Monday, December 31, 2018

Tails from the Foster Kittens - 2018 a year in review


This year started out, once again, without kittens. We had just moved to NH two months before and we were not settling into the house as well as we had hoped. It was a nice home, but it just didn't suit our needs. We had plans to renovate it but we were having a hard time getting anyone to help us with that and so we were quite frustrated.

I took some time to write a post about FeLV and I bought a new chair that I really like and I got a very good deal on. Yes, the blog was quite boring


February was an incredibly slow month on the blog with just six posts and two of them being sponsored content. Fleurp started her spring molt a little early that year and looked quite rough for a while because she really hates it when I groom her.


Things started to pick up in March. I shared with you how Jack liked to make me jealous when I was busy and couldn't pay attention to him. Twee had a dental and had a very bad reaction to the sedation so we are planning on never doing that again. I noticed a rather large lump on Eli - which is still there and hasn't changed so we are thinking it is a lipoma - since he has two others.

I tried to drum up some interest in this kittenless kitten blog by asking you which of The Crew you thought was the cutest and I ended the month with my annual "Make Mine Chocolate" post. I have owned two bunnies in my life and I love rabbits as pets, but they do have unique requirements and I think people should know about them before adopting.


In April, Jack started shivering. I do not know if this was connected to what ended up taking his life in just a few short months, but I will regret not looking into this further. The vet wrote it off as his being an old man and it was very cold when he would do it. She was most likely right, but hindsight is never kind, is it?

This month I also went to Kansas City to go to BlogPaws. I was chosen as a Chewy influencer and they contracted with me to pay my way; my hotel stay and airfare. Unfortunately, I still haven't seen reimbursement for despite contacting them several times on this

I also wrote up a post about those little black cysts that cats get in their ears.. mostly because we were having issues with them.


May finally saw kittens back on this kitten blog. Michaela came to me pregnant and gave birth here.

I also shared with you my trip to the Great Plains animal shelter (wow, not one post about Jack all month.. but there was one about Fleurp)


June brought lots of cute kitten photos as well as the much loved "naming day" post.

One of the online groups I was in was having a huge debate over goat milk being an appropriate milk replacer for kittens, so I wrote a post about it. I have been using it for years and all of my kittens have been happy and healthy with great growth and weight gain and minimal if no diarrhea that many kittens suffer with when they are on commercial products. I was sold but so many people had been told there was no taurine in the milk (not true) or that there wasn't as much fat in it (which is true but there is more than enough) so the kittens would be undernourished in that regard (not true). People wanted facts, not antidotes so I spent some time pulling articles and contacting sellers of goat milk to get the facts so I could put them in one place so the next time someone told me emphatically that using goat milk was going to kill kittens, I could share with them the facts. .

Wow.. no Jack photos in June either, but there was a post about Twee and one about Skippy.. and I even updated you all on Fleurp's annual bout with anemia and how shaving her seemed to help.


You know I was going there because this is the one post that still makes me laugh when I think about it..  The squirrel post came out better than I thought it would and I still love these collages of the kittens from birth until ten weeks .. it is rare that I have good headshots for all the kittens for every week they are with me, and considering the turmoil of the year I am thrilled I was able to get these.
I also announced that Michaela was leaving us to go and nurse another set of kittens that lost their mom..

I also found a photo of Jack that I uploaded but didn't make into a post, so you saw (but no one noticed - or if they did they didn't say anything) a post of Jack back at the old house.


In August I finally announced that we were moving. It was an incredibly rough year, much more so that I have ever let on, and by this point, I was pretty close to losing it. Fortunately, my kitten supplier knew just what I needed and provided me with another batch of kittens.. Michaela and her new charges needed a place to stay and I had a kitten room that was aching for kittens. Fortunately, these kittens were happy to give massages

August saw a couple of informational posts, such as my experiences with giving CBD to my cats and another mythbusting post about Pedyalite for kittens - since there had been a great deal of fear-mongering about giving it to kittens. Skippy celebrated National Bow Tie Day and I shared with you my new obsession with the wildlife in my backyard


Things were going well in September, unpacking this time around went much smoother, things were falling into place, the kittens were doing well - even if they were being obnoxious and were ready to move on - and then things went south quickly and then they got worse.

As for The Crew, I noticed things weren't as they should be with Muffin and Jack. Muffin went to the vet and it was recommended that we give her fluids more often so I blogged about doing that in conjunction with a sponsored post hoping to make it a little more shareable and interacted with as sponsored posts are what keep a lot of bloggers going. Supporting those, commenting on those posts (not just here but any blog you visit) helps a great deal.

Jack's symptoms were minor and I was trying to decide if they were even a thing.. as I tend to be paranoid and no more so after things go bad..

I also shared more photos of the deer that visit my backyard


I was still processing the loss of Graham when the unimaginable happened. Weirdly I posted a conversation about grief in the form of a poem I had with Muffin a few months prior the day before everything went bad having no idea what was about to happen. And when I say bad, I mean really bad. I mean "you take on a pregnant cat because you need a project to distract yourself and realize that isn't enough so you take on another pregnant cat" bad.

(my lamenting about Jack's passing has been hidden in white font, highlight if you want to read it, or just skip if you don't have tissues)

I didn't have the time to process his illness.. to give him a calm and serene goodbye I would have liked, that he deserved. Every time I went to check on him every fiber of my being, every cell, everything was screaming "NOOOO!!!" at him. I can't imagine how horrible that made him feel. I really wish I could have had even a few more hours to come to terms with it - but even to this day three months later my body is still whimpering "no no no no no no".  Emmy took over a year, Ollie took a little longer. Kit was only a matter of weeks but it was so obvious that she wasn't going to make it from pretty early on. Jack took just a few days.. from the nosebleed at night, to the vet appointment the next day, to his rapid and horrific decline so we made an appointment for that next day. He still looked healthy and beautiful... but he wouldn't even eat his beloved dry food - which I always joked would be his last meal.. 

But life moves on, and Darcy gave birth to five kittens and three survived, and Onyx gave birth to four. I was asked for a calendar of Michaela and her two sets of kittens so I created one. I have learned a great deal and if I do it again I will photoshop the images to have captions of names and a little more information about each kitten.

And then Twee ended up in hospital. (she got better)


November was particularly hard for me. My husband's work was keeping him out of the house a lot and there was no Jack and kittens who weren't affectionate enough to make up for the loss. There were a few posts, like where I shared the names I had chosen for Darcy's kittens and Onyx's kittens.  I also wrote up a post about adopting one of my foster kittens if you ever think you might want to.. 


As you can see here, I was able to get my Christmas card put together and ordered. I also put up the Christmas Tree which in retrospect seems like it was a bad idea since I became quite sick from whatever got into the cat toys and Fleurp tried (we suspect) to eat it.  She is doing better but is losing quite a bit of fur due to the stress of it all. Even now I hear her munching on the tree and I'm very close to pitching the thing right out the window.  (ho ho ho)

I did have quite a bit of fun with a six-part series of posts about the Kittens' Christmas sweater party. (1,2,3,4,5,6) Darcy and Onyx's kittens hit weight and were neutered and went up for adoption. The waiting list was long enough that the kittens all made it home by Christmas. Ren and Spottacus went together, Zephy and Wyatt went together. Kreb and Romy went together and Milo went by himself - which worked out really well because he was always okay playing by himself. Darcy and Onyx started becoming friends once the kittens were gone. I received notification that someone wanted to adopt Onyx so she left. I was worried about how Darcy would react but she took it in stride, much like when her kittens left. I think she likes being able to play without having to share. I just wish I could get Darcy out of her shell. I recently received notice that Darcy has someone interested in her so she won't be here much longer either.

Looking forward:

There are projects I have for the kitten room. I want new paint and new lighting for certain. I'd love to get new flooring in the bathroom down there but that might have to wait until next year. I have some shelves I would like to put up and some art. I'm actually searching Pinterest for baby room ideas - and man I hope I don't start getting baby advertisements now.

I am overly paranoid about all of my cats right now as well and I am going to have to get them all into the vet for a checkup over the next few months. With the moving and the holidays and the onslaught of vet bills, I am thinking of opening up my "scrapnipping" venture, where I make catnip toys out of scraps of my craft fabric that I have laying around.  It has been a while since I did this.. so I'm curious what you think a good price point would be. Would you like to buy toys individually or in sets?  Do you like pure nip or nip and fiberfill for a fluffier toy? I am pretty sure I still have some alpaca fur.. would fur stuffed toys interest you? No suggestion or comment is unwanted, please, I would like to know your thoughts. If you don't feel comfortable posting them in the comments, feel free to email me at connie at

toys I made in 2016

I also want to take a moment and thank you for taking this journey with me. Whether you have just joined us or are a long time reader, I appreciate you taking part of your day to spend with my kitties. Your support is greatly appreciated.

I have mentioned this before but it has been a while - Your comments, your time, shared with me, helps me do what I do. Being active in rescue and within online rescue communities, I see so much of the bad side of pet ownership. It is people like you, who value cats, who find value in a little blog on the corner of the internet that helps remind me that there is good out there, that there are people who think cats are worth more than toasters..

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Working on pulling Darcy out of her shell - socializing an undersocialized kitty

I am going to apologize for the quality of the photos ahead of time, they are all from my two-year-old cell phone; the reason being that I was fairly certain that the click of my camera would have startled her and ended any progress we were making.

I moved Darcy's cage out of the bathroom because I wanted to open up her world. When I watched her on the camera I noticed she was coming out and being in the room with Onyx but as soon as I opened the door to come down to the kitten room she would bolt back into the cage.

Since I knew she was getting comfortable in the room I continued to pull her out and hold her and release her after she started to calm a little. Earlier in the week you saw how she stopped and looked at me and then sniffed my shoes. The next day she did this....

She sat there grooming for almost a minute before heading back to the cage on the far side of the room. I didn't move, barely breathing as she sat there and licked her foot. I think we were both trying to be chill about the whole thing. I just love the relationship building between Onyx and Darcy.. (I still think Onyx's name is actually Lucy, but that's just what I've started calling her for some reason)

I decided to move the cage to the main part of the room so she could sit in her cage and I could force her to see me by lifting up the sheet. I pulled one of my old kitten tricks of bringing my dinner down to eat in front of them. I like to pretend that it shows them that I'm not the witch from Hansel and Gretel and I'm not trying to plump them up to eat them. It also gives them incentive to come to me (aka food). Onyx was all over me but Darcy wouldn't leave the cage. I could tell she was interested and she watched me the entire time instead of turning her back to me and sticking her head in the corner.

Since I had her interest, I thought I would try playing with her again. I started off playing with Onyx, but I kept tossing the toy into the cage and pulling it out to try to get her attention.

She loves to play and if I can get her distracted enough she forgets to be scared of me. I am using this opportunity to "impose" myself into her world. I'll move a leg and see if she runs. Or I'll talk to her while she is playing. Last night I was even able to stand up and get her to continue to play (but the moment I moved the play was OVER!. She is not a fan of my being this obnoxious to her. She still would prefer it that I stop insisting on talking to her and touching her, but I know that I'm making progress.

I am so glad they are liking each other this much. It is nice that Onyx models well-socialized cat behavior for Darcy and she can see that no harm comes to her when she splays herself all over my lap and gets her ears rubbed.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Fleurp and the very bad no good week

My beautiful girl has had a pretty miserable week. It started off with some vomiting. With multiple cats, it can be hard to figure out who is having issues, or even if a one-time event is even an issue. I didn't think much of the first vomit or two, but after that, they started becoming bright yellow and I knew that something wasn't right.

Then I heard the sound and I ran to the source and found Fleurp next to a pile of vomit. I offered her a treat and she ate it happily so I thought she might just be dealing with a sour stomach from being hungry.

Then came the explosive diarrhea that landed all over her "pantaloons". After that, her stool didn't recover. It was quite mucousy and then the blood drops started due to irritation (bright red blood drops on the outside of the stool is generally simple irritation).

I weighed her and noticed she was down a few ounces, so I decided to isolate her and see what happened. I started Slippery Elm Bark to help soothe her intestines and gave her several food options. She didn't vomit the first eight hours and ate some. She didn't eat as much as I would have liked but she regained most of the weight she lost. I was feeling optimistic that things were on the mend, but I wanted to be sure so I kept her isolated overnight.

She woke me up very early the next morning saying she wanted out. She was bright, alert, and happy to be free from the room. I went to check out what she left me in the litterbox, hoping we'd have a formed stool - or at least better formed - and found she vomited up most of what she had eaten during the day.

So off to the vet she went.

She didn't seem painful, nor did she have a fever, but with several days of vomiting and diarrhea and weight loss, I didn't want to risk missing something. I could wait a day or so more to see what happened, but that would be butting up against the weekend which I know full well would most likely mean that I would end up at the emergency clinic. So we took some x-rays hoping we would find something or more hopefully find nothing.

The x-rays showed a little something over a loop in her intestine so we decided to operate and go get it. Fleurp has a habit of chewing on plastic and recently took up chewing on the tips of the Christmas tree. I had found a few nubs around the house and I feared that she swallowed one and the sharp pointy bits were causing massive irritation. I also have her history to go on, where when she first started showing signs of being anemic in the spring she would lick cement and ate a piece once and it took several weeks to work itself out. So, I decided to do surgery and go get it.

Except it wasn't anything. Apparently, it was just a well-placed calcification to look like an obstruction. So she went through that basically for 'nothing'. (But at least we know it was nothing instead of sitting around wondering)

She received IV fluids, we did blood work (things are good) and so far, things are 'better'. I am not isolating her so I have no idea what her stool looks like, but at this point, I'm not sure she is producing anything. Her stomach and intestines were empty when they were examined and she has only had a few small meals since coming home yesterday.

She was excited for breakfast this morning. She had a little before walking away, but she came back for a little more a couple of hours later. As soon as I get this post up I am going to offer her some baby food and inspect her incision and search for any signs of vomiting (I haven't heard anything)

If I don't get a good sign that things are going well I'll probably isolate her tonight until I get some stool. *fingers crossed*

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Trying to open Darcy's world

Every time I have gone in to visit Darcy lately she has been glued to the back of the upper shelf in the cat cage. I haven't seen her move and it seemed her food consumption was down. I wanted to check her over to make sure that she wasn't having a bad reaction to being neutered (she didn't, everything checked out okay). When I pulled her out of the cage I thought I would try holding her for a while and seeing if I could get her to calm some. I thought I would try bringing her to the couch so I could be comfy while doing it.

She was not comfortable on me, so I thought I would try putting her next to me and giving her a place to hide. That calmed her a bit and we sat like that for a few minutes. I calmly patted her and directed my energies away from her (watching a show I was enjoying) and she started purring!!! *happy dance*

After that, I opened up the blanket a little to see what she would do and she immediately jumped down and headed back to the bathroom, but along the way she actually stopped and looked back at me..

and then, SHE CHECKED OUT MY SHOES!!! before moving back into the bathroom.

This took less than 20 seconds, but the fact that she didn't bolt right back into the room was HUGE HUGE HUGE..  Of course, the next time I went to go get her, she was still less than thrilled, but socializing an under socialized cat takes a lot of time and each win is to be celebrated.

I checked over my webcam, and I see she and Onyx are becoming friends. When I am not around Onyx will go into the room and even into the cage and hang out with Darcy. Darcy will come out and hang out in the bathroom with Onyx as well. She has left the bathroom for short periods, so she is expanding her world on her own without me.. so hopefully with a bit of forcing and a bit of her own exploration she'll feel more comfortable with more territory. This is a good thing.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Spottacus and Ren come to visit

I bet you recognize this face.. Yup, Spottacus and Ren stopped by after being adopted by my friend Lori.  Lori lives in Maine and traveled two and a half hours to adopt them so I invited them over for a visit and a quick lunch. While we were visiting we decided to let the boys run around and use the litter box if necessary.  I thought they might like a snack as well

Which they very much did. Spottacus visited his mom, and Ren visited his

And they ran and they played.. it was good for them (and I got to get in a few more kitten huffs)

An interesting thing happened.. I asked Lori if she was going to keep their names and she said she was probably going to keep Ren's name because she was a fan of Footloose. I laughed because that is exactly where the name came from.  This is the second time I have unknowingly named kittens after their future owner's favorite characters.. (well that I know of) the first one was Buffy, Zander, and Oz who ended up being adopted by someone I went to high school with and who was a huge fan of the show. Spottacus is going to be Willis after Ren's friend in the movie (and because she thinks Willard is a weird name for a cat) While I'm sad he isn't keeping the name, I do love the new one.

I also didn't realize how much they look alike to people who do not know them. I can tell them apart easily, but when we were pointing out differences so she could know, most of the markings were very similar. I'm sure she can tell them apart pretty easily now too.

Monday, December 17, 2018

A gift for new kitten owners

When I took on these kittens, I did so as a diversion for me because of my grief over losing Jack. Shortly after that I was at Target and I saw these really cute cat-faced notebooks and I thought I could use an additional project - one with an obvious deadline - so I thought I would make little scrapbooks for the new owners.

With hundreds of photos and seven kittens, I took a while to go through them and get good photos from each week to share. Sadly, for several reasons, the photos weren't the best. I ended up with over 100 photos (seven kittens, eight weeks, plus a few extras thrown in because they were cute)

Skippy has never seen me scrapbook. I originally started back in 2002 when the internet was young and photos were the bane of most people's dial-up connection. It was my plan to make scrapbooks for each year of kittens. I got the first year down and I printed out photos for year two but then dial up got better and it just didn't seem like the thing to do. I have all these cat print papers and stickers so.. I had some fun.

I didn't get overly elaborate. I bought some photo safe sticker to attach the photos to the pages and a sticker or two and a cute cat saying thrown in for fun. I didn't do it for the mothers because they don't change that much over the weeks.

Last I heard, the kittens have homes lined up and there were inquiries on Darcy and Onyx (who oddly I am calling Lucy now, I can't seem to stop) so they should be leaving me shortly.

I also want to thank everyone for having fun on my TFK4K, it was so heartwarming to see all of the comments. I was out at the post office and I had a random number pop into my head so I said "well that would be the winner" and it turned out to be Mary McNeil. Mary, if you could email me or reach out to me on facebook to let me know if you prefer a calendar or the right to name the next set of kittens..

Friday, December 14, 2018

And they are off.. to be adopted.

The rescue I foster for now doesn't really schedule times for the kittens to be neutered. When they are ready they wait for openings at a spay/neuter clinic and are whisked away when there is room for them, which is what happened earlier this week. I was thinking it was going to happen today or even later but there was room for them all and off they went.

Unfortunately, Romy had lost a few ounces and didn't get to go, and we thought she and Kreb were going to have to hang out here over the weekend but she piled it all back on by this morning and will most likely get in tomorrow. She and Kreb were the only ones without people lined up for them, but as I have said before there is a general waiting list at the rescue so they will not be waiting long.

Darcy and Onyx are remaining here for a short while until applications are finalized. There have been several inquiries on both of them, I imagine before long my foster room will be empty. The rescue shuts down during the winter and from what I found last year there just isn't the need for fosters in the winter time. *sad frowny face*  Just as well, I need to finish unpacking my craft room and do some painting and possible repairs in the kitten room (that bathroom floor is horrid) (my apologies if you have that flooring in your house, it is just not my style)

Just what I am going to do with this blog over the winter I have no idea. There are topics of research I could delve into but other websites and other blogs that cover that well enough. There is always photos of The Crew *shrug* we'll see.

I have a sponsored post from Chewy coming up on Monday and the announcement of the winner of my TFK4K giveaway. There are always shelters to visit to do more Shooting at the Shelter Series posts.. I do want to revamp the blog and get all the photos on one platform and updated with larger sizes if I have them (because photo resolution in 2002 when I started was .. um.. yeah.. ) and clean up posts that don't make sense anymore (because blogging in 2002 was much like fb is today) so that will keep me busy enough.. and if not, I can always blog about baking..

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Kittens' Christmas Sweater Party - The Finale

And Spottacus steals the show..

Then he breaks out in song..

I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay.. 
I sleep all night and I work all day
And a good time was had by all. I hope you enjoyed the Kittens' Christmas Sweater Party

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Kittens' Christmas Sweater Party - part five (Post 4,000 and a giveaway) #TFK4K

In honor of my four thousandth post.. I am going to do a little giveaway.. Just comment on this post and in your comment write #TFK4K and I will choose a winner.  The winner can pick either a Michaela and her Minions calendar or the right to name the next set of kittens.

I didn't time this very well did I? Yesterday's post of "Part Four" would have been a far better 4,000th post, but alas, I didn't get another post up over the weekend..

Yes, I have been fostering and posting kittens and cat stuff since 2002 and this, according to my blog count is my four thousandth post.. and no, you still may not call me a crazy cat lady.. (but if you want to just call me crazy, I'll be okay with that)

Now, onto the star of this Christmas Party.. Ren as Santa!

I was trying to get their photos up against a clean background but Ren wasn't having anything to do with it. He took his outfit and ran off to the other side of the room and sat there so proud of himself. I'm fairly certain he would have been perfectly happy to keep it on for hours, but I wasn't ready to watch him for hours. As I got closer to him to take it off, he did this..

Which I couldn't help laugh at because had he been human this totally would have been wildly inappropriate to put on the interwebs.. but .. kitten, so here you go 😹

Also, only a third of the holiday cards I ordered have been spoken for. If you want one you have to sign up for one..
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