Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Taming of the Tig 2

In Part 1, I described how Tig has been making the transition from fraidy cat to lap cat. I wanted to take a moment to mention my little ambassador in this negotiation.

Tux is a cat I have had for nearly ten years now. Early last year, we finally had to put down our older cat, Jake, who was the only cat Tux had known since he left his mother as a kitten. So when we adopted Speck from the humane society a month or two after Jake's death, Tux had no idea how to deal with her. And when Blackberry (not pictured) wandered up a few weeks after that, poor Tux felt like he was being bombarded with strange cats. But in the months since the kittens arrived, Tux has been the happiest I've ever seen him.

Even though Tux, Berry, and Speck are all indoor cats, Tux likes to go out occasionally for a sniff around. So when Tig showed up, I wasn't sure if Tux would see him as friend or threat. I didn't need to worry, because Tux immediately sized up the situation and set out to prove to Tig that getting hugs from people was about the best thing ever. When Tux was outside, all I had to do was walk up to him and he'd writhe on the ground, white tummy in the air, just begging for a tummy rub.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Taming of the Tig

Almost two years ago, I ordered 25 chicks. I actually got 28 chicks, 27 of which survived to adulthood. About 6 months ago, I decided to let the chickens have most of the day free ranging, so now I have around 20 chickens or so. One of the problems with having livestock is that you almost inevitably wind up with mice and/or rats. Mice I can deal with, but when I realized about 3 months ago there was a rat living in the henhouse, I was not a happy camper.

picture of Little TigSo when an orange and white cat showed up about two months ago and started hanging around like he lives here or something, I felt a bit more hospitable than I might have ordinarily. I admit it, I started feeding him, just enough to persuade him to stick around. I deliberately underfed him, to encourage him to make up the difference in rodents. Steve wasn't that happy, since he thinks we already have too many animals. I'm happy, though, since the rat has since decamped. I'm not sure if it is eau de cat that convinced him to leave, or if Little Tig, as I have come to call him, has indeed reinvented the rat as dinner. Steve said it wouldn't be so bad if we could actually pet him, but he can't see the point of feeding a cat you can't get near.
This is because Little Tig is quite wary of people--at first he wouldn't let us get within 20 feet of him. But when he got to the point that I could get 10 feet or so, something interesting happened. He started rubbing himself against nearby objects as if begging to be petted. So I resolved to try to convince Tig that I could get close to him without eating him even once.

I feed Tig through an opening that lets the air conditioning pipes go through into the crawl space. This lets him eat without the chickens stealing his food or the dogs stealing him. So my first step was to put the food a bit outside the hole and make him stick his head out before I'd feed him. This slowly progressed to letting me rub between his ears. Then I put the bowl farther away from the hole, so he had to come out completely.

Next time I post, I'll tell you the rest of the story.

Hello, World

I've been wanting to start a blog for some time that is more personal than my Flex blog. So I'm starting this blog about my life, mainly at my hobby farm in Saucier, MS, but there may be other random topics, so be forewarned!