OK, so tomorrow came and went. I didn't get around to posting, but I did make lots of notes and here is Roscoe's story (to date):
Sunday, October 23rd
Returned today from Best Friends' No More Homeless Pets convention in Las Vegas and picked up one really scared kitten from the shelter. Roscoe is about 4 months old, a neutered male brown tabby. All legs & tail, he is skinny (not underweight, just a very slender cat) and frightened of life. He'll spend tonight chillin' in the 'kitten room' and start tomorrow re-learning to be a kitten.
Monday, October 24th
As you may have read in the other post, today brought Mimmi and her 6 tiny day-old kittens into foster care here. She's set up downstairs in a separate room that's quiet and apart from all the rest of the cats in the house. Moms with kittens are so easy to foster - they do all the work! But this isn't Mimmi's story, back to Roscoe.
Today, he's still petrified and hiding. He's not hissy, spitty, angry, bitey, or scratchy. I pick him up and cuddle a lot. He sort of cringes and tenses up, but doesn't fight it. We tried a little cat harness to see if he'd walk on a leash. Yea, not so much walk as huddle.
Tonight, he's hiding under the covers.
Tuesday, October 25th
Some purring & making biscuits, but only under the covers. Not sure if it's still just a scared response or really happy-kitty.
Wednesday, October 26th
Here's what I wrote to the clinic today about Roscoe:
I know it’s only been a couple of days, but thought I’d give you a quick update on Roscoe. He’s a sweet little kitten, but terrified of life. He’s fine when held or as long as he feels protected (like under the covers), then he purrs up a storm (not nervous purr, but happy purr) and makes biscuits. That said, he’s going to be a tough nut to crack. He seems to lack curiosity and any play instinct.
When I deal with typical ferals, they are scared & aggressive – hissing, spitting, etc, and isolation will usually break them down. With a scared, passive kitten who is otherwise sweet, I find that ‘kitty see, kitty do’ is more effective (or has quicker results) in teaching them to play & learning to trust.
So do we have some other foster kittens (preferably older) that are happy & outgoing where we can maybe take him back to the ‘litter-pack’ level & give him a re-boot on life? I hate to take any away from other foster families, but what about the 3 kittens I had a couple of weeks ago (Clyde, Manolo, Damita?) – they should be almost 2lbs now & almost ready to return. I’d love to give Roscoe a few days with some playful kittens so that he can see that life can be fun instead of scary. I need some of those kittens that are crazy happy to see people – always rushing the door to get to you faster (or maybe just to get the food faster, whatever).
I can hold him & love him forever, but I’m not sure it will produce quick results. My cats aren’t the playful types, so not such good role models. Any kittens over about 1 lb would do but older is better (I think), as long as everyone is healthy.
Thursday, October 27th
Like I told the clinic yesterday, seems like Roscoe needs a pal. Today, I picked up young Davey - the cutest little gray & white fluff ball with big wide eyes. He's a little young (maybe 6-7 weeks or so) but hopefully he'll be a little pal to Roscoe.
Friday, October 28th
Little walkabouts upstairs. Some peek-a-boo from under covers. Doesn't approach yet. Roscoe is pretty much ignoring Davey. Davey just wants to be picked up & held.
Saturday, October 29th
Roscoe voluntarily came out of his hidey-hole today. He is showing a little interest in the kitten - so begins curiousity! He took his first walkabout downstairs. He is still crying & cringing a bit, but is more outgoing and seems to be settling down.
Sunday, October 30th
The kittens were left alone in the kitten room most of the day. Roscoe was perched on top of a pile of blankets on top of the counter when I got home. Maybe trying to get away from Davey? Davey is acting a little like the tag-along little brother (just a little bit of a pest). Turns out he has good cause.
Monday, October 31st
Took Davey to the clinic today for an eye exam. I suspect he is blind (or nearly so). His pupils don't dilate and he bumps into things occasionally. But that's Davey's tale. Roscoe spent the day out of the kitten room, roaming the house. By evening, noise of the trick-or-treaters outside made him fearful again and I found him crying behind a door.
Tuesday, November 1st
Still trying to find some pals for Roscoe to play with, I brought 5 more foster kittens home today. Everyone settled in well.
Wednesday, November 2nd
The new kittens (about the same age as Davey, 6-7 weeks or so) are happy & lively. Roscoe is watching intently all the huslte & bustle of the new brood, but can't say he's joining in the fun.
Thursday, November 3rd
Let Roscoe have the run of the house today to give him a little break from the kitten crowd. He's scared at first. Ran around zoomy-kitty for a couple of hours from one room to another. By evening, he was bouncing up on to the bed and attacking my feet under the covers. He's still crying out a lot, but spent the night out & about.
In the midst of all this, Roscoe discovered toys today. Turns out he LOVES the fuzzy catnip toy. It's so great to see him playing like a kitten!
Friday, November 4th
Found Roscoe hiding behind the bathroom door again this morning. Maybe letting him spend the night roaming the house was too much for him. Tried to move him back to the kitten room, but he'd have none of it. He spent the day hiding somewhere. Finally appeared at dinnertime. Showed off his stalking prowess by catching a fly in midair! Super-kitty behavior! Spent the evening stretched out under the bureau and taking small forays out to see if he can make friends with my cats. Cotton says no.
Saturday, November 5th
Another case of the zoomies. Scaring the wits out of me by jumping up on the upstairs bannister over the stairwell. Yikes!
Sunday, November 6th
Breakthrough! Following Lorenza's lead, Roscoe tentatively approaches for some morning cuddles. He's still crying out (maybe we'll just call that 'talkative'), still bouncy, but less hidey.
Monday, November 7th
I am the kitten whisperer. At this writing, Roscoe is camped out on my lap - purring up a storm. Today he is attention-seeking, playing with toys, talking to me (he's quite chatty), enjoying kisses, and trying to make friends with Cotton, Colleen, and Lorenza. Oh, and helping me write.
This evening, he is all about the cuddling and lap time. After two weeks, a little play-time with some string toys and all I see is a happy 4-month old kitten.
Tuesday, November 8th
Roscoe spent the night cuddled up on the bed with me & the other cats (except Colleen, of course). Cotton isn't pleased, but Lorenza was licking Roscoe's head this morning (sweet girl!). Still not sure where Roscoe spends his days, but I'm sure he's turned the corner from 'fraidy-cat to sweet kitty. Still more tests ahead for him, but for now, I get happy purrs and baby biscuits. It's all worth it.