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The Sweets

April 19th, 2018

If you remember from many years ago, a feral mama moved her kittens into our garage. A series of unfortunate events, led to most of the kittens not making it, but one did, with an amazing story.

When we moved from Ohio to Maine, we trapped her and brought her with us. We’ve been able to slightly tame her throughout the years, but she’s still pretty wild, and mostly nocturnal. There are times when she’s gone for a month, out and about in the woods I suppose, hunting and doing things cats love to do.

She’s still a great garden companion, often coming out in the late afternoons when I’m working in the main vegetable garden behind the garage. She meows at me and hangs out nearby. Every now and then I get lucky and she lets me pet her. Since she’s and outdoor cat, her coat is super thick and lush to keep her warm in the winters. This past week, she’s been out following me around as I clean up the main vegetable plot. It’s nice having her around, she’s a great hunter and a valuable member of the team here.

Do you have any great garden companions?

The Sweets

May 18th, 2013

A few of you have been asking about the little black feral cat that made the trip with us.  She was kept in the house for two weeks after we arrived before being transitioned to the garage. She adjusted very well, making herself right at home.  We didn’t see her much at first, she was a tad timid in her new environment.  After a month or two she was back her usually self.
I’ve been seeing little offerings of moles in the driveway and tiny mouse heads in the garage, so I know she’s working hard.  Now that spring is here and I’m working the garden, she’s usually close on my heels hoping to get some attention while I’m working.
Sweets 6
While she’s partially tame, she still retained her wild feral roots. If you’re just visiting you’ll probably never see her, in fact she’s even timid around Mr Chiots. She is tame enough to want to sit in my lap on a rare occasion.

Have you ever had a feral cat?

Not Chickens, but They’ll Do For Now

January 8th, 2011

I’ve always wanted to have chickens, we’re not allowed in our little neighborhood. I’m pretty sure I could hide some though, as they don’t really enforce the rules unless your neighbors complain. I’m not sure I’m ready for chickens though, as they take daily care, and I can be a bit reluctant to head out into the cold on a single digit morning. Those garage cats are great practice though. I have to make sure they have food every day and give them fresh water as well. Whenever I have to suit up to head out and feed them I remember that this is what it would be like to have chickens.

Miss Mama and Little Softie are doing great. They’ve made themselves a little nest in our garage with an old coat and a few cardboard boxes (amazing how they do things like this). I’m thinking of getting them a heated mat though because it’s quite cold out there, and a heated water bowl would be good as well. Perhaps I’ll attempt to build a solar waterer like I saw in Mother Earth News once.

We don’t see them out and about much in the winter, they seem to be hibernating, I think the kitty litter pan we put in the garage for them makes them stay in more as well. When we go out to the garage they come out to beg for food. They also come out when I head to take photos, feed the birds, or run something to the compost. I think they’re missing the human interaction they got in the warm months when I’m outside for several hours. Miss Mama especially is demanding when she sees you out, she wants some attention and some petting! Miss Mama has gotten a little chunky this winter, I bet she has no trouble staying warm.

It’s getting about time to take Little Softie in to get her spayed. She’s still slightly feral and doesn’t trust us 100% yet. Can you blame her after her series of unfortunate events when we had to keep her in a kennel for 2 weeks giving her antibiotics 2x a day (she did not love that). Bet she’s not going to trust us for a while after getting her fixed!

Do you have chickens? How much work are they during the cold winter months? Any other outdoor animals you have to take care of?

Not So Feral Anymore

September 4th, 2010

Miss Mama the resident feral cat that moved her kittens into our garage this summer, has been declassified. She’s no longer feral, she’s become a garage cat, or a “pet”. She spends her days lounging by the pet door in the garage (her front porch as we call it) or lounging on our back deck in the kitty cabana, which is the rack I use for drying seeds & herbs.

I guess she’s realized Chiot’s Run is feline friendly place and has moved in for good. She follows me around the gardens meowing for me to pet her and I’ve even opened up the door several times to find her sitting there waiting for me. She’s definitely no longer the feral cat that used to run if she even saw us looking out the window.

Little Softie is still a bit skittish, she loves to watch what I’m doing though and follows me at a distance. Every now and then she’ll chase me when I’m going by, she’s still cute and playful but she’s starting to get big and look like a cat instead of a kitten. Her and Miss Mama play in the gardens all the time, they’re fun to watch.

It won’t be long until we have to take her in to be fixed as well, another month or two and she should be old enough. Hopefully she’ll do as well as Miss Mama did.

They’re both very sweet cats and we love having them around the gardens. I haven’t seen or heard a chipmunk since Miss Mama moved in, so our strawberries should be safe next year, and perhaps I can actually plant some crocus bulbs this fall that will survive to bloom in the spring.

Have you ever tamed a pet? be it a feral cat, raccoon, skunk, snake, etc?

In Case You Were Wondering

August 21st, 2010

I thought I’d write a post about Miss Mama and Little Softie to update you on how they’re doing. Miss Mama has been spayed and she’s all healed up and back her normal self. She’s decided that lounging around on the two chairs we have outside is her new favorite pastime.

We took Miss Mama in to get her fixed the week before we went to Monticello. She was remarkably easy to catch, I simply put food in the doorway of a cat carrier. When she stuck her head in to eat it, I slowly moved the bowl towards the back and she walked in, then I closed the door. We kept her overnight in the carrier (we didn’t want to try to catch her the morning we needed to take her in, and she wasn’t supposed to eat for 8 hrs) so she’d be ready to go at 7:30 the next morning. We dropped her off a the vet and picked her up the next evening. We kept her in a larger dog kennel in the garage for a few days and she seemed happy. We were wondering if she would run away and never come back when we released her. When we opened up the kennel door to let her out, she came out, stretched, purred and went right back in and laid down. I guess she wasn’t too mad at us.

They LOVE the pet door and think that the back of the garage is now their front porch. They spend a lot of time back there playing in the grass and lounging on the bales of peat moss we have stored under the rain barrels. They seem very comfortable in the garage and I think they’ll be there for quite a while. I need to start thinking about getting them a heated water bowl for the winter, and I need to make them up a warm box or bed for the winter. Our garage is an unattached pole building and it’s very cold in winter. I think an enclosed box with some straw will keep them nice and warm.

Little Softie is growing as well, she’s getting much taller and is starting to venture a little ways away from the garage. Soon enough she’ll be out hunting as well, although after her adventure she hasn’t been as brave as she used to be. It’s been fun watching her and mama play and run around. They seem like they’re having a great time here at Chiot’s Run.

Anything fun going on in your house?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.