POLLY ADELINE SPEAKS
POLLY ADELINE SPEAKS
Translated and Transcribed by Connie Condit
Please excuse the scribble; I’m dictating to the chief cook and litterpan scrubber and her handwriting is almost as bad as my pawprinting. Neither of us can use the typewriter because Henry sat on it a few years ago and it hasn’t been the same since. We’d both like to thank you for the extra copies of the Scratch Sheet. Sonkey’s picture printed very nicely. The articles about him and Heidi Ho were nice to read, too-except for one small error.
Yes, we’ve read about the taurine/cardiomyopathy relationship, but that can’t have been the cause of Sonkey’s problem. We always have tuna for breakfast and raw beef and kidney for dinner. The boss lady has done a lot of reading, talking to vets, etc., but has found no definitive answer. I think she is more inclined to go for a viral cause, atleast in the hypertrophic type of problem Sonkey had.
Sonkey Bill was born sometime be tween 1:00 and 3:00 in the morning-I’d been checking Henrietta every two hours for two days and nights. Wasn’t even sure she was pregnant, she’s such a big horse (15 pounds). I found him wet, cold and barely alive in the middle of the floor. This was Henrietta’s first litter and apparently she panicked. Subsequently I learned she had very little obvious labor-just hiccupped and had ‘em.
Anyway to make matters worse, she had no milk and Sonkey almost starved to death before I realized it. Conse quently, he was a KMR baby. Henrietta was a good mother but I had to feed him. So for 12 weeks or more I had this loudmouthed kid following me around yelling for his bottle, with his mom trail ing behind trying to wash his rear end.
At any rate, the rest of us here are healthy and happily retired, including two of my sons by Sonkey and a grandson. There are also a lot of our kids and grandkids here in Colorado and none of them have had any problems that we’ve heard of. Oh yes, about that error. I am happy to say that I am still very much alive and intend to stay that way for a few more years. I’ll be 12 in November and don’t look a day over five.
«Polly will be 12 years old in November and has been a very healthy gal in spite of having presented me with 40 plus babies. She believed in big families. First litter was 7 and usually had 6, so even though I retired her at five years she totalled a lot of kids. She was a good mother and had healthy kids. I can recall losing only one – #7 was still born in one of her last litters-arrived after I had thought she was finished and I’d gone to bed. She specialized in starting labor at midnight and finishing about 2-3 AM! Oddly-she was at the vet’s being spayed the day Sonkey died.
She’s a sweetheart with me, but doesn’t care for strangers. However, when people came to see her babies, she would stand her ground and supervise, although she never acted aggresive. For about 8 years she had to take prednisone daily to control bilateral rodent ulcers (eosinophilus granulomas) on her upper lips. Never gave me a problem; I’d call «Pill time, Polly!» and she would hop up on my lap to get it-followed by an ear scratch, «
«Tanstaafl’s Polly Adeline»
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1971
Well you asked for it! At least many of you indicated that you would like a question and answer column in the «Scratch Sheet» ….. So here it is.
First of all, lets define the purpose of the column. It is a «share the wealth» instrument for MCBFA members to use to ask all those questions we forget when we are at the veterinary’s … some. of which might stump him too. No question is too silly. Secondly, while I will edit this column, I do not claim to be a «know it all and will welcome help from all of you out there. If you disagree or have an alternate suggestion, please say so, but on paper so we can print it.
The topic for this issue is cat colors. I feel fairly safe with this one since 3 years ago I didn’t know a tabby from a tortie and my grandmother’s blue-cream looked like that because she was old and faded! Like many of you, I grew up with tigers, maltese, gray and orange cats; spotted, speckled, black, and white cats; and «lucky» three colored cats, most of whom lived at the barn and worked for their board and room.
Lets start with «tiger cats These are tabbys and there are essentially two patterns: the mackeral tabby, the fellow in the convict suit with stripes all over; and the classic tabby who has stripes on head, legs, and tail but looks like a marble cake in the middle. Some people call this swirled pattern «bull’s eyes». Tabby markings are genetically dominant much to the dismay of breeders who want solid colors. Many solid colored adults entered the world wearing stripes which faded as they grew up,
Tabbys come in every color. If your «tiger» has a buff or brownish base coat with black stripes he is a brown tabby. If his base coat is pale gray with black stripes he is a silver tabby, or he may be a red or blue tabby etc.
Speaking of colors, your «orange» cat is red in the fancy. If they are very pale orange or buff colored, they are cream. The old gray neighborhood bum has turned blue as has the «maltese» mouser who worked at the butcher shop. That speckled cat, the one that looked like a black cat who’d run through a paint factory is a tortoiseshell, Incidentally, it is 99.4% sure he is a she. The same goes for the calico…. thats the «lucky» cat with large well defined patches of orange Oops!. red, white, and either black or blue (gray). The spotted cats, white with big spots (all one color) are now particolors. Some associations also apply this term to cats with white boots and shirts, while others insist that particolors must be at least one third white. Take your choice I still confused.
Believe it or not, blacks are still blacks and whites are still white but watch out, If your black cat is wearing white underwear (ruffle up his coat) then he is a smoke’. Same goes for your blue. If your white cat has colored tips on the outer coat then you have a silver or a cameo depending upon whether the tipping is black or red.
Finally, if you find that your tortoiseshell has stripes, she’s a torbie, If she also appears to have taken a bath in bleach you’ll have to call her a smoke-torbie; and if she stood in the bleach too long, you’d better add «with white» to take care of her mittens,
I have covered only the basic patterns and colors; cats have real creative talent in this field. One of the reasons I am so «hooked» on Maine Coons is that we tend to accept them in the colors they choose, I hope that never changes, I’m eagerly awaiting the day my Bridget presents me with a kitten in Blackwatch Tartan
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1971 winter
I was supposed to spin a whale of a yarn about how to travel from Washington, DC to Denver with 13 cats and a German Shepherd in one station wagon», so guess I’d better do it!
To make it short and sweet, I simply loaded the lot of them in, climbed into the driver’s seat and announced in my most authoritarian tones, «Everyone sit down and shut up; we’re going to Denver!» They did; we did; and here we are. It was that simple … sorry..
Actually, I had prepared for the possibility of squabbles and had two shipping crates set up on the cargo deck if needed. Those two crates were well used … at least 6 cats sleeping on them all the time. I put the food and water inside so Heidi (the Shepherd) wouldn’t step in them, In addition I had a litter box back by the tailgate, two baby seats over the right front seat and rugs on the floor in front and on and under the rear deck. So there were plenty of places for everyone to sleep, which they did most of the time.
Fortunately, I have a kind hearted, tolerant, cat loving Mother who lives in Illinois, She offered mótel facilities so that was taken care of. We stayed there four days with the whole troop confined to my bedroom and neighbors by the dozens trooping in to see the Maine Coon Cats.
The nearest thing to an «adventure» was when it occured to mě that I hadn’t seen or heard Charlibrown for nearly two hours since the last coffee stop. I almost pushed the panic button Charli is the only one who squirts through a door like greased lightning. To my relief, he was sacked out under the rear deck, not for those of you who would like to have a similar uneventful trip with your cat (or cats) here are some travel tips.
Start traveling with your cat when he or she is a baby. Don’t think you must cage him… he’ll never learn to enjoy a ride shut up in a box. Let him explore, but keep a water pistol handy and condition him to the idea that crawling around the driver means wet ears! He’ll soon learn,
Keep a litter box available in the car. I also keep a bowl of dry food and water on the rear deck. While most of mine don’t eat except when the car is stopped, Abner and Kim Chee would eat on a roller coaster.
When you stop at a motel, be honest; tell the manager that you have a cat or cats and assure him you are prepared to prevent damage … carry a couple of old sheets to put on the bed and the overstuffed chair, and papers for under the food, water, and litter pans proof the place before you bring in the kids. By that, I mean secure lamps etc. that might get knocked over and close any unscreened windows. The bathroom is the best place for the kitty pans. I’ve never been turned away yet … even when I had four cats and the dog with me.
Incidentally, most cats will stay quietly in a motel room while you go to dinner. However, most dogs will panic when left alone in a strange place, so take Fido with you.
Don’t travel in hot weather unless you have either an air-cond itioned car or very secure window screens. When you do stop to get out, be sure you know where puss is before you open the door. The water pistol comes in handy on these occasions too your head out and open door equals wet ears. … sticking
Do have I.D. tags on collars on all the troops, cat or dog, Then if someone does go A.W.O.L., you stand a fair chance of getting him back.
Do carry a plastic jug of water, some «Handiwipes» and/or paper towels. Accidents will happen. Most cats seem to ride well but some don’t. All of mine do fine except Seth Parker. He got miserably car sick and drooled all over everything. Next time, I’ll be prepared. My veterinarian tells me Darbazine takes care of this problem very well and doesn’t make pussy drunk or sleepy. Do take at least a few cans of puss’s favorite foods, and if you have spoiled brats like mine à cooler of ice with the special treats will keep peace in the family. Kim Chee couldn’t survive without his bit of chicken and I couldn’t survive without Abner’s liver.
Do take along a secure harness (not the dog-type) and long (25 50 feet) light nylon line with leash snaps. Then when you stop for a coffee break at a roadside rest area, puss can get out and stretch too. (I didn’t try this with 13!)
Do expect puss to enjoy the trip, and he will and so will you, because he’s with you … not sitting in a kennel cage feeling deserted.
Merry Christmas to all of you from the troops at Heidi-Ho. That reminds me, if you want your fur footed friend to keep paws off the Christmas tree, try spraying it with snow. It works at my house. (The stuff stinks!)
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1972 winter
First thing, I would like to say thanks to all those members who have been unknowingly adding to my collection of cat pictures with their cat stationery. I have received some that are cute, adorable, clever, and hilarious. Being treasurer of MCBFA does have its rewards1
A couple of recent incidents gave me my topic for this month’s column. How many of you folks have a «fire plan» for your fur-footed friends? This applies particularly to those of us who breed and must of necessity keep our males and females confined to restricted areas of the house – not cages I hope. How many of us think to ask about this when we have to board our cats and dogs? I confess I never have but I will from now on.
One of our pers just lost her two young Maine Coon Cats (Heidi-Ho kittens incidently) while she was on vacation. The cattery (a good one) had a fire and Teddy and Toff died, not from flames, but from smoke inhalation because no one could reach their cages to release them.
At almost the same time, I came very close to losing my entire crew- would have if Someone Up There didn’t like me well enough to get me to the right place at the right time. The electric water pump on my travel trailer shorted and caught fire. I was home on vacation and had eleven of my thirteen in the trailer at the time. Fortunately, I arrived on the scene just as smoke was starting to come out from under the rear seat. If it hadn’t been so serious, it would have been funny. To get to the pump, I had to remove a window air conditioner, two long sofa cushions, and eleven cats who wanted to see what I had hidden under the seat! While I was struggling with this, I was debating which would be worse, to turn them all loose first or take a chance and go after the fire! Luckily my nose told me it was an electrical fire so the first thing I did was to disconnect all current to the trailer. By the time I finally got under the seat all I had was a hot water pump which is now being replaced by an air pressure system! No harm done but it could have been a real CATastrophe!
SO-stop and ask yourself a few questions.
1. Do I keep an operable fire extinguisher in the cattery (or house)?
2. Are there at least two entrances to the cat’s area?
3. Have I checked the area for fire hazards?
4. What action will I take if I do have a fire? This is the most important–even a mental rehearsal will help!
Please keep in mind that The Scratch Sheet is not sent by first class mail and therefore will probably not be forwarded should you move to a new address. If you do move please notify me of your change of address.
Speaking of hanging addresses, Heidi-Ho is moving again, this time to Fort Benning, Georgia.
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1972 winter
I guess you all know by the change of address in the fall issue that the Heidi Ho troops have moved again. This time we traveled in style in our «cat house» on wheels, an 18 foot travel trailer. I must say, it was really the ideal way to move a cattery. No problems with rotels enroute and no boarding fees at this end while I house hunted. I had no trouble finding KOA campgrounds at convenient intervals and a friend at this end provided a backyard to park in until I found a house.
It does get rather chummy in a small trailer with 13 big cats and 95 pounds of German Shepherd. However, you eventually learn to accept the fact that someone is always under your feet or over your head or in your soup. The double sink made two marvelous beds and was full of fat cats for the entire trip except when I chased them out to wash dishes. It does take a bit of effort to shove nine or ten cats out of the bunk so you can climb in, but it was nice and cozy on cool nights.
The only real crisis occurred the first night out when Abner (my Siamese elder statesman) who had been riding in the car with Heidi and me, decided he didn’t want to get in the trailer with all those cats. He darted out into the howling Kansas wind and pitch black night and I spent the next ten minutes chasing him around and under trailers and cars, waving a flash light, falling over the dog, and muttering dire threats of hanging his .hide on the trailer door. Finally, he hopped up on the roof of my car and sat there swearing at me until I got him down and safely tucked inside. The next day, he decided that he liked it and refused to ride in the car!
These seem to be a lot of questions to answer this time, so best I get to them. Several folks have mentioned having difficulty training their cats to the leash. First of all, use a cat harness, not a collar I prefer the type that has a collar for the neck, and a belly band connected by a single strap down the back. This puts the «pull» behind the elbows, not on the throat. They are very secure, but not likely to choke the cat. Abner has actually fallen out of trees (he’s not very athletic) while wearing one and hung by his elbows on the end of his lead with nothing damaged but his dignity. Second, start your training at dusk or after dark. The cat will feel more secure than in broad daylight, and move with you more freely. Third, don’t expect too much; some cats lead well, others don’t. At least, if your cat is accustomed to the leash, you can take him outside for a nibble of grass without danger of losing him.
This reminds me of something else. I firmly believe that cats who live out side, all or part of the time, don’t have hair ball problems because they eat grass. The only time I have hairballs showing up is when my troops are confined and can’t have their daily nibble of greenery. If you can’t get them to the grass, bring the grass to them. I’d suggest getting well established sod from some place, or if you plant seed, cover the container with screen to prevent it from being pulled out by the roots. You may find you need to have two containers to alternate use. A word of warning; the cat eats the grass and then urps, bringing up grass and hair. Sounds messy, but its not as bad as a huge hairball or worse yet an intentinal obstruction.
Some of you asked how to bathe a cat. I don’t very often, not even for shows. It makes them look too fuzzy. However, there are times when it is necessary, such as when someone gets a dose of fleas, or rolls in something they shouldn’t.
My method is to put two large plastic tubs in the bath tub and fill them with warm (use the elbow test) water, Also have an extra bucket of warm water. If you have plenty available, you don’t have to run water while the cat is in the tub and he is less likely to become frightened. Other equipment needed is a big dipper, a wash cloth, 2 or 3 big towles and shampoo. If I am after fleas, I use any good flea killing shampoo. Just be sure the cat doesn’t get any in his mouth, and rinse well!
Now capture your victim. If you are wise, you will have trimmed his front toe nails a couple of days previously to give him time to wear off the sharp edges. Stand him in one tub, rear feet in the water, front feet on the edge of the tub. It helps to have an assistant, but it can be done alone. Hold him with your left hand around his chest and use the right to wet him down with the wash cloth, Wet him well from behind the ears to the tip of his tail, but don’t get water on his face. Then comes the shampoo. Start at the neck and work back. Then rinse, first with the water in that tub, then the second tub, and finally the water in the bucket. Use the dipper to pour the water over him and don’t neglect his tummy and throat. Then dry him. Get the worst off with one towel and then the rest with the dry one. If you have a cage and a warm air dryer of some sort, you can finish the job with that. If not, be prepared to spend an hour or so with puss in your lap wrapped in a dry towel. He’ll be chilled, even if your room is overly warm. Keep him wrapped up and warm until he feels nearly dry and has stopped shivering.
I have said nothing about his reaction to all of this. It probably won’t be as violent as you think. Some of mine simply accept it; some will try to get away (so be sure the bathroom door is closed), some won’t say a word, and others like my big Kim Chee will inform the whole neighborhood that you are drowning them! I never had a cat catch the sniffles, nor have I been bitten or scratched, even when the cat was a total stranger. If you hold them firmly but gently and work as quickly as possible, you and puss won’t get anything but wet.
I would like to recomment the article «The Wise Cat Buyer» by Meredith D.
Wilson in the July issue of Cats Magazine for those of you who are planning to add a furry friend to your household. This article plus MCBFA Buyer’s Code should keep everyone out of trouble.
Last question for this issue is one I’ve had from many people. «How do you feed a finicky cat?» The best advice I can give is «Ask him what he wants!»
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1973
This is the month for cattails, cat tails and cat tales. The lake where I fish is full of the first, my house is full of the second and my mail is full of the last.
The most unusual came from Mary Heston in Vermont. She took four kittens out of a carrier to pick one to be hers and «misty Heston» made the choice easy. «She was the one who walked directly to the swimming pool, jumped in, swam calmly across and stepped out on the other side, perfectly poised!» The funniest came from Mary Ann Cash, St. Ives Cattery in Nashville, Tennessee. I actually got it first over the phone. «Help! What do I do now?»
I asked Mary Ann to put it into writing and here it is. «Just nine days ago St. Ives Lily of the Field had huge triplets under my husband’s bed. We quickly removed them and their mama to the padded floor of the china closet where all was well until yesterday.
You see, Lily’s mother, Whittemore’s Jane Ringlet of St. Ives was also pregnant.
Every day she looked more like a can of beans with botulism and was obviously getting quite bored with pregnancy, so yesterday morning decided if her kittens would not come, she would have kittens the easy way and took over the china closet and Lily’s three huge reds.
Lily, like any normal mother, was delighted to get a baby sitter and went frolicing around the house with Thomas Malthus. It was a bit crowded for the five of them in the china closet so we moved them to a large kittening box where everyone settled down quietly for the night- except Malthus who decided to get away from it all and stalked out to the breezeway.
About two thirty this morning, I heard some small noises from the box and went to inspect. Jane was just finishing having quintuplets, 4 more reds and a tortie. The amazing thing was that Jane was just relaxing while Lily was cleaning the kittens and her mother. She did as good a job as any hospital nursery. Sitting in one corner were the triplets. As their eyes had just opened I guess you could call this learly sex education.
By this time, even the large box was overflowing with fur, so when all was fairly quiet I moved the triplets a few feet to the china closet expecting Lily to fo low. By the time I put them down, there was Jane (who a minute before was acting like a limp flower). She immediately took her grandchildren back to the box, but after thinking it over, retransferred all eight kids and grandkids back to the china closet.
Lily joined them and there they stay in their own commune. Lily occasionally goes out for a romp but when she is there, Jane now washes her five, Lily’s three and Lily, Malthus is behind the couch in the living room.» 11 I had intended to add my own tale of Freddy-the-Freeloader, but I think I will save it until next time. I didn’t find him in the mailbox, but he is as dependable as my Postman!
One last word–of warning. If you have been using flea collars, quit, or if you are considering it, don’t. An article in a recent issue of Dog Fancy spells out the dangers and I know of an instance in which a kitten was dead within days after a well-meaning owner put a flea collar on it. The powder or for fast results a bath in flea soap–but be sure the powder and soap are meant for cats!
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1973 spring
This has been quite a winter at Heidi Ho. Kittens have been growing up an and shipping out and from down here in the boonies that can be a problem.
Everyone has to change planes in Atlanta which makes a nervous wreck out of me and the men at the Atlanta air freight offices. I call and bug them to see that the kids get out on the correct flight. So far, so good; everyone has reached his or her desti nation in good time and good shape.
We also had a harrowing experience with the arrival of the newest litter and found out the hard way why it is so important to count placentas. Due to circum stances beyond control, there was a missing placenta. Two days later, its where abouts became obvious–Heather stopped eating and drinking, spiked a fever of 105⁰, and lost her milk. Then, because of the high dosage of antibiotics necessary to bring down the fever, she developed a drug psychosis.
The whole world must have looked upsidedown to her; she would go to her kitten when it cried, but didn’t know what to do with it. (The other kitten died during delivery) So for nearly a week I had to force feed Heather and bottle feed baby. Thank goodness, my mother was here. Although midwifery and bottle feeding kittens is not her cup of tea; she really came through in the pinch. Mother and daughter are doing fine now (both two-legged and four legged).
This reminds me of something I’ve been meaning to do for some time. I would like to recommend that anyone with cats, especially breeders, (we are subject to more problems than pet owners) keep a bottle of «Prodean» on hand for emergencies. It is a liquid, predigested protein compound with vitamins and iron. One tea spoonful per day plus water (10cc per paund) will maintain a sick cat. This epi sode is only one of several times I have used it.
Last summer Abner existed on it for nearly a month. He lost weight but he stayed relatively healthy and active while recovering from a bad bout of cystitis. It is rather expensive, but keeps indefinitely if you store it in a dark cupboard. The price is $9.95 for a 16 oz bottle or $35.00 for a gallon. It can be obtained from Twin Laboratories, Inc., 543 Miller Avenue, Freeport, N.Y. 11520.
Besides being a good emergency food, Prodean also does marvelous things for coats that need a little perking up before show time. Some cats like it and will lick it out of a dish. If they don’t an easy way to administer it, or any other liquid is with a syringe. Slip a piece of rubber tubing about 13 inches long on the tip of the syringe. Then you can insert the tubing into the side of the cat’s mouth and squirt the liquid back in the throat. Please, use small squirts, about 1 cc at a time. My Andy has to have Prodean every day because of a digestive problem and he has learned to take it like a gentleman.
I would also like to recommend keeping a can of Esbilac and a Pet Nurser kit on hand. Heather’s little girl continued to gain at a normal rate during the whole time she was being bottle fed and had no diarrhea or any other problems.
I’ve had a couple recent questions on how to groom a Maine Coon Cat. There are some folks who insist that Maine Coons don’t need grooming. FISHFEATHERS!! Even Abner (Siamese) needs grooming! Granted, most of our MCs can get along with very little compared to Persians, but they do need it.
The tools I use are three metal comba–one coaras, one fine, and a «flea comb with very fine teeth for use on the shorter parts of the coat around the head and shoulders. For the tail, I use a «people brush», the half round type with stiff nylon bristles.
If your furry friend likes being groomed, put him up on a table of comfortable height (for you). Start with the coarse comb and when you have gone over him with that, do it again with the fine comb. Then use the flea comb on his head and shoulders. Pay special attention to places where matts are likely to form such as under his arms and between his back legs. Finish the job by thoroughly brushing his pride and joy. Occasionally, during the shedding season, I use the ccerse comb on the tail.
Remember that you are working on a Maine Coon, not a Persian. This means that you comb with the grain», from front to back. None of this hair teasing stuff for our cats. The same goes for the tail; brush toward the tip. If you want it to fluff a bit, when you are finished brushing, grasp the tip, hold it up and shake it. You may get swatted, but you’ll get just the right amount of fluff. The only parts that should be combed backwards are the bloomers. Comb them up toward the tail.
When you are finished, you cat’s coat should flow smoothly down and back over his body, and the hair on the tail should follow this same pattern when held in the horizontal position. His coat on head, shoulders and back should have the same satiny gleem you find on a short hair. Never use powder; you’ll dull the color and the gloss.
If your furry fiend doesn’t like grooming, then pin him on the floor, sit on him and follow the same procedure as best you can. Andy is a hellion when it comes to being combed. I pin his head and shoulders under one leg and comb as much as I can reach. Then I get a half Nelson under his chin and hold him against me while I do his tummy. By then he is so pooped from swearing and squirming that he will usually hold still while I finish up with the head and shoulders. Oddlly enough, he doesn’t mind having his tail brushed.
One last tip for this time. United Pharmacal Co., Inc., 306 Cherokee St., St. Joseph, Missouri 64504 is a good source of pet supplies of all kinds. your order is $5.00 or more you get wholesale prices. I’ve been using their products for three years and have found them very satisfactory.
Have to go now; Heathcliff just came to remind me that it is time for treats and Henry is hollering complaints about not having had his liver.
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1973 summer
«MAINE COON CAT BATTLES COON» These headlines could have appeared in the local paper of Longboat, Key, Florida according to Joyce Koppel. We don’t know who won, but after recovering from his wounds, Socrates Koppel seems content to spend his nights at home with the boss.
This brings to mind something that has bugged me for sometime. I’m all for letting cats be cats and Heaven only knows our Maine Coons are all cat! Against natural enemies and hazards they can hold their own. Fortunately, I’ve always managed to have an escape proof (most of the time) run for ay gang, so they can be outdoors. If you can’t manage such a run and feel that your cat needs to be out, then at least make an unrelenting policy that when the sun goes down, he is inside to stay until morning. There will still be hazards, but you will have eliminated a big one–blinding headlights. Most cats killed by cars get their everlasting at night. If you doubt this, keep your eyes open for the fresh corpses as you drive to work. The same applies to some extent to dogs and other animals.
Speaking of hazards, I imagine many of you read the article on shipping animals which appeared in Consumer Reports. It was almost enough to make me refuse to ship at first. Then I remembered the fact that so far as I know, all my kids have arrived in fine shape and almost always on schedule. I don’t know if my methods of shipping contribute to this or not but for what they are worth here are some key points:
1. Use a roomy shipping crate–mine are the Sky Kennel (wooden) type, medium
size–about 19 x 18 x 24. Granted the kid looks a little lost in there, but it provides plenty of air space, room for food and water containers and is too big to be easily misplaced.
2. Mark your crats all over with destination and buyers name, address and phone number. I staple 5 x 8 cards on all sides and tip and print big! Include Air Line and flight numbers.
3. Attach an envelope with emergency instructions to the top of the crate and mark it to be opened if kitten is not delivered by a specified time. (I usually allow 12 hours after departure depending upon flight schedule. Inside include instructions for feeding, and a request for a collect call to you for further instructions. Be sure to caution against opening the crate unless it is in a secure area.
4. Hang on to your air freight way-bill. It is the best means of identification if puss gets lost.
5. Check the weather at both ends. I watch the forecast the night before shipping and if in doubt will call the buyer. Don’t ship if it is extremely hot or cold. If possible, plan your breeding program so that the kittens are ready for sale during the milder months.
I don’t know if these help but so far I’ve had no bad experiences and only two that were slightly hair raising, both due mainly to unexpected bad weather.
That brings me to the last item. Special thanks goes to Mr. William Garner of REA Air Express, Atlanta, Georgia. He came to my rescue one night in March. «Jane Cash» was coming down from Nashville for a romance with Henry. Jane was supposed to arrive at noon. At 6 pm Jane still hadn’t arrived. I had met every flight from Atlanta all afternoon. The weather was awful–one thunderstorm after another. The fellows here in Columbus suggested that I should call Air Express office in Atlanta.
(It was Saturday and Columbus Air Express Office was closed.) I did and Mr. Garner got busy. It took him nearly two hours but he found Jane and made a special run to get her on an 8:30 pm flight. He called me back twice, first to tell me he had her and again to tell me the flight would be an hour late so «don’t go out to the airport in the rain.» Jane had arrived in Atlanta too late for the aftern flights and had been set back in the warehouse to keep her out of the weather, and had been overlooked. Thanks to Mr. Garner (who is now an honorary MCBFA member) Jane arrived in fine fettle, mad at the world, and totally uninterested in romance for nearly a week!
It all boils down to this–air service for our cats is as good as the people involved: the breeder, the Air Freight and Air Express folks, and the buyer. The cats can’t complain if they miss a transfet but we can, and we can do a few things such as using proper crates, marking them well and checking at transfer points to be sure they hava a good trip.
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1973 winter
T’was the night before Christmas and all through the flat, Not a creature was stirring except Thomas Cat. What was he doing while everyone snored? Chewing up tinsel and electric light cord! What will be found when the family awakes? Poor Thomas deceased from a big belly ache!
Need I say more? One trick I’ve learned that seems to keep my crew away from the tree (plastic ornaments only) and eliminates the need for tinsel is snow–the kind in a can. When you have hung all the ornaments, spray the tree thoroughly with snow. It seems to have the best cat repelling odor available. Too bad it looks so funny on the furniture!
I know one big red tabby cat who will have a very Merry Christmas; and so will his girl friend «Little Ollie». It took a year, but Freddy-the Freeloader finally has his own house complete with loving landlady and a big park to hunt in. When I arrived in Columbus, I had only one red cat, Seth Parker.
About two months later, when I stumbled out at 5:30 AM to serve breakfast I found that Seth had acquired a crew cut during the night. Then I got both eyes open and realized that I had two red cats, and that the guy with the crew cut was a total stranger! He was happily stuffing his face, totally oblivious of the fact that he had invaded the private quarters of two monstrous tomcats who could have swallowed him whole and not even hiccuped. Oddly enough, Seth and Henry didn’t seem to mind at all.
I scooped him up and put him out. By the time I went back to serve fresh break fast he was in again. A second attempt at eviction had no better results. He looked clean and healthy and I had to go to work, so I gave up. That evening I erected a baffle around the boys outside run to keep the stranger out. line for the raw kidney at dinnertime!
Guess who was first in nothing I tried could keep Freddy-the-Freeloader away from his are of the kidney. Since he was not exactly the type I wanted courting with my girls (at this point he wasn’t quite old enough to be interested) I persuaded him to compromise. If I gave him his kidney at the front door, he would usually stay on his own side of the fence.
So for nearly a year, Freddy reported promptly at 5:30 AM, 4:30 PM and bedtime for his handouts. He accepted the fact that kidney was served once a day only and made known his choice of cat foods. At first he did spend some of his time elsewhere which made me think he must have a home. I asked my neighbors but no one knew anything about him except that he had been around before I moved in.
Before long, Freddy established himself under by travel trailer in the drive. He would, if invited, come in and visit, but always wanted out after a short time. Most of the winter he slept on my bedroom window sill shich is sheltered by an over hang and also warm because I keep it open. On the coldest nights I brought him in and put him in my big cage–Andy didn’t approve of him so I couldn’t leave him loose. Freddy appreciated this arrangement well enough to request it when the mercury dropped.
He also made other requests, one of which stumped me for awhile. He would come to the door and make an urgent plea, but he didn’t want food, nor did he want in. I finally discovered that he wanted Heidi (my Sheperd) to come out. Freddy and Heidi had a «love at first sight» friendship. Usually Heidi doesn’t allow strange
cats or dogs in our yard and I confess to having urged her to chase Fred when he started his invasions.
The most show would do was follow him around, Freddy assumed his share of guard duty and helped Heidi chase intruders. As the months went by, Freddy had a trip to the vet for minor surgery–3 weeks too late. Six weeks later Molly presented me with Freddy, Jr. He was cured of ear mites, had his shots, was treated for a scratched eye and wormed, and changed from a gangling adolescent into a handsome 13 lb. gentleman.
I finally decided that his in-again-out-again life style had to change. If he was going to live with us he would have to move in bag and baggage. The rest of the tribe had finally accepted him, even Andy who obviously considered him a bum. Well, I had no better luck keeping him in than I did keeping him out! Freddy’s independent soul would not be confined!
Then the solution appeared in the form of a friend who wanted not one cat, but So for about a month I conditioned Freddy to being an «inside-at-nightOcat «– two. I shut him in the spare bedroom. Two weeks before he was to move, I brought Little Ollie home. She was a «raised-in-the-woods» eight week old tortie and white doll. Little Ollie fell in love with «Uncle Freddy» immediately and he reciprocated. He was happy as a lark to have some company in that blasted bedroom!
They are now living happily in Albany, Georgia where Freddy is lord of the manor and Little Ollie is his adoring shadow. Incidentally, Freddy, Jr. now known as Mr. Skitters has his own happy home here in Columbus, and Little Ollie’s mother (thanks to the efforts of Big Ollie) is almost tame enough for a trip to the vet so she can live in her backyard «wilds» without the periodic appearance of unwanted kittens.
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM ALL THE GANG AT HEIDI HO!!!!
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1974
There is an unfilled place at the Heidi Ho chow table tonight. For ten short years it was filled by a cantankerous, opinionated, neck nuzzling, gravel-voiced Siamese. Abner P. Katt (also known as Uncle Fud) has gone to join his best buddy, Kim Chee.
We attended our first show in two years and brought home a pneumonitis bug. All fifteen adults and both kittens caught it. Everyone came through fine except Unc and his ailing kidneys couldn’t take it. Even though I know he had been living on borrowed time for the past four years, it is still hard to accept the fact that my elderstatesman is gone.
Heidi-Ho’s loss emphasizes the need for more research into means to prevent diseases such as pneumonitis which can be so devastating. MCBFA contributes as a club to Morris Animal Foundation, but we aren’t very rich. Consider how much more could be done if each of us would contribute one dollar for each of our cats!
From an objective point of view, this has confirmed for me the opinion currently held by many veterinarians–that vaccination for pneumonitis is useless. There were 11 Maine Coon Cats entered. Five had been recently vaccinated; three of these got it. Six had not been vaccinated. Two from another cattery did not get it; two from Heidi-Ho did–and then passed it to the rest of the crew. Severity of symptoms varied from almost none to very severe regardless of vaccination. Form your own opinion.
There is some good news. Remember Freddy-the-Freeleader and his girl friend, Little Olie? Well, Little Ollie’s wild mother was finally tranquilized with a pill in her hamburger, captured and spayed courtesy of the U.S. Army Veterinary Service. She is now back in Big Ollie’s back yard, happy and indepen dent as ever, but no longer adding to the stray cat population.
Becky Ellis is now fully recovered and out in her yard doing the things a cat is happiest doing. I owe Becky an apology; her name is Miss Sebago Lake, not Miss Kennenbunk. «Bunky» lives in Mars, Pennsylvania with Jane Von Hagen. More good news for those of you with lots of cats and/or unaltered toms. I’ve finally found a deodorizer that not only WORKS, it smells good. It is a contraption made by Scentinel, F.0. Box 248, Levittown, New York 11756.
While a bit more expensive than a can of perfumed spray, it works! S.O.S. HELP! Does anyone know Melissa Ponce of Chicago, Ill. or Clara Hardesty, Pittsburgh, Penna? Both sent $ for fancier memberships but when I sent acknowledgements, they came back as undeliverable. If you know them please send me a correct address.
Summertime brings parasite problems both inside and outside (of your cat). Stool check for worms by your veterinarian are in order. Watch for fleas. If they get in your grass, spray with Sevin. Use as directed and keep the fur people off until dry and you’ll have no problems. For the fur people them selves, there are powders. shampoos.
I should apologize for Pot Purry’s absence from the summer issue. I just couldn’t make the deadline. However, it was «an ill wind that blows no good!» I had a bit in about a method of using flea collars–24 hours on and 24 hours off. Well–don’t do it! We were invaded by the varmints for the first time in 8 years and I tried it. Henry had a raw neck after the second 24 hours on and some of the others had broken out in a rash around their necks.
I got rid of the little beasts in short order though. Powdered the pussies, sprayed the yard with Sevin and the carpets with Raid House and Garden Spray. I kept the troops inside when I sprayed the yard and chased them out until the Raid on the carpet. was dry. Fleas gone–no one had ill effects.
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1974 spring
We have one for the books this issue! Pat Garner (Pagar–Roanoke, Va.) has a young MC boy who is now wearing braces on his teeth. Seems he «ran into a door» and knocked an upper and lower canine slightly askew. Pat’s veterinarian has an open minded dentist friend—sooo, braces. At last report the boy was doing fine and the teeth are shaping up. Only one thing, Pat’s having trouble teaching him to brush after eating!
While we’re telling cat-tails, Becky, (Miss Kennebunk) Ellis spent the holidays with her left hind leg in a cast. She tangles with a garage door and lost. Had letters from Becky with «during and after» pictures. In her last note she reported complete recovery, except she can’t convince her folks that she is ready to resume her outside activities.
A real topper, though, is Mumbo Eastman (Ktaadn, Brunswick, Maine). Since he retired from the production line Mumbo has been allowed to stroll around the premises. Well–while helping unload the car after a vacation trip, Mumbo vanished. Frantic searching for days, checks of the neighborhood and local shelters, adver tizing went on for two weeks but no Mumbo.
Then one day, the boss lady thought she saw him in a neighbor’s yard and went to investigate. It wasn’t Mumbo, but as she started to leave, she heard a faint meow from the sky. She looked up and spotted a black something in the very top of a tall pine tree. Up went a ladder and down came what was left of Mumbo. The story ended happily and Mumbo is on his way to again being a «fat cat». Apparently something, probably a dog, chased him and Mumbo (who grew up in the city before moving to Maine) didn’t know how to get down.
I had a letter from a desperate lady who had brought a new kitten into the family only to learn that her adult cat did not approve of any new feline residents. This can be a problem.
I have found that usually a kitten under 6 or 7 months has little or no trouble becoming accepted. There will be some initial snorting and mumbling from the oldsters but in a few days it is over. Introducing older cats is more difficult and the degree of difficulty varies from cat to cat.
When I introduce a newcomer, I make sure that everyone has their front claws clipped. If the new arrival is a kitten, I just turn him loose and let him get acquainted. None of my tribe will get really mean with a youngster so it is safe. If it is an adult being introduced, I put him in the spare room for a few days and let the introductions take place through the screen door (specially installed). If your doors are solid (as most are) they can still manage by sniffing and playing footsie under the door. It also helps to reverse the situation a few times, letting each get used to the smell of the other.
When they are finally allowed together, there will probably be some spits, growls and maybe a few swats exchanged but I stay out of it unless voices indicate a coming explosion. Then I talk, scold a bit and if necessary separate. The pecking order has to be established and if nails are clipped very little damage to either party is likely. It’s good to have some water handy (squirt gun, spray bottle, garden hose etc.) just in case.
The length of time required to smooth all the ruffled feathers varies. At Heidi-Ho, some of the tribe are quite blase about new arrivals and with these mutual acceptance is almost immediate. Others take longer and some are unpre dictable. Heather and Fanny Abigail fit the first category even when they have kittens. Molly fits there unless she has kittens, then she is a witch.
When Great Grandpa arrived she ignored him until the kittens came then she «treed» him in the den for the better part of two months. After the kids were gone,things were fine and I thought she had accepted him. When her next litter arrived she was OK until the kids bagan to roam the house and then Thomas had to retreat to his hideout again. I imagine he’s glad she has only one litter per year!
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1975
We have a real celebrity among our fur-footed members! «Tex» Roland of Hanover, Pennsylvania will be (or probably has been) «Miss Pennsylvania» in the All-American Glamour Kitty contest to be held in Miami sorry I don’t have the date. Tex will appear as Betsy Ross in the fashion show and will have to demonstrate her skill at pole climbing, maze running and hurdle jumping.
Tex’s history is as fascinating as her current glamour cat activities. When she was only about 4 or 5 weeks old she «found» the Rolands in a campsite in San Antonio, Texas. For two years she was just a family member and then was identified by a member of the Penn-Mar Cat Fanciers as a Maine Coon Cat. She is a lovely Torti Particolor – her pictures in the Hanover Evening Sun article that Miriam sent leave no doubt as to her ancestry. The article was well done but did contain a couple of statements that are new to me. Did you know that Maine Coons bark like dogs and that the Pilgrims trained them as hunters to rid Plymouth Rock of rodents!
By next time, we hope to have Tex’s first hand account of her Miami adventure. Incidentally traveling is not new to this lady; she has already visited 20 states via the Roland’s trailer.
Another of our members has gained fame in Cata Magazine’s July issue. Mrs. Norman Servies (Sue) and her CATS CRADLE boarding kennel for cats in Pacific Grove, California are the subjects of the article «A Castle for Cats». Sue is owned by Billy Budd, a Maine Coon tabby. The CATS CRADLE sounds great; wish we had more such places to park our fur-friends when we can’t take them along.
Now that the ’75-76 show season is well underway, I’d like to share with you an account of member Mary Heston’s first cat show as a spectator. Mary says she seldom voluntarily leaves Vermont (I don’t blame her) but she broke all the rules and went to Boston to a cat show. Here breeders, judges and all other «professional» cat-nut types, is how we look to the world. I’ve eleted names just in case some of us might be lacking in the gift of being able to laugh at ourselves.
«It was a four ring circus. One of the lady’s specialty was tickling cats with a long feather; she was the only one who did practically nothing but tickle while making a deci sion. Another lady delivered a little lecture on her subject while she judged; I found that most informative and healthy. The third lady I ignored because she worked with long, stringy, enakelike cats that I find repulsive (Siamese for instance).
But …….. ah, What a showman! There he stood, a plump genial figure swaddled tightly in a white uniform, looking like a young Charles Laughton. And every gesture held high drama. He swept pussycats from their cages. When he had finished with a pussycat, he sprayed the table with the air of a great French chef seasoning the soup. He did Siamese, and he did it as an artist stands back to survey an easel.
He picked the pussycat up suspended, with a finger of one hand in front of its hind legs and a finger of the other hand behind its front legs. And he extended his arma full length and there the pussycat was: three feet out in front of the judge, with a couple of feet of its back and belly hanging in space. He flipped those cats back and forth, in and out of cages, with rhythmical grace and fluid motions. All he needed was a little music – a good old fashioned waltz, perhaps. A great showman. Worth the trip just to watch him operate.
My day at the cat show leads me to believe that what the Maine Coon really needs is a watch and ward society to protect his interests at cat shows. For hear this! Sitting in a short section of «oddities» (in the next cage was the only Ragdoll) was a large cage containing a huge cat. He was black and white and looked as though he had dropsy he was so big. Also in the cage was a dish piled high with round ground (round ground, my dear – obviously not hamburger) and another dish of dry food and a dish of water. He sat quiescent, just an enormous blob of cat with nothing else to distinguish him. On my second go-round, I noticed something had been added to the cage.- a sign reading «Maine Coon Cat» and beside the cage fussing around, was a slightly built girl in her late 20’s, with a worried, heckled look on her face. I asked her if it was a Maine Coon. Yes, it was, she’d just put the sign up because so many people wanted to know what it was. Where did she get him? At the animal shelter. How did she know he was a Maine Coon? Because they told her so. How old was he? Born in February. (Fight months, by God!) How much did he weigh? 35 lbs., the last time she weighed him. Well, says I, he’s quite a cat. At which she blossomed and informed me she wouldn’t have thought of bringing him except that «her friend» thought she should and she wouldn’t do it again because «he didn’t like it. I didn’t offhand see how anybody could tell what that particular cat did or did not like, since he just sat there and looked out in a stupefied fashion, but I figured at least I’d finally seen a 35 lb. cat and went my way.
Later on I saw what she meant, because I stuck with him for the judging. What he didn’t like was movement. The frail, harassed looking woman was unable to get him from home base to the judge’s cage, and «her friend», obviously a trainer or shower or expert of some sort, managed to tote him up and stuff him in. He then became quiescent again. Until the judge got ready to work with him and then all hell broke loose. He swelled up to twice his size, the cage rocked and teetered, and he told the whole world what he thought. And all around me people said, «What is that?». And the informed whispered, «That’s a Maine Coon Cat!». And the final word, depending upon the stratum of Boston society, would be, «My God!» or «Mercy!». Finally, the owner’s «friend» put on gloves and extracted him from that cage. People fell back on either side as they made an awe-inspiring trek, a-hissin’ and a-spittin’, back to his ground round. And I figured I’d not only seen a 35 lb. cat, I had a fair idea of what a 70 lb. cat looked like!
All kidding aside, though that sort of thing isn’t quite right. The «friend» of the owner was obviously plugged into the show why on earth would she let that young woman put a sign on the cage saying «Maine Coon Cat»? You’d think common decency would prevent it in the course of a legitimate showing. And while the owner was obviously a sincere, well meaning person, the cat was obviously just a freak domestic short hair who needed an intes tinal bypass.
Of course, he wasn’t listed in the program as Maine Coon, but every layman at the show pegged him Maine Coon and passed the word (people don’t read, you know) and it certainly doesn’t help the breed any.
So it was quite a cat show. And I rather fancy that sometime this October I’ll leave the woods long enough to sit on a stump in Boston again. I was surprised and pleased, incidentally, to see the really large number of young people involved with their cats – intensely involved, from the looks on their faces at judgement time and their conversations. I suppose it’s because it’s a reasonably inexpensive, viable hobby for apartment living.
I close the story of my cat year by saying that my Maine Coon (if such she be) is my idea of a mighty fine cat, in appearance and personality. Any time I can lay my hands on an other one to keep her company, I’ll do it. I take it as an accolade when my veterinarian greets me with, «Well, and how’s that fancy barn cat of yours today?». (for our annual checkup and booster shots, I haaten to add not illness). Because, for me, the best cat of all is the one that combines beauty with a touch of the «barn» to preserve its cattiness. It’s got to look like a cat.»
Amen, Mary. That’s why I’m hooked on Maine Coons – they are all CAT!
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1975 spring
Grüss Gott, Guten Morgen und Ich spreche kaum deutsche! Yup, here we are. After 32 months of rattling around the country and the world, Heidi Ho is all back together.
It started on October 29 when I loaded the troops into the trailer and said goodbye to Columbus, Georgia. We first headed for Illinois to take my weary mother home. This was her first experience at packing and moving my household and she had had it. This leg of the trip was relatively uneventful. Minnie Pearl and Georgia Girl each took a turn at slipping out the door of the trailer but thanks to my habit of counting noses and check ing the area before we move, they were retrieved.
Calm reigned during the two weeks we spent in Illinois. Charli, Schroeder and Thomas were allowed out for part of the day which kept them from going stir crazy. The rest of the gang adjusted well to their cramped living quarters. Mother’s Susan got her nose in a knot over all those cats out there.
She hates cats; the fact that she is one is beside the point. She would leave in the morning when allowed out (in a town of 1,300 you can let your cat roam in relative safety during the day) and not show herself again until chow time. One evening she failed to return; it had been snowing all day. So at midnight yours truly and Heidi were out with flashlight plowing up and down alleys looking into and under things.
No luck. Mother and I were up and down all night looking. At 6 A.M. Miss Susan banged on the back door and demanded breakfast. She was dry and clean; obviously had gone in some place to escape the snow and some one closed a door.
From Illinois the troops and I trekked to Beltsville, Maryland (D.C. suburb) where Heidi was to stay with her favorite baby sitter. Because of her age and an acceptable alterna tive, I had decided not to take her. We arrived at Barb’s about 9 P.M.; fed the troops and got everyone settled, we thought.
When I went out next morning, the first thing I discovered was that Holly had presented us with two new baby boys. Henry had gotten out of his quarters 65 days previously. At the time, I had foolishly thought that I caught him in time. While we were home, I had realized I hadn’t.
The next thing I discovered was that Charlibrown was missing! I searched every corner of that trailer, but finally had to admit he wasn’t in there. I was sick because I couldn’t remember when I had last seen him. Charli has (or had) a nasty habit of darting thru doors and we had made two after dark stops the evening before. I was almost certain I remembered shooing him back but not quite.
Heidi and I searched the neighborhood but no Charli. This was disheartening because when he is out Charli always hangs around the trailer and comes when called.
So after scooping Molly and the new kids off the seat into the half suitcase nursery bed in the closet (where she has cared for two other families), Heidi and I drove a hundred miles back to the rest area just off the Pennsylvania Turnpike, one of our two stops. The other was on the Pike another 90 miles back. We contacted the caretaker who had been on duty no he hadn’t seen Charli. We searched and called no Charlibrown. –
I almost went on back up the Pike, but besides being concerned about Molly (I had barely checked her) I had a nagging hunch that Charli was back there somewhere. We got back about 2 P.M. but no Charli. Barb came home from work and I broke the news.
We spent the evening stewing. I had decided that I would hit the road early next day and go back up the Pike and hope I could recognize the spot where we had stopped. About 8 P.M. we went out to tuck the kids in and I made my third discovery Molly had three boys. Abraham had been born after I left to look for Charli and because the closet is dark, I hadn’t noticed when I came back.
Then when we left the trailer, Barb spotted some thing under her car – there was Charlibrown, dry as a bone in spite of all day’s rain and chattering like a magpie about the fact that he was starving. I don’t mind admitting that I bawled all over him. I said Charli had a habit of darting thru doors – he lost it someplace in that Beltsville neighborhood. Hasn’t been near a door since.
A couple of days later we bid Heidi a very sad «So long, see you later.» and headed for New York. Stopped for a cup of coffee with Carol Noggle in Newark, Delaware and met Humphrey, Chester and their harem. A right handsome tribe of M.C.’s, I must say.
Spent a wonderful week with Betty and Rod Ljostad who so generously volunteered to baby sit my crew until I could send for them. Especially nice was the MCBFA meeting where I met a lot of nice folks who thus far had been just names. Then on Saturday, November 30, I took my one phrase of German, «Wo sind meine dreizehn katzen?», and headed for Stuttgart via MacGuire A.F.B. (Betty taught me that, «Where are my 13 cats?», for use when the tribe arrived in Germany).
Three week later, meine dreigehn katzen arrived in Frankfurt via Vari Kennels and TWA. They made the trip in fine shape, thanks to the expertise of Rod and Betty. After all my practice, I didn’t need my German phrase at all; the TNA agent spoke perfect English. It was a bit hilarious. When I walked in and said that I had come to meet my cats who were arriving on Flight 270, he replied that yes, they were on the manifest he had just received and how many did I have? I took a deep breath and said thirteen. He grinned, and said «That’s what the manifest says but I thought the teleprints had malfunctioned.»
A When they arrived, he took me and the cart full of cats, who were apparently taking it all in stride as only a bunch of nosey pussies can, to the customs office where we had a bit of difficulty convincing the German agent (who didn’t speak English) that I was not importing a bunch of cats to sell. Finally I told the TWA man to tell him that some people collect stamps, I’m a nut that collects cats! The translation of that must have been wild because the customs agent started laughing and our troubles ended. As he was checking through the health certificates, he grinned and said something like «You have a family of peanuts». Had me puzzled for a moment; then I realized he had seen the names «Charlibrown and Schroeder». Some things are universal.
Two weeks ago Heidi joined us. She seemed to have settled down to stay with Barb, but the day after I called Betty to give her a shipping date for the cats, she began demo lishing the household (ESP?) and when 90 lbs. of shepard decides to do that, you’d best give in. We did and TWA came through with flying colors again. There was a two hour delay while the plane sat in Zurich, Switzerland waiting for the fog to clear at Frank furt but she had obviously had a good trip – not a bit perturbed by it all. She and I made the third trip to Frankfurt last Saturday (Feb. 15) to meet Molly who had finished raising her family. One more trip and I’ll have to wear a disguise or that customs man will change his mind about the validity of my «personal pets».
So thanks to a lot of nice «friends in need» a big move was really made relatively easy. Special thanks to my «trailer sitter», Liz Eastman, who drove all the way down from Maine to take the rig out of the Ljostad’s driveway and tow it to her «back orchard».
Scuse me for being long winded but it was a long 3 months. Next time, I’ll tell you about our «togetherness» household and hopefully have something to report on the cat fancy in deutscheland.
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1975 summer
Spring has finally sprung in Deutschland, but thanks to a misplaced winter, part of it fell on its face. The early blooming trees were a fizzle. However, we are now up to our knees in tulips, drunk on lilac fragrance, and smothered in apple blossoms.
Along with flowers, spring brings kittens and by the time this goes to press, the first two litters of Deutscher Maine Coon Katzen will have arrived. My Fanny Abigail is due on May 16 and about a week later Pat Robbin’s Emily will add to Raiserslautern’s kitten crop. Henry is responsible for it all. We had thought Seth would be a good match for Emily, but he doesn’t like strange women even when they’ve been visiting for a month. Treated her like a piece of furniture!
Today was a landmark! Finally submitted my application for membership in Deutscher Edelkatzenzuchter-Verband E.V., Ortsgruppe Stuttgart I think. My translater and I had quite a struggle with the form I received. The average German is no more fami liar with «Cat Fancy lingo» than the average American. I may have bought another cat!
Acquiring the application was also quite an extended operation. When I arrived, I contacted Frau Rieger in Brühl-Kierberg she had written me about a year ago for help in buying a kitten. She referred me to Herr Schmitter in Köln (Cologne) who is a president of Deutsche Rassekatzen-Union. He referred me to Joyce Vititoe, who is a Crown judge stationed with her Air Force husband at Rhein-Main Air Base in Frankfurt.
Joyce, in turn, referred me to Frau LoHemaria Heuser in Wiesbaden, president of DEKZV. Frau Heuser gave me the name and phone number of Frau Doris Schaarvogel, a DEKZV mem ber in Stuttgart.
Fortunately,I took the precaution of having a Deutsch-speaking friend call her, because she doesn’t speak English and with my Deutsch in its present state, I would have bought another cat or worse! Frau Schaarvogel requested the local DEKZV representative to send the form. As a member I will, among other benefits, receive the club’s very attractive quarterly bulletin – too bad I can’t read it!
There is one little complication. DRU is an independent Deutsch organization. DEKZV is the German branch of FIFE. There apparently is no meeting of the «twain». registration makes my cats eligible to show in both associations, but unlike in the My CFA U.S., I cannot belong to both. Joyce has joined DRU; I decided on DEKZV because it has a local chapter. Now how, without creating an international incident, do I thank Frau Rieger and Herr Schmitter for helping me join their rival?!
By the fall issue I hope to be able to give an account of my first cat show in Deutsch land. Joyce has been guest judge and has shown so will give me an assist. We almost went to a show near Frankfurt a couple weeks ago but couldn’t find the right town!
My tribe has certainly proved the adaptability of cats and dogs. From having free run of a big house and bigger backyard they have made a hitchless switch to a small third floor apartment. Seth and Henry have the bedroom and balcony (which I screened); the girls have the living room, kitchen, hall, and bath; and the rest commute. The traffic through the bedroom door is terrific!
Cat food and other supplies are available at the commissary and we do have a Post veterinary clinic. Germans are fond of pets and have very strict regulations regarding their treatment. You do not see stray dogs roaming the streets and the only cats I have seen loose obviously belonged where they were. I hope my contact with the local club will give me more information on this.
Two news items before I quit. First, our sympathy to Helen LaBive on the death of her husband on March 28. Both have been MCBFA fanciers for several years. Second on a brighter note Jabey Crawford out in Indiana has caught his first mouse. Congratula tions fellow – even if it was a case of cradle robbing!!
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1975 winter
«DIE GROSSE KATZEN! WUNDERBAR!» This was the Maine Coon Cat’s reception when they were introduced to the German Cat Fancy at the XXIX Internationale Rassekatzen-Asstellung held on November 1-2, 1975 in Munich, West Germany.
Pat Robbins and I escorted Heidi Ho’s Henry Sayward and Molly Stark and Gemutlichkatzen’s Sebastian (Henry’s son by Bo Chat’s Emily of Gemutlichkatzen) to the big event. There were 807 entries including Persians (422 of them), Colorpoints (Himalayans), Birmans, Angoras, European Shorthairs, British Blues, Russian Blues, Abyssinians, Siamese, Burmese, Havana Browns, Devon and Cornish Rex, and our Maine Coon Cats.
The show format was remarkably similar to American events. We felt right at home standing in line for the vetting in (very thoroughly done), collecting our exhibitors’ badges and catalogs, hanging cage curtains, and settling down for a cup of coffee from the trusty thermos. The main difference is the manner of conducting the judging.
Instead of the owners transporting the cats to the ring, stewards do this. The judging takes place in a secluded area with no audience. Results are posted on a bulletin board. The judges are assigned specific breeds to judge; each cat is judged only once. On the final day each judge calls back his/her best cat of each breed and the entire judges’ panel selects Best Cat of Show, Second Best, etc. The catalog format is the same as ours. One other difference is that the cats are benched in numerical sequence according to the catalogue. This makes it much easier for the spectators, but the poor breeder who shows more than one breed or has cats in several classes needs roller skates!
We could have created an international incident over the catalog listing because our Maine Coons were placed under «other color Persians!». However, since they were plainly labeled Maine Coon in bold type, we didn’t. We have learned that there is a misconcep tion over here that the Maine Coon is the product of breeding Persian to shorthair. I have also seen a booklet which labels them «Halb-Angora» (half Angora). So, instead of getting uptight, we did our best to educate our audience.
And what an audience! The show was held in a football field size exhibition hall at Messegelande, site of the famous Oktoberfest. The gate opened promptly at 0900 hours and within ten minutes that hall was filled! According to the Munchen Bild (Munich paper), total attendance for the two days was 25,000!! The show day ended just as promptly at 6 P.M. Everything seemed to run like clockwork. Because of this prompt ness, I was able to commute between Munich and Stuttgart and give the troops a chance to relax at home between sessions. Besides, Henry in a hotel would be a CATastrophe!!
Our fun began in the vetting line. Sebastian and Molly made quite an impression (Sebastian at 5 months weighed in at 82 lbs.) but when I hauled all 15 lbs. and 3 feet of Henry out (he’s a bit skinny right now) our vet nearly lost her cool. She later came around just to be sure she had seen all of that cat in one piece!
When the spectators arrived, we really were put to work. People were 3 and 4 deep in front of our cages all day long. Bridging the language barrier proved to be easier than we’d expected. On Saturday, we had an interpreter friend with us, but Sunday we were on our own with my 10 German words, Pat’s 20 and her dictionary. A lot of the people speak some English but most beginning language courses don’t contain much «cat fancy» lingo. However, where there is a will, there is a way. If you can’t find the exact word, use something similar. I understood perfectly when one lady asked if Henry was a husband!
I had a very bad moment on Sunday when I discovered that Molly’s cage oor was open and she was gone! Then someone informed me that a steward had taken her to the judge’s ring. Two more stewards arrived for Henry and Sebastian. This puzzled us because Maine Coons are not eligible for championship show (Maine Coons are not yet recognized by Federation International Feline) and we were entered for exhibition only. The stewards came back with the tribe and one informed us that the judges could not judge them because they did not have a standard. We came prepared sent them 10 copies. After awhile the steward returned with three certificates and attached «critique sheets» and told us to take them to another area for our prizes. We did and were awarded an «Ehrenpreis» for each cat. Someone explained that this indicated that the judges felt the cats were good enough to have earned champion status had they been eligible.
On Sunday evening as we were packing to leave, we were visited by Mevr. R. van Haeringen Schov, a judge from Eindhoven, Nederland. She had been judging shorthairs and had not had the opportunity to meet our tribe. She knows and judges the Norwegian Forest Cat and was familiar with the Maine Coon Standard. After seeing our three, she said that the Forest Cat and the Maine Coon appear to be the same cat. Perhaps the historians among us should pursue this back further.
Henry and Sebastian are going to be «famous». Henry’s picture appeared in the «Bild» article and they were both photographed by professionals for Frau Theis who writes books on various breeds of cats. She plans to do one on the Maine Coon. We also supplied her with a handful of MCBFA literature to help her get the facts.
It is unfortunate that Sebastian, Molly, and Henry don’t understand Deutsch- they would have had a real ego trip. We could have sold 50 kittens on the spot at most any price we chose. We would have to put our girls on the fertility pill if we tried to fill all the requests for kittens. However, we both feel that we should go slowly and attempt to establish a sound Maine Coon breeding program here. I would urge all Maine Coon breeders to work through MCBFA and, if you do receive requests for kittens, send only your best. The cats we saw at the show were excellent examples of their breeds. We want to assure that Maine Coons in Deutschland meet the same high standards.
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1977 winter
Somewhere in the Denver area, for or five years ago, a cat had kittens. One of those kiltens was a red mackerel tabby boy. From that point until February, 1977, the record is blank. It seems safe to assume that this red fellow had a home (perhaps several) because he learned to love and trust humans. He was probably a cute kitten and was loved and cared for for awhile. But he grew and became a tomcat and as tomcats do, he roamed, fought, and perpetuated his species when opportunities arose. His people, if he had any, did not care enough to have him neutered.
Consequently, February, 1977, found him on death row at the local pound; scrawny, scarred, and sporting a «cauliflower ear». souveneir from one of his many battles. 9 His situation was about as bleak as it could get when fate stepped in and granted him a reprieve. My veterinarian «bailed him out» to serve as an emergency blood donor. In return for his services and «just because he was such a neat fellow», he was neutered, named «Tuffy», and a search begun for a permanent home.
I met Tuffy in April. He was still a bit thin, but neat, clean and a very charming fellow with an expression that said he hoped for the best, but expected the worst. But Tuffy, wasn’t happy; his free spirit couldn’t tolerate life in a cage. Sooo a couple weeks later, Tuffy came to stay with us to await adoption. He was a perfect house guest, but he had one problem. He couldn’t forget he’d been a fighting tomcat and regarded any male of his own species (neutered or not) as a deadly enemy. He loved me and the dogs, was a gentleman with the girls, but couldn’t tolerate the boys.
Since he couldn’t adjust to the bachelor bunch, Tuffy became our outside cat with his headquarters in the garage. His days were spent on the patio with the dogs, or snoozing under the trailer in the front yard. Although he would have preferred to roam, he learned to report for bed at sundown, retiring to his carrier in the garage. Gradually his tolerance for the fellows improved until he could be allowed inside for the evening as long as I was around to chaperone. Most of his evenings were spent snoozing in his favorite chair until bedtime when he would amble out to «his house» without protest.
His tolerance wasn’t the only thing that grew. Tuffy ate as though trying to make up for all the meals he had ever missed. From a 10 lb. «weakling» he turned in to an 18 lb. red sausage; a very happy sausage. His anxious expression had been replaced by one of contentment. His coat was thick, shiny and impeccably groomed. Tuffy needed just one more thing – a home of his own.
In November, Tuffy participated in the Household Pet class at a local show. His charisma captured the «Judges Choice» award and a home of his very own with a couple who fell under his spell.
Tuffy’s story has a happy ending. Most of his kind are not so fortunate. Millions of Tuffy’s walk death row every year, either in the pound, on the streets and highways, or the slower route of starvation. How can you and I help? The only real answer is to prevent the birth of surplus kittens by supporting neuter-spay programs in our own communities and by urging congressional support of legislation to provide for low cost neuter-spay clinics. Write your Congressman today – for all the Tuffies of the world.
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1978 spring
I’ve had a number of requests for advice on grooming Maine Coon Cats. With the «Spring Shed» just a few weeks away, this is a good time to review the procedure, or at least the one I use.
Let’s first establish a few facts. The Maine Coon is not a Persian. He has a coat that is more or less self-grooming. He does shed and during periods of heavy shedding, he may matt. However, on most Maine Coons the matts are small, comparatively loose, and will tend to work themselves out away from the skin and eventually drop off – on the furniture, in the soup, etc. This being the case, why bother to groom at all?
Well, if you don’t, you will have fur not only in your soup but all over everything. Furthermore, puss will look like a moth-eaten muff and will decorate your happy home with urped hair balls as well as hair. Second fact: the finished product should be a cat with an essentially clean cut top line flowing down into «fringed»underpants. He should not look fluffy! Even his bib appears «tailered» when compared to a Persian.
To achieve this, you need just two combs – no «hair tonic», no powder, no brush. A brush is really rather useless; it just skims the surface and fools you into thinking your cat is well groomed, while underneath is a mass of dead hair. One comb should be a «flea comb» with 21 teeth per inch. This is for the short fur on head, shoulders, and legs. The other should be a standard wire comb with 12 teeth per inch. I like the type with a wooden handle best. If your cat has a very heavy coat you might want to add a second one of these with 9 teeth per inch.
Some cats like grooming; some like it until you reach the britches; and some raise Holy Ned if you even reach for a comb. Since I have some of each, I give myself an edge on the protesters by using a formica top grooming table – no traction for fast take-offs. It is also a comfortable height and by having a specific place for grooming, it conditions puss (for better or worse) to know what to expect when he is put there.
Begin combing at the head with the flea comb. This feels good (even to the rebels) and puts puss in a good mood for the rest. If there is a lot of pull with this comb, switch to your 12 tooth comb for the first combing and then back to the flea comb. Whenever one comb seems to be pulling excessively, switch to a comb with fewer teeth.
Work from front to back and from top to bottom. If an area has a matt, work from the outside into the skin in short strokes, catching just a bit more of the matt each time. Almost any matt can be worked out this way without causing puss too much discomfort. If there are no matts, comb out from the skin. Pay particular attention to the «armpits» and flanks. My kids have learned to allow me to stretch their «arms» up so I can comb from under the arm down the side to the flank. Underparts can be combed with the cat standing or held in a sitting position with his back braced against you.
To comb the britches, I tuck puss under my left arm, Mammy Yokum style, and hold him firmly against me with my upper arm. This leaves my left hand free to stretch and hold the back legs. Matts often form just above the hock and if puss flexes his legs, you can’t reach them. This is also a good time to do the tail, working from base to tip. Be particularly thorough under the base of the tail. With just a minimum of once a week grooming, your Maine Coon will be in show condition all the time and you can eat your soup without saying «Ptoooey»!
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1979
What is better than one Maine Coon Cat? Sixty-five of them with their two-legged valets and chambermaids all convened at the Steel City Cat Club’s annual show in Pittsburg, Pa., 20-21 of October!! I could hardly believe my eyes. Here in the Rocky Mountain area, I seldom see more than two Maine Coons at a Show- Mine! For two days we had an international Maine Coon convention. Coonaphiles and Coon cats from 14 states CT.,N.Y.,VA., PA., CO.,N.H.,ME.,MI.,CA., TN., OH., MO., N.J., and MA; plus Dee Dylan from Ontario, Canada, and Barbara and Gunter Simon from Berlin, West Germany.
The Simons (with their Clarissa) won the «who came the farthest award», but I’m going to claim the «who brought the most cats» distinction. My whole Heidi-Ho Herd (15 adults plus 6 new babies born the evening before the show) were in my trailer in the motel parking lot along with Carla and Keiki, their dogs. We had open house all week end! The Herd wants me to tell you that they never met nicer folks.
I’d like to give a detailed account of the show, but I can’t too busy meeting new people and renewing old friendships. The weekend is a blur of faces, some with whiskers, some without! If you can, take an autumn vacation some year and spend those two special days in Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania in October is an artist’s pallet and garnished with Coon Cats it deserves to be on your «must visit» list. The Steel City Club members have earned a big thank-you for a memorable weekend for all of us.
Since the last Scratch Sheet, I’ve had two letters I’d like to share one sad and one happy. The sad news, I pass along as a word of warning. Thanks to lethal advice from a «Know-it-all» pet store owner in Florida, Socrates is dead at 11 years. This so-called expert advised Sock’s folks to use a DOG flea collar. Two months later, Sock died a very painful death due to absorption of the toxic chemicals from the collar! ‘Nuff said!
To close on a more cheerful note, here’s a bit from a letter from a fancier member in Iowa about her «obscenely large kitten» – quote from a judge who handled him at 6 monthes old and 15 pounds. «I also swear he understands every word I say. After me explaining, laughingly, to a friend how you can train a cat to use the people toilet, I woke one night to a strange sound. Being a single lady, I was astonished to hear what sounded like a gentleman using the toilet. Knowing this was unlikely, I dashed for the bathroom to see a very satisfied Maine alighting from the (used) toilet.» Personally, I think «Peavine» has figured out a way to beat inflation- what is saved on litter can be spent on food!
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1979 winter
T’was just before midnight and all through the house, Not a creature was stirring – we don’t have a mouse. When what to my horrified ears should resound – The squall of a cat and the bark of the hounds! I jumped out of bed and on feet cold and bare, Flew down the hall and stumbled downstairs. There back in a corner, under a table Was a strange blue cat whose name was not Mabel!
Enough (?) poetry. The point is, what do you do when you are visited by a strange cat? This happens to folks with cat doors – even when the backyard is fairly well «cat proofed». The invader may be a sweet loving pussy cat under normal circum stances, but in alien territory, surrounded by a crowd of noisy, if not hostile feline homesteaders, he won’t be feeling very normal. The «pussy cat» is likely to have a very short fuse, so don’t attempt to scoop him up in your arms; you could get shredded.
First, banish the home crew from the vicinity; that will remove a great deal of the threat of the situation. Then talk to your trespasser and watch his reaction. Watch especially his ears. If they stay up and alert, good. If they flatten, keep your distance. His eyes also reflect his feelings.
With the feline threat gone, puss may relax and make friends, especially if you offer a tasty tid bit. You may feel it is safe to pick him up and it might be. The safest thing is to get him into some type of carrier. Even though he seems to be amiable, being a cat, he could spook and explode without warning.
«Blue» was not openly hostile, but he made it clear that he did not want me to touch him. So I placed a Vari-Kennel carrier in front of him and suggested he go in. He did! Maybe he thought it was a good place to hide. I carried him out to the patio, opened the carrier door and he left.
Sometimes, your trespasser will gladly leave the way he came (he knows how) if he has the opportunity. That is why it is essential to first get your own cats out of the way. Sometimes food will entice him to move out. Each one is different. Judgement on your part will tell you the best approach. Always keep in mind, that under stress, a cat, unlike a dog, will not resort to submission. With puss, its either flight or fight, so best keep hands off until you are much better acquainted.
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1979 summer
Do your kittens keep your hair on end, chomping on light cords and other such goodies that invite disaster? I finally found a solution, it is called «Bitter Apple», and is available in pet stores. It is also useful in preventing your older crowd from chew ing off bandages, or licking cuts, scratches, etc.
Another handy product is Odormute. A solution of this is one of the most effective means of cleaning up goofs on the rug and removing the odor that invites a repeat per formance. It can also be safely used on grass in outdoor runs. I use it in my outdoor litter boxes, which are filled (appropriately) with pea gravel. Speaking of odor, I’m just now trying a product called Odokleen. It comes in concen trated form, and is used to both clean and deodorize. So far, so good. It smells minty in the bottle, but doesn’t leave a residual «public restroom» odor after use.
These products are probably available at pet stores, but I get them from veterinary pet supply companies by mail order; the prices are better. Four of these companies that
I have been very satisfied with are: Kay-9 Veterinary Supply Co. Animal Veterinary Products, Inc. Animal Specialties, Inc. P.O. Box 347 South San Francisco, Ca. 94080 Galesburg, Illinois, 61401 P.O. Box 1267 United Pharmacal Co. 306 Cherokee St. St. Joseph, Mo. 64504 P.O. Box 531 Camden, N.J. 08101.
Kay-9 restricts sales to animal professionals only (breeders, kennels, catteries, etc.) and the others may have restrictions on sales to the general public, but for those of you with multiple furry friends, it is worth writing for a catalog. One product I have not had success with is Borden’s Kitten weaning formula. Neither kittens would touch it. Maybe my cats just don’t like dead fish (very dead). Borden’sKMR is great- the kittens love it and thrive on it, either as a supplement or as a straight diet when mom cat fails to produce. Hopefully, these tips will prove helpful. If any of you have discovered any «tricks of the trade», We’d like to hear about them!
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1980
I’m sitting at the kitchen table watching Cricket, my free-spirit Siamese, who is sitting under the bird-feeder watching birds….hoping! There isn’t much danger she’ll catch one now. She used to! Then one day, I realized that she caught them with her claws, not her mouth. Now I make certain those claws are clipped to a safe length, so Cricket just watches and hopes.
Do you realize that the unfortunate folks in Australia have never met a Maine Coon Cat?! I hadn’t thought of this until I recently spent the evening with a delightful lady from «down under», Mrs. Anne Faulkner. Mrs. Faulkner, a shorthair specialty judge, was in Denver for a short visit. Several members of the local cat fancy had dinner with her and then took her for a quiet visit to meet some American cats. She was very impres sed with the Maine Coon-«squashed by» to be exact; Henry sat on her lap!
Mrs. Faulkner is also the editor of the Burmese Whisper, the «voice» of the Burmese Owners & Breeders Association. The BOBA is comparable to our MCBFA as it is «for people interested in the health, welfare and breeding of these beautiful and intelligent cats.» BOBA is a non-affiliated association, and awards its «Cat of the Year» trophy much the same way we do. Its nice to know that there are folks all over who care as much for their cats as for the prizes they win.
One last thought and reminder. The flea season is upon us (unless you live in Denver we don’t have any), so prepare to do battle, but only with products that are safe for cats! If in doubt, check with your vet.
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1980 winter
Noted in Readers’ Digest «Quotable Quotes»: «You own a dog; you feed a cat.» true; but what do you feed a cat? There is certainly a limitless choice of what to feed your cat. The pet food aisle at the supermarket gets longer and longer. The «tube» bom bards us with finicky Morris, the cartoon Crave Cat, Meow Meow Mix, Chow Chow Chow, and the barber shop quartet, to mention a few. Newspapers and magazines are filled with cents off coupons enticing you to try new foods, or to buy more old ones. How do you decide which is best?
You won’t; your cat will, but you can steer puss in the right direction. Just as true for cats as for people is the fact that a balanced diet is the key to good health. Here are a few tips on how to persuade your feline tyrant to eat a balanced diet, accumulated from my own seventeen years of associating with feline gourmets and gourmands.
First, my basic premis is that cat food companies have invested a lot of money into researching feline nutritional needs, so I feel safe in assuming that most commercial foods (except the cheapies) are acceptable fare. Furthermore, I don’t even like to cook for me, so I’m not interested in becoming a cats’ chef. Second, cats, unlike dogs, do get bored with the same old thing every day. Mine will periodically turn off on something that they have been wild about for months. When that happens (always just after I have bought a whole case of the stuff) I simply set it aside for a month or so until they have again turned up their noses at the current fare. Then the old food is again new and delicious. Third, some cats like anything including cantaloupe and ripe olives; most kittens will eat anything that comes in a cat food can; but most cats have some definite dislikes, food they would rather starve than eat. The trick is to develop more likes than dislikes in your cat so you can vary his diet. Cats like the things they learned to eat as kittens! Some of my tribe won’t touch raw kidney; I wasn’t feeding it when they were kittens. Those that had it when they were small love it. Moral: feed the kids a little of everything. Fourth, vary the consistency of the food. Dry food is a good toothbrush.
I had one fellow who had to have his teeth cleaned about every six months until he learned to eat dry food. How did I teach him? By not giving him quite enough canned food to satisfy him and leaving dry food available for him to snack on. Fifth, and maybe most important; don’t make an issue of mealtime. If puss takes a couple bites and leaves, so what? Leave the food there; he’ll come back later. Cats are natural nibblers. In nature, very few of the game animals that a cat can catch would make a full meal; they survive by catching a lot of small meals instead of one big one. Cats also like to eat at night more than in the daytime. Food rarely spoils in a 12 hour period, so leave it available. If it should spoil, puss won’t eat it anyway! In warm weather, I often find that most of the food I put down at 4PM is still there at bedtime, but by morning it is gone!
Sixth and last, if your only cat really gives you trouble, get 10 or 15 more cats! Competition dous wonders for finicky feeders!
Speaking of food, if any of you feed a total DRY FOOD diet, (discounting occasional treats) please let me know. My vet opthamologist is doing a research project that could be very important to your cat and all others!
Pet owners in Houston, Dallas-Ft Worth, and Austin, TX, Atlanta, GA, Tuscon and Phoenix, AZ, Denver, CO, and Orange County, CA can now call on the services of «Special Pals» if their fur footed friends go wandering. They shouldn’t be running loose, but if they are, accidentally or on purpose, and they don’t show for dinner, you folks in these areas can find the Special Pals ad in the lost and found column in your local paper. S.P. utilizes a computer as wall as «Pound Hounds» who go looking in the shelters. Pre-registered pets get a special I.D. tage which really enhances the service. If you have a gypsy in your household, you should look into this.
One final note: Sally Miller reported that she saw «Peavine» (fall S.S.) at a recent cat show, but said she failed to notice whether he used his litter box or left the room!
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1982 winter
Last time I got this column together, I promised to tell you how to get your cat out of a tree (or off the roof, down from a telephone pole, etc.). I hope no one has had one there waiting for my solution!
First, ask yourself, «Do I necessarily have to get my cat out of the tree, or whatever, right now?» Most of the time, the answer will be, «No, it can wait awhile.»
Last summer I learned about an escapade pulled by one of my kids who lives in Evergreen. Bogie slipped out of the door into the yard and the whole family went rushing after him. He took one look at the stampeding mob and scooted up a tall pine tree. Nothing would coax him down. Neither would the fire department, nor the police, come to the rescue. In desperation, Bogie’s folks called a tree trimmer who came with his «cherry picker», at a price that would have fed Bogie prime rib for a year! Up went a rescue team in the cherry picker – and down came Bogie – all on his own! I wish they had called me. That brat grew up in a tree in my backyard (as do all the Heidi Ho kits) and was quite capable of getting himself down from a tree by the time he was 8 weeks old. All he needed was ignoring – it’s no fun sitting in a tree all by yourself!
If you must get the cat down now, the simple answer is your garden hose. Adjust the nozzle to give the most forceful stream and aim it above him. There may be some cats who don’t mind the resulting downpour, but I haven’t met any. Just be certain the stream of water will reach a point above the cat, otherwise, he’ll go up instead of down. You can increase your reach by standing on a ladder, tying the nozzle to a long pole, climbing an adjacent tree or to a convenient roof. Some of you may be a bit horrified at this method. Believe me, it won’t hurt anything but his dignity!
By the time this goes to print, you folks down south will be fast approaching the flea season. The best way to combat fleas is to head them off at the corral! You may get a few, but you don’t have to keep them. I had an invasion while I was in Georgia, but I got rid of them in three weeks, and it did not happen a second time!
Before the ornery varmints sneak in, get with your vet and get a flea powder that is safe for cats. DO NOT use products made for dogs. The powder I used in Georgia was Diryl, made by Pittman-Moore. The tribe got a weekly powdering around the neck and down the back, with an extra heavy sprinkle at the base of the tail. I also sprayed the house (carpets, baseboards, etc.) and the yard with appropriate sprays containing Sevin. The key to winning the battle is persistence. Keep on with the powdering even if you don’t see any fleas. By the time you see one, the place is probably crawling with them!
If all else fails, move to Colorado. We don’t have them here. The high altitude, dry climate and cold winters soon eliminate even the fleas that ride in on out of state fur people. Now you know why I chose to retire here!
POTPURRY Connie Condit 1983
So you want to be a breeder! Why? If the answer is to make money, forget it! Most breeders operate in the red most of the time. The best I can say for my tribe is that they help pay their own grocery bill. Even if you manage to stay in the black, you’ll find it mighty poor pay for the time and energy expended. Face facts, breeding cats is an expensive hobby.
If the answer is, «I like kittens,» then why not foster-home some waifs from the humane society? ending supply and your TLC will help make them healthy, loveable and adoptable.
If you can sincerely answer that you like Maine Coon Cats (or Manx, or Siamese, etc.) and are really interested in breeding the best kittens possible, in promoting interest in the breed and placing your kittens in the best possible homes (they are at their best as just plain family members), then maybe you should consider breeding. I said consider !
You must also be able of answer «yes» to the following:
1. Am I willing and able to purchase the best possible breeding stock? dent in the budget. This initial expense can put a big
2. Am I willing to pay vet bills for multiple cats? You may firmly resolve to acquire «just one good female,» but I’ll give you odds your resolution won’t survive your first litter. Even if you have very healthy cats and never have an upper respiratory epidemic, your vet will put another dent in your bank account.
3.Am I willing and able to provide the proper diet for breeding cats? Your grocer will be a beneficiary of your new hobby. While most household pets can do very well on commercial foods, cats on the production line need some extras such as beef and kidney. They also eat more. My Bridget would consume almost 2 pounds of food per day when she was raising a family.
In addition to these three big budget biters, there are the expenses of showing and advertising. You don’t have to do either, but if you don’t let the world know about your cats, you’ll soon have wall-to-wall unsold kittens.
You must also consider housing problems. Breeding cats present some special problems. The females need places to birth and raise babies. Many will not tolerate other cats near their kittens. Some females will not tolerate each other, so you must arrange to keep them separated. No matter how sweet and loving your male is, very few can be trusted to refrain from marking territory on drapes, furniture, etc. Some females will advertise their readiness to breed in the same manner. Caging is not the answer unless you want unhealthy, neurotic cats with unsocialized kittens.
You must also ask yourself if you are willing to gear your life to the cats. Kittens don’t come on schedule. Sure, most cats have kittens without help, but there are those that don’t. As our cats become more inbred, more man made problems will occur. Are you willing to lose sleep, rearrange vacations, take off work, cancel dinner dates, etc., when kittens are coming? Do you have a reliable cat sitter so you can get away from it all once in awhile?
These are only some of the factors to be considered when you are making the big decision. Breeding cats (or any animal) is a fascinating hobby, but it is not something to do in your spare time. If you do decide to be a breeder, you won’t have any spare time there are always cats to groom, corners to clean, correspondence to answer, food to fix, litter pans to empty – – –
While you are thinking this over, please excuse me. I still have cat dishes to wash and meat to mix and it is nearly midnight!!!