It’s Deja Kitten, All Over Again (Part 2)

Have I mentioned that I do not do well on sleep deprivation? Well, I’m mentioning it now.

Last night was a horrid combo of alternating insomnia and nightmares, punctuated by sporadic bathroom visits to feed the kitten. Apparently my subconscious, that sneaky thing, decided the alarm wasn’t going to go off and so I would lie there for an hour staring at nothing and then be jolted awake by bad dreams. I’d check the clock and realize I’d slept for twenty minutes. And repeat.

At 5:30 am, after a 4 am kitten feed, Squeaky and Mingo decided to have a battle in the living room. Many yowls, punctuated by a heavy body hitting the floor. Repeatedly. I didn’t go look. The human brain can only take so much. I decided either they were both fine (win) or one of them was dead and I’d have fewer vet bills (win) or one of them was gravely injured. In that case I already had a vet appointment in a few hours and I’d just tack one more on. (win) They were both in perfect heath when I crawled out of bed.

By the time the vet appoint was nigh, I’d decided my kitten fostering days — and probably my kitten days — were over. The vet greeted me cheerily with “Hello, Sucker!” Score a point for her.

Anyway, the kitten is male, about 4 weeks old, and healthy. He does not have feline leukemia: I paid for the test even though we were discussing fostering possibilities because some foster programs aren’t funded for it.

The vet called the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter and determined that they had a kitten fosterer available. I had absolutely no idea they had this program, nor that young healthy kittens are in great demand. Mingo never mentioned this during his younger or bottle-feeding days. Clearly, he knew a good thing when he saw it. Also, so did the vet. (Hello, Sucker!) And of course he’s gotten his claws so deeply into the household — he has his own blog for fuck’s sake — I’ll never get rid of him now.

So I filled out the paperwork and kitten (who remained deliberately nameless because I may be sleep-deprived but I’m not idiotic enough to give a name to a kitten I’m abandoning) was carried off by a cooing crowd of shelter workers. (“How cute! How sweet! Look at his eyes!”)

Now I know what to do the next time a stray kitten crosses my path, or is dumped on my doorstep, or even mews in my general direction.

I’m sure all my loyal readers are disappointed not to have Mingo vs. Kitten posts for the next six months. Since I didn’t have a thundering line of you volunteering to bottle-feed and squeeze out kitten poop every four hours, I say the hell with all of you. I’m going back to bed.



It’s Deja Kitten, All Over Again (Part 1)

Okay. Deep breath.

Last night I received a series of texts from my yard person, the same yard person who gave me Mingo. I was confused, because she was texting photos of Ming as a kitten.

Except of course she wasn’t. She’d found ANOTHER too-young feral kitten by her house. This woman, who reads this blog by the way, appears to be a kitten magnet. Stray cats attach themselves to her bod. And she detaches them and give them to me. More thoughts on this process flow later, but here’s a hint: I’m against this as a life plan.

So we determined, via text, that the kitten was a bit bigger than Mingo had been, probably older, and seemed in better condition. Also, it was drinking goat’s milk and nibbling tuna, so no massive urgency. It was, by the way, past midnight. I told her to keep the kitten warm and feed it in the night. Like Lord Voldemort in Goblet of Fire and it’s a shame she hasn’t read those books. Because that makes her Wormtail.

Bright and on time this morning, she shows up with kitten, who is by my best guess about 3 weeks old. Eyes open and walking. But still very young. I called my wonderful veterinary practice, the Boulder Creek Veterinary Clinic, and my vet the great Dr. Kathy Gerrity won’t be in until tomorrow Saturday. So I made an appointment for the kitten, and the practice assistants gave me some donated kitten formula.

Back at the house I bathed the kitten, who seemed to enjoy warm water with a little Dawn dish soap, blew it dry with my hairdryer, and combed it for fleas. No fleas? So far, no fleas. Also no maggots and its tongue is pink, so it has blood. If you remember, Mingo had a plethora of the first two and none of the last. Then I fed it formula via bottle, and set it up with a hot pad covered by towels in a cat carrier in the bathroom.

(Annoyed aside: why the fuck would you manufacture and sell a hot pad that shuts off automatically after an hour? It’s useless. I dumped it and resurrected my old hot pad, which has worked reliably for the past twenty years.)

Of course, the Big Question: Am I planning to keep this kitten? NO NO NO NO I plan to find it a good home, assuming it survives my bathroom, doesn’t have kitty leukemia, and doesn’t drop dead from mysterious kitten ailments. This is a small house, I already have three cats, or two normal cats and Mingo, who should count as two. My cat care budget is already extreme, so NO.


Obviously, I made a mistake assuming Mingo was a one off. What I should have in place is a list of people and agencies to call, in the event this continues to happen. I will start on that tomorrow.

What I don’t know about the kitten includes age, sex, medical conditions, etc. Tomorrow I should know a bit more, so that will the exciting Part 2 of this post.

PS: I am on the wine.

Oh, and by the way: Does anyone want a kitten?


Mingo: Corrupting Older Cats Since 2017

I haven’t posted much about my two other cats so far. This is The Chronicles of Mingo after all, not the Chronicles of Mary’s Cats.

However, as Dumbledore would say, ‘Recent events must be taken into account.’

Ming’s overwhelming thrust to go outside has inspired my sixteen-year-old black cat to do the same. Mingo went out and Squeaky followed him like the little sycophant he is. Never mind that Mingo is barely 9 months old. He’s a leader and Squeaky is a doormat.  Squeaky has always been a talker, but he’s previously confined it to general remarks upon entering a room, leaving a room, walking around aimlessly in a room, and howling at the top of his lungs when it’s time for his pill. I can’t explain this last bit; I’m merely reporting. Now he howls to go out, and once he is out, howls and howls in general. I let him in; he howls at the door to go out again. Luckily my closest neighbor has this obnoxious barking dog so he can’t complain, or if he does complain I can laugh at him. Besides the howling cat there’s me shrieking SHUT UP! at the top of my lungs. And grabbing the water pistol. It’s a thrill a minute around here.

To say that Squeaky is chicken-hearted is a libel on chickens, who I am sure are very brave. For the first thirteen years of his life he was effectively invisible to everyone except Bob and me. Other people were clearly Cat Murderers. Now, with contractors and friends in and out of the house, Squeaky has accepted that some strangers, a selected few, may not be real Cat Murderers. Perhaps. And even more strange, he’s sitting in my lap for brief periods. I do feel sad that my husband isn’t around to see this, because he spent years coaxing this cat to sit in his lap. Squeaky made it plain that laps were full of Cat Mincers and he was having none of it.

We put him outside once. Our previous cats had all gone outside as a matter of course, but Squeaky panicked. He literally beat on the door with his fists to get back inside and hid in the closet for hours. So we let him be an inside cat and he was perfectly happy. He wouldn’t even peek outside the door. But whatever Ming said to him (probably something like “Dude! You gotta go outside!”) has changed his personality completely. Now I have to figure out a way to have Mingo tell him to shut up.

Rainy, my soon-to-be eighteen year old Siamese has always gone out in a civilized and sedate manner: 15 minutes on the deck, a fast patrol of the garage, a brief trip under the deck for biological reasons, and she’s ready to come in and nap. Mingo hasn’t changed that at all, although she was a bit pissed off the first few times she encountered him out there. (“Is nothing sacred around here?”) No, the behavior mod from Rainy is different. She was on my lap, I was petting her. The tv was on and I stopped petting her.

She bit me.

I pill Rainy twice a day. I stick a needle in her three time a week. I cut her nails. She doesn’t care for any of these things but over the years she’s never bitten me. She mutters under her breath, she yowls that Siamese tone of Very Annoyed, but bite? Nope.

She didn’t break the skin; it was more like “Hey! Pay attention to me!” I have become extremely familiar with this sort of bite, because Guess Who does it all the time. And I suppose he’s done it to her, so she did it to me.

Thanks, Ming. Thanks a bunch.

Please Don’t Eat The Chihuahua

Mingo’s had an interesting week.

One of my neighbors brought over his chihuahua. This dog has been raised with cats, but he only weighs about 6 lbs. and he wasn’t thrilled to meet this huge, furry, aggressive monster. Add to this his heartless, cruel, sadistic** owner dropping his leash and you have the situation below. Poor Pepe kept making little whimpering sounds.

**Adjectives can be altered after proper payment is received.

My stress level, and the stress level of my other cats, has been greatly reduced since Ming started going outside. He’s attacking them less, so they are able to catch up on their nap schedules and he’s bugging me less so I can catch up on MY nap schedule. My friend Kay, a superior cat person, gifted Mingo with a tracking device on a collar. I turn it on, it beeps and points at him. He’s astonishingly hard to locate without this especially since he likes to lurk under the deck.

However, I’m not letting him go out after dark because our neighborhood hosts a local mountain lion, or several mountain lions depending on whom you talk to, and they are more active at night. We’ve also seen coyotes, ditto, and even with a fenced yard pets have been known to vanish.

Unfortunately, (and why do I frequently begin sentences with that word? I can’t imagine) Ming is very fast. I rarely go to bed before 1 am and I opened the door to go to the garage and WHAM he was past me and out into the yard. So I cursed and turned on all the outside lights and gave him some time. But at 2 am I really wanted to go to sleep, so I armed myself with the tracker, a flashlight, and a bit of chicken to entice the damned beast back into the house.

The tracker found him, no problem. But I couldn’t get within grabbing distance, even with the chicken, and he had a fine time letting me get close and FLIT he was off down the yard, under the deck, around and around. Please visualize: it is 2 am, I’m wearing my nightie, my bathrobe, and my fuzzy slippers, stumbling up and down the yard stairs, and waving chicken. Not to mention calling “Ming! Ming!” and probably waking up the neighborhood. Thank god I didn’t name him ‘Karma’ or ‘Horny’.

I gave up, went inside, and shut all the lights off. Then I went to bed.

Pre-dawn, roughly 5:30 am, I got up. I stumbled to the door and turned on the outside lights.

Mingo trotted up the yard stairs, along the sidewalk, and into the house. He wasn’t running — he made that perfectly clear — but he certainly wasn’t sauntering either. He looked a bit…subdued. I ignored suggestions from the other cats that I serve early breakfast, locked the bedroom door, and went back to sleep.

The following night Ming showed absolutely no interest in nocturnal travel. You’d have thought the doors were solid bits of wall.

Of course, this didn’t last. He made a serious escape effort last night, but I thwarted him. ‘Thwarting’ is done by grabbing his scruff with two hands and pulling hard backwards. And it’s going to get harder as he gets bigger.

Bad News: His feet are growing again.