A feeding tube

Duchess is a feeding tube.  Her entire life is about feeding her 5 kittens.  She eats, poops and nurses.  That’s it!

We have had her now for 11 days, and she has lived exclusively in the playpen since.  It has to be boring.  She hardly ever leaves her babies.  She does pee and poop away from them, but she gets no exercise, no entertainment, nothing.

I was starting to worry about her muscle tone, since she lays down about 98% of her time (and remember we have a camera in there to check on the family).  So tonight I took her into the bathroom, on her own, and let her roam around.  There was at first no roaming, no walking.  She snuggled next to me and let me comb her.  I lifted her next to the sink and she started exploring, knocking stuff down off of the counter.  That lasted a few minutes, and then she sat in from to the door and looked at me with a pathetic look on her face.  

I brought her back “home”, and she laid down next to her kittens again. 


She’s the most beautiful momma cat ever. 


Our Duchess

Not much to say here.  All is good with Momma and her kittens.  I want to brag and show you the most precious 12 day-old kittens in the whole wide world.  

Momma cat has a new name, temporary since we are only fostering her.  She is Duchess, named after the protective mother cat in The Aristocats.  She is the sweetest, most devoted mother ever.   

She came to us so traumatized.  For days she would only eat if I fed her.  The camera confirmed that she didn’t get out of her cardboard box.  Now she sometimes sleeps away from the box, in the playpen, on a towel, sometimes even letting all the munchkins away from her.  

She likes me a lot!  She doesn’t know what a hug is, but she’s a lap cat.  I comb her everyday, to get the filth off of her and as a trust-building activity.  I now get kissed and headbutts from our Duchess.  

She has no problem letting us her handle her kittens.  Feeding is pretty much all she does all day.  She has to be bored!  She likes when she sees me walk into the room and climb into the playpen with her.  I keep promising that I will grab a book and spend time with her in there, but I haven’t been good at that.

The only unpleasant thing about her, is that she has to idea what a litter box is for.  I don’t know how to litter train an adult cat.  I followed the advice found on the internet (place poop in there, placing her in the box and showing her how to scratch) but she doesn’t understand.  

It can get smelly in there…


Saving Momma

It’s been a rough night.  Momma Cat doesn’t eat, doesn’t drink and doesn’t use her litter box.  She clings to her kittens with all her might.

We put a bowl of dry food, of wet food, and of tuna fish in her playpen.  And a camera for good measure, to track her whereabouts!  I tried to feed her by hand but she wouldn’t touch the food.  She’s the complete opposite of aggressive.  Last night before we went to bed, she looked so so sad it broke my heart.

We gave her privacy by not going into her room for about 12 hours, from midnight until noon.  I checked the camera feed several times, and she didn’t move an inch, except around 5 am when she came to sniff, not the food, but the camera!  But she didn’t even go close to the food bowls.

This morning we go into crisis mode.  We have to save her, make her eat or she’ll stop producing milk and then the kittens won’t make it either.

I went to Petco to buy high calorie food but you need a vet prescription.  The manager suggested kitten milk at a higher concentration. 

I tried to feed her with the kitten syringe and a kitten size nipple we have available.  And she drank the milk, without a fight.  Yipee!!!  But she ate the nipple too, chewed it up, and the last thing she needs is to have to poop little pieces of plastic!  We bought a much bigger syringe at Walgreens and tried to feed her again.

Here’s the progress.

Step one: feeding milk through a syringe.


Step two: feeding wet food on a spoon.


Step three: feeding her directly from the bowl.  You can see the whole set up of the playpen in the room, and the cardboard “home” where she stays with her babies.


She still won’t walk to the bowl, but that’s immense progress.  We are thrilled.  She makes a mess on the towel but that is not a problem now.  As long as she eats, she can soil the towel, I don’t care! She even let me clean up her wound under her tail.  

She will surviiiiii-iiii-iiii-ve!


Up to 9

The foster coordinator from MCAS called me this morning.  “How are you? Exhausted of course!  I have a solution.  We found the Momma.  Can you take her?”.

We drove to the shelter with the 5 kittens in a carrier.  The staff brought in Momma and we watched all excited to see if she would take to them.  Bingo! Lots of Oooohs and Aaaahs and she curled up next to her kittens.

She’s a beautiful cat.  White and tan and so sweet.  One would think that she could be upset at humans after her kittens being kidnapped, but she’s so chill, so calm.  She got her basic shots, was checked by a vet (she has an infection due to birth), but is ok.


We have had to rearrange quite a bit in the guest room.  I want her separated from our two big girls, since they already feel left out because of Kodi.  We set up the big playpen (60 inches wide) with food, water and a litter box, lowered the carrier with the full family in it and closed the door.  Three hours later (after a wonderful uninterrupted nap for me!), she hadn’t moved an inch.  I think she is afraid that if she steps even a foot away, she runs the risk of her kids being stolen again. We slowly took the kittens out one by one, and gently grabbed her out. (I had read last week a book by Jackson Galaxy about the blinking technique for establishing trust, and she blinked right back at me several times). We fed her her medicine which she took like a big girl. We placed her in the playpen, showed her the food bowl and let her take over. She curled up in the back of the box and the babies wiggled back next to her. All good.

So, we are now up to 9 cats in the house. 180 paws!

P.S.:. Obviously Momma wasn’t killed as I had thought. 1- I will not spread rumors anymore; 2- my previous statement about animal laws still stands.


160 claws

My niece pointed out last night that we now have 8 cats in the house.

8 cats x 4 paws x 5 claws = 160 claws!!!

Because we have acquired 5 bottle babies yesterday evening.  Plus our two girls, and Kodi.

As can be expected, they are super cute.  They look like hamsters.  They are about twice the size of the Floofs when we got them, and not much older but way more fluffy. Their eyes are closed, the umbilical cord still attached.  Their mom was killed*.


The feeding schedule is very unpleasant of course, but I knew what I was getting myself into (did I?).

So, meet the … 

We don’t really have a name for them yet.  The Moops?  The Moopits?  The Moonpies?  None of them sticks yet.  And they don’t have individual name either, we refer them by color: light one, dark one, orange one, grey one and calico. 

Once again: bye bye sleep!

* There really should be enforceable laws against people who voluntarily kill an animal without “good” reason.




Kittens need kittens

I was once told: “One cat is good.  Two cats is best”.  This is so true it should be a rule, an ordinance, a law (the criminologist in me ain’t dead yet!).  It should be illegal to only own one cat, since it is damaging to ones’ psychological wellbeing.  The second cat should even be reimbursed by medical insurance companies. 

Let me explain.

We had three Floofs.  They were a lot of work, but they would play together and be cats.  No need for much human interaction to pass time. Then we found them families, but Kodi came back to us.  Kodi is now an only child. Or more exactly the youngest of the siblings, the “love child”, the one you hadn’t planned on, but ooops, here he is, and we love him dearly. Most of the time. Sometimes. Sometimes not!

He’s a horrible adorable little thing.  He’s a pain playful. He’s so needy affectionate. He does under no circumstances respects his sisters’ boundaries and territory. 

He gets into everything. He devoured 3 slices of bread straight out of the bag, mistakenly left on the kitchen counter at night.  I bought catnip mice at Kroger and didn’t get a chance to give them to him, he scrambled his way into the bag and stole them. Later he was snooping in the bag I brought back from Hobby Lobby and got a sticker stuck on his nose. It didn’t bother him one bit. He pranced around with a sales tag on his face. And because I am a bad cat mom, instead of taking it off, I took a picture of him. He’s for sale, and he’s on sale, already tagged and ready to go! (just kidding!)

Kodi sticker

3 am. He’s pouncing on me. I grab the spray bottle and aim for his butt.  I miss. I spray the books across the room instead. I am now wide awake, wiping water off the dust jackets while he jumps around clawing at the (brand new but now old looking) fluffy comforter.   Thanks cat…

He won’t sleep next to me. He sleeps on me, preferably on my face. He does not just nestle on my shoulder like all the other kittens we have raised, or simply use my neck as a pillow.  He plants his (smelly) behind on my face and tries to suck my eyeballs out while “making biscuits” on my cheeks.  He tries to give me a hair cut by chewing on my hair when I am asleep. He has no concept of personal space at night.  He needs to be exactly where I am.  We have a king size bed.  It’s huge.  There is room for everybody on there.  But no.  His spot is on my face.  Until I get up, and then: 


A couple of nights ago, I grabbed my pillow and moved into the guest room, since the door can be locked. Kodi sat in front of that door and sang me the meow of his people.  For 2 hours straight.

I am telling you, he’s one bad pussy cat!

I adore him!


Foster fail

To quote Agatha Christie

“and then there were three”.

“Three what” you might ask.  Three cats.  We are now the owner of three cats.  No, not three foster kittens.  Full fledge owner of our two resident adult cats, those who have traveled from North Carolina, to Texas, to California, to India (yes, India, as in the country of yummy spicy food), back to Texas, and now a black Floof.

One, two, three.

Yesterday was an awful day.  A horrible day.  We brought the three Floofs to their new families.  All went on the same day, which was probably a logistical/emotional mistake.  I had found three loving families.  Tango was handed over around 1pm, Kodi at 6:30 and MC at 7pm.  All met their new humans at the Petco close to our house.  I was sad.  I had prepared myself for that since the day I got them.  Hubby however was devastated, a wreck.  I can handle my own pain, my heavy heart, but not a heartbroken husband.  It was, to say the least, a very difficult night.

This morning I casually texted the new families to see how the kittens were adapting. I got a picture of MC sitting like a princess with her new pink collar.  Tango has slept all night on her new Momma.  But Kodi’s new buddy developed a rash.  Let’s wait a few days.  Nope.  A few hours later, the kid has broken out in hives.

So we got Kodi back. 

And we are keeping Kodi!



Dear New Foster Parents

Dear New Foster Parents,

You have the 3 best kittens in the whole entire world.  They are cute, easy going, funny, affectionate, litter trained* and overall most adorable.

Tango, the orange kitten, is the biggest.  She’s also knows as A.P., for Always Purring.  Pick her up any time, day or night, before or after a meal, and she’ll purr.  Non-stop.  Put her little head next to your ear and will can hear what Heaven must sound like!  She’s awesome like that.  She’s now a true toddler-kitten, exploring, jumping, sniffing, until she tires out and finds the softest spot in the house and falls asleep.  Developmentally, she’s the most advanced of the 3.  She’s started climbing, jumping and hopping before the other 2.  She’s the leader in that respect.  She’s tried clawing her way up the drapes, but has been told in no uncertain terms that this behavior is not allowed.  Not that our drapes are that great, it’s just not a good skill to have when you’re looking to be adopted!

Kodi, short for Kodiak Bear, is the only boy.  He’ll let you know by marking his territory once in a while, preferably by a bay window.  He knows how to use the litter box, but sometimes, poo, there it is!  He’s just as much as an explorer of crevices as his big sister is.  He does not climb the drapes, but likes to walk over the nightstand and knock stuff down. Once again, that is not permissible behavior in our house!  Watch out, he’s an ogre. He will eat anything that is food, kitten food, cat food, human food, I am sure if we had a dog he’d munch on dog kibble as well.  He’s particularly fond of carbs, such as pizza crust and bread.  He’s not big enough yet to jump onto the kitchen counter, so sometimes we don’t even know where he gets the crumbs from (that says a lot about the cleanliness of our house doesn’t it?!).  He too is super affectionate, especially with his daddy. Maybe it’s the testosterone bonding!

M.C., Mini Cat, Mighty Cat, is the white kitten. She used to be all white but is not mostly grey, turning probably into a Siamese.  She’s the littlest of them all, and a few days behind developmentally.  When Tango and Kodi learn a new behavior, such as grooming or fluffing the tail as a defense mechanism, she will imitate them 2 or 3 days later.  But there’s nothing she cannot do.  She wrestles with her siblings, either as the aggressor or as the poor victim (and she’ll then make a pitiful sound).  She’s more of a loner than the other 2, maybe because of her size.  She likes to climb on the couch, check what’s behind the cushions, hides in boxes, and when she’s tired, she’ll find a human, curl up next to them and snooze.

All 3 have been bottle-fed since I got them, when they were 2 days old. They now eat wet food, their favorite, however without a trace of table manners.  They slurp it down, and if necessary, and possible, will fit their entire body into the bowl.  They also like dry food.  They have not been introduced to cat treats yet.  Nor catnip.  They like to eat our adult cats’ food when they roam around.  Not because they are hungry, but probably because it’s got a different taste.  And after running around the house, it’s hard to find the way back inside the playpen!

They like all humans and have met a few of our friends.  They are very good with our other cat (we have 2, one has ignored them completely from day one, and still does).  Our other cat has been a role model for them, teaching them how to groom themselves, how to wrestle, how to cover up poo in the litter box, how to be a cat.  They have never met a dog.

They are quiet cats.  They sleep in a big play pen (60” wide) and during the day, they roam around the house, for about an hour, until we think they (or we) need a break and put them back in their “house”.  They play together in there.  They have food, water, a litter box, a scratching post and a few toys. They are all very fond of mini mice toys.  There has never been an instance of them waking us up or meowing loudly.  They meow if they are awake and want out, but not in an annoying way.  They still sleep curled up on the heating pad.

They do not bite.  Even when they play, they will playfully nibble on toes or noses but have been taught to not bite humans.  However, we have been less efficient in teaching them to keep their claws to themselves.  They don’t use them in an aggressive manner whatsoever, but when they climb, jump, launch themselves from you to the couch (or the other way around), claws are the main tools. They all used to “make biscuits” when they were being bottle-fed but grew out of that.

The only discipline we have used, when they bite or climb the drapes, is to pick them up and place them somewhere else.

They love kisses.  Since they day I got them, they were held for long periods of time.  And kissed a lot. Smack on their little noses.  They love to cuddle, though they are reaching the age where they tolerate being held until they decide it’s time to go and explore.  Then they get tired and want to cuddle again. 

We know you’ll take good care of The Floofs while we go on vacation.


Growing up fast

I am typing this, sitting on a chair in front of TV but watching The Floofs! They have graduated from a plastic container to a playpen, if only for a few hours. About an hour ago, my husband was on a business call and the kittens decided to provide background music! This is the first time they meow to get our attention, aside from feeding time. They even have never meowed when they are hungry, they only vocalize when we have removed the towel that serves as the roof of their “house” and indicates they are about to be fed. That will soon change, I am sure. And I will miss silence!

They are growing so fast. Their claws are now hard little daggers of pain, their eyes wide open yet still black. They poo a lot. Oh my god do they poo. And why on earth would they decide that it’s fun to roll around in it? Hence their first sponge bath this afternoon. Oh that was (not) fun. Dried up poo stuck in MC’s white fur. Charming… And all over her pretty face since she still puts her nose in her siblings’ butts. After her bath, she was so pretty, all fluffy! She is so adorable, she now falls asleep about 30 seconds after being fed, whether she’s on your lap or on the floor, her head on an electrical cord.

They used to sleep 100% of their non-feeding time, but that is slowly decreasing. They are more alert, and Tango is becoming an Olympic climber. Her middle name is Everest.

Their feeding schedule is becoming easier to manage. We now share the night feedings. That allows each of us to sleep for about 6 hours in a row.

Our cat, one of the two we own, has started showing interest in the rug rats. She supervises the feedings from a foot away, giving us the stink eye. We are not sure if she means “why did you bring in kittens? Again?” or “You don’t know what you’re doing”. We hope she could teach them to eat, and to use a litter box. Those are the next two big items on the “growing up” agenda.

Then it will be bye bye to their forever families.


The naming game

We have names for The Floofs.

Let me introduce you to Tango de la Floof, Kodi de la Floof and M.C. de la Floof.

Kodi is the little black cat. He looked like a bear cub last week, all chubby and with claws that should be registered as dangerous weapons and would not be allowed on a plane! Bear, grizzly bear, Kodiak bear, Kodi. It suits him perfectly.

M.C. is the baby white kitten. She went from Madame LaFloof, to Mini Floof, to Floofito, Yoda, E.T., and finally M.C. It stands for Mini Cat, Mighty Cat, Martian Cat, MC Hammer, Mountain Cat (she’s climber). You pick. M.C. she is.

The orange one never really had a name until this morning when my husband suggested “Tango”. And for no apparent reason, that cat is a good “Tango”. It’s supposed to be derived from “tangerine”.

We had their second photo shoot last night. I thought it was time to introduce them to the world of books and the writings of Cleveland Amory on cats is a perfect choice.