Saturday, April 30, 2016

National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day #AdoptAShelterPetDay

Today is Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, an attempt to bring awareness that there are a lot of pets in shelters that are waiting for homes.

Here are some of the pets that were in the shelter when I stopped by recently.

Friday, April 29, 2016

"See you later alligator" Alligator?? #catfood #chewyinfluencer

When Chewy's Blogger Outreach offerings email came to my email inbox this month I kept my foster cats in mind. Having a foster mother with six hungry babies I wanted to opt for canned food to help keep mom fed and the babies nourished. You saw my post about the Wellness food I received but I also asked for and was given a case of Wild Callings canned food.

Fleurp LOVES boxes from

The email offer was for the dog food of this brand, and I almost asked for the dog version of the food because they are generally very similar when you are talking limited ingredient canned diets. There are specifications for a few nutrients, that need to be in cat food, that are not regulated in dog food, taurine being one of them, but as something that I intended to be a once in a while treat I figured it wouldn't be an issue. Then the thought occurred to me that Chewy is very easy to work with and maybe if I asked I would be given the cat version of the food, and I was.

Alligator? really?Why would anyone want to feed their cat alligator? It isn't like you would ever see a cat hunting a wild alligator - well maybe wee baby just hatched alligators since they look a bit like lizards. But then again, you would rarely see a cat taking down a cow or fishing in the ocean either. Since we humans rely heavily on the hope that commercial pet food makers to understand feline nutrition and the cat's needs, it is not a bad idea to 'hedge your bets' and offer your cats a variety of different types of foods and protein sources to try to cover any nutritional deficiencies that might be in one brand. This is what is generally called a 'rotation diet'.

There are several nice things that I like about this line of foods. They are mostly animal products. In the case of the alligator, it is 96% alligator. It has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives which is something I like because cats do not care about colors and artificial flavors bother me. It is grain free and gluten free and starch free (no potato or peas here) and only has guar gum as a binder. I can not say there is anything about this type of food I don't like - and that is saying something.

So why not alligator? Besides, isn't it fun to say your cat is eating alligator?

The first thing I noticed about this food was the texture. It is a fairly soft consistency, almost like a pudding. It also has a distinct aroma which wasn't unpleasant but was different from the other canned foods I feed my cats when I'm not feeding them raw. My first thought was Muffin would not eat this. I was quite curious who would.

Muffin took one sniff and walked away, which is pretty much what I expected her to do as she is very particular about the cat foods she eats - I say cat foods because this cat loves pop tarts, she is really odd. The rest of The Crew checked out the food and had a few bites with Fleurp eating the most, but no one really ate a lot of it. We ended up throwing about half of what we put down away.

But the reason I asked for the food was for the foster kittens. What would my foster mother think?

I love that she was willing to give the food a try, but unfortunately, she wouldn't eat it either. Don't make a single judgment from that because she will only eat the junkiest of junk foods right now and most of the time will shun healthy foods for kibble. The fact that she was willing to get up and go over and check it out was huge.

While I would have loved it if this food was adored by all and eaten with gusto by everyone, I am still not disappointed. I have another food in the house that is novel and being able to introduce kittens to a wide variety of foods is very important to me. I have found over the years that the more foods I can get them eating now the less likely they are to be picky eaters as adults. Cats are often called "picky" and "finicky" because they refuse new foods when they are adults, but that is because they are hard-wired to do so. Nature has taught them that if mom didn't bring the food home for them to eat, then the item being offered as food must not be actual food. In the wild it could save their lives. Their bodies haven't learned that their humans wouldn't feed them nonfood items to eat. You can overcome their biology if you are patient, but it is just easier for them if they experience different foods as kittens and now I get to offer this year's kittens alligator!!

Thank you, Chewy! I really appreciate the opportunity to help broaden the lives of the kittens in my care.  And Muffin thanks you for the packing paper. It is her favorite part of the whole program!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Oh my whiskers!!!!

It is late, and I am tired, and I let my OCD take over.

I went down to the foster room to feed Art3mis and decided to move the couch and see if I couldn't do *something* about all of the excess fur back there. She was none too pleased to have me move the couch, and even less pleased that I 'invaded her space'. She backed off to the far side of the couch, watching me and growling.  I reached in and tried to pick the fur off the mat that is down there and that was not going well. I finally decided to take the pink towel that was down there already and spread that over the striped mat. She was even less pleased with that idea, and I'm fairly certain that was when I was hissed at.  I laid half of it out and then picked up the kittens in my way and put them down closer to me where the towel was spread out. She looked at me like she knew this routine and she accepted that it was okay but didn't much like it.

Hello, you weird lady thing!

I started laying out the towel on the other half of the mat and she turned tail and walked away to the far side of the couch where I couldn't see her.  I called after her.  I explained that I understood that she really didn't like this, but that she would appreciate not having to lay in all of her loose fur.

Which is when she came back!!!

I patted her and called her a good kitty but then I got down to the business of fixing things so I could go to bed. She turned around and left again and then I heard something that made my heart stop. (Don't worry it's good)

I wasn't sure if what I was hearing was what I thought I was hearing.. aka I could have imagined it all.. so I wiggled my way out from the couch and peeked, but by the time I could see anything it had stopped.

I continued to talk to her and asked her if she did what I thought she did, and if she did that it was okay and was very much a good thing. I pictured her doing it again as I finished up and made sure the kittens were on the new towel.  This sent her back around the side of the couch and I heard it again.


so much so that it took far too long to get my phone out to take a video, when I did this was what I got.

(if you follow me on fb and were on tonight, you already knew what this was, but this is the first video I took)

I sat there and felt my eyes get all watery.  I am so amazed. If you have never tried to tame a feral cat you might not understand how amazing this is.  For her to leave her kittens in my presence was a huge gift, but for her to leave the safety of the couch and come out and walk in the middle of the room in my presence is HUGE.  But for her to eat.. EAT..  That shows a level of trust that is through the roof... I think the only thing bigger is for her to let me rub her belly or pick her up.

I could tell she was very wary about the whole thing, this was not a casual snack on her part.  She ate for a short while and then went back behind the couch.

and then...

SHE WALKED OVER TO ME!!!  Now granted, she only went so far and would not be persuaded to come any closer.. but it was close enough that I could scratch her head.

I am certain she will growl at me when I walk in the room in the morning to feed her, but that's okay. She is allowed to be uncomfortable and she is allowed to take as much time as she wants to get used to me..

Well, truth be told there are a couple of conditions to that but we won't get into that now. We will just dance at the progress we have made.

Wordless Wednesday - Super Squee Warning.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

On Tuesday I get in trouble. (but not because I didn't give you a squee warning)

Warning, if you are faint of heart, if super cuteness gets to you and makes you pass out, take precautions because I will not be held liable for your response to these photos.

I decided it was time to try to get a few more photos of the kittens. Since I was able to reach in and touch Art3mis without losing a finger, I decided to risk taking a kitten.

one of the boys.

and that went well enough that I decided to try another.

the solid black girl

and another

Classic Tabby Girl

 Girl with white (like her mom) 

Tiger boy

I did get all six out, but I'm going to leave the final boy for my Wordless Wednesday post tomorrow, because I'm just that mean.

Art3mis was not happy with me removing her kittens from her line of sight, but she let me and didn't have a lot to say about my doing it. Next week they'll be wandering around on their own.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Monday Morning Updates

I have been working with Art3mis and trying to figure out if she is open to the idea of being a house cat. It is so difficult to tell at this stage because she is still obviously very protective of the kittens. If I am sitting with her and there is an odd noise in the house she will gather up her kittens and start growling. Then there is also the back-sliding, what I can 'get away with' one day will get me growled at the next.

On Saturday, I decided to push her a little and instead of reaching under the couch I decided to sit on the side of the couch. I had to move the baby gate I had propped up against it to help her feel more closed in. She was none too happy about it and I got growled at for quite some time. I simply talked softly to her and told her that she was safe, and that she was pretty, and that she made beautiful babies. After some time, she stopped growling and laid down and I could hear her starting to purr again.  Purring is difficult because it can be "I'm happy" or it could be "I'm freaked out and self-soothing" but I counted on it being the former because she decided to lay down and her kittens were nursing on her - which would have made it difficult for her to lunge at me.

and then this happened.

In case that was too fast for you to catch..

What occurred was blind trust on my part. I waited until I got what I thought was permission and then I went for it. I was beyond uncomfortable doing it because she was not in a good location. Where I was sitting was right on the door jam, so that was shoved into my back.  I ended up turning my head away to try to reach in further, and while that worked, it felt very risky.  I ended up moving the couch a bit and that freaked her out a bit but not enough to stop me when I reached in again.

Doing this has been hard on my body. It is very hard to reach halfway behind a couch while sitting on the ground when your head stays out from behind the couch.

I've tried it again several times, and sometimes it is okay, sometimes it isn't. *shrug* who knows. I make no judgements and no prognostications. Right now it is what it is and we will just take one day at a time.
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