Hello friends, me is very happy, that we have another guest blogpost today. Some weeks ago I wrote about my friend Jan @tribeofma . We were very worried, that he would have to leave twitter for a long time and that we would not see his beautiful photos ever again.
Since then some things happened, he setup a fundraiser for his tribe and although his situation is not good, it is better than some weeks ago, a lot of our friends supported the tribe (we really have a great animal friends community!).
Please take the time visit this fundraiser link,
it has some additional information and updates. So now his first guest blogpost here .. be warned, it is a long read and a lot of photos!
Your Hugi ( very happy to see you here @tribeOfma AKA Jan AKA DadOfMa)
What A Strange Question
Since you are reading this, I shall assume you know @TribeOfMa on Twitter. If not:
What Is Wrong With You?
Anyhow… This Mr Hugo asked me to explain how I found Ma and her Tribe…
The answer is pretty obvious: she found me. Apparently I seemed acceptable enough for her to move in. And move in. And move in some more.
She now runs the show, owns my deeds and pays my wages… Yep. And it started in the late summer of 2012. I had lost 5 cats in 8 years to mostly arrogant vets. Vets who didn’t listen – the kind that throws you daggery glances for using a medical term in their exam room! Well, anyways… 2012.
I was pondering whether I could stand losing another cat. Dealing with vets. ‘Having’ a cat after Flodder? Could I? Probably not. Sure. Probably not. Maybe… Aargh…. My old friend and former stray Flodder was getting very old. A heart and lung condition had recently made him very fearful – his heart had given out and almost up twice; and although new meds improved his ticker, he still lacked the old confidence. So: to motivate him I would carry him to the far side of my property 4 times a day, and walk back home with him. Our cross-species chats were frequently interrupted because we both felt watched. You know: WATCHED. And since I knew how poor Google’s maps of my middle-of-nowhere property are, I assumed it wasn’t the NSA that was creeping us out… Nah, something else.
Then, one day I noticed a tiny tuxedo lady checking out my birdfeeders. Just a glimpse…and whoosh, she was gone. Next, Flodder and I would both notice two bright eyes follow us around in the dark.
Every evening. Stealthily, two cats eyes followed us from a distance. Flodder was intrigued, as was I.
Next, you know, autumn came with a chilly force. At that point I set up a motion-controlled trail camera in my garden. In winter deer would frequently invade to find shelter and birdfood, and the resulting videos are usually boring, but sometimes hilarious. I even take boring if it involves deer and foxes. It’s the west of Ireland after all.
And then… Scanning the footage recorded by the night camera, I spotted the cat. The 2 eyes that had tracked us for weeks were attached to a limping little tuxedo lady. Since, at that point, I had decided to never “ever” have another cat, I obviously started to put out food for that little lady ASAP! Sucker….
Weeks went by… and what I noticed was this: tuxie would find the food I put out for her. She’d nibble a bit. Then she would try and catch a mouse or a bird (see, she already had a sucker), disappear for an hour or two. Then she’d return and eat the rest of the catfood.
I knew the explanation to that puzzling behaviour, but I couldn’t access the file in my head. Instead I organised a trap. Surprisingly, I managed to catch her painlessly. Off to the vet. Here I have to say: she looked like a kitten – on the night camera footage tuxie had appeared bigger.And more feral. I wondered if she was even old enough to be spayed, yet. But her crooked J-shapedtail and the limp made me take her to the vet anyway. She needed a check-up.
At the vet’s I said: look at her. Can you give HER a thorough check-up, and if (!!!) you don’t think she recently had a litter or is pregnant now, can you neuter her, also? Tick tock tick tock….
Phone call. “You can pick her up”….
So I did. Again I asked, “Do you think she’s pregnant or had a litter recently? On some night camera videos I took of her she looks funny bellywise. Teats-wise…”.
“No”, the vet says, she’s too young and we would have noticed.
Aah…phew. Some relief. I could keep her indoors for a few days, feed her, keep her warm and dry. But could I ever? Within hours it was clear that this little lady was not one for the indoor amenities. I tried (though, Flodder’s intriqued growling probably didn’t help)…. I really tried. But after 6 hours she put her paws down. Not too soon, either – my living space reduced to rubble.
I opened the door, and she left. A cheeky I’ll-be-back look over her shoulder, and into the bushes she went.I thought the whole experience might have put her off for good. Trap. Vet. Snip. Cage. Car. ‘Indoors’… WTF, she thought. But no… The next day she was right back. Hunt around my birdfeeders, take the food I left out for her and so on…
Oh…jump… Now it’s New Years Eve 2012. And yes, just in time for Flodder’s walk there’s the little tuxedo lady. And oh so many of her. Hers, I mean… The little lady – we can call her Ma now -, she came with 4 kittens. Thanks, vets – so she WAS either pregnant or had had a litter just around the time you “thoroughly” checked her, eh? Good times.
Luckily, Ma had already found a great home for her kids. Me. More specifically: an old caravan parked on my land. Which is odd, because it had been locked up for years. But, hey – we’re talking Ma skills. And a quick inspection showed that she had discovered a tiny crack in the caravan’s side panel. The put in a revolving door. The rest is history. Her Story…
Over the next few weeks her 4 kids got used to me. Ma would slowly allow me to deliver food to her caravan. And I better stick to the time table or else…
So… that is how I found Ma. She found me. Ma nd her 4 kids – Stripey, Mini Ma, Cappy and Mr Flakey.
In early March 2013 – still cold and harshly wintery – two little torties joined the family.
By ‘joined’ I mean “launched occasional raids on the tribal food”! And since, after Ma and her 4 kids, I would never have any more cats, I obviously put out extra food bowls for the tortie babes ASAP. Then I built them a shelter…. Oh…D’oh… That’s 7. Plus Flodder = 8!
In October 2013 Flodder’s age and medical history finally caught up with him. He had finally gotten used to the idea of Ma’s Tribe moving from the old caravan into HIS house – my little cabin.
For 5 months he enjoyed the company. Ma couldn’t show it, but she was scared of him. Flodder was a big boy. BIG. And her kids showed Flodder a lot of respect, too. He enjoyed that. They didn’t know he could hardly run anymore. For moments every day they made him feel strong. And feared. And young. This may ‘sound’ strange, but I KNOW he died a ‘happier’ cat than he would have had we never noticed Ma’s eyes in the dark. And here’s the crazy teary part: Ma, her kids and the tortie sisters Miss Shaggy and NemesisCat hate the cat carrier. Usually they run and stay away for hours if I as much as thought ‘cat carrier’. They remembered their vet trips all too well.
And when I prepared the cat carrier for Flodder’s final journey to the vet’s, nobody else was in sight. As I turned to pick up Flodder and turned again to softly place him into the carrier for that last trip, all 7 cats of the Tribe were suddenly there. Sitting quietly on and around the plastic box. They stayed until I closed the little door, and for the first time in 12 years Flodder purred in that stupid carrier…
The very day I made the last ever vet appointment for Flodder a little tuxedo boy walked into my kitchen.
I was on my knees cleaning up the Tribe’s post breakfast mess, and Newb just climbs onto my legs. At first I thought it was Ma’s son Flakey. Even as I could see Flakey outside the kitchen, I thought, hey, it must be Flakey… It wasn’t. Newb’s the new Number 8.
Combining my resources with Ma’s resourcefulness… well, what can I say? The most interesting, most fun, and thrilling difficulty I ever experienced. A smooth ride? Nope. But every single day since that New Year’s eve I have learned something new, about them and about myself and the world.
I also met great new ‘friends’ on Twitter.
So… If you ever feel like your heart cannot take the pain of losing another soul, don’t say “never again”… Put out a bowl of food instead.
PS: If you enjoy the @TribeOfMa on Twitter, please take a moment and visit this
To Jan #DadOfMa: special big thx from Hugi and #HugiDad for sharing all your beautiful photos with us, you are one of the best !
(copyright all pics in this blogpost by , all used with her permission here, please respect this! )