kittens – Got the Jimmy Legs


It's hard to stay one step ahead

We've hit the one-week mark with the kittens, but it feels like it's been months already. For a week, they've come along very well, but they mostly aren't ready for prime-time yet. We decided to separate two of the kittens from the group, as their aggressive antics were having a negative effect on the progress of the other kittens. There was an unmistakable cone of ignorance developing that we had to nip in the bud. Thanks to a friend with some crates to spare, we have them sequestered so we can work on them individually. Here's how they're faring: (more…)

Lying there like you're tame


3 of 5: note the size difference of the big black kitten

While we made plans to get the neighbor's cat colony TNR'd, other issues began to surface. Namely, there are several kittens in the colony who may be young enough to be tamed. We discussed what to do and consulted our friends who have way more experience with kittens. The consensus was that we should nab the kittens and see how wild they were. (more…)

Tender prey

The Bad Mom

Along with all the usual stuff going on, a cat we had recently trapped for TNR gave birth on Tuesday. We knew she had been pregnant but didn't know how far along she was. The two kittens she produced were clearly premature, I'm not sure by how much. One was stillborn, but the other was still alive. However, the mother cat wasn't being motherly at all, preferring to get as far from the kitten as possible.

We moved them into a room to try to lessen the cat's stress level (stress is probably what mad her give birth early, so we thought stress may have been keeping her from taking care of her kitten. Well, the mom cat didn't change her tune, she just hid behind a futon. I don't know when the kitten was actually born but the situation was getting dire. We set up a box with a heating pad under a towel and tucked him in. I ran off to get kitten formula. When I got back I got him to consume a syringe full (the kitten bottle was way too big). Newborns need formula every couple of hours so I started setting my alarm. The first few feedings went well; he was eating 2 or 3 syringes full (it was difficult to tell when he was full, but he would sort of turn his nose up to let me know). I tried 'burping' him but who knows if I got that right. Finally I had to rub his genitals with a damp cotton ball to get him to 'eliminate.' Nothing really came out, but he also had been hours born without food, so I figured I would let it slide.

At around 4am I got up to feed him. He felt warm but I knew something was wrong, as he wasn't squirmy and he felt limp. His warmth had come from the heating pad; he had died. It was pretty clear he hadn't made it, but honestly it's hard to tell with such a young kitten. I've seen newborn kittens, and this guy was probably a week away from even that level. He had no fur and could barely move by himself. The thought of him managing to find his mother's nipple to latch onto, even if she had been accommodating, seemed impossible. So maybe it wasn't all that surprising. But it's still kind of sad, the little fella didn't have much of a chance.

It's possible the mother cat rejected him because she knew this; it's also possible the mother cat still has more kittens inside her, that will be born at the right time. I'm not sure what this means as she is scheduled to be spayed on Friday. This is always a touchy area for TNR advocates. We want to improve the quality of life for cats that are here now; part of this involves sterilizing cats to prevent future cats further crowding their environment. But what do you do when a cat is so far along that her kittens can survive? This makes me imagine all manner of gross surgical situations with kittens, but I'll leave that to the real vets.

Anyway, it's still disappointing we were able to save the kitten, but we have so many other cats to take care of it would have been insurmountable to do it all. Still, if we encounter any more rejected kittens, we now have a big supply of kitten formula and a little know-how which we may put to good use.

Even the muggers are off the streets by eight

So I'm back from Singapore again, another business trip of dubious utility. I didn't have too much trouble adjusting to the 13 hour time difference while I was there, but I'm having a hard time getting back on schedule here. I keep waking up at 5 AM and it's annoying. I guess I should think of something practical to do. Barring that, I can write a post. Singapore was nice and warm, and I finally checked out Little India and had some really good vegetarian Indian food. It's nice to wander into a place and look around at the buffet to see nothing but vegetarian food just as a matter of course. The only thing to worry about is what stuff had butter in it, but when in Rome …

Which is another annoying thing: my company hanged its web filter process AGAIN, so now my website is no longer blocked. Yay; however, they now block all blogger related sites, so I can't get to the control panel to post new entries. Grrr. I think if I had MT or WP or something I could do everything through my domain and not have this issue. But the likelihood of me sitting around, figuring out at long last how to put together a real blog seems small. I guess I'll just have save up my A-material for early-morning posts like these! Lucky you.

While I was gone our little kitten got neutered and vaccinated, so soon he'll be on the adoption market. He won't have any trouble finding a home, he's super cute and very gregarious, plus he has a funny, froggy little voice. Quite a package. It almost seems unfair to have such an easy case. Most of our other adoption cases were much harder, but adopting out a friendly 4-month old kitten sounds like something we could do in our sleep. Let's hope so, anyway.

Where's the street-wise Hercules

The other day I heard the whining of a cat. This is obviously not that unusual around my house, but it was coming from outside. Which okay is also not all that unusual. But anyway this whining was more pained or forlorn or whatever, so it got my attention. I looked out and saw a black and white cat on a stoop across the street, crying at the door. The cat looked suspiciously like Marbles, who also used to sit on various stoops before we took her inside. It seemed pretty clear it lived in the house and wanted back in.

As I watched the cat, the neighbor next door to the cat emerged with their enormous Rottweiler. The dog is a fairly docile female, obviously not one of the 'bad' Rotts. But still, she's a big, big dog. The guy brought her down and started walking her down the sidewalk, oblivious to the cat. The dog immediately snapped to attention, pulling on the leash to try to get closer to the cat. The guy, skinny and generally unhealthy-looking, was having a lot of trouble controlling her; he pulled with all his strength and still the dog inched forward.

I don't even think the dog had an malicious intent, she just wanted to get up closer. It yanked the guy right over to the stoop, within a few feet of the cat. Now here's the funny part, the cat stood its ground and fought back!

You shoulda seen this little cat, all arched-back and puffed-out tail, hissing and growling at this enormous dog, rearing up and spitting. This was either one tough cookie or one stupid feline. The dog still leaned on the leash, the guy still struggled to pull her back to the sidewalk. Eventually he got the dog to walk further down the street. I figured the encounter was over, but a minute later they were heading back, but now the guy had a tree branch in his hand.

The cat was still on the stoop, and so the dog was still straining to get at it. So with one hand trying to hold back the dog, the guy starts swatting at the cat with the stick! The cat growls at him but doesn't run away, it just stays out of arm's (stick's) reach. The guy keeps swinging the stick, forcing the cat over to the areaway. Now he's trying to hit the cat by sticking the stick through the bars of the fence. The cat is hiding under some patio furniture, but keeps coming out as if to taunt the doofus. It would have been hilarious if he hadn't been serious.

By this point he's really trying to hurt the cat. At first I thought he was trying to shoo it away so the dog wouldn't be distracted, but now it's pretty obvious he's locked in a battle of wits, and he's unarmed. Except for that stick. He's swearing at the cat as his blows hit nothing but the neighbor's grill; the cat may actually think this is all a game. This guy is the same brain surgeon who got into an argument with the mailman a couple weeks before, resulting in a block-long shouting match as he questioned the mailman's manhood the further he got down the street.

So I'm trying to figure what to do. I want to go out and hit the guy in the head with a brick. I decide to try a passive method, then escalate if necessary. I go out on my stoop with a broom and start sweeping up the leaves (needed to be done anyhow). The Brave One shuts up right quick, drops the stick and disappears inside with the dog. What a douchebag. Did it even occur to him that his neighbors might not like it if he were to bash in the head of their pet? It's assholes like this that give the neighborhood a bad name. The guy's on my shitlist from now on; I've got a tree branch with his name on it.

I'm pretty sure everybody on the block knows about me and our cats, so I'm sure the guy got the message just from me coming outside. I went to check on the cat, it turned out to be a female kitten about 6 months old! What a little sparkplug! She kept on whining, so I brought her over to my stoop and gave her some food. She sunned herself for a while and then left. I didn't see, but I'm hoping she got back in her house. If not, she at least knows where to go if she gets locked out again.