Life’s a Wheeze: Cody and Asthma

Last post was all about Soho’s birthday but she’s not the only one of our critters born in April. Cody, aka Shoo Bear, was born in April, 2002, back when I was on a tear of collecting Himalayan cats like other people collect baseball cards.

Cody kitten back in 2002

Cody kitten back in 2002

Even then, we knew that Cody was “special”. The breeder was reluctant to part with him, speaking in code words that danced all around the subject of “inbreeding”.  No matter, we all have our imperfections, right?

Me and Cody: imperfections r us!

Me and Cody: imperfections r us!

We brought kitten Cody home to join the family. He fit right in with our imperfect crew.

Kitten Cody with the Great Diz: Dizzy was the only perfect being that ever lived among us.

Kitten Cody with the Great Diz: Dizzy was the only perfect being that ever lived among us.

A few years back, Cody started wheezing now and then. When the symptoms first appear, they are akin to the familiar hacking-up-a-hairball routine. But no hairball ever appears, and you finally realize something else is going on.

We took Cody to the vet, where he was diagnosed with asthma. The occasional cortisone shot seemed to do the trick. First it was every six months or so, but lately he has needed a shot every six weeks. Not good.

So I’ve done a bit of research, and here are some things I’ve learned about feline asthma:

1.  Asthma is most prevalent in Siamese and Himalayan cats. Cody’s pronounced snub nose – there’s that inbreeding! – is probably a risk factor due to his shortened sinus cavities.

Inbred, maybe, but what a gorgeous boy he is!

Inbred, maybe, but what a gorgeous boy he is!

2. There is no cure for feline asthma. Boo.

3. But it can be somewhat controlled with the aforementioned corticosteroid shots administered by the vet. Some cat owners have had success administering an inhaler at home. I’m going to see how the CE feels about hiring a private nurse for the Shoo Bear.

4. Other recommendations are to use a humidifier in the home and to use a repiratory-relief brand of cat litter. We haven’t tried either of these things yet, so I can’t speak to their efficacy.

5. At least one soul on the Internet claims that having the cat lap up a little coconut oil can help control asthma. Haven’t tried that either, but I don’t see much of a downside. Off we go to Trader Joe’s

6. I’ve also seen a recommendation that eliminating grain-based food from the cat’s diet can positively impact asthma symptoms. Maybe worth a try?

7. I’m willing to investigate the urban legend remedies because long term use of corticosteroids, (despite the fact that cats are supposedly “extremely resistant to side effects”) contributes to immune suppression and thus a panoply of potential afflictions, including urinary tract infections, diabetes and pancreatitis.

8. They say that long-term use of corticosteroids in cats can contribute to hair loss. Haven’t seen that to be an issue.

No hair loss going on here.

No hair loss going on here.

Well, unless you count the annual shave...

Well, unless you count the annual shave…

9. No, we have not observed that shaving his fur has any impact on the asthma. But the severity of his asthma does seem to correlate with seasonal allergies. I’m doing a fair amount of wheezing these days myself.

10. Cat owners are admonished NOT to administer any human asthma medications to their pets. These drugs are too strong for cats and could be fatal.

It’s hard to believe that Shooey the Shoo Bear has turned thirteen. Cat years are not calculated quite the same as dog years, but according to one format, Cody would definitely be getting the senior discount.

This chart is from pets advisor.com

This chart is from pets advisor.com

Getting old is no fun for any of us, but Cody’s asthma is proving to be, well, somewhat of a cat-astrophe . I’d like for him to breathe a bit easier now that he’s in his golden years. Let me know if you have any advice!

Posted in Animal/Vegetable/Mineral, Annoyances of Life, Spoiled Pets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

This Dog’s Life: Soho’s Birthday Party!

Everyone believes in something; and Miss Soho the Pop Tart believes in féte. As in let’s have a party!

Only the best for Miss Soho. (Photo credit: Fred Allen)

Only the best for Miss Soho.
(Photo credit: Fred Allen)

Soho is our “what kind of dog is that?” pup. Back when Daniel was turning twelve, he wanted a small dog. Truthfully, I was not a small-dog person, so my research tended toward “small dog with big dog personality” and I found myself reading about the playful Coton de Tulear, known as the “royal dog of Madagascar”. I’m good with royalty, I thought, and soon, a puppy arrived in time for Daniel’s birthday. Daniel is grown and gone, but Soho is still here, teaching us how to be her royal subjects.

Soho's puppy portrait.

Soho’s puppy portrait.

According to the AKC (American Kennel Club) which just this year included the Coton de Tulear in its ranks, the breed’s “primary occupation is to provide amusement, comfort and companionship to their favorite human.” This might possibly be a roundabout way of saying that they are basically useless and not all that smart. But Missy the Tart (known as the Pop Tart for her ability to pop obligingly into a lap) is smart enough to get herself an occasional birthday party.

I think the first one was back in 2007.  And, by popular demand, we’ve repeated the tradition every few years since then.

Kirk and Chadd help Soho celebrate her birthday in 2007.

Kirk and Chadd help Soho celebrate her birthday in 2007.

Chadd missed this year's party, but Kirk was here to celebrate with the Tart.

Chadd missed this year’s party, but Kirk was here to celebrate with the Tart. Neither of them has changed much in the intervening years.

This year, we celebrated Soho’s 11th birthday on April 11, appropriately at 11 a.m. Tammy Kronen of Kronen’s Kitchen and Events does not blink an eye when you say you want a catered birthday party for a dog. This is because her dog, Oliver, is possibly more human than most people you or I know.

Bizarrely, I don't have a photo of Tammy, but of course I have one of her dog, Oliver!

Bizarrely, I don’t have a photo of Tammy, but of course I have one of her dog, Oliver!

Soho’s longtime groomers, Cathy McGarry and Kirstie McCormick, prepped her for her big day:

We won't mention the fact that Soho rolled in the dirt minutes before her guests arrived. Oops.

We won’t mention the fact that Soho rolled in the dirt minutes before her guests arrived. Oops.

We decorated in drought chic; balloons instead of bedding plants:

Balloons are in place. The birthday girl awaits her guests.

Balloons are in place. The birthday girl awaits her guests.

The CE all ready for hosting duties.

The CE all ready for hosting duties.

I saw the paper flower garlands in House Beautiful magazine. They are available at Target.

I saw the paper flower garlands in House Beautiful magazine. They are available at Target.

Why yes, of course, there was a harpist.

Why yes, of course, there was a harpist.

Tammy planned a scrumptious brunch menu: passed canapés, biscuits with ham, a waffle bar, fruit and, of course, Bloody Mary’s and Champagne to toast the Tart.

There were lots of fun bites to eat.

There were lots of fun bites to eat.

These were my personal downfall.

These were my personal downfall.

And that cake! It tasted as good as it looked! It came from Your Cake Baker by Wayne Kjar, whose web site tag line is “When in doubt…eat cake”. Seems like reasonable advice!

We are so fortunate to have animal-loving friends who don’t hesitate to drop everything on a Saturday morning and come to a fluff head puppy’s birthday party. It was so great to have everyone together on a beautiful spring day.

Dave and Karen are on Soho's VIP list!

Dave and Karen are on Soho’s VIP list!

Also in Soho's "in crowd" is Pamela.

Also in Soho’s “in crowd” is Pamela.

Granny was there, of course, along with my friend, Pat, and Soho's long-time groomers, Cathy and Kirstie.

Granny was there, of course, along with my friend, Pat, and Soho’s long-time groomers, Cathy and Kirstie.

Sharon looked pretty in pink!

Sharon looked pretty in pink!

Jeff consoled Chloe, who never gets a birthday party.

Jeff consoled Chloe, who never gets a birthday party.

Kronens were well represented!

Kronens and Hamills were well represented!

Al, Marsha, Elizabeth and John.

Al, Marsha, Elizabeth and John.

Julia with Henry, who was the only dog to receive a personal party invitation from Soho. Notice his tie.

Julia with Henry, who was the only dog to receive a personal party invitation from Soho. Notice his tie.

Clockwise, from left: Fred, Kim, Judy, Sharon, Mary, Wendy Duncan and Suzie.

Clockwise, from left: Fred, Kim, Judy, Sharon, Mary, Wendy Duncan and Suzie.

Rebecca, Victoria and Phyllis.

Rebecca, Victoria and Phyllis.

Victoria came all the way up from LA to deliver a personal birthday cake to the Tart.

Victoria came all the way up from LA to deliver a personal birthday cake to the Tart.

Soho was showered with gifts and cards. Lots of treats to share with Chloe, and our dear

Paws down, Soho is the luckiest of dogs!

Paws down, Soho is the luckiest of dogs!

neighbors, Jo and Caroline, even gifted the chickens with a giant bag of dried mealworms. Yum!

Lots of fun and frivolity was had, and we are grateful to all who attended. Of course, Soho is aware that not all dogs are as pampered as she is, so she has made a donation to DAWG, our local no-kill shelter, in memory of our beloved vet, Dr. Ron Faoro.

Cotons are known to be healthy and long-lived, so mark your calendars for 2017, when we will gather for the next Tarty Party!

Pamela brought this adorable Soho daisy doppleganger.

Pamela brought this adorable Soho daisy doppleganger.

 

Posted in Absurdity, Animal/Vegetable/Mineral, Friends, Spoiled Pets | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Family Album: Somebunnies Visited for Easter

It’s hard to believe we have lived two decades in this big old house. Where do the years go? So many memories – and now another generation of little feet pitter-pattering across the floor.  How lucky we are!

We are usually in NYC on Easter, freezing while we break out spring clothes in winter weather.

We usually spend Easter with this crew but Angie, Taylor, Thomas and James celebrated without us this year.

We usually spend Easter with this crew but Angie, Taylor, Thomas and James celebrated without us this year. We missed them!

But this year we stayed in California for the holiday. Our Easter Parade began on Saturday when Tina, John and girls came up from Newport Beach to spend Easter with us and the chickens. The chickens wish they would stay here forever, as there was lots of scratch and many cups of shredded cheese bestowed upon the flock.

Evie and Viv taught Caleigh the ropes of being a flock keeper.

Evie and Viv taught Caleigh the ropes of being a flock keeper. Luna was happy to oblige.

Caleigh quickly became a chicken expert.

Caleigh quickly became a chicken expert.

Grandpa helped, too. Notice his t-shirt, a Christmas gift from Tina.

Grandpa helped, too. Notice his t-shirt, a Christmas gift from Tina.

Evie, Viv and Caleigh in the coop.

Evie, Viv and Caleigh in the coop.

We even found the chickens in the house! They like having the girls in charge!

We even found the chickens in the house! They like having the girls in charge!

But it wasn’t all about chickens. Some of it was about the eggs:

These girls know their way around the egg dye.

These girls know their way around the egg dye.

The weather was so beautiful that we had our pre-Easter spaghetti dinner on the terrace Saturday evening.

The weather was so beautiful that we had our pre-Easter spaghetti dinner on the terrace Saturday evening.

Tina and the Easter Bunny were in collusion to give the girls the most fantastical Easter imaginable. What a fun Easter morning!

Caleigh caught on very quickly to the Easter traditions!

Caleigh caught on very quickly to the Easter traditions!

Viv, Caleigh and Evie with all the eggs they found.

Viv, Caleigh and Evie with all the eggs they found.

We all went to church after the egg hunt:

John and Viv at church on Easter Sunday

John and Viv at church on Easter Sunday

And then we went to brunch:

Yes, there was chocolate.

Yes, there was chocolate.

Alexandra and Andy joined us for brunch. They'll be having their own little bunny soon!

Alexandra and Andy joined us for brunch. They’ll be having their own little bunny soon!

Apres-brunch pile-up.

Apres-brunch pile-up.

Closest we came to a family photo.

Closest we came to a family photo.

Then we came home for a swim and some more chicken work:

Tea party at the pool with Tina and girls.

Tea party at the pool with Tina and girls.

 

We can't get enough of this one!

We can’t get enough of this one!

Somehow, the chickens even ended up at the pool: Viv, Ev and Pippa.

Somehow, the chickens even ended up at the pool: Viv, Ev and Pippa.

And for three entire days, these two weren't the center of attention. Shocking!

And for three entire days, these two weren’t the center of attention. Shocking!

Before Caleigh went to sleep that night she showed us that she knows all her ABC's!

Before Caleigh went to sleep that night she showed us that she knows all her ABC’s!

And the girls enjoyed Granny's sweet rolls before they left.

And the girls enjoyed Granny’s sweet rolls before they left.

Such a fun Easter for us! I’m still a little tired out from watching how hard Tina and John work to keep their three little bunnies so happy. Such a beautiful family!

Posted in All Things Family, All Things Poultry, Big Fun, Holidays | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Actually, It’s Not About The Bunny.

We were invited to a Good Friday breakfast yesterday morning. Alarm was set for 5 a.m.; not needed because I was up at 2 a.m., reading the news. The latest massacre of Christians, at a small university in Kenya. I read that the gunmen, from the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Al-Shabab, confronted students and demanded that they state whether they were Muslim or Christian. Those professing their Christian faith were gunned down on the spot. 147 people were murdered.

Laying there in the dark, reading the news accounts, I wondered, would I have had the courage to profess my faith and die for it?

By the time we arrived at the breakfast, I was ready for lunch. (And a nap.) Halfway through our scrambled eggs, a friend at our table shared that she was picking up Chinese take-out the day before at a small, family-owned restaurant, and was approached by the teenaged son of the immigrant owners. He had wished her a happy Easter, and then, tentatively, asked “I understand the meaning of Easter, but could you tell me just how the rabbit fits in?”

What about that bunny?

What about that bunny?

We shared a laugh around the table, and then we realized that not one of the eight of us sitting there had the faintest clue as to the provenance of the Easter Bunny.

So I went to Google, and guess what: nobody really knows for sure about that bunny! There is a tepid explanation about the rabbit being associated with Eostra, a pre-Christian Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility, whose symbol was the rabbit due to the animal’s high rate of reproduction. In the same way that Christian celebrations of Christmas enfolded the pagan tradition of decorating a tree, it is thought that 18th century German immigrants to the United States brought with them the legend about a rabbit laying eggs and hiding them in a garden. Fast-forward a few centuries, add Hallmark and Peeps, and you have our secular post-modern American version of Easter.

More bunnies!

More bunnies!

 

So what’s the difference if you believe in Eostra, or the Easter Bunny…or the Resurrection? There are plenty of people out there who would equate the three, although it can be noted that those Al-Shabab gunmen weren’t killing anyone because they believed in the Easter Bunny. Nor were the Romans, when they tortured and killed the Apostles of Jesus, who, one by one, were willing to die for their faith.  It is the Resurrection, the Good News, the promise of eternal life and the belief in a triune God that, over and over, pits a fallen world against the radical hope of Christianity.

There are Easter bunnies all over our house right now. And some foil-wrapped chocolate eggs, and yes, some Peeps, that I will try really hard not to eat. We will celebrate this Easter weekend with family and friends and, of course, there will be brunch. We will celebrate sunshine and spring.

And I am determined to ponder anew the miracle of the resurrection of Christ. In John, Chapter 11, Jesus speaks to Martha prior to raising her brother, Lazurus, from the dead. He says to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.”

And then he asks her, “Do you believe this?”

We are asked to believe the unbelievable. To stake our temporal lives upon an astonishing promise of eternal life. Do we believe this?  No wonder it’s easier to think about the bunny!

As pastor and best-selling author Timothy Keller points out,”“If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.” 

Dare we believe?

Happy Easter!

Unknown-2

Happy Easter to you, my friend!
This day’s light shall have no end.
For Christ did rise
In the golden morn
And by His life are we reborn.

Happy Easter to one and all!
The night is over, the sun is tall.
The day did break with a tiny beam
And flooded life with Light supreme.
— Paul Kortepeter.

 

 

 

Posted in Holidays, Spiritual | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Me or Lena Dunham: A Quiz

Okay. Unless you don’t clicky-click on current culture at all, you know that Lena Dunham is (once again) in the (self-imposed) penalty box for saying/doing/showing things in a politically/culturally/sexually incorrect manner.

image from the guardian.com)

image from the guardian.com)

 

Just last week I was mildly wishing for Lena’s creative demise. There is just too much of her. And I mean that in the nicest way possible. She has a way of aggressively absorbing all the energy from the Zeitgeist. She can be rude, for one thing, and too-frequently naked for my taste, and she has done some really not-well-thought-out things like making in print what could possibly have been construed as a false accusation of rape. That’s not cool.

But with this new wave of hysterically cacophonic hate coming from a tongue-in-cheek piece in The New Yorker, I find myself (sadly, reluctantly) defending her. Come on, guys, it was kind of funny! If we want to have a hissy fit about Anti-Semitism (and we absolutely should!), let’s maybe focus our white-heat anger where it belongs. (hint: a little closer to the Oval Office, maybe?) If Lena (who, as I’m sure you know, is half-Jewish) hadn’t used the word “Jewish” in the header, she might be trending toward a life of well-deserved obscurity instead of trending on Twitter.

If you haven’t read it, turn to page 31 in March 30 issue of The New Yorker magazine. It’s the one with the cover peppered with emojis of Hillary Clinton. Along with nineteen versions of Hillary facial expressions, there is a globe, a flag and a gavel, but there is apparently no way to draw an emoji of a wiped computer hard drive, so that one is missing.

But back to Lena. Has anyone considered that it may just be that she has a dog of a boyfriend? If more restaurants allowed us to bring our pets, maybe we wouldn’t have to dine with (quiz question #13) people who don’t tip. And as for the zinger (quiz question #9) that raised much of the current uproar, I defy you to prove that the Jews have any kind of sole claim on “a culture in which mothers focus every ounce of their attention on their offspring/don’t acknowledge their own need for independence as woman/are sucked dry by their children…who ultimately leave them as soon as they find suitable mates.” Move over, Jewish mothers, because you have plenty of company here.

Anyway, my quiz. Without further ado, me or Lena?

1. Might love her dog more than she loves most people.

2. Has a penchant for confessional prose.

3. Bad hair? Just keep it short.

4. Went to college in Ohio.

5. Secretly wishes the word zaftig would come back into fashion.

6. Has been published in The New Yorker (yes, this one is easy…)

7. May have some teeny, tiny issues with propriety.

8. Hangs out with Terry Richardson.

9. Not a lot of space between those thighs…

10. Needs, but apparently is not willing, to pay for a stylist.

Yes,  I made this a no-brainer because it’s Saturday and it’s not fair to make anyone (especially me) think too hard. But let me just say that I DO know someone who knows someone who knows Terry Richardson.

And you’ll see that, amazingly, the famous, talented Lena Dunham and I actually have a few things in common. (dear God, these thighs…) I would not for a moment trade my WASP-y, generous-tipping husband for her Jewish boyfriend, but I might put up with a dog prone to urine crystals and a beef allergy (assuming I have made the correct choice on quiz answer #24) just to have a smidgin of her (sometimes misguided) talent and honesty.

I’m rooting for you, Lena. I don’t exactly wish you more success, because then I will be forced to think of you more frequently and remember, with horror, that you once equated voting for Obama to losing your virginity. But Lena, I admire your bravery and your vulnerability. And I look forward to reading many more of your essays in The New Yorker because your first one, A Box of Puppies was awesome and made me cry.

But just one piece of advice from someone older and, actually, amazingly, given what I see as some colossal mis-steps on your part, wiser: keep the dog; lose the boyfriend.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Absurdity, Music/Art/Literature/Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

More Chicken Love, With a Little Help from My Friends.

I  read an article last December that admonished us all to “rebrand” ourselves for 2015. And, for one fleeting nanosecond, I envisioned myself embarking upon some new, lofty passion and ordering a snappy new wardrobe from Net-a-Porter with which to accessorize myself while I changed the world.

But yeah, no. Here it is, March, and I am still wearing yoga pants and t-shirts and still puttering around the chicken yard talking to my hens.

I've had some good conversations with Lola lately.

I’ve had some good conversations with Lola lately.

It’s not just inertia or laziness that keeps me from doing (and wearing) something important. It’s a reported 10,000 years of history that keeps me, like humans through the millenniums, coming back to that chicken yard for a tete-a-tete with Pippa, Luna, Lola and Ginger. Like sitting before a fire and sleeping with dogs, communing with chickens is a primal experience that is practically hard-wired into our psyches. (What? You don’t sleep with dogs? Doesn’t everybody sleep with dogs?)

It all started here: Gallus gallus, the Red Junglefowl considered to be the progenitor of the modern chicken. (image from gallusgames.org)

It all started here: Gallus gallus, the Red Junglefowl considered to be the progenitor of the modern chicken. (image from gallusgames.org)

Gallus gallus, the Red Junglefowl that is thought to be the grandaddy of the modern chicken, probably originated in Southeast Asia and, as the first animal domesticated by humans, soon found its way to Africa and beyond. There is some sort of atavistic pleasure for me in the thought that as I call my hens and scatter a handful of grain for them, I am repeating a quotidian gesture that reaches far, far back in human history. You won’t find any ancient depictions of people texting on their iPhones, but, as I have mentioned before, museums are full of representations of the interdependence between humans and their hens. There is something comforting to me about this, so you can only imagine how thrilled I was to receive a recent gift from a friend.

Anne was my college roommate. She was the pretty one. And the practical one. And the organized one. We met freshman year, pledged the same sorority and shared living quarters through the rest of our college years. And, amazingly, after all that, she still speaks to me! Mostly, these days, through Christmas cards, but as she was packing up recently for her family’s upcoming move from Ohio to North Carolina, she was struck by a moment of organizational brilliance.

From Africa to Ohio to California, this fellow chicken lover is now part of my collection.

From Africa to Ohio to California, this fellow chicken lover is now part of my collection.

Anne has a collection of African artifacts bestowed upon her by an aunt who lived for many years in Angola, and in the spirit of one woman’s deacquisitions being another woman’s treasure, Anne decided to pass along to me a carved wooden figuring of an African woman holding a hen that looks precisely like our dearly departed girls, Summer and Hope. The hen is perched perkily on the woman’s hand, gazing longingly toward a bucket presumably filled with grain. The carving reminds me and delights me in the awareness that other peoples, continents and cultures away, have gathered eggs and listened to the clucking of their hens through the ages, just as I do today.

A few days after I received my new treasure from Anne, I also heard from my childhood friend, Nancy. (She was also the pretty one. There’s a pattern here…) She was checking in to see whether I’d read a book by Andrew Lawler with the intriguing (and all-encompassing title) Why Did the Chicken Cross the World: The Epic Saga of the Bird that Powers Civilization.

Nope. Haven’t read it. Good, she said. Something about an upcoming birthday…

Can't wait to read this one! (image from andrewlawler.com)

Can’t wait to read this one! (image from andrewlawler.com)

I am so touched by these expressions of friendship. These dear women who have known me for so many decades, continue to remember me, to indulge my whims,  and, above all, to reinforce my love for chickens. Thanks to you both, and much love from me and the flock. xoxo

As a bonus, Anne sent me this card. Yay for chickens!

As a bonus, Anne sent me this card. Yay for chickens!

Posted in All Things Poultry, Animal/Vegetable/Mineral, Chicken Facts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chickens to the Left of Me, Bobcat on the Right…

…And we’re stuck in the middle again.

I love my semi-rural neighborhood. It’s mid-March, and the wisteria and nasturtiums are beginning to show off. The mockingbirds are back in business, singing from pre-dawn until well after twilight, when they finally give way to the chorus of frogs that have miraculously surfaced despite our lack of rain.

Nasturtiums by the roadside are a sure sign of spring.

Nasturtiums by the roadside are a sure sign of spring.

But like anyplace since Adam and Eve got us kicked out of Eden, we have our problems. And right now, we have an intractable problem of about 30 lbs. of obligate carnivorism: a bobcat has moved into the neighborhood.

I’ve been relentlessly vigilant since Summer was taken from the flock back in January. The stealth with which her demise was carried out suggested a bobcat, but we had never actually seen one on our property, so we couldn’t be sure.

That all changed this week.

So beautiful. So deadly. (image from The Santa Barbara Independent)

So beautiful. So deadly. (image from The Santa Barbara Independent)

I had just put the hens away on the east side of our property and happened to walk through the house to look out our living room door that faces west. There, basking regally in a patch of sun just a few yards away, lay a large, healthy-looking bobcat. I was too gobsmacked by the sight to get a photo. What registered was how powerful and truly beautiful an animal he was. That and a chilling sense of dread. Our small dog, Soho, was outside. Cody the cat was outside. And just a few moments previously, our little flock of hens had been outside, as well.

Our little Luna: so pretty and so defenseless.

Our little Luna: so pretty and so defenseless.

News travels fast on our neighborhood loop. By yesterday evening, I had run into three other neighbors who had confirmed sightings of Mr. Cat (I am assuming it is a male because he looked well over the average 20 lb size of a female bobcat). One neighbor shared that after he had taken her last hen, he continues to return to her property to relax by her pond. I guess he likes the view. He is almost certainly the same villain who took Summer from our flock back in January.

Now we have to keep a very close watch on the hens.

Now we have to keep a very close watch on the hens.

So what to do? With hawks, we usually at least get a warning sound. But a bobcat is a silent and stealthy hunter. With a typical one to four mile daily hunting radius, he could be anywhere at any time.

Our pets are no match for this guy (image from wildspiritguides.com)

Our pets are no match for this guy (image from wildspiritguides.com)

According to online sources, the bobcat’s favorite prey are rodents and cottontail bunnies, but this one has developed a particular taste for chicken. They are said to be crepuscular rather than nocturnal – hunting twilight of dawn or dusk, but clearly there is no safe time of day.

We saw the bobcat laying just a few feet from where Soho is in this photo.

We saw the bobcat laying just a few feet from where Soho is in this photo.

The rather anemic suggestions I found for discouraging a bobcat included the construction of a fence that exceeds six feet in height. I’m sure our homeowner’s association will look favorably on my imminent application to build a fortress and a moat.

Oh, and it is suggested that pets be kept inside at all times. There’s a concept. Should we give each of the hens their own bedroom?

"I guess I'll bunk here", says Pippa.

“I guess I’ll bunk here”, says Pippa.

So, for the moment, no good solution. The bobcat wins. Anyone want to volunteer for chicken shepherd duty?

"He'll never find me here", says Cody.

“He’ll never find me here”, says Cody.

Posted in All Things Poultry, Animal/Vegetable/Mineral, Annoyances of Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments