Category Archives: Outside Cats

07/14/2017 – Around Colehaus

This is not our cat - ©

This is not our cat – ©

First off, let us be clear about one thing: This is not our cat. More about Sweet Teese to come.

No more dirt covering sidewalks - ©

No more dirt covering sidewalks – ©

While we were on hiatus and away from the Internets, Mom finished her long, three year project of removing yards and yards of extra dirt from around Colehaus. The extra dirt came from years of decomposed bark mulch of which she used to be a huge fan. No one tells you you’re actually adding mountains of future dirt to your plot of land, dirt that will rot fences and foundations, slide down to cover sidewalks and bury plants and bushes and choke tree trunks. And the bark slivers embedded under the skin! *shudders*

Mom's 3 year dirt removal project done - ©

Mom’s 3 year dirt removal project done – ©

Along the way however, earthworms will love it and earthworms are much appreciated around here. The native soil has vastly improved away the original century-old, overused cow pastureland, to workable and almost loamy in spots. Roots are protected from drying out and from freezing completely in the winter. Weeds are suppressed (for the most part), and bark mulch adds a finished look to the beds that would otherwise be sun-hardened, clay-packed dirt.

Mom asks, “But did we need so much of it?” No.

Enough yard work babbling. On to the interesting stuff, already!

Not our cat - ©

Not our cat – ©

Did we mention this is not our cat? Yes? Okay, good. Just wanted that to be clear.

Old Happy looking better - ©

Old Happy looking better – ©

Old Happy is still around and looking better every day. We are certain she is partially blind and mostly deaf and we feel so lucky to be able to provide food and a safe haven for her…

Patches' babies 2017 - ©

Patches’ babies 2017 – ©

… especially because Happy is a four times over grandmother this year! Say hi to great, great, great granddaughter Patches and her three babies.

Raccoon Patches and one of her babies 2017 - ©

Raccoon Patches and one of her babies 2017 – ©

We’d wondered if we’d see babies this year. Mom had noticed a raccoon that had ratty-looking fur with a section missing on her back hanging around during daytime hours over a month ago, which means nothing but can also mean it’s a pregnant female looking for extra food to help supplement her diet. So far, we’ve been right five years running!

Patches is a gentle mama and her babies are roly-poly fur balls. And yes, Mom keeps forefront in her mind these are wild animals. She’d never stick her fingers out there, no matter what.

Elusive kitty still elusive - ©

Elusive kitty still elusive – ©

The new-ish kitty with the pretty fur is still coming around occasionally and still just as elusive as ever. We’ve yet to get within thirty feet of him and we’re not sure if that’s ever going to change. We don’t know that it is a him, exactly. We’re just running with the notion that it is, kind of like running with scissors – we know we shouldn’t but sometimes the thrill of doing so gets the best of us.

Visiting boy cat - ©

Visiting boy cat – ©

Here’s someone new, walking along the back fence. Um, no mistaking what gender he is.

Another visiting boy cat - ©

Another visiting boy cat – ©

And another visiting boy cat. Yes, it’s a he and he’s marking our back bushes as his. Thanks, gray guy.

Visiting feral boy - ©

Visiting feral boy – ©

This boy showed up about a month ago and while his fur doesn’t look bad, he is every bit as skittish as any feral we’ve come to know. We’re also wildly happy to report he’s staying, on and off, in one of the feral shelters (Spitty’s Place), and seems to really like it.

Visiting feral boy - ©

Visiting feral boy – ©

Notice his round face and beefy jowls? That apple-shaped head is usually a sign he’s unneutered. Thankfully, there doesn’t seem to be many females around; non-spayed females, that is, but that won’t stop Mom from trying to gain his trust. Perhaps a snip might be in his future. And a name, too. Let’s call him… Mac.

We’ve got more to report but this post has already gone long so, we’ll save some things for later. In the meanwhile, here’s some photos from around the garden. Thank you for visiting us and reading!

Blueberries - ©

Blueberries – ©

Blue Hydrangea - ©

Blue Hydrangea – ©

Pink Dianthus - ©

Pink Dianthus – ©

Red Strawberries - ©

Red Strawberries – ©

Wild Daisies - ©

Wild Daisies – ©

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Previously on Colehaus Cats:

2016 – No post
2015 – Ruby Tuesday
2014 – Who’s Knocking?
2013 – No post
2012 – No post

04/28/2017 – Around Colehaus

Our old visiting raccoon, Happy, who is partially blind and mostly deaf, is looking much, much better than she did a couple of weeks ago and we think that’s due to having access to good kibble. Sure, the food is out there for the daytime visiting strays and ferals, but we’re okay with her chowing down if she’s hungry.

Happy at lunchtime - ©

Happy at lunchtime – ©

A couple of weeks ago, we were certain Happy wasn’t going to be around much longer. She was sneezing horribly and looked so ragged and thin. And she walked so slowly, it was painful to watch. Now, she’s no longer sneezing and she may even have gained a pound or two! She still walks slowly, but not as slowly as she did weeks ago. Maybe she has arthritis and if so, the cold, wet weather can’t be doing her much good.

Happy at Dinnertime - ©

Happy at Dinnertime – ©

After months of whining about how our area is breaking all kinds of rainfall records (yet another record smashed for the month of April just this week), last week we had one and a half sunny, warmish days, in a row, and half of the flowers in the garden seemingly opened all at once.

Our east side backyard - ©

Our east side backyard – ©

In our backyard, on the east side everything tends to bloom at once. About three weeks later, things bloom along the back. Lastly, about three weeks after that, things bloom over on the west side. It’s all about sun exposure, someone once mentioned. Okay… we’re just happy everything doesn’t bloom all at once, even though it might seem like it is.

Bright Tulips - ©

Bright Tulips – ©

Azalea Crater Lake - ©

Azalea Crater Lake – ©

White Trillium - ©

White Trillium – ©

Pink Rhododendron - ©

Pink Rhododendron – ©

Soft lavender creeping phlox - ©

Soft lavender creeping phlox – ©

Creamy Pink Rhododendron - ©

Creamy Pink Rhododendron – ©

Though possible, we don’t get too many rainbows during the winter months – not enough sun. But during spring, our weather goes from sunny one minute to a downpour the next and a brilliant rainbow after that. Sometimes, two or even three rainbows are seen.

Double rainbow from a back window - ©

Double rainbow from a back window – ©

Our squirrel feeder hangs on the fence and if, from inside, you lean over the corner kitchen sink and look though the west side window, you can see whether the feeder is occupied or empty. If a squirrel is just sitting there looking at you through the window, you can bet the feeder is empty. Okay rodent, we’ll get some nuts out there soon.

A curious squirrel - ©

A curious squirrel – ©

Oh yeah, this is supposed to be a CAT BLOG. Okay, we’ve had three new visitors this month.

1 – A solid gray tank of a cat, we suspect a true feral by the looks of him(?) and how terrified of people he is. We’ve yet to see his face but could identify him in a lineup by his backside alone.

2 – A gray and black tabby with white socks cutie who we think is less than a year old. It walks our fence occasionally and we’ve yet to get out there in time to call to it.

3 – This black and white fluffy one who sadly, we have only seen once and couldn’t get within twenty feet of.

Someone new - ©

Someone new – ©

Someone new close up - ©

Someone new close up – ©

Sweet Teese still visits twice a day, once in the early dawn hour and once later in the afternoon. The thing with Sweet Teese is… she’s a drooler. BIG TIME drooler. Just say her name twice and she gets all lovey-dovey and slobbers all over the place. Could this be why she’s an outside cat and not an inside cat? Could be. If she were our inside cat, we’d have to mop the floors hourly… but we’d take her to the vet first to make sure some condition wasn’t making her drool so much.

Petting Sweet Teese - ©

Petting Sweet Teese – ©

Lastly, if you remember, we took down our bird feeder in late January because there are just too many outside cats in our neighborhood now. Cats plus birds at feeders equals bird feasts. Most of our regulars have flown the coup permanently and other than the occasional blue jay fly-by, there’s not many birds out there now. But that’s not to say we don’t notice an odd one every now and then. Like this…. this… thing that we think might have been a turkey vulture. Eeks!

What is that thing? - ©

What is that thing? – ©

What is it? - ©

What is it? – ©

It was sitting for over an hour on a skylight at a neighbor’s house and we took these photos from our kitchen window (which was as close as we could get). The good thing is we saw Happy and all the new visitors after we saw this bird-thing so we weren’t worried too much about what or who it might have been eating. Even so, people, keep your pets INSIDE. Turkey vultures are about!

That’s about it. Have a great weekend. See you again in May!

03/31/2017 – Around Colehaus

A spot of sun! No, really! Finally we can peek at what’s going on around Colehaus, other than to watch our Pacific Northwet “liquid sunshine” falling from the skies. We’re on track to set another month’s record of rain here and we just might do it by midnight tonight.

Outside, our pretty primroses are blooming. Dad always asks, “Tell me, when AREN’T primroses blooming?”

Spring Primroses - ©

Spring Primroses – ©

When nearly everyone else’s bulbs have already bloomed around the country, our grape hyacinths are the first bulbs blooming here.

Grape Hyacinths - ©

Grape Hyacinths – ©

Somewhat near the grape hyacinths, neighbor cats Z and Scruffy discuss the weather, as all cats do. We imagine their conversation went something like this:

Z: “So, it’s not raining at the moment.”
Scruffy: “Can’t get nothing past you, can we?”
Z: “Well, I mention it because while my butt isn’t wet, the rock I’m sitting on is still cold on the bits, if you catch my drift.”
Scruffy: “. . . . .”

Z and Scruffy discussing the odd lack of rain - ©

Z and Scruffy discussing the odd lack of rain – ©

Meanwhile, Mom was so inspired by our day of dry weather, she cleaned up the strawberry baskets and found new leaves coming out.

Strawberry plants coming up - ©

Strawberry plants coming up – ©

The squirrel we call Tilt (because he has a head tilt) isn’t so sure Mom should have removed all the dead strawberry foliage. Word has it squirrels are avid gardeners when not raiding bird feeders, so they should know.

The squirrel named Tilt - ©

The squirrel named Tilt – ©

Our Star Magnolia is bursting with white flower buds. After years of living in gloom, half-hidden behind a big birch tree that was removed two years ago, this magnolia has blossomed into a real beauty (pun intended).

Star Magnolia buds - ©

Star Magnolia buds – ©

Remember back in January, when we mentioned we saw a new cat in our backyard? Mom called it Teese because, well, only she understands her misspelling, and slowly, Teese started trusting Mom. Now, Teese is at the feeding station most mornings waiting for the food bowls to be set out.

Teese in the feeding station - ©

Teese in the feeding station – ©

And look who’s become an outside friend!

Sweet Teese is a talker - ©

Sweet Teese is a talker – ©

Sweet Teese likes Dad - ©

Sweet Teese likes Dad – ©

Mom’s pretty sure Sweet Teese is a spayed girl but then again, she’s been known to be wrong half the time. She’s also pretty sure Teese has a home on the next street over down the hill, and when the weather warms up and dries out, she’ll take a walk down there to ask around.


Old raccoon (Happy?) returns - ©

Old raccoon (Happy?) returns – ©

Forgive us for the poor photo. This is the best picture we’ve yet to capture of an old, but somewhat-speedy raccoon who is staying in one of our heated feral shelters. Can you see it there on the fence behind the evergreens?

Mom and Dad both have seen an old raccoon hanging around for the past few weeks, eating from one of the feeding stations during the day, in the pouring rain, something that is a bit unusual for a raccoon around here. It doesn’t act sick, it just looks old and clearly, it’s hungry.

Upon a single closer look last week, we think it might be partially blind, yet it knew directly where to go for food. And this pleases us.

Background info: We’ve been setting food out in our side yard during daylight hours since 2005, and we’ve been aware of recognizable raccoons, ones with distinctive markings or behaviors, returning year after year since 2012. Could this be Happy, the raccoon mama who brought her three babies to meet us in 2013? It could be. Happy had a darker raccoon mask than any other raccoon we’d ever seen, with significantly less white/grey on her face. She had a very, very pointy nose. And her tail was never full and puffy like typical raccoon tails are, and with her darker fur, the rings on her tail were very faint.

This raccoon is almost completely dark faced, has a sharply pointed nose, and has a thin furred tail. If this is Happy, she is the daughter of Sunny who, in 2013 along with her three babies, were the very first raccoons we’d ever seen during daylight hours. One of her babies was very dark compared to the other two. We named that one Happy.

In 2014, Happy returned with her three babies, one we called Lily who returned with her three babies and with Happy in tow in 2015, making Happy a grandmother.

Happy became a great grandmother last year when one of Lily’s babies whom we called Daisy, returned with her two babies.

In the wild, raccoons only survive between one and three years. We never know if we’ll have raccoons come visit us at all because a few people in our neighborhood feel the need to go on “raccoon relocation” forays. This raccoon somehow must have been spared that horror and we are so thankful we have a kind of sanctuary for it here. Here, this raccoon, be it Happy or not, will be safe with a warm shelter, food, and water for as long as it likes. That said, the neighborhood greenspace with tall native trees, a creek, and open access for animals is a quarter mile down the hill and this is, undoubtedly, where Happy and her extensive family normally resides.

We fully understand this is a wild animal and will conduct ourselves accordingly. There will be no attempts at petting, brushing, or feeding of snacks from fingers we wish to keep intact. We won’t try to pose the raccoon with toys, try to entice it to play with a feather wand, or make it wear a hat. We will however, keep working toward capturing a better photo of this raccoon while following all safety precautions.

Lastly, let’s take another look at Sweet Teese, because she isn’t wild, the camera seems to like her, and simply because we can.

Sweet Teese - ©

Sweet Teese – ©