|Posted on July 24, 2015 at 4:40 AM|
I'm often asked when people first arrive and get out of their cat "Don't you get bored out here". So far I've managed to contain my myrth at this question. Now let me see. I'll give you a normal days routine out here and you tell me if I'm likely to get bored. Crazy, yes. Exhausted, yes. Overworked and underpaid, yes. Bored, you be the judge.
First I attempt to wake up. Normally pretty unsuccessful, but I do a good imitation most days. The reason is that the night before, or should I say morning, I've generally made it to bed about 1am. The normal work day begins at 4.30am in Spring and Summer and about 6am in Autumn and Winter. And I'm no spring chicken, so yes getting out of bed these cold mornings isn't easy.
First port of call is the obligatory cup of strong, hot coffee. Without which I'd be curled up in the middle of the kitchen floor crying like a baby. This is immediately followed by the second one, because let's face it, one is never enough.
While I'm waiting for the second jug to boil I release the inside cats, who dispite having litter trays in their room, always look like they're making a dash for the front door with their little legs crossed. I usually have time to clean their litter tray, refill their water bowl, straighten up their beds and put out fresh dry feed.
Second coffee finished I then do the second room in the house which contains new arrivals. Their litter tray is cleaned, floor swept, bedding replaced if necessary, general cleaning done, fresh water and dry feed put down for the day.
By this time Khan (the german shepherd pup) has found the kitchen water bowl and paddled in it leaving a trail of very large paw prints across the floor to where he sits staring pointedly at the cat in an accusatory manner. Totally pointless of course but hey he's a puppy. The cats normally just lay there with this stoic look on their faces.
The washing from the night before is taken out of the machine and hung out. I have no intention of leaving it lying around for a pile of cats to get cosy on.
Washing up is then done and house floors swept. Bedding throughout the house is replaced where necessary and general water and dry feed bowls are topped up.
Older cats or ones needing extra feeds are called to the back porch for their wet food, currently 5 cats are in this routine. I wait for them to finish otherwise Khan cleans up whatever is left on their plates when they're finished. Not too much of a problem but he then feels obliged to pick up the dishes and desposit them heaven knows where for some reason. He's gradually learning that he leaves them until I say it's OK but I have to be there to say it.
On the way outside the water and feed bowls on the front porch are topped up. The ramp leading outside usually needs sweeping on the way down and if I've been bright enough the night before to bring the broom upstairs it will get done. If not tough cookies, it'll just have to wait.
Once downstairs I fight the almost overwhelming urge to turn around quickly and run back inside at the speed of light. The day has now begun.
First cattery is Chubby and his little family. They need to get out for a run early in the day before any of the larger catteries are done. They need litter tray cleaned and litter topped up or replaced. Water bowl cleaned (they love to paddle) and fresh water replaced. Dry feed is almost always empty so has to be refilled. Couch has to be brushed down and bedding either adjusted or replaced in the carriers and cages they use to sleep in. Last chore is to sweep the floor and find all their missing balls. Then I rattle their wet feed dishes and stand back as they all rush in for breakfast. I wait a nano second until they've cleaned their plate and then collect it, put it on their table and leave.
Next cattery is made up of young adults and they're all waiting anxiously to have their daily exercise. There are two very large litter trays to be cleaned with litter either replaced or topped up. One large dry feed bowl to be topped up. Bedding to be straightened and replaced if necessary. Floor to be swept along with their large rug. Cats are checked as I go for any sign of health issues or injuries. The supply of cans in their cattery is checked to make sure there is sufficient because believe me when you call these guys in for their afternoon feed you don't want to suddenly realise you don't have enough. Been there, done that, don't want to do it again.
Next cattery just has a few adult cats who don't get out while anyone else is out running around. They get canned food so they don't feel deprived while I do their litter trays, dry feed and water bowls, bedding and floor. These guys each have separate dishes because they like different canned foods which of course means extra work for me but hey I'm just the lacky around here.
The next cattery contains a mother and her daughter, a semi feral and a few kittens who just love to drive me insane. The kittens are release to run around while I do the litter tray because to leave them in there would be sheer and utter madness. I'd have kittens on my back, my head, underfoot and with their little noses in the litter bag. It's much faster to just let them out for a run and then they're everyone elses worry not mine. Fortunately they adore Khan so he keeps them busy playing chasey.
Next cattery is the three fatties. No I'm not being mean, I'm being honest. One has FIV although you'd never know it. They to need their litter tray cleaned, topped up or replaced and dry feed and water bowls topped up and replaced. Their floor space is normally pretty clean and tidy unless there's been a lot of wind in which case I swear a lot, mumble incoherently to myself and get to work. Because Tom has FIV these guys only get out for a run occasionally. Not because Tom would pick a fight but because he tends to get picked on.
Next cattery is Mum and kittens. Two large litter trays plus dry feed and water. I think at least one of the kittens is a water paddler because there's alway only a tiny bit of water left in the bottom and it's a large dish. They get their wet food and if you value your life you stand well back when you put it down. I wait until their finished and check the remaining supplies while I wait.
Next comes GooGoo. Poor boy is all on his own but he doesn't seem to mind. His cattery is normally spotless and everything just needs a top up. He gets a dish of wet food as well as his dry feed and of course the obligatory pats and cuddles.
While I'm in this section I feed the ducks and hens and fill their respective water containers. This time of the year I don't have to worry about collecting eggs from weird and wonderful places.
Next comes the cattery with more young adults. These guys are always straining and pushing one another to be the first out the door. They go out for a play and exercise while I'm doing their 5 large litter trays, water bowl and dry feed bowls. Bedding in here needs rearranging daily and replacing about every second day. The large floor area has to be swept daily and their big doona needs shaking out to keep it soft and comfy. Supplies of canned food, dishes and something to dish it out with in the afternoon are checked to make sure I haven't wandered off with something I shouldn't have the day before. I can be a bit of a twit sometimes. It's usually about this time that I have to tell Browdie to leave Buddy the hell alone and JoJo decides it would be a good idea to chase whoever happens to cross his path.
Next is the old boy who came in from living in drains in Lowood. He's on a special diet for his kidneys and the vets still aren't sure he's going to make it. But he's gaining weight and dispite the fact that he's had such a tough time I think he just may make it. His dry feed and water are done and he gets his Hills wet food. While he's eating that I adjust or replace his bedding.
At this stage I collect a large bag of dry cat feed to fill the various food dishes in various spots outside so the little guys have access to dry food while they're having their daily exercise and don't eat all their dinner in their catteries before being put back in.
The main body of ducks both calls and muscovies are fed and their large wading pools filled with water. The other two lots of sussex chooks are fed and their water tipped out and replaced. I do have to collect eggs from the Sussex but fortunately they only lay in their coup.
Then it's back to catteries with the main big cattery needing to be done. This one has a small outside run attached where the little guys like to lay in the sun and roll in the grass. There are 5 large litter trays in here, 2 large water dishes and 2 large dry feed dishes. The floor space is huge and needs daily sweeping out and bedding always needs rearranging or replacing due to the high levels of activity in here. The supply of canned food stored in the bookcase is checked to make sure all the various types required are available for the night feeds and utensils are also checked for dishing out later in the day.
By this time the pile of washing I've been collecting has to be seen to be believed and my poor little twintub is in for yet another bashing. I put on the first load and take in (weather permitting) the load that I put out first thing in the morning. While the washing is on and after I've stashed away the dry load I go to feed the kittens on the porch for the second time in the day and with this feed they are given their medications.
One load comes out of the wash and goes into the dryer and another load goes on. While that's happening I go over to the supply shed where Ben is patiently waiting for his cattery to be cleaned and to get his wet food for the day. Ben can't get out because like GooGoo he doesn't get along with other cats. He gets lots of smooches and cuddles and oh does he just love his wet food.
Back into the house to bring out the now almost dry load of washing to hang out, move the next load into the dryer and put yet another load into wash.
As I've gone around I've made notes of anything that I've spotted that needs attending to that day. Answered about 20 phone calls and often made vet appointments if I've spotted a problem or cats just need to have their vet work done.
By this time it's about 4pm in the afternoon. Did I mention breakfast or lunch for me? No I did not. There's a reason for that. I don't have any on the majority of days. Just one whopping big dinner at night prior to crashing in a heap.
So about 4pm time to start the afternoon feeds, hang out the last dry wash for the day and put in the last load to wash and put in the dryer to wait for the morning.
As I walk innocently towards each cattery in turn there is a flood of little furry bodies racing to be the first in the door and therefore hopefully the first to tuck into their wet food. Doesn't help of course because by now I'm well and truly slowing down for the day and they're lucky if I make it, let alone arrive at my destination quickly. Just in case there are any slow pokes I tap the cans together and everyone holds their breath until the dishes are finally placed on the floor, then it's every cat for themselves and I'm the hell outta there. This process is repeated in each cattery that's still out running around at this time of the day. The old cats don't budge from their sleeping spots because they know that later in the night they'll be fed inside with me.
Once all the cats are away for the day and I can finally relax it's time to give the cats in the inside room their feeds and settle them down for the night.
The dogs are fed and Khan goes into his crate for about 30mins.
Bear in mind that this isn't just one day, it's 7 days a week, every week of the year. It doesn't matter if I'm sick as a dog, it still has to be done. And if I don't get everything else done that I'd like to get done, it's simply because, honestly I just run out of time, every darned day. Add to this the phone calls and emails from people with "a" cat who keep telling me how they can't possibly cope with "the" cat and you can see why sometimes I get a tad peeved. Not that I've got any energy left to be really peeved but you get the drift.
Oh yeah, then I crash into bed about 1am and get grumbled at by Kerri and half a dozen other cats for daring to disturb their sleep on MY BLASTED BED!!!!!
Categories: CATTERY CHATTER