Tag Archives: cats

Wild Cats!

Well, already this is turning out to be the summer of animal adventures. Last week it was a beaver, and this week, wild cats! Or, to be more exact, wild kittens!

My son Luke has a female cat named “Splat” that attracted several males this spring. And while my husband wasn’t too happy, the kids were overjoyed at the prospect of raising kittens. Splat, however, had other plans. She likes to wander the neighborhood, and one day she came back, skinny as could be.

We knew she had had her kittens, and after many attempts at following her, we discovered she had them in our neighbor’s barn. The 100-year-old barn sits in the middle of a pen with a barbed wire fence, so it’s not only quite rickety, but also hard to get to. When we finally found the kittens (after about four weeks of trying), they dashed away so fast that we soon gave up. That is, until yesterday.

As I was going out to feed the animals in the morning, I opened the back door. And there, right at my feet on the back stoop, was Splat and a pile of kittens. I was startled as one stared at me, and by the time I realized what was going on, they were gone — under the back porch, up to the top of three cinder blocks stacked on each other, and down into the holes they created. The floor beams of the porch were only about eight inches from the top of the cinder blocks, so there was no way of reaching in to get cats.

Two? Three? We weren’t sure, but within thirty-minutes they had all come out again and were playing in the grass beside the porch. Five! There were now five wild kittens living under our porch!

What’s a houseful of kids to do? Why, catch them, of course! Over the past two days we’ve caught four of the five kittens. We’ve set up a nice spot for them in our spare bathroom (the one that used to house baby chicks), and the kids have been going in and out throughout the day, talking to them, petting them, and even holding them. Splat comes in occasionally for a visit, but she spends most of her time outside with the last one. Hopefully we’ll catch that one tomorrow.

Like our other animal incidents, this whole adventure has stirred the curious minds of my younger two children. They are thinking of questions about kittens to look up on the Internet, and we’ve got some great kitten books from the library. I sense some truly “hands-on” lessons coming soon.

My goal? To tame these wild kitties so we can find some nice homes for them. The kids’ ¬†goal: to talk their dad into keeping one. His goal: to get Splat fixed. ūüôā


Photo by Gracey

Lessons from a Lizard

mf7After leaving the putt-putt course in Alabama, we headed to Florida to visit more family – aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandma. My children always find a lot to do when we visit, and one of their favorite activities is trying to catch the lizards that run around outside my mom’s house. This took on a whole new dimension, however, when the cat chased a lizard inside.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

We were sitting around the table with my mom finishing up breakfast when the cat raced through the door that had been propped open. I saw it pounce on something under my mom’s chair, then I saw a tail underneath its paws.¬†

“A lizard! Get the lizard!” I shouted, and everyone started looking around in confusion.

“What? What?” My mom shouted. By this time the lizard had gotten free, but the cat was still holding onto it’s tail. The tail had come off and was wiggling on the floor.¬†

“The lizard!” I shouted. “It ran into the bedroom behind the door!” A lizard in the house has nothing to eat, and it usually dies and dries up. “Get the lizard!”

Four children were still sitting around the table, and my mom was still hollering “What?” and laughing. The cat was the only one looking for the lizard, and the tail was still wiggling on the floor.¬†

I pulled John (age 12) from his chair and took him into the bedroom. The lizard was hiding behind the door against the wall. An easy place to catch him, or so I thought. 

“Get him, John!”

“I can’t.”¬†

“Why not? Look – he’s right there. Get him!”¬†

“I don’t think I can.”¬†

“He’s going under my foot. Ah!¬† He’s under my foot. Get him!” ¬†I said.¬†

But within a moment the lizard had slipped out from under my foot, under the door again, and back into the kitchen, where the cat chased it under a bookshelf. The tail was still wiggling on the floor. 

“Somebody pick up that tail,” my mom said. John sat back down. Everyone else stayed in their chairs,¬†laughing.¬†

“Oh, I’ll get it,” I said, grabbing some paper towel. I picked up the tail and threw it in the trash. There were quite a few lessons here, I thought. The first two were obvious: How To Catch a Lizard and How to Pick Up a Tail. But there are some good homeschooling lessons as well. What is the natural habitat of lizards? What do lizards need to survive? ¬†Why do the lizards tails come off? Besides cats, what other predators attack lizards?

Life events do lend themselves to learning, don’t they?