Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ups and Downs of Ranch Life

(Please excuse any graphic material in this post, but a picture is worth 1000 words)

Since I'm working, I don't get to spend much time composing, plus the computer has been acting up, further interfering with blogging! So, there's much to catch up on! I might have to divide it into a couple blogs to keep related items together. This will be my 'animal' blog and my next one will be a 'work' blog!

Sadly, my 'bestest' babies have been missing for a week. Though I know there's a small possibility that they're off exploring and COULD turn up one day, each day Mia and Mitzi are gone, my hopes are dashed a little more! Living in the country, we have too many predators to hold out a lot of hope for their survival! All I can say is that they were the sweetest and gentlest kittens I've EVER had. It makes me sad to consider their likely demise. For all the times I've heard the coyotes close by, yip, yip, yipping, my kitties have always showed up. As long as there were trees nearby, I knew they could find safety. In the open field though, the odds change in favor of the coyotes. Unfortunately the kitties and Sam search for field mice and rats out there.

Now the next generation is coming along pretty well. I've observed some interesting training methods of late. Little Kitty hunts at night and brings her quarry to the porch for the young ones to feast on. I've seen evidence of a mouse, and then last Saturday, she brought a rat and showed the kittens what to do with it. When they lost interest, she tossed it around as if it were alive (demonstrating her techniques) until she got one or two interested and then they'd feast on it for a bit. Like a good mom, she waited until they were done before she ate her share.

I can also tell she's in the process of weaning them. I see them eating dry food and drinking water. A couple of them like the wet food. Then there's Tiny (the pint size kitten) - he's feisty, but still prefers mother's milk. They were taking advantage of Kitty's eating to sneak under for a drink of milk, and all you can hear is multiple purrs coming from beneath her belly. The kitten IN the food dish nursing is (of course) Tiny - it's kinda like standing on a stool.
He's starting to look cuter these days!
And they have become so playful and they're sooooo cute. Judge for yourself!!
In a couple weeks they'll be ready for their new homes and it will be pretty quiet around here.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Snakes and snails and kitty cat tails...

Sam just gained some status in our family of furries! Last night he was barking at something, not just a bark at the kittens or at distant coyote calls, but a more immediate slithery something. So Mike went out with the flashlight to see what the fuss was all about, and found Sam and the kitties (Mia and Mitzi) around the side of the house contemplating how to rid the yard of a rattlesnake!! Our first since we moved in 1 year ago!! So Mike came in and retrieved his snake gun while Sam and company kept it from slithering away, and Mike gave that viper a taste of the snake gun. He didn't like it too much, and in fact didn't survive the assault. So here's Mike with his prize: Interestingly, upon looking up about rattlesnakes, I learned that when they're young, they can shed their skin up to 3 times that first year, so you can't count the rattles and determine their age exactly. My newly educated guess is that this snake is likely a couple or 3 years old. Did you know they can live 20 - 30 years (in captivity)? Here, if they wander into the yard or nearby, they won't have the chance!

As for kittendom, at 3 weeks and 2 days, their world is growing! The first explorers are 2 sisters, inviting the others to come out and play:
Speaking of which, playing is a new activity when not sleeping which still takes up a lot of their daytime.
(As you can see, "Tiny" has a little growing to do to catch up with his sisters and brother. He's too small to join the fray right now.)
Mama has been moving them around lately. One night she moved them from the pet carrier to the cardboard box, and the next night she took them under the porch. We're expecting a storm tonight, so I put them back in the pet carrier (if she'll leave them there till after the storm). They're starting to exhibit personality!
Don't kid yourself, Mom has eyes in the back of her head - she KNOWS what's going on!!! Hmmmmm, what's this?