you guys! it's Albus!

  • Oct. 6th, 2011 at 11:07 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
Or as he is now called, Seeley:

seeley II

This is the only time I've ever been in touch with someone who adopted one of my foster kittens, so it's probably the only picture I'll ever get of one of them all grown up. Look at how pretty he is! His colorpoints have gotten a lot darker, too!

For reference, here he is as a kitten:



And as a REALLY little kitten, on the left:

Albus and Zippy

[Images are all of a lynx-point kitty with pale eyes, in various stages of his life.]

I'd know those eyes anywhere. ♥

bye-bye kittens

  • Nov. 1st, 2010 at 11:42 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
I took the kittens back today. Sigh. It was easier this time. I knew what to expect, and I was able to mentally prepare myself a little bit beforehand. I wish I'd spent more time with them this morning, though, because I felt so crappy that I ended up taking a too-long nap on the couch and then it was almost time to take them to the vet.

I also forgot my camera so I couldn't take One Last Photo of them, but I do have plenty of photos on flickr already and even more that I haven't uploaded yet.

I am, honestly, so proud of these kitties. After weeks of mewling piteously all the way to the vet's office, today they barely made a peep. They just sat quietly in their carrier. I don't know if they knew today was different, or if they just trust me now, not to take them anywhere horrible. I've taken them to my parents' house to meet the doggy, and to a friend's house to meet her kitty, and both times I think they had fun, the latter time especially. So I think they know now that a ride in the car doesn't necessarily mean something awful is going to happen.

In general I think they are well-adjusted kitties and will be great in their new families. Barnaby is the most self-assured and he'll do fine in whatever situation he's placed in--dogs, kids, babies, ferrets, whatever. Simon needs a little more watching, because he still thinks the world is his to chew on, but he's a sweetie and someone is going to enjoy giving him belly rubs. Albus is shy at first, but friendly and affectionate once he gets to know you, and I feel like he's really come out of his shell in the time I've had him.

The vet (one I hadn't seen before) even said she remembered those kittens from when they were really sick, and was glad to see them looking so healthy and happy. Yay for happy kitties.

I had fun filling out their personality profiles. I'm going to miss Simon's chirps and trills, and Albus's big eyes and soft fur, and Barnaby's quiet companionship. But I'm not devastated like I was when I gave Ramona and Oliver back. Either I'm getting used to the experience and Growing As A Person, or the meds are turning me into a soulless robot.

And Hypatia is happy they're gone of course. She walked around my room very tentatively at first, as if expecting a kitten to jump out at her at any moment. Poor bb, scared of those little tiny cats.

In other news I signed up for NaNoWriMo. With the help of some Twitter encouragement (thanks @baileykelsey), I got several hundred words out last night, by the simple philosophy of "it doesn't have to have a plot or be about anything in particular, just don't stop writing for fifteen minutes." So I ended up with some stream-of-consciousness stuff that may become thoughts in the head of a character. It doesn't resemble anything like a novel yet, but I'm starting with VERY low expectations for myself, because if I try to make it make sense or have a recognizable plot, I'm going to get paralyzed and stop writing. The point of NaNo is to silence the inner editor, so fuck you, inner editor.

Anyway, I'm notemily (as usual) on there so add me if you're NaNoing too!

Kitten photo time:

EXTRA kitten photos today, click to see! )

The kittens will be neutered tomorrow and then up on the Humane Society website the following day, so watch for them! And don't forget to vote tomorrow! Especially if you're in Wisconsin and hate that asshole Scott Walker as much as I do!

kittens, dogs, and "customer service"

  • Oct. 25th, 2010 at 10:36 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (dude watchin' with the brontes)
So, the rest of the weekend with kittens and doggy worked out well. After they had adjusted to the new surroundings, I opened the door and let them sniff the doggy through the baby-gate, and vice versa. They were very curious, and so was he, and eventually they learned that they could climb over the baby gate and actually hang out with him.

They had varying reactions to actually being near the dog. Tanner would try to get up close and sniff at them curiously, but he was kind of excited and not always too polite about it. Simon hissed at him whenever he got too close, but didn't mind being in the same room. Albus just ran away when he got nosey, and Barnaby would just be like "Um, what exactly are you trying to do here? Can you not sniff my butt?" Barnaby was the most tolerant, so of course he had to endure the most butt-sniffing, poor guy.

Eventually they explored the whole house and had a ton of fun sliding all around the hardwood floors and chasing each other across rooms way larger than the one they live in at my apartment. They were a little too interested in chewing on/knocking over the plants, and Simon of course found the cords to the kitchen blinds ENDLESSLY FASCINATING, but there were no major mishaps. I did discover that they like to scratch on wicker furniture, which would be a problem if they actually lived there for any length of time.

Honestly I think Tanner was more nervous about the whole thing than they were, in the end. He didn't know quite what to make of them. He's at least ten times their size, but at one point he actually jumped into my lap Scooby-Doo style, like "PROTECT ME FROM THESE VICIOUS FELINES!" He would also try to hide behind me, which was funny because the kittens would ALSO try to hide behind me to protect them from HIM, so it was a weird game of musical animals where I was the only chair.

By the time my parents got home, all the kitties were sitting on me while I watched TV and Tanner was on the couch next to us. I think he was still a little jealous that he couldn't sit in my lap, though.

The kittens have now happily settled back in at my apartment. I let them out to roam around for a while today, but it was upsetting Hypatia so Kate made me put them back in my room. Hypatia is so weird about them. She'll poke her head into my room, encounter a kitten, hiss at it and back out. She KNOWS they're in here, but she tries to come in anyway. I wish I could explain to her that it's just temporary, that she's still my #1 kitty, but she's in defense-mode all the time with hissing and low growls. They're obviously curious about her, but they respect her space and back off if she growls at them. I wish everyone could get along!

Simon has been throwing up today, and he doesn't seem too hungry for dinner, but then again the other two took like five bites of dinner and then went to sleep, so either they're all just sleepy and full from munching on dry food, or they're all coming down with some kind of sickness. NO MOAR SICKNESSES! I COMMAND IT!

Barnaby's eye is still runny, even though I've re-started the eye drops, which is worrying. It's a good thing he's so docile and tolerant of me putting liquid in his eyes. He doesn't like it, but he doesn't try to fight his way out of my arms.

I myself have been feeling like crap. Lots of headaches and general brain-no-worky. I know I'd feel better if I did my mindfulness practice, but for some reason once I've stopped doing it regularly, it's really hard to start again. Like flossing.

At work there was this inane survey that was supposed to teach us to be better at customer service, but it was just a bunch of those trick questions like "Is it legal for a man to marry his widow's sister?" and "If a plane crashes on the border between US and Canada, where do you bury the survivors?" (Answers, of course, are that widows have dead husbands and you don't bury survivors.) I guess it was supposed to teach us to look beyond the obvious and REALLY LISTEN to customers, but I could think of way better ways to do that than with something out of a much-forwarded email from the 90s.

I was really incensed by this; it just seemed like such Office Space corporate management pieces of flair bullshit. So I wrote down a bunch of sarcastic answers, including some that referred to internet memes ("How many birthdays does the average woman have in her lifetime?" "OVER 9000"), and some that were actually serious ("How many animals did Moses take on the Ark?" "This question assumes a Judeo-Christian upbringing and is therefore biased.") and signed it Hermione Granger. I... hope I don't get fired.

The thing is, and probably the reason why I was so angry, is that I ACTUALLY CARE about customer service. REAL customer service. Things like: Looking at my job from the library patron's perspective. Not using library jargon when talking to patrons. Working to consciously overcome my subconscious racist, sexist, ableist, ageist, anti-homeless, and other kyriarchical attitudes while talking to patrons. Thinking about how to make the library more accessible to people with disabilities. (Actually training clerks on things like how to deal with patrons who are blind and can't type in their own PIN number, to use one of many examples, would be helpful too.) Not blaming customers for bad design (if most patrons can't figure out how to use our self check-out machine, it's not because they're stupid, it's because the interface isn't very well-designed). Making the wording on signs as clear as possible. Not having rules that don't make sense or that have giant loopholes in them. Etc.

I won't claim to be the perfect library clerk by any means, but I know that customer service is NOT just about having a Positive Attitude and Making Eye Contact*, and it's certainly not about answering trick questions. So don't give me some bullshit survey and tell me it's supposed to make me better at customer service. Or I WILL go Hermione Granger on your ass. (I'm still spending most of my internet time over at Mark Reads Harry Potter. Because it is awesome.)

*Speaking of which, some training in common developmental disabilities and neuroatypicality and how those patrons' needs may be different than other patrons' needs would be nice.

AND NOW, for your amusement, Albus will attempt to eat my computer.

OM NOM NOM
[Image description: a Siamese kitten lying under the base of a laptop computer, trying to gnaw on it.]

And Simon will look pretty.


[Image description: a gray tabby kitten lying on a peach-toned blanket.]

Pictures of kittens meeting Tanner coming soon.
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
Whew! Today has been long and it's taken a toll on the kittens.

I'm dog-sitting for my parents this weekend, starting this morning, but the kittens had an appointment to get checked out this afternoon, and I didn't want to move them over to my parents' house until I knew they were going to be staying with me for another week. So I left them at my place, hung out with the dog for a bit, and then came back to take them to the Humane Society.

I saw a new vet this time, one I hadn't seen before. She was really nice and you could tell she really liked working with the kittens. She weighed them and checked them out. Albus is three pounds now (go, Albus!) and Barnaby is FOUR POUNDS! Simon is, as usual, in the middle. Everyone seems to be steadily gaining about half a pound a week.

The kittens have mostly recovered from their cold except for some occasional sneezing, but Barnaby has a runny eye. It was relieved temporarily by eye drops but as soon as I stopped the eye drops, the runniness came back. So the vet gave me more eye drops and said we'll see if that happens again.

Normally when I go there, the vet just weighs them and then gives me their meds and food and I take them home. But today they were due for all kinds of treatments. They got de-wormed, de-flead (probably don't need it but just in case), and they got a distemper vaccination. The vet warned me that they might be kind of sore in the shoulder where they got the shot, and to watch for any signs that showed they were having a reaction to the vaccine, like hives or vomiting.

So they were already kind of worn out by the time I brought them home, and THEN I had to move them, their litter box, their bed, their scratching post, their food and meds, a huge bag of kitty litter, and several cat toys over to my parents' house. This took a few trips and the kittens were nervous and confused.

When I got here, Tanner was SUPER curious about what was inside the cat carrier and followed me upstairs, sniffing it. I told him to stay out and put the kittens in the room where Hypatia stayed when she was here, and then went to work setting up all their stuff. They hid under the bed at first, but they would venture out curiously every once in a while to look around until they got spooked and hid again. Michelle, the girl who walks Tanner every day, came up to look at them and was especially enchanted by Albus. Everyone is, he's so cute. He was kind of scared though (OMG NEW PEOPLE) and didn't want to come out from under the bed.

All this I expected. But after Michelle left, the kittens started to behave strangely. They all lay down as if they were tired, but Albus and Barnaby were shivering. At first I thought it was out of fear, which would make sense for shy Albus, but Barnaby is always curious and doesn't usually get so scared that he would shiver. (Simon seemed fine, he was purry as usual. Nothing slows him down, I suppose, not even tapeworms.)

Albus went to sleep in the bed with Simon. Barnaby curled up and went to sleep on my arm, but he didn't purr when I petted him, and he was really hard to wake up. I would pick him up and he would half-open his eyes and look dazed. He stopped shivering after a few minutes, but he just kept sleeping and hardly opened his eyes. Plus, his breathing was shallow and rapid. I started to feel dread in the pit of my stomach. To look at Barnaby's face and not see his curious, alert eyes looking back--well, I was pretty scared.

I started googling vaccination side effects and shock and everything else I could think of. The websites all said that some lethargy was a mild side effect of the distemper vaccine, but they also said IF YOUR CAT SHOWS ANY SIDE EFFECTS CALL YOUR VET. So I put in a call to the foster people, on the answering machine. I wasn't sure if this was enough of an emergency to call the main line and go HELP at them. They haven't called me back, which either means it's not an emergency or they didn't check their messages.

I was afraid the shivering meant he was cold, so I put him under the blankets and against my chest. But then I read that shivering could mean fever so I wasn't sure what to do. His gums were pale, which is a sign of poor circulation, but I checked the other kittens and their gums were equally pale, so I didn't know what to think. I was like BARNABY STAY WITH ME and rubbing his limbs to try to keep his circulation up. It frightened me that he barely responded to me rubbing him all over. (Incidentally, Max and I are going to watch One Hundred and One Dalmatians tonight. I felt like Roger in the scene where he tries to revive the stillborn puppy. Rub rub rub)

Eventually I just let him sleep, but I watched his breathing and kept one hand under his chest to monitor his heart. I think I fell asleep for a little while, too. I woke up to feed the dog, and when I came back upstairs he seemed a little more alert and Barnaby-like. (The other kittens kept hiding under the bed when I opened the door, so I knew they were ok and moving around.) He was still sleepy, and I thought he was shivering again, but it turned out he was just purring, yay!

Simon was exploring the room, so I pulled out a toy mouse and threw it for him. I didn't really expect him to play if he was still nervous, but he played with it right away and then Albus got in on the action. After a few minutes, Barnaby got up from the bed and joined in the play--and then he ate some food! He was all right!

I was SO relieved. I was afraid that by getting him vaccinated and then stressing him out with the move, I had made him really sick. STOP ALMOST DYING AND GETTING RANDOM SCARY SYMPTOMS, KITTENS. I COMMAND YOU.

Once they are more comfortable with the room, I will open the door a crack (I have the baby gate up) and let them sniff the dog. If they aren't terrified, then I can leave the door open and let them jump over the baby gate to explore the rest of the house. I'm hoping the temptation of OMG A WHOLE HOUSE will override their misgivings about the dog, but we'll see. If they're still scared of him, there's no problem with keeping them in the room for the few days I'm here.

Let's have a Barnaby party for the pictures today:

superkitten
[Image description: My roommate, Kate, lying on a bed, holding a tuxedo kitten up in the air over her head.]

autumn kitty
[Image description: A tuxedo kitten crouched on a sunny windowsill, looking to the left.]

ohai barnaby
[Image description: A tuxedo kitten sitting on a sunny windowsill, looking up at the camera with large amber eyes.]

Glad to have you back, Barney.

Little cats

  • Oct. 19th, 2010 at 10:51 AM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
I'm really enjoying the stage the kittens are at right now. I think of it as the settling-down phase, and it happened around the same age (11-12 weeks) with Oliver and Ramona. There's much less of me having to run around after them cleaning up poo and disentangling them from the curtain cord. They've learned to groom themselves by now, for one thing, and are getting as fastidious as all cats are about it. They're still very playful, but they don't play ALL THE TIME now--they sleep more, and they can sleep for most of the night, which is nice for me.

They're just generally more relaxed, I think. Instead of fighting all the time, they now have a pretty good cuddle/fight ratio going on. They'll get into little purr-piles and groom each other or just sleep on each other adorably. They trust me and the routine of their days that I've made for them.

Of course all this peace is going to be turned upside-down soon, when they go off to get adopted, but I feel like having this time to be calm and stress-free helps them deal with it later. I have no idea if that's actually true, of course, but I feel like they will be more well-adjusted kitties than if they had been adopted earlier. (Not that it's bad to be adopted early--it just means their adoptive families will have to deal with their more difficult young-kitten stage instead of their foster families, heh.) I can't guarantee that they will be happy in their future lives (I wish I could), but I can say that they're happy right now, and have been well cared-for during these weeks that are so important to their development as kitties. It's good to know that.

It looks like I might be bringing them to my parents' house while I dog-sit, because Barnaby's eye is still watering a lot and I'm guessing the vet won't want him to be neutered until that problem is cleared up. Not sure about that, of course, but I'll see her on Wednesday or Thursday to talk about it. My parents are leaving on Thursday morning.

Barnaby is my little quiet guy. Sometimes I'll look up from whatever I'm doing to see that he has curled up beside me and gone to sleep while I wasn't looking. He's got a great calmness and focus about him, and he hardly ever bites. I think of him as the more "mature" kitten, the "big brother," because of his personality and because he was so much farther advanced than the others from the start. (They all look the same size to me now, which is pretty astonishing. No more runts in this litter; Albus grew like a weed.)

Did I show you guys Barnaby's secret yet?

Barnaby's secret
[Image description: A tuxedo kitten and a gray tabby kitten, lying in the sun next to a cage.]

Look closely. Barnaby has stripes! He's a secret tabby!

They're only visible under certain lights or if you're looking for them, but after close inspection I have determined that his black fur is not, indeed, all black. It's striped with very dark brown. I like that, not only because it makes him special, but because the other two kitties have tabby markings, too. It's something that marks them as siblings even though they look so different.

Albus says hi.

Albus (and Simon)
[Image description: A Siamese kitten looking at the camera with big round eyes.]
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
So far in this one litter of kittens, we have had:

- A very bad coccidia infection, resulting in Zippy's death :(
- Three URIs
- One mysterious case of bloody urine (Albus)
- Several recurring bouts of diarrhea
- One erroneously-sexed kitten (Simon, a.k.a. Matilda)
- One eye (Barnaby's right) that won't stop watering
- At least one tapeworm

Whew! Again, I am so glad this wasn't my first litter. They are all doing well now. There are still a few sneezes and mild poop issues, and Barnaby's eye is still watering occasionally, but I'm happy to report they are free of both serious illnesses and mysterious symptoms. (FOR NOW.) And we're pretty sure everyone is a boy. (The Humane Society is still confused on this point, asking me which one had the tapeworm--"Was it the girl?" "Uh, there's no girl.")

In other feline news, a friend from work came over to see the kittens and brought catnip-filled toys. The kittens were just like "meh," but Hypatia loved the catnip. She rolled around on the floor, meowing and rubbing up against everything, quite unlike her usual aloof self. Hee, silly kitty.

It's getting to the point where I have to start thinking about what to put on the forms, in terms of their personalities and such. It's difficult because they all love to play and they all love to purr while you pet them, pretty much in equal amounts. They seem so different in my mind, but the differences are hard to describe. "Albus is just so... so Albus, you know?"

Simon plays kind of rough and will attack anything even vaguely stringlike (or anything moving), but he also purrs the loudest and comes over for petting the most often. Barnaby has turned out to be the nicest, hardly ever biting or scratching (humans anyway), just curling up quietly beside you. If you pet him he will purr appreciatively, but if you don't that's cool too. He looooves his crinkly fish toy. Albus prefers a furry mouse, and while he will romp and play with the best of them, when he wants pets he WILL let you know.

But in my head they are:

Barnaby: "Oh, this petting is most delightful."
Albus: "Petting! Yaaay petting! Moar petting! HEY I SAID MOAR PETTING."
Simon: "Is someone else getting pettings? I must also get pettings! GIVE ME ALL THE PETTINGS. YOU WILL NEVER SATISFY MY HUNGER FOR PETTINGS."

Albus: "What's that over there? Oh hey, what's that over THERE? Hey, this thing is cool too! Rawr, mousie!"
Simon: "MUST DESTROY THE STRING MUST DESTROY THE STRING MUST DESTROY THE STRING" *falls over*
Barnaby: "Yeah, I can totally jump that high. I got this."

whiskers
[Image description: a tuxedo kitten shot from a low angle, his white whiskers standing out prominently against the black fur of his face.]

shade and sun
[Image description: two kittens lying on a bed facing each other, their front paws entwined. The tuxedo kitten is in shadow, while the gray tabby lies in the sun.]

sitting quietly
[Image description: two kittens sitting on a bed. The Siamese is looking at the camera while the gray tabby is looking at something slightly to the viewer's right.]

Simon always looks like he has black eyeliner on. Cheer up, emo kitten! (He's really a happy kitten. Especially when he gets belly-rubs.)

random kitten-related things

  • Oct. 12th, 2010 at 12:08 AM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
I noticed today when Max came over to play with the kitties that Barnaby and Albus are MUCH closer in size than they used to be. Yay for Albus putting on weight!

Their health is kind of complicated right now. They're all still sneezing but they're getting better in that respect, and nobody is having runny eyes anymore. However, they all seem to have gotten diarrhea from the antibiotics. I ran out of probiotics to mix in with their food, so I'll get more when I can. I think they were doing better before I ran out.

Poor Barnaby threw up today, twice. TMI: the first time was food and the second was just... bile, I guess. That kind of worried me, especially since he was mewing and crying beforehand like he was in pain. I was scared for a while like OH NO WHAT IF HE ATE SOMETHING THAT IS POISON! But he seems fine now, he's been eating and playing and everything.

Barnaby is really growing on me. I know I shouldn't play favorites and all, and they're all lovable, but I've been growing especially attached to him lately. He's such a chill kitty. Simon and Albus will DEMAND attention, which is cute but can get annoying (especially when you're trying to type something *cough*). Barnaby will just come curl up next to you and chill out. He's a good companion. A Sidekick, maybe.

I tried letting the kittens sleep outside of the cage last night, which worked for a while, but I woke up around 6 a.m., first with kittens sitting on my face and purring--I appreciate the thought, guys, really--and then with them wrestling each other all over my bed. I was like "OK, you're going in the cage and I am getting some sleep."

Barnaby has made two successful escape attempts so far! He hasn't gotten very far, mostly because he's been awed at how much STUFF there is in the rest of the apartment. He just stops and looks all around, and then I catch him. Hypatia is not happy when she sees him. I still can't let them out, because they're still coughing and sneezing sometimes. Maybe in a week or so if they're better.

Hypatia also did a reverse-escape-attempt today: I had the kittens in the cage with the door to the Kitten Room open a crack to air it out (smelly cats), and she snuck into the room and jumped onto the windowsill (her usual perch). I grabbed her and carried her back out, and the WHOLE TIME, she complained EXTREMELY LOUDLY. It sounded like this: RAEOOWWRAOWOOOWRAAAAOOOOW! I translated that as BUT IT'S MY ROOM WHY CAN'T I BE IN IT STUPID KITTENS IT'S MY ROOM MINE MINE MINE, etc.

After I kicked her out, I turned around, and the kittens were staring at me like O____O WHAT WAS THAT. That was your grumpy foster-sister. Hee.

OH, and I am happy to report that for the past few days I have not seen ANY blood in Albus's pee. YAY HEALTHY KITTEN!! They have a checkup tomorrow so I'll be glad to report that to the vet.

My parents are going out of town in a week and a half and they need me to dog-sit. I hope the kittens are healthy enough to be adopted by then. Not that I want to give them back of course, but if I still have them, I'll have to take them to my parents' house, which would be an ordeal. It'd be interesting to see them interact with the dog, though.

Picture time!

This is my favorite picture of Albus ever. o_O

Belleh rubs?
[Image description: A Siamese kitten exposing his belly with one eye half closed as if to say, "How YOU doin'?"]

Barnaby says "O hai, I was just attacking this pillow here."

?
[Image description: A tuxedo (black-and-white) kitten lying upside-down on a bed, looking at the viewer with his paws on a pillow.]

Simon explores the books.


[Image description: A tabby kitten standing on a row of books in a windowsill.]

I cleaned out my camera today and there are MANY MORE awesome kitten photos to come in the next few days. You can find everything at the kittens' flickr set.

Now I have three kittens purring on me. Aww. They are such sweeties. ♥

kitten update, with pictures!

  • Oct. 6th, 2010 at 10:04 AM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
I'm reading a blog right now about two cats raising thirteen kittens, and potential adopters are apparently picking out kittens without ever meeting them, just saying "I want a black one" or "I want the tuxedo girl." Now, I used to understand why people pick out cats and kittens purely based on coloring and markings. I wanted a calico when I was little. But after having foster kittens, I would never pick out a kitten based on coloring alone anymore. Their personalities are so different. You have to find one whose personality works for you--then they will seem beautiful, no matter what they look like.

I think all these kittens are gorgeous. Albus, of course, has the wonderful lynx-point markings and haunting ice-blue eyes. Barnaby is sleek and mostly black, with a teardrop-shaped patch of white on the left side of his face that gives him a great rakish look. And Simon, the grey tabby, might seem average-looking at first, but he has a couple of secrets. If you look at him from the back, you see he has a hidden white stripe running up the back of his tail. And my favorite thing is that he has both black and white whiskers. I've never seen that on a cat before, just white ones.

My point is you can find something beautiful in every cat, especially if you know and love them. Oliver was a pretty common tabby-and-white, but he was the sweetest thing ever and I would have kept him in a heartbeat no matter what he looked like.

I took the cats to the vet yesterday. We still don't know what's wrong with Albus that he's got blood in his urine. The vet gave me permission to cut his medication by half because I think it's what's causing his diarrhea, so we'll see how that goes. The other two are having runny eyes, so I got eye drops for them, which of course they hate. And they're all on a new antibiotic to see if it works better against their colds.

Barnaby cracks me up--every time I get out the medication, he runs over to see what's going on. Then I grab him and medicate him and he hates it, and I'm like "well you shouldn't have been so curious!" (Of course I love that he's so curious.) The kittens also got weighed yesterday, and Barnaby is nearly a FULL POUND heavier than Albus. He's an Albus and a half! Simon is somewhere in-between, which always makes me smile because gray is between black and white. They really do look like an illustration of HTML color values when they're all in a row.

I had a migraine (STILL HAVE IT) and I couldn't take sleeping on the couch last night, so I slept in my room with the kittens. They make little squeaky noises in their sleep! So adorable. Also, I didn't have to deal with the guilty feeling I get when I close the door on them for the night and they're all looking at me like Y U LEAVING??

These kittens are all so nice. They have minimal problems with biting and scratching, probably because they have each other to play with. They all want petting-and-purring time to various degrees, which leads to some dilemmas since there are three kittens and I only have two hands. But it's nice to have such sweet kitties.

Pictures for your enjoyment:

Barnaby and Albus, chilling on their first day back:


[Image description: a tuxedo (black-and-white) kitten and a Siamese kitten, lying down next to a pair of knees wearing jeans.]

Simon sleepin':

sleepy Simon
[Image description: a gray kitten sleeping on a jeans-clad leg. Sunlight is shining from the window in back of the kitten, giving him a glowy look.]

Albus's wonderful eyes:

ice-blue eyes
[Image description: closeup of a Siamese kitten's face, showing his pale blue eyes.]

As always, more at the flickr set.

kitten update, late-night edition

  • Oct. 3rd, 2010 at 2:35 AM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
Health: Albus is doing fine and seems like a perfectly healthy kitten, except that his pee is still pink. I think it's getting less pink? Hard to tell, especially now I've switched to the multi-cat litter, which is darker. Albus and Simon (formerly Matilda) both have diarrhea, but I'm betting that's from the antibiotics. Stinky kitties.

Everyone is still coughing and sneezing, although Simon less than the other two. Barnaby has a bit of a watery eye; I will look at that some more tomorrow. Albus has two more days on his bladder medication and then we'll see where he's at.

Other: I went to Pet Supplies Plus today and gave the kitten cage a MAKEOVER. (Every time I go to the pet store I buy way too much stuff, and I always expect them to be like "wait, you got ANOTHER new cat?" No, I just like buying things for cats. Shut up.)

I bought a huge triangular litter box (to fit in corners) with extremely high sides (for kittens who dig) but a low entrance (for kittens who can't climb very high). It's a bit big, takes up half the cage, but it was the only one with both high sides and a low entrance, so I bought it. The diarrhea thing makes the kittens dig extra hard to cover up the smell, so litter gets EVERYWHERE. So far I am very pleased with this new box and the kittens seem to like it as well.

Is anyone else really annoyed with those litter mats that have plastic "scribbles" all over? Like this. Sure, they catch litter, but then HOW DO YOU CLEAN THEM? Hypatia has one of these and it's impossible to get the litter out. So, I bought the kittens a mat that's basically a plastic tray with shallow ridges on it. It wipes clean. Another worthwhile purchase.

I ALSO bought the kittens a BED. A plush fluffy bed with fleece and high sides. I've just been putting blankets down for them to sleep on (and then my own fleece sweatshirts when I run out of blankets and need to do laundry *cough*), but they just sort of huddle in the corner and I got the feeling they would like a proper bed. I am so glad I got them one! Albus and Simon both kneaded at the fleece right away, then Albus settled in and started purring. Barnaby also purred when he got in. Soft kitty beds FTW!

Here is a picture of them enjoying their new bed. You can also see the edge of the litter box and the litter mat here.



That's Albus (buff), Simon (gray) and Barnaby (black).

Off to sleep in my own decidedly less awesome resting-place.

don't celebrate quite yet...

  • Sep. 30th, 2010 at 10:34 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
Slightly less good news: Albus had blood in his pee again, AND he peed on my blanket. Sigh. Neither of those things is a good sign. Peeing outside of the box means he is associating the litter box with pain. I'm hoping the blood just means the medication needs more time to do its job. He's still eating and drinking and fighting with his brothers and bein' cute, so we'll see how things are tomorrow.

I'm more worried about his health than my blanket, of course, but he needs to learn to only go in the litter box. I tried to put him in the cage until he went in the box, but he just looked SO SAD at being alone in there that I took pity and let him out. :( (He was like "Don't... don't you like me??" *HUGE KITTEN EYES* *tiny, pitiful mew* and I was like I AM A HORRIBLE PERSON.)

I feel silly now for getting my hopes up that he was completely fine. But we'll see what happens tomorrow. In retrospect I'm glad these kids weren't my first litter--I don't know how well I would have coped. Oliver and Ramona just had colds, and the worst health problem I had to deal with was when Ramona got diarrhea from the antibiotics.

Sometimes, though, I think about how sick Oliver was on the first day I got him, how he had sounds of congestion in his lungs when he breathed, how tiny he was, and how long it took him to recover, and I wonder if he was maybe closer to the edge than I realized. Their little bodies are so fragile. I'm so glad he got healthy, because he is the sweetest kitten ever, and is probably making some family very happy right now.

These kitties are so sweet, they're so easy to take care of besides the health problems. They're not very bitey or scratchy to people and they don't want to chew on cords as much as Oliver & Ramona did. They mostly wrestle each other and then they want to come sleep on me. I took a nap while I was in their room and I woke up with a line of three kittens snuggled up against me. ♥.

By the way, if you have kittens? I bought one of these pop-up play cubes for them, and they LOVE IT. It's not very structurally sound--it keeps threatening to collapse on itself--but the kittens don't care, they are ALL OVER that thing. Even when it's all squashed and misshapen, they love it. Sometimes they even sleep in it.

I want to get a cat tree for them, since there aren't a lot of good climbing opportunities in my room besides my bed (which they are still kind of daunted by, especially the "climbing down" part), but they're so expensive, even the simple ones. I want one with multiple "shelves" so that multiple kittens can be on it at once, but I'm so broke right now. *opens wallet* *moths fly out*

I tried to rig up some kind of hammock inside their cage using a pillow case and lots of string, but it ended up being more of a canopy above their sleeping-place. I need something sturdier that will take their weight. I hate that Midwest, the maker of the cage, doesn't sell cat shelves individually anymore.

Thanks for everybody's comments about Zippy and about the other kitties. They do help. *hugs all*

good kitten news!

  • Sep. 30th, 2010 at 2:23 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
I took Albus to the vet this morning, after getting the day off work from an understanding boss. I had to take the other kittens as well, because they were thinking of taking them all back for observation (they like to keep kittens with their siblings for socialization purposes). When I got there, the receptionist said all the vets were in surgery and I should just leave the kittens there. I was determined to stay with them, though, and a few minutes later she said my regular vet (the one who saw Oliver and Ramona) was available.

I didn't even have to go into an exam room. The vet came out and examined Albus and said his bladder was not very full, so he probably didn't have a blockage, and he didn't seem like he was having toxins build up in his system. She explained the medication they give to kittens with urinary problems, and said they would probably keep them through the weekend. I told her I was worried that the stress of going back and forth between my house and the vet's office was taking a toll on their health. (I didn't say it, but I was also thinking Last time I gave you these kittens, one of them died. I know that's irrational and kittens die all the time, but I kept thinking that their health would be much better with someone to pet them and love them as well as give them medical care, and with a big room to run around in instead of just a cage.) So she said I could just give him the medication at home, watch him closely, and call her in a couple of days to tell her how he was doing, or earlier if he got worse of course. I was grateful that I got to take them back home instead of "abandoning" them again.

The vet also confirmed that Matilda is actually a boy. (I mean, I could tell, but Kate apparently wanted a second opinion.) She remembered that the litter had originally been "two boys and two girls," so I wasn't just hallucinating that.

Anyway, I brought the kittens home ("Matilda" cried all the way there AND all the way back, poor thing) and got them re-settled in my room. Then I fixed up some of Albus's special food for sick kitties, and mixed the medicine in with it (it's a capsule filled with powder and you just mix the powder into the food). I gave him that food, and gave the other two their regular kitten food, and they all chowed down. They seemed a little confused that there were two bowls but I just kept picking them up and putting them down in front of the correct bowl. Albus ate A LOT of the food and I was so proud of him and happy that he got the medicine in his system.

I saw him go over to the litter box, dig around, and then have second thoughts and leave. After that, I didn't see him do it, but I'm pretty sure he peed on my bed (my jacket and my pillow were both suspiciously wet). That's apparently common behavior for kitties with urinary problems, because they associate the litter box with pain, so they go somewhere else. After I discovered the pee, I picked him up and put him in the litter box, and he decided it was an acceptable place to pee this time. And this is the awesome part--the pee did not have ANY blood in it! YAY!

So either the medication worked right away (YAY) or the blood last night was a false alarm (ALSO YAY). I'm relieved and extra glad now that I didn't give them back to the HS. I'll continue to give him the meds and watch him closely, just to be sure, but I'm so glad that he seems to be okay.

Funny how much pee and poop can tell you about the health of an animal. :P I used to just be like "oh gross, I have to clean out the litter box!" but now I am checking to make sure there is normal, healthy pee and poop in there.

ANYWAY THIS IS GOOD NEWS. I am going to eat some lunch now and pay attention to the big cat.

more kitten things

  • Sep. 29th, 2010 at 9:07 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (dude watchin' with the brontes)
Well, after that sad news, comes some... surprising news! I was playing with Matilda Rose when I noticed something under her tail. I checked, and... that's right, "Matilda" is a boy! They neglected to tell me this at the Humane Society, ha. I just took their word for the genders because they put blue collars on the boys and red ones on the girls, and Matilda had a red one when the kittens first arrived. So I never checked for myself, and maybe I wouldn't have been able to tell anyway, but now, I can DEFINITELY tell.

Anyway now I need a new name for the gray tabby sweetheart. (Not that cats care about gendered names, but the humans who adopt them do.) I can't stop thinking of him as female right now so it will take me a while to find a boy name that feels right. Suggestions are welcome.

up?

"Matilda" two weeks ago--note the RED collar!

There is also a possibly worrying thing--Albus has blood in his urine. Or maybe it's really watery bloody diarrhea? Hard to tell. Blood in the urine can be a huge warning sign for kittens so I'm wondering if I should call the Foster emergency line--I already left a message on the non-urgent line. If a cat or kitten develops a blockage in his urethra, toxins can become backed up in his system and he can go downhill VERY fast. Albus isn't showing any other symptoms and he's very energetic, but the internets say if the urethra becomes blocked, a cat can go into kidney failure and die within 24 hours.

I really do wonder how close attention they pay to the little kittens there because literally his first time in the litter box since getting here was something bloody. Maybe the symptom just showed up today, but if not, I would have expected them to notice it.

I don't want to lose another kitten :(

:( :( :(

  • Sep. 29th, 2010 at 6:32 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (damage may be severe)
Well, the kittens are back. Minus one.



My sweet little girl, Zippy, didn't make it. :(

She was the sickest. I knew that. But I wanted her to pull through so badly. She was full of purrs all the time, and always ready for cuddling. I'm glad I gave her lots of pets before she went.

They didn't tell me until they called to tell me to pick up the kittens. They were like "by the way, I don't want you to be surprised that there are only three." And this was on my break at work so then I had to work for a couple of hours all sad. I wish they had told me one of the four million times in the past two weeks that I called them to see how the kittens were doing.

The others are big, much bigger than before, and super energetic. They have the sneezes, but they're romping around my room like they never left. Albus, the shy guy, is kinda scared of me again. But I think he will warm up. He did before.

Part of me wonders if there's something I could have done differently. If I had only given her more water, or taken her back to the Humane Society earlier, or not given her a bath since that was probably a shock to her poor system. Or maybe they didn't give her enough love, or enough attention, at the Humane Society. But of course I have no idea what goes on behind the scenes at the HS, and I have no idea if I could have done anything to save her. Probably not. She was so tiny. But it still hurts to lose her. She was special to me, even though I only knew her for a couple of days.

I named her Zipporah, which means "bird." I guess in the end she just flew away.

WHY AM I STILL AWAKE OH GOD

  • Sep. 24th, 2010 at 3:36 AM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
So I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that the kittens are not here. I've been calling every other day to see how they're doing, but the Humane Society is probably getting annoyed with that so I'll just wait for them to call me. Apparently they are over their infection, they just need to make sure they're getting enough to eat? That gives me hope that maybe they will be back here soon, but who knows.

In the meanwhile I have been having something of a self-indulgent week. Letting myself do nothing, be depressed--not too depressed, just mildly S.A.D., be blah, be INTERNET FOREVER, not doing my meditation (bad for me but I don't want to beat myself up about it because that defeats the purpose), staying indoors, eating lots of processed noodle food. My life pretty much revolves around Gossip Girl, pictures of kittens, and Mark Reads Harry Potter right now. Trufax.

I always get vaguely dysthymic at the start of fall. It's the shorter days and also the knowledge of what lies ahead: WISCONSIN WINTER. [insert "DUN DUN DUUUUN" sound here.] Right now, though, we're having a spectacular kind of rainless storm, in which the wind blows all over the place, opening and closing doors in my apartment and scaring the kitty. It's quite warm temperature-wise though. Today actually got up to 80 degrees. Tomorrow's high is 61. I AM CONFUSE

Oh god I have actually stayed up so late that I CAN HEAR KATE'S ALARM CLOCK GOING OFF. WHY

Kitten pictures?

My girl Zippy, short for Zipporah:

the other ear is hiding

Egon, or possibly Bartleby, name not final:

Egon (or Bartleby)

Poor scared Albus:

I haz white toes

Pretty Matilda:

mew?

COME BACK KITTENZ... I LOVEDED YOU

Kitten health update

  • Sep. 16th, 2010 at 8:05 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
I heard from the Humane Society today. My kittens have a coccidia infection. It's a pretty common parasite that causes diarrhea. In kittens, who don't have fully developed immune systems, the complications can be severe, so I'm glad I took them in when I did.

I was all worried when I heard they had an intestinal parasite, like maybe it was my fault, like I didn't scrub out the cage thoroughly enough or something. But it turns out the incubation period for coccidia is around two weeks, so they already had the parasite when I got them. Also, sometimes the stress of moving to a new place can cause infected kittens to develop symptoms. Apparently it's not uncommon for people to bring home a new kitten and then have them start showing signs of infection. (source)

I don't want to count my kittens before they're home, but I'm glad they all made it through the night, and that the vets know what's wrong with them and it can be easily treated. I'll feel better when I have them back here, though, which could take a few days. *frets*

I'm hoping I can use this extra time without kittens to do a little more organizing of my room, so there aren't so many random boxes in my closet for kittens to get lost in. It was very hard to find the little lynx-point boy when he fled in there to hide. But I know myself well enough to know that I might not have the energy for organizing, so we'll see.

Kitten woes :(

  • Sep. 15th, 2010 at 3:50 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
I have to take the kittens back to the Humane Society. At least two of them are having diarrhea issues and I'm pretty sure someone threw up, but I don't know which one. The boys seem fine and I think their poops are fine (can't be sure unless I actually see them go), but both the girls are lethargic, and the tiny lynx-point girl in particular seems dehydrated. I did the test where you pull up the skin on her neck, and it didn't go back down, which is a Bad Sign. I gave her some water with a syringe, and she ate a few bites of food, so that's good. But she still does nothing but sleep and purr.

I think I've got all of them named, but I don't want to reveal yet in case one of the names doesn't stick. I still need a last name.

I don't want to take them back, even if it is just for a few days for observation. I'm afraid the little girl will get sad and anxious without me. I know it's irrational, but I want to be there to pet her all the time. I feel like love is all she has right now. She's just skin and bones.

Oh, also, a minor miracle has been performed with the little lynx-point boy--he was hiding from all human contact for a while, but after Bath Time yesterday Kate was holding him to warm him up, and he started purring! Ever since then, he's been a pretty sociable kitty. I think he likes Kate especially.

I have also learned how to tell the lynx-points apart. The girl has gray toes and blue-green eyes, while the boy has white toes and ice-blue eyes. The girl's fur is a bit grayer than the boy's, as well. The way they're going, soon I'll be able to tell them apart just by size :( because the boy is getting fatter but the girl isn't.

I really don't want to go give them back but I really should, because as the lady on the phone said, kittens can go downhill QUICKLY. Hopefully I can get them back in a day or two and all will be well. I'm scared the little girl is going to take a turn for the worse and I'll never see her again :( :(
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
The Four have arrived!

There is one black boy with white paws and a white splotch on his face, one gray tabby girl, and two lynx-point (that's like Siamese but with tabby accents instead of dark brown) buff-colored kits, one boy and one girl. I let them out to play for a little bit and they are already showing distinct signs of personality.

They are apparently from a feral mother, or so the foster people said, and they are VERY small for their age. They're seven weeks old according to the paperwork, but to me they look small enough to be five or six weeks. They have their grown-up eyes already, but they're tiny and scrawny, especially the lynx-points.

The black kitty is obviously the most advanced. He has way more energy than the other three, romping around constantly, and he had no problem eating solid food. The other three seemed to be more comfortable with wet food. I even saw one of the lynx-points pick up a piece of dry food and drop it again, and then bat at it, like "What is this thing?"

The black kitty is also kind of feisty and doesn't like being picked up or petted. He did purr a bit after I fed him, though. He reminds me of Ramona.

The gray girl is a sweetie. She's smaller than the black boy but bigger than the other two. She has the most classically "fluffy kitten" look. She alternates between exploring with her brother and purring at me. She likes to complain in her little meepy voice.

The lynx-point boy is a hider. He ran into my closet and wouldn't come out, and when he did he was kind of cautious and shy. He plays with his brother, but I get the feeling the black one kind of beats up on him, because he's so tiny.

The lynx-point girl, on the other hand--I thought she was the shyest one at first, because she didn't want to come out of the carrier, but she seems to just want love. She purrs constantly, including while eating, and loves to be petted.

Wikipedia says that most Siamese-type cats are very sociable, and usually "extroverts," but sometimes they can be sensitive and nervous types. The sensitive ones still need a lot of human (and cat) companionship, though. Both of the lynx-points seem shy and nervous at this point, so I wonder if they'll end up being extroverts later.

The lynx-points are both tiny, TINY cats. They're pretty much the same size, so I'm reluctant to take off their collars because then I won't be able to tell them apart! You know, without checking to see which one has the boy bits.

I'm a little worried about the purry lynx-point girl because she has a round pink lump on her belly. It's soft and doesn't seem to hurt, but it's pretty big (about the size of the tip of my index finger) for such a tiny kitty. I'm pretty sure Hypatia had a hernia on her belly once that felt the same, and it went away on its own (my memory is fuzzy on this), but I called the foster people just in case it's something more serious. We'll see what they say.

Also, the lynx-point boy is significantly warmer to the touch than all the other kitties. I hope he doesn't have a fever. :/

Stuff like that makes me think of how fragile these tiny kits are. I know if I keep fostering I'm going to eventually lose a kitten, because that's part of the deal, but that doesn't make the thought of it any less awful.

The Humane Society sent me a pamphlet today asking me to donate. There was a story in there about a kitten they had rescued... from being USED AS A GOLF BALL by some kids. THANKS HUMANE SOCIETY I REALLY NEEDED THAT IMAGE IN MY HEAD. The kitten didn't make it. :(

Hypatia does seem a little less freaked out this time around, but she still whines at the door constantly. There were a funny few minutes when the black kitten and the gray kitten were just STARING at the door, and every so often Hypatia would poke her paw under it and they'd jump. Hee.

I have a feeling they are very quickly going to get too big for the cage. And then too big for my room. THERE ARE FOUR OF THEM AAAAH

Names???

THERE GOES MY LIFE FOR THE NEXT FEW WEEKS

  • Sep. 13th, 2010 at 1:22 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
OMG I AM GETTING FOUR NEW KITTENS

FOUR BRAND-NEW TINYCATS (well not brand-new since they are not newborns otherwise they would still be with their mom prolly BUT STILL THEY ARE NEW TO ME)

AND THEY'RE NOT SICK THIS TIME! They just need to grow up a bit! So I don't have to worry QUITE as much about getting Hypatia sick again. I will still quarantine them in case they have any MYSTERIOUS DISEASES (parvo :( :( :( :( ) that haven't shown up yet.

I AM GOING TO NEED FOUR NAMES
GENDERS NOT YET KNOWN

My poor cat has NO IDEA what she is in for.

:D :D

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