Cats and ducklings: Part one

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Happy Mother’s Day!

I was going to hold off posting about all of our recent cat and duckling experiences for a bit longer, but I’ve been inspired by Google’s avian-themed logo doodle for Mother’s Day. It looks like they’ve got a white pekin duck mothering two mallard ducklings. Hooray for adoptive parents. Unless that’s a swan or a goose. Well, whatever.

I hadn’t posted about it now, but our seven-year-old cat Smokey died on April 6 after a relapse of whatever had been ailing him last October (an autoimmune disorder and/or cancer). This time the steroids, antibiotics, and vitamin supplements didn’t work. He was cremated on April 10. Below are three photos in memory of Smokey and his love for all things cardboard and paper. The first two shots are from Christmas 2004; he’s totally wasted on catnip. The third picture is Smokey rocking out on New Year’s Eve 2007.

Smokey the cat Smokey the cat Smokey the cat

Smokey, R.I.P.
June 12, 2000 – April 6, 2008

After Smokey was gone, Eli became obviously lonely and started acting more annoying because he didn’t have anyone but humans to interact with. As a very social cat, he needs a friend to occupy some of his attention.

Our first idea was to adopt another one of the feral/stray cats that are still running around our apartment buildings. A fellow resident had already trapped most of the cats in the neighborhood and has kindly spayed/neutered them. But after a few weeks of watching and trying to befriend the cats outside, we decided that they were all too adult (and set in their ways) and would not deal well with becoming indoor-only cats, if we could even catch them.

So we started monitoring various Oregon Craigslist locations for kittens. We have also continued feeding the strays more regularly, especially the two oldest ones. The others (their adult children) are more skittish and generally won’t come up to the landing. The calico has been around for quite some time. We think she’s the sister of Eli’s mother, or possibly Eli’s older sister. We’re not sure about the orange male, but we know he’s the babyfather to many.

Stray cats Stray cats

I should also mention that we have a pond full of mallard ducks and pekin ducks (the kind with all white feathers) on the property. It’s an interesting balance of nature. The cats are definitely duckling hunters despite being food moochers.

Case in point: The calico mother killed this yellow pekin duckling last week. It sounded like a crying kitten before she broke its neck playing with it. I’d like to think she didn’t kill it for sport, but she is indeed a cat. I was a little too late to save its life, so I morbidly documented.

Stray cats Dead pekin duckling

Our cat Eli hunts things indoors too, like cardboard boxes:

Eli the cat with cardboard box Eli the cat with cardboard box

And watermelon rinds:

Eli the cat with watermelon Eli the cat with watermelon

But wait! There’s so much baby-animal cuteness to come (and no more death).

Continue to Cats and ducklings: Part two »

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