Thursday, December 27, 2012

Month and a half - still Jekyll & Hyde

It's been 44 days in quarantine for Colleen.  She's still playing Jekyll & Hyde with me.  If I enter her room by myself, I get Mr (Ms) Hyde - all hiss & strike. 

If I bring another cat in with me, she's totally Dr Jekyll - purring, head bonks, almost got her doing the elevator-butt, except with only one back leg, she's not very good at it yet.

She really loves a back massage (who doesn't?).  Lots of purrs there.

This week, we're practicing getting picked up.  She's not crazy about it, but no scaredy-cat peeing, so I count that a success.

Lucky for me, Davey has figured out that it's his job to be Colleen's therapy cat.  When I get up in the morning, he runs straight for her door so we can check in & clean up, pick up the food bowls & such.  It's just part of his morning routine now.  We get a few minutes of 'cuddling' done first thing, then head down for breakfast.  I still think he's in it for the kitten chow (or to see if Colleen left any dinner behind).

Since I don't have a new Christmas pic this year, here's last year's ...

Happy New Year to all!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 13, 2012 - One Month In - Head Butts

Head-butts.  Purrs.

Now, before you get excited, I know it's an anomoly.  Davey has started following me into Colleen's room in the morning to collect the food dishes.  Davey & Colleen have never been buddies, but Colleen does respond well to the presence of other cats.  Davey is just in it for the kitten chow in Colleen's dish and the chance to check out a new litter box.

This morning, she greeted me with the usual hisses (although, I think some of the 'steam' has gone out of her).  Hissing seems to be her go-to vocalization.  She no longer has the saucer eyes and hunched up body position.  She just looks up at me and hisses.  Today I put Davey down next to her and after some nose-to-nose hellos, I reached over & started scratching her neck.  Instant purrs.  WOW.  She let me pet her for several minutes and when I would stop - head butts.  That's never happened before.

Her overall demeanor was much more relaxed today (maybe due to the catnip mist I've been spraying around the room?).  If I had the same amount of time that I had for Cotton, she might even come around like he did.  Took him every bit of three months in solitary confinement, but he did come out of his 'angry' shell.  Unfortunately for Colleen (but fortunate in many other ways), she's about to lose her room with a view.  Circumstances have come together that will allow my sister Patti to move to California from North Carolina.  She's be staying here for a couple of weeks until we find her a new place to live, but that means Colleen gets displaced.  We'll find some way to work it out.

Happier than I've seen her in a while

My handsome boy - and a big helper

Monday, December 3, 2012

Day 20 - Colleen's Joy Juice

Lest anyone think that I'm just sitting here with my fingers crossed, hoping that Colleen will turn a corner and calm down ... nay, nay, I've come in to this armed with many options.

And no, I'm not trying them all at one time, but serially, hoping one of them might just do the trick.

Since my company sells Bach's Rescue Remedy, and because it is a go-to favorite of mine, I tried that first.  Maybe because she was still under such stress from the initial capture-and-confinement or due to the giardia treatment, I saw no instant effects.

Moving on, we're trying several Black Wing Farms homeopathic remedies.  Love Meg & love her stuff, but again, not really noticing a vast improvement in Colleen's demenour so far.  Although, I wonder what she'd be like without using any of these remedies?  I spray the environment, her food, her water.  Am I using enough?

Feliway might help, but it makes me cough to be in the same room with it and Colleen is currently housed in a very small room, so I don't know how well that one will go over.

My company is also an outlet for Thundershirts, and while we don't carry the cat version yet, I picked one up at SuperZoo with the intent of trying it out on Colleen.  If I can ever wrestle her into it without losing too much blood, I'll let you know if it works.  It may be a little small for her, but I've got all of the dog sizes to choose from as well.
So far, the only thing to which Colleen responds favorably is a visit from her favorite friend - Lorenza.  I wish I could adequately describe the instantaneous change that comes over Colleen when she sees or hears Lorenza.  I was flabbergasted when I first saw her.  She practically melted.  The hissing stopped, her saucer-eyes became normal slits, her ears perked forward instead of laid back.  She ROLLED OVER and showed her BELLY!  She'll let me do practically ANYTHING as long as Lorenza is by her side.  I get to pet her, even pick her up.  It's amazing!  But I know it's only happening because she has no escape.
Unfortunately, it kind of freaks Lorenza out to be in this room.  So, I recorded Lorenza purring to see if it was just the sound that Colleen responded to or if it was the whole cat.  While the recording isn't the best, Colleen did seem curious (another unique response for her).  Then she hissed.  "What is this technological monster you've brought to me?  Where's my friend?"
So, Colleen's joy juice is Lorenza.  How do you bottle that?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Colleen - Day 8 - November 20, 2012

Day 3 = Hiss
Day 4 = Hiss
Day 5 = Hiss & spit
Day 6 = Hiss
Day 7 = Hiss & strike

It's been pretty much the same around here.  I sit with Colleen & she hisses.  Make that I sit 'by' Colleen. She's not real happy being touched.  But that's kind of the point of this exercise.

Since the vet told me about Colleen's giardia, I've had the happy job of trying to medicate this hellcat twice a day.  On the fotunate side, since Colleen has her butt planted in one spot now, she's pretty easy to find and while there is a lot of hissing & spitting going on, she's pretty much a coward, so as long as I reach in over the teeth & claws, I can scruff her with relative ease.  Since she's serving up nothing but hisses, the open mouth is an easy target for the medicine.  I'm just happy it's not in pill form.

I guess the medicine is doing its job.  As Colleen seems to feel better, she's feeling her oats more and trying to strike out at me on occasion.  What an unhappy cat.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Reboot Colleen - Day Two - November 14, 2012

Today, I gave Colleen a day of 'quiet reflection'.  I tiptoed in to visit a couple of times, but just got hissed at for my troubles.  Found her hiding in the litter box this morning (never a good sign).  She did eat some last night, though, so I was happy about that.

Day Two
Oh, and the vet called about Colleen's test results ... turns out the poor girl has Giardia.  Crap.  Now I get to try to medicate her tomorrow.  That'll be fun.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Reboot Colleen - Day One - November 13, 2012

It's been almost 3 years.  Way too long.

Colleen came to me in 2009.  You can read her the tale of her early days here.  She's been nearly feral for most of the time she's lived here.  Loves other cats.  Hates humans.  I made a promise to her when I adopted her that she could have a safe and happy home as long as she lives.  Well, it's pretty safe here, but she's not happy.  Just plain terrified of life.  Today's the day we start trying to change that.

Today was 'vet' day.  Because I have four cats now (not sure how that happened), each with their own 'issues', a mobile veterinarian that makes house calls is a must.  No way could I wrestle some of my cats into kennels, drive across town, wait in a cold room (with dog smells) with any three of the four of them.  Davey wouldn't care, but they others would each have a heart attack.

So the fabulous Dr Sylvia came today with her mobile clinic van.  She met Davey, new since her last visit here; donned her elbow length feral gloves to tackle the ever-fractious Cotton; soothed the scared Lorenza; and dealt with the poopy Colleen.  Since we had her trapped, I took advantage of the day to take Collen back to basics.  Just like Cotton did when he first came here (see various entries titled Cotton's Tale in this blog), she will spend the next few weeks in a separate bathroom relearning that not all people are bad.

She's not happy about it.  She's been in the bathtub, in the same postion for about 11 hours now.

Colleen glares at me - Day One
I promise, over then next days and weeks to let you know how it goes.

Where does the time go?

So, I missed the entire summer and most of the fall.  Here's some pictures of the fosters that go no air time.


Most have been adopted into their forever homes, some are still waiting.  And there are 3 more that I haven't photographed yet.  What's that saying about good intentions?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pitter Pat of Kitten Feet - June 4, 2012

Time to dust off the keyboard ... there's new kittens in the house!  Shh-h-h, they're sleeping right now, but stay tuned.

I know I kind of fell of the planet for a couple of months, but travels are over and fosters are back.  I'll dig through the photos on the litters I missed posting about.  Tiny kittens are too cute!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's our Birthday! - March 14, 2012

Just a really quick update ... we've been waiting so long and they're finally here!  Well, most of them anyway.  My most recent foster mom-in-waiting had (or is having) her kittens this morning.  Boy, is she exhausted!  We've got seven little souls so far and maybe one more on the way.  No other details yet, but there are several calicos, so looks like lots of girls!

Stay tuned!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Blind-cat Davey - It's official, he's mine

January 24, 2012
It's official, I now have 4 cats.  I never wanted to have more than 2 at a time, but now it's double that.  People ask all the time how I can raise foster kittens and not want to keep them all.  It's easy - vet bills.  I love raising kittens, just really don't want to have a hundred cats. 

Today's addition is Davey, the little blind kitten that I've written about here in the past.  When I first started fostering him, it became quickly apparent that he could not see.  His eyes are permanently dialated, he doesn't 'track' movements, and he bumps into stuff everywhere.  Some of that is just kitten-clumbsy, but mostly he just can't see anything.

When he was checked out by the specialty vet, she determined that he has detached retinas - one fully detached and the other mostly detached.  If he has any vision at all, it is very little.  That's OK though, because he doesn't know the difference.  He gets along great, loves playing with toys that make noise (especially mylar crinkle balls!), and can find his way around the house just fine.  Never misses the litter box either - which is more than I can say for one of my other cats!

It's tough to get a picture of him that doesn't look weirdly freaky because his pupils are so wide open that the camera flash shows off the back of his eyes in nearly every shot.  His eyes don't really glow blue & red in real life.

He's growing fast.  Went from 3lb to 5lb in short order.  Loves terrorizing the older cats.  Lorenza is sweet & tolerates his kitten antics the best.  Cotton REALLY still wants to be an only cat.  Colleen isn't taking the new addition well and has started sleeping in the litter box (yuck).  More on her problems later.

Since there haven't been any fosters for a while, I'm sure you'll be seeing more about Davey soon.  If I can ever get the video edited, I've got the first day he walked 'down' stairs by himself - a very big milestone.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy, happy, joy, joy! - January 26, 2012

I know, the blog has been quiet for a few weeks.  I haven't had any new fosters (just Davey, but he's got his own story).  This post is about one of my former fosters, Colleen.  She's a 'failed foster' - one of those kittens you just can't give up on.

Colleen is actually the cat who inspired this blog.  Although I didn't write about her while I fostered her, I started immediately after she went back to the shelter for adoption.  So a big THANK YOU Colleen for inspiring me to keep track of all the kittenhoods I've been privileged to watch over (even though I really hate to write).

Colleen came to me June 22, 2009 as a foster from my local shelter.  She was already about 6-7 weeks old and terrified.  She came in as a 'singleton' - a lone kitten without siblings or a mom cat.  I'm pretty good with the scaredy cats and I had a few young foster kittens at the time, so we tried to bring her into the bunch to give her a few friends to play with and learn more about being a happy kitten. 

Well, that didn't really work.  As soon as I got her to start walking around a little, it was clear that she was limping on one of her hind legs.  A trip back to the clinic for evaluation and across town to the specialty vet for x-rays determined that she had a severe break that couldn't be cast.  It had probably been broken quite a while.  The vets decided the best treatment was removal of the leg.  Poor girl. 

So, it was off to surgery. She came through well and was back to recover at my house.

Of course, she wasn't happy about it.

But after several weeks, she was running & playing with the other fosters. She reached the magic 2lb mark (tough to do missing a rear leg) and it was time to get spayed and go up for adoption.

So August 21, 2009, Colleen 'graduated' and was officially up for adoption.  Since she was already about 3 1/2 months old and had spent time around other cats, she was moved pretty quickly into the shelter's big cat community room.  She should have done well in there.  She even had a 3-legged buddy named Stewie (who lost his rear leg because the umbilical cord strangled his foot in utero).  They were a cute pair - one missing the right rear, the other missing the left rear.

Despite the attention of some super volunteers, Colleen took to hiding in the cubby holes.  Black cat + hiding = no adoption.  At the annual Home for the Holidays super adoption event, Stewie found his furever home.  Colleen did not.  Having a soft spot for black cats and also having lost my 23-year-old cat earlier in the year, I thought it was time to bring home a new permanent member to my household.

Colleen joined Lorenza - another black cat that I had adopted the previous January.  I'm sure they remembered each other from Colleen's foster time.  They were soon cuddled up every day.

My girls

Colleen was not cuddly with me.  She wanted nothing to do with me.  I decided to let her have her space as long as she was happy with Lorenza and eating well, it was OK with me.

Unfortunately for all of us, just a few weeks later one of my cousins passed away and I took in her cat, Cotton.  You can read all about his story here in the blog, just search 'Cotton's Tale'. 

Needless to say, Colleen's entry to the household kind of took a back seat because she wasn't the 'squeaky wheel' at the time.  She started fleeing from me whenever I walked into a room.  She became terrified of being touched.  She was always fine with cats, even all of the fosters, just not me.

Now for the 'happy, happy, joy, joy' part ... the cat who has been living as a feral in my house for the last 2 years and 3 weeks is FINALLY coming around!  Last fall she started approaching me - not close enough to touch, but just close enough to watch me.  AND she started PLAYING!  Loves a laser light.  Occasionally I'll hear her in the next room with the circle toy (a ball trapped in a plastic circle that most cats love).  In the last couple of weeks, she's been peeking up from the foot of the bed.  Just to keep an eye on me.

This week, she's decided to take over my bed as her new favorite sleeping spot.  Not when I'm in the room, but any other hour of the day.  EXCEPT ...  da da da dah! ... she is now sleeping on the bed at night!  So big!  And this morning  - hurray, hurray - SHE LET ME PET HER (happy dance).  Leaned into it, loved the chin scratch, a little shoulder rub. 

It's a good day.