Jerry Coyne gets a bath, and other updates

Gayle Ferguson, who is raising Jerry Coyne the Cat and his four female siblings, all abandoned at the tender age of three weeks, gives us photographs of Jerry and his littermates, as well as an update. The photos are in order at the bottom. Gayle’s notes:

1. Jerry after his bath last night.
2. Play-fighting with his sister Isis.
3. Being generally cute.
4. Asleep in a pile with three of his siblings (Jerry is the bottom cat. Cat on top of the pile is Hoover).

Not clear yet who the dominant cats are.  Hoover is the biggest and the most dominant feeder.  She jumps to attention when she detects the milk and when she was really hungry she would attack the syringe and swat it furiously then screech like a tortured kitten when the milk didn’t go inside her mouth straight away.  She’s the most aggressive, and also seems to frighten easily.

Jerry has the loudest miaow.  He’s toned it down recently, but he’s definitely not shy about telling me when he wants more noms!

Isis is the most affectionate and the loudest purrer.  Ginger girl likes to sit and look at me until she catches my eye, then she miaows!


By the way, several readers suggested, based on an earlier photo, that Jerry Coyne might be polydactylous. I asked Gayle to count his toes, and here’s her reply:

He’s got the normal number of toes.  It’s just that his toes are very fluffy.

Play fighting




  1. compuholio
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    I never understood why people would give their cats baths.

    It has been my experience so far that cats are very able to keep themselves clean. After all they spend lots of time on this every day.

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Things can get pretty messy when you’re hand-feeding babies! Plus, their bio-mama’s not around to lick them.

    • Sastra
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Sometimes it depends on what the cat’s been getting in to. There’s also the problem of fleas.

      I’ve seldom had to bathe any of my cats because I always keep them indoors and none of them have been ‘explorers.’ I mean, all cats explore, but some explore more than others, just as some of them jump more than others. A really determined cat in a crawlspace or pantry with nasty stuff can end up needing a bath.

    • steve oberski
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Based on personal experience, human raised kittens need to be taught to groom themselves as the mother is no there to clean them.

      An occasional bath is necessary both to keep them clean (hand feeding is very messy) and seems to kick start the grooming reflex.

    • rareflightlessbird
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, they all smelled like milk formula and poo so needed a wash. They do self-groom though, it’s just they need a bit of extra help.

      • rareflightlessbird
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        ps – after they were washed I had to blow-dry them!

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted February 17, 2014 at 3:10 am | Permalink

          Serious Q
          I understand why you use the hair drier, but wouldn’t rubbing them down with a towel be better, giving them a sensation not dissimilar to being tongued down by Mum? Which simulation may help stimulate them to self-grooming?

          • rareflightlessbird
            Posted February 17, 2014 at 4:53 am | Permalink

            I towelled them first. The website I read said it is important to get them dry to the skin asap so that they don’t get cold. So I followed their suggestions.

  2. StevenSClark
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    These are excellent photos. I hope Gayle shares more pictures as Jerry Coyne develops into a fully grown ceiling cat.

    • Sastra
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      I don’t. I hope whoever adopts Jerry Coyne shares more pictures as he develops into a fully grown ceiling cat.

      Though that runs the very real risk that they won’t be as good a photographer as Gayle.

      • Posted February 16, 2014 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

        I would love to take him in, but my current accommodation is temporary so my hands are tied for the moment. Massey is not far from where I am, either.

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted February 18, 2014 at 3:21 am | Permalink

          I’m thinking of emigrating to NZ. What better excuse could there be :). Other than the wonderful people, plus scenery like Scotland and a much better climate.

  3. Diane G.
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    These are SO adorable!

    “Jerry has the loudest miaow.”

    No comment.


  4. Diana MacPherson
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Permalink


  5. Posted February 16, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I was icing a vanilla cake for the company tonight, took a break, checked WEIT and set, upon reading a headline of “Jerry Coyne Gets a Bath,” to immediate twines of guffawing. What a funny.funny headline !

    Guest comes running over to my screen. Sees pix o’ Bedraggled – Kitteh Babe: ‘nuf sed.

    Having this critter ( ) in a ‘bath’ , whatevah its name, ‘d be waaaay, way more difficult, not ?


  6. Prof.Pedant
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    The grey tabby on top of the pile looks a lot like my feline friend Cordelia.

  7. Posted February 16, 2014 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a random thought.

    For the next MSF fundraiser, how ’bout auctioning off the opportunity for somebody to give Jerry Coyne a bath?

    [whistles away nonchalantly]


  8. Hempenstein
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Hard to imagine anyone suggesting that Jerry Coyne is one of the Unwashed, but now there’s proof that he isn’t.

  9. Posted February 16, 2014 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    All so cuuute!

  10. Steve Gerrard
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Bath Cat is squee. Hoover is squee also.

  11. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 4:20 am | Permalink

    [Jerry’s] toes are very fluffy.

    Oh toes!

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