and stay on so briefly that I'm not going to worry about them right away. Slowly but surely we'll get there, I guess.

LED light (I buy bulbs more in the golden range, but I understand there's a blue range of light, too, more suitable for office work) has been nice. It's not harsh like the fluorescents and I find it kind of preferable to incandescent light - it gives a brighter, less muddy-looking glow.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

The other person here picked it off a tree for me tonight after I was melting down at it on sight because it's Stuie with shorter fur a black and white kitten. I don't think it's eight weeks old yet. And I have to say "it" because it's so wound-up I can't check for gender just yet.

Tell me your heart does not melt on sight:

The black and white kitten we picked off a tree in the parking lot at our place tonight.

I've been the neighborhood Cat Lady the last few weeks, feeding two grey and white tuxedo-wearing kittens a few months old and two slightly older grey and white splotch-patterns. Turns out the skinnier of the splotches, who we call, uh, Schnozz because of his big, fat nose? Is a girl, not a boy, who brought her litter to us today because yay, we have food! And damn hon, it's time to wean the kittens!

I was kind of going broke just feeding four of them. The litter adds an additional five mouths, including the pipsqueak now sleeping on my couch. So I took it, because why keep feeding it just to watch it suffer or get killed out there.

Luckily two other women took notice not long after we did today how kittens are running in the street between our buildings and are going to get hit by cars, which speed by all the time. Both have spoken of calling the shelters, getting some of them spayed/neutered, and taking off whoever they can to the shelter itself. We can't help for Reasons so I'm hoping they'll follow through.

I got the only black and white. My last two (well really, three, but we didn't keep one as long as I would've liked because my mom thought it was nuts) favorite cats were black and whites so I'm thinking this has got to be good. Of course I've got two snotty calicos - twin sisters, seven years old - who hate anyone who's not them, but the kitten is so tiny I'm hoping they'll accept (and eventually foster and nurture) it in spite of themselves.

The kitten has a good appetite. It's already eaten, I'd say, about three tablespoons of wet food before cuddling the other human briefly and crashing on my couch where it's still out like a light, with ABC's Greatest 80s Hits playing on the TV in the background. Like most of the outside cats it's extremely thin, but seems to be in good health with clear, bright eyes, no runny nose, no sneezing, fur that smells sweet and clean - and I know it's energetic because it was tumbling across the street with a tabby sibling of its before I yelled for them to get out of the road seconds before a speeding car would've flattened them.

We went to the store after that and when we came back met another neighbor, let's call her C., who like the neighbor who was talking to us about them when I shooed the kittens out of the road, was also looking at them and for them. The black and white climbed a tree behind the other person in the parking lot while we spoke to the other neighbor. When it got about six feet off the ground the other person grabbed it and after talking to C. for a bit we carried it inside.

This house has never felt right without Stuie and I've never felt right having only two cats but all the same, I told the other person its lucky (or maybe I should've said, "I'm lucky") it looks the way it does, because I don't normally like to raise kittens.