RasPutin cat

While I’m still in a photo mood, here’s one of old RasPutin, the father of the barn cats.


He vanished a while ago for some time and, when he came back, he was very thin and so was his coat.  I’m not sure if enlarging the photo will show, but he is half the cat he used to be.  When I stroke him, I can feel his ribs and his hair isn’t patchy, just really thin overall.

I feed him three times a day now, if he’s about, and he eats well but he isn’t putting on weight.  I don’t know if he simply has worms, or if it’s cancer, but at least he’s happy now.  A few weeks ago, he was very anxious and begged for food but now he loves to be stroked and is willing to wait to be fed, as long as I’m making a fuss of him.  I don’t honestly expect him to last the winter and I daresay he just won’t turn up one day and I’ll never know what’s happened, but at least he will have been comfortable.  He used to turn up when he felt like it, but now he’s always about.  And he purrs now, which he never used to do.

He and Rummy have come to some sort of accommodation.  He’s still the top cat, actually and Rummy doesn’t mess with him – he’s been whopped too often.  RasPutin has lost fights, as shown by his torn and crooked right ear, but he still has stature.  His children are fond of him, especially his daughter Betty.

I gave up and now buy Whiskas.  You knew I would.  The five of them eat up to three tins a day.  It costs a fortune.  *Sigh* At that, Betty often turns her nose up and just eats the dried GoKat.  She approves of Eloise cat’s left over food though.

I can do nothing about it.  If being kind turns me into crazy cat woman, so be it.

Frustratingly, I don’t know if the chickens have mastered the new feeder or not.  I put down a bit of food for them under it, because I worry too much to leave them unfed.  Little Yvette, the Serama, seems to get chased away, but she’s being a bit broody anyway and spends most of her time in the nest box.  Interestingly, the big brown hen is also somewhat broody and they are nestled down together – since BBH normally bullies Yvette (who is a feisty little thing and isn’t cowed, though she has to run away as she’s so small) it’s surprising that they are nestbox partners, but that’s that.  The black hens are laying and those two are sitting.  Anyway, though I’m not entirely satisfied by the feeder, which is wildly overpriced for what it is, not having trays of food down does, as Blue Witch predicted, seem to have solved the rat problem.  They don’t come in and scuttle away when I go in the greenhouse.  I’ve been thinking about it – Russell never used feeders or drinkers, but put down bowls of water and scattered them handfuls of feed several times a day.  They were free range outdoors then, of course, unless the weather was too bad – but we never had a rat problem.It may be that the chooks are using the feeder – in a day or two, I’ll not put food down in the morning and watch them.  I’ve been a bit too busy for that, so far.

3 comments on “RasPutin cat

  1. Blue Witch

    I’m sorry that your experience of the feeder manufacturer is so bad. I saw the lady down the road who bought one a few months back, and hers is almost the same as ours (bought 15 or 16 years ago – at least) . Does the lid on your feeder fit now?

    As for knowing whether they are eating – can you put a mark inside the food container (eg with a bit of sticky label or plaster) to show the feed level, so you know whether they are eating from the feeder? While there is still loose food around in dishes, the rats will still come.

    Have you stood the feeder on a concrete slab (that’s to make sure the hens see and eat all the food they dispense, so there is absolutely nothing left around for rats or mice)? And, if you wait until the hens are hungry, and tap the feed bar, they will soon work it out, if they haven’t already. Mr BW swears by taping or tying something the hens like to the feed button, so they learn to use the mechanism by accident, but I don’t think this is necessary.

    I know you care very much for your animals, but sometimes ‘over-caring’ isn’t good for them! (or you!). Hens really are very fickle creatures, but they will eventually sort themselves out if we don’t intervene. Their pecking orders are highly complex and change over time – and according to ‘hen events’ that we will never come close to understanding!

    I suspect that the difference between then and now in feeding is that a small quantity hand-fed in the open disappears (or is eaten by wild birds) cf dishes in a closed area which, if not finished, or spread around by messy hen eaters, draw rats and mice.

    I wonder whether RasPutin has ingested rat/mouse poison someone else has put out? If only a small bit (eg in a poisoned mouse), it could be causing the slow deterioration in his weight and fur. Not enough to kill him quickly, but enough to cause him problems. I’m sure your good care of him now is helping though.

  2. Z Post author

    The idea of the feeder is fine, and it’s just unfortunate that this particular one hasn’t been made very well. I haven’t tried the lid again – it’s just balanced on top but I realise that it spread because I put feed in while it was very warm. It’s just that it’s made to such precise measurements that the least mistake or variant puts it right out. There are only seven chickens, three of them being bantams and two being very small, so there wouldn’t be much variation in food level day by day – my mistake was, I should have put in a small amount at the start so the difference was obvious. I just put a handful of food under the feeder and throw Yvette a bit as she wouldn’t otherwise get a look in (If she weren’t broody, I’d be confident that she’d come back later, but she’s only coming out briefly in the morning) and I don’t leave pans of food any more. I haven’t got a spare slab so I’ve put a plate underneath. If I can just once catch a hen pecking to release food, I’ll be reassured. I did put a fat ball on for the first few days, but the chickens only bothered if I crumbled it onto the ground, they didn’t go for it. They must be getting food as three of them are laying (two are broody, one is very old and the seventh is a boy) and they wouldn’t if they were undernourished.

    I hadn’t thought of poison, it’s certainly possible. He’s still thin but not starving, so that’s a positive. He’s a friendly old boy and I’ll do my best, but nature will take its course. Trapping him and taking him to the vet wouldn’t be kind, I don’t think.

  3. Blue Witch

    No, semi-feral outdoor cats are definitely not for vets. Similarly ill hens. They usually know little about either – except how much they can extract from loving owners with misplaced trust. Cynical, moi? 😉


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