Thursday, April 30, 2009
I have the webcam running again.
The kittens are getting adventerous. Their teeth are just starting to come in too which is uber adorable. The tiniest boy is the first one out of the cage and 'runnin'. He has no idea where he is going, but he wants to get there. I think he might remember I gave him KMR once. Today I offered him a little smoosh of canned food, and he thought that was very tasty. None of the kits are super thrivers. They are getting by. The girl and the tiny boy are very very petite. The little gray boy is round and filled out, but he too isn't as plump as he could be. they are about three weeks old at this point, so they shouldn't be on food for at least another week, but I can't wait for them to do so.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
*click to enlarge photos*
Here is my "Good Morning, yea yea yea, now where is my breakfast!" hiss
Sierra is not sure about things..
Oh NO! the kittens escaped the nest
Stop looking at the kittens and pat me! Garfield says.
I open the cage and mom assumes the standard position. Although if you take close note, there are an extra pair of feet in there. Poor kitten nursing got caught up
While mom is not interested in me, the kittens are
aren't these little guys cute?? it is too bad that mom is so stand-offish. She is beautiful. But because of the lack of warning before she lashes out I fear she won't ever come to accept me. I hope I'm wrong.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
the life of Jack includes problems with urinary issues. He has been producing alkaline urine while eating a higher carb raw food. So I have started supplementing him with a product to help acidify his urine. Every once in a while I need to lock him up with a litter pan that has special litter in it that tells me if the urine is too alkaline. I give him a meal of canned food watered down to soup consistancy (to ensure at some point in the day he has to go)
Well today was one of those days I locked him up.
I thought for fun I'd train the webcam on the bed so I could peek in on him.
Well.. he apparently doesn't sleep on the bed (unless I'm in it) cause not only has he not been on the bed the three times I've checked in on him, the folds in the comforter have not moved one iota.
so sad. No cute picts of Jack sleeping on the bed.
Ok, slashed is a little dramatic. I lost a drop of blood from where FM's claw hit me. At this point I am reluctant to give her a real name. Probably shouldn't, as every cat deserves a name. Maybe she might be more receptive to me if I had a name for her, but I fear if I name her, I'll attach to her. We'll see.
I like to offer feral kittens food, so they know food comes from the human, and thus the human is not all bad. It works with the kittens.
With FM, I watch her as I offer the food. She is cowering in the back as she always does when I enter the room and remove the covering from the cage. I slowly bring the food (or the bowl as in the other day) and very slowly (very slowly) inch it towards her. Letting her sniff at it. I watch her nose start twitching, so I move a millimeter more forward, and wait. often it is a few seconds after the last move, sometimes it is during the move, but she lashes out. No growl, no tensing up (well maybe she is just too tensed up to get any more tensed) no warning what so ever, just a fierce lashing. This time I was stupid to do it with out gloves or a towel and she got her claw into my index finger.
Don't really know how to handle this, because the bedding is getting to the point where it really needs to be changed out. I hate to say this, but I think I'll wait the few more days until the other crew goes back to their original foster home. Because Hunter and Garfield REALLY want to get into the cage to play with those babies..
I pulled the runt of the litter out last night to look at it. He had a little scab under his chin. He is small, and his eyes seem watery and he might have been a little dehydrated. I'm worried. But then again when am I not worried about kitties?
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Ok, I am starting to see the appeal of little orange kittens.
For a long time I have heard how loving they are, and how they easily adapt. Which is amusing since the complete opposite is true of their counterpart - the tortie.
Genetically it has been thought that all orange kitties were male - but that isn't true. Also it is thought that all Tortie kitties are girls - this is much more true. There are male Torties, but because of genetics they are all thought to be sterile. Orange and Tortie both come from the same set of genes.
So anyway. I was in the kitten room this morning hanging out with the feral mom cat (who would prefer it if I just disappeared all together) and Garfield crawled up into my lap and started purring. We sat there being glared at by FM (feral mom for lack of a proper name at the moment) and cuddled. I'm hoping her seeing me interact with other cats will help her adjust. I also need to get some cat proof coverings for my hands so I can interact with her and not be so fearful when she lashes out. If when ever I react to her outbursts, it just reinforces that acting out is getting her what she wants.
I pulled a kitten out of the cage yesterday. They are active and squirming so I wasn't horribly worried, but FM hadn't eaten since that first day so I was getting concerned. It was a little dehydrated. I thought FM would appreciate being able to view the rest of the room, but since she wasn't venturing out beyond the nest, I had to do something, so last night I clipped a water dish to the lower level, and also covered the entire cage.
Well this morning the food was gone, a lot of the water had been consumed, and the babies weren't as dehydrated.. so I'm thinking full cage coverage is the way to go.
I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to do with her once the other kittens have gone back to their foster parents. Do I let her out of the cage? Certainly would make it safer on my hands to clean the box and put food in, but I also think it would severely limit my interacting with her, because I'm sure she'll just sit under the couch any time I'm in the room. Would be great if I could figure out a way for the kittens to have free run of the room while she is contained, but I'm not sure that is the best option either.
Now that I know she'll roam the cage if it is entirely covered, I'm going to move the litter back on the top shelf, and put the food back on the lower level with her. Easier to sneak in and refill the food than it is to scoop out the box while being aware that she is likely to lash out.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
So, I think I need to go into kitty counseling.. or maybe Kitty Anonymous, because I just can't turn my back on a kitty in need.
The shelter took in this feral mom and her five kittens. They are very reluctant to put feral cats in foster, well because they are feral, and the risks that means to the foster parents, then the inability to place these cats in a home is the other downside. It sucks that we are basically using her to nurse the kittens and then will most likely put her down. But better to save them, then to lose them all. Isn't it?
and you never know what kind of progress I might be able to make with her.
I took in a feral cat several years ago. I was given warnings about this overly protective mother, but someone really wasn't paying attention because she was feral. I could only touch her if she wasn't looking and I snuck up on her. I tried. I went very slowly, I offered her yummy tidbits to distract her, but she was just not interested in working with me. The day I went to pack her up for a trip to the vet and she ended up biting a stuffed animal that was near her (thankfully she was unable to get her teeth into me) and sunk her entire fang into it I knew there was no chance for her. It was very sad, but I think she was the one that taught my soul the reality that you can't save them all. It is something we all know, but yet we still try. I still try. I tried with little Cupcake, but when I lose them, I some how am able to make some sort of peace with it. (although it did take a little longer with Cupcake)
Maybe this mom is just REALLY freaked out of her gourd, and after spending some time watching me feed her and listening to her needs, maybe she'll realize humans are ok.
or maybe not, but maybe the shelter manager will find a barn for her to go to..
But.. we will end up with five happy content babies out of this, that I vow to make happen.
So, here are the new fosters. I've only got them for a week while I foster sit (see previous post) but here are some picts.
Click to enlarge:
I was taking a shot of three of the kits on the ottoman, and mom decided to supervise. She still hisses at me when ever I walk in the room, but remembers after I feed her that food is a good thing. She's lost a little weight since being here, so I'm going to have to up the amount of food I give her.
I think this one is Hunter. If not, then he should be. His brother (below) is much more a Garfield. Very out going and VERY much into food. Sierra is behind Hunter. She's still *very concerned* over everything.
Don't you just want to steal him and take him home? watch out though.. he really *gets into* his food. Usually by stepping in it and bring a little along for later :D
Sassy. She's still not sure about all this. Only Garfield has adapted to the new surroundings so far.
But a good dinner goes a LONG way!
No, Purkle is not a typo, it is intentially spelled that way ..and yes, it is a long story :)
anyway..here's my addition for this week's theme of purple
I'm only able to post thumbnails until I get an official redo of this website. I'm so in need of one, but I can't find a nice theme that I like for the background.
Friday, April 17, 2009
I am a bad foster mommy..
three times I said to myself "Don't forget to FILL the litter box!* as I was setting up the mom and kits in the room. But did I? NOOOO..
I can't believe I forgot to do that. At least she had a box down to use - which thankfully she did. but because the urine was contained in a box, and kittens LOVE boxes, I ended up with urine kitten prints all over the room, and kittens that smelled a little urine-y.
She's still hissing at me, despite the fact that every time she sees me she gets more yummy food. I think I've convinced Sassy that I'm ok since I got to rub her belly and got a few licks. Sierra isn't quite so sure yet. The boys are little orange boys, so they are laid back and accepting of almost everything.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Not quite sure how to label this post, since I'm just baby sitting some foster kitties while their foster mom is out of town. I have them till next Friday or Saturday.
Mom Sasha is a just under 6lb tortie. she's got four little four to five week old babies. Two orange kits named Garfield and Hunter. A tiger named Sassy (and it so fits her) and a little black one named Sierra (it is crossed out in the paper so I can only assume that is her name)
Muffin is here and has decided it is time for my Purr Therapy and is not happy I'm typing and not enjoying her work.
Anyway. mom is very thin and petite. She hissed at me quite a bit, but more as a "I have babies you better not mean them harm" than a true "I'm more than willing to hurt you" They are trying to get weight on her (she's 5lbs 12 oz) so I gave her a little raw food. She hissed at me when I walked in the room. Took me a few minutes to find her. I offered her the raw and she seemed interested.
There is a possible foster for me at the shelter. They haven't tested the mom, so they don't know what her health status is. She's feral. apparently badly so. But she's a good mom and taking great care of her babies. The shelter was reluctant to put her in foster care because there is probably no chance of placing her anywhere. Didn't want to lay that on a foster home. Seems horrible to "use" her as a nurse (to her own kittens btw) only to put her down once her kits are of size. The foster coordinator thought maybe she could find her a home in a barn, so it isn't 100% that she'll be put down (that is if she is felv/fiv negative)
I understand. I had a foster once that was truly feral. She would have preferred to take my face off. One of the few cats out there that actually scared me, but it was a healthy fear. She had some good kittens. A friend of mine ended up adopting one of them (unfortunately that kitten ended up getting outside when she was a few years old and never came back) She ended up biting pretty strongly when I tried to cage her up to get her back to the shelter. Fortunately it wasn't me(it was a stuffed animal near her), but it was very impressive, and I knew that she would never accept human interaction in her life.
well anyway.. I will probably get some photos of Sasha and her kittens this weekend. Little orange kittens are always very cute.
This is a foster kitty playing with a toy, but doesn't it look like he's trying to create a triangle??
I can almost hear him trying to work out pythagoreans therom.
(bonus points for me for working in pythagoreans therom in a kitten post :D)
Needed to go out the other night, and I just didn't want to. So I joked that I was going to bring Fleurp with me. Well after some discussion we realized Fleurp would probably not be the best traveling companion.
I used to travel everywhere with Jack, but since I haven't done that in a long time, he's much less interested in doing it.
So I decided to bring Ollie.
Harnesed him up, and set out to the car. DH decided to open up the garage door as I was walking past it.. my DH is not the brightest bulb in the bunch.
Ollie was a little freaked out, so I took him outside and let him walk on the grass. He really liked that. Ollie has recently started to like the outside. I will have to harness him up more often and take him for walks around the house.
He traveled pretty well. Hunkered down near me. He did get a little warm and his feet got a little sweaty, and he cried out a couple of times (to which the DH responded. Um.. honey, if you don't want him to cry out, don't respond to him verbally! it will just encourage him to swear at you more) Some more cuddles and pats and he took the journey rather well. Started looking around, being intersted in the journey.
not that I for a moment think traveling with us is now Ollie's new favorite past time. but it was nice to spend a little one on one time with him.
well this was a popular search recently.
How to foster kittens.
Seems so daunting doesn't it? Where do you start, what do you need?
Well if you have a shelter or rescue that has a foster program, the foster program coordinator will start you off with their basic guidelines. They almost always provide very easy fosters for the first set or two, and might ask you later to take more 'high risk' fosters once you feel comfortable. A mom with babies, easy. older kittens that are eating on their own, easy. Pregnant moms, easy with special circumstances. Cause things CAN go wrong. Generally pregnancy and delivery is pretty easy and done with out any interveining from you. But occasionally you need to be ready for problems.
So easy. You bring them home. Set them up with a litter box, food, water and toys. When I first started I had a small office that I converted to fit the fosters. I soon realized that it would be easier for me if I could confine them somewhat, and I confiscated my older rabbit cage (still in good shape) to keep the cats confined while they were very small. It was large enough to comfortably house a mom and a few babies, a litter box and food. As the kittens got old enough to show good litter box habits, they got more and more freedom. As I continued to foster, I invested just under $100 in an official cat cage. I like it, but there are times when I like the simplicity of the rabbit cage. Only problem with the rabbit cage is there isn't easy access. If there is a kitten in the back of the cage, I have to crawl through the small door in the front to get to it.
Do you need a cage? no. If the kittens are small and you want to keep them confined, a sturdy cardboard box works great.
I do however recommend that if you have cats of your own that you assign one room to be for fostering, and keep fosters isolated from your own cats. You never know what issues foster kittens can bring into your house. Almost all of the issues that can be a problem are preventable with your own cats being up to date on their vaccines and isolation from the fosters. I am rare in how much I isolate the kittens. Most of the foster parents I know let kittens mingle with their own cats. I've done it. I'll admit it is a LOT of fun and good exercise for older cats. But since I've run into issues I only do it after the kittens have been around for six weeks or more and ONLY if they tend to escape the foster room first. (which despite the addition of a baby gate to the enterence of the foster room door they still do as they get older)
So, basics. New foster parents get easy cases. Not much to do but play with them, snuggle them, get them used to human contact. Helps to have a radio or a TV playing in the back ground when you aren't around. gets them used to the sounds of humans. I had a set that I didn't give background noise to for a while, and they were more shy than normal. Took them a little while each time to warm up to us. So I ended up getting a radio for them, and that disappeared.
another good thing to do occasionally is take them for an outting. I once had a set of fosters that didn't leave my house until they went to get neutered. They got quite car sick, and the whole experience was quite hard on them. taking them out in the carrier and drive around a few times (once a week?) or bring them back to the shelter for a visit.. I bring mine in occasionally for cuddling. I ask the staff if they wouldn't mind cuddling a kitten... which they rarely turn down. I work at a place that I can bring kittens in occasionally, which is also helpful. Going out into the world, then going home to the nest helps build up the self confidence of a kitten. And a self confident kitten makes a nice well adjusted and loving cat.
Over the years I've gotten a few extras for the foster kittens. Climbing trees, cute beds, play cubes, etc. But generally they just want to play with those things you don't want them to, like plastic bags, pop tops from cans, strings from bags of litter :) You need to be VERY careful to kitten proof. Kittens once they get that walking thing down are very much like human toddlers at a birthday party.
Often, when I tell people what I do, they ask how I can do it, how can I give them back. Well I laugh and remind them I now have a multitude of cats, and sometimes they don't go back. One foster parent I know ended up with 12 cats. Most have one or two they end up keeping, but we love cats, and we love our cats, and we know that to keep adding to the household would only cause problems, and would probably end our ability to foster. The other thing I tell people is that when you have a group of kittens, it is a completely different thing than falling in love with one cat a time. Yes, they are adorable, fun and make you laugh, but 5 kittens can get into more trouble than you can imagine, and make big messes (the dustpan and broom will be your best friend) and by the time they are big enough to go back to be adopted you will very much be like the mom of the toddler at a birthday party. I've actually begged the shelter to take back kittens before.
now, when you get one kitten, or you have a sick or special needs kitten, you are apt to get attached. Which is another reason why you aren't given those kitties when you first start up.
so long post to say you need a warm safe place for them to be and time to love them (and clean up after them). It is oh so easy and so very rewarding to watch kittens grow into healthy self confident cats.
if the shelter or rescue does not provide food and litter, then you will need to provide that. Most take care of medical issues. Make sure you know what you will be responsible for. Find out what their policies as well as their emergancy policies are (because emergancies rarely happen when they are open)
If they do not provide medical care, then be very careful. Because sick kittens can quickly drain you financially. several trips to the vet, several different medications. etc. not all kittens get sick, but it is common.
URI is the most common. usually requires a little liquid medication given once or twice per day (depending on the medication of choice) Young kittens are usually very easy to medicate, especially with liquid. You just need to make sure they continue to eat and play. Any change in that behavior would warrent another trip back to the shelter for further treatment.
Questions? Just leave a comment, I'll be happy to answer them.
Ok, seriously, I so wish I had the ability to understand my cats.
Why oh why were ALL SEVEN cats in the bed this morning waiting for me to wake up?
Ollie was *right in my face* (whiskers up the nose in the face) on the left. Muffin was on my chest. Jack was on my right. Right behind Jack was Eli waiting his turn. Twee, Fleurp and Kit were behind the first line just sitting there amusing themselves.
Ok, so I wake up. Pat Ollie, pat Jack, snuggle Muff. Jack leaves, I pat Eli, and then pretty much I'm alone.
seriously. It isn't like I feed them in the morning - or ever. DH takes care of that. I understand the "We are STARVING! Dad forgot to feed us this morning" plea when I finally do crawl out of bed. can't blame them for trying to get more.
I must say I am amused and dismayed by one new development in the house. Fleurp has decided to bring her toys into the bed. Now she's done this in the past, but never to PLAY with them. She has started sitting on top of me and playing with things. yes, when I'm asleep. Yes, at some unseemly hour of the night - no glasses on so I have no idea exactly when. It has been belled balls, but I immediately take those away from her so she's started bringing toy mice into the bed. During the day when she brings them, we play fetch. Fortunately I'm not asleep enough to think that if I throw the toy off the bed she'll go away. I know that she'll just bring it back :)
I finally schedualed their annual exam. May 2nd. I'm still not sure what I am going to do about vaccines. I'm thinking Ollie is done since he had that growth. Rabies is required, but FVRCP isn't. The new vaccination guidelines say no sooner than every 3 years. Well I believe I'm at year three. Since I have fosters in the house, there is risk of exposure, but there are a lot of people who believe that once vaccinated that they are protected for life.
I believe in vaccines. Completely. I think every single cat everywhere should be vaccinated unless they have a vet approved reason for not being (aka known health issues that cause vaccines to be riskier than the possibility of the diseases) but our cats have been so over vaccinated over the years. I'm not 100% convinced that 3 years is when vaccines 'run out" or need to be boostered.
Guess I have a few more weeks to think it over. Although since my vet is the shelter vet, I might have to if I want to continue fostering..
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
from Wellness Pet foods
Cats do not adjust water intake based on their diet, and have reduced total water intake when fed dry foods only. Pet owners should encourage cats to drink water and have an adequate fluid intake daily.
Um.. ok, lets break this down.
Cats do not adjust water intake based on their diet so cats have a low thirst drive, and won't drink more if they are eating a low moisture diet.. yes, true.
and have a reduced water intake when fed dry foods only. yup. Dry food can lead to chronic dehydration.. totally.
Pet owners should encourage cats to drink water um.. how? Seriously? how do you get a cat to drink water that has a low thirst drive and as you just said do not adjust water intake based on their diet
So in other words, they are telling you that dry food is not appropriate foods for your cats to eat, but since they still sell it and they still want people to buy it they are trying to create themselves an out?? seems so contradictory to me. If you know cats need water, then why are you selling a product that doesn't contain it and will cause cats to need to do something they aren't willing to do (aka adjust water intake based on their diet)
there will always be dry food, and I don't think that is a bad thing. I do believe that there is a place for dry food in a cat's diet(not every cat, just cats in general), just as there is a place for McDonald's food in a human diet (again not everyone, but humans in general) or ice cream or cookies..
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Click for larger images
This was really cute. Fleurp walked over to Kit and flomped down on her. Kit wrapped her arm around her, and started giving her a bath.
I didn't want to get up and get a real camera for fear of disturbing them and losing these sceen. So I took these shots with the cam in my laptop, with the cruddy lighting I've got going on here. But that's ok. You can see them.
Now Fleurp is grooming Kit. This is just too friggen cute!
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Ok, honestly, I have no idea where the name Flerup came from. I was driving down the road, approaching a bend in the road (I can't believe I remember where I was when the name came to me) before I even brought her home. But the name is so perfect for Fleurp it isn't even funny.
She does the Fleurp Flomp, where she is either walking or standing one second and laying down the next, and the Fleurpy Dance, where she's up on her hind legs squeaking adorably for food, and now she's Flying Fleurp.
I have started dosing Jack with L-methionine to help him with his alkaline urine. I noticed he's been grooming his belly raw, so I tested his urine last week and the stuff was bright pink. (color changing litter) since he hadn't had any treats for several days, I knew that he needed more than the raw food I have been feeding him. (it is premade and higher in carbs than apparently he needs - but it is cheap, and already made, which are two huge bonuses in my book so we are going to try the supplement with Jack and see if that helps him before going back to making our own raw)
The stuff is pretty bland tasting (yes, I tasted it) so I figured I could get away with rubbing a little into some meat of one sort or another... and yes, that works nicely. I did it with some raw steak the other day, and deli meat the past few mornings.
Well if you are giving out deli meat, you can't just give it to one kitty.. every one gets deli meat. Fleurp is the most persistent when it comes to grabbing snacks. She'll take them right out of the mouths of other kitties (why they let her I have NO idea) so she has to have hers first to distract her long enough for the other kitties to get a chance to taste their own treat - and since Jack has to have his piece, she has to be distracted.
Well this morning apparently the piece wasn't big enough to be much of a distraction, because by the time I got around the counter, she had jumped up on the chair that I walked around and "flew" to the other side of the counter. It was so adorable (yes, she's adorable in just about EVERYTHING she does) I don't know if her feet even touched the chair.
She then proceeded to do the Fleurpy Dance to try to convince me to give her more. Fortunately she was distracted enough doing the dance that Jack got to eat his treat.
In case you haven't seen the Fleurpy Dance, here is an encore presentation:
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I just got an email from the shelter that my Happiness and Joy are being returned to the shelter. :(
I never did stop worrying about them and wondering how they adjusted. I was told they went to a family with "girls" which sounds good, but then again, not all girls are nurturing and understanding of kittens with needs.
now that they are teenagers, I wonder how long it will be before they are adopted again. I hope they find the right home this time.
and I hope they are doing ok. can't wait to see them again. I'll bring my camera.