A Cat Tale (or Four)

For those of you who are cat fans and frequently ask about how the outdoor cats are doing, I thought it was time for another update. (You can get the background on this post or this post.) I like it that so many of you are animal lovers, like me.

We have a few neighbor cats that think our deck is their daytime home. Mocha came first. He’s beautiful and likes to sit on the railing of the deck, sunning himself in the mornings. He’s probably going to be in for a shaving again soon. Despite my best efforts at brushing him, there are mats under all that fur again. I just hope his owners wait until it’s warmer this year. Mocha usually comes by several times a day.

mocha

Then James, the other cat that lives at Mocha’s real house, started following him over to our house in the mornings. James is a big goofball. He has no attention span – very easily distracted by new and shiny things. James has no predictable schedule. See previous sentence. He comes over as often as he remembers we’re here.

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Al used to come by first thing in the morning for food, and then left for the rest of the day. This past fall, he started staying longer and longer, and now he lives on our deck day and night. He is huge and has the thickest fur coat ever. Even on the coldest nights, he seems to stay warm. Plus, we have that heated cat house for him. (Did I tell you the Elves bought me a heated cat house for the outdoor cats for Christmas? They are all big softies when it comes to animals, too. It was the best gift ever!) Last week when we had 14″ of snow, he sat on top of his house on the deck, getting covered. He didn’t seem to mind in the least.

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After awhile, the other cat that lives at Al’s house started following him over here. (Do you see a pattern here? One cat discovers us, then soon brings a second cat along with.) Little Jackie was scared of us, but absolutely starving to death so her hunger overcame her fright. Soon, she was hanging out with Al on the deck but she was always freezing cold and trying to snuggle right up to Al. She has very fine fur, unlike Al’s thick, plush coat.

jackiealagain

The week before Christmas was so cold. One evening (with below zero predicted), I called the number on their tags to talk to their owners. I wanted to make sure they had a place to go inside. The owners told me that they had put Al and Jackie outside over a year ago because they couldn’t have them inside any more. They assured me there was shelter and food set out for them (“unless the dogs eat the food first”). Knitting Daughter and I carried the cats back over to their house that night, feeling guilty the whole time, knowing they were keeping them outside in that cold. They were both back on our deck the next day. 🙂

We brought Jackie in the house on Christmas night. It was 4 degrees outside and she was camped out in the heated cat house, shivering.  Al, on the other hand, was happy as a clam in the cold. Long story short (kinda), after keeping her inside for a few days, I asked her owners if we could adopt her and make her a permanent inside cat and they agreed. She is so happy inside, and so sweet. She and Al see each other through the glass door, but they don’t pay much attention to each other. Jackie shows no interest in going outside. Knitting Daughter is moving into her apartment next week and is taking Jackie with her. I’m so glad she has a safe, warm home and is now well-loved!

Jackie

Of course Al continues to be well-loved, too. We leave him outside because that’s where he wants to be and he seems well adapted to being out there. We do give him plenty of attention every day, and I know he loves that! And Mocha and James continue to pop in regularly, and go back to their house (inside) at night. I’m really hoping no other cats find us. We’re full up.

Sheri whoprobablyshould’vebeenavet

Under Careful Eyes

This is Gracie’s favorite thing to do when she’s not napping. She watches the visiting neighbor cats who seem to like our deck to hang out on. She has (mostly) stopped hissing and YOWLING at them through the window, but she keeps a very close eye on them. She  particularly dislikes Mocha:

Gracie-and-Mocha

But she doesn’t like his house-mate James, either. (I use the term house-mate loosely, because I don’t think their owner seems particularly concerned about letting them inside the house at night and when it gets cold. Maybe that will change when it snows or gets really cold.)

James-and-gracie

And here is a sequence of photos where she welcomes the other deck visitor, Al, to our back door. Please note the middle “action” photo. You might imagine the lovely welcoming sounds she made in that photo, to go along with her paw motions. Fortunately, Al doesn’t seem at all intimidated. (Click on photos to make bigger.)

al-and-gracie

My friend Claudia pointed out last week that all three of the visiting cats seem healthy and well cared for (despite their being out in all kinds of weather) and clearly Gracie doesn’t want any of them inside (although many of you have told me your own stories about adopting outside cats such as these), so we’re just going to continue to enjoy them on the deck. Well …. some of us will be enjoying them. Gracie, not so much.

Today’s recipe is one that I had on my Girls Weekend a couple of weeks ago. I came home and made it for my family that next week, and they all gave it up a thumbs up. I hope you enjoy it, too!

Apple-TurnoversApple Turnovers

2 apples (I used Granny Smith)
2 packages Crescent Rolls
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 oz. Mountain Dew
Cinnamon

Cut the apples into 8 wedges each. Unroll the Crescent rolls and sprinkle with cinnamon. Take one roll and wrap it around one apple slice, pinching the sides together so that no apple shows through. Repeat with the rest of the rolls and apple slices.

Melt the butter and add the sugar and vanilla extract, stirring until dissolved.

Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Add the pastry-covered wedges in two lines, lengthwise, in the pan. Sprinkle with more cinnamon. Pour the butter mixture over the top of the apples. Pour the Mountain Dew along the sides of the pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream. Easy and delicious!

What will you be knitting on this weekend? I am warping a new scarf and will try to finish up my Derecho #2. I’ll share my results with you next week on the blog. That helps to keep me accountable.

Sheri myderechocolorsaremorespringythanwintery.Ohwell.