We have had very mixed weather this winter. Some cold days and then a stretch of above normal temperatures and then back to cold. The past 5 days have been quite cold especially at night. The lows have been near 0 and wind chills of -10. I am reminded that it is still February and many weeks of winter are left. Our snowfall totals have been minimal. We do have a bit of snow on the ground right now, but hardly more than an inch. I am hopeful the wet heavy March snows stay away this year too. Here is a picture of the 3 boys enjoying a warmer day 2 weeks ago.
The cats were somewhat spoiled by our warm temperatures the end of January. We had a few days near 60 and nights only in the 40’s. The heated houses were not even being used. Then the cold arrived once again. Shadow has decided that he really likes using Hampton’s heated house. He could stretch out on his own and not worry about Stellar. This of course left Hampton out in the cold. Fortunately I have many other shelters scattered about, but he too deserved the warmth of the heated houses. Of course I worried about it and desperately tried to think of how to either move Shadow or push Hampton inside. I knew neither one of these ideas would work. I just had to allow them to work it out themselves. Whenever I try to intervene and push my wishes upon them, it usually backfires! I figured that once it got truly cold, the 3 cats would figure it out. Stellar figured it out first as he is the one who often leaves for a bit during the night. When he left, Hampton jumped inside while Shadow was still inside Hampton’s heated house. When Stellar came back, he immediately went into his heated house. He was bit stunned to find Hampton in there, but he settled down and stayed for awhile. It was like musical chairs all night. After a bit, Shadow and Stellar were snuggled in their heated house and Hampton was back in his. This happened again the next night, but it was Shadow who went into Hampton’s house with Hampton inside. At least it was progress that they peacefully allowed each other into the heated houses without squabbles. Shadow and Stellar were able to let go of their uncertainty of Hampton while Hampton was able to be gracious and allow them into his space. By the third cold night, they all had adjusted and all 3 were in their “assigned” beds! Here they are trying to figure it out. Stellar is on the left, Hampton in the middle and Shadow on the right.
Hampton’s progress continues yet it is small baby steps. He still will occasionally take off into the yard after Shadow and Stellar and try to play. He has no idea what he he is doing. His attempts always backfire as he startles Shadow and Stellar and they are uncertain of his motives. He does not appear aggressive, just clueless. He will then stop in his tracks and do the strangest open mouth breathing. It’s as though he has scared himself or knows he has done something wrong.
On a positive note, he is venturing out into the yard more often. He will sit and watch the birds and squirrels and even roll around in the grass. He usually follows Shadow and comes back when Shadow comes back. He reminds me of the younger sibling following the older sibling. Shadow sometimes seems annoyed, but Hampton doesn’t seem to care. He also will watch Stellar with interest and admiration as he sits out under some pine trees watching and waiting to chase a squirrel. Here is Hampton sitting out on the patio. It is in a corner of our yard away from the deck.
Hampton loves for me to pet him, but still always on his terms. I have to first offer my closed fist to him to smell and then I can scratch the top of his head. After a few pets, he will snuggle up against my legs. I try to take a blanket out to sit on the deck to keep myself a bit warmer. He will often roll on his side to expose his belly and enjoy a belly rub. While petting him each day I am reminded of him living under my deck for 6 months and barely catching a glimpse of him. His progress has been remarkable.
A bright spot to this month, has been the appearance of blue birds in my yard. I saw a pair 2 winters ago, but only once. This year they arrived in late January and have been around almost daily. I have had up to 8 at one time. They love the mealworms, rehydrated dried fruit as well as some suet nuggets. I am planning to get a nesting box in hopes they will choose to nest here in the spring. Here are two pictures.