Category Archives: Pets

Tiger On The Homestead

We watched her…day after day…

Our love affair started last year…it’s a long story…

When we moved from North Caroina into this 100 year old Indiana farmhouse in May 2013, there was a wild Tiger loose on the homestead.

“Mom! Mom!  I just saw a Tiger!” exclaimed one of the children.
And so…her name came to be “Tiger”.

We have watched her, this tiger called Tiger, day after day…and we love her.

Tiger is a beautiful wild Calico cat.  In the beginning, we could only watch her as she would not have anything to do with people. She stood off in the distance anytime we stepped outside.  However, my husband was determined to win her affection and make her love us.
Day after day, my husband left her some food on the front porch.  In the beginning she would only eat when he left, but eventually she ate while he watched from a distance. Each day he would move in a little closer while she ate.  Soon he was able to sit in a lawn chair on the porch by her food bowl while she ate.  One day, she actually let him touch her head before darting away.  Day after day he worked at taming her.  Finally she let him pet her and the wall of distrust was broken. She knew she could trust him.
But what about the rest of the family?  Would she trust anyone else?  She is a people watcher.  Oh yeah, as much as we watch her, she is also watching us, calculating, learning our behaviors.  She knows each one of us and knows we are each different. 

The next family member to get close to her was our oldest son.  He would sit close by on the ground while she ate in the afternoon.  Eventually he sat close enough to touch her and eventually pull her onto his lap and pet her.  She relaxed.  Within a few more days, he was able to pick her up.  It took many weeks for her to trust the rest of the kids, but eventually she did.  Now she is our outdoor lap kitty.  She is always on someone’s lap enjoying being petted.

While we were still getting to know her last summer, and she was still at least 80% wild, one day she appeared with a kitten from under our porch.  She introduced us and wanted us to get to know her kitten too.  She studied us.  She wanted her kitten to study us too.  She let us hold the kitten and pet her, and you could see she was a bit aprehensive at first.  But eventually she seemed to relax and not worry about the kitten when it was with us.  At first we called her the Kitten From Down Under, but eventually the kids named her Caesar.  Obviously Tiger was a good mom, and was taking good care of this beautiful kitten.  We had about six weeks of wonderful times of cuddling and play with the kitten. One very silly event was the Kitten and the Toad.  But then one day, Caesar did not re-appear.  Sadly the children found the kitten out in the field. Some animal had killed it in the night.  They were heart broken and cried and cried. Tiger cried too.  She meowed a lot, calling for the kitten, but she knew it would not come.  She was mourning the loss of her baby kitten.

She seemed to want to cuddle even more after her kitten died.  The kids became very attached to her and she was attached to the children.  The life, and the loss, of the kitten drew everyone closer together.  Tiger eventually lost all hesitations with our family during the fall, and loves to cuddle and snuggle now.  She snuggled a lot this winter and you wouldn’t even know it was the same cat.  There is not a day that goes by that the family doesn’t snuggle her, even in the bad weather, the fall and spring rains,  and cold snowy winter days. Everyday they spend time with her, and everyday she waits at the door for us to come outside.  It is a special bond.
Tiger grew bigger all winter.  I heard lots of exclamations from the kids: “Mom, Tiger is getting fat”…”Mom, I think Tiger is eating too much”…”Mom, what’s wrong with Tiger”…

I had seen a strange cat hang around the back edge of the yard for a couple of days in January.  One evening we heard what sounded like a cat fight, and the kids said they saw Tiger fighting with another cat in a tree.  I had a feeling that Tiger’s visitor meant she was in heat and sending out a female scent that had brought a strange male cat to the farm.  

As she grew bigger, she got a little slower.  She stayed closer to the house more, though she still wandered a little.  She seemed to want more petting, though she was more reluctant to let the youngest child near her.  She seemed to know which kids would be careful, and which ones would be less careful with her growing body.  

She was definitely pregnant.  And as the weeks and months passed, she seamed to the be the roundest pregnant cat I have ever seen.   Finally we told the kids that “it won’t be long till she has kittens” and to “be very careful when picking her up and with her belly”.  

Oh they were so excited!  For the past month we have checked her daily to see if she had the kittens yet.  “Nope, not yet!” They exclaimed every morning when she greeted them as they darted out the door to do chores and play before breakfast.

The last week or so of her pregnancy, I could tell she was miserable.  Her belly was very round and wide.  She weighed double her normal weight.  She was sluggish, and seemed to just want to nap most of the time.  

Then one day, she did not greet me at the door.  She didn’t join the kids in play in the yard.  Where could she be?  I knew this was it.  Her pattern had changed and only one thing could do it, a new priority.  Without telling the kids, I kept an eye out for her.  She re-appeared the next day.  I watched her from a distance to see where she traveled. She was so careful that day not to give away her destination.  The next day my husband and I were inside the house and talking near the window, and then we saw her go into a tree.  Could this be where her new family was located?  

My husband quietly darted out of the house to see if she was inside of the tree or what. Sure enough, there was a hole in the side of the tree, and inside that hole was a cave, a very small tree cave.  She was crammed inside this hole with kittens.  He could not see exactly how many, but he saw a few arms and legs of little bodies and confirmed she had given birth to several kittens inside this tree.

We waited nearly a week before telling the kids.  It came about just like the original conversations.  “Mom, have you noticed how skinny Tiger is?”…”Mom, Tiger is acting different”…”Mom, why does Tiger not want me to hold her?”…Then finally, one of the children exclaimed “Mom, Tiger must have had her kittens, she seems different and smaller.”  So we told them that yes she had her kittens, but we must not try to find them or touch them yet because she has hidden them.

A week later, one of the kids was looking out the bathroom window and realized Tiger was sitting near the old unused window well of the basement.   I went outside to see what was going on and sure enough, she had moved two of the kittens.  

I went to the tree to find three more kittens still inside her tree cave.  She was apparently in the process of moving them.  

I tried to watch the rest of the day from the window, but I never saw her move any kittens.  Later that evening, after my husband had returned from work, he stayed with the younger two children while I took the older four children to their 4H Rabbit Club meeting.   The younger two had fallen asleep for a late nap, so we had to split up and one of us stay home with them.  When they woke up from their nap, they went outside and checked on Tiger and she had moved all five kittens to the window well.  It had taken her all day to accomplish this task.  My husband thought she did it because the kittens might get to big and heavy for her to carry out of the hole if she waited much longer. 
We were now very concerned that the kittens were on ground level, and there was no shelter above them in the window well if it rained.  Rain storms were on the horizon and so was night fall. So we picked up Tiger, and put the kittens into a tote and carried her and the kittens into a small shed.  We gave her food and water and closed them in for the night just as the storms hit.  About an hour later, my husband checked on her and she was inside the tote with the kittens nursing them.  

It rained heavy, with lots of lightening and thunder all night.  My husband went out to let her out first thing in the morning intending to leave the door open the rest of the day. But instead he found that she had already let herself out somehow in the night and she greeted him at the door as usual.  We don’t know how she got out, or if she can get back in on her own.  So my husband propped open the door just slightly for her to come and go easily on her own.   We are all still wondering how she managed to get out in the night. 

We are excited and a little anxious about the kittens.  We were so heart broken last year when we lost our beautiful kitten.  We didn’t think we could get through one more loss in our life.  The kids had gotten very attached and they cried for days after her death.  We don’t want to loose these kittens too.  We just have to trust that between God and Tiger, the kittens will be cared for and will be alright.  

It is wrong to worry.  We need to trust God to take care of them.

  “Look at the birds in the sky! 
They don’t plant or harvest. 
They don’t even store grain in barns.
Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them…”  Matthew 6:26

We are so excited and can’t wait for the kittens to get a little bigger so we can start holding and playing with them.  We are waiting on Tiger to let us know it is time.  She has her own way of letting us into her life and her heart.  She will share the kittens when she is ready.
Everyone is holding their breath and watching from a distance…waiting…watching…day after day…it is a long story…a love affair…we love Tiger…and we know she loves us too.

This post will be linked with Raising Homemakers, Sharing Time, and Adventures in Mindful Living. 
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The Kitten And The Toad

Our new kitten is a real source of excitement around here.  Someone is always finding their way outside to hold her.  They constantly call out a status update to me. “Mom, kitty is asleep.  Mom, kitty is awake.  Mom, kitty wants me to hold it.”  etc.  

The kitten is usually found by the kids through out the day in a small space between the deck and the house foundation that faces to the east, and it is usually sleeping in the sunshine.  When the kids find it there, they lovingly pick her up and cuddle her. Sometimes holding her for an hour or more.  I have a lot of kids, and that is a whole lot of holding for this kitten.   

Today, the update was a new one… I heard…. “Mom, it’s an emergency!  Come quick!”…I said “what is the emergency?  Is the kitten ok?”  They said…”Mom,  the kitten is taking a nap with a toad!”

I said, “surely you are joking?!!!”  I came outside to see for myself, and I could not believe my eyes.  A huge fat toad was sitting on top of the kitten’s back.  They were both sound asleep in the sunshine. 

I hurried up and grabbed my camera to take a few pictures of this strange sight. Then I tried to gently push the toad off the back of the kitten.  He would not budge.  Then I noticed the toads arm was wrapped around the kitten and it was hanging on.  Just like holding the hair on the neck of a horse when riding bare back, this toad had a hand full of the kittens hair and was tightly hanging on while taking a nap on it’s back in the sunshine.

Pushing on the toad was not working, so I finally picked the toad up trying to get it to release the kitten.  But it would not let go.  Lifting the toad was also pulling on the kitten too.  So rather than taking a chance on hurting the kitten by pulling to hard, instead I laid the toad back down beside it and waited for it to release it’s grip.

He still did not want to let go.

The kids were all squealing “look the toad is going to eat the kitten!” and other silly things.  So eventually I started to panic too, and thought perhaps this toad could hurt the kitten.  So I picked it up again and helped it to release its tight grip from the kitten’s neck, and promptly put the toad under a different area of the porch. 

Go figure?  I have never seen anything like this before.  Perhaps the toad has been sleeping with the kitten since birth.  Perhaps it sleeps with the mama cat too.  Maybe the toad was not really asleep and perhaps the toad thinks the kitten is it’s mate?  Could the toad be trying to eat the kitten?  I have no idea.   But the two seemed comfortable with each other, as both of them just seemed to sleep quietly in the sun.    I have no idea how to explain this situation to the kids.  This is one of the strangest things I have ever seen.

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Raising Homemakers
Sharing Time

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The Kitten From Down Under

We have a new kitten.  She is adorable.  She surprised us.  We knew the mother who is 80% wild and always stays just out of arms reach lives under our deck.  She comes and goes, and even though we feed her, she doesn’t want to be petted.  We thought two months ago when we moved to the farm that we would see kittens, but we never did.  We saw a male cat hang around from a distance about a month ago and assumed that if she had kittens, he had likely killed them.  We were disappointed, and my husband was especially disappointed.  He really looked forward to taming some kittens.  But with no kittens to be found, he accepted that it wasn’t the right timing and life went on.  Until today. 

Today, this beautiful black and white long haired kitten climbed up from below the deck.  She is so tiny and so new that she can barely walk.  She seems to have recently opened her eyes and her sight isn’t very good yet.  We estimate she is about 3 to 4 weeks old.  She climbed her way right into a ready made family with 16 hands to hold her. 

Now the kids, and daddy, and mommy, can’t stay away from this adorable baby who has captured our heart.

She is so content.  She isn’t afraid of us.  I think it might be that she has been listening to our voices everyday from down under the deck.  We eat most of our meals on the deck this summer, and we have daily bible study on the deck too.  I think she is so relaxed because she already knows us.  She is already a member of the family and today she let us know it.

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Bye Bye Bunny

            Saying Goodbye To A Pet

Saying “Goodbye” to a beloved pet can be a difficult for children.  Depending on the circumstances, whether the pet is given away or dies suddenly, children can have a range of responses.  But parents can help the process of grieving and acceptance go easier for the child.  

We have given away, and sold, many animals in the past.  We used to live on a farm, and though we had lots of animals, some of them in particular were “extra special”.  If an animal died suddenly, it was hard for the children, and for us parents, to deal with.   Also, the children would always become quite attached to our bottle fed goats, calves, our horse, our dog, kittens, our beloved turkey, and special favorite chickens.  Selling them or giving them away was a sad time for everyone.   It has been 3 years since we said goodbye to our farm animals, and though the children have moved on for the most part, our whole family still grieves the loss from time to time.

We currently have dogs and a bunny rabbit.  Having a pet to care for is a really good experience for the whole family.  It teaches many life skills.  It teaches responsibility.  It also helps with character development.  There is a lot about animal science, and life in general, that children can learn when it is hands on, and observations are daily and more real to everyday life. Having a pet to care for daily really helps children understand this much better. 

About six months ago, we sold a year old puppy dog to someone who just happened by and asked if we would sell one of our dogs.   The kids did not have time to process what was happening, and after the puppy was gone, it was very sad for the children.  They grieved for weeks.  In many ways it brought back the pain of saying goodbye to their animals on the farm.  It was hardest on our oldest son, and for several days, he cried quite often over it.  For the past year, he had walked the dog twice a day, fed it, watered it, and taught it to play fetch.  It was special to him, and somewhere along the way it became “his” dog.  Even though we kept in touch with the new dog owner, and got several updates on how the dog adjusted to his new family, it was still hard for my son to move beyond his grief. 

I realized I did not handle this situation as well as I could have.  I did not prepare the children for the emotions they would feel and go through.  This sale happened fairly suddenly for him, even though they knew all along that we would sell the puppies, they had become attached and loved their dear pets, and needed more time to know who was buying the dog and have a chance to say goodbye ahead of time.  So learning from experience, I decided I would go slower if we sold more puppies, and I would try to help the children process their feelings and information as much as they can ahead of time.

Our family recently made the decision to give away a beloved pet, our bunny rabbit.  This could have been traumatic for the kids.  Thank God for time, and for learning from past experiences.  It went much better than when we sold the puppy dog.  

We decided to give away our bunny rabbit for several reasons.   First, we only had a small cage for the bunny rabbit.  We kept it in the living room.  And being in the living room, he was right in the middle of life everyday.  The kids observed his habits, how he ate, drank, slept, pottied, etc. daily.  The observed his feet, his movements, his curiosity, etc. daily too.  He was a daily companion and soft and cuddly to pet his fur.

He was well cared for.  They fed and watered him everyday. 

He often needed his small cage cleaned, or it would make the living room smell unpleasant. (I am pregnant and the smell would sometimes just make me avoid the living room altogether, though it did not seem to bother the others).

When it was time to clean his cage, we would take him outside and let him hop around in a small dog fence.  The kids would take turns getting in the pen with him and petting him.  Then we would wash out his cage and re-bed it with new bedding, and bring it back inside. 

Overtime, we came to the conclusion that we should find a new home for the bunny for several reasons.  The cost of caring for the bunny, buying a constant supply of feed, hay, rabbit chews, and new bedding, was something we decided was not in our budget.  Another factor for our decision was the small cage it lived in.  We had hoped to buy or build the bunny a larger cage, and be able to keep the bunny outside, but that did not happen and we did not see it happening anytime soon.

Another local homeschool family was looking for a bunny rabbit to give their son for his birthday.  They already had a huge multi-story pen outdoors just waiting for the right bunny to call it home.  Their son is a teenager and wanted to raise rabbits.  This seemed like a good place for our bunny to go and live and make another child, actually several children in their family, a good pet.  


We discussed this with our kids for about two weeks while the other family processed also whether or not they wanted our bunny.  When they made their decision that they wanted this rabbit for sure, our children were well informed of what was going to take place and had plenty of time to process the information. 

On the day the other family was to pick up the rabbit, we took him outside and placed him in the small dog pen in the grass.  Each of the children took turns climbing in the pen with him and holding him, petting him, and saying goodbye.  No one was rushed.  It was a slow process and the kids could take as long as they needed.   Even three of our neighbor kids came over to say goodbye too.

Finally, when they were ready, they came out of
the pen and played with their neighbor friends until the other family arrived to take the rabbit home with them. 

They said goodbye one more time, and it was over.  They had time to process their emotions, and though it was sad, there were no surprises.  Acceptance came much easier this time.

“Bye Bye Bunny.”

How do you help your child say goodbye to a beloved pet?  Leave a comment below, thank you.

This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
Science Sunday
ABC and 123
Raising Homemakers

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Cotton De Tulear Puppies For Sale

Cotton De Tulear Puppies for sale $250

Born April 25, 2010    Male. 

Very adorable and make great family pets.  Very smart and quick learners.  This breed has hair and not fur and are considered hypoallergenic and don’t contribute/aggrevate allergies in people.
If you would like to learn more about this bread here is a link to the wikipedia:
I am selling these little guys non-registered for $250.  This a great offer as these puppies when registered usually sell for $700 to $1800.  Great family dog, and really like people, and they love children.

Playing with the baby and having lots of fun!



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