Noire’s chocolate and pill popping party and random updates.

First, as you may have noticed, the All Feral Kittens All The Time party has ended. This is because they have gone to a new house, where they are loved and adored, which is the best way for those stories to end.

Second, Macavity returned to us after his adventure at his breeders. He came home Saturday night, and went in today to be neutered. Everything went perfectly, his bloodwork was excellent, and now Mac is settling in for his hard life as a pet cat (and probably also a show cat once he heals up).

Spoilers:

She’s almost certainly going to be okay.

But the real story of this weekend is Noire’s party. I was out of town last week for work, and when I came home, I left my bag in the front hallway. Inside that bag was a small bag of chocolate (that I had completely forgotten), and a number of pills, including a half-full bottle of ibuprofen liquid-gels, and two prescription medicines.

Sunday, while we were gone, Noire got into that bag, ate all the chocolate, then washed it down with a huge quantity of pills. When we came home, she was barely responsive, stretched out on the couch, and could only lift her head. We flung poor Deuce into an office, found all the empty pill containers that she had gone through, and raced to the emergency vet at 8 pm last night. The vet took one look at her and said that there was a distinct possibility she wouldn’t make it, and then began work to stabilize her and get an idea of what the situation was. I got on the phone with animal poison control to open a case so that they could assist.

The situation was pretty dire. There were three sets of potential issues — acidosis from one of the prescriptions, gastrointestinal tract issues and kidney damage from the ibuprofen. The first two were very likely fixable. The third one was not. The treatment was to fill her full of fluids to help protect her kidneys, feed her activated charcoal to help with any additional toxins, and give her drugs to protect her GI tract, plus bloodwork to check everything.

At one point over night, her temperature dropped to 33.8 C/92.8 F. She spent a large portion of the night under blankets and wrapped up on heating discs (which she loved once she was coherent enough to enjoy them). She suffered from some mild acidosis, but that wasn’t much of an issue. It seems, 24 hours later, that her kidneys may have escaped real damage. However, she almost certainly has some GI bleeding and/or ulcers, which we’re treating with a cornucopia of different drugs.

She spent the night at the ER vet, and the day at our regular vet, and will get to go hang out at our vet tomorrow as well. Tonight, she’s getting to eat food constantly (which she’s thrilled about) and hang out on the couch under a blanket.

It’s been a rough 24 hours, and a very long weekend. Noire will probably be spending her days at the vet for at least the next few, to get more fluids and keep repeating the bloodwork.

And then, I’m hoping her pill popping days are behind her.

For now, she thinks this couch and food thing is okay. And we think it’s pretty okay to have her around still.

Posted in Dogs, Health, Noire | 1 Comment

Introducing Deuce.

Let me introduce you to Siam Jewels Doppelganger, hereafter known as Deuce. He is four months old, and the half-sibling of Jelly.

Anyone surprised from that last post? Nope, didn’t think so. We went to the cat show on Saturday, and Jessica showed up with this gloriously beautiful, gorgeous, amazingly coloured, super sweet kitten… who she was looking for a breeder home for, who was still available. We waited, politely, to see if one of the Actual Breeders(tm) wanted him, and when she could not have another male, we said ‘OMG US PLEASE’. It was pretty much love at first sight. There may have been bouncing and hand waving. We agreed to keep him intact (just like Macavity) and show him (what a horrible tragedy that will be — he finalled three times in his first show, and he’s really pretty).

Sunday night, he came home with us from the show. His entry into the household was not as smooth as could be desired for reasons that will come in the NEXT entry, but he’s had some time to settle in today. I think he’ll do okay.

Like every cat ever, he’s in love with Uncle Nemo.

And everyone loves the cat tree.

Also snuggling is good. And yes, if you’re thinking that his colour is almost unreal looking, you should see him in person, it’s even more intense.

He’s a chestnut silver ticked tabby. Chestnut is the solid form of chocolate (meaning he’s our THIRD genetically chocolate cat). Silver is essentially a colour inhibitor that removes some or all of the brownness, making them lighter or silvery. He’s a ticked tabby, which means he has tabby stripes on his head and legs, but each hair in his body has multiple bands of colour, giving him that strange agouti look. Abyssinians are also ticked tabbies, and are a very common example.

Here’s another shot of his crazy body colour.

I swear though, Nemo is the most astonishing cat. He simply settles in and loves on any cat that exists, and calms down any cat who is even a little nervous.

Deuce would like you to appreciate his GIANT BAT EARS.

Here is his profile, off set by the beautiful plaid pants of his owner.

The ears! That’s really all I can keep repeating.

A little exploring is good for the soul.

OMG, there’s a DOG outside.

I am not sure I signed up for dogs (even if my breeder has one).

Nemo and Deuce.

Sleepy kitten.

So… now there’s a kitten. :)

Posted in Cats, Deuce, Introductions, Nemo, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cat show!

I have too many things to post, so you’re going to get them in chunks, because that is how this weekend has gone. It’s been… eventful.

Let’s start with this one! We went to a cat show, which is one of the largest of the year, and actually remembered to bring the camera.

You can find a recap of how cat shows in this blog post from April of this year.

This time around, we were showing two cats as neutered purebreds (aka alters) — Premier Siam Jewels Jellylorum and Master Grand Champion Bestcats Yesterday’s Youngsmile, who was starting her second carrier as an alter. Y did, in fact, get her new title, making her the most amazing MGCH. & Pr. Bestcats Yesterday’s Youngsmile.

And… we brought the camera for actual show pictures!

The girls in their show cage. They’re separated, because Jelly is sort of obnoxious when she’s even slightly stressed.

Y would like you to know that no one has ever paid attention to her, which is a blatant lie. Because it was a cat show, her former owners were there, and she spent a huge portion of the show being carried around and cuddled and loved.

Jelly, on the other hand, did not. And she’s very, very happy about that — she is not a huge fan of the giant crowds.

The actual showing process goes like this — each cat has a number. When it’s time for them to be judged, they get called up and put in a cage that has that number listed on top (pink for girls, blue for boys).

There they wait.

Then the judge (in this case, Diane Moreau), takes each cat out and evaluates them against the breed standard. Here, she’s looking at Jelly’s body and tail.

Same with Youngsmile.

Then, the judge hangs ribbons on the cages to signify their picks. (This picture is completely cheating because it was a different ring, but it’s the one I have). Red and green are for best of class (colour and sex), black is best of breed, yellow is second best of breed, and the salmony pinkish one is best champion of breed. In this case, Jelly won.

Actually, in a phenomenal number of cases, Jelly won, she got best of breed six out of eight times.. Once the judge finishes their breed judging, they pick the top ten in each class, and put them in a final. Jelly made it into a record breaking (for me, anyways) 7 out of 8 finals in two days. Youngsmile made 2. (Math tells you that it means that in one final, both cats made it. :))

Placings for Jelly were 2nd, 3rd, 8th twice and 9th three times.
For Y, it was 6th and 9th.

Jelly and Y made up the alter class (neutered purebreds), but since we’re friends with other breeders, we took some pictures of some other classes. :) If any of you want full size pictures of these, just ping me on facebook.

This gorgeous guy is Blaze (Maracai Blaze of Glory of JustOriamese), who belongs to Just Oriamese cattery. JustOriamese is where Nemo and Youngsmile came from.

This girl is Zeena (Zeena of Preciouspoint Bon Voyage, SK) of Preciouspoint cattery

Blaze was not terribly impressed with her.

Zeena all stretched out!

Blaze looks a little like he’s high-fiving the judge.

This lovely guy is Jasper (Argentia Jasper of Preciouspoint) also from Preciouspoint.

Blaze looks pretty smug about winning.

Next up, and honestly the most fun of all classes, is the kitten class. The kittens tend to be a wild party time where they are… not as calm about this all as the adult cats. This oriental kitten class was huge, and it actually got bigger on Sunday (when we didn’t bring the camera) as another kitten became old enough to show.

This beauty is ClassicOri’s Lifelike Latitude, who lives at Preciouspoint as well. She’s an import from Germany from the same cattery as Youngsmile.

This is her and her full sibling, ClassicOri’s Lifelike Linkup, who lives at Siam Jewels. Siam Jewels is responsible for Jelly and Macavity.

This lovely lady is Siam Jewels Maleficent, who is the half-sibling to Jelly (same mother).

This beauty is Siam Jewels Doppelganger (call name Deuce), who is the litter mate of Maleficent. Pay attention, he’ll be important in the future (er, where the future is the next post I write).

Cat shows in a nutshell. Maleficent being judged while Deuce shrieks his head off behind.

Link is so pretty and spotty! The judge here is Elaine Gleason.

Latitude thinks this is pretty okay, the toy bit.

Deuce is getting his profile examined by Elaine.

And his very long stretched out body. He’s a very interesting colour/pattern combination, a chestnut silver ticked tabby. More on that later. ;)

He won, but he’s not sure how he feels about it.

There was one other kitten in the class, but apparently we got no pictures out of it. :)

That’s what it looks like to go to a cat show all day… for about an hour of the total time you’re there. The rest of the time, it looks like playing with kittens (this guy is the litter mate of Deuce and Maleficent, and was cruising for a new home).

And, a few of my facebook snapshots that were particularly entertaining:

Jelly has THINGS TO SAY.

Y is pretty chill about this whole thing.

Link and Jessica playing.

Posted in Cat shows, Cats, Deuce, Jellylorum, Youngsmile | Leave a comment

A small break from all kittens all the time.

This post includes things that are not kittens. Also some kittens, because that’s just how things go around here.

Not a kitten. Giant dinosaur.

Also not a kitten. Also a giant dinosaur.

Let’s see how your identification abilities are going. Is this a kitten?

Technically, no. Technically, it is two kittens, defying gravity with tiny kitten claws.

Baaaack to dinosaurs. Wet, crazyzon dinosaurs.

Different species of wet crazyzon dinosaur.

Um, Cody, your head is on sideways.

Greys look the most dinosaury of all.

Glamour shot of Red (soon to be Rouge).

The expression on their faces lets me know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I had just let Charlotte inside.

This is my ball. I am neither dinosaur nor tinycat.

What she is is something else entirely. She is now seven. I cannot believe the little puppy that I brought home turned seven this last Sunday.

Still a good, good doglet though.

Neither a doglet, nor a dinosaur, nor a tinycat. Only a Hater.

Lapful of Y and Nemo.

Black is mostly getting over the concept of terrifying giant monsters, which is good, because he’ll be living with a Great Dane.

This cuddling thing may end up to be sort of okay — with one of his new peoples.

Black seems to think it’s okay too.

Feral kittens seem to be okay on this tameness front.

Proof that Black is also a tabby.

Final shot of dinosaur — Ky flew over to Tlalli’s stand and decreed that it was just the right size for her.

That’s all the photos for now! Tinycats are coming along great, as you can see, and will be off to their new homes soon. :)c

Posted in Cats, Cinereo, Cody, Dogs, Fosters, Jellylorum, Kyklos, Nemo, Noire, Parrots, Theodore, Tlalli, Youngsmile | Leave a comment

Socializing and habituating feral kittens.

Where we were

On July 18th, 2014, we found a pair of five to six week old feral kittens while walking through our neighbourhood. Feral cats are domesticated cats who have returned to the wild, or the offspring thereof. Feral cats differ from pet cats mostly through behaviour. The two kittens differed in the intensity of their behaviour, but not in the basics. Both of them would hiss and swipe at people if they approached, would run and hide if people moved, and displayed extremely fearful body language: big eyes, frozen stiff bodies, almost no blinking, puffed up fur. Red was the more aggressive of the two, and had to be handled with gloves. Black was physically weaker, and as you’ll see as I go through the rest of this, quite a bit calmer in personality.

Operationalize tame

My goal was simple: to tame these two cats, making them into good pets, and then finding them a home. Except, what does tame actually mean? It’s very hard to judge progress if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

I used my knowledge of ABA to operationalize tame, specifically, what behaviours are we looking for? What makes a cat tame?

1. Seeking out human company. When left free in a house, does the cat come and hang out with humans, or prefer to be alone?
2. Relaxed body language while being handled/petted. Soft bodies, squinting/blinking eyes, purring.
3. Small to no startle response around typical human movements (habituation). When I get up from my chair to get a drink, the kittens should not flatten and run away.
4. Spending time in main parts of household, not constantly hiding. This is closely related to #1.

So, the next question is… can these (or any other) kittens be tamed? The answer is significantly more complicated than yes or no.

Socialization period in cats

Cats have a critical socialization period, which is a period in their lives in which they learn what is safe and what is unsafe. It is the period in their lives where they learn what is and is not normal, and they build the framework to have (or not have) relationships with people and other cats. The generally accepted critical socialization period for kittens is 3 – 7 weeks, which means (and has been proven through both research and tons of people who socialize feral kittens) that cats older than 8 weeks of age and who have not had mostly good experiences with people are significantly more challenging to impossible to teach the same level of comfort with humans as those who have had good experiences.

However, it’s not impossible. A great deal depends on the cats own genetics. I’ve seen research that has implied that the personality of the father makes a large difference in the kitten’s personalities, and each animal has their own personality as well. Some kittens are shyer, some are bolder. Whether or not a kitten or cat can be tamed and to what degree depends on both nature (their own genetic heritage) and nurture (early life experiences plus the knowledge and training ability of the humans involved).

Genetics, obviously, you can’t change (although it’s probably something to consider if you’re a breeder, as is all the rest of this — you just have it way easier because you’re starting before they have bad experiences with people). Training, socialization, and habituation you can change to whatever degree genetics and your skills will let you.

The Tools in your arsenal

There’s a few general tools in your arsenal here, which I’m going to explain in an extremely simplified way, and then explain what I’ve done so far.

The first step to all of this is ability to pay attention to behaviour, and is the most important and hardest to learn. When there are animals around me, I am constantly watching them to see what they’re doing, and trying to pay attention to how my body language and behaviour affects what they’re doing. I’m not perfect at it, but as it’s a habit that I try to cultivate. Because I pay attention, I can stop what I’m doing before I push the kittens too far, and I become more aware of what they are and are not worried about so that I can use the other tools to modify that. This, more than anything else that you do, will make living with animals both more rewarding, more interesting, and easier, because you can reward good behaviour and nip bad behaviour before it becomes an issue.

A fun test for you while you read. I’ll include pictures of kittens, and you can take a look at their body language and think about where they are on the tameness/explorativeness/good pet scale. Some hints: Look at how open their eyes are, if their facial muscles are tight or relaxed, if their body is balled up or stretched out. In person, I’ve been watching for how they move (skittering about or walking normally), body posture, grooming, and blinking.

Classical conditioning is your first and most powerful tool. At the root, classical conditioning (in this situation) is pairing a familiar good thing with an unfamiliar neutral thing. So, in this case, pairing food with the presence of people, or play with the presence of people, or petting with the presence of people.

Desensitization is the process of diminishing emotional responses to a negative or fearful stimulus, frequently by using classical conditioning. The way to do this is by carefully setting up situations so that they are exposed to a potentially scary thing at small enough doses to not overwhelm them, often by adding in good things, and work to progressively more intense scary things until they, too, aren’t worrisome any more.

Operant conditioning is the process of teaching an animal specific behaviours, and is what most people call training. In this case, a good example is teaching the kittens to come when I make a specific smooching noise by rewarding them with a tasty treat.

Another tool that I have in my toolkit that others might not are ‘good role models’. I have one cat who is afraid of nothing in the universe, loves everything and everyone at first sight, and who has been playing Uncle Nemo for the kittens and teaching them how to play and how to go around.

Step by Step

How have we managed things so far?

Step 1: Tiny room, people visiting.

We started out with the kittens in a small bathroom, with a carrier to hide in, but very limited places to hide otherwise. We regularly brought them food (classical conditioning) and exposed them to us moving around slowly and carefully (desensitization). We also had the kittens eat food in our laps while we petted them, thus linking petting (a neutral stimulus) with food. This worked also as a quarantine method to prevent exposing our other cats to any nasty things that the kittens might have until we could take them to the vet. By the end of the four days they were in the room, their hissing had decreased dramatically, the swiping at people had gone to almost zero, and both kittens could be handled with bare hands without risk to life and limb.

Step 2: Habituation.

Once the kittens went to the vet and were pronounced healthy enough to visit the rest of the house, we set up an empty parrot flight cage in the main area of the house. The purpose of this was habituation — getting them used to the sights and sounds of people going around, talking, phones ringing, dishwashers running, dogs barking (and in our crazy household, parrots talking and flying), etc. This is the step that a lot of feral cat tamers skip, and it is absolutely, positively vitally important.

The kittens were provided with a large basket to ‘hide’ in so that they were comfortable enough, and usually given tasty canned food or yogurt (one of their favourite things) while they were in there.

We proceeded to go about our days as usual. They rapidly, rapidly stopped reacting to the normal noises of the household, and began starting to play with each other. This is when we began introducing them to the other cats, and allowing them supervised time out and about, usually being held or in a lap. They still slept in the bathroom, and when they were on the floor, they would immediately look for a place to hide. However, when they were held in a lap and petted, they began purring. Both of them purred the first time eight days after they were found. They also began entertaining visitors, including their new owners to be.

Step 3: Bigger space and operant conditioning.

10 days after we found them, we moved them from the small bathroom into our spare bedroom, providing them with more space to play (desperately needed) and the ability to start teaching them things. Having more space (but not too much space) gave us the ability to know roughly where they were and find them quickly (much harder to do in a huge house with furniture) but also gave them the ability to choose to interact with us or not.

We stacked the deck in our favour by offering tasty food for coming out from under the futon and dressers, and fun playing. The first few days, any time you entered the room, it was empty, however, as we spent time in there, they would begin to come out and go around. We also let other cats in to play and demonstrate good interactions with humans. They’ve also had visitors in here, allowing them to get used to humans other than us, with most of the visits coming from their new peoples.

Step 4: Increased freedom based on behaviour.

We’ve slowly been letting the kittens have more freedom. Red has continued to be the shyer of the two, and startles much more easily. We have let him wander around on the floor while wearing a harness so that he is prevented from hiding out under something and being impossible to find.

Black has continued to be bolder, so he started with supervised freedom (meaning someone follows around the cat keeping an eye on him).

However, today, both kittens upgraded to lightly supervised freedom in the house — they went around without a person following them, slept in a pile with other cats, went upstairs and downstairs, and did quite a bit of work on learning to approach people and get treats.

Red started by flattening and running whenever someone moved or stood up, however, since we’re sensitive to behaviour, we would freeze when he did so, and he would slowly relax. By the end of the day, I stood up and walked around, and all he did was blink sleepily at me. This is three weeks to the day after we found the kittens.

Next Steps

Next steps are pretty simple from here. We continue to work on the lessons of approaching people and habituation to normal movement around the house, and add in the next factor: dogs. Both of them have been exposed to our dogs romping about while they were in their cage, however, it’s different when you’re on the floor. That will be done progressively as well, starting with our ancient shepherd, Charlotte, and eventually working their way up to our crazy doberman, Noire.

Once they’re good around the dogs and good around the house both with us and with unfamiliar people (which I am guessing will take another week or two), they’ll go off to their new home, at which point I expect that they will immediately regress a little bit. Setting them up for success, I will be loaning them the kitten cage for a few weeks and suggesting that the kittens be set up with a safe place to sleep when no one is around for at least the first days. However, considering their behaviour currently, I expect that they will acclimate much, much faster to their new homes, and in six months, will act like normal cats, thanks to both us finding them before their socialization window closed and careful, ongoing management of their behaviour and environment to set them up for success.

Isn’t this a lot of work?

Yes. Yes it is. It’s a lot of thought, and a lot of small tasks that build up to big tasks. It’s completely worth it, and will be even more worth it once I get fun updates on them living happily as pets in their new home.

Posted in Cats, Fosters | Leave a comment

The kittens earn themselves a bit of freedom.

I’ve got a huge post in the works about how I’ve raised these kittens to this point, what steps come next, etc, but it’s still not quite ready.

So instead, you’ll get pictures. I know, I know, it’s so hard for you, but you’ll manage somehow. :)

This is how Red went around for a couple of days — he’d still panic and run for the hills, so we needed the ability to keep him close. Thus the harness. Bonus: He’ll probably walk on a harness better as an adult.

Aunt Y likes the tinycats too. Also, just in case anyone needed a visual difference between a cream tabby (red dilute) and a red tabby, Nemo and Red are demonstrating it for all of you.

Black would like you to know that he’s a fierce tinycat with yogurt on his face, stalking either his brother or Nemo to attack.

Slightly less fierce. Still yogurty.

Then, we learned about climbing cat trees.

And staring off into the distance (at fish). FYI, the white spot on his neck is where he was shaved for his FIV/FeLV blood test, which we’ve been laughing about since.

Then, both kittens were freed and got to explore some. After they went up and down the stairs a few times, they finally ended up in the living room with their aunt and uncle to watch over them.

We will entitle this one — greetings.

Red is so pretty, it’s almost painful.

Also, he’s growing like crazy.

Sometimes, after all the exploring, you need a rest.

Or a play. Hard to tell.

It’s a hard life.

But you know whose life is really hard? Y’s. I know this because I was sitting in a chair a few feet from the kittens, taking gazillions of pictures, and all of a sudden, my view was entirely of a blurry stripey cat.

Y says ‘too many kitten pictures, not enough Y pictures’.

I obliged her.

Then she went back to visiting the tinycattens too.

I walked around a little, and came back to find this.

If that doesn’t make you saw awwww, you may have a cuteness intolerance.

Next up — parrots! Dogs! Maybe even a long post on tinycat taming! Hard to say. :)

Posted in Cats, Fosters, Nemo, Youngsmile | Leave a comment

All Slightly Less Tiny Cats, All the Time!

You can expect that the constant kitten posts will slow to a halt roughly when they go to their new homes, and not before that. :)

So! When last we met our fearless tinycats, they had just gone to the vet, and we were going to set them up in a flight cage downstairs. That was a week ago, and boy, have they come a long way.

For those watching the play by play updates on Facebook, some of this will be a repeat. However, I’ll add pictures. :)

Here we have a pair of tinycats moving into the flight cage downstairs. They did NOT approve.

Here’s a full size picture of their classy digs. This is a parrot flight cage slightly smaller than the HQ/AE one that everyone has, with two levels added for Cat Fun.

This is Red, who does NOT approve of cat fun.

And this is, um,… not a tinycat. Nemo thinks the flight cage is super fun, and leaps onto people’s shoulders to move in every time he gets the chance.

The flight cage was a SUPER good idea, because it allowed them to get used to dogs running around, sounds of people, all the normal conversations and noises of a household. They were freaked out the first day, but settled down very quickly. The habit was that at night, they’d sleep in our spare bathroom, and then when I woke up, I’d collect them and take them downstairs and put them in their day cage and give them breakfast.

And, eight days after we chased them down in the dark, both of them sprawled out in my lap and purred. A few days ago, they started playing, and they essentially haven’t stopped since.

This morning, I went into our tiny upstairs bathroom, and found Red on the counter. Then, they both spent the entire day body slamming each other around the cage. It was officially time to give them some more space. We’ve set up our spare bedroom to be TinyCat Friendly(tm), and let them loose in there tonight for the first time while their new owner visited.

And there were pictures.

The woman never stops taking pictures of me, says Black.

This petting thing ain’t so bad.

I’m a tinycat, right? Right? We let Y and Nemo in too to keep the kittens company.

Which they did very well.

They explored the room and were extremely good, mostly not hiding under things.

And then, they began playing with toys, and each other. BTW, if you’re thinking, looking at these pictures, that they look a bit bigger… Red gained 0.3 lb in one week. Black gained 0.7 lb, putting them both at just shy of 2 pounds.

Nothing is as good a toy as a brother.

There was sharpening of tinyclaws.

And playing with toys!

I taught Black (while sitting on the floor next to him) about the ball that goes around in a circle, thus guaranteeing that he’s going to keep me up all night playing with it.

They learned about climbing cat trees (and keep in mind, all of this is happening with three people in the room talking).

We learned more about climbing cat trees…

We had crazy playing between brothers…

And during this entire time period, Youngsmile fetched a ball back and forth. I tossed it, she’d retrieve it, run back, leap up on the futon, and drop it on my right side.

This is all you saw of Y — a ball in her mouth and legs going at the speed of light.

It was a very interesting night. :) My requirements for the kittens to go to their new home are that they will seek out human companionship even when they’re free, and they’re not there yet… but I think they will be soon. Next week, we’re off for vaccines, then this kitten adventure will be wrapping up and you’ll get to see parrot pictures and such again.

Posted in Cats, Fosters, Nemo, Youngsmile | Leave a comment

All tinycats all the time!

It’s been an exciting few days, I have to say. Tinycats are well on their way to thinking that humans might be okay, and for fun, we’ve also taken them to the vet.

We had some concerns on Saturday, as Black stopped wanting to eat much and got a little dehydrated and had some serious digestive distress. However, lots of pedialyte by syringe and yogurt later, and he rebounded quickly.

The vet discovered that both of them had roundworms (no shock there), but were pronounced remarkably healthy, without fleas or earmites, and even more excitingly, FeLV/FIV negative. The vet agreed with my 6 week age guestimate. Black weighed 1.2 pounds and Red weighed 1.6. We’re waiting on vaccines for another two weeks to build up some body mass. They’ll get vaccinated, and then go off to a new home, and be neutered at six months.

They’re calming down dramatically and quickly, which makes me so happy. They’ve gone from freaking out whenever anyone moves to sitting calmly in laps while people talk. Red’s even done squinty eyes when he’s scratched under the chin, which is quite an improvement from hissing and swatting anytime people are near.

Probably tomorrow, they’ll be moving into an unused parrot cage (set up for kittens with shelves and such) in the living room to get more used to noises and people going around and dogs.

And, in the most exciting news, it looks like they may have a new home. Their potential new people came over to visit last night.

They put a pretty convincing argument to adopt them, as you can see.

And then, tonight, they got to go around the cat room a little bit, and see some toys.

Red is such a fluffy little thing (and he’s a classic tabby, too).

Black is mostly eyes (which I think will be green).

They’re still pretty perplexed by toys.

They’re less perplexed by Nemo.

Look at the adoration on Red’s face.

Nemo says, ‘Can we keep them?’ (Answer: No.)

Y was somewhat less enthused.

It’s fantastically fun to get to help these little guys learn to be better pets… and I’m even happier that they’re leaving when we’re done, and we’ll be able to get updates without expanding to seven cats. :)

Posted in Cats, Fosters, Nemo, Youngsmile | Leave a comment

Pet rescue saga, for real.

tl;dr — Anyone in the Toronto area want a kitten?

Our neighbourhood has a lovely 2 mile walking path through it. Part of it goes along a stream and is quite full of woods and weeds and is fairly wild — there’s actually a pair of beavers that live in the pond along the path.

Tonight, we went for a walk just after dark, and decided (strangely enough) to bring Nemo with us. Nemo was being carried and having a fine time, and about a third of the way along the path (on a dark and moonless night), I walked past a small lump on the path. I paused, Nemo stared, and we figured it was a baby rabbit.

And then, the baby rabbit skittered off, and ended up being a small (and I mean SMALL) red tabby kitten. We chased him down the path for a hundred feet or so, and then he disappeared into the darkness into the weeds and presumably someone’s backyard.

I ran back while my better half waited and searched for him, tossed Nemo into the house, grabbed some towels, a flash light, and a carrier, and drove over. We searched the path thoroughly for the kitten, but couldn’t find him, so we walked to the end of that segment, then walked back.

We counted the houses from the back so that we could find the right house, and thinking that there was very little chance, walked down the front of the houses.

Just as we got to house #21, we saw a kitten cross the street… a small black kitten. And, just across the street, was the red tabby of before.

The black kitten (hereafter called Black) was easy to grab, but the red kitten (hereafter called Red) led us on a merry chase, under cars, across the street, and was finally cornered against someone’s fence.

Both kittens were bundled in towels, and then placed in the carrier, and we came home and gathered up the things one requires for kittens, and put them in a bathroom.

At best guess, they’re roughly five or six weeks old, and were already on their way to starving to death. Black is barely a wisp of a kitten, and Red is only a little bit better. Between the two of them, they’ve polished off 2/3rds of a 15 ounce can of cat food.

We held them while they ate, and Black will tame down very quickly. Red is significantly more hissy and spitty, but he’s still quite young, so he’ll likely become a good pet too. Both are boys.

We’re not keeping them, but we will get them vetted, vaccinated, tested, and neutered before they go to a new home — which likely won’t be for a month or two, as they’re still super small, and need quite a bit of TLC and taming time.

So, as I said above… anyone need a kitten? Feel free to email me at lark at rationalparrot dot com, and I’d be happy to talk to you about rehoming.

They’re pretty cute. :)

Black says that he’s not sure about these people, but having a full belly makes a big difference.

He really is a tiny handful of a kitten.

Red is a little less thrilled about being held.

But he managed to pose well too!

Remember, these guys will be up for grabs soon! And apparently the kitten gods felt that we didn’t have enough to do these days.

Posted in Cats, Fosters | Leave a comment

Two is always better than one.

And so, this post will be a number of things in pairs. Until I run out of things in pairs, and then it will be things in singles.

Life here is cruising along as it does, full of entertainment and pets and summery things. Mostly summery things, at least, as it’s been quite a cool summer so far.

Y has been in the house for a month and a bit now, and is doing ridiculously well. She’s super playful, extremely friendly, and gets along well with the other cats, and is somewhat tolerant of the dogs. She still hisses if they get too close but she’s willing to hang around downstairs with us and dogs, and we’re working on a little more tolerance. That one takes time.

Also, she has her very own boy toy, as you can see.

These two are so in love, it’s ridiculous.

Sometimes you express love by chewing on your friend’s head. This is normal.

While we’re on the subject of love and cats, we’re actually temporarily down a cat. Macavity had decreed that he was a manly cat and it was time to start peeing around, so he’s moved in with his breeder, Jessica, to do some manly kitten making before he returns to us to get neutered.

Jessica and her mother came over to collect him, and while she was there, Jessica got her very own friend to visit. Keela flew over and landed on her shoulder and made video game noises for her.

I don’t know if calling these two love counts, because they’re still not a fan of being on the same swing, but I put Keela up there for a photo shoot and there was no death, so…

Cin’s a touch closer to the camera, but you can see the size difference between them. Keela’s a wee thing, and Cin is a beast of a (still pudgy) grey.

Remember how I said it had been cold? The other night, it dropped down into the low teens/low fifties, and Noire was digging in the couch because she was freezing. So we covered her.

This is what a doberman under a blankie looks like.

Also like this.

And again. In her defence, she has neither hair nor any quantity of body fat, so she does get cold easily.

Yesterday, I was making bread (using the famous no-knead bread recipe which is amazing), and finishing the shaping of it when Keela flew over head and left me a present.

I think the bread actually tasted better as a result.

And to wrap things up, the final bit of love. After just shy of seven months of having her, Tlalli has multiple feathers on her chest and shoulders that are newly grown in and not barbered.

This doesn’t in any way mean that she won’t barber in the future, or won’t do more now. But it’s a good sign and a good start.

I actually picked up one of her partially barbered molted feathers from the floor, and it was obvious why she destroyed them — they felt like straw, with a very coarse texture.

As for what we’ve changed? Everything. We’ve massively improved her diet, she now regularly plays with toys and has a lot more to do with her time, she gets tons more exercise through flapping games, and daily showers.

We’d love her to bits even if she remains naked though. :) But I have hopes.

And with that, dear reader, I leave you until the next time.

Posted in Akeelah, Cats, Cinereo, Dogs, Nemo, Noire, Parrots, Tlalli, Youngsmile | Leave a comment