Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy New Year!

I know I'm just 1 month and 24 days late, but better late than never, right? Because 'never' was definitely an option for this blog, I just don't seem to have the energy to keep blogging. Why? Because...(my short list of 7 excuses coming up):

  1. It's high season
  2. We've been busy with cats
  3. Family and friends have visited
  4. I'm putting my web business together
  5. I built a website for
  6. Keeping (or rather, getting) the house in order is a challenge
  7. I do all the communications for our online businesses
 If you want the details, keep reading.

#1 - It's high season. This means that every day we look at the schedule (based on a database I created) and determine who is checking in, who is checking out, who needs water, laundry, pool-cleaning, housekeeping, cleaning supplies, meet and greet, key retrieval, garden maintenance. Off -schedule are all the maintenance issues that arise on the fly: plugged toilets, broken toilets, broken a/c units, broken hot water heaters, electrical shorts, water leaks, empty water tanks, torn screens, broken water pumps, empty gas tanks, lost keys, clogged drains, plugged showerheads, broken mopeds. Capi's Property Management takes care of 8 properties along with our own 2 - that is a lot of maintenance, a lot of laundry, and a lot of coordination.

#2 - The week between Christmas and New Year's the stray female we call Rabana brought her family of 4 one-month old kittens into the garden, and they are still here, 2 months and many bags of cat food later. We have had a great time watching the kittens play and interact with each other and their mother - it has been an interesting lesson in animal behavior.

We had some chilly and rainy days so Miguel rigged up a little tent roof over a tree stump to give the kittens somewhere dry to sleep. One day Loco found a kitten that was in trouble - it had climbed inside a stack of 2 tires, but couldn't get out, and eventually it gave up and was just sitting inside the tire that was full of water. At this point the kittens had been wild and impossible to touch, but I was able to pick that kitten up, dry it off, and put it in a cage inside the house for an hour or so to get warm again. I fed it and then took it back outside to join its mother and siblings, none the worse for its near-death experience.

We have had our challenges with all these kitties in the garden. Blacky shows some aggressive tendencies, so at first I kept her on a short leash, and later, when the kittens got bigger and started exploring the terrace, I took Blacky over to her other house. The cat family quickly claimed Blacky's bedding.

Rabana also attracted 2 males who tried to mate with her, and they, along with another male who sleeps on a chair on the terrace, eventually grabbed and followed the kittens too. One night a kitten was crying from being held by a male, which caused us to catch the kittens (still wild) and put them on the back terrace. The one kitten I'd rescued from the tire was the only one that was easy to catch, as I'd been trying to get it used to being handled and it let me pick it up.

We went to the clinic for traps, and over the period of two weeks, we trapped all the males and Rabana, and they, along with the 4 kittens (all females!), have had surgery and can no longer add to the over-population of cats. We also caught another female we didn't know, but we took her in for surgery too. Almost all the adults cats were brought back and released in their territory, and they are doing fine. We are still waiting for the last male to come home (the one who sleeps on the terrace). It is nice to not have that odor of male territorial marking lingering around our front door and garden, some days it was pretty potent.

The kittens recovered from their surgery on the back terrace, and in the time they have been there, they have gotten used to being handled. I can't say they enjoy being handled, but they tolerate it, when we do manage to catch them. The one kitten is quite tame and loves to be picked up and petted, she will probably hang around and live on the property, not sure about the others. Right now they keep going to the back terrace to sleep and eat, even though there is food in the front garden and the side door is open for them to come and go. At night I shut them in back there, just to avoid any dangers lurking in the dark.

Well, it is 8:30, I need to get busy with our hopefully will get to excuse #3 in the next few days. Adios for now!