“Tell us what’s happening.”
“More tuna for me?”
“Are we gonna have a catnip party?”
No…the buzz is…much as I love my trusty Nikon D80, I’ve now added a Nikon D7100 to my gear lineup. My D80 will be my backup body so I don’t have to change lenses much and so that Tony will have a camera to play with when we go on shoots. The higher resolution and 1.3x crop feature will, hopefully, allow me to have closer, sharper wildlife shots. I’m totally impressed with the reviews and totally overwhelmed with all the features. I spent some time this weekend doing online tutorials and I still feel confused and lost. Oh, well, once I actually start shooting, maybe it will become less muddled…hopefully. So far, I haven’t been able to bring myself to use it…
“Oh, that’s the buzz…big deal.”
Can you believe I haven’t posted an actual cat update since autumn? These are our 5 year old outdoor littermates, the Triplets, born to the late Isabella, a feral momcat. Ivory and Ebony are tame, Edie remains feral.
Winky is no relation even though she looks like them. She showed up within the last year. Our outdoor cats were all born feral or dumped in our neighborhood. We have had them all neutered, most were ear-tipped but a couple vets forgot to do that (on Ebony and Edie).
Jessi is over 5 but we don’t know how old for sure, probably 6, she’s sweet and tame but spends most of her time in the alley. Smokey is also 5, we first saw her as a kitten, and she remains feral, and prefers the alley. They all check in at mealtimes and for snacks throughout the day. These 3 girls are the Step-Sisters.
Stripey and Grady are 3 year old littermates, also from the late Isabella. They still like to snuggle together on cool desert nights. They’re the Little Girls.
We have several sheltered areas set up with kitty beds and kitty play areas, for those who don’t find the alley more exciting…the catport (originally the carport), the catio (originally the patio), and the cat cove (originally the alcove). Being an outdoor cat is not optimal but these guys have plenty of creature comforts, food, and attention…we’ve tried to make their lives as decent as possible for outdoor cats.
And then there’s Svengali, who considers himself top cat, much to the annoyance of a couple of the others, who probably prefer the alley because he spends most of his time at home. He used to be a bully before he was neutered and now is much sweeter but still feels the need to be in charge sometimes. He’s been here for about 3 years but was an adult when he showed up. He’s the Uncle, loved by people, loved by the Little Girls, and tolerated by everyone else.
And then there’s these guys, the 2 indoor cats. Braving the elements is not their problem.
We hope they all stay safe, healthy, and happy for a long time.
Filed under: Arizona, Home | Tags: Arizona, Cats, Flora, Holidays, Home, Hummingbirds
He’s even red and green for the season.
Yes, it really does look like this here now. These were all taken within the last few days.
He’s made with palm bark. We found him discarded in the alley many years ago and rescued him.
Most of our tree ornaments are cat-related, oddly enough. A house is not a home without a cat, the ornament above says. In that case, it’s very homey here, inside and out. Google has been in the tree several times a day, so much so that some of the lights no longer work, but I’m never quick enough with the camera…hopefully, I can catch him over the next few days. Meanwhile, Stripey wonders…
Ebony always reminds me of a Santa cat with his fluffy white fur.
Click on the photo if the flames aren’t flickering.
Well, like everyone else, the next few days will be pretty busy for us, beginning with a get-together tonight so, for now…
Happy Holidays and keep warm…
After a long hot summer for my hibiscus plant, which did not almost die this year (unlike last year) because it got watered and sprayed everyday, the first bloom in a few months occurred on November 1.
Another one appeared on November 3 and now it has several buds. It should do well until it freezes and then I’ll cover it but it might not have flowers until the temperatures are more moderate in early spring.
The gazanias also didn’t bloom for a couple of months even though they are heat and drought tolerant but they’re blossoming again.
Petunias do well in the fall here.
This purple sage is in our neighbor’s yard.
And, of course, cool fall temperatures make the outdoor cats happy although some need to snuggle into their beds at night to keep warm. Here’s an autumn update on them. You will see that most of them have a tipped ear to indicate they’ve been spayed/neutered. We have worked hard to get them all fixed. Two don’t have tipped ears and that is because the vets forgot to tip their ears when they fixed them
Svengali is a very social cat, loves to get attention from visitors. He has somewhat taken over the role of WB, our late outdoor cat, as “uncle” to the other outdoor cats although a couple still find him a little scary.
These are the triplets, below: Ebony, Ivory, and Edie. Ebony and Ivory are pretty tame, can be petted, and picked up, but Edie is still feral after 4.5 years of living here and being fed by us.
Ebony is very sweet and loves Tony to brush him. I don’t think the mosquito bit him.
Ivory is sassy with an attitude.
Edie is shy and loves to hang out on the roof.
Then there are the little girls, the two sisters, Stripey and Grady. They had the same mom as the triplets (the late Isabella). They are 2.5 years old now.
Stripey is napping in the warm leaves on a cool afternoon.
Grady loves to hang out in the silk oak tree and watch the hummingbirds.
The stepsisters spend most of their time in the alley and come here to eat and snack:
Jessi has been with us for over 5 years. She doesn’t really care for Svengali much but she’s very sweet and tame.
Smokey looks a lot like Grady (one has a right-tipped ear and the other left-tipped) and she’s totally feral although we’ve been feeding her for 4.5 years when she showed up as an older kitten. We assume they have the same father, a big tom we call Balzac, who is the only un-neutered cat around. We don’t know if he has a home but he’s a big guy and, annoyingly, picks fights sometimes. Fortunately, he’s not around all the time.
And, last but not least, is Winky, the last cat we had fixed a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, even though she has been around for months and showed up skinny and scruffy, she had already been spayed so she got to have a second surgery for nothing. She’s fine now, though, and her ear got tipped this time. This is right after it was done so it looks less raggedy now.
Winky looks a lot like Ebony but we don’t think they’re closely related. Winky can be petted but doesn’t like it much and does not like to be picked up. We can’t brush her so she still looks a little scruffy.
Mookie was a cat who was in our neighborhood for a long time. We think he first belonged to an elderly woman who died a few years ago and who had several cats. Some were taken to the Humane Society and some escaped. Our other neighbors adopted Mookie but he also ate at our house quite often, especially for the last few months. He disappeared a few weeks ago and we looked for him around the neighborhood. Yet another neighbor found him and took care of him but he was very ill and had to be put to sleep a couple weeks ago. He was a very sweet cat, too.
A couple other cats, Romeo, a neighbor’s cat, Crybaby, another neighbor’s cat, and the previously-mentioned Balzac, also drop in for meals frequently.
No, Not In My Back Yard but in our front yard…and there were two of them, one in each of our silk oaks!
I have taken a ton of photos over the last few days of one or both of these Harris’ hawks. But the day they were actually in our yard yielded the best pics so far.
This is the chatty one, above. Have you ever heard a hawk call? Not the most attractive sound in the world, quite abrasive, really. The other one wasn’t saying anything so I don’t know if this is a male courting a female or what.
And this is the quieter one, above.
Of course, when the hawks showed up a few weeks ago, we were a little concerned about our outdoor cats. But two Harris’ hawks were here last spring and early summer also (possibly the same ones as they seem to like the same fir tree of our neighbors’ as the previous ones did), and none of our cats or anyone else’s were harmed. Hawks don’t often go after prey that large~they prefer small rodents and smaller birds. So, although it’s a little disconcerting, we are hoping everyone will continue to be okay (fingers and paws crossed).
The previous hawks nested in our neighbors’ tree and they have 2 cats living in their yard who would lay right under the tree and the hawks didn’t bother them. Those hawks had 2 fledglings who became sick from a bacterial illness that young hawks often get from dove meat. The neighbors called a rescue group in our area, Liberty Wildlife, that came and rescued the fledglings and said they would survive with antibiotic therapy. After that, the 2 hawk parents left for several months and now either they or some others have returned.
Here are a few photos of one of these hawks (the chatty one) from a couple days earlier.
Harris’ hawks are common urban dwellers now; however, electrocution is their largest cause of death in the city (citation). Apparently, many more are injured from power lines, too. In fact, about 20 years ago, I found an injured red-tailed hawk along one of the local canals. I called Liberty Wildlife then and they immediately came out and rescued him. They told me the next day that he had been electrocuted and had internal damage and might not survive.
Here he/she is in the huge tree that the hawks nested in last spring.
There is something very majestic-looking about them but when they make direct eye contact with you, it’s a little unsettling. Those intense brown eyes…I don’t think he/she appreciated being a photo opp.