goodbye for some, but not for all

  • Dec. 3rd, 2011 at 1:59 AM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (scared kitty)
I took the kittens in to the vet, and I told her I was worried that Pippin still wasn't over his cold, and also that the kittens were going to mature and start having kittens themselves. She agreed with both things, and said that Solomon and Cora seemed healthy so they would go out for adoption, and I could keep Pippin for another week and see how he's doing after that.

I was a bit worried about Solomon. He was crouched in a corner at the vet, like if he could just make himself small enough, nobody would be able to see him. I hope he finds a patient owner who will care for him and take the time for him to relax and come out of his shell, poor guy. I hated to say goodbye to him.

Cora, I am not worried about at all, very little fazes her and she'll make a great pet for someone. Kate accuses me of not liking her, but I just have a soft spot for the ones who need my help--whether because they're sickly like Pippin, or shy like Solomon, or something else. Cora didn't need any help, so I became less attached to her, even though she is super friendly and cute. I felt similarly about Simon from my second litter. Some kittens just tug at my heartstrings more than others.

Pippin started to cry in his carrier on the way home. He didn't understand where his siblings had gone, I suppose. I took him to the pet store (where everyone cooed over him), got him a teddy bear (it's really a dog toy) and a soft little blanket ("cuddle towel"), and put them in the carrier with him for the rest of the ride home. I don't know if they helped or if he just needed a bit of time, but he was quiet after that and even purred a little bit. Kate says I spoil him, but after getting the teddy-bear-as-comfort idea from a fellow fosterer, I thought this was a good time to try it out.

Ever since he got home, Pippin has been a total love bug. Even more than usual. He just sits curled up in the crook of my arm and purrs and purrs. I'm glad he's such a people-lover, maybe he won't miss his siblings TOO much. I'll have to put in some serious play-time with him though, because he was used to wrestling all the time with his littermates.

Here is Mr. Pitiful himself:

Pitiful Pippin

He has a grumpy expression here, but I think that's just because his eye was watering and it was bothering him.

The gorgeous, gigantic orange tabby cat is still at Pet Supplies Plus. He's been there on my last three visits and it pains me to see him sit in that small cage for weeks. Someone give this guy a home already! I'm pretty sure this is his petfinder page, if anyone wants more info or to pass him along to someone who is in need of a cat.

Some of my new glasses have arrived in the mail! I'm waiting on one more pair and then I'll post pictures and reviews. In the meantime it's great to be able to see clearly. I'm walking around like "FEAR ME, I HAVE THE POWER OF NORMAL VISION!"

kitty things

  • Dec. 1st, 2011 at 1:40 AM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
So the kittens are doing a lot better. I still hear a couple of coughs and sneezes from them every once in a while, but their eyes and noses have cleared up nicely. Pippin's breathing has improved a lot, although I did hear a mild coughing fit from him the other day and he's still the most sneezy. I'm a bit worried that he's not completely over the cold and it's going to get worse again, so we'll see. I'm taking them to the vet on Friday.

kittens hangin' out
From left to right: Pippin, Cora, Solomon

I think Pippin is just going to be a skinny little stringbean forever. He has put on weight since getting rid of the tapeworm, but I don't know where he put it! He's as skinny and lanky as ever. Such a cute contrast to his big, solid older brother Solomon. (It's probably good they're so different--otherwise I wouldn't be able to tell them apart!)

Solomon has continued to improve on the sociability front, and he even wakes me up with demands for pettings in the morning. He's a big sweetie really. Now that he's recovered from the URI and I'm not having to force medication down his throat anymore, he runs and hides a lot less. I'm worried that going to the Humane Society and then a new home will be a shock for him, but hopefully he'll get a patient owner who will give him time to come out of his shell again.

How YOU doin?
How YOU doin?

Cora is a burrower, I've found. She likes to crawl under my blankets and make a little hideout under there. Cutie. I did get her name from a list of Hobbit names, after all…

(Originally they were all going to be Hobbits, but Solomon's name doesn't really fit. Sometimes I call him Samwise the Brave ironically, though, because he's such a scaredy cat. Also he's big. Stupid fat hobbit!)

cutie Cora

Pippin is a little brat. He always wants to play, and he thinks I'm another sibling to pounce on and wrestle with, which I don't appreciate when I'm, say, trying to sleep. But he's still a sweetie, too. He is so loving and will purr at you forever. I've been reading up more on the Feline-alities, and I think he might be The Personal Assistant. He certainly does like to get all up in my business when I'm on the computer, or eating something, or doing anything at all really.

I think Cora might be a Sidekick, and Solomon is a Secret Admirer like Hypatia. Dear Humane Society, please hire me so I can personality-type cats all day!

Oddly, Solomon has turned out to be the most talkative kitty. He has little chirps and squeaks, and he also has a very, very quiet meow. It's amusing to me, because I'm used to kittens being as loud as they possibly can. Solomon sounds like he's coming from the next room and you can barely hear him. But the meow is there!

Solomon lounging
Solomon in the sun


  • Nov. 17th, 2011 at 9:51 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (scared kitty)
I wrote most of this entry last week, but wanted to wait until I had pictures uploaded in order to post it. That's why there are random ETAs with new information. Anyway, kittens! They have names!

Image description: A gray tabby kitten curled up on a bed in the sun

Pippin the Pitiful

Image description: A brown tabby kitten sitting on the floor, looking up at the viewer

Cora the Cute

Image description: A gray tabby kitten hiding in a corner next to a bookcase

Solomon the Solemn

Pippin AKA Pipsqueak is a scrawny but sweet little guy, in the vein of Oliver, Charlie, Albus, etc. Cora is a cute, petite, sharp-eyed kitten who reminds me a lot of little Amelia. Solomon AKA Shadow AKA Squeaker AKA Scaredy-cat is a big, shy gentle giant, who hides and shies away but never hisses or lashes out. I don't think I've had a cat like him before.

(Yes, I give my kittens too many names/nicknames. Blame T.S. Eliot or something.)

Poor Pipsqueak is the sickest. I can hear him wheezing and snuffling all the time, like he's constantly congested, and he has a runny eye as well. Sometimes he goes into awful coughing fits like Skinny did. :( He's such a scrawny little thing. He eats like a champ, but he's still got a skinny neck and wobbly little legs, and his fur is wiry and scraggly, not soft and smooth like Cora's. His belly is round, though. I wonder if he maybe has a parasite going on. I'll ask at the checkup whether they've been dewormed lately--I know it can take several courses of dewormer to get them all. (ETA: I did in fact find some tapeworm eggs hanging around, and they've all been treated now, so he should be looking a little healthier soon. His sniffles seem to be clearing up as well, finally!)

Solomon also has coughing fits sometimes, but other than that he seems okay--he's running around and playing and wrestling with Cora, and he seems to be mostly over his fear of humans, yay! He still tries to bolt when I come after him to give him his meds, but that's understandable. He no longer shies away from me when I try to pet him, and he even gets a good purr going. I think he might always have problems with being shy and scared, but with a patient owner he'll come out of his shell.

Pippin plays too, so I'm not too worried about him wasting away or whatever. I just wish I could do more to help him breathe. I wipe him down with a warm wet cloth when he gets too much gunk on his face, but he still has a whistle in his nose from the congestion. I can tell where he is in the room by where the wheezy noise is coming from. (ETA: Also I found a tiny bit of blood when I wiped off his nose today. I hope it's just that he's been sneezing so much that he burst a blood vessel or something, not anything more serious. ETA ETA: The vet didn't seem too worried about it.)

Solomon has the most adorable squeak. He chirps and squeaks when he wants something, attention or play or whatever, while the others are mostly silent (I think they actually might have laryngitis from the URI, because they TRY to talk, but no sound comes out). That's why I call him Squeaker. He's such a big hulking guy and he has this teeny little voice. (ETA: Cora has a sweet chirp as well!)

Cora is definitely the star kitten. She's incredibly soft, adorable, has beautiful brown tabby markings with golden-brown eyes to match, and comes right up to you (already purring) to be petted. She's also playful and curious, pretty much the Platonic Ideal of "kitten." I bet she'll get adopted in a second with no problems. She might need a playmate, though, to keep her from getting too rough with her humans.

I don't know their story, but I always try to guess the kittens' background based on how they behave, and these guys are almost definitely street kittens. The tapeworm (which is transmitted through fleas), the URI, and Solomon's extreme shyness all point to a life on the street. They also seem to have never seen a computer before and are fascinated by the lights and the clicky noise it makes when I type.

(Yes, you can technically get tapeworm from your cat or dog, but only if you ingest their fleas. The tapeworm egg can only mature to the infectious stage while inside of a flea. These kittens, like all my fosters, were de-flea'd before they got to me. Still, even though I know I can't get infected from it, it's really gross to find dried tapeworm segments in my bed. *shudder*)

It's so funny to watch them play. They really are a family. The little scrawny brother, the big burly brother, and the sister who could probably take both of them in a fight.

Three kittens. The two gray ones are intent on watching something in the air, while the brown one is looking down at the ground.

Three kittens. The big gray one is playing with a feather toy while the other two are crouched and ready to pounce.

Solomon is literally a full pound larger than the little ones. He's huge! I kinda love him.

See more photos at their set!
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (scared kitty)
A lot of progress today with the kitties!

Justin came over this morning and played with them. He's very good at being non-threatening to scared little kitties, so he just played with them and let them come to him on their own time, and eventually he even got the little boy to sit in his lap and purr! The big boy didn't interact with Justin much though, he just played by himself in the other corner.

After Justin left I fed them and they all ate some this time, even the big boy (although he was very cautious about it and ran away a couple of times). Kate and I petted the two sociable ones, and they got some purrs going. They even started talking a little, although the little girl is so hoarse from the URI that she can't mew audibly. They seem to have realized today that they're in an OK place and they are allowed to enjoy petting. Except for the big boy. He is going to take some more work.

In the afternoon, when they were sleepy, I lay on my bed and the girl and the little boy both came up and lay down on me while I petted them. They seemed to really enjoy the petting by then, so I took a few risks. I brushed them, which they thought was weird but didn't really mind. I noticed the girl had some matted fur on her tail, so I got out the scissors and carefully snipped off the biggest mat, and she didn't mind at all. Then I clipped their nails, which they hated--but they didn't run off when I was done! They squirmed all over the place while I clipped them, but when I released them they just stayed where they were like nothing had happened. Yay!

While all this was going on, the big boy was wandering around giving little pathetic mews like he was lonely. I tried to encourage him to come up on the bed with his brother and sister, held out my hand for him to sniff, etc. But he was having none of it. Finally I dragged him out from his hiding place, plopped him on the bed, and petted him for a while. He sat there and let me pet him, although I don't know if he liked it or if he was just frozen with fear. I talked to him in a soothing voice and he looked at me with his big green eyes. After a couple of minutes, he got up and joined his brother and sister, who were playing on the floor by this time. I don't know if that's progress or not, but at least he didn't hiss at me or bolt away the second I put him down.

I did come in once today to find one of them sleeping in the kitty bed and the other two curled up IN the litter box. I really need a bigger cage. Either that or they've been living outdoors for way too long. Don't sleep where you poop, kids. I put some more soft blankets and things in the cage to encourage them to sleep on those instead, although there was plenty of room in the cat bed with only one kitten in it and yet they chose to sleep in the litter box. Weirdos.

I guess all I can do with the big one is wait for him to come around. It doesn't help that I have to chase him down twice a day to force medication into him--that'd mess with anybody's trust. And when I say "chase him down," I am not talking metaphorically. He gives me a workout!

They're all still sneezing a lot, so Kate and I joked about calling one of them Sneezy, or Wheezy since their breath always sounds congested. (She suggested "Ron Wheezy.") I still need to get proper names thought up for them, though. The little boy is playful, scrawny, and eats a lot. The girl is curious, a climber, and friendly. The boy... hides and is big. I think I need to get to know him better before I name him.

Right now they're all chasing each other around and wrestling, and doing the kitty-posturing thing where their tails go floof like a bottle-brush. It's pretty cute. And it's good to see their colds aren't making them lethargic!
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (scared kitty)
My sixth litter of foster kittens is here! They're three months old, a bit younger than Skinny was but older than I usually get them. They're not teeny, but they sure are cute. There is one brown tabby, female, and two gray tabbies, both male. I've never had two of the same sex AND coloring before, so I have no idea which foster form I'm supposed to fill out for whom. Like Skinny, they all have colds that they need to recover from before being adopted. Poor guys are very sneezy.

I don't know their story, but so far they are quite skittish and wary of humans. The bigger boy runs and hides whenever I move in his direction. The little boy is probably the most curious, so he overcomes his fear first and comes over to play with the latest toy or see what I'm up to on the machine that makes clicky noises. The girl is cautious. She will come near me, but then she'll just crouch and stare. She will tolerate being petted, but doesn't seem to like it, so I don't push it.

But I know from my flickr friends who foster feral and stray cats, especially Jimmy Legs (whose flickr stream is fascinating if you're a cat fan), that it can take a while for a cat to come around, and you just have to be patient and show them that people are nice and petting feels good. They're still young enough that I bet they can turn into affectionate kitties by the end of their stay.

So far the little guy is the only one who's shown much of an interest in the wet food I put out for them. He was like NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM. Big guy was like "nom nom OH SHIT A HUMAN RUN AWAY." Girl has not eaten so far. They have however all used the litter box correctly, yay! That's the advantage to having older kitties, I suppose.

They do need names. We're doing The Hobbit over on Mark Reads so I was thinking of trying to give them Tolkien names, but it'd probably look pretty weird to someone walking into the humane society to adopt them if their names were Luthien Tinuviel or whatever. Then again maybe they'd get adopted by Tolkien fans...

Hypatia would like everyone to know that she does not approve of these kitten shenanigans.

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. ♥

last days with Skinny

  • Sep. 9th, 2011 at 10:22 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
I took Skinny to the vet last Saturday because although his cold seemed to be gone, he still had that awful hacking cough. She gave me another round of the usual antibiotics, but also a dewormer, because there's apparently a type of worm that can get into the LUNGS and cause coughing. I looked this up, and it's called "verminous cough" and happens when roundworm larvae burrow themselves into the lungs, are coughed up, and are then swallowed, only to mature in the cat's digestive system and start the life cycle again. HORRIFYING, right? *shudder*

Anyway, I think that's what Skinny must have had because a couple of days into the five-day dewormer course, he stopped coughing completely and now seems to be a very healthy kitty. Which is good, but also means I have to give him back soon. :(

I've become pretty attached to him and I think Kate has too, because he's so sweet and purrs and makes little meepy noises and wants attention and loves to play. I won't miss the deep scratches on my legs and arms from his overenthusiastic playing, or his tendency to pounce on my head when I'm trying to sleep, but other than that I'll be sad to see him go. He's such a sweetheart and has so much kitty energy.

My attempts to integrate Skinny with Hypatia have been a failure. Hypatia just hisses at him, and he runs and hides under the couch. She never did like the boy-kittens.

I've been feeling guilty for disrupting her world so much with this fostering project. I think she'd be happier if I stopped, and she could have full run of the house and the attention of both of her humans. But on the other hand, every kitten I take in means one more empty cage at the Humane Society, which means one more cat that can be rescued from Animal Control and given a second chance.

Plus, I love discovering all the different cat personalities, as well as fascinating medical things like lung-worms. (What? I like the parasite chapters in Peeps, too.) And there are few things better than a sleepy, affectionate kitten.

(Also this is the only thing I do in my life right now that has actual Purpose and Meaning, so maybe I should keep doing it so as not to devolve into existential despair any more often than I actually do.)

In which Skinny shows off

  • Aug. 19th, 2011 at 11:51 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
Finally we have photos and video of Skinny! Click to embiggen.

Skinny shows off his ability to be round:

ball of Skinny

[Image description: A young black cat curled up in a ball-like formation.]

Skinny shows off his ability to get to high places:

[Video description: A young black cat sits on a windowsill and meows. He tries to jump up to the top of the window sash, scrambles for a moment trying to hold on (including trying to grab the blinds for leverage), before finally climbing all the way up. Then I tell him "good job, Skinny!"]

I hope that works; I've never tried to embed a flickr video on DW/LJ before.

What a goofy kitten. He continues to be ridiculously affectionate and always craves attention. He meows constantly when I leave the room, but he ALSO meows constantly when I'm IN the room and not paying enough attention to him. He LOVES the Cat Dancer, to the point that his other toys are now boring. At least I can tire him out with it when he's being a bottomless pit of energy.

I THINK his coughing fits are getting less frequent, but they come and go so it's hard to tell. He's definitely still coughing though. I've noticed that his nose is no longer always wet, which is a good sign, I think. And also nicer when he sticks it in my face.

Miscellaneous personality stuff: He likes to find new places to sleep when I'm not in the room, preferably sheltered places where I can't immediately see him. So far he's tried: in the basket where I keep my spare blankets (under the bed), in the kitten bed (which I shoved under my bed after he showed little interest in it), under my dresser, IN one of my dresser drawers, and at the back of my nightstand shelf. He blends in to the darkness so well it's hard to see him even if you know where he is. I don't know if he likes to be hidden because he's sick and wants to be protected from predators, or if it's just his way. He doesn't mind sleeping out in the open when I'm there, though, so long as he is near me.

It's harder to entertain just one kitty, but it's also easier to get attached to him, especially one as endearing as Skinny. He's one of the most trusting, least standoffish cats I've met.

More photos and video of Skinny can be found here at his flickr set. There's not much there yet, but I'll add more in the days to come.

Skinny's first checkup

  • Aug. 14th, 2011 at 10:02 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
Well, I took Skinny to the Humane Society vet yesterday, and he'll be with me for another week at least. He's still sneezing and coughing. The vet switched him to Clavamox (from Doxycycline) to see if that works better, but honestly I think he's getting worse.

The thing is, I ran out of Doxy because they only gave me a week's worth and because of scheduling issues it took me another half a week to get him to the vet. So he has been off antibiotics for a few days now, and his sneezing and coughing are getting more frequent. The Clavamox doesn't seem to be helping.

I found this blog post that says Clavamox will go bad in five seconds if you don't keep it in the fridge all the time, and I forgot to put it in the fridge for a couple of hours when I got home from the vet yesterday. That site says it should be almost white in color; mine is an ugly yellow and kind of gluey in consistency (it's pretty gross). I don't know if this means it's gone bad, and I should call the HS and tell them to give me another bottle, or if it's supposed to be like that. It seems kind of ridiculous that a couple of hours out of the fridge would ruin it, but what do I know about antibiotics.

Anyway, what really worries me is that Skinny is sleeping a lot. Yesterday I thought it was because he was overwhelmed with the vet visit, but today he's just been sleeping the day away instead of being his usual frisky and annoying self. He's still eating, although he's never been a big eater, but he should be running around and chasing bugs and trying to climb my windows like usual. Kate suggested that it could be a side effect of the Clavamox, but the only side effects I could find listed were gastrointestinal.

I'm not TOO worried because Skinny is an older kitten and his immune system isn't as fragile as the babies', but I still think he should be getting better instead of worse. He has these awful hacking coughing fits that go on for a while and sound like there is something stuck in his throat.

I'm growing attached to this lil guy. I hope he improves soon.

Skinny should have been called "Needy"

  • Aug. 4th, 2011 at 8:12 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
Skinny is such a sweetie. He has more of a need for affection than any cat I've met. Today I held him in my arms like a baby while he purred at me, and he actually fell asleep that way. (Hypatia tolerates being held that way with barely-suppressed rage, no matter what Kate might tell you.) He likes to try and knead on my face and neck while I pet him (ouch claws sharp ouch), and he will knead the air if a surface is not available. He has a lot of love to give, and needs a lot in return.

I feel like that's my main job as a foster caretaker. Food, fresh water, and a clean litter box are all things kitties can get at the Humane Society, but they can't get round-the-clock love, because there are just too many of them. Their life is uncertain and they don't know what will happen to them next. Whereas when I take one home, he is in a stable, loving environment where he can relax. A small room, to be sure, but not as small as the cage he would be in otherwise.

So far, besides demanding that I pet him as much as possible, Skinny enjoys sitting in my windowsill and looking out, entertaining himself by chasing toy mice for hours, and obsessive bug-hunting. He also seems fascinated whenever there's an animated gif on my computer, which makes me wonder about his environment before this one and if he's never seen moving-things-on-screens before. Man, I wish cats could talk just so I could get their stories.

The Pets on Death Row Facebook page is really depressing me right now because there are a ton of kittens set to be euthanized tomorrow, almost all with the reason "too young." Summertime is kitten season and there are so many more born than can ever find homes. PLEASE spay & neuter your cats!

Glad to be doing my part, even if it's with just one kitty.

Skinny, day 2

  • Aug. 3rd, 2011 at 8:17 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (ravenclaw)
Poor Skinny. He's just lonely, I think. He wants a littermate, or his mama, or both. Last night he slept on me or next to me, and if I moved, he would move to be closer. This morning I took a nap and he slept back-to-back with me. He purrs up a storm and kneads the air when you pet him. I wish he had a companion, but obviously the HS wouldn't want to let another kitten catch his cold.

He still walks around meowing a lot, like he just can't settle down or be satisfied with anything. The only time he was truly calm was last night, sleeping on my bed. He's been eating a little, but not much, and not drinking too much either, which is bad, especially in this heat. He probably doesn't have much of an appetite because of his cold, but I'm used to kittens being like YES GIVE ME THE FOOD, GIVE ME ALL OF IT so this is unusual for me.

I was worried that he hadn't used the litter box much, but I can hear him digging around in there as I type this. Good kitty. It's kind of nice to have an older kitten who (probably) won't have an accident on my bed. Less laundry, for one thing.

Speaking of laundry, I was carrying a full laundry basket and so had to keep my bedroom door open for a longer amount of time than usual. Skinny escaped briefly, and in his haste to explore he almost walked into Hypatia, without giving her the proper respect/caution she deserves as Queen Of The House. He got a hiss for that.

I have a feeling he'll be trying to escape a lot, because he's not like the tiny ones I usually get who are satisfied with just my room for a couple of weeks before they want to see what's in the rest of the house. He's already too big for this room! But he has to stay in here to keep from getting Hypatia sick.

Also, he just leapt up enthusiastically to chase a bug that's crawling up my wall, landed on a pile of library books, and promptly slid off the nightstand and onto the floor with the books. And then jumped back up again, ready for hunting. Silly kitty.

(It's fun to try and translate his constant meows. Right now he's looking up at the bug going "THERE'S A BUG ON THE WALL! A BUG! DO YOU SEE IT! IT'S A BUG! A BUG!! IT'S RIGHT THERE!!")


  • Aug. 3rd, 2011 at 12:41 AM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
So, Skinny (not Kimi) is a black adolescent kitty (four months old or so) with a couple of white splotches on his belly. He's got a cold and keeps sneezing, he's very active and energetic, he rubs up on you to be petted, and he is TALKATIVE. Mao! Mao! Mao!

It's getting kind of distressing actually. It's like when a baby is crying and you're like "I have fed you and changed your diaper and sang you a song, WHAT DO YOU WANT??" I played with him and gave him food and water and petted him, and he's still going MAO! MAO! MAO! all the time. I wonder if maybe he's teething, since he's about the age when adult teeth start to come in. But I would think then he'd be biting everything in sight, and he's not. He's just… stressed out for some reason.

I think what he really needs is a littermate to play and wrestle with, but I can't give him that. I've been giving him toys to bite and wrestle instead, but he loses interest in them fairly quickly.

If I didn't know he was a (neutered) male, I'd think he was in heat. He's got the same insistent meow, constant need for petting, and aura of dissatisfaction.

I don't know his story--maybe he was with his littermates, but they got adopted already or something, and now he's alone and he doesn't know where they went and he's calling for them? Or for his mama? They usually don't come to me with names, not to mention already fixed, so I have to wonder if he was a surrender, or what. Maybe the humane society fixed and named him, and THEN realized he had a cold? I dunno. He also doesn't have one of those paper collars they put on their kitties. He is a mystery.

I'm hoping his distress will lessen as he gets used to his new environment, and that it's not something more serious like he's in pain or something. I was going to have him sleep in the cage while I slept out on the couch with Hypatia tonight, but that's not going to happen. He HATES being in the cage, and has already knocked his food bowl over once, so I don't want to leave him in there all night. (What if he knocks his water bowl over and then has nothing to drink?) I'll have to sleep in here so I can keep an eye on him. Silly cat.

Hypatia is mad at me, but she didn't hiss when she caught sight of Skinny, which I consider a vast improvement on her previous reactions, especially since she usually hates males. Maybe his being neutered makes him less offensive to her. Skinny is sick, so I can't properly introduce them and probably won't be able to, since he just needs to get better and doesn't need to make weight or anything. Once he gets better, he's gone.

A bit later:

Okay, apparently what Skinny needs is… lots of cuddling? Maybe he just wanted some comfort. He's calmed down a bit now, although he still MAOs at me when I stop petting him for too long. However, now Hypatia is standing outside my door crying because I won't let her in. I CAN'T WIN WITH YOU PEOPLE.

I do feel bad about disrupting Hypatia's life every couple of months, especially since she's been settling in so well to our new apartment, but on the other hand I don't want to quit fostering. Sigh.

the return of fostering kittens!

  • Aug. 1st, 2011 at 6:10 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 now that I'm all settled (mostly) in my new apartment, I've called the Humane Society and told them I'm ready for more kitties. I requested smaller litters this time around, since last time was a bit overwhelming with six felines in one room. So I'm actually getting a single kitten tomorrow! He's got a cold so he needs a few weeks of TLC before he can be adopted, and I think he's a little older than I usually get them. A single kitten is more of a challenge than you might think because without other kittens to wrestle with, they can get bored and destructive. But since he's a few months old already, that might not be as much of a problem as it is for, say, a six-week-old.

Unlike the babies I usually get, this one has a name. I think the lady said his name was "Kimi"? Or something? We'll see when I pick him up tomorrow afternoon. I am excite! Kitten!!

wibbly wobbly kitty witty

  • May. 13th, 2011 at 1:50 AM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
I took the Spice kittens back to the Humane Society today to begin their new lives. I hope they are doing OK without me. I always feel bad leaving them to their uncertain futures. Cinnamon whined all the way there, which was sad but also hilarious because she sounds exactly like a little kid. "WAAAH! WHERE ARE YOU TAKING MEEEE!" She's quite a character. (The vet was like "oh, well, she's a calico," like that explains her feistiness. Stereotype, or TRUTH??)

The vet said that I could keep Mama by herself for a few days to let her milk dry up, but I was worried that she'd freak out without her kittens around. Kittens can comfort each other without a mama, but I didn't want Mama to be wandering around the house calling for her kittens and have them be nowhere to be found. :( So the vet said it'd be fine to keep her with the kittens, and that way the separation can be gradual, and also the nursing comforts the kitties after they have their surgery. Aw.

I'm also sekritly hoping that she gets adopted with a kitten. The vet said that the kittens will be adopted in about thirty seconds, and for Mama it might take a little longer--two minutes. Heh. I know older cats take longer to be adopted, but Mama is a sweetie and she's so pretty and talkative. I hope someone sees her and falls in love. They're all going up for adoption on Saturday if all goes well with the surgery and recovery, which is great because I'm sure Saturday is a super busy day at the Humane Society. I'll be checking the website every half hour like usual.

I miss the little kittyfaces, but it's something of a relief to have my room to myself again so I can get started on MOVING. I'm sure Hypatia is relieved as well. She's currently celebrating their absence by eating what was left in their food bowl.

Right now, I really miss Clove. He was sweet but not needy, he was always going off by himself and finding weird hiding places, and he had the cutest little face.

Clove, an almost-black kitten.

I have many more photos of these kitties to upload to my flickr, plus some pics from my sister's baby(!!) shower. She's due(!!) in a couple of weeks(!!) and I can't wait to meet my niece. She already has a onesie that says "I [heart] my auntie"! :D

a diversion!

  • Apr. 14th, 2011 at 10:13 AM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (me)


Okay, now that I have your attention:


I've never really sold things before, but I need money for this move and I'm trying to downsize, so I thought I might offer my stuff to YOU, the people who read my journal. The problem is I have no idea what's a reasonable asking price for anything, so I'm asking YOU for advice as well. Here's what I have:

- LOTS OF BOOKS, including a bunch of YA ARCs from ALA 2009
- Clothing in several sizes (from my weight fluctuations when I was sick) including some purty dresses (a few are vintage!), in the size 6-12 range
- A 300-disc CD collection which is in seven or eight binders, ranging from the mid-90s to the mid-00s
- If you're nearby, furniture: a desk-with-hutch from Target, a black bookcase from Target, a six-drawer dresser from Craigslist, a very old TV that still works great and a TV stand that fits it perfectly, a large Ikea LACK coffee table, a loveseat, a kitchen/dining table with four chairs. We might not sell most of this stuff until after we move, but this is the stuff I want to replace eventually.

With the books and CDs, I was thinking about sending people X amount of things for Y dollars, like a box of 10 books or a binder full of CDs. It could even be a ~mystery box~, like "tell me your musical/reading taste and I will SURPRISE YOU."

So: Is anyone interested in buying my stuff? How much at a time? How much would you pay? Any help with pricing would be appreciated, even if you don't want to buy anything yourself--I'd love to know how much I should charge for this stuff if I end up putting it on eBay or Craigslist.

And yes, we did apply for the apartment on the first floor of the building we liked. So unless he rejects us on the credit check or whatever, we should be moving in on June 1st. I am EXCITE. And also kind of STRESSED OUT. Because MOVING.

apartment hunting, plus a small kitty update

  • Apr. 10th, 2011 at 12:42 AM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
a lot has been going on in my life lately, so I feel like I should update. mainly what has been going on is: moving.

Kate and I moved into this apartment in 2007 because Nathan and Bridget lived here and we thought it would be cool to live right next to them. (it was!) we also wanted to move back to the east side. living in riverwest was OK but it just doesn't have as much in walking distance as over here, and the bus lines are really inconvenient if you work on the east side of the river. (on the other hand the rents are WAY cheaper.)

this year we decided we are sick of this apartment and want to move out, especially since Nathan and Bridget moved and are now in a mythical place called Married Land where we never see them. :P I'm really sick of the carpet (especially when I have kittens) and the general ugliness of the place, and Kate was kind of miffed that our oven was broken for a really long time and she couldn't bake anything. (it's fixed now and she bakes ALL THE TIME. mmm banana bread.) so I started looking online for apartments.

let me tell you internets, once I saw how high the average east side apartment goes for in terms of rent, I started to wonder if maybe we had been too hasty in turning in our notice of non-renewal of the lease. almost every apartment I found in our price range lacked something that I have here that I wouldn't want to lose--heat included, parking, laundry, garbage disposal in the sink, allowance of cats, etc. and there are a couple more things that we have in this apartment that are really convenient--namely, cable included with the rent and the air conditioner mounted on the wall in the living room. we can get cable ourselves and/or install a window AC, but that means spending more money.

I did find some apartments comparable to ours, but once we visited them, we realized they were basically our apartment in a different building. some of them had nice touches, like a dishwasher or a breakfast bar or a walk-in closet, but most of them were carpeted and boring and very similar to our current place. they didn't seem like an upgrade so much as a side-grade. (what else have I said that about recently? oh yeah--my phone.) I crave hardwood floors, but the ones we saw with those were really old and lacked modern updates like a garbage disposal or grounded outlets. pretty small, too.

we visited one apartment that was kind of horrible, like something out of my apartment nightmares. the ceiling was barely above our heads, the "living room" was basically a place where the hallway widened a little more, and everything was wood-paneled and carpeted like we had stepped into the 70s. the price they were asking was ridiculously high for such a crappy apartment, and when I went online I saw that the company had been given awful reviews on uwm's off-campus housing site, so I'm kind of glad we didn't like either of the apartments they showed us.

I bookmarked practically everything on craigslist that remotely fit our criteria and looked at a few more sites like, and many apartment management companies have their own websites where they list apartments available, so I looked at plenty of those. one company that seemed really promising was Eastmore--they seem to own half of the buildings on the east side and all of them look really nice. I even scheduled a showing for one, and was all excited about it, but then I read the fine print on their website and found out that they have a STRICT NO-PET POLICY. I had assumed they'd allow cats, because some of the buildings say "small dogs allowed," and who would allow small dogs but not cats? I DUNNO BUT APPARENTLY THEM. so I canceled that showing and was really frustrated for a while, because that meant I had to cross off several of the nicest-seeming apartments on my list.

but then the other day during one of my obsessive craigslist trawls, I found a listing for an apartment right around the corner from where I grew up--the heart of the east side, a couple of blocks from uwm and right down the street from one of my favorite local coffee shops. it fit all our basic criteria--price range, cats allowed, heat included, etc. and it had JUST been posted, so I was like MUST MAKE APPOINTMENT BEFORE SOMEONE ELSE TAKES IT. I was kind of nervous that it would be horrible, though, because I really like the idea of living right around here and it's really hard to find a nice place that's cheap enough.

so we saw that one today, and we were both immediately charmed by it. all of the rooms were painted different colors (the manager said we can paint the walls any color we want), and there's a small built-in bookshelf, and the bedrooms both have windows on two sides (advantage to living in a small building) so there was lots of light. and it has HARDWOOD FLOORS, which is basically the main reason why I wanted to move. (it's either that or buy a 300-dollar vacuum.) the kitchen was small but not TOO small, and it had a gas stove (Kate's preference) and a garbage disposal (mine). also, the free storage lockers are HUGE.

the building also seemed kind of... home-y. there was a lot of stuff in the hallway, people's shoes and such, so apparently everyone trusts everyone else not to steal things, which is nice. the smallness of the building and the friendliness of the people we saw made it seem like people actually interact there, rather than ignoring each other in the halls like we do here. it wasn't a huge impersonal building with few distinguishing characteristics, like many of the apartments we'd visited.

there are a few drawbacks. it's basically the same price we're paying now (I was hoping to pay a bit less, as we're basically too poor for this neighborhood but we love it anyway), and cable's not included in the rent like it is here. there's no air conditioner, although we could put in a window unit. it's right on Locust, a really busy street, and it would never be really quiet even at night. there's laundry in the basement, but only one washer and one dryer.

those are all relatively little things though. what's really making me hesitate about this apartment is the lack of off-street parking. the manager said he hasn't heard any complaints, but parking on the east side can be really difficult when UWM is in session, especially if you want to park during the day. (like I said, my parents live just around the corner, and I've often had trouble finding a place to park when visiting them on a weekday.) you can buy a night parking permit from the city (cheap), but a lot of the streets around there are two-hour parking during the day, and I'd rather just have a place to leave my car where I don't have to worry about moving it. plus, the super-busy street makes me feel kind of vulnerable, especially after coming from the locked garage we have here. not to mention I don't relish the idea of digging my car out of the snow every winter.

but the apartment IS really neat. we have a showing and a couple of open houses to go to tomorrow, but I think both of us are already mentally moving our furniture around to see how it would best fit in that place. unless we REALLY love something we see tomorrow, we've probably found our apartment.

the manager emailed us the application (INTERNET AGE HOW I LOVES YOU), and he said the one we looked at today had been rented, but there was another one available on the first floor (easier move-in) that had the same layout. I told him we'd have to take a look at that one before signing anything. I'm hoping we can do that tomorrow and get things finalized as soon as possible.

I'm pretty anxious about moving, since I'm kind of a weakling and can't do a lot by myself so I either have to ask people to help (and I don't know a lot of people, plus my dad's getting kind of old for it), or hire movers (which I don't think we really have the money for). Kate says she can get some family members to help. I also want to use the moving opportunity to take a bunch of furniture I don't particularly like to Goodwill and get new stuff from Craigslist or rummage sales. especially if we end up getting a uhaul truck like we did last time, since my car is tiny and I don't know anyone with a truck, so moving large furniture items is hard (which is pretty much the only thing that keeps me from entirely redecorating my apartment with Craigslist finds every year or two).

I want to pare down my possessions a LOT for this move, since every fewer box means that much less stressful of a moving experience. I'm going to give away a lot of books through paperbackswap and a lot of clothing to Goodwill, and my never-used desk is not coming with us either. I always end up moving somewhere and then having a lot of boxes that never get unpacked because they're filled with things I never use. there's still going to be some stuff I don't use, like keepsakes and my old writing notebooks, but I can keep them in the storage locker of the new place. (in a plastic bin. I love plastic bins.)


The kittens are doing pretty well! They've all learned to walk and use the box and eat solid food, although they do still nurse often. The mama and at least a couple of kittens have diarrhea, which my Special Kitten Food Cocktail (with slippery elm, extra fiber, and probiotics mixed in) is doing nothing to cure, although it might be keeping it from getting worse. I take them to the vet on Wednesday for their first checkup, so I can ask about it then. In the meantime I am cleaning out the box VERY often because otherwise my room constantly smells like poop. WHY DO I DO THIS KITTEN THING AGAIN.

sad kitten?

Oh right.

Basil is becoming a real sweetheart. (For some reason I keep wanting to call him Rufus.) He curls up next to me and goes to sleep and I go awwww. I'm kind of flattered that even with his mama and four siblings available, he still wants to sleep on me. I love sweet kittens.

Cinnamon, who was initially the sleepiest cat, is growing into a little monster. She attacks the other kittens mercilessly and has recently learned to growl. Maybe there's some truth to what they say about the fiery calico spirit. cffgc d ddddddddddddddddddrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr aHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH11111111DYYYYYYYYYYYY HYYYYYYYYYADDR

I went to go get my laundry and that's what I came back to. I think I will end my entry on that note. because KITTENS.

They keep giving me more kittens!

  • Mar. 23rd, 2011 at 9:02 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
Seriously. My first litter was two, my second was four and then three, my third was four, and now I have FIVE tinycats plus their mama. I guess it's a good sign that they keep trusting me with more and more kitties?

This batch doesn't have names yet or even definite sexes, except for the mama who was unofficially named "Pepper" by the Humane Society people. They were strays rescued from MADACC (animal control), and the foster people said the kittens were "about a month" old, but there's a world of difference between these guys and the Sparrows who were also supposedly a month old.

These kittens are still nursing, for one thing, and their ears are still tiny. Their eyes are open, but they're not really walking a lot yet, just kind of wobble-crawling around. They go "meep" all the time which is adorable. I haven't heard the mama talk, she mostly purrs and a couple of times she's made the annoyed "mrrt" sound, I assume when a kitten is nomming on her too hard.

She's very friendly and will rub up on your hand, but she was pretty freaked out when she first got here. I let her out to explore while I put the kittens in their bed, and she immediately found the darkest corner, which is the back of my closet. I put a blanket over the cage so that she'd have a dark corner in there too, and she seems fine with the arrangement.

The mama is a beautiful speckled tortoiseshell, mostly black with sprinkles of orange. The kittens are one calico, one tortie, one black or possibly very dark gray, and two medium gray. I think one of the grays is female and one is male, but I can't be sure. Haven't gotten a good look at the black one yet.

The mama is eating and eating, which I guess she has to do because her kittens are also eating and eating. She's pretty skinny and has a patch of fur on her head that's matted or stuck together somehow. Hopefully after a few days she will put on some weight and be able to groom herself thoroughly. Right now I'm just giving her as much wet kitten food as she will eat, with dry food for snacking on when I'm away.

And yes, they are still at the stage where she eats their waste. It's kind of gross, but also kind of cool that cat mamas do everything themselves. No diapers necessary. Mama hasn't used the litter box herself yet though. I think the kittens are nursing so much that she doesn't have anything left!

The grey ones keep coming out and wobbling around, especially the one I think is a girl. The others are content to nurse and sleep for now. I'll take pictures tomorrow, since it's hard to photograph dark-colored cats at any time, let alone at night in a cage with a blanket over it.

I think the mama deserves a more dignified name than Pepper. Although, I was thinking I could go with a "spice" theme for naming the kittens. You know, Anise, Coriander, Nutmeg, etc. Ha. But I still want to give the mama a proper name.

Name suggestions welcome as always!

goodbye Sparrows

  • Jan. 22nd, 2011 at 3:25 AM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
Well, Charlie and Amelia left on Wednesday, and went up for adoption on Friday morning. I didn't even get a chance to see them on the website--when I called around noon, the woman who answered the phone said they had been the first ones to go that day! (Not surprised, since they're such cuties and it's not kitten season.)

She said they didn't go together, but that they went to two "wonderful" families, so that was heartening. I appreciated that she seemed to understand how important it was to me to hear about what happened to them. (Sometimes I feel like the Humane Society treats me as just a house to keep kittens in, rather than a person who really cares about these little babies and wants to make sure they have the best lives possible, so it's good to hear a friendly voice.)

I wasn't too sad this time around--I made sure to have lots of snuggle time with the kitties before I took them to the vet, since I knew it would likely be my last morning with them. I think it's getting easier to give them back. And Hypatia is super glad, because Kate is on vacation this week so she hasn't had anyone else to get affection from while I'm petting kittens. I keep telling her she is welcome to hang out with me AND the kittens, but she's still kind of tense around them.

I did make progress with her and Amelia, though. She didn't seem to mind Amelia too much and would even run around after her like they were playing a chasing game. She still hissed at Charlie, though. I'm glad she didn't completely hate Amelia, because it bodes well for future fosters. Maybe I'll make a kitten-lover out of her yet. Or at least a kitten-friend. Kitten-tolerator?

Charlie had had some poop issues the last week I had them. The vet gave me a medication for it, which Charlie absolutely REFUSED to take--it's liquid, and he would just foam at the mouth and start drooling everywhere, trying to spit it out. Gross kitty. I hope some of it got into his system, though. I also mixed some FiberSure in with their food, since the vet recommended a high-fiber kitten food to help with poop. Those two things seemed to help and he was almost pooping normally at the end of his time with me.

I was still a little worried since he had such a big belleh, though. It seemed overly swollen, not just plump kitten-belly, so I was worried he had some kind of worm issue even though they'd been dewormed already. I took in a stool sample, but honestly I wasn't sure if it was his or Amelia's, since they both bury their poop right after they go (which I am usually very grateful for). It came back negative. The vet wasn't concerned, and there's nothing I can do about it now. He seemed OK otherwise, but, you know. I worry.

Those are two lucky families who got these kittens. Amelia became my constant shoulder-kitty in the last couple of weeks, burrowing into my neck and rubbing her face against mine and generally being irresistible. Charlie liked to sleep next to me, and if I shifted around on the bed, he would move too, so that he was right next to me again. Aw.

I'm not sure how long it will be before I get more kittens, since I might be going on vacation in March to visit Alan. I don't know if I have time to foster another litter before then, since there's no way to tell at the outset how long I'll have them. I'll talk to the HS about it if/when they call me, and see what they think.

Meanwhile Hypatia is being extra sweet and wanting pettings and even purring, which she doesn't do too often. She has taken up nighttime residence on the heated cat bed that I bought for the kittens but which they didn't seem too interested in. Ah well, at least someone is using it! Right now, though, she's mad at me because I ran out of her regular food and gave her some CLEARLY INFERIOR food of a different brand, how dare I.


sleepin' Charlie
Snoozing Charlie.

Tiny Amelia.


2 kittens gone :(

  • Jan. 7th, 2011 at 3:34 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
They took two of my kitties away! I went to get them all a checkup today, and since two of them were over two pounds and healthy, they said those two could get surgery and go up for adoption together. I thought they'd want to keep the litter together for socialization purposes, but I guess they just don't want to have ONE kitten by itself, and two for adoption and two to stay with me is fine.

I was kinda surprised and didn't really get a proper goodbye with Wilbur and Ivy May. I felt bad because I spent the morning just sitting on the couch, while I could have been snuggling with them one last time. Ah well. Maybe I'll drive over there on Sunday and check them out. I hope they get adopted together! They were the highest-energy ones of the bunch, so I think they're a good pair.

I miss them already. Ivy May had a great squealy voice and a funny personality, and she was Kate's favorite. Wilbur was a rascal, causing a lot of mischief and escaping every time I opened the door, but he was also a little sweetie and would always want to mash his face into mine affectionately. (Weirdo.) Ivy May had a loud purr and she liked to sleep on me.

I think Charlie and Amelia are kind of sad too. They curled up on each other for the ride home and they looked so small without their bigger siblings. I'm glad I get more time with them. Another week or so at least. I wonder how much they understand about their siblings being gone. I know mama cats will go crazy searching for a lost kitten, but I don't know how much of a bond kittens have to their littermates.

Plus side: Amelia and Charlie will have more space in the cage, and there will be half as much poop for me to clean out of the litter box.

I haven't posted too much about these kittens, and I think it's because they're so healthy--they just run around being adorable all the time, so there's not much to talk about. The last litter had too much to talk about with all their health problems. Sometimes I'm still sad about Zippy, the little girl that didn't make it. She would have made a great cat.

But for now I have two healthy, affectionate kittens to take care of, one of whom is purring on me and the other of whom is trying to eat my arm. Oh kitties.

Ivy May watches the fight
Ivy May watching her siblings fight

upside-down Wilbur
Wilbur bein' cute


  • Dec. 25th, 2010 at 2:33 AM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
Merry Christmas from:

Mr. Charlie Sparrow...

Mr. Wilbur Sparrow...

Miss Amelia Sparrow (with bonus Charlie)...

and last, but never least, Miss Ivy May Sparrow.

Love and purrs to all. ♥

new kittens!

  • Dec. 17th, 2010 at 12:59 AM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
So on Tuesday night, on a whim, I called the Humane Society and left a message asking if they had any kittens for me to foster, since they hadn't called me in a while. They called me the next day--I'm not sure if that was because of my message, or if it was just a coincidence? I dunno. The woman on the phone seemed really jazzed that I wanted more kittens, so maybe they did get the message.

Anyway! Four new little ones! In the back of my head I remembered how when I had my house inspected for fostering, the woman told me I should get only one or two at a time because my room was so small. But I can't TURN DOWN kittens, and besides I had three last time and they did fine. I think four will be OK. Just more litter box cleaning and such.

These are the youngest I've had at one month old(!). (Oliver and Ramona were six weeks, and the last batch was seven, although then they went away for two weeks and came back older.) And they are TINY! I bought a kitchen scale and weighed them all today, and they are all between 1 pound and 1 pound 4 ounces. LITTLE!!

I think four weeks is when the maximum kitten cuteness starts happening. Before that, their ears are still too small and they look kind of alien and weird. Still cute, but weird.

Because they are so young, I was a little afraid that they wouldn't be fully weaned yet and I'd have to bottle feed them or something. The Humane Society people just said to mix wet food with dry food and if they couldn't handle that, to mix some water in. I didn't have to worry--I put down the food and they all dug in ravenously. It's kind of funny to watch because four kitten heads can't fit in the bowl at one time, so one kitten is always fighting for a spot.

There are two brown tabbies, a girl and a boy. The girl is darker and the boy is slightly floofier. Then there's an orange tabby boy, and a SUPER FLOOFY dilute torbie* girl. They all have white on their bellies and paws. They're HEALTHY, which is a relief. (Although I know they could catch a cold or something in the next couple of weeks, it's nice to not have to medicate them and worry about their health.) Because they're healthy and also because they're weaned so young, I have the feeling they were probably born indoors, to a pet cat, instead of outdoors to a feral. I don't know this for sure though--they didn't tell me any backstory when I went to pick them up, and I forgot to ask.

* For those of you who are not cat geeks like I am--a "torbie" is a tortoiseshell (black/orange) with some tabby (striped) markings, and "dilute" means instead of black and orange, you get "blue" (gray) and cream. So, like this. But mine is floofier.

I kept them in the cage for most of today and yesterday, just letting one or two out at a time to sit on my or Kate's lap. They were crying to get out, but I wanted to clean my room and put all the crap at the bottom of my closet into plastic bins. They're so small--I didn't want one of them to get lost in a shoe or something. Plus, plastic bins means I can more thoroughly sanitize things between litters of kittens. So, I got a bunch of those from Target today and put everything in them, and then let the kittens out to roam around. Max was here and he loved playing with them.

[Image description: Four kittens sleeping in a cat bed.]

This is the kittens all conked out. They sleep a LOT and it's very cute. Sometimes they get so thoroughly piled up that I only see two kittens and wonder where the other two are, and then I realize they're at the bottom of the pile.

(This isn't a real polaroid--it was taken with the polaroid camera app on my phone. I'll upload some from my actual camera soon. They're very squirmy and hard to photograph.)

They're all having various degrees of diarrhea/loose stool, which I hope is just from the location change, stress, new food, etc. They tend to cry when they're in the box. :( Poor kittenz, they must be uncomfortable. They're not very good at cleaning themselves yet so the poop gets tracked all over the place. I see much laundry in my future.

So they need names! I am taking suggestions. Here's what I know:

Orange boy (left) - Kinda nervous, cautious, easily spooked. Alert but wary. Will attack everything including other kittens and your hand. Clings TIGHTLY to you if you pick him up, and won't let go (has velcro claws). First one to figure out how to climb to the "second floor" in the cage. Last out of the cage, doesn't mind being in there.

Tabby boy (sprawled across middle of bed) - Adventurous, friendly, mellow. Good pouncing skills. Likes to curl up on your lap and fall asleep. Has a lot of "cat" noises already as opposed to "kitten" noises. (Makes the same "mrrt" sound that Hypatia does when she's annoyed.) Likes to be near people. Sneezes a lot (uh-oh...).

Tabby girl (top left) - Fearless, a climber, talkative. Small but can hold her own in a fight. Has a very loud SCREAM when she's not happy. The smallest and fastest. Her coloring reminds me of vanilla ice cream with dark chocolate sauce on top.

Torbie girl (right) - A real character. Lots of energy, bouncy, pounce-y, feisty. Has short legs and falls over a lot. Sweet too, likes to purr on you. Loves the sparkle ball. Enthusiastic about everything. First out of the cage, hates to be locked in. SO MUCH FLOOF. Has a round cream spot on the top of her gray head.

Kittens!! :D

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.

[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:

[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.]

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