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Hello, All,

My name is Laurie, and I'm new to the Cat Forum. I thought I would start to introduce you to my Pride which currently numbers fifteen. This may take a while, so I'll do a one or more each time I sit down at the computer.

I'll begin with the senior cat, Billy. Mr. Bill is a year or two either side of eighteen years old. I adopted him and his brother, Bitsy, in 1996 after their elderly owners passed away. Billy spent the first six or seven years of his life patroling his birth farm, always preferring to be outdoors keeping an eye on his territory. That didn't change when he came to live with me. He spent most of the last twelve years taking care of my farm as he had always done, but over the last couple of years he has decided to spend the majority of his time indoors instead of out. I think that decision is the result of a dominant, young tom who showed up to share and eventually take over Billy's duties as farm sentry in 2005. Billy tired of trying to fight off the stray toms and decided to retire to the relative peace of the house.

Billy is a very tough old man with a very short temper and a particular fondness for making me bend to his every whim. As committed as I typically am to being Top Cat and not allowing myself to be completely dominated by the Feline Force here at Shadowood, I must admit that I do spend an inordinate amount of time trying to keep Billy happy. How could I not? Billy has already lost one ear flap to squamous cell carcinoma, and he's currently living with both CRF and HyperT. Much of my day revolves around trying to convince Mr. Bill to eat something every few hours, as well as administering meds, supplements, and subQ fluids. Through it all, Billy has been remarkably compliant ... for Billy, anyway.

He's a grand old man, Billy is.



Laurie
 

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Billy is gorgeous! More pictures, please!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, indeedy, fifteen felines. Most have shown up as strays, semi-ferals, and ferals over the last eight years (the most recent just about a month ago). The others were rescues or adoptees.

If you are eager to see pics of all of them and to read stories about many of them, you can check out their pages on my website (see sig below). But I will get them all introduced on this thread eventually.

I guess I'd better introduce Siliman next since he's the only one who doesn't have a page on my website yet. He's the new kid on the block (or on the farm, as the case may be). He announced his presence here by chasing one of the resident cats up the outside steps and pinning her against the door where she screamed for rescue. When I opened the door, Somer shot inside, and Siliman ran down the stairs, stopped, turned around, and just stared at me. After a minute or two of coaxing, he came back up the stairs to me and was brought inside to start the slow process of integration into my family. Of course I called in a found cat report to the local sheriff's dept, but I know from experience that no one in this area EVER cares if a cat goes missing.

So, one more young, rowdy, intact tom was whisked off to the vet for neutering and other necessary vet care. Now he's being taught appropriate manners and is trying desperately, and so far unsuccessfully, to cultivate playmates from among the rest of the Pride. Unfortunately, he's also taken a very strong and violent dislike to Footsie, the new farm sentry, who is no pushover, and to whom, I have a strong suspicion, he is blood-related.

Siliman (so named because it just fits ... Silly Man) is a very self-assured young man, not inclined to back down from anybody, and altogether too rowdy for the comfort of the other cats. He is settling some, though, and is more tolerable for the others as a result.

Siliman is physically very interesting. He has a long, lean, very slight build with EXTREMELY polydactyl feet, large ears, and a sharply angular face with eyes of a color that defies definition. Those eyes are blue-green-grey with a touch of yellow or amber in the right light. Whatever their color, they are beautifully hypnotic against his pale ginger tabby coat.

 

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Mr. Bill sounds like a grand old man. Siliman is a striking kitty.

I can't wait for the next installments of the clan introductions!
 

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Gracious!!! What a farm you have!!!! It sounds like an exciting place to live - and any given moment... with all those cats!!!
 

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Im enjoying hearing about your kitties. Waiting on the next installment! :p Im glad Mr Bill felt like he could finally retire. I was surprised to see he was white. White cats dont make it long where I am. They are picked off by coyotes right away because of their color. Is that an issue where you are at?
 

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What an awesome "pride" you have!!! I've loved reading over your website and the stories are all so heartwarming!!!
 

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Another gorgeous kitty -- and one with a stripey tail like Murphy has! He looks like a truly silly man. :lol:

I love your introductions and am interested to see the others!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Next up is Noddy. Noddy and his cousins, Lamie, Pretty, and BooBoo are "The Babies". Actually, they're all 13 yrs old now, but I rescued them from an abusive owner when they were tiny kittens, not yet weaned. Noddy's mother, Sister, and the other three's mother, Tommy, were littermates. The owner murdered Sister and injured Tommy one afternoon in a drug-induced rage when the kittens were about 5 and 7 weeks respectively. I rescued Tommy and all five kittens (Noddy had a brother, Capri, who disappeared from my farm several years later). Tommy recovered, and I gave her to a friend after she had successfully weaned all five kittens, but the kittens all stayed with me.

Noddy is my benevolent Lion King. He is a massive beast, though considerably less massive since I got serious about instituting a Feline Fat Camp here at Shadowood last July. Noddy started out at 26.45 lbs but has now slimmed down to 19.25. He still has a few pounds to shed to reach his target weight of 16-17 lbs. Noddy has an enormous bone structure from the top of his huge head to the bottom of his VERY polydactyl, baseball glove-like feet.

For all of his considerable size and imposing presence, Noddy is a most peaceful ruler with a tender heart. He tolerates a considerable amount of foolishness from his "subjects", though he does have a breaking point beyond which the other cats are wise not to tread. Noddy much prefers to be a lover, not a fighter. Good thing, too. He could squash any of the other cats like a bug!

 

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I'll take a little break from the intros to acquaint you a bit with my farm. I live on 40 acres of primarily open farmland (pasture and hayfield) completely surrounded by state and federal forest land. My "driveway" is actually a 1.3 mile long township road through the woods on which my farm is the only residence and which deadends in my front yard. My nearest neighbor is a mile as the crow flies through the woods or about 1.5 miles by road. In other words, I'm very secluded.

For about the first 20 yrs I lived here, I only had one stray cat show on up my farm - a very scraggly looking and tough acting orange tom who was quite aggressive with my resident cats. He would hang around causing trouble for a few days then move on to another part of his territory. I saw him a couple of times a year for several years before he disappeared completely. This was before it occurred to me to trap stray cats.

Then around 8 yrs ago, another tom showed up in my yard. That started a procession of cats ... and one puppy ... joining the ranks here at Shadowood. Every summer one new cat would appear, and I was convinced that someone was dumping animals on my driveway. In 2005, however, my not-so-friendly neighborhood dumper graced me with 4 new cats and a puppy! Because of my distance from any neighbors, because I have no intact animals on my farm wafting sex scents into the air to lure toms back here, because I don't leave pet food outside, because the surrounding woods contains so many predators that it would be unlikely a cat or puppy would survive long on his/her own, and because my driveway is such an easy place to do things unnoticed, I continue to be convinced that someone is dumping these animals here.

When a new cat shows up now, I just make him/her part of the family. I can't allow them to hang around without being integrated into the family fold, because the newbies (the intact toms, anyway) cause trouble with the resident cats. Also, I won't put food outside for the cats because I won't risk luring predators into the yard. So, the strays, semi-ferals, and ferals are all captured and brought inside to become members of the Pride of Shadowood. That is how I have come to live with 15 cats.

Oh, one more note about Billy. Many years ago, Billy gave me quite a scare. I had been told that foxes will kill cats, so when I saw one occasionally hanging around the farm, I got pretty nervous. Then one morning soon after my housemate had left for work, I heard his car backing into the yard again. He came into the house and said, "Look down in Bunnyland!" Bunnyland is what we call the swamp that borders the edge of the hayfield where the driveway goes out. I grabbed the binoculars and peered down the road to Bunnyland. There was Mr. Bill lying in the middle of the driveway. Lying beside him was the Fox! My housemate said that they'd been napping together like that when he tried to drive out, but when his car got too close, they got up and walked into the swamp together. Once he turned around and drove back up to the house, Billy and the Fox stepped back into the road and resumed their nap!

After that, I often saw Mr. Bill and the Fox together around the farm. One day I caught sight of Billy sitting just outside of my riding arena with the Fox running circles around him, barking, trying desperately to get Billy to run. Mr. Bill, of course, would have none of such foolishness. Once the Fox gave up, Billy stood up and walked off into the pasture with his good buddy by his side.

So Billy, white or not, knew how to handle himself with the residents of the woods. I think perhaps that's another reason why he has retired to the indoors. He knows that he's no longer quite strong or quick enough, and perhaps his hearing and eyesight aren't sharp enough, to keep him out of trouble out there. He's a survivor.

Laurie
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Lamie is another of The Babies, and Noddy's cousin. She is the Queen Cat here at Shadowood. No one except Noddy dares stand up to Lamie. When this girl enters the room, the sea of felines parts (or scatters) so that she will not be impeded or otherwise made impatient. It always amuses me how much fear this girl engenders among the ranks, because I know the truth about her. I know that as tough as she is psychologically, she is as physically vulnerable.

Lamie was the only kitten injured on the tragic night of her rescue. When I brought her home, it was clear that she had suffered some sort of injury to her spine or hind end. She was barely able to use her hind legs. It tooks weeks for her to recover full function of them, but she did recover well. It became clear again that she was physically sensitive when I had The Babies spayed and neutered. While her siblings and cousins shook off the effects of the anesthetic within a few hours, it took Lamie nearly two days to work it out of her system. The same thing happened a year ago when a benign tumor was removed from the base of her ear. It took a full day for her to recover from the effects of the pre-anesthetic sedative.

Such physical anomalies have done nothing but strengthen Lamie's character and determination to dominate life. She is a force to be reckoned with, and everybody knows it.

 

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Hi Laurie! Last night I went to your website and started reading about all your cats. Your stories would make a lovely book. I started reading rather late last night and didn't finish, so I'm headed over there now to read more abut your 'family'.

The care, compassion and patience you've taken with each one of them is amazing. You guys are very special people.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Pretty is Lamie's sister, but their personalities couldn't be more different. Pretty is very insecure about her position in the social hierarchy of The Pride. She is a growly, hissy girl who believes that everyone is out to get her. Even so, she will smack around anyone she thinks she can intimidate, which usually works because at first glance she looks a lot like the indomitable Lamie.

Pretty really does have a very sweet nature when she's not indulging her "first strike" behavior. She can be quietly demanding of attention, sitting right by my side, staring into my face, waiting for her share of the loving. She's also been known to have a bit of a foot fetish from time to time, though she hasn't exhibited that in a while.

Pretty, along with the other Babies, used to enjoy a lot of time outdoors. As they've gotten older, though, they prefer to spend the majority of their time inside.

 

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Thank you, but I got distracted during the writing of Mew's story and never got back to finish it. I'll tell you more about him when I introduce him on this thread, but for now, it's BooBoo's turn.

BooBoo is the last of the surviving Babies and is Lamie and Pretty's sister. BooBoo looks very much like their mother, Tommy, except that BooBoo, like all of the other Babies except for Lamie, is polydactyl. Since Tommy is not polydactyl, this leads me to assume that the tom who sired her litter (and Sister's litter) was the poly.

BooBoo is a very emotionally dependent girl, completely devoted to her cousin, Noddy. She follows him around and snuggles with him or with one of her sisters every chance she gets. She has a plaintive meow when she craves attention and will gently paw at me or the other cats when she needs physical contact. There is just something so extremely innocent about this girl. She must be a very young soul.

The last time BooBoo went outside, I assume that Footsie jumped her and scared her badly. She would cry and cry and cry from different hiding places, but she was just too scared to come out and let me pick her up and bring her back inside. It took me three days to corner my poor little girl in the hayshed and dig her out from behind bales to return her to the safety of the house. She hasn't been ouside again since that episode a couple of years ago.

When she was younger, though, BooBoo loved to go outside. She is the only cat I've ever known who was a snake hunter. I could always tell when she had a garter snake or redbelly because she would bring it to the front of the house and just WAIL until I came out to see what she'd brought me. I never saw her catch a bird or rodent. She was strictly a snake specialist.

BooBoo is another participant in Shadowood's Feline Fat Camp. You can tell in the pic that she's more than a little embarrassed by her ample figure. But like her beloved cousin, she has slimmed down considerably over the last year and should be at target weight within the next 6-12 mos.

 

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Weasel was the first of the strays who showed up here and ended up calling Shadowood home. I heard cats screaming outside and ran out to find Billy doing his best to send the newcomer packing in a most violent manner. Weasel was more than happy to be rescued and brought into the safety of the house.

It didn't take him long to make fast friends of the dogs. He adored them from the start. The cats, however, were an entirely different manner. Weasel was extremely cat-aggressive with absolutely NO feline social skills at all! During the integration process, he made the ill-fated mistake of attacking Noddy, not once, but SEVERAL times. Noddy was willing to excuse the first attack as a moment of temporary insanity on the newcomer's part, but when Weasel continued to attack him, Noddy developed a severe and ongoing hatred for the ill-mannered boy. To this day, Noddy and Weasel despise each other, though their physical altercations are rare.

Weasel's short temper wasn't reserved for the cats, either. If I got on his nerves one way or another, he would bite very fast and very hard. I still carry a scar on my thumb from the time he bit me so deeply that I had to twist his head back and forth to work his fang out of my flesh.

Over the years, Weasel has mellowed quite a bit - so much so, in fact, that he is now a favorite target of the Mouseketeers and Siliman. I can't imagine why or how my always-on-the-attack cat turned into such a victim, but he has, for the most part. Every now and then he decides he isn't going to take it anymore and gets into a real knock-down, drag-out with one of the younger males. This is why I now keep Amoxicillin on hand at all times. Weasel still elicits growls and hisses from the older cats, too - the ones who remember his behavior during his first few years here.

Weasel is still an impatient boy who I have learned to handle carefully. He's really very loving, but he certainly has sharpened my reflexes. It doesn't take much to overstimulate the Weez!

 
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