Wednesday, June 15, 2011

FOXY LOXY COMES FOR BREAKFAST

FOXY LOXY
We have had a young visitor at Stone Ledge for the past few weeks. A young fox has enjoyed sharing breakfast with Samson and Delilah. Not that the cats are all that keen about sharing, but feral cats, fox, and raccoons generally maintain a degree of mutual respect for one another. The cats will back off two or three feet to let the fox eat. Although, today, when I clapped my hands to encourage the fox to leave the feeding station, Delilah took it upon herself to chase the fox to the edge of the woodlands. Delilah is a very bossy cat!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

ALL HAIL PRUDENCE! TORTIE QUEEN of STONE LEDGE

DEAR PRUDENCE
If Samson is a Prince, then Dear Prudence, his suspected mom, is surely Queen. When, on rare occasions, this elusive yet regal tortie, walks through the colony, all the cats back away in what appears to be both reverence and awe. (I swear, they look like they are bowing!) Dear Prudence, who is graying around her muzzle and walks with a touch of stiffness in her gait, still commands the deepest respect. Dear Prudence does not sleep in a feral shelter. Instead, she's content to live under a large shed with a roly-poly raccoon named--what else? Rocky! Delilah, Samson, and the other cats occasionally receive an audience with the Queen.

Tortoiseshell cats or torties, as they are fondly called, come in varied coat color combinations, as well as having exotic facial markings. They can have patches of orange, cream, cinnamon, dark brown, gray, black, or blue. Underlying the color patches is usually a distinctive tabby pattern. Often, they have an orange streak or patch on their heads which acts as a kind of symmetrical dividing line in their coloration. Here's a shot of my friend Donna's feral cat "Honey" with her son Roger. Honey has a lovely mahogony and black coat with caramel patches. Torties often have ginger or red kittens.

HONEY WITH ROGER


An interesting fact: only one in three thousand tortoiseshell cats are male. This is the result of having an extra X chromosome (XXY). As in humans, these cats are always sterile because of the imbalance in sex chromosomes. Some male calico or tortoiseshell cats may be chimeras. Chimeras are formed from four parent cells (two fertilized eggs or early embryos fused together).

As far as personality goes, torties are often described as having “tortitude.” They are known to be curious and playful companions. Call it tortitude or call it attitude, Dear Prudence, Queen of Stone Ledge, possesses both!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Breakfast with Midnight

Midnight was in an especially playful mood this morning. After dining on kibble and drinking fresh water she made happy paws and marked her feeding station with her whiskered cheeks. Then, as is our habit every morning, Midnight meowed to my off-key rendition of "Good Morning to You." (To the tune of "Happy Birthday to You.") When we had finished our mutual crooning, Midnight hopped up on top of her new feeding station where I snapped this picture.