Sunday, October 23, 2016

Cat-sitting and winter preparations for our feathered friends

Cat-sitting for families gives me the opportunity to meet some lovely people. I provide the service of caring for the cats, tailored to their daily needs, while people vacation or travel for business. Sometimes it can be family emergencies that take them away or they may be unwell themselves and need someone to care for the animals while they recover.
For the last two weeks I have been caring for two very cherished, albeit confused and shy, orange kitties.
Their owner is fighting a terrible diagnosis of lung cancer and is unable to provide them with the care they are used to. That's where I can help and I'm so glad I can. 

The weather has changed to wet and windy days and nights and I am already thinking about the care of Simon and the resident birds this winter.
Simon will hibernate off and on but the birds will be relying on food every day as they struggle through the many cold months ahead. Did you know that chickadees can lose up to a third of their weight just from shivering throughout the night. Imagine. And we can have -30C temperatures for much of our winter. And they have to find enough food each day to replace that weight or they freeze. Just knowing that keeps me filling those feeders all winter long. It's time now to make and provide the suet for them to pack on some weight. And this week I will pick up one hundred and fifty pounds of seed from a local farmer. That will do 'til January... maybe.

                           Home-made Suet
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup lard
2 cups corn meal
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups rolled oats
Mix together and heat on medium. Once mixed, add seeds, peanuts and cranberries.

Line muffin tins
with plastic wrap
Fill tins and pop into freezer.
Once frozen, remove suet cakes and place in plastic bags. 
Keep frozen and use when needed.

Note: You can also use up stale, sugarless cereals by adding them to your suet just to make it go further.

Here's the finished product. Photo taken last year. They are smaller than the commercial suet cakes but, oh boy, the birds really prefer these.

For now I keep the feeders full and leave some seed & apple under the sumacs at the back on the table. The blue-jays love eating here mostly. 

I cover Simon's eating spot now with our adirondack chairs against the attack of hungry hawks. I see them hiding in our trees on occasion and I know why they are visiting. I can't protect him everywhere but at least while he's eating he is safe. His den is under this old pump.
Simon has stayed in his den for three days with all the rain and wind we've had. He's probably dining on his stash and will be needing to replenish it later. Did I mention he has enough apples down there to make a pie? Uh huh!
He's lived under the old white pump for three years now.
I have no idea where his friend, Simone, is hiding out.

                                         =^..^= =^..^=
                                  Sun-puddle worshipper.

Today the sun returns, as it always does, and clean-up of the property will commence. Lots to do in the fall around here. :)

Enjoy your day. 

hugs, Deb


  1. That's an excellent idea, propping the chairs up like that! You may very well have the most pampered chipmunk in Ontario! I'm sorry to hear about your client who is unwell. At least he or she has one less thing to worry about when you are taking care of the kitties. -Jenn

  2. We had similar weather this weekend.
    Mum is happy you put up the recipe again too,as we have a lot of Chickadees.
    We send purrs to the purrson with cancer. It will be one less thing to worry about with you caring for the cats.
    Purrs Georgia and Julie,
    Treasure and JJ

  3. You are such a good caretaker of so many sweet animals!

  4. You know..
    my mom try to feed da bird like that too.
    Birds don't get to eat it, but the army of red ants !

  5. I'm sorry to hear about the person who is fighting lung cancer. But glad the kitties are very well taken care of by you :-)
    We have many chickadees around here, too. That sounds great recipe for them!

  6. So sorry to hear about your client's diagnosis. I know that treatment has improved since my Mum was diagnosed 20 years ago.

    You are so good to watch out for Simon! And hello Audrey!

  7. Simon has a pretty good chipmunk-life. All the animals around your house do. I'm sorry to read about your acquaintance's lung cancer. What an evil thing cancer is, a dreadful thing. The best of luck to everyone concerned.

  8. Having their sweet orange kitties taken care of is a worry off of your client's mind, Deb. I had to double-check to make sure that photo that shows (spelling it out) s...n...o...w...wasn't current. I'm not ready!

  9. I to have all my feeders and suet's out already and 150 pounds of seed , my birds are loving it all . Sorry to hear of these kitties owner being so ill with cancer it such a struggle for all . Our Alvin has been out and about collecting goodies and taking them back to his hidey hole . It has been chilly wet and sunny here . Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !

  10. So glad you are there for your friend -- that's a terrible diagnosis. She must be so very grateful, and her oranges, too. You know I love me my orange kitties.

    Looking lovely there.

  11. So sweet to know that someone is taking care! Keep up the good work! Love you!

  12. I have kept bird feeder stocked when we lived in Vermont, Wyoming and during our first year in Kentucky. Two of the outdoor cats we now have are fierce 'birders' as are several of the barn cats next door. I would so love to feed the birds but fear I would be luring them to a sad end.

  13. Love to hear about Simon- always wonder how hes doing! Do you think he will have a mate this winter and babies this spring? Pretty picture of miss Audrey!---shes so beautiful and so photogenic!!

  14. hi deb just want to say "go back and get one of those kitties"
    alana xx