Friday, August 31, 2012

Words with Kittens

I have come up with a fun idea to name kittens.  I have no idea if it will work, but I want to give it a shot.   I thought about coming up with a name for mom and then seeing how many names we could get out of that, but with four girl names and a boy name I wasn't sure I could come up with a name for mom that would work - and besides looking at mom tonight I heard the name Betty.. so Betty she will be.

So, the challenge if you choose to accept it.  Come up with some names using these letters:


Lets see what we can come up with!! :)

Speaking of Betty.. Last night when I went down to feed them I saw her entire front foot sticking out from under the door not moving.  I was a little fearful that it was stuck but when I touched it she wiggled it and put it back.  This is what she does when I open the door..
Doesn't she have a cute thumb?
There is also a cute kitten story because there is no photo.  See the set up below?  Well one of the black and white girl kittens wanted to see if she could climb "stairs" with her Halloween cat suit on.. You know that arched back sideways thing fur sticking every which way?  Well it was a riot to see her try to jump from one level to the other sideways.  Reminded me of when I wear high heals and I have to walk up or down a flight of narrow stairs.
Of course once she got up there was nothing of interest so after all that work she simply turned around and ran away.. Total ADD kittens for sure.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chasing Mom's Tail

Momma, what's that thing behind you??
It moves so enticingly!!
Momma?? It's following you!!
I'll get it!!
Hey look, she gave it to meeee
a tail all my own
But pumpkin, you have your own tail
Yeah, but momma's is cooler.. 
Momma!  Why you kick me??
Well little miss mom is DONE being a mom.  She sits at the door and begs to be let out.  We can't walk through the door with out holding her because she'll slip out with us.  Last night I held her while I showed her the rest of the media room outside the kitten room and she was so happy.  I'm sure she thought it was kitty nirvana.  She didn't even care that Twee was sitting there.  She has her bags packed and she wants to move in.  I fear that leaving her in the kitten room is just going to cause problems so she will be heading back to the shelter this weekend.. possibly as early as Friday if she makes a nuisance of herself tonight.  I do prefer to leave the moms with their kittens as long as possible, but there are many different reasons to separate them.  When she is unhappy.  When she is over protective.  When she is overly nurturing (and the kittens have no use for humans).

I don't even think the kittens will notice.  They are full of run and completely ADD.  The can't even stay focused on the fishing pole toy that most kittens LOVE and can't stop playing with.. If she's available they'll nurse a little, but she doesn't put up with it much any more.  Then either she's off or they are..

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thank you for the feedback

I do appreciate everyone commenting about links opening in the same window or a new window/tab.  I, like all of you, appreciate it when links open up in new windows, but since I quite often prefer things that aren't generally popular (as I get to be reminded every new TV Show season when new favorites are canceled right away) I wanted to make sure I was or wasn't the only one.

Wordless Wednesday - Time to eat

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Black Kitties

So as I mentioned I'm fairly certain I know who is who, but not because of the kitten in the photo, but rather the photo itself and the time and place it was taken.  If I'm not wrong the first two photos are of the girl and the third is the boy.

they both have that gray-ish cast to their bib, it is just a little harder to see it on the boy.  I love all of your suggestions for names, and when I get home I'll see if something sticks.

Now I have a technical / blog question for all of you.  I was reading an article on things not to do on your blog.. one of which I do.  It said you shouldn't have your links open up in new windows/tabs.  I personally prefer it when I am reading someone's blog (or article or website) and I see a link I want to follow that the link open up in a new window.  The writer of the article said that if people want to they can hit the back button to get to your website again.

so tell me.  Which do you prefer?  Links to open up in new tabs /windows leaving the originating website open or would you prefer they open up in the same window/tab and you can hit the back button if you want to return to the originating website??

Meet the kittens

We have the three tuxie girls:
Lots of white nose
Little white nose
Sweetie, turn your wee head so we can see your no white nose.. 
Much better, thank you
Yes dear, you make beautiful kittens
Then we have the two fluffy black kittens, one boy one girl.  I'm having a hard time being able to tell them apart.  I took these photos, and I KNOW there are two different kittens in these three photos, and I'm fairly certain I know who is who.. can you tell the difference?  (I ended up clipping the fur on the tail of the girl so can tell them apart from across the room, it wasn't easy because her actual tail went almost to the end of her fur, but I did get it done; unfortunately it is pretty subtle so it will be interesting to see if I can tell tomorrow)
Silly humans.. they look NOTHING alike to me!
Once again I'm left to name kitties.I am no longer any good at this part.. four girls and a boy and a mom.. feel free to shout out your ideas!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Hand Monster AKA What I know - "hand play"

*insert dramatic monster type music here*

Whisppy wisely commented:
Hmm...we've always read that we shouldn't use our hands as toys for the cats or they'll learn that it's okay to bite them.
This is true. But there is a difference between treating your hand as a toy and trying to engage a kitty to interact with a human and helping it learn where the limits are.  Most people do "hand play" and let the cats play with their hands as they would toys and end up horribly scratched and bleeding because they don't speak / communicate what is happening to the cat in a language they understand.  The cat thinks it is all fun and games and just doesn't understand it is hurting you.

I take on as part of my job as foster mom to teach these kittens that human skin is quite fragile so they can interact more effectively and that if a warning bite or swipe ever needs to be taken with their human just how hard or how much claw can be given before it is no longer a warning and is a direct hit.

I know it is a lesson I am grateful my cats have learned.  There was one time I was trying to take a mat off my Jack and I was so intent on breaking the mat and getting it off that I wasn't paying attention to what it was doing to him. I thought I was being careful and considerate so I didn't bother to check in with him, figuring he would rather I be quick.  I was completely wrong.  I was hurting him and since he's not really a growler I need to be careful of his warning signs and this time I missed all of them.  He turned around and put his mouth over my hand and touched his teeth to my hand.  It was more then enough to get me to stop.  If I hadn't taught him I am sure that would have ended way worse - for both of us.

Since the kittens are still quite reluctant to interact with me, I need to give them something small to interact with so it is not quite so intimidating.  The clicking of my nails on the floor is very very enticing to a kitten and when the 'hand monster' is retreating from them they feel confident enough to stalk the prey.  When it goes towards them they back off not knowing what kind of damage can be done by this "hand monster".  And rightly so.  As both predator and prey, kittens have a LOT to learn about the world.  Advance and retreat, advance and retreat, and soon they learn that the hand monster isn't going to hurt them and there for must be prey or at least prey-ish.. and that builds confidence.  They then will paw at the hand monster.  Generally they don't use claws as they are just testing the waters and the last thing they want is to get a claw stuck in something that might hurt them.   When they paw and realize that they don't get hurt that builds confidence.  Then it becomes fun.  I stop when they get to the point of wanting to actually *kill* the monster..

When kittens get to the stage where they feel biting and scratching the hand is their next step, I will often let them, on a one on one basis, then employ the methods their siblings and mom will use to tell them they have gone too far.  I will stop all movement and say "ow" in a high pitched meow like tone.  When you get it right the kitten will stop biting and scratching and then lick you as if to say "sorry".  I have only had one kitten fail to learn this crucial lesson (either with me or his siblings and even from his mother) and since him I have generally gone around with out a scratch or bite mark on my hand no matter what stage the kittens are in.  Occasionally I'll get a scratch from an improper hold when trying to medicate, but that is completely my fault because I get overly cocky occasionally.  And OK, so I occasionally get a scratch on my leg, but that is my fault too, going into the kitten room with shorts on when they are at that climbing ANYTHING stage..

Learning this lesson along with some of the others I find it important to teach (like the take your kitten to work days I do) brings out the self confidence and assurance in the kittens that helps them deal with pretty much anything that comes their way.

I probably take my job of helping the kittens find their True Spirit a little too seriously, but I enjoy it.  Watching a cat totally accept their Mojo and blossom is as much fun as watching them learn to walk, watching them eat real live dead chicken for the first time, watching them learn they have a 'stranger danger suit" and that they have toes and a tail... :)

Play time

The absolute sweetness and cuteness of the above video needs a warning.  Watch at your own risk.
The introduction of the 'hand monster' is designed to encourage interactive play. It builds self esteem and confidence.  We aren't quite there with these girls, so we'll have to keep at it until the hand monster gets the paw of doom - or at the very least the paw of indecision.

I also still can not tell the difference between the two solid black kittens.  I am so going to have to do something to help me tell them apart from across the room.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

What did you do this weekend?

Me?  I went to Portland and spend some time with my sister.  We walked around Lincoln Park and shopped the arts and crafts fair there.  It is interesting in that there were some definite themes running among the artists.  Realistic hearts were everywhere as were narwhals. We then walked up to the Art Show, which were painters and photographers.  There was one really interesting artist who wore a Bob Ross shirt.  He had a napkin on a table that said "ask me about the mouse painting"  not being able to figure out what he meant (his canvases were of simple-ish landscapes - land tree sky or sky and ocean) I had to ask.  I was expecting a painting to be nibbled by a mouse, or he had subtly painted in a mouse that I couldn't detect, but it turned out he had left a painting in his garage to dry and a mouse ran over it and left very subtle foot prints in it.  It was adorable, but it was also several hundred dollars..   It was nice to spend time with my sister.

Then I went home and my husband and I went out to the Acton Fair.  As a child we would spend time at a cottage on the lake that my aunt owned, and when I say cottage think mobile home but as a kid it was awesome!!!  we played and swam and caught baby fish in jars and crayfish from under rocks.  We had to pass right by the fair grounds and often the fair when going to the lake and we would constantly beg to go.  Some years we would, others we would not.  I like going to the Acton Fair occasionally as an adult because it is smaller and not so overwhelming as the Fryeberg Fair and you still get that harvest fair experience.  The vegetable competitions, the crafting competitions, the animals, the fair food, the midway.  It cost a bit more then I would have thought to get in, but hey, it is a random thing and a fun way to pass a few hours.

If they hadn't picked them when they did,
I'm sure these zucchinis would have taken over the world
Horse pulling competition.  Man those horses are tall!
This striped chick ran over when I started taking pictures
Trinkets to buy including llamas and turtles
I like going over to the building that houses the rabbits each year.  Each year I enjoy seeing them but each year I leave the building feeling so sad.  They still sell cages with wire bottoms (they can damage bunny feet) and I am not a fan of purchasing an animal at the fair like this.  Rabbits do not do well with stress at all and it can take a great toll on their health to be stressed out.  Are these bunnies stressed?  All those people looking at them and poking at them (despite signs that warn that rabbits bite fingers) and being taken away from their homes and put in small cages then put in smaller boxes to be brought to a home that is most likely not prepared for a rabbit.. I'm going to go with they are stressed.  But yet each year I go in, because I see cuties like these.
What I was not expecting though was the pile of rabbit pelts sitting right next to the rabbits.  It so did not seem right.  But considering that right outside the rabbit building was a taxidermy display building I shouldn't have been that surprised (but they normally don't have them there)  This being an agricultural fair you have to keep in mind that these were most likely not intended to be pets.
Who doesn't want a bolognaburger?
You could also get fried pickles, fried oreos and fried candy bars
These cows were actively snuggling/necking.  It was so cute
Chickens for Robyn
This chicken looked a pine cone.
Yes, this alpaca had his head through the fencing and was munching away on the hay.  I thought he was in a pickle, but when his handler started walking towards him he quickly pulled his head out on his own and I got the distinct impression he knew he was being naughty.
a flirty llama
How you doin??
llama friend
Goats and cows.
I was able to put my hand on a cow.  I haven't done that in a very long time.  I forgot what they felt like and it was pretty interesting.

As we were driving to the fair we passed a small beach on a lake. I have passed that beach hundreds of times and I've always thought it would be fun go there but never have.  On the way home I suggested to my husband that we stop and put our toes in the water.  Once we were down on the beach we felt secluded but I knew full well it was not because I've driven by it so many times.  We joked it would have been fun to go skinny dipping, but it wasn't secluded and we had absolutely nothing for post swim. As we were leaving we joked we'd have to put towels and robes in the car for next time..  cause I so never see my husband actually doing that.. :)
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