First, it’s amazingly noisy with birdsong here in the morning, but I’m enjoying one song more than all the rest. I think it’s one of the flycatchers. All I’m sure of is that it sounds like a demented squeaky toy. It starts with two short bursts at a low rattle, then rises note by note–Whocka, whocka, whoka–and end with a Hooha, as if the air’s being expelled from the toy. Every time I hear it I smile. I can’t help it.
Now, a Webster update: He’s fine, although he’ll have a scar on his forehead. Suits him, since he’s a cat who looks like he ought to be a fighter not a lover. Or a coward, which is what he is and why he outlasted his brothers.
After much deliberation at the Vet’s office and some more study, I decided that the punctures on his head were caused by a bird of prey–possibly our resident Redtail. This means it must have happened earlier in the day than I originally thought. Here’s what’s really important about that, though. It’s made Webster even more cautious than he is by nature. Yesterday afternoon he finally left the protection of Ed’s pickup and sat on the cement wall at the driveway bridge, his back to the column and his eyes on the sky. I guess he hadn’t ever considered that threats could come from above. I expect his brothers hadn’t either, which explains how the owl got them.
Then after agonizing over which vet in Cottonwood we should use, I ended up driving down to my Phoenix vet, Faust Animal Clinic (winner of this year’s “Best Vet in Arizona” award) to pick up Wilma, a pretty much feral pregnant Calico that had been abandoned at their doorstep last week.
I was sort of amazed that Ed gave his approval when Gail, our friend and Faust’s office manager, mentioned they had the cat. But Wilma really does fit our bill as far as what we wanted in the progenitor of our barn cats: doesn’t crave much interaction with humans, young enough to last for a good long time and become a hunter, and pregnant. I’m hoping she has a number of daughters who will keep her company and become the base of our new matriarchy.
In case you didn’t know, house cats are like lions. The females form family groups made up of sisters, daughters and granddaughters. Unlike lions, female house cats drive off the males, only letting their chosen sperm donor back into their territory when they need him. It was interesting watching Willow choose the male from her litter that she intended to keep. Once her kittens were about three months old I noticed she would only groom Woody and that she and he often slept nestled together. When he disappeared, she shifted her affections to Wally, totally ignoring and even hissing at Webster. When Wally went the way of Woody she never actually shifted her affections to Webster. I guess she realized he’d never be much of a defender, although she definitely treats him like family, meaning she’ll occasionally grab him by the neck and clean his ears.
It took me most of the hour’s drive down to Phoenix to come up with Wilma as our new cat’s name. This “W” thing is going to have to end. I’ll need suggestions for her kittens’ names, because I’m tapped out. List of used names: Wilson, Winifred, Whitney, Winston, Wilhelmina, Watson, Wilfred, Wazuka Oni, Willow, Woodward, Wallace, Webster, Winona, Walter, Walker and,now, Wilma.
Anyway, if we’d waited until 10 AM before calling for Webster’s appointment in Cottonwood I would have known I was driving to Phoenix, and just taken him to his usual vet. Then again, he would have freaked out Wilma with all the noise he makes while in the car. Riding in the car, even if he’s not in a cat carrier, is definitely not his favorite thing.
Once I got Wilma home, we took her to the interior basement bedroom–the one we call our illegal bedroom because it doesn’t pass code for a bedroom, having no exit to the outside world. She’s presently hiding under the bed although she’s been out to eat her wet food and use the litter box. We’re going to keep her inside the house until the kittens are born so we can handle them enough that they won’t be completely feral, then she’ll take her family out to the barn. Ed’s built her this very cool feral cat house. It’s in the room with her in the hopes she might like it. Right now, she doesn’t like anything about us or our house. I’d add a picture, but I don’t want to make it any worse for her. There will be pictures of her kittens. Can’t wait to see what we get.
I’m sure hoping these guys turn out to be better hunters than our PETS, because our five lazy butts have turned out to be pretty useless. It isn’t my lizard population I want to control here.