Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day Two... What a Farmer/Rancher Does...

I am so totally bummed out that my little escapade concerning the "Dan the Man and Squeakers daily napping episode" has already come to a screeching halt.

Due to our work schedule yesterday, the second day into the "napping project," I did not catch Dan the Man and his beloved Squeakers napping together. Dagnabbit!! I was most certain that I would get a daily picture for several days in a row... not just one.

Oh well... I have not given up though. This is just a freakish interruption, I am sure.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, you need to back-track and read my previous post.

Well, since there is no picture from yesterday... I can at least tell you how we acquired Squeakers and her three other sisters, Bridgette, Camille and Sammi.

Some of you already know this story, I know. But many of you don't so here you go.

In 2006 we had a massive hail storm that lasted for close to an hour. (That ain't normal folks! Hail storms normally don't last that long.) Anyway, after the hail storm, Dan the Man found a stray cat dead in one of the alfalfa fields, presumably she met her demise in the hail storm. Poor kitty, I know.

A couple of days later, the boys then discovered a batch of kittens in one of the haystacks. You guessed it, the dead stray was the kittens' mother.

When the boys told me about the kittens, I just had to go have a look see for myself. Sure enough, 5 cute, cuddly, abandoned kittens. What ever were we going to do? We couldn't let them fend for themselves... they were much too young to survive on their own.

So I took food out to them, thinking that they probably weren't old enough for solid food, but I thought I would try anyway. It took a while to coax them to all come out of the haystack, but eventually, day by day, they came to trust me and more importantly, wanted what I had to offer. I mixed a little milk with the dry food and they all were able to eat it without any problems.

This became a daily activity that I looked forward to. I eventually moved a couple of lawn chairs out to the haystack so I could enjoy the kittens in my free time. Dan the Man would even join us on occasion. I was getting extremely attached to the little bundles of joy and I believe they were starting to enjoy my company as well. Soon they all had names, all five of them, and all girls: Bridgette, Leona, Camille, Chloe and Sammi. I use to joke that these were the daughters that we never had. (For those of you who don't know... we have four boys!)

As the weeks went on, our bond grew stronger.  Soon the kittens were not content to spend all their time at the haystack. When it was time for me to go back to the house, Bridgette was the first one to follow me home and soon the other four were trailing behind. We already had two "house" cats at the time and really did not intend to add more. But our house has a "dog door" which allows the two house cats to come and go as they please.

Bridgette was also the first kitten to learn how to use the dog door and before I knew it, the others soon followed suit. Dan the Man would yell at them when he would catch them in the house and they would scurry as fast as their little feet would take them and run back outside through the dog door.  It was a fantastically fun game for the kittens.  All the while Dan the Man would grumble about not needing any more cats in the house!

As the months went on, it became apparent that we now had 5 more cats in the family.  And as our affections grew stronger for these five little girls, it also became apparent that they would be allowed into the house, besides winter was fast approaching and where were they going to stay outside and remain warm?

One stipulation that we had, if we were going to keep all five was that we would have to spay all five of them.  Thankfully my vet gave me a "volume discount!"  There is nothing more that we despise than cats who are allowed to have kittens batch after batch after batch.  The world has enough feral cats and we didn't intend to add more.  I'd better not get started on this topic...

Anyway, so that is how we came upon the girls.  Unfortunately we did lose one about 6 months later.  Dan the Man found his favorite (at the time) Leona dead one morning by the drive.  It appeared as if a predator had gotten her in the night.  We were all very sad about losing Leona and I often think about her, wondering what she would be like as a full grown cat, now 5 years later.

Here's a couple of pictures of them when they were still kittens.  I have this first one framed and hanging in our living room.

Starting on the left side is Bridgette, Squeakers (aka Chloe), Sammi with the white on her face,
Leona with her head down and Camille (aka Millie) in the middle.

Sammi and Bridgette are both short-haired while the other three are long-haired.

Can you see the "M's" that are on their foreheads?
"M" for Manville!  LOL!

Sammi and Squeakers lounging on the bed a few months later.

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