Monday, May 8, 2017

St. Francis of Assisi and the Foster Room

St. Francis
There's a new addition to the foster room, even though you will not see him full time. He's a little guy, about 4-5 weeks old (not to be fooled by his weight, which suggests he's about 3 weeks old). He's too tiny to roam freely without supervision. And Adler, the Easter kittens' momma cat, is REALLY not fond of him. Hopefully she'll warm up to him as he gets older.

St. Francis came to animal control as an orphan stray, cold and too weak to eat. Animal control does not like to keep tiny kittens overnight so they put out a plea to rescues to take him that day. He was rushed to our emergency vet; his transporter wasn't sure he would make it. His temp was well below normal. He was dehydrated and emaciated. He spent a couple of nights in intensive care in an incubator.

His transporter was told he was a girl and named him St. Mary as she drove by that cathedral. The vet discovered she was a he. By group consensus, his named was changed to St. Francis, patron saint of animals. He likes to be called Frank.

Frank is eating on his own and loves to toddle about. He is a snuggler, too. A major snuggler. He purrs constantly.  He is quite good at amusing himself (he was playing with shadows in his carrier all by himself on the drive home from the vet). He's a feisty little guy with great lungs (read: he can scream quite loudly!).

In a few weeks, if Adler accepts him, he will be able to join the Easter kittens. He currently gets supervised playtime with them and he loves it (although he much prefers to cuddle with his caregiver).

Monday, May 1, 2017

New Kids Came Hopping Into Town

Adler and her kittens
I wasn't planning to get a new foster family but the caregiver slated to take Adler and her kittens refused at the last minute because Adler growled at her. It scared her. To me, as long as they aren't lunging at me with ears flat, I'm fine. And even then, I'm still fine (cue last year's second momma Reba and her country kittens).

As a side note: I was not expecting to have a new litter and as a result, I didn't have a room set up for them. They had to share with Doyle and Jacq. For the first few days, Adler was confined to the play pen with the kittens to keep her from getting bombarded by Doyle and Jacq. I wasn't sure how she'd react to them as a protective momma; and Doyle and Jacq were way too excited about having a nursing momma in the room.  Adler was not fond of the two roaming kittens. I moved Doyle and Jacq upstairs and they're doing absolutely wonderfully in their new room. Doyle and Jacq have made so much progress.  They even just got posted for adoption!

Back to my story. This is Adler's third litter. The people who found her have seen her other litters. I named Adler after the family in the movie Gifted, which I saw the day before taking in Adler and her kittens. I'm thinking of making that a thing. Nadya, one of my momma cats years ago, was named after a character in The Muppets, a movie I saw just before getting Nadya. But I digress. 

Adler is actually a sweet girl. She was just protecting her kittens from people she didn't know, warning both her kittens and me to stay back. She let me pet her right away and pick up her kittens without too much concern. She did watch me like a hawk but never made any aggressive move. For days, whenever I'd enter her room, she'd growl... until she realized I brought food. 

When I brought the kittens home, they were about two and a half weeks old. Their ears were still floppy, their eyes still blue, and only one could walk. That would be Peep, the runt and the first to do everything. But I get ahead of myself. 

Hippity Hop
I brought the kittens home just a few days before Easter. I gave them Easter-y names. Since we like to have unique names to enter in the database to avoid confusion, I stretched the theme and came up with some funky names. 

Three of the kittens are brown mackerel tabbies and are pretty identical. Their personalities are now starting to come through, making them very identifiable. Peep was the first mobile kitten and as she walked around, meowed constantly, almost as if she was saying, "I'm doing it! Look at me go! Nothing's gonna stop me now!" Peep was the first one to bathe herself, the first one to use the litter box. I clipped the hair on the other female tabby so I could tell her apart from Peep. With that haircut, I named her Bonnet (as in Easter bonnet). The other tabby was male and much bigger. He's a little sweetie that likes to be cuddled and likes to eat. His name is Hippity Hop. 
The classic tabby is a female and named Ducky. 

One of the tuxies is female; the other male. One is named Eggs, the other Hammy. 

And finally, Quack is the solid black male kitten. Quack has swimmer's legs, which means his back legs splay outwards. He used them to push himself around instead of walk. Now that he's getting stronger and has had some PT, he's walking a little better. 

Just when the kittens turned 4 weeks old, Adler decided she was done being a momma cat.  A few days later, she threw a fever and had mastitis. She knew she was getting sick, which is why she left her kittens.  I got saddled with feeding duty. Since the kittens were about the age to be weaned, I started them off on a syringe full of slurry, which is formula and canned babycat food mixed together. After a few days of syringe feedings, I introduced a plate. I would give them a few shots of food from the syringe and then put a plate right in front of their face while I held each one my lap. One night, three of the seven ate from the plate. The next morning, all of them were eating from the plate, provided I enticed them with a shot from the syringe. By that evening, the kittens were eating in a group, on the floor, from the plate. Quack still needs some encouragement with a shot from the syringe before he remembers what food is. 
Hammy and Quack

As Adler started to feel better, she would jump into the playpen to nurse her kittens about once a day. The kittens were so excited to see her. But once she fully recovered, with the kittens eating well on their own, Adler decided that she didn't need to mother them. Occasionally she comes over to the pen to watch them but if they cry out, she doesn't tend to them, doesn't even call back. She's a sweet girl; she's just done being a momma. 

Bonnet and Peep
It's now May and the kittens are 5 weeks old. Their little personalities are shining through. Bonnet is a pistol and hisses at me. Hammy started off hissing, spitting, and even growling at me (if you can imagine my terror when a 12 ounce kitten hissed) and now seems to like to spit at things for fun. Peep is my girl; she begs to have me pick her up and cuddle her. Quack is a simple guy who doesn't quite seem to fit in with the others. He often plays by himself or not at all. He was the first to purr for me. Eggs and Ducky have a ton of energy. Hippity Hop is a special guy, where I think there's not a lot going on in his head (which is fine because he has love in his heart). He's a big ol' bruiser of a kitten. 

There are four girls and three boys in the litter. Hippity Hop and Hammy are vying for biggest kitten; they alternate the top position. Eggs, Peep, and Bonnet are the smallest kittens. Peep was the original runt by several ounces; she shot up in weight but then got passed by her sisters. She's too busy trucking around, burning off calories. 

Hippity Hop
They're still learning to use the litter box. They've got it down for pooping (although someone did poop in the middle of the breakfast plate the other day; no one's talking about which one did it) but we're still working on getting them to use it every time they pee. The kittens are currently
confined to a play pen. The top is off so Adler can jump in if she wants to. She doesn't want to. The kittens are threatening to climb out. I have a feeling it will be Hammy or Ducky. Of course, given that Peep is the first to do everything, perhaps it will be she who steals her freedom. As soon as that happens, the kittens will get to be free roaming. For now, I'm happy to have them confined. 

These guys will be ready to be adopted the third week of June. 


Friday, December 23, 2016

Ring Around the Worm

You may have noticed kittens getting dunk baths and cleaning. Lots and lots of cleaning. What's going on? Ringworm.

Ringworm isn't a parasite or a worm. It's a fungus. The spore usually lives on damp soil so if an animal comes in contact with this contaminated soil (and usually has to dig in it and not just touch it), they will develop ringworm in anywhere from 2 days to 3 weeks later. Ringworm was named because the lesion it forms appears as a circle. Or it can be scaly and flaky. It often causes thinning hair or hair loss in the affected area. It is really contagious, particularly if the cat sheds a lot. The hair with the ringworm spores can become airborne and can get everywhere. This means in order to contain ringworm, you must clean the environment and the cat often.

Vacuuming removes the hair contaminated with spores. Bleach kills ringworm on surfaces. Lime sulfur reduces the contamination on the kitten itself. And an oral medication called Terbinafine kills the spores from the inside. Antifungal ointment kills the ringworm on days when the kitten isn't dipped in lime sulfur.

On Tuesdays and Fridays, the kittens get a lime sulfur bath (you may see me dunking them in a bucket); they all dry off in carriers while I wash all the bedding and toys, vacuum the room, and bleach everything to holy heck and back. Everything must be washed or bleached. The rest of the days, you may see me putting on disposable gloves and applying ointment to the kittens (mostly on their faces). The kittens tolerate the ointment. They also get an oral pill every day.  Most of the kittens take their pill well; Walter will even eat his on his own.  The first time I bathed the kittens, they were all pretty darn good about it. I was able to bathe everyone, including the Little Hissers/Charlie's Angels. The second time, they all knew what the bucket meant. Even my friendly kittens dodged me. After the third time, I wasn't able to get two of the hissers (Kate and Jacqueline). While everyone dried out in carriers in the hall, those two remained in the room and had to endure the vacuum cleaner. They were not happy with that. I explained to them that perhaps next time they should let me just bathe them so they wouldn't have to put up with the vacuum. I don't think they thought a bath was a better fate.

I'm pretty certain Harley Quinn and Captain Boomerang came into the foster room with ringworm (I am hoping none of the kittens picked it up on a vet visit or Feline Rescue visit and then brought it home). Harley and Boomer were strays that were live trapped outside. Since Harley isn't entirely open to being handled, I did not see the ringworm brewing until it had gotten pretty far. I first noticed it on Boomer. He had a crusty patch on his cheek under his whiskers. It looked like ringworm... but I was hoping it was a food allergy. That sight is what made me grab his sister for closer inspection. A Woods Lamp (a UV lamp) glowed green for Harley in a couple of spots, but oddly not anywhere on her belly where it was scaly and missing all its fur; and even more oddly, did not glow for Boomer, even though his patch was visually reminiscent of ringworm. I still opted to treat them as though it were ringworm.

Nigella and Montie developed their own scaly, red, and angry patches about a week and a half later. Montie likes to bathe everyone so it's no wonder how she got it. Kate has a suspicious  red patch above her eye but she won't let me handle her to medicate her. All of the others had spots or specks that glowed green under the Woods Lamp. They haven't developed any visible lesions and hopefully it will stay that way, particularly with the pills, ointments, and sulfur bath.

The whole bathing and cleaning process takes anywhere from 5 hours to 7 hours. On Tuesdays, because it's during the week, I opt for a more streamlined process. On Fridays, I don't cut any corners.

The kittens need to be bathed and medicated for 2-3 weeks or until their lesions heal and/or their hair grows back. After that period, they will get a culture taken of their fur. A week after that, a second culture. We require two negative cultures in order to consider a kitten ringworm free. Cultures take about 2-5 weeks to grow.

As of Christmas Eve, we mark 3 1/2 weeks of ringworm treatment. I'm hoping to get Montie cultured on New Year's Eve. She's the only one who has visible ringworm (she developed a new nasty scab a few days ago). Three weeks after that, hopefully we will be declared ringworm free. Note: I'm also planning on getting the room cultured, particularly the cat tower, to make sure it, too, is ringworm free.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Singles' Bar

The room is filled with orphan kittens. Most came in as singles; some came in with siblings; none came in with a momma. Most adapted quite well and made friends with the others; some took a few days to calm down and get used to living in the herd.

Nigella has been with me the longest. At first, I thought Nigella was a Nigel. I named the kitten Nigel because it seemed elegant. Such a beautiful fluffy Siamese needed a regal name. When the vet told me he was actually a she, I made her check three times. I've never been wrong before. Nigel became Nigella. Nigella was quite standoffish for the longest time. She refused to eat and lost a lot of weight. I had to give her lots of medicines and she was not happy about that. In time, Nigella decided I wasn't so bad and has started approaching me to be petted. She's not a lap cat but she does like to sit next to me. She has quite an interesting personality. She's reserved and mellow with me; she can really kick up her heels with the other kittens and runs around, occasionally, like a maniac. She's very sweet.

Montrose (a.k.a Montie) is the oldest. She was live trapped by my parents. She and her mother would visit my parents' feeding station. When my parents found one of her siblings dead on the highway, they decided they needed to start trapping the cats that visit them (they live out in the country). I met Montrose before she was even trapped. She crawled under the bay window of their house. I fed her and she inched closer and closer to me but at the last second got spooked and wouldn't let me catch her. I knew she would be tamable if I got her. My father live trapped her and brought her to me. She took a few days to adjust to living in a house and quite shortly after that became my new best friend. She loves to be petted. Purrs up a storm. But she also gets nippy because she's so excited to see me. She means well. They're love bites. But love hurts sometimes. I think she'll be fine with someone who spends more time with her. Montie has decided indoor living suits her just fine; being fed without hunting is her favorite thing.... and now Montie is a bit of a chunk. She's also become the matriarch of the room. Kittens line up to have her bathe them.

Walter Mitty
Walter Mitty was dropped off at our shelter. As director of the foster program, I then get called about kittens who were dumped. When they're singles, it's just easier for me to take them home myself than to find another caregiver, particularly when it's late at night. Walter was named by the shelter worker who called me. Walter was a teeny guy, about 5 weeks old. He originally bunked upstairs with Montie in a kennel because he was too small to be in the big foster room. Just as Montie graduated to the big foster room, a new kitten came in so Walter had a new roommate. Walter loves to give kisses and has recently developed a habit of actually waving at me...

Rosalind van Hoorn arrived in the nick of time. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a great movie from the 50s starring Danny Kaye. Since my Walter Mitty was going to be bunking with this new girl, I decided to keep with the theme and name her as a character from the movie. His love interest in the movie is Rosalind van Hoorn. Ros hated Walter at first. She hated all cats. All he wanted to do was love his new friend; she growled and hissed and slapped him around. After a few days, she calmed down and they became best friends. Ros is fiery fun. She has a ton of energy and zips around, always on the move. She's also insanely smart and is the first to figure things out. I can see her little mind working, plotting. She's an amazing jumper. She's a cuddler... when she has the time.

Petunia (Tuni)
I inherited Lil Petunia Bud from another caregiver who was getting too attached. She, like Ros, was a complete pistol when she first came in. She had to be separated from the group and kenneled for a few nights. Finally she calmed down. She's turned into quite the sweet girl. I call her Tuni. She has major food aggression. She's oddly self aware of this and will grab a mouth full of food, run several feet away to eat it. Sometimes she doesn't bother and that's when she turns into The Hulk, smacking kittens who dare to eat off the same plate she is. She's actually quite sweet (when not eating). She, like Montie, have become the sentinels of the room. If a kitten gets out of line (particularly a new kitten who doesn't know the rules), they smack that kitten into shape.

Tomatillo and Okra came from the same caregiver (but separately). All three were found in that caregiver's garden so I named the new kittens after veggies. Both were quite sick for quite a long time when they came to me. They were teeny forever. And then, overnight, they grew into big kittens. Tomatillo was originally my best friend when they came in but with the constant medications, she is now leery of me. Okra forgave me and is much more easy going than her sister. Tomi is high strung - but sweet. Okra is goofy - and sweet. Neither can meow worth a darn. They open their mouths and nothing comes out.


Harley Quinn and Captain Boomerang are sister and brother. Harley bit me the first time I met her. Hard. She meant business. Harley and Boomer were kenneled for two weeks until they started to get used to me. Boomer came around fairly quickly. Harley still wasn't convinced. Since Boomer really needed to be released into the room and I couldn't leave his sister alone in the kennel, I let both of them out. If she can be caught, Harley lets me pet her. She doesn't love it. She tolerates it. Her circle of avoidance is getting narrower; she's walking closer and closer to me. She doesn't dart under the couch when I enter the room; she waits a few minutes and then saunters away. She's getting better but she still has a long way to go. Boomer is the most mellow kitten ever. He has started following me around the room because he really likes to be held like a baby, kissed, and petted. He's really turning super sweet.

Charlie's Angels
I got a phone call that three kittens were dumped at our shelter on Halloween night. The next day I went to retrieve them. The shelter workers had set them up in a kennel. I soon learned that these little 6 week old kittens would not come willingly to me. The leader, who was merely a pound, really tried to hurt me. I had to resort to wrapping my hand in a towel to protect myself from tiny teeth and claws of furry to get them into a carrier. Once home, they were kenneled. Any time I opened the kennel door to feed them, two would fly around hissing and spitting. After two weeks of being kenneled, I finally had to release them. Not only were they not showing any signs of improvement, their health was declining. They had explosive diarrhea and wouldn't eat. I knew I couldn't medicate them because I couldn't handle them. My only hope was that they'd either socialize with the other kittens and understand that I could help them or freedom would improve their spirits enough to get them to eat. In the end, it was a combination that helped save them - they liked being free and with other kittens enough that I was able to sorta medicate them enough to make them feel better and start eating.

These three kittens are known as the Little Hissers or Charlie's Angels. The photo I took of the three of them in their carrier had a resemblance to the iconic 1970s Charlie's Angels opening credits pose. I named them after the actresses that played the Angels - Farrah Fawcet is the tamest of the three kittens and the whitest; Kate Smith is the leader of the three; she's the lilac point (although I suspect she's actually a lynx point); and Jacqueline Smith is the brown tabby. All three have great hair.

Delano is a cuddly brown tabby guy. He's another one that my parents live trapped. He kept coming to their feeding station with his momma and sister. My parents finally trapped him. For the first several days, any time he heard a cat meow outside the foster room door, he yowled and yowled. I anthropomorphized that he was calling out for his sister. It took Delano a few days to settle down and then he became my new best friend. He's a major lap cat. He often gets quite jealous when another cat sits on my lap. He will often climb on top of that cat so that he gets all of the attention.

Superfudge is the grey medium haired disheveled guy. He has major defecation issues. He's sort of along the same lines as Dixie. He's about 4 months old and doesn't even weigh 2 pounds! He's got a good heart, though. We're still trying to figure out what's causing his issue. He had an ultrasound and that showed that all of his organs are normal. We think his issue is his spine but an x-ray (yet to be scheduled) will confirm that. He gets laser treatment on his spine and his tushy in the meantime.

Mary is Delano's sister. About two weeks after Delano was trapped, Mary finally wandered into the trap. She's absolutely gorgeous. She started hanging around with the Mean Girls (see more about that later) and as a result, spent a few weeks avoiding me. She's suddenly realized that I'm not bad and has been venturing out more when I'm in the room. And she also doesn't run away every time I approach. She does love to be held and petted. She's quite different from her brother physically - she looks big but that's all fluff. She's small and fluffy where he's big and sleek. If I hadn't witnessed them together outside, I wouldn't believe they were related.

I've dubbed Harley the leader of the Mean Girls. All of my undersocialized kittens have flocked to her. The Little Hissers (Charlie's Angels) look up to Harley. All five of them crowd together under the couch (and interestingly, they're all girls).

Fast forward several weeks: It turns out Harley has ringworm. It often takes weeks before the signs are visible and not being entirely handlable, I didn't notice that she had it all over her tummy. I noticed that her brother Boomer had a patch on his cheek; when Harley happened to be sitting within inches of my grasp, I pounced on her. I finally got a good look at her and was horrified to see pretty much her entire belly hairless and scabby. Ringworm! Since ringworm had a good three weeks to incubate in the room, other kittens are starting to show signs of ringworm. Nigella was the first (after Boomer and Harley) and then Montie. I ran a UV lamp over all of the kittens and, to my horror, found that everyone (except Mary) has some amount of ringworm on them. Several just have a speck here or there. Most (aside from Nigella and Montie) are showing no signs.

And now that the room has ringworm, what's one more that already has ringworm? When an animal control facility put out a bulletin that they had a ringworm kitten that would be put down if a rescue couldn't take her, I opted to add her to my room. She absolutely hated the other kittens in the room so I kenneled her. Her name is Billie Howliday. She's quite the singer and kept giving me jazz paws. Jazz paws!

Jacqueline Smith
Kate Jackson
Farrah Fawcet

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.