Sunday, October 31, 2010

Weekend Fun, Winter Guest and Halloween

Yesterday was a beautiful Fall day so we loaded the dogs in the back of the car and took them for a change of scenery to Terrapin Lake, about 5 miles from our house.  Needless to say, they thoroughly enjoyed themselves and usually take a good nap when they get home.  In fact, this is about all the strenuous exercise that Snoopy, who's around 13, can handle.  When he gets home from the lake he goes straight back to his bed and we don't see him again until dinnertime, although there's no escaping his snoring.  Loud. 

I spent Saturday night cleaning and getting my spare bedroom ready for our winter guest, Margie, my semi-feral cat who first showed up on my doorstep about 4 years ago, little more than a kitten and very skinny.  Having no experience with cats and nothing else to give her, I put a bowl of dry dog food out for her on the front porch.  When I told my husband  he said, "Now you'll never get rid of her - you know once you start feeding a cat they never leave." And I quickly responded, "Who said I wanted her to leave?" And that was that.  Fast forward 4 years later; she's still semi-feral, but has come such a long way.  After she'd been hanging around for about 6 months I trapped her (no way she'd let me pick her up!), had her spayed and got all her necessary shots.  It's been a little easier each time she needs to go to the vet for routine shots and general exam, but I still have to trap her.  Although she does let me pick her up and (briefly) cuddle with her, she'd still never willingly let me put her in a cat carrier. There's always trickery involved, which I feel bad about, but it's the only way I can get her to the vet. 

Margie's former home
Last winter was the first time that she actually spent the first of many winter nights in my house.  Because I believe she was living in the old abandoned house across the street, once someone bought the property and tore it down to build a new one, I was so afraid she'd never survive a winter without a roof over her head. After that I was on a mission. I had to get her into my house and stay in my spare bedroom. Not an easy task when you're talking about a feral cat, either.  Since I'd been feeding her every day for a long time she was regularly a fixture on my front porch when I got home from work.  But with my new plan in mind, instead of the front porch, I moved her bowl to the windowsill of the spare bedroom.  She was reluctant about the new location, of course, but once she figured that it was dinner there or not at all, she decided in favor of the windowsill.  That went on for about a week, then I opened the window and put the bowl on the windowsill inside the house.  Though she spent a lot of time pouting, pacing, and loudly meowing about this new dilemma, the hungry tummy won out and she moved again.  Couple of weeks after that, I moved the dish to the floor of the bedroom, right underneath the windowsill.  This whole process of getting her to trust me enough to come inside the house took at least a couple of months and by then it was getting really cold.  Although at first she would just eat quickly, then bolt out of the window as soon as she was done, she eventually began to hang out for longer periods of time in the room, where I sat just tapping away on the computer or surfing the internet - and wearing a coat(!), because I'd keep the window open so she could leave anytime she felt stressed about this new situation. It probably wasn't until late December that I was able to close the window and she didn't freak out about it.  Boy, the things you do for love!

I'm really glad she finally came to her senses because as it turns out, we had one of the worst winters in history, and a record amount of snow in Maryland.  I don't believe Margie would have survived all the snow we got.  She stayed in the spare bedroom from about January to March and went out very little during that time.  I was surprised when I put a litter box in the room and she knew just what to do - there were never any accidents.  So glad about that!

Now the room is cleaned up and ready whenever she decides it's time to hunker down for the winter again. She even came into the room on Saturday night while I was cleaning up and as you can see, made herself very comfortable surrounded by her old friend, Mr. Bunny, who I told her would be waiting for her when she's ready to come back.

In other news, look at this fat little bumblebee I found in my kitchen today.  Lilly is the only canine member of the family who doesn't object to getting into costume any time of the year.  She also  makes a pretty respectable looking pirate, too, don't you think?

Well, what do you know? Looks like Lilly's not the only one in the Halloween spirit.  Even little Peggy wants to get in on the act! Why that little DEVIL!! 



  1. You crack me up! The costume photos are too funny!

    I LOVE that you did all that for your wonderful feral cat friend! Margie has landed her own piece of heaven at your place! SO glad she's trusting you enough to come in on her own! What a wonderful soul you are!!!

  2. Loving all the animals! Great story about how you got the cat inside. Whew...that was work!

  3. That is amazing that the cat comes in the house. What a great story! I laugh all the time about the things that we do for our pets. My 4 dogs are so spoiled! I wake up with a back ache, while they are all stretched out on the bed.

  4. Figures Peggy would want to be a little devil. LOL

  5. The devil chicken cracked me up! You are so good to go out of your way to take care of Margie like that! It looks like she loves her little princess bed! Judging from the picture, you would never guess she is a bit on the wild side!

  6. James Herriot of All Creatures Great and Small fame has a story that is very similar to yours. He and his wife spent nearly a year coaxing a feral cat into their midst. It's a lovely story.

    My dogs would have nothing to do with costumes, either.

  7. How cute your little trick or treaters are. So glad you saved the cat. Thank goodness for folks like you. She is quite lucky. I will say, her old home looks like it was once a lovely place.

  8. I've had a few experiences with feral cats. Four of the cats currently living in our house were wild at one time. They were all feral kittens. It wasn't always an easy transition. I believe that they plot and plan to take over the house and feast on the dogs. The dogs are thinking the same thing!

    I couldn't stand all the wild cats breeding here, so my daughters and I spent a protracted amount of time trapping and taking to the vet, then releasing. I think we ended up doing 13. Thankfully there is a local animal organization that helped with some of that cost. They kept trying to place other spayed ferals here, but too many cats just isn't good. I would hate for them to chase off the ones who have been here most of their lives. I truly wish folks would spay and neuter most pets or even unwanted. They drop unwanted pets off at the end of our driveway. "Gee, here's a farm. Go free and have fun!" I feel for the animals, but I don't think we should be the destination. One local farm, tucked away on a back road, has had 60 cats dropped off in a few years. (some pregnant!)
    Margie is very pretty. She looks so cozy in her bed. I'm glad she found you and visa-versa.

    Have a great week and watch for your mailman towards the end of the week!

  9. Wow love that chicken costume. Boy would I hear it from the folks around here if I did that, they already think I spend way to much time with my chickens. I have a weakness of cats and feral ones just break my heart. When we moved here there were so many I won't mention the the man next door did to them because it still turns my stomach but lets say I did call the SPCA on them.
    I always think they need to be protected and I love the picture of Margy in her basket.

    You are such a sweet lady, so thankful you started a blog. I am so blessed to have been given the gift of meeting you.
    Have a great Monday and a great start to your November.
    I am still praying about your request.

  10. Hello!! To start, I love the costumes! Second, I love what you did for Margie--You really made a difference for her last winter; there's no way she would have survived that!
    I keep thinking that if any cats showed up at hour place they could live in our barn for the winter, but so far none have...I think it's because I so want them too!

  11. Hey...I didn't see an email addy so I thought I'd answer your question here about a 'swap'. Basically, the host (me) will ask for address info and then draw names of all interested in swapping gifts. You would get one name to send a gift to and one person would get your name. It's really simple.

    If I host one for Valentine's Day, you should join in! It's really wonderful and a fun way to bless someone.

  12. Saving Margie, was definitely a long, labor of love. She's very sweet looking and seems quite at home, I do know, that can change in a moment!

    The dogs look adorable in their Halloween gear! Love that pirate hat!

  13. lol, I love the name of your blog...sounds like my house! All your kitties and puppies look oh so sweet :P Thanks so much for stopping by my blog , Hope to have you back!

  14. Glad you guys had a good romping trip!! That's so cool about your winter guest!!!

    Happy Wednesday!
    Woofs and Kisses!
    The Fiesty Three

  15. a chicken with a hat on....
    I have seen everything!!!

  16. Awe ... love the bumble bee... so cute!!

  17. We have kitties like that and are wild too.
    we put them in back room when it gets cold.
    your heart is so big.... and i love your chicken

  18. Love the story about getting the cat to trust you. The costumes are so cute! Thank you for the good advice about my back and for all the comments you made. I'm getting better

  19. oh you are a woman after my heart! how kind and good of you to persistantly get marge to trust you. daddy cat was wild too. i kept putting food under the horse trailer and finally after sitting still he rubbed me with his tail. now i can pick my fat cat up. i love your halloween outfits! the chick is tooo cute! silly you! jill

  20. That coming soon button on your sidebar is so cute! My dashboard isn't working, so I thought I'd check in with some of my favorite people this morning to see if anyone posted. It's an interesting way for me to procrastinate working in the greenhouse. I love the planting, but I have about two hours of nasty clean up that I have to do first. Hence, Patrice is on the computer. There is that nagging voice telling me to get out there though!
    Have a great Saturday!

  21. Just a note, I can't tell you how many times yesterday, my thought was " What if I die of a heart attack!" I will tell you this, I am so sore today I can hardly move. My kids are so much fun that anytime we can all together it is worth it. With them all working it gets harder to do that so each day is precious. Not to mention they still like to be with us which always cracks me up.
    Have a lovely Saturday!

  22. What a wonderful thing you have done for that cat. To get a feral cat to trust you requires the maximum of patience, I think. You are an amazing woman to have gotten the cat in the house and trusting you. You made my day!