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.

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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.

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Staying aliiiive

We almost lost Madame LaFloof on Saturday. She had been a finicky eater for a day and then went limp. She had no muscle tone. She was breathing and opening her little mouth to cry but no sound came out. It was heartbreaking. Since it happened around midnight, I went online and diagnosed her (wrongly) as being a “failing kitten”. Prognostic: very bad. The Montgomery County Animal Shelter doesn’t have a 24-hour clinic, so I tried to locate a private facility where I could take her. Thanks to Hurricane Harvey, the Humble clinic is closed, they were flooded. The closest is in the Woodlands, 45 minutes away. That was very bad news, because, in all honesty, I was so tired, so dang tired, and in a panic, that I was not capable of driving there. I wasn’t going to put everybody in jeopardy. Minimize the risks. The next best option is to wait, give her a reiki massage, and go to the shelter the next morning at 9.

Wouldn’t you know, that little Floof proved me wrong, and I love her for that. We brought her to the shelter in a shoe box and she was lifting her head. The vet listened to me and figured out it was hypoglycemia. Little Floof got a shot of something or other, a prescription for Karo syrup (not a paper prescription though!) and off we went. But not before showing the staff that we are capable of raising healthy kittens, by showing off the other two Floofs we had brought along in the carrier (they came because I wasn’t sure how long the visit would take and didn’t want them to miss a feeding).

Yeah for White Floof!

I know I am only her caregiver, not her mommy, not her forever family. She’s not mine to keep. She will go to a good home in a few weeks. But for a few hours, I was heartbroken. I was acting half on crisis mode (what are the immediate needs and solutions) and half on emotions. I was planning her little burial, deciding what to wrap her in. My husband and I agreed that if the worse happened at the vet, we were bringing her home.

Two days later, she’s adorable, a feisty little bundle of wiggles, who already has lost one of her nine lives!

A kitten and its toothbrush

Madame LaFloof, the littlest of them all, is a finicky eater.  One time yes, two times no.  It takes a while to get a few milliliters of milk in her little tummy.  Her appetite is inversely proportional to her screaming, which is however a good sign. 

I follow work of the KittenLady very closely and found a potential solution to calming our little girl down: a toothbrush.

That baby girl must be missing her momma a whole lot, and searches for milk in her siblings’s genitals.  It’s gross!  First she smells of pee on her head, which is where we give her kisses, and then the two other Floofs have wet butts until it’s feeding time.

Maybe that’s why she’s not hungry!

Day 5 – I think

I have lost track of time.  I am so tired.  So so tired. Yet there is a feeling of accomplishing something nice.  Waking up every 2 hours to feed the Floofs, without a night break is exhausting. Hubby is helping a lot.  He takes over some feedings and is the cuddler in chief.  He’s awesome.

All The Floofs are alive.  The little white one was very much underweight but has shot up yesterday, putting on a full 14 grams in a day.  She has been named Madame LaFloof.  I had a dream that she had died due to constipation, so now we check them all very carefully for poop.  And seeing poop is a victory, even if you have to manually extract it.  Yuck, yet Yeah…

The other two kittens are still nameless.  Wendy didn’t stick.

Yesterday, after weighing, cleaning and feeding, we had their first photo shoot.  I think I heard one whispering “I am ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille”.

Madame LaFloof
Madame LaFloof
The Black FloofThe Orange Floof

Meet The Floofs

1pm. I get a text: “just in” with a picture of a kitten.

Run to the car I go. Drive off. Come back to the house I must because I forgot the cat carrier.

Get to the animal shelter. And I meet three “rats” in a box. Tiny rats. Much smaller than I expected.

Boom. My soul is happy. I am going to be a kitty mommy.

I started feeding them while the paperwork was being filled out. Honestly, I have no idea what I signed. I may very well have given my house away!  Who reads those things anyway? Damned lawyers 😉

For now they are “The Floofs”. No reason why. A white one, an orange one, and a black one. Don’t ask if they are male or female. I checked. No clue!

I named the orange one Wendy, because I went to Wendy’s on the way back and stacked up on burgers since I will be house bound for a while. The black one has become “Goulu” which means “one who eats a lot” in French. The white one doesn’t have a name yet. I have decided she’s a girl. And she’s the smallest of the litter, at 65 grams, which is about the weight of 2 fun size Snickers. I will have to monitor her carefully since she didn’t eat well. But she’s got a set of lungs on her!

Bye bye sleep!