Thursday, April 2, 2015

Progress!!

Although I just posted yesterday, I'm so excited by yesterday's progress that I just have to share.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, as soon as I open the door, Pippa hides behind the dresser. After a few minutes, she'll come out and sit under the couch. Yesterday, as I was sitting on the floor, she crawled out from under the couch and walked to the food bowl to eat. That bowl was about 4-5 feet away from me! She definitely kept watching me but didn't seem too scared or threatened by me. Eventually, she finished eating and retreated back to her position under the couch.

A little later in the evening, I returned. None of the kittens ran away as I walked into the room. Piper and Pickle were sleeping on the top level of the cat tower. Pickle enjoyed a belly rubbing. Piper was a little apprehensive at first but seemed to rather enjoy being petted. I stood there for quite awhile petting the two of them. Pippa then came out from under the couch and walked over to the food bowl. When she was finished, she walked over to the treadmill and laid ON it (not under!). I started to move about. Pippa casually jumped off the treadmill and sauntered to her favorite spot under the couch. Again, she didn't seem scared or threatened by me. She's just being very cautious.

I was able to entice Peter to play with me last night. The kittens like dangly toys. After quite awhile playing, I pulled the toy over my legs. He started towards it but then realized what I was trying to do. Several attempts later, I actually managed to get Peter to jump onto my legs for several minutes. He was willingly touching the scary lady!

This morning, as I entered the room, Pippa thought about ducking behind the dresser but then decided not to. She actually stayed out for the first time ever! She also walked around a bit before heading to the spot under the couch. And again, none of the kittens scattered as I approached them. I actually got to pet and pick up Norman! Piper and Pickle let me pet them again. Peter was the only one who avoided weigh-in as he kept wandering around his momma under the couch (and I'm not about to grab him when he's next to his mother).

Pickle is still the heaviest kitten. Pirate, one of the interlopers, is heavier than some of the older kittens by several ounces. Holy cow!

Pierce is starting to know me as the woman who plays with him. I played with him for several minutes before turning my attention to another kitten. He then walked back to the toy, took a step towards me, circled the toy, and then looked up at me and then back at the toy. Aw! He was trying to ask me to play with him again!

I am so happy by the progress everyone is making. One of these days, Pippa and I are going to be friends.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Week One

Parrot
The kittens have been with me for over a week now and I'm seeing signs of improvement. All of the kittens will play when I'm in the room. Most of them will even stay where they are when I enter the room (as opposed to fleeing to hide with their momma under the dresser).  A couple of them do not really trust me and don't allow me to capture them very often. I say capture because I have a feeling that's how they re-tell the story to their mother. Norman and Peter are wary of me, although Peter is coming around. Piper and Pickle are less likely to run when I enter the room but they're not a fan of letting me touch them. Pierce doesn't run and allows me to pick him up. I'm not quite certain he's enjoying me much but at least he doesn't run from me. Phineas and Parrot are my best friends. Phineas loves to follow me around the room. He's so tiny that I really have to watch my step for fear he might be under my foot. Pirate started off as my friend but I think some of the bigger kittens are influencing her and she's a little more apprehensive to be picked up than she was initially.

Phineas weighing 13 ounces (in this photo)
All kittens are litter box trained now. So exciting! I particularly love how teeny kittens insist on using a big cat litter box instead of the little, lower kitten sized box right next to the tall box. All kittens eat solid food. Pippa nurses them several times a day (the cam is a fabulous way to keep tabs on her). They follow her all over and even try to push her down. They love to slap her in the face! They have no respect. Hooligans.

Pippa hasn't learned to trust me yet. She's incredibly cautious around me. She hides as soon as I open the door. After 5-10 minutes, she'll usually come out of hiding and dart under the couch. Technically, that's hiding... visible hiding. She can see me; I can see her. I'm putting it in the win column that she comes out of hiding at all. She keeps her eyes on me a lot. I can feel her watching me. It's a little unnerving. I've tried coaxing her out with toys but those make her growl. I immediately drop the toy when she starts growling. I think I may try putting some chicken in my hand to see if she'll come to me. That worked well to establish trust with my feral. Pippa will actually walk by me in order to get to her spot under the couch. Today, she actually was crouching entirely out in the open just an inch from the couch for the first time. I was quite surprised she was willing to be out in the open since I was walking around doing things about the room.

Pierce showing off his tushy
The kittens are incredibly playful. I swear they're part kangaroo. They love to hop. Phineas, the smallest, does not let anyone push him around. He's actually the instigator in a lot of the wrestling matches. He's a butt biter. Pierce is going to be a gentle giant. He was helping Parrot, the second smallest, with her battle against Piper (I'm pretty sure Piper started it). Norman is insane. He reminds me a lot of Stroopy, Nadya's kitten. He's an avid wrestler and hopper. Piper is a toughy. She likes to battle everyone. Pierce, Norman, and Peter are playmates. Pickle and Pirate are best friends.

Peter professing his innocence (that's Phineas under him)
For the most part, kittens get weighed daily. There are at least two who avoid the weigh-in. I don't try to force it. As long as I can get ahold of those more reluctant kittens at least a couple of times a week AND those kittens are gaining weight, I'm not too concerned about enforcing my daily weigh-in rule. Norman, Peter, and Piper have missed a couple of weigh-ins. The biggest kitten surprised me. It's Pickle. She's heavier than all four males. To me, she looks little in person but when I watch them on camera, I have no problem distinguishing between Pickle and Pirate due to Pickle's girth. Pirate, one of the three interlopers, is over a pound now. Parrot should be there tomorrow. Phineas at 4 1/2 weeks old only weighs 14 ounces. He should weigh a little over a pound. While he's only about 3-4 ounces behind in weight, that's actually a big gap. He's gaining weight every day so I'm not too concerned. Perhaps in a couple of weeks he'll move beyond his target. I remember from Nadya's litter that I had a tough time getting Double Stuff to put on weight. He's now 12 pounds. Twelve. He's not even a year old yet (soon, very soon).

Pirate professing her innocence (with Phineas beneath her).
Pierce spent a couple of days puking up his momma's milk. It took me a couple of pukes to find the culprit. He happened to announce his distress with an incredibly pitiful cry right before he puked. So thankful to him for letting me know. Big litters pose a challenge when you need to find out what one kitten is doing something bad. I gave him some sub-Q fluids to re-hydrate him. When he continued to be a little pukey, I took him to the vet to make sure there was nothing really wrong with him. The vet couldn't find anything and recommended that I continue with the sub-Q fluids until he feels better. Lovely. I hate taking kittens to the vet only to have them tell me what I already know and am doing. Peter also got a trip to the vet since he lost several ounces over the course of a few days. Every weigh-in showed a lower weight than the day before. Ugh. Again, the vet told me to give him sub-Q fluids to keep him hydrated. And wouldn't ya know it? The next day he gained half an ounce. I think he was scared into eating. Scared that if he didn't eat, he'd get poked with an ouchy needle again.

Piper
Norman
Funny story about Peter's vet trip: Since Peter is one of the kittens who isn't fond of me capturing him, I had to tiptoe into the room and sneak up on him while he was playing in the tube. I blocked his exits from the tube and caught him right away. So surprised and relieved. I had allotted 15 minutes (more time than I would normally give myself) to wrangle up kittens. I put him in the carrier but didn't latch the door all the way (I didn't want to have to fumble at the lock when trying to put the second kitten - Pierce - inside). I figured there was no way a one pound kitten, weakened from having lost weight over a few days, would have the strength to push open the carrier door. I couldn't have been more wrong. Not only did he get out, but he got out seriously a second after I put him there, darting out like he was shot out of a cannon. The carrier door flew open and swung open and closed for several seconds after he darted out from the force he applied in his escape. Sigh. I then knew I had to give him time before I could capture him again. I set my sights on rounding up Pierce. I got him within a few seconds as he's one of the kittens who likes me. I finally lured Peter out from behind the dresser with a dangly toy. When I tried to snatch him, he darted away under the couch. While my back was turned, he darted under the treadmill. I was then able to trap him under the treadmill. He was not happy about it and spat and hissed at me any time I even glanced his way in the carrier on the drive to the vet's office. Once at the vet, the vet examined a different foster for a good 45 minutes before we moved on to Pierce. Fifteen minutes later (well into an hour of our vet visit), we finally got to Peter. The vet looked him all over, I explained what was wrong. She suddenly got a funny look on her face. She checked his chart. She then picked him up and looked at his butt. She then asked, "Did you know Peter was a girl?" Say what? No, Peter is a boy, definitely a boy. I looked at the kitten's face. Gosh darnit. It was Piper. No wonder this kitten was incredibly hissy and snappy! Poor Piper endured a needless car ride for simply looking too much like her brother. (Of course, then the vet said condescendingly that I should put colored collars on the kittens so that I can tell them apart. Um, yeah. I CAN tell them apart. I can tell them apart from across the room. I just didn't even think that I could perhaps be grabbing the wrong kitten. I had the right kitten the first time.)

Anyway, the kittens are slowly making progress both with gaining weight and with trusting/liking me. Pippa is coming around. At least I can see her now. I'll take that.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

New Kids on the Block

Pippa the momma cat is a smart, resourceful young girl. She tore open a screen on a screened in porch and brought her babies inside where it was a little warmer and away from predators. The woman who owned the house called Feline Rescue. When I went to pick up the momma and five 5 week old kittens, the woman had found three other kittens that weren't Pippa's. I took them, too.

Pippa is a bit shy. She doesn't trust me. I'm hoping this is just temporary. It's only been a few days (I picked her up Friday night and it's just Tuesday morning). When I enter the room, she runs to her hiding spot under the dresser. Her kittens eventually follow her. Pippa is about 9 months old, just a baby herself. From what I've seen so far, she seems to be a good momma. She calls to her kittens and when I tried to remove one kitten that went to her, she tried to attack me.

The first kitten that came up to me had one eye crusted shut. She looked up at me and I believe she meant to say, "Excuse me, could you help me here?" I called her Pirate. Her sister climbed to my shoulder. I named her Parrot. And that's when I developed a theme - all names starting with P.

Pippa the momma
This is the best shot I have so far of momma Pippa. She's a beautiful brown tabby shorthair with fluffy cheeks.

Pirate
When I brought them home, I immediately began bottle feeding the kittens. Pippa probably hadn't fed them in a couple of hours and probably wouldn't for a few more since she was too scared. I also brought in a plate of raw duck for Pippa. I left the room for a few minutes and when I returned, found that these kittens were party kittens. One of the youngest (and smallest) was smack dab in the middle of the plate of raw meat, gorging himself. Another kitten was in the middle of the dry kibble bowl, wolfing down everything and making yummy noises as she ate. I was so happy that even the three week old kittens were eating solid food. No bottle feeding for me! Unfortunately, these kittens are not fully litter box trained.

Parrot
Pirate is one of the three week old kittens. She likes me and yet is starting to listen to the older kittens (who think I'm evil and must be hissed at).

Parrot is another one of the three week old kittens. She likes me and loves to sit on my lap. Right now, she's my favorite. Yes, I am admitting to having favorites. She follows me around the room. She will lay on her back on my lap, sucking on her paws. It's quite cute. She's actually purrs for me when I rub her belly.

Phineas

Pierce
Phineas is the smallest of the bunch, the last of the interloping three week old kittens. He also seemed to like me right off the bat. He's best friends with Parrot and the two are often wrestling and biting each other on the butt while they sit on my lap.

Pierce is one of Pippa's five kittens. He got his name after he bit my finger when I was bottle feeding him the first night. He was incredibly hungry and when I pulled the bottle away to angle it differently, he got a little huffy and lunged for the bottle, in the process chomping on my finger and drawing blood. He sort of likes me. He doesn't hiss at me quite as much as his siblings.
Peter

Peter thinks I'm evil. He runs to his momma when I come into the room.

Piper
Piper also thinks I'm evil but she doesn't run as fast as her brother Peter. She's also a little braver so she'll come out of hiding faster than her brother.

Pickle is independent. At not even one pound, she likes to climb to the top of the five foot tall cat tower, where she'll sleep by herself for hours.

Pickle
And finally... Norman. Holy cow, is he a momma's boy! The first morning, I noticed he was puking so I tried to snag him so that I could administer medicine (sub-Q fluids and some Pepcid). Not only did he run away from me, but he ran right to his momma, who was hiding under the treadmill. I stuck my head under the treadmill to see him and his momma lunged at me, growling up a storm. I believe I saw Norman stick his tongue at me.

Norman
All kittens seem to get along. The five original kittens like to sleep together. The three interlopers like to sleep together. But they do all hang out together. I'm not quite certain if Pippa is feeding all of them but since they're eating solid food and gaining weight, I'm not too concerned (they get weighed daily).

Today is day four with them. Some like me. Some do not. All are gaining weight. Some need to learn to use the litter box. Pippa hides from me but I'm hoping she and I will be friends. It's too soon to tell.

Parrot on my lap

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Results Are IN!

What's better than not being FIV+? Being mis-diagnosed with FIV and not really having it at all.

That's right. Nadya is not FIV+. Not.

And how many tests does it take to confirm that? Seven. That's right. Seven.

When Nadya came into Feline Rescue, she had an FIV test performed. That test is the Elisa test and is the one most commonly used. It came back negative.

Fast forward to six weeks later, about two weeks after her kittens were born. Nadya's temp sky-rocketed to 105.5 (normal temp range is 100.4-102.5). She had another Elisa test performed. FIV could certainly be causing her mysterious - and sudden - illness. Test came back negative.

Fast forward to 2 more weeks later. Nadya's temp sky-rocketed yet again to 106! Another Elisa test was administered. Negative. A test called the Western Blot was performed. That test looks for other ailments, too (not just FIV). It came back negative.

Fast forward another 2 weeks, Nadya's temp goes back up to 105. This time, the sleeves have been pushed up. The gloves have been thrown on the floor. It's an all out war on combatting what ails Nadya. The mother oF all blood tests (read: expensive) - the PCR test - was performed. Positive. This is the only test that would come back positive but since  this was the most comprehensive, it was deemed to be the supreme diagnosis. Nadya had FIV.

Fast forward six weeks later: Nadya and kittens go in for their spay/neuter surgery. As standard procedure, this is the time when all kittens and momma get tested for FIV. Nadya (and the kittens) had the Elisa snap test performed. Everyone's - including Nadya's - test came back negative. Hooray for the kittens! Huh? For Nadya.

Our vet called the University to discuss the oddness of all these tests. The U was intrigued. They decided to do a case study on Nadya. One more - and final - test for Nadya. This one procedure used all three test types - Elisa, Western Blot, and PCR. All of them came back negative. The verdict: Nadya does not have FIV. I repeat: Nadya does not have FIV!!!!

Of course, never one to be satisfied, I then posed the question: Um, then why did that one test come back negative? Shoulder shrug from the vet. Perhaps that test was performed incorrectly. Perhaps it was tainted. Perhaps Nadya was stressed and threw a false positive. (For anyone who has watched the cam for the past four months, you know that Nadya DOES NOT GET STRESSED! She's one of the most easy going momma cats we've ever had at Feline Rescue. Ever. In the history of FR.) Okay, fine. I'll let that one go. But here's my next question: Um, what was really wrong with her then? Something had to be causing her scary high temps. Shoulder shrug. Perhaps she was stressed. Sigh. I guess we'll never know. She's perfectly fine now.

I have to believe that one of the reasons Nadya has yet to be adopted is because of her FIV+ status listing. I really hope word spreads that she is perfectly fine. A mis-diagnosis. A false positive. She is FIV NEGATIVE. There is nothing wrong with her. Nothing, that is, other than not having a forever home.

Nadya is one of the most easy going cats I have ever encountered. She is also one heck of a mother. She was amazingly protective of them. She was incredibly strict. And now that her kittens are older, she's a laid back momma who loves to play with her babies and even lets them nurse occasionally. She purrs all the time. She gives fabulous kisses. She adores being petted. She has a heart of gold. Surely you know someone who wants such a sweet, loving, and wonderful cat as Nadya, right? Spread the word. Nadya needs a home!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Those Wascally Kittens

Years ago, I had a cat that could turn on the TV and the stereo. I swore he had little cat raves while I was away at work because often the music would be really loud, blaring from the apartment. I'm sure my neighbors hated me and I highly doubt that they would have believed me if I had blamed the cat, even though it was true.

Kittens today go beyond that and are just as mischievous and are incredibly tech savvy. It's one thing to turn something on or off or turn up the volume. It's another thing entirely to change the password (or at least to put in a very good effort).

Even before these kittens were born, there was a camera on them, streaming video to the internet. There has always been tech equipment in their room. They've been around it their whole entire lives, even before they were born. And shortly after they learned to walk, they learned how to mess with this equipment.

At first, the kittens learned to block the camera. One of their giant nylon cubes always managed to sneak right in front of the camera. One might argue that the kittens were simply leaving their toys around the room and the cube coincidentally just happened to be in front of the camera. Of course, after well over a dozen times that the cube blocked the camera, one can safely say those rascally kittens were doing it on purpose.

The kittens moved on to actually turning the camera. They learned how to jump up on the camera stand and press a paw down on the camera, thus giving the audience a view of the carpet.

Turning the camera segued into knocking the camera completely over so that the view was of the ceiling.

I then learned to anchor the camera more securely. Frustrated with not being able to affect the camera angle, the kittens turned their attention to the laptop itself.

The kittens learned how to unplug the laptop. The cord that goes into the laptop is very touchy and simply bumping it can disconnect the power cord from the laptop. The disadvantage is that the laptop would automatically switch to battery and the kittens would have to wait for the battery to finally give out before the laptop would die, cutting off the broadcast. There had to be a faster method. Unplugging the router turned the wi-fi off completely, shutting down transmission of the broadcast. The cord is lightweight and can be unplugged quite easily. Occasionally, the laptop can pick up another wi-fi signal to keep broadcasting so even shutting off the router doesn't always do the trick. The kittens learned to turn off the power strip, which knocks out the router's wi-fi signal and two hours later, kills the laptop's power supply. Both units are gone when the power is shut off. Of course, the heater and the iPod are also on this power strip so turning it off makes the room cold and kills the party tunes.

One day, the kittens changed the orientation of the screen display on the laptop from landscape to portrait. I have no idea what they did to change that. It's incredibly difficult to look at a screen sideways while opening windows and typing. It's even harder to type when you turn the screen on an end so that you can see things upright. It took about 10 minutes for me to re-orient the screen display. Ten minutes of pure swearing. I think they were just testing me to see how tech savvy *I* was. The main thing slowing me down from fixing the problem was trying to understand how on earth the kittens achieved this task. No one button alone can do this. They had to press multiple keys together to do this. I'm pretty sure there were several kittens in on this scam.

This is when the kittens stepped up their game. I came in one day to find several screens open on the laptop. One, the user profile screen from the control panel. I think they were either trying to figure out how to partition another user or how to change my password to lock me out... The second window was a browser page about web scripting. I think they were trying to learn how to create their own site. And the final screen was a print screen, so that they could print out their findings to study later tonight.

I came in a day later to discover that the kittens were recording a video. I have yet to watch that video. I'm hoping it's a choreographed music/dance video, complete with back up singers. I'm pretty sure it's not. I'm pretty sure it's kittens holding up protest signs. I don't want to watch it. They're going to scare me even more.

The thought that perhaps it's not the kittens messing with the equipment but an actual human did occur to me. My husband rarely goes into this foster room so I'm pretty sure he's not the culprit. Plus, I caught one of the kittens (<cough> Zotz) red pawed. As I was cleaning litter boxes, I heard clicking. I looked up to find Zotz sitting in front of the laptop, typing away, with dozens of screens popping open onto the screen. It was like she was a savant. I stood there in awe of all the windows that were whizzing open and then the horror of it all struck me. A kitten was TYPING on the laptop and actual screens were opening as a result.

I realized it was only a matter of time before these kittens did some real damage to the laptop so I bought a cabinet and placed all of the electronics in there - router and laptop. I drilled holes so that the laptop wouldn't over heat in its enclosed setting.

So, in sum, here are the things the kittens have done with all the tech equipment:

  • Block the camera
  • Change the camera angle to point straight down
  • Knock over the camera so that it points at the ceiling
  • Unplug the laptop
  • Unplug the router
  • Shut off the power strip (which shuts off the router, laptop, iPod, and heater)
  • Change the laptop screen display orientation
  • Try to change my password or create another user
  • Read about web scripting
  • Try to print their findings
  • Record a video
  • Type
I have a pretty good idea who the instigator is. I think there are several culprits but I know who the main rebel is. Oh, I know him - and her - well. I'm onto them all.

Lest you think the kittens focus all their mischievous attention on the webcam, please note that they are equal opportunist rascals. They learned to open a drawer the other day. I found the contents of the drawer all over the room. They also, for some reason, feel the need to tear down the colorful paw prints that are hanging all over the room.

Oh, those wascally (rascally) kittens. How I love them! I wouldn't have it any other way. They keep me on my toes. They keep me laughing. They make me smile. They're such good kittens, rascally and all. I will miss them when they're gone.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Kittens Ready for Adoption - All they Need is You!

All of the kittens and Nadya are now up for adoption. If you are interested in adopting any (or all!) of them, please call Joan with Feline Rescue at 651-705-6264. Kittens are $135; Nadya is $120. There is a discount if you adopt multiple kittens (2 for $250; 3 for $360)!

Here are the bios posted on Petfinder:

Biscoff is a happy and easy going little boy. He follows his foster caregiver all over the foster room, wagging his tail, hoping she'll sit down so he can crawl onto her lap and get petted. He's the charmer of his litter, one of the first to greet new people, new people who haven't yet grown weary of petting him and telling him how handsome he is. And boy, is he handsome! He's got the looks. He's got the heart. He's got the soft, fluffy fur. He's a good natured boy that would love to  sit on your lap for the rest of his life.  Biscoff is great friends with his fluffy brother Stroopy and would like to spend his days battling Stroopy for HeavyWeight Champion of the World (well, at least of your house).

Double Stuff is full of zest, pep, and gumption. Just ask him. He is the talker of his group, always chattering away. He has an opinion about everything. Everything. He's zany. He's got a lot of energy. He's full of curiosity. He's also a big ol' baby and craves attention. As long as you bring the attention to HIM. He's been known to lay in his bed, crying until his foster caregiver comes over to pet him. That's right. He makes HER come to HIM.  Double Stuff would love to spend his days with his momma Nadya. She understands him and is quick to comfort him when he encounters something that is scary or makes him nervous. He's also great pals with his sister Fudge Stripe and could definitely spend his days playing with her.

Fudge Stripe (also known as "Fudgie") is sweet, gentle girl who loves long naps curled up with her brother Double Stuff and her sister Zotz. When there's no sunbeam to warm up in, she uses her brother and sister as blankets. She also enjoys sneak attacks on unsuspecting siblings. She's the queen of flash wrestling. She's the yin and yang kitten. One part sweet; one part tough girl with a devilish plan. She loves to play.  Fudgie would love to go to her forever home with her warm blankets, er, siblings Double Stuff or Zotz (or both!).

Shortbread is lovingly referred to as "Shortie," a name that is befitting because she is the smallest of the litter. The smallest AND the bravest. She's kind, gentle, sweet, and wickedly smart. She could take over the world if she wanted to. But her kind heart lets her leave the world safe from any plans she could concoct. She loves to be held. When she was a little younger, she would tell her foster caregiver that she wanted to play by tapping the toy, running over to the foster caregiver, tapping her, and then running back to the toy. And true to her gentle nature, she makes sure only to snag the toy, not human fingers. She keeps her claws in when she can. She doesn't want to hurt anybody!  And lest you try to take advantage of this small, gentle, and unafraid little kitten, you will feel the dopey wrath of her bodyguard Zagnut, the biggest kitten of them all! (Actually only that second part is true - Zagnut IS huge and he is Shortie's best friend, but he would rather sleep away his troubles than attack anyone. He's a gentle giant. A gentle, goofy, loveable giant.)

Stroopy is all fluff. All fluff and food. All fluff and food and wrestling tactics. Lots of wrestling tactics. He's not always the Heavyweight Champion of the litter but he does certainly try! He'll settle for the supreme title of World Wrestling Federation Champ. He's known affectionately as "Super Stroopy." He's got the moves. He's got the skills. He's got the great big fluffy butt. Go ahead and tell him that. He won't care. While he loves to pounce on his siblings, he also loves to charm the ladies. He's a cuddler. When he's not karate-chopping his brother Biscoff. Stroopy would love to go to his forever home with his brother Biscoff, a wrestling partner that challenges him.




Zagnut is a giant. A gentle, sweet, unassuming giant with an enormous head and a heart that matches. He's a lover, not a fighter. His best friend is Shortie, the smallest of the litter. He curls up with her and helps her bathe those hard to reach places. He's a goofy boy that puts up with the endless kisses his human foster caregiver bestows upon him.  Zagnut is going to be one BIG boy. We think his daddy was a bobcat. To
balance out your house, Zagnut the giant should be adopted with his sister Shortie, the smallest kitten in the litter. That's Zagnut's best friend. If you're in the mood for THREE kittens, he'd also love to spend the rest of his days with his sister Zotz.

Zotz is the leader of the litter. She was the first to do so many things. She was the first to open her eyes, first to get vision (and was quite startled by the sight of her foster caregiver). She was the first to start walking. The first to leave the den. The first to eat solid food. The first to use the litter box.  The first to escape from the room... The first to purr. The first to give kisses (and like being kissed). Zotz loves to play, loves to be held, and loves to chirp. That's right. Chirp. Zotz is the first to also learn another language. Chirp.  Zotz is ready for her new adventure - life in her forever home. She would love to spend it with her friends Shortbread and her brother Zagnut (as a trio). If you're looking for just a duo, she makes an excellent pair with Fudge Stripe.

And finally, Nadya's profile:
It's hard for me to write a bio that fully expresses how wonderful Nadya is, particularly without crying.
Nadya is one of the sweetest cats I've ever encountered. She has a generous heart and soul. She truly needs to win a Mother of the Year award. Heck, she should win Cat of the Year.

For those unfamiliar with Nadya's story, let me start from the beginning. It's a long story but it will show you just how marvelous Nadya really is. It will also expose just how much I (her foster caregiver) love this cat, after only knowing her for four months. You will fall in love with her, too.

Nadya was a stay living in a colony in Minneapolis when she was brought to Feline Rescue. She was pregnant. Her coat was dull and full of dandruff. She didn't make a peep in the car ride to her foster home. Once in her new surroundings, she hid for about a half hour and then decided that she was over the shock of being inside. She purred for me, a deep, happy, rich purr. She flopped over, exposing her basketball sized belly, begging for belly rubs. She sat on my lap. She was so happy.

After almost three weeks of waiting, Nadya gave birth to six kittens, one of whom died shortly after birth. A day later, two orphaned kittens, only a week old, were in desperate need of a nursing momma as they refused to take to bottle feeding. I brought them into Nadya's room. She knew something was up. I took them out of the carrier and began to rub them with Nadya's blanket, to help disguise their foreign smell. They started crying. Nadya instantly jumped up next to me and began licking the kittens. Once they quieted down, she left. I placed them next to her kennel where the other kittens lay. The orphans began crying again. Nadya ran over, picked each of them up, and carried them into her kennel. They were her kittens from then on. Nadya now had seven kittens to take care of. Her heart grew bigger.

A week later, Nadya developed an incredibly high fever and stopped eating. She nursed her kittens dutifully but would not eat for herself. Her kittens came first, despite how she miserable she felt. She was put on antibiotics and after a week, the fever went down. A few days later, the fever returned. An FIV test was performed. It came back positive. More antibiotics and sub-Q fluids for Nadya for 10 days. A week after her medication regiment was over, her fever came back again. She and the kittens spent three nights at the vet clinic. She continued to nurse and bathe and potty her kittens even though she felt horrible (her ears were so hot!) and was hooked up to an IV.

Nadya is FIV positive. The jerk who knocked her up bit her (males tend to bite the scruff of the female's neck) and infected her with FIV. FIV is akin to kitty AIDS. It compromises her immune system and makes her more susceptible to illnesses. FIV is not the worst illness to contract.  FIV is not something to be feared. It is not that scary. Nadya should live a long life. The worst thing about this diagnosis is that it will scare off good people who want to adopt her. And that breaks my heart.

She is the most wonderful girl. She's had a hard life - the tip of one of her ears is missing due to frostbite; she was on the streets, fending for her life; and, oh, yeah, she has FIV. And despite it all, she purrs. She's happy. She loves to be petted. She loves to play with her kittens. She's a fabulous momma. She's an amazing cat. FIV doesn't define who she is. Nadya's heart does.

If you want to read more about FIV, here are some good sites:
http://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-health-tips-shouldnt-fear-fiv-in-cats-feline-immunodeficiency-virus http://www.foha.org/index.php?id=92 
http://www.vet.cornell.edu/FHC/health_resources/brochure_fiv.cfm 

One thing to note:  She is safe around other cats (as long as they have a peaceful relationship). The only way this virus is transmitted is through a bite that breaks the skin. She cannot infect another cat through daily contact or saliva (from licking or drinking from the same water bowl).

Nadya deserves a good home. What she doesn't deserve is FIV. She's an absolutely fabulous girl. I can't stress it enough. She's so sweet. She has a heart of gold. She deserves someone whose heart matches hers.  After eating good food for the past few months, her coat is shiny, silky, glossy, smooth, and fabulous. Come meet Nadya and see just how beautiful she is, inside and out.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The End is Near (The Good End)

On the eve of the kittens' third month birthday (which is 7/2), I am both sad and happy. The kittens will soon get posted on Petfinder (and Feline Rescue's site - http://www.felinerescue.org) and should get adopted shortly after that. I'm so happy that they're getting closer to finding their forever homes. They're such great kittens and I'm eager for others to see that, too. I'm sad because they'll be leaving me. But that's all part of fostering and as soon as they get adopted, the next crew will come in.

In the Feline Rescue world, all of our cats get spayed/neutered and tested for FeLV/FIV. For kittens, this happens when they are three months old as long as they're three pounds.  If they're three pounds before they're three months old, they have to wait until they are 3 months old. If they're three months but not three pounds, they have to wait until they reach three pounds. For litters, if there are a couple that are behind in weight, they all wait (and the larger kittens thank the smaller kittens for prolonging their surgery date).

Last week, I ran out of Nadya's favorite canned food. She can be a bit picky. She ate but not nearly like she normally does. Because she wasn't eating as much, she also wasn't nursing as much. A couple of the kittens lost several ounces. Stroopy, who was the largest of Nadya's kittens, surprisingly took a nosedive. Biscoff seized the opportunity to climb to the top of the weight board and is now the largest kitten. Shortie, the smallest kitten, also lost several ounces, ounces she couldn't afford to lose. Now with the preferred food fully stocked, the kittens are gaining weight - almost faster than the weeks before. Stroopy doesn't like someone beating him and even though Biscoff gained a lot and Stroopy lost a lot, Stroopy is rapidly catching up. Can someone say piggy?

For Nadya's kittens, both Fudge Stripe and Shortbread are not quite three pounds. Fudge Stripe weight 2 pounds, 14 and a half ounces. She very well may weigh three pounds come tomorrow (7/2). Shortie, after rebounding from her weight loss, is at 2 pounds, 11 ounces. Hopefully by next Wednesday, she will weigh three pounds.

The kittens are forming some interesting pairs. For awhile, it seemed as though the kittens switched alliances every day. They never curled up with the same kitten or played with the same kitten two days in a row. For the past few weeks, it does seem as though some bonds are forming. Shortie and Zagnut often are in the same bed together. Zagnut likes to bathe Shortie, too. Shortie is the smallest; Zagnut is the largest kitten. One might think that he's her protector or body guard but I think she likes him simply because he's a very mellow guy. Double Stuff and Fudge Stripe are also often together at the top of the cat tower. I believe they've bonded over their love of heights, towering over everyone else. That pairing is quite interesting as Double Stuff is the most needy of the kittens. He loves attention. Fudgie, on the other paw, is the one that hates me (because of the whole abscess incident, which naturally is my fault). She is skeptical of human interaction. Double Stuff craves it. Hopefully his zest for attention will rub off on Fudgie. The two fuzzies Biscoff and Stroopy often play together. Biscoff is good hearted and amazingly sweet. Stroopy is a rough and tumble kitten who plays hard. Both love to be held and petted. Zotz plays with everyone... and no one. She's often curled up with her brother Zagnut or Shortie (or both since they like to nap together). She's quite good at entertaining herself. She also loves human attention. Shortie, Zotz, and Biscoff follow me around the room, begging for attention. Double Stuff cries until the attention comes to him (did I mention he's a bit lazy?).

Tonight (7/1), the kittens will have a photo shoot with a professional photographer KrisKreativ (she photographed them when they were 6 weeks old). In about a week (a day after their spay/neuter surgeries), the kittens will then be posted on Petfinder/FelineRescue.org, ready for adoption. They should be posted by 7/11. Adoptions will start soon!!