Since this blog is really about the things that bring me joy in my life (a gratitude journal, of sorts), and those things that help me to create my Eden, I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to introduce the current ZooCrew:
First there is Fancy (aka Pretty Girl aka Fat Girl), who's been with me since early 2002, I think. I believe that she is about 7 years old, and was a stray when I found her (as they always are):
Fancy is really easy going and not much bothers her. She's a big fat girl, and is a favorite with everyone.
Then Momma (aka Mama-san) showed up in 2002 or 2003, only then she was known at the time by me as Minsk and was so skittish she wouldn't let me within 20 feet of her. She showed up with our male tom cat Big Head (which I inherited with the condo). After being a stray around our place for probably a year (off and on, as she would sometimes disappear for awhile), she turned up pregnant. During her pregnancy, she got a little less timid, and even let me touch her a couple of times.
Then she disappeared, and I figured that she had delivered her kittens and I hoped that everything was okay with them. Then one day a few weeks later I went out onto my balcony to water my plants, bent over to pick up the water can, and saw three little faces looking out at me from under my planter. "Minsk" had evidently been concerned that landscapers were resodding the lawn, and had brought me her three kittens.
Momma (as Minsk became known after having the kittens) seemed to trust me a little more after that, and would allow me to sit next to her while she nursed. About a week after she brought me her kittens, I took all of them inside, and that is where they have been ever since. I was able to find a home for one of them (Charlie), but still have two of the kittens, as well as Momma.
Momma is still very timid, even after living in my home for almost five years. When I lived in the condo, she lived under the bed and would only come out at night after I shut the bedroom door. Since living here in the house, she lives under the built-in desk in the office, but does sometimes venture out. She is very cautious, because Fancy hates her. When Momma first came into the house, she attacked Fancy a couple of times because she was very defensive over her babies. Fancy has never forgotten it, and now she probably outweighs Momma by a good 8 pounds, and she usually chases Momma when she sees her. So we do what we can to create a buffer around Momma so she doesn't stay too stressed. As long as I am sitting or laying down, Momma trusts me and craves my attention. The minute I stand, she runs to hide.
I saw those three little kitten faces looking up at me that first time, and the last kitten (who became known as Delilah) looked at me and let out a hissssss! I laughed at her brazen response to me.
Delilah has been known to get herself into trouble. One day I came home from work, and I found Delilah under the bed (only about 6-8 weeks old at the time) with her head stuck through a giant cat toy. She was totally exhausted from struggling with it, unable to drink, eat or nurse. I and the neighbor guy struggled for quite awhile to get her head free, even greasing her up with vaseline, to no avail. I finally headed down to the fire department to look for their assistance. After working at it for awhile, they were finally able to free Delilah from the horrible cat toy!
Today Delilah is nearing five years of age. She's a very vocal and sweet-tempered girl, but a little on the shy side. She is definitely not a lap cat and doesn't like to be held, but she loves attention and cries to be pet. She loves to camp out on top of the kitchen cabinets in the new place. She loves ponytail holders, and will sniff them out any chance she gets and steal them. Then she wants for you to play "fetch" with her, and she will cry for you to "fling" the ponytail holder/hairband across the room, and then she will retrieve it in her mouth and carry it back to you, drop it at your feet and cry for you to do it again. It took me a couple of years before I figured out what she wanted when she would cry like that.
I don't have a video yet of her playing fetch, but here is her reaction to a laser moving in front of her:
Simon (aka Shy-man or Slim or Legs) is the brother of Delilah. He's always been a little timid with people. We call him our little autistic boy.
He is nervous with sounds, but fascinated with shadows and movements of all kind. He'll see shadows or reflections that we don't even notice. It is really amazing.
However as shy and timid as he is, he is the bully in the house. Maybe that's because he is the only male among the cats. Here he is stalking one of the other cats:
He is really a sweet cat, but an odd duck. And he is amazing to watch leap. My boyfriend watched him the other day leap from the top of the kitchen cabinets and fly ten feet across the kitchen to crash to the tile floor. When you watch him leap, he glides like a flying squirrel. It's really remarkable. He is really a sweet boy.
Shotsie (aka Hotsy-Totsy aka Prettiness aka Bright Eyes) is the latest addition. She was a "foreclosure cat". She belonged to my boyfriend's ex-in-laws. He found out that they were giving up their home and moving to an apartment that didn't allow animals, and Shotsie had been left behind in the house. Although they were going over and giving her food and water, the power to the house would soon be turned off.
Shotsie is part-siamese. She's another odd duck. She likes things on her terms. She loves being pet and held when SHE wants it, and hates it any other time. She is the youngest in the group at about two years of age, and is very playful. I tried to find her a home, but they all fell through. So now she is part of our home.
Poor Shotsie gets picked on by Simon and Delilah, and she isn't used to being around other cats. I feel bad for her, and do what I can to keep her from being picked on.
Odie is my lovebird, and I've had him since around Valentine's of this year. He is almost one year old. He is my boy, but doesn't care for anyone else. I named him for Odin the Hunter, after seeing how brave and fearless he was with the cats sniffing his cage.
He is Mr. Personality. I adore him.
Eleanor is a young red-eared slider. I found her crossing the road over by my Mom's house and worried she would get hit by a car. I picked her up so that I could show her to my boyfriend, as she was only about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
I intended to release her after a few days, and even gave her to my mother to release her over by her house. But Mom worried about her and dragged her feet on releasing her, and in the meantime I bought my house and decided that I would work on creating a pond for Eleanor to live in when she gets bigger and is at less risk of being eaten by wildlife. I figure her odds at survival are better with me than in the wild, even if the chances of a turtle surviving their first year in captivity are not very good. But she's doing well so far, and I've had her about five months now.
So that's the current ZooCrew. They can bring me lots of work and frustration at times, but they also bring me lots of joy, and I am happy to have them in my life.
Taco Hand Pies
8 hours ago