Scrabble’s Memory Lives On

When I posted Scrabble’s memorial again recently, a year after her death, Shannon Johnson got in touch to say she’d a wee feral, if not exactly the spit of Scrabble, at least very like her – could she name this wee one Scrabble? Of course I said yes – with a tear in my eye, but a very happy tear.

I noted that Shannon’s feline gang included a few wee grey furrballs and couldn’t help but mention Scrabble’s family, the Dunmanway Mountain Crew – all happily rehomed in the UK – were named mountainy names: Scree, Stone, Smoke, Slate, Shale and wee Scrabble (who was named last). And she thought her own family would suit those names equally well. And I was beside myself with delight!

Despite living continents apart, we ended up in conversation through facebook and Shannon told me a bit about her farm and her TNR endeavours. We originally friended on Facebook through Catsle Age (I still love that game and the fun to be had with the MEOW team, though I never play it any more).

I just love how such simple beginnings can connect me with so many people I admire and respect – now adding Shannon to the list.

So I wanted to thank Shannon for her kindness, and use the opportunity to share some of her tales of Scribble Scrabble, my wee one’s namesake, and her family. I found all the information fascinating – not least of which the cams she uses.

The Naming

Scribble ScrabbleI have a little smudgie faced feral kitten … a hard luck story that I won’t bother you with. I’m sure you’ve heard them all, but let’s just say she’s damned tough. She’s wee. Less than two months. She came to me for the first time today. May I call her Scrabble? It fits her, both in her resemblance to your angel baby and because of her tale. She’s the whitest one on my cover photo, though she’s a stinker for not looking at the camera to show her funny face.

Yes! Yes! Thank you.

The Introduction

Scribble ScrabbleShe about knocked herself out on my chicken coop trying to dive beneath it, the poor thing. I think she is going to be a rehoming fail. The mother cats are wild and will be TNR’d and will stay with me and the littles will be rehomed. I don’t know about Scrabble. I’m kind of soft on her. I may have to introduce her to the gingers and keep her on. I will drop you a pic now and then with her progress. If there is such thing as guardian angels, I hope your Scrabble will find her and help her. It’s a big, big world when you’re so, so small.

The Background

Scribble ScrabbleThe town near me has put a $25 bounty on stray cats. Any cat trapped without a collar will be killed or rehomed to the Amish … who don’t vet or feed any companion animal. It’s not that they can’t afford it. They simply don’t believe in it. This relocation program is the same as throwing a bag of cats in the ditch. My property borders five Amish farms. Where do you think those hungry and confused cats are going to go? The cat apocalypse began today. I expect new arrivals by the weekend. I will be at this TNR stuff for the rest of my life, I think.

I know little of Amish attitudes towards animals and would expect, like any social or religious group, there will be a wide variation amongst them. For my own information I had a wee look around the internet. I found that not all Amish communities are like Shannon’s neighbours. Three links in particular seemed informative:

The Rehoming

Mr SlateMr. Slate goes home Monday. He’ll be sharing his new home with a pair of empty nesters, a small cross dog named Tiny & Two-Bit, a reformed ginger feral.

Shale (Shale-a…I think she’s a girl) will be going to one of our mutual Castle Age facebook friends. She was a complete stranger but asked to view my live feed from our farm’s birthing pen. Anyone can see it. Well, she liked the farm idea and asked to come for a visit earlier this year when she relocated to a state nearer to me. She is coming for a visit again in August and will going back with at least one. Maybe two. She has twin boys. Makes sense to take Smoke, too.

Slate is a Turd

Mr SlateI had to share this picture with you. This is Slate trapping his sister, Shale. He got both Shale and Smoke today in different traps. He slammed the lid down on Shale, captured here on field camera, and he jumped up onto a bigger trap and clipped the trigger bar while Smoke was playing with a string inside. This is the little straw shelter where I put the microwaved heaters in the winter. It’s inside the storage part of my hen house. They just play in there in the summer. There’s a cat door, so they come and go. Slate is such a turd, though!!

Brings new meaning to the phrase ‘Cat Trapper’.

A Sidetrack – Cameras

Shannon has two cameras, one motion activated, one constant – I was fascinated by this idea, never really having appreciated how useful they could be. Now I *want* one!

Smoke and CloudI have two types of cameras. This one is motion/heat activated & will take still shots or brief videos & save them on a standard SD card. I confess, checking it every day is a bit like Christmas … learning what those little demons have been up to. They are inexpensive. The one in my barn (the one people besides me can access) is a live feed which I ported to a website so I could monitor my pregnant cows while I was off the farm. Anyone who uses an iThing or Google Chrome can see the feed if I give them a password. It dislikes internet explorer but plays along sometimes. That was pricey but well worth it. While my Facebook friends just enjoy watching the cows & births, it is a valuable tool to me in identifying problem labors & knowing when I need to help a cow.

Their Gallery

Photos by Shannon


Video Namesakes

Here’s some of Shannon’s videos of the funs for your delectation with text intros from Shannon.

Little ferals relax and contemplate the positives of civilization … like string!


For all that she is wild and unsocialized, little Shale truly cannot help herself. 


Cloud is a second generation true feral, trapped three nights ago. This is day 2.5 of her socialization. She’s a talker…and also a biscuit maker.


This is Cloud, second generation true feral, on Day 5 post trapping.


Related Links

Posted in In Loving Memory, In Memoriam, Our Videos, TNR Tales.

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