The Five are Three

The kittens are three weeks old today! Well, technically tonight…but close enough.

Clearly they won’t fit in this basket much longer. They are all in the 12 ounce range now, some are 12.5. All gained weight last week, and that’s what we like to see.

Our little girl with the icky eye, Buffy, is looking much better, thanks to her eye drops.

And these two, the orange boys, Spike and Oz,  are often together. When they’re not they often cry for the other one. Might have a bonded pair here…too soon to tell.  (And yes, there’s the Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme with these three.)

Our explorer extraordinaire, Pixel, continues his journeys, and is first to try anything new out.

And Jagger, our little buff boy…such a sweetie.

They are nursing well, though they don’t all fit at mom’s belly at the same time anymore. We will be trying to start them on some KMR (kitten milk replacer) soon, mostly to try to wean them so mom can be spayed and freed. She’s quite tired of being cooped up and she’s not quite friendly enough that we can let her roam in the cat house. So we’re trying to push the weaning by a tiny bit…may or may not work. And if not, momma is stuck with us a bit longer. She’s not terribly interested in the kittens, though she does what is required of her. But anytime she’s not nursing, she’s up on her shelf away from the kittens. She’s quite ready to go home!

In the meantime, the kittens are starting to look like cats, and developing their own personalities. Those unsteady legs of last week are steadier each day and climb over siblings without any problem. They are a bundle of adorableness on their way to being a bundle of mischief any day now. Our goal, in Derry Township Community Cats, is to NOT have kittens that need care, to get everyone possible spayed or neutered. But realistically there will always be some kittens. Last summer we were buried in them. Hoping this summer our ongoing work pays off and there are many fewer. And in the meantime, we’ll enjoy the little ones, who are just too cute for words.

Our Eyes Are Open: Two Weeks Old

I was out of town for a week and so much changes with kittens of this age. At two weeks old, they doubled in weight. They’re around 10 ounces now, headed to a full pound soon I suspect.

Their eyes are open, and they are able to stand, though they mostly wobble on those legs. Gotta develop a little muscle tone still!

One of the babies, the only female (we think) has a bit of an eye infection, but saw the vet this week and is on some nifty eye drops to help her with that.

But they can get themselves around now, even if it is a bit unsteady. Our tuxedo kitten, however, is the great explorer. He’s going to get himself over every barrier we can erect pretty soon.

Some of them are pretty vocal at times too, especially when separated from the rest.

 

They still sleep a lot, and huddle in a mass for their naps, which is just so stinkin’ adorable.

That’s the story of two week old kittens. They spend their days sleeping, toddling, and being adorable. Works for us.

Derry Township Community Cats Updates

I know I shouldn’t say this, and it is too early to say with any confidence…and I’m sure the phone will start ringing just to prove me wrong…but our Derry Township Community cat phone line has been incredibly quiet so far this year. Usually by this time we have lots of requests to trap/spay/neuter/vaccinate cats, but this year you could grow moss on the phone. (And yes, the phone is in fine working order.)

It may be that after “fixing” 930 cats in the last four years we are reaching a maintenance level…one can hope anyway. While walking a dog the other evening one of our faithful Derry Policemen was sitting in his car doing paperwork, and we had a chat about the program in passing. He said in the past when the police patrolled the Township cats were everywhere, and now he hardly ever sees them anymore. (Before our program started the police department had to go capture and try to deal with all the cat requests, so they pretty much love us for taking this task off their hands.)

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As I said…just in case the universe if wanting to punish me for hubris…it is too early to call right now. But if we’re still this quiet by the end of the summer, I’m going to do a little happy dance.

Some updates for those of you who may be wondering how some of the cats we have trapped are doing. Sam, the cat I reported on most recently, had been sick for quite a few months before we got him. I think I mentioned that he was FIV+.

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That’s not a big deal many times, and we’ve been able to find homes for FIV+ cats when they are friendly and not too far along. Sam, however, was unpredictable, and swatted hard with claws out when he wanted something. He managed to nail all who were caring for him, including his vet. He was probably used to fighting for what he needed after living outside. He was also very sick, and probably has an immune system that’s beaten up. Even on good antibiotics he doesn’t really get well.

So Sam is now living in a hospice situation for cats with FIV+ and FELV+. He doesn’t have to be caged there, and he has indoor space galore, with as much food as he wants. And a screened large catio if he wants to be outside. He has good days and bad ones, but at least he doesn’t have to fight for resources, and he is warm and cared for. He will live out his days, whatever they are, in a comfortable and safe place.

You might be wondering about Beck as well, the sweetheart of a Persian trapped awhile ago.

 

After his neuter surgery, and a complete shave of his severely matted fur, he is still with us being cared for.

 

His favorite thing is to give people bear hugs…total lovebug, this guy.  His coat is starting to come back, more in some places than others, but it will get there eventually. He is not completely well yet. His bad eye is still causing some difficulties and we’re trying to sort those out for him.  That doesn’t stop him from begging pets, pretty much 24/7, and I suspect his fosters, who are in love with him,  are going to be foster failures.

And that’s what’s cooking for us right now. We have a clinic date in 2 weeks but only 2 cats on the list for now. Not that I’m complaining! I just hope all the cats aren’t hiding somewhere with a plan to all appear at the same time. And we are starting to hear about newborns litters, so we’re not counting any successes yet. Stay tuned.

Trapping 2017: Beck Update

 

Beck says to thank you all for your good thoughts on his behalf. He’s doing very well these days. He got to spend a couple days at the vet’s last week, but is back hanging with me for a bit until he heads to a really fabulous foster situation where he will get loads of attention. If there’s one thing Beck loves, it’s loads of attention and he’s not afraid to demand it.

We trapped Beck on Sunday 3/5, and because he was matted beyond belief, and had wounds behind his ears, he went right to surgery the next day, getting neutered along with everything else. By Wednesday he had only eaten a few teaspoons of food, and only grudgingly at that, so back to the vet we went. He was constipated big time, and wasn’t eating because there was no room at the inn for food. He had a mild fever as well, and was pretty lethargic. (We didn’t really know he was lethargic then…but we do now!) After some kitty enemas and appetite stimulants for a couple days, he was back with me.

He is a totally different cat than the one we trapped. He is full of energy, as befits a three year old cat, and eating like a pig and pooping daily. (It doesn’t take much to make me happy, does it?!) He is very sweet, but also quite demanding when it comes to attention. Getting anything done in the office while he’s out of his crate is pretty much out of the question. He will, however, let me work for a little while if he can sit on the chair with me. I get the front half of the chair, and he gets the back half.  And then he stands up and puts his paws on the back of my shoulders to see what I’m doing on the computer, and work becomes impossible. He loves behind held – like a baby, or propped up on my shoulder – all good to him.

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His ear wounds are healing up, and he’s getting a little peach fuzz to start that Persian fur coat going again. He loves nothing more than head bumps and pets around the face and chin, and he adores the cat dancer. We had no idea how closed down he was when we trapped him, and it is lovely to see a sweet and happy cat emerge from the one who was lost or dumped, or whatever it was that happened to him. He probably wouldn’t have made it if he hadn’t been lucky enough to be trapped.

He heads off to a perfect foster situation on Monday where he will be appropriately adored and enjoyed (and did I mention adored…he likes being adored), and from there to a rescue and a real home. Someone is going to be very lucky to have this guy as part of their household. Happy life, sweet Beck!

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Stay calm, grab fast, and hang on

It doesn’t happen often, thankfully, but here and there it is bound to occur. A trapped cat gets loose. We have a pretty good record on this one: only four loose cats in over four years. There have been some daring retrievals, but until yesterday, I never had to be involved in one. Yesterday, however, I earned a merit badge in TNRology.

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This guy was my merit badge helper. While he was being set up with food and water he got out. Fortunately our cat house is closed up and there aren’t places he can go but still, catching a feral cat who is truly ready to be out of the trap is just a little challenging.

Others were present and helping but we only have one pair of the fabulous leather and kevlar gloves, and, perhaps foolishly, I felt like I should be the one to try to get him. If anyone was going to get hurt, I would rather it be me than one of our volunteers. Gloves on hands…

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and towel handed to me by those present, this cat played cat and mouse with me for a bit. Others tried to herd him in various directions while I focused on getting near enough to catch him. I got him in a corner once and had him, and was very glad that the gloves kept his rather intense bite from actually reaching my hand. He mostly had a solid mouthful of leather. He got away, however. I didn’t have a good enough grip on the guy.

Years ago I learned a lesson from the man who is now my husband. When faced with people who were overly stressed, even hysterical, my husband gets very quiet. The calm in the storm. That was the tool needed here. Quiet, calm stalking of the cat, and a real quick, firm grab,  hold on tight, and I finally had the guy. My husband, standing by with an open trap, swooped in, and the cat was captured.

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t an adrenaline rush. Even so, I’d rather not have to do this very often. Still, it is good to know that I can do it. Four years ago I had no idea how to work with feral cats, and yesterday I caught one without a trap. Not bad. I’ll wear that merit badge with pride!