Kodi got a manicure

And it was of the best decision ever. 

I sleep with cats.  I didn’t used to, I even thought it was gross.  But people evolve, for better and for worse and in this case, it is for better!

For 6 years now I have fallen asleep with our little girl at my feet, and woken up with our big girl on my head (literally).  But since Kodi became a forever resident, the dynamics have changed.

Kodi is adorable, but stubborn.  I hear it’s a common characteristics of bottle babies.  Whatever the cause, he won’t take no for an answer.  He wants your pillow?  He gets it.  He wants your spot on the couch?  He gets it.   He wants the crust of your pizza?  He steals it.  He wants to fall asleep while clawing your neck to death?  He does it.  And you bleed.  In your sleep.

He had become a little clawing vampire, a purring excavator: the deeper the claws dug into the flesh, and the more blood he extracted, the calmer he became.  No. No more.

The simple solution is to keep the cat out of the bedroom.  Easy enough.  Except that the old-time residents would have none of this “pick your room for the entire night” gig.  They like to come and go as they please.  And they did.  For several months, they tore the (brand new) carpet apart around the bedroom door when they wanted in, and tore the (brand new) carpet apart around the bedroom door when they wanted out.  This has resulted in a big hole in the twice above-mentioned carpet, and the lady of the house quite frustrated with her interrupted sleep, and the situation as a whole. 

Declawing is not an option.  But I still have quite a problem on my hands. My big girl doesn’t like me anymore since she’s lost most of her cuddle time, and I can’t sleep. 

Soft Paws to the rescue.  They are little plastic sheets that you glue over the cat’s nails.  The cat can still do whatever it is that cats do, but they won’t pierce your skin (or destroy furniture, but in our house, furniture is much lower on the priority scale than cats – much lower) with their spiky daggers of death.  Soft Paws come in all kinds of colors and if you do an internet search, you’ll find that people are becoming quite creative with their cats’ look.  We chose black. Sleek and elegant. You can glue them on yourself, but for the first time, I wanted it done correctly and took our house panther to the groomer. They last about 4 weeks, then they fall off when the cat’s claw naturally sheds its layers.

Two days later and he’s already broken the tip off of one of them!

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Deworming nightmare

Deworming is a must.  But it comes with side effects that we were not prepared for.  We took our babies to the shelter for their preventative care, and the vet (overwhelmed after having performed 50 surgeries that morning without her full staff on board) casually mentioned the kittens may have diarrhea and be tired.

What we didn’t know is that “tired” would mean Rocky would suffer temporary paralysis of his front paws for about 24 hours.  It was scary.  It was heartbreaking.  He was trying to get up, but his body would fall forward.  And of course we realized what was going on in the middle of the night, on a weekend.  He was alert, bright eyed and ate well if you brought the food right under his chin.  He would roll on his back and play with Henry.  If I pinched his paws (not hard), he would yelp a bit.  Googling the symptoms was actually reassuring since we figured out the probable cause, but we couldn’t find how long it would last.  He spent all that time cuddling up next to us, nestled in the bed blankets.

All is fine now.  But be warned in case this happens to your kittens. 

Doesn’t he look like the most happiest kitten in the whole wide world?

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Soft Rocky, Little Ball of Purr

Meet Henry

Rocky needed a playmate.  He loves playing with Kodi but I, a human who is fairly new to orphan kitten behavior, decided he could benefit from having a buddy his age to wrestle with.  Kittens are aplenty in the shelters, and after a few days of placing the request, I got a photo of a tuxedo cat.  And off to the shelter I go.  But not without first asking my big guy if he agrees.  He does of course.

They handed me a wild little thing!  It screeched all the way back home, trying to claw its way out of the carrier.  Not a happy camper! 

I let him roam around a bit in the bathroom before giving it a bath.  Have you ever given a cat a bath?  That in itself should be its own reality show.  Cats do NOT like water.  And cats have claws, which explains why I now sport all kinds of injuries on my wrists!  But I think I got 90% of the fleas out. 

It’s a rather big kitten, bigger than Rocky, yet its teeth are less developed.  It’s a boy. And he hisses and screams like a feral cat when he’s not happy.  But over the course of one evening, he became a very loving, happy, free kitten.  

His name is Henry, to be pronounced with a stiff upper lip.  He’s black and white.   My relative Henry was colorblind.  Hence Henry.  More specifically, Henry Of the Poisonous Claws.  Yes, we think that’s funny!

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Losing Duchess

How do you call the foster coordinator to tell her you’ve lost the nursing Momma?

I imagined the conversation would go something like this: “Don’t worry, it happens, she probably had an infection, or a heart attack due to all the stress. No, we lost her.  I know. No, lost.  She’s not dead, we cannot find her.  You let her outside? No.  We let her loose in the house to stretch her paws and she’s been missing for 8 hours.  Do you live in Buckingham Palace? No, Fort Knox.  We have cameras everywhere and alarms on all doors and still cannot find a trace of her.  Not a shadow, not a sniff, not a meow.  She has never meowed once anyway.  She’s like a ghost.

That was yesterday.  We looked in every nook and cranny of our house.  Under beds, inside pantry and cabinets, behind bookcases and appliances.  Inside the armchairs and suitcases. Panic sets in.  We have to feed the kittens.  Oh no, we have to bottle-feed the kittens again.  Will they take to a bottle now that they’ve had Momma for so long?  Look, they like wet cat food!  So we slowly fed them wet food by hand.

Around 2 am, Kodi started pawing at the drapes, and there was Duchess.  Starving.  Not a hint of guilt or remorse!  We have no idea where she had been hiding all day.  She’d been cooped up in that playpen for 3 weeks now and she’s a very dedicated mom.  But she has to be going crazy so we decided to let her roam around.  I am not sure we’ll do that again!

And she’s getting a collar, of a fluorescent color, with a bell, and a Tile™ on it!

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 front of 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. 

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She’s the most beautiful momma cat ever. 

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.

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Step two: feeding wet food on a spoon.

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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.

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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!

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!)

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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: 

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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!