Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Blooming Amaryllis!

On Sunday, March 6th, Amaryllis' kittens were born. The day before, Amaryllis was investigating the dens in her room. She really liked the least appropriate one - the cave at the bottom of the cat tower. It's incredibly small and it's not washable. I put a towel down in there and she kicked it out. Dang. Saturday evening, Amaryllis was on high alert, hissing and growling at any noise she heard. She also curled up on my lap, something she hadn't done before, and sat there for hours. She's a sweet, affectionate girl; she just hadn't sat on my lap before. I could see the alien babies moving around inside her. I knew it wouldn't be too much longer before she had the babies. I finally left her at midnight. As I left, I told her, "I'm only a howl away."

Sunday morning, as I was preparing breakfast for the resident cats, Amaryllis started howling. I ran downstairs. She was waiting for me at the door. I believe her expression said, "You said you were *A* howl away. I've been howling for five minutes! Where were you?" There were little droplets all over the carpet. I knew kittens would be coming soon. I sat down; Amaryllis went into the cat tower cave. Dang. I called to her and she ran over to me. I showed her the cardboard box den I made her. She went inside and curled up. Twenty minutes later, contractions started and a kitten was born at 9:05am.

She had her back to me so I did not get to see the birth and didn't really realize one had actually been born until I heard soft mewing. Finally, she moved and the little kitten started crawling up her side. I got my first glimpse of the white kitten.

At 9:55am, the first brown tabby was born. Amaryllis had turned around so I got to watch this one being born. The second white kitten was born at 10:20am. And the final kitten was born at 10:37am. I missed that one completely because I had to step out of the room to make a phone call.
Amaryllis has certainly done this before (given birth) as she had them all cleaned up incredibly quickly. She purred the entire time she gave birth. After they were all born, she looked up at me with the greatest expression that really summed up how she was feeling. Even though it wasn't even 11am, her day had been long and she needed a nap. She looked quite tired.

I find it quite funny that she gave birth in alternating colors. The kittens lined up to nurse in birth order.

The kittens are fairly easy to tell apart. The fur on the two white ones is different. One is fluffy; the other is sleek. One of the white kittens is developing stripes and will probably look like Amaryllis in a couple of months. The brown tabbies are a little hard to tell apart but one's coloring is lightening up and there's more white on the face of one.

Amaryllis has been sneezing since the day before kittens. I had our vet make a house call to check her out. The vet thinks it's just allergies. I'm keeping an eye on her because I certainly don't need her to come down with a little kitty cold.

I think the biggest kitten, one of the brown tabbies, is a girl. The others may be boys. I need to look again when they're a bit older. They're all gaining weight and looking good. She's doing a wonderful job with them. She lets me pick them up to weigh them. I'm careful not to handle them too much.

Amaryllis definitely likes it when I come into the room to be with her. She finally has an excuse to leave her kittens for a few minutes. I call this our adult time.

Amaryllis makes being a mother look easy. When one of her kittens turtled onto its back and couldn't roll over, it squawked. She casually reached her paw out, flipped the kitten over onto its tummy, and drew it close to her all in one smooth move. She's a good momma.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Flower Power

Introducing the newest foster - Amaryllis! She's a beautiful Lynx Point Siamese. Although it may just be the hormones kicking in, she's incredibly sweet and friendly. Loves to be petted. Constantly kneading. Does NOT like to be left alone. Here's hoping that she does not pull a Nadya and force me to stay with her the entire time she's giving birth (Nadya freaked out any time I made a motion to leave; I was stuck in her room for 15 hours). Of course, I want to be with her when she gives birth but I would like to occasionally leave to go to the bathroom.

Without trying to compare her too much to Nadya, she's already making me reflect on Nadya. Amaryllis loves to chew up boxes. That was Nadya's favorite pastime (her adopter sent me a picture recently of Nadya in a cardboard box). As soon as Amaryllis walked around her new foster room, she went right up to the red catnip heart and claimed it as hers. Nadya loved that heart. I sent her home with a fresh, new version of it.

Without doing an ultrasound, it's impossible to really tell when she'll give birth. Perhaps in the next week or so. Another caregiver said she saw the babies moving, which is a sign that she's just a few days (or shorter) away from giving birth. I didn't see that at all last night as I spent time with her.

I predict there will be five with at least one Siamese and one brown tabby (we caregivers think that there is a Brown Tabby Fairy out there planting a brown tabby into each litter because it always seems to be one in every litter). I'm hoping to get a solid white one. I always look forward to seeing what colors you get. After 120 fosters, Amaryllis is my first blue eyed foster. It's the little things that thrill me.

I plan on naming her kittens after flowers (although I will be skipping "Rose" and "Lily" as we have a ton of those in our database). I have a few in mind. We'll see what she gives birth to before I name them.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Snolly and Panjy

With the last article about Snollygoster and Panjandrum, they were kenneled and scared. On the same day, both Snolly and Panjy decided they had had enough of confinement and busted out of their kennels. I decided to leave them out.

They both ran whenever I walked in the room. After a few days, Snolly would come out to eat while I was in the room but once finished, he would run to his hiding spot. Panjy originally came out to eat but then once she realized food was always out, she opted to eat when I left. I never saw her after the first few days.

Eventually, Snolly started shortening his circle that he drew around me. That scary bubble started shrinking. Every time he walked by me, he got closer and closer. I made sure to grab him when I could so that I could pet him and kiss him to remind him that he did like me. He really likes to be petted.

After several weeks, Snolly showed great improvement. His sister Panjy got worse. I was never allowed to touch her. I never saw her. On the day everyone went in for spay/neuter surgery, I saved capturing Panjy for last. It took me well over 20 minutes of chasing her around the room. Her favorite place to hide was under the couch. After about 10 minutes of chasing her from side to side under the couch, I finally took the futon mattress off the frame and laid that on the floor. Now she had no place to hide. After darting from me once, she realized it was game over and just slunk down and let me grab her. After her surgery, Panjy was kenneled upstairs.

It seemed like overnight that Snolly made a huge step in socialization. He started greeting me at the door with the other kittens. Why? Because I bring food when I enter the room. It is important to note that Snolly LOVES his food. The boy has gained two and a half pounds in 6 weeks. He's a pudge. After about a week of greeting me at the door, Snolly would then hang back while the other kittens shoved their way to the food. Why was Snolly avoiding food? Because Snolly learned that while the other kittens ate, my lap was completely open. He could have me (and my lap) all to himself for a few minutes. Pet, pet, pet, pet, pet. Purr, purr, purr, purr, purr. And as soon as the other kittens finished eating and started climbing on my lap (and stepping all over him), he'd run to the plate and devour what was remaining.

Upstairs in her kennel, Panjy was very slowly coming around. I would take her out twice a day to eat. She'd get to eat while sitting on my lap. She learned she loved to be petted. She absolutely adores having her head scratched and ears rubbed. And after about week, she really started nuzzling into the kisses I planted onto her head. Unfortunately, any time I let her off my lap, she'd head for the nearest bookshelf or dresser and crawl underneath, out of reach. Being in a house still terrified her. People, she was starting the learn, brought her food and kissed her head. She liked that. She likes people. But houses are scary. But at least she wasn't climbing the walls.

She got more and more non-kennel time... but that was always spent under something. She would let me pick her up from under whatever (which was a far improvement over having to chase her). As little as that is, it was still an improvement. Every night, I'd find her hiding spot and put her back in her kennel. Just a few days ago, I came into Panjy's room to find her sitting on TOP of the bookshelf. She didn't cower or flinch when I approached her. She was quite proud of herself. I decided that Panjy had earned the right to stay out overnight in her room. No kennel. The next morning, she was walking around without fear. She earned the right to stay out in her room during the day. She is indeed improving. The next step is for her to approach me to be petted.

And the award for most improvement goes to Snollygoster. The other day, Tiramisu and Anisette had an interview. After about a half hour, Snollygoster came out of hiding and WALKED AROUND THE ROOM. With a complete stranger present! Of course, when she approached him, he ran into a corner and shook with fear but up until then he was fine. Someone else got to see him. He's becoming more comfortable with people.

My two challenges are slowly coming around. They're such sweet kittens. One day, they'll be fabulous lap cats who aren't afraid of anything. I'm hoping that one day will be very, very soon.

Updated Words

It's been awhile since I last posted about the kittens. You may have noticed that the room is a lot emptier. And soon it will be very empty.

Katherine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor were adopted together by a woman who likes shy kitties. Katherine was really warming up to me around the time of her adoption and more and more would let me approach her and pet her. Elizabeth had turned love bug/lap cat months prior. Now in their adoptive home, the girls are doing well. Their adoptive momma is quite smitten with having a loving kitten like Elizabeth. And Katherine is doing well in her new home.

Mugwumps had several interviews with other people prior to finding her people. She had always been polite with the other people and would greet them for about a minute before retreating across the room and refusing to have anything to do with the people who came to meet her. That all changed for the right people. Mugwumps jumped up on their shoulders and gave them kisses. She picked her people and they fell in love with her right away. Mugwumps went home to another cat and they're getting along well.

Taradiddle stole an adoption from Ingrid. Ingrid thought she had it in the bag and after about 10 minutes of being fairly social, stopped interacting with the people. Tara swooped in and stole the adoption out from under Ingrid.

But Ingrid's people soon came. Although Ingrid was quite shy with them, she still won them over. Ingrid needed a buddy so the mom and son chose a kitten from another litter. Since Ingrid could be quite difficult with other cats, that kitten (Espresso) came to stay with us for a bit to make sure that Ingrid could get along with that kitten. Lo' and behold, it was Espresso who had issues coming into the foster room! He was a pistol for several days, whacking anyone who dared to get close to him. All the kittens took it in stride, even though they desperately wanted to play with the new guy. Ingrid developed a crush on Espresso. He finally settled down and the two of them went home together.

Firkin was also paired with another kitten in foster care. He is doing well.

Herman was paired with an adult cat in foster care. Herman is doing well; the adult cat is adjusting to sweet Herman.

Tiramisu and Anisette were adopted together. Their new momma is excited to have friendly, sweet cats as her last several had been standoffish and skittish.

The last two to be adopted are Gazump and Jackanapes. I'm absolutely shocked about that. They are gorgeous AND friendly. My shy ones were adopted before my friendly ones. So odd. The boys have an interview on Saturday. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

One In, One Out

Mugwumps was adopted last week! She truly picked her people. Several people have been interested in her. She is quite gorgeous. But each time people met her, she hung around for a minute or two and then would walk across the room, refusing to return. For these people, she hopped right up on their shoulders. She gave them kisses and patted their faces. They thought they chose her but she actually chose them.

Interestingly enough, Mugwumps was a silent kitty in the foster room. She rarely spoke and when she did, she simply opened her mouth and nothing came out. Once adopted, she has become a big ol' chatter bug.

A few days after Mugsie was adopted, another kitten came in. This in Panjandrum, Snollygoster's sister. The person who captured Snollygoster, finally caught his sister. She looks like a cross between a lynx and a rabbit. She is quite vocal and definitely wants out of her kennel. She's a little more wild than her brother. She vibrates when she eats, just like her brother.

Snollygoster is still confined to a kennel (so is Panjandrum). They're in separate kennels that face each other so they can see each other. They both get to come out when they eat. I place the bowl right on my lap and pet them while they eat (I take them out separately). They're both still super scared and confining them to a kennel ensures that they won't burrow into a hiding spot where I'll never see them again. They only get to eat when I'm in the room as it helps to reinforce that people are good, they bring food. They both are no longer flat against the back of the kennel; they sit towards the front and observe the chaos of the foster room. Snollygoster even snagged some toys into his kennel and will play quietly. As soon as I open the kennel door, they both retreat to the back of the kennel. The day they stop fearing me, moving away from me, they will get free room privileges. I was hoping Snolly would have graduated by now but a week was a little too ambitious. He's gaining weight and seems to be content. Panjie would like to get out; she's a little more high strung than he brother. She may take even longer than her brother to come around fully, though.

So that's the story. One got adopted and made room for another to join the foster room (albeit in a kennel).

Monday, October 19, 2015

And another one....

And another one has entered the room. It might be awhile before you see Snollygoster wandering about. He was found up north wandering around by himself. The person who captured him said it took four people to get him. I'm assuming it took so many because he was completely scared out of his mind. He's a bit scared now. He lets me hold him and will even start purring but once released, he's completely wild. He is currently kenneled in the room until he learns to trust me.

Snollygoster definition: an unprincipled but shrewd person.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Expanding Your Vocabulary

Gazump, mid lick
Two more kittens have entered the room and I've continued with the unusual words naming theme. Introducing Jackanapes (definition: an impertinent, presumptuous person, especially a young man) and Gazump (definition: a swindler or cheat, particularly when selling a house and then raising the price or accepting another offer from a different buyer).

Jackanapes and Gazump were found in Frogtown (a section of St. Paul, MN). They were being harassed by several boys who were tossing them around like balls. Understandably, Jack and Gaz are a little leery of being handled right now. They purr when petted but do not like to be picked up. They are not fans of the other kittens in the room and growl up a scary storm when approached. The other kittens are quite stumped by this. It's actually quite funny to see a kitten who is three times their size freeze and then back away from Jack or Gaz. Oh, the power of a might roar.

Gaz is quite fond of sitting behind me, just out of reach. He likes to continually poke me in the back. He really wants attention and interaction. He's just a little out of sorts from his ordeal. His brother Jack likes to sit on the couch behind me, just at my shoulder but not touching me. Jack purrs a little more readily than his brother.

Both boys are quite sweet. Neither hide. They stand their ground with the other kittens. They are not skittish. They're just a little apprehensive. They'll get over it soon enough.