Friday, May 15, 2020

My Unrequited Loves

Yes, Bowie and Crema are back. Previously I called them The Boy and The Girl but now I'm calling them Ash and Abigail.

They were adopted out by the shelter as "Spirit Cats" but the family that adopted them weren't quite ready for their nature. I give them immense amounts of credit for trying as hard and as long as they did but there were kids involved and I respect the decisions they made.

They were comfortable in the house, but still not comfortable with me. I tried harder and harder to make friends with them but I realized that was just making things worse so I started ignoring them. I show up, I give them treats, the wand toy gets waved around a bit..

and despite the looks I often get, as long as the grabby hands stay reigned in they are okay with me.

I love them so much.. even the looks they give me, even the snarling at me when I dare to offer treats a little too closely.. my heart aches to hold them and give them a good huffing.. but alas, that is not to be.

I thought I had a good placement for them, but it didn't work out, so these two are looking for someone who has it in their heart to hang out with a couple of really adorable kittens who like deli meat and do kinda want to be around you but have some serious PTSD when it comes to hands and towels.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Precious Metal Prints Nose Print Necklace of Muffin's Nose

A silver pendant with a nose print  in a box

Way too long ago I purchased a kit to make a nose print necklace from a promotion Precious Metal Prints did. I bought it with the intention of making a noseprint of Jack, but when the kit arrived we were attempting to sell a home and it sat in a pile of "these aren't bills" mail that got stuck in a box and I didn't uncover it until long after we moved and Jack was gone.

I was heartbroken and I wasn't sure what to do with it and then one day Muffin came up and stuck her nose in my ear for the millionth time and it seemed most appropriate to use her nose instead.

The kit came with what looked a bit like a contact lens case with a two-part white and blue silicone epoxy. You mix it together with your fingers until it is a uniform color and then "smoosh" your cat's nose in it (or dog, or whatever you would like)

I was least comfortable with that part, as Muffin wasn't feeling well at the time and the last thing I wanted to do was make her more so. The first time I tried I got a decent impression but she moved unexpectedly and I ruined the impression.

They warn you that the silicone sets up quickly, and I was able to try a second time which came out poorly so I tried a third. By that third time, it was becoming less pliable and so I decided to go with it, which is why the print isn't quite as defined as I would have liked.

I packed it back up in the packaging they sent along with it and sent it off. They returned it pretty promptly and I was thrilled with it.

the backside of a silver nose print pendant  from Precious Metals Prints
The back of the pendant
a close up of my cat's nose print necklace
a close up of the nose print pendant

I wore it for a few days after Muffin passed, but I remembered what happened to Susan Willett at a conference we went to a few years ago when a pendant she had for her blog Life with Dogs and Cats fell off and she lost it. I could not bear the idea of losing this and she was gone and I could not get another, so I have stored it away with her other keepsakes.

I am posting now because they have a 25% off sale currently going on if you use the discount code PETS that I found on their Facebook page. As of today, the price for a silver pendant is $79.99 with the code bringing it down to $60. They also have a gold option which is $109.99.

This is not a sponsored post. I bought the necklace and I thought it was something you would enjoy learning about and possibly buying for your own nose print. They also do fingerprints if you have a loved one you would like a keepsake of.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

The unannounced foster - Suri

Last month I saw a post by a kind of local rescue group on Facebook asking if anyone was willing to foster a kitty with chronic diarrhea. She was a nine-year-old kitty and the owners took the kitty to the vet multiple times trying to fix the problem and couldn't so they elected to rehome the kitty instead.

One look at that face on that post, and you KNEW I was a gonner..

*Not the actual FB photo

I mean, seriously..

Since I have a history of "curing" uncontrollable diarrhea with diet change alone, I literally didn't think twice about it. I saw that someone else had reached out to foster, so I figured it was superfluous, but still, I raised my hand and said I was available, even though I totally wasn't (my foster room was full)

Not sure how it all worked out, but I found myself driving nearly an hour and a half to pick her up at the vet. Not that I minded one little bit

When I met Suri, she climbed right up on my shoulder and snuggled in. Whenever I would hold her that is where she wanted to be. She had been suffering from diarrhea for over a year and was down to just under five and a half pounds. She was obviously tired and not feeling well but she was an absolute love. She had also been shaved due to some pretty severe matting. She still had some on the bits that were left long and we worked on those in the weeks that I had her.

The vet recommended food they didn't have on hand and medications they didn't have on hand, so I packed her up and brought her home and got her what she needed. Unfortunately, the food that was recommended she could not eat. I don't know why, as I was told she was kibble fed prior, but when she put it in her mouth it simply fell out (the vet said her teeth were fine). I offered her a can of food to see if it was the kibble that was the issue or if she just wasn't hungry and she scarfed the can down so fast she threw it right back up. It was then that I started her on the "Connie's protocol for diarrhea of unknown reasons" aka raw food. I was very fortunate that she loved it and took to it right away since she was nine years old and had a history of eating kibble and older kitties have a well-earned reputation of being "picky*" when it comes to food.

*they aren't being picky, it is a long complex set of survival skills, often combined with foods sprayed with flavorings that have actually been shown to be addicting. It is very complicated and picky is just too simple of a word, but this is a whole 'nother post, so "picky" will do.

Unfortunately, my homemade raw chicken diet didn't seem to help. She did put on a little weight, but the litter box was still far from good. Years ago, I had another kitty with gross stools and the holistic vet I worked with at the time recommended food with either pork or white fish because they were better for this sort of thing. (Honestly, I don't remember exactly what she said, if it was better digestible, or if they were "cooling" foods, etc.. she was awesome but it was a VERY long time ago) so I thought I would try a raw pork diet. Suri took to this as well.

In a few short days, there was marked improvement. Not great, but no longer puddles and the obnoxious amounts of gas in her digestive tract, that you could hear rolling through, were gone. She thrived on the diet, producing a solid looking stool pretty quickly after starting it and getting up over six and a half pounds*. I think she has a bit more healing to do and in time will put on a little more weight, but she was healthy enough to put up for adoption.

*The actual story is a little more complicated than this with a few more twists and turns and detecting to come to the conclusion I did, but this post is getting long enough and it really doesn't change things in the end

Suri continues to be a love.. I mean a "I have to have half an hour of snuggles before I will even consider eating" love. I mean a "you seriously have nothing better to do than to snuggle me so get down here now" love.

My heart both ached and rejoiced at the time I got to spend with her. Some of you might be wondering why I didn't share her with you while she was here. The truth of the matter is I simply could not bear to hear people tell me "oh, you should adopt her" or "Oh look at how much she loves you!! You can't give her up"

See, not only am I trying to not adopt right now - for several personal reasons - but because of her obvious food restrictions (we accidentally fed her chicken a couple of times and her gut had serious problems with it) she simply would not have worked out at Casa de Gato. I loved her, I love her still, I enjoyed every single solitary second with her and when time came to give her up it hurt.. badly.. (she went home with a few too many things so she would have a small bit of me for at least a little while)

Her new family reports she is loving on them as quickly as she loved on me. She was unimpressed with the family dog and found a nice sun puddle to lay in for a while. I am absolutely thrilled for her and am very glad she spent a small part of her life with me.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Sometimes adoptions don't work out - and that is okay

Hibiscus and Rooibos are back.  They are safe, happy, and adjusted back to the room after just a few minutes. I'm glad they are here.

I know a lot of people get really emotional when cats (or pets) are adopted and then returned, but I really think those people are doing a great disservice when they attack people for doing this. Not every match is a love match, not every energy is right for every home, and no matter how you think you know a kitten, cat, puppy or dog is going to act in their new home, it doesn't always go as planned.

Being adult enough to say "this isn't working and we want what is best for us AND the pet" and taking those steps to return the animal and give it a shot at home where it will be a much better fit. Owning a pet is at least a decade long commitment and it should be a complete and utter love match.

I look at this an excellent socialization "boot camp" for these two. I hated that I could not bring other people into my home to get them used to others. I also could not really take them out to "stress" them out to give them that

So not one negative word that they are back with me.  I am sure that they will find their right home quickly and in the end, everyone will be happy. Yes, there are times that "returning a pet" will put the life of the pet in danger, but I do believe that even then it is in the pet's best interest to have that shot at another home than staying in one where it becomes an obligation and not a member of the family.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Interview with a fosterer - fostering in the time of a pandemic

One of my followers on Facebook, Holly, reached out to share with me that she is fostering her first set of kittens during her stay-at-home time thanks to the COVID-19. It has been so long since I have done an Interview With a Fosterer interview and I thought getting the perspective of a first time fosterer would be really interesting.


Introduce yourself and where do you hail from?
Hi, my name is Holly and I currently live in New York City.

What rescue group, shelter or sanctuary do you foster for and was this your first time?
I am fostering 2 adorable kittens from Bronx Tails Cat Rescue, and this is my first time as a foster mom

What prompted you to reach out to foster?
My youngest daughter and I had gone to Jackson Galaxy’s cat camp last year and we ended up adopting a sweet little tortoiseshell kitten from Bronx Tails Cat Rescue. Sadly Pidgeon passed away in September from FIP Complications and we decided that we were going to wait till kitten Season hit before possibly adopting again. When my mom saw on the news that local area shelters were in desperate need of fosters I got in touch with Bronx Tails again and asked if they needed some fosters and they said yes! I reached out to foster because I am pretty much out of work due to Covid-19. I walk dogs and cat sit for a living which is part of the reason why I love animals so much lol
About 2 weeks after the initial call we were able to bring Sully and Casey home!

How was your experience signing up to foster?
My experience reaching out to the rescue has been great. If I have any questions I can always text or call and any questions I have will be answered right away.

Are you taking any measures to help you from being too attached to the fosters?
I am trying to keep myself from becoming a “foster failure” by telling myself that goodbye is the goal and so far I am failing miserably as we have all grown very attached to the kittens.

What is most frustrating for you as a foster?
The only frustrating thing for me with fostering right now would be keeping my other cats from eating the kittens' food lol

What is most rewarding?
The most rewarding thing is definitely the love that Casey and Sully give us back on a daily basis they are literally the sweetest kittens I’ve ever met!

Do you have pets of your own? How do they respond to the foster animals?
I have 3 cats of my own currently! Siggy who is 10 and my cranky old man. Peyton who is my mini house panther she will be 5 next month! We adopted her from the ASPCA a few years ago and she is the queen of the castle And Maddox who is the baby of the three who is 2 years old and also a rescue. Maddox LOVES the kittens but can be a little too rough when he tries to clean them, Peyton will walk by the room give a hiss and walk away, Siggy is very very patient with them and will let them know gently that he has had enough of their biting his tail by a gentle hiss and running away.

From the left: Siggy, Maddox, Peyton

What advice can you give to someone who might be wanting to become a foster?
I’m trying to follow my own advice Right now but the only thing I can say is goodbye is the goal and if you keep that mentality then you should be good!

When you are not saving animals what do you like to do?
When I am not fostering I am working as a dog walker/pet sitter. When I’m not working I'm spending as much time with my teenage daughters as I can as they are hitting that phase where they think I am not cool anymore haha!

Update, it seems Holly failed in her "goodbye is the goal" and now has two new kitties in her life.

Are you a foster parent? Or have you signed on to help during the pandemic when the world is closed and you are interested in sharing your story on my blog, let me know..

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Meet Hibiscus and Rooibos

I took on two new kittens recently, another set needing a little time at kitty boot camp for the unsocial..


Both were scared when they first came here, but Hibiscus came out of her shell faster. She still doesn't like it when someone enters the room but she is pretty quick to come out - especially if there is play involved. If you are near her and slowly reach out for attention she'll rub all over you and has climbed into my lap several times.  Don't let this prim exterior fool you, she is anything but proper and loves a good romp after a toy and climbing into your lap to be a lover of pets.


Rooibos has issues. If you look at him the wrong way he wants to hide. He only looks the way he does in the photo because the camera was too weird and he wasn't sure if he should run or not.  He is starting to gain enough confidence to hiss at me if I am trying to touch him, but not so much that I have to worry about him lashing out at all. If I can get him in my lap - and he'll only get there if I put him there - I can get him purring after a few minutes. Hibiscus has climbed up on top of him to say "oh dude, you should just love this"

It has taken way too long for him to let his guard down long enough to play. Today was the first day he really let go and went after the toy, which was so incredibly nice to see. Once he realized what was going on he became more reserved again, but I hope after a few more days he won't need the convincing to play. When he does let himself forget to be fearful, he is actually quite a goofy kitten, it is absolutely adorable.

They are doing very well outside of the fear. Hibiscus had a bit of Calicivirus which caused a few blisters on her tongue but a few days of antibiotics and those cleared right up. Litterbox habits have been great and they are eating very well. I have taken up their dry food so they get really hungry by the time I come down hoping that will spur them to tell me what for and to hurry the food along.. which I am sure will be coming any day now.  I always forget how much dry food contributes to a full litter box because when I took it up after a couple of days the usage dropped dramatically. It is so nice to not have so much waste.

They are both already neutered and ready to go, just need to find them a nice home (or two) from someone willing to travel to the Rutland VT area to adopt them.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Bowie and Crema are up for adoption

As you might have guessed by the lack of blog posts, caring for these two were difficult for me. There was a whole host of reasons; some big and some small.

I enjoyed every minute I spent being hated on by this girl

I can guess you can imagine how much I regret not being able to actually hug her or kiss her, but I did many times in my dreams. I sat in front of her and I talked to her about it and pictured it in my mind, but each time I did I got all mushy and my energy levels changed and in the end, all I succeeded in doing was freaking her out. I did my best to stop doing that but I am guessing you can imagine that was hard.

I will admit I spent a lot of time thinking about one set of fosters that I wasn't able to keep. If you haven't been with us long, meet Mia and Prince Charming. It was 2004 and I was in no position to keep another kitten at the time ad I so very much wanted to keep them both.. I mean seriously...

And while I am down four cats from my height of owning eight, I am not comfortable adding two cats to my household at this time. It would be nice, for sure. and I bet seeing Skippy love all over me and my husband might have helped them realize that not all hands are bad.

We have made huge progress with them. They went from completely cowering and unable to eat in my presence other than a small amount of spam that I bribed them within the beginning - that only worked when they were very hungry - from being able to eat in front of me, play in front of me and even be able to be closer to me. The boy climbed in my lap to play, he even flomped up against my leg a couple of times. If I groveled, and gave the right signals and went slow I could reach out and pet him and scratch his chest and his ears. From there I was able to pat behind his head. As long as I stayed above his shoulder blades he was fine. If I touched his back I received a major hissing and he immediately put an end to contact. He likes it, he just needs someone who doesn't come with the urgent need to get him to come around sooner rather than later and that will happen by being adopted.

The Girl is a tougher nut. The few times I was able to scratch her chin I could tell she clearly liked it but her fear of hands was overwhelming..

Both have an extreme fear of towels being held up by a human. One time I simply picked up a sheet and they both had a pretty extreme reaction to it, so I did my best to do it in a way that was not "coming at them" to try to desensitize them of it. Unfortunately, using a towel was the ONLY way to get them in the carrier to go back to the shelter. I was hoping I could use it to direct them to run into the carrier since I had hidden every other place for them to hide, but it backfired on me and they both stood their ground and hissed at me pretty fiercely. So, I then picked up the carrier and put it in front of them and thankfully each one decided to enter in it on their own power. It took all of three minutes to get them in and we were on our way.

I wanted to send along a few things to keep some continuity in their lives. I sent along the giraffe bed that I have had for a few years because it was immediately her safe space (see above). She spent quite a bit of time in the bed and I figured that she would appreciate having it with her.  I couldn't send the cat tree that The Boy spent most of his time in, but I did want to send along their favorite toy. .. which sadly was my favorite toy..

So I am totally going to have to get some more, especially after giving Cabana his favorite toy to take home with him, because I am out of wand toys now. (and if you want to donate I stuck them on my Amazon wish list) (mailing address if you choose not to use Amazon is 10 Willis Ave, #554 Grantham, NH 03753)

And while I hate the idea of returning them not perfectly tamed and I really hate the idea of not having found a home for them. There was a potential one for The Girl but not being handleable totally put a kibosh on it as it would require her flying and there is no way it would be safe for her to be removed from a carrier to be checked in not to mention the change of her never being a lap cat - it is a possibility depending on how bad her PTSD is - so that fell through. But I am going to hold on to what happened with a set of fosters in 2015. They were not 100% friendly either, but being in the shelter and seeing all the people and being exposed to all of the shelter noises (and being fed hot dogs) really helped pull them out of their shell.. I know the shelter has their best interests at heart, they will be fine.

If you are interested in adopting them, you can check out their listings on the shelter's website. My foster coordinator has told me that she will email me when they are adopted.

I will miss them terribly, I already do, but hopefully, there will be new kitties soon..

Thursday, January 23, 2020

The owner of that foot

I know I know, I am so mean. if you happen to follow me on Instagram, you would have already met the newcomers.

I agreed to take on a couple of three-month-old feral kittens. They are really weird in how they communicate because their eyes say "snuggle me and tell me I am safe" but their body language and their reactions say "STAY AWAY FROM ME WITH YOUR GRABBY HANDS YOU WEIRD LADY YOU!!"

I did find that they like spam, so I am trying to show them I am a good thing with it. On a very superficial level, it works, but up until Wednesday they were stuck in this cage and I had to "loom over them to offer it to them so it was really hard.  They are now in the kitten room bathroom and I am hoping that giving them a little space will help. It is absolutely going to take some time.  Hopefully, paws crossed, I am able to reach them sooner rather than later.

Because I am having a very hard time resisting those "snuggle me" eyes..

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Updates on "Chester" and "NoSocks"

I know I know, it has been a while since I have given you an update and I am sorry. A lot has been going on over here and I have been less than motivated to blog.

For the most part, their time with me was pretty uneventful until last week when Chester ended up lame. We do not know why. The speculation is that his brother chewed on his leg a little too hard, which is totally possible.

We put him on antibiotics and after a couple of days, he was back to 85-90% of normal function. He still holds it up a bit and he might run a little wonky from time to time, but he is healing nicely.

We ended up renaming NoSocks to Nero. I was not using that name anyway. I was calling him dude or buddy, or not really using a name at all. While NoSocks is a cute name, I can't imagine saying no to a kitty over and over for no particular reason.  The rescue he is being cared for put up a name that kitty post and that one seemed to fit him best.

Chester also earned himself a new name. He was seen online by someone who was just about to need a new kitty in her life so she reached out to me about adopting him. I connected her to the rescue and she will be taking Chester home this weekend and shall be calling him Kevin. I totally approve. And while it is always nice when kitties go home in pairs, I am not 100% sure that Kevin and Nero should be life long buddies (see above) and I really approve of the situation Kevin will find himself in.. I mean just look at this..

Thursday, January 9, 2020

What's this? New Kitten Room Addition

I got something new for the kitten room.. any guesses what it is? I will tell you that Chester was not too sure about the whole thing and watched from a distance for quite a bit of the construction.

the print really amuses me

The kittens use it, but I don't see them up there unless I encourage it with a toy. They both seem to like to "play Aliens" with it though and "burst" right out of the chest!
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