JUMBO UPDATE 8 FEB 2013
Last night I spent ages watching our 2 ¾ African wild cats playing, it is more entertaining than watching TV sometimes as they really do have incredible agility and a vast amount of energy. They are full grown cats but still play like kittens. Both cats are free at all times to roam the house, garden and surrounding bush and we know that one day they will probably return to the wild 100% but for now Shumba the male goes off for a few days at a time and Skinny cat the female tends to be more of a home cat and only ventures off for short periods of time.
Whilst there are many similarities between the wild cats and the domestic cats there are also distinct differences. In appearance they are very similar to any tabby cat but have very distinctive black stripes particularly on their legs and distinctive spots on their tummy with brown spots on their ears, distinctive brown stripes on their face, black paws, a black tip of the tail and black lips. It is in their characteristics and behavior that you really notice a difference, they are much more active than domestic cats and their play is extremely rough – even as tiny kittens you would quite often hear a thump as one of the kittens knocked the other to the ground and thumped a head against the floor, the victim seldom even reacted to this just jumped up and continued the chase. We had lots of evenings with 2 kittens madly chasing each other up and down the furniture, over people and around the room at breathtaking speeds and this have not really changed much as they have grown older.
They love digging holes – not just the normal little holes that a domestic cat digs to go to the toilet but seriously big holes like a dog would dig and they love carrying things around in their mouths – toys are carried from one room to another just like they would carry their prey home for kittens. The 2 cats hunt as a team with each cat moving in from a different direction with a pincer like effect but the partnership ends when one cat has caught his/her prey as they don’t share! The domestic cats seem to know that these cats are different and are very wary of them even though they have lived together for over a year now, even when they were tiny kittens the domestic cats were nervous of them and kept their distance. From time to time we have to sort out a cat fight as the wild cat’s gang up on a domestic cat – lots of hissing and yowling but no actual injuries. The wild cats love going for walks and will follow for a great distance, well not really follow, more like run ahead and wait for the slow humans to catch up! They love water and will play in shallow puddles (or the paddling pool that we had for Moses if the water is not too deep) and then will spend hours licking each other dry and grooming each other. They can be very affectionate, when they are in the mood for affection, and quite demanding if they want affection and you are not quick enough to provide it at which time they become very vocal and climb all over you to make sure you don’t ignore them! Skinny cat loves sleeping with me curled up against me but she does complain if I move in my sleep at all and Shumba comes for visits during the night if he is not off hunting.
I am hoping to get the poles for the barn this week – some of them need to be 17m long and all of them need to be straight so it is a bit of a challenge to find the right poles. I need to get the uprights in order to be able to measure them to get an exact size for the steel brackets that we will set into concrete to hold the poles in place and we are now at the stage of setting these poles in order to be able to move forwards with the barn. We don’t have a shop where you can go to choose things like poles, it is a case of going into blue gum plantations and selecting the poles you need, negotiating a price with the owner of the plantation, cutting down the pole and transporting it home for treatment but a very kind gentleman Jimmy Yiannakis has offered to do the sourcing and negotiating for me as I am a rather useless negotiator. Fingers crossed that he will be successful at a plantation that is fairly close to home so that we don’t have to drive hundreds of km to collect them. The rains should start to ease off in about a month’s time and so I would like to get the poles, get the brackets and be all ready to start building again in earnest as soon as the rains stop.