AMA: Comprehensive list of animals (cat pics yay)

So, the first (proper) question in my recent ‘AMA’ was from Melissa, who asked:

Can you provide a comprehensive list of all your animals with names + types + breeds? And also how you manage your litter box organization! ^_^

Now, there should be a page for this, but every time I work on my ‘pets’ page, something dies or someone new comes along. 2016 has been particularly chaotic, in fact! Anyway, hopefully this post — dated and timestamped and all that jazz — will give you a rough run down of my animal population right now.

Cats

In order or when they arrived in our zoo…

Fudge

Fudge is a domestic shorthair, is 8 and a half (ish) years old and ‘top cat’ in the household since Hex passed away.

Tiny toes

Fudge in the bath

I ‘rescued’ Fudge in 2008 from a pretty awful situation (although looking back there’s lots I’d change about how I dealt with that).

Fudge went through a period of being incredibly subdued and shy, but having been given access to roam outdoors over the past couple of years he’s really come out of his shell and loves a good fuss.

Crumble

Crumble is a domestic shorthair, approx 6.5 years old and is mostly ‘owned’ by Isabel who considers Crumble her cat. I resisted the urge to adopt Crumble back in 2010 for about 2 weeks before finally caving.

Checking out the baby playmat

Wrestling Fudge

crumble

Crumble is a simple cat, content to spend most of her life curled up in a chair. She likes to sit with us of an evening and chirps like a canary if you fuss her enough.

Ripley

Ripley is a bloody expensive cat, AKA British Shorthair. She’s approx 15 months old. She is Gaz’s cat, bought for him last Christmas, and is easily the biggest pain out of all my animals. She has no tolerance for cheaper cat foods (can you blame her?) which give her the runs, so we had to switch all the cats to a more expensive food last year. She demands attention all day, eats more than any cat I’ve ever met and won’t let you empty the dishwasher without sitting right in the middle of the open door, getting in the way in the process.

ripley-on-jem

ripley-in-sunshine

That said, she is one of the most laid back cats I’ve ever owned, and loves everyone and everything, even the guinea pigs. She’s playing an important role in ‘mothering’ our latest addition, but more on him shortly. She’s fat, furry and incredibly affectionate.

Pixel

Pixel is roughly 18 months – 2 years old. We’re not entirely sure, because she’s a rescued stray, adopted from Shropshire Cat Rescue where I spend my Tuesdays. She’s a domestic shorthair like Fudge and Crumble.

pixel-kisses

Pixel is one of the biggest feline challenges I’ve ever approached. I brought her home because she was ‘red carded’ at the rescue for her aggression and was destined to become a farm cat living out her days on someone’s land. I didn’t think this was necessary, as she’d been incredibly affectionate with me, and offered to try and integrate her here.

pixel-on-me

We’ve had our ups and downs. She hides a lot, and doesn’t really like Fudge (because he’s tried to enforce the existing hierarchy and she doesn’t like that at all) but has on occasion played with Ripley. She has been bitey with both Gaz and I on numerous occasions, usually because she’s scared or over-stimulated. We have to be incredibly careful to watch all her body language for signs that she’s had enough fuss. She’s also the only cat I’ve ever owned who refuses to eat wet cat food.

With all that said, she ‘kisses’ like Hex used to, and can be friendly on her terms. I’m hoping that with time and patience she will fully integrate and be happy here, but I re-assess on a weekly basis.

Montgomery (Monty)

And here we have the latest of the purry bunch: Monty (probable domestic shorthair).

Monty is estimated at approximately 4 weeks old, but weighing just 292g when I brought him home on Monday 21st. He was found abandoned in a hedge in a town near Wales and was brought to a nearby vets who re-homed him with me via a friend of a friend.

monty

Monty is all ‘skin and bones’, and is currently receiving the kind of attention you’d expect to give a newborn baby! He’s on supplemental milk feeds (specialist ‘babycat formula’) and regular small feedings of high quality wet kitten food to boost his weight. He sleeps in a small blue fleece hat, on a fleece blanket, inside the carrier I brought him home, in front of he radiator to keep him warm.

ripley-and-monty-playing

Ripley has taken an instant shine to Monty and plays with him, follows him round, responds to his cries with what seems like concern and sits ‘guard’ overnight while he sleeps. I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship between them.

ripley-and-monty

The cats all eat James Wellbeloved and Wainwrights wet/dry food.

Guinea Pigs

We’ve had a recent explosion in our guinea pig population. Earlier on in the year we had 3: Tango and Sprite, a neutered male / female pair, and Spot (my famous guinea pig) the remaining pig from an un-neutered male pair.

spot guinea pig

Long story short, Spot and Sprite had an unintentional pregnancy and we now have 7 guinea pigs: the 3 adults, as well as Mabel (m), Badger (f), George (f) and Pepper (f). Spot has since been neutered and is currently living with Mabel, but once Mabel is old enough to be neutered I hope to reintroduce everypig into a large group.

guinea-pig-family

The guinea pigs have a diet mainly based on hay and readigrass (dried grass) as well as small amounts of veg every day or so and dry nuggets (Supreme Science Selective).

Rabbits

Peanut (tan coloured) and Sagittarius A* are both, oddly, from Shropshire Cat Rescue. I’m not entirely sure of the ages or breeds of either but they make a great pairing, which surprised me as Peanut is a grumpy bugger and their initial introductions weren’t positive.

peanut-and-saggi-rabbits

They live free range in my utility, with a cage as their ‘home base’, and all-day access to the garden on dry days.

The rabbits also have a diet mainly based on hay and readigrass, small amounts of veg every other day and dry nuggets (Supreme Science Selective).

Poops, Pees and Litterbox Fun

With a population of animals this large, poop is obviously a big part of my day to day life.

The cats currently have four litter trays between them, although this may increase with the addition of Monty. We have two covered trays in the bathroom, one uncovered tray in the utility (which the rabbits occasionally use too) and one outside in the sheltered cat run.

However, all is not perfect and we get the occasional cat leaving us a present behind the sofa or outside the tray to express indignation: often with a new arrival, or if I’ve dared leave another poop in the tray for longer than a few hours.

The rabbits mostly poo in a tray in their (always open) cage or all over my utility floor, which is at least concrete and easily cleaned. Despite having managed to perfectly litter train my previous rabbits these two are a little stubborn and would rather have me chase poo nuggets round the place.

Guinea pigs poo wherever they damn well please and their hutches have to be cleaned out regularly.

So boys and girls, there you have it. A comprehensive list of my current animals and details on litter boxes and poop. If you’d like to ask me a question, drop it in a comment on AMA.

I just can’t help myself

After the recent loss of Hex, and prior to that both one of my older male guinea pigs and Bramble AKA MEGABUN, I decided that I was fed up of things dying on me (melodramatic, much?) and that was it for pets and me: no more animals.

Considering that at various points I’ve had up to 12 animals at any one time, this would be a massive personal change. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) I just can’t seem to help myself.

I started volunteering with Shropshire Cat Rescue on Tuesday of this week — stage 2 of Get My Arse Into Gear — and having convinced myself that I absolutely must not come home with another cat, I somehow instead agreed to bring home a rabbit.

I couldn’t help myself: when I heard the story of his beginnings, and saw how his selective feeding of a muesli diet was affecting his poos (poos are a huge indicator of state of health in rabbits! see more info) As with many of the animals that end up here, I just feel the need to ‘fix it’. Thank you, empathy.

I pick him up next Tuesday, after my next sesson at the rescue. If you can’t wait til then for proper pictures, here he was yesterday, checking me out:

peanut

Looking forward to having the little floofball home :3

The Woman With 40 Cats

Karl and I have just watched The Woman With 40 Cats on catch-up TV and joked at length how that could easily be me.

Not 5 minutes later, we’re discussing ways to increase the capacity for guinea pigs in the garden and he suggests the potential for re-using Flymo’s old hutch for more piggies.

And I’m the animal hoarder?!

A bunny friend

It’s a fact that the vast majority of rabbits do better with a friend. From what I gather it’s because in the wild they live in large groups, and are very sociable with other bunnies. They like to groom each other, play, cuddle up to keep warm etc. All fairly typical stuff and something Flymo can’t do because he’s currently living on his own :(

Karl and I have been discussing getting a friend for Flymo and have decided to go ahead with it. We won’t need a bigger hutch or peripherals because we’ve got all that stuff already, so the only ongoing costs are food (negligible as our animals are on the grass most of the day) and vets bills – vaccinations, castration etc – that are accounted for in our savings. We could even save a little bit by getting a rescue bunny which would be spayed and vaccinated (donation costs usually work out less than total castration+vaxx costs).

Indeed, a rescue bunny is actually a better idea overall because then we can get one roughly the same age as Flymo and don’t have to worry as much about one dying before the other and we’d be giving a bunny in need a good home. However, therein lies a small problem: we appear to have very few rescue centres nearby and the one main RSPCA place has “not suitable for children under 5” listed on all their adverts (or in some cases, 7 or higher!)

I can understand that some animals are timid and are not suited to the boistrous behaviour of a toddler, and that some parents buy animals for their kids only for them to lose interest within a couple of weeks, but neither of those apply here. For starters, the animals are never left with the kids unsupervised and always have hiding places to go to when they’re out, and secondly the animals here aren’t FOR them (they play no part in cleaning them out etc at this stage.)

Hopefully we’ll be able to have a chat with the centre and get some flexibility on that rule, or otherwise we’ll have to look elsewhere. Either way, our zoo is about to increase in size again!

Acton Scott Victorian Farm

It was Karl’s birthday on Monday, so to celebrate the day and to fill in a bank holiday, we went to Acton Scott Historic Working Farm. Acton Scott was featured in a BBC series “Victorian Farm” in 2009, which we’d watched when it was broadcast, so it was actually a great way to follow up on that and totally awesome being able to recognise what we saw from the TV (yes, I’m that sad).

It was a good day out, and interesting to see what had and hadn’t changed compared to modern day farming methods and how we live. Karl mocked me for questioning why some of the lambs were being bottlefed instead of getting milk ‘from source’, even though it was a genuine question and bugger all to do with a breastfeeding agenda :P It turned out that mummy sheep was poorly. I don’t understand why she was being exposed to the crowds and not given a bit of peace and quiet, but meh… I’m not a farmer, what do I know?

Cockerel

One of the highlights of my day was walking around with Izz in the sling, not being limited in where we walk or what we look at, while several parents were struggling with so-called “rough terrain” prams/pushchairs, because they were clogging up with dirt or not coping with pebbled footpaths. Man, I’m a smug fucker sometimes.

Anyway, if you’re interested in seeing the animals, machinery etc, I took a bunch of pics which I’ve added to the Acton Scott set on flickr. :)

Where Do Swans Go?

No, this isn’t one of life’s little questions like “where do flies go in winter?”, but a genuine concern.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been regularly watching two swans on the River Severn. They must have been nesting because there was a built up area of grass on a mini island, on top of which one of the swans has been permanently perched. Except, we’ve had naught but rain for over three days which has brought the river level up thus covering the little island.

a nesting swan

I couldn’t see the adults as we drove past their stretch of water earlier, I’m worried now that whatever the swans have been sat on will have been washed away. It makes me feel a little sad.

Memories of Doniford Bay

I was going through my photos from over the past few years to see what I can pluck out of my collection for display on my new subdomain (aha, patience my friends) when I came across this:

weird sea critter

Excuse the poor quality, the photo was never intended for display and the light was very poor at the time. Anyway, I was wondering if anyone can help me identify it? I assumed that it is some sort of sea critter that sat on the rock whilst the tide was in, and then was washed away again as the tide went out.

Any ideas?

Edit (8th April; 19:21): I’ve submitted an information request via the MarLIN — I hope someone can get back to me and fill me in because I’m really curious now. And no, it’s not a bloody sock.