Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dentro del Jardin (within the garden)

Our garden home attracts plenty of local fauna - butterflies, geckos, lizards, iguanas. Our cats spend most of their days out on the back terrace, where there is a small planter garden in one corner, and a couple of large potted plants in the other corner.

The back terrace is where we store our old BBQ (that we no longer use). It's where I hang our clothes to dry, and where I feed the cats their daily ration of tuna or canned cat food. The scarcity of canned cat food here means they are getting a can of tuna instead, and I can tell you - they are NOT complaining a bit, in fact, they are in love with tuna. Tuna costs just one peso more than the canned cat food, so it's not exactly breaking the bank to give them this treat, although I wonder if it is healthy for them - anyone know?

The cats play on the back terrace, using the plants as camouflage to ambush each other or a passing insect or gecko. The lack of small lizards back there is proof of their hunting skills, unfortunately.

The other evening I was back there taking clothes off the line and one of those wasps with 'boots' on the ends of its legs was buzzing around. Smokey was in hot pursuit, and took one leap straight up into the air - probably jumped a good 4 feet - I had no idea she could jump that high, I was impressed. She missed the wasp though.

Yesterday I went out to hang clothes on the line, and was amused to find the cats perched like this:

The 'cage' that Smokey is in used to be a wall air conditioning unit protected by bars (it is not a cage). When we removed the a/c, we left the platform and the bars, and installed a window. The cats fight over that ledge because they get to look in at us in the kitchen, but still have a great view of the garden. The tin roof protects them from rain, sometimes I really have to coax whoever is on the ledge to come in when it's raining, they feel so comfortable there.

Maya loves the coolness of the utility sink, it makes a perfect cradle for her.

All the cats love sleeping on top of the old BBQ, covered with a nice towel to give them padding - this is their second-favorite spot. 

What were they looking at?

This iguana is HUGE, and he is not a bit timid, he stayed on top of the wall as I hung clothes. He walked along, keeping an eye on all of us down below. And the cats were keeping an eye on him too:

I pulled up a chair and just sat and watched, wondering what would happen if the iguana came over to the plant roof above. The metal holding up the plants has rusted through and the weight of the iguana would be too much for it, I think. I got a broom ready in case, not sure what our cats would do with a huge iguana, and not sure what the iguana would do if it fell to the terrace below. I pictured lots of blood, not sure who's it would be.

But no worries, the iguana took its time sizing up the situation and eventually meandered back to the other corner. The cats got bored.


Jonna said...

Oh! They are so cute. I love the last pic. Wouldn't it be incredible to be so comfortable in your body that you could sprawl out like that in public? I wouldn't want to actually DO that but I'd like to feel that comfortable.

I make the cat's food, everyone laughs at me but I feel good about it. I did a little research and found out that there is one vitamin that they cannot produce or store and that you need to add, Taurine. I smash up one 500 mg pill (I bought the bottle at GNC) per batch which lasts the 2 cats between 4 and 5 days. I also add ground egg shell for calcium since they aren't eating bones. I wash the shells and microwave them for 30 sec and then grind them up.

The actual food is chicken and I buy the cheapest chicken breasts (cuz there are less bones and I'm lazy) and cook 2 of them in water. De-bone, chop, add the egg shells and taurine and mix up with some of the broth. If you have male cats, add more broth to get more fluid in them and prevent crystals. I use the rest of the chicken broth either for soup for us or to cook the dog food. Every week or so our cats also get tuna, but I don't think it is good as a full time food.

Right now I'm paying $28 pesos a kilo for the chicken breast, sometimes it is less. That's about 4 chicken breasts or 8 to 10 days of cat food. Also, every once in a while I add a package of chicken livers to the mix.

Cat's just need protein, they are pure carnivores so they don't need the carbs.

Anonymous said...

"cats in the cradle" song is running thru my head. ha
Sue, do you have before and after pics of your house?
I remember you buying the place, and posting E.S.D.,as you called it. Every Silly Detail of your rehab on Julie's old board.:-)) What an era that was....."cats in the cradle"

Sandia said...

I love the way you write- one thing I love is just being able to observe nature when there is a lull in work or everyday life- I watch our dog and the fish/frogs in our little pond for an hour sometimes and it is so centering! So when you mentioned you sat to see what the iguana/cats would do, I could just feel that stop in time...and the pics are pretty funny too! Gracias

Ann said...

Love the photos! I know I could follow my cats around all day & get some great pictures--but the day I decide to do it, they'll sleep all the time!

Sue said...

Jonna - that is our Maya, she was raised by Loco so tends to exhibit behaviors more of a dog than a cat at times. Thanks for the details on the food, one day I am going to try to make it because it's so expensive here and we have 5 cats (although chicken has gone up to 30 pesos per kilo here, so it might not be any cheaper). Our cats mostly eat dry food but the tuna is their mid-afternoon treat. One can for 5 cats means a heaping tablespoon for each, and they love it so much they cry when I'm getting ready to dish it out - they don't do that for the canned food, will be interested to see their reaction to food I prepare. And then I'm tempted to make dog food too, so if you have any tips on that that you would like to share, I'd love to know about it (Loco is a picky eater).

Carl - I do have before and after but since my computer crash, the pictures are all on another drive and I just haven't had time to move all my files over to my new computer. One day...thanks for asking.

Sandia - that is one things I really love about living here. First the number of animals we have, which we'd never have in Canada, and then lots of terraces and other spaces to just sit or lie back and enjoy watching them. The front terrace is our place to laze in the hammocks in the morning and there we watch Cappuchina, Luna, Loco, and Negra. Yesterday our siesta was broken twice by Cappuchina with a lizard, which we successfully rescued once but she caught it again and caused a fatal injury. We hate that, but I guess it's their instinct. We also just enjoy watching other wildlife, there is plenty around here (although not as much as before because our cats ate them).

Ann - it was one of those days where I decided to just grab the camera and sit and watch to see what unfolded. Glad I did. You're right, there are lots of great pictures missed because the camera isn't right at hand. We are amused by our animals every day (and also irritated by

Islagringo said...

You do an absolutely perfect job of imparting your cats personalities and thoughts to your readers. Enjoyed this post a lot.

KfromMichigan said...

OH my GOSH .. so darn cute! Thanks for the great pics!

Jan said...

That picture of the two cats looking up at the iguana is wonderful! Just too cute :-).

Anonymous said...

I also love the picture of Minina and Maya looking up. It's a real keeper. Beautiful pictures of beautiful animals!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, didn't mean to use anonymous as my name. Still trying to learn how to use this comments thing. Dorgon