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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?

A Sad Day at Chiot’s Run

April 28th, 2011

The last few days we’d noticed that the resident feral cat “Miss Mama” hadn’t been looking great. While she was friendly and would let us pet her, she was never as tame as an indoor cat, which meant we didn’t see her up close a lot. When the weather warmed she started spending her days out hunting in the woods around our home instead of in the garage, so we saw even less of her. When she was around, she’s follow us around the garden and even took a shine to Lucy, running over to rub on her whenever she spotted her outside.

We hadn’t been seeing much of her lately and figured it was because of the nice weather. When we spotted her the other day we noticed she looked very thin and wasn’t walking very well.

We finally caught her Tuesday evening and immediately knew it was bad. She was weak, could barely walk, and her liver was failing. There wasn’t much we could do, we put out a heating mat to keep her warm and didn’t think she was going to make it through the night. She may have caught a mouse or a chipmunk that someone had poisoned and as a result it poisoned her. Or perhaps she wandered onto someone’s lawn that had just treated it with chemicals, which is also very hard on pets. A sad reminder that often our expedient measures to treat a problem or pest result in consequences that we didn’t intend.

She made it through the night, but looked even worse the next morning and could barely walk. We knew it was time. We carried her out and put her on the side porch to enjoy the nice weather while we made some preparations.

We have a tradition in my family that pets are always buried on the property (all of our previous pets are buried in my parent’s garden). The cats always get a pussy willows planted over their graves and the dogs get a dogwood tree. I set out to decide where I wanted to plant a pussy willow, for this would determine Miss Mama’s final resting place.

While I’m very sad that Miss Mama is gone, I can’t be too sad. Outdoor cats have a life expectancy of 2 years – she was about that old. They have to deal with the harshness of nature and the expediency of humans trying to deal with pests. It’s the price we pay for the joy that animals bring us. I know that Miss Mama had a wonderful year and a half of life here at Chiot’s Run. She had delicious pastured chicken to eat, a warm cozy bed in the garage, the freedom to roam the woods hunting and be a cat. While we would have preferred for her to live a longer life, at least her life here was good.

We still have one garage cat left. If you remember, Miss Mama moved her kittens into our garage last summer. One kitten survived, she’s known as “Little Softie” or “The Sweets”. She’s a burgundy black cat now, full grown. Hopefully she’ll be able to avoid Miss Mama’s fate, she doesn’t seem to wander as far. She was brought to this garage at about 5 weeks old, so this is home to her.

We buried Miss Mama up in the front garden and I’ll get a start from my mom’s pussy willow that is growing over Jeffrey, our first cat’s grave. I placed a bouquet of wild flowers over her grave, perfectly fitting for our wild (yet tamed) cat.

Today we’re very sad still that Miss Mama is gone, but we really appreciate the joy she brought us. As our first garden cat – she was perfect! We’ll miss her chirpy meows, her padding around the garden behind us, the moles she left by the car and the great personality she had. So long Miss Mama, we’re sad to see you go, but happy you chose to spend a year and a half at Chiot’s Run!

Other posts about Miss Mama
Should I Change the Name?
The Word is Out
Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty, Little Ball of Fur
A Series of Unfortunate Events
In Case You Were Wondering
Not So Feral Anymore
Friday Favorite: the Feline Edition
Not Chickens But They’ll Do

Protecting the Fall Crops

October 7th, 2010

Miss Mama is coming in quite handy protecting the fall crops from moles and chipmunks. One year the chipmunks ate all of my fall beets, this year, thanks to Miss Mama I should enjoy a great harvest.

We’ve had a lot of moles or voles in the garden at my mom’s house, hopefully they don’t do too much damage to our crops. Miss Mama seems to be keeping them out of my crops so far, too bad she’s too small to chase away a groundhog.

What’s your biggest pest in your fall garden?

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.