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!