2011 Archives

11

Hi Effurryone! It’s me, Caramel, AKA Miss Floofs, AKA Floofs, AKA Floofie. From my nicknames, you can probably guess that I am a long haired kitteh. I am the only DLH (domestic long haired) Furry Bambino. I have long, soft, luxurious black, brown, or gold furs. I have long toehawks between my paw pads.

The furs on my chest and tummy are a little bit curly.

Even my whiskers are extra long.

Panda Bear wrote a song about me and my Floof to celebrate my first birthday.

Padre, Meerkat, and Cookie have striped, soft, short to medium length furs. Panda Bear has short, straight, coarse furs that are either black or white. Padre, Panda Bear, Meerkat, and Cookie are referred to as DSH (domestic short haired) kittehs.

Daddy has always been a short-hair, with dark brown head furs.

As long as I have known Mommy, she has been long-haired, like me.

When she came back yesterday afternoon, I almost didn’t recognize her. Not only did she smell weird, but she looked like this:

I was a little bit sad that Mommy does not have long hair like me anymore. But then Mommy explained that she donated her hair to Locks of Love. I had not heard of Locks of Love before, so I asked my good friend Google about it. I read on the Locks of Love home page:

Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. We meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics. Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The prostheses we provide help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.

Wow! So I asked Mommy if I could donate my long hairs to Locks of Love too. She explained that children want people head furs, not cat furs on their heads, and that some children might be allergic to cat furs. I guess I get to keep my long furs then.

8

Mom here. The Furry Bambinos graciously allowed me to post today, in honor of Mohawk. He was One Who Came Before.

Twenty years ago tonight, David and I visited a friend to meet Mohawk. We ended up leaving with Mohawk that night, and took him home to my apartment. It is a great story, and you can read it here.

In addition, today is a sad anniversary, as it is the day in 2002 that Mohawk left us for the Rainbow Bridge.

Although I had had kitties in my life before (Kiki and Puddy), Mohawk was the first cat for whom I was truly responsible. Kiki and Puddy were family pets, and while I loved them both very much, Mohawk was the first cat I lived with as an adult. Adopting Mohawk was the signal to my parents that I was all grown up, and that I wouldn’t be moving back into their home. Puddy, the family cat, was big, orange, and intolerant of other felines.

Each of The Furry Bambinos reminds me of Mohawk in his or her own way. Meerkat is thin and svelte, the daintiest of the Bambinos. Mohawk was also slight of build, weighing just 10 pounds at his heaviest. In contrast, Clyde, Mohawk’s adoptive brother, weighed 19 pounds at one point.

Cookie is our “Cat Ambassador”. She is not afraid of visitors, and especially enjoys assisting furnace repair personnel. Mohawk enjoyed helping plumbers who visited our apartment.

Caramel is sweet and cuddly. Mohawk’s specialty was cuddling. He liked to climb inside my clothes, while I was wearing them.

Padre, in his finicky dining habits reminds us of how Mohawk used to have to be “invited” to join us for meals. Sometimes we would pick up the basket in which Mohawk was reclining, and carry Mohawk, basket and all, to the kitchen for meals. Similarly, we often have to hunt Padre down at breakfast time, and bring his food dish to him.

If you live with cats, you know all about regurgitation. Padre often gets sick and vomits his dry food. We are trying to switch dry foods in hopes that this alleviates this problem.

You know how they say that there are about 60 different words for snow in the Inuit language? Well, we had about 60 different words to describe “Mohawk’s special skill”. In fact, he earned the title “King of Horking” for his creative works of art. Mohawk specialized in using gravity to add to his performance art. So far, none of The Furry Bambinos comes anywhere close to matching Mohawk’s skills. Thank Bast!

Panda Bear’s “meow” reminds us of Mohawk’s voice. Mohawk’s voice sounded more like a bleat than a true meow. It often sounded like he was complaining, but it was really just the way he spoke. Panda Bear makes a very similar sound, and we are always reminded of Mohawk whenever Panda Bear talks to us. Panda Bear also likes to nap on top of us, like Mohawk used to do.

Mohawk also knew his name and would do a happy dance when we said “Mohawk!” in a happy tone. Mohawk would jump onto a bookcase and wait for his “snuggle bath”. Panda Bear knows his name as well as his nickname, PB. Panda Bear will come to us when we say his name in a happy tone of voice, and we reward him with snuggles.

Mohawk, we miss you, and love you always.

17

Hi Efurryone! It’s me, Cookie! It is time to continue telling you about Mama Rose and Her Babies. When we last left off, Mommy had been able to pick up and hold all six bebbeh kittehs, and was able to learn the gender of four. Two of the bebbehs were too squirmy to hold and also check their gender.

Christine (Mommy’s good friend and advisor in PAWS) reminded Mommy about using positive reinforcement with the magical elixir, food of the Gods, Gerber’s Chick-hen Bebbeh Food:

(Turkey flavor will also do. Just read the label to make sure there are no onions!) So, each time Mommy picked up a bebbeh kitteh and held him or her, Mommy dipped her finger in bebbeh food, and let the bebbeh kitteh lick it off her finger. The bebbehs loved the bebbeh food!!! They began to associate getting held with getting bebbeh food.

Eventually, Mommy was able to figure out that this little one is a boy, so she named him Sky.

It is therapeutic to start out taming feral kittehs by keeping them in a cage. However, you must move them into a larger space at some point in order to continue working with them. The next step was getting the kittehs to trust Mommy and Daddy enough to come to them. When Mommy reached into a cage to pick up a kitteh, it did not serve this purpose.

Luckily, we have a foster kitteh room (AKA The Mohawk and Clyde Shrine) that is perfect for this. Once our current fosters had been adopted into great homes, Mommy and Daddy moved the feral bebbehs into the foster room. After a few days, the bebbehs became comfortable in the room, so Mommy and Daddy started to “make the bebbehs work for their bebbeh food”.

This meant that Mommy or Daddy would start out by bringing a finger covered in bebbeh food to the kitteh to lick. The next taste, Mommy or Daddy would put a finger just out of the kitteh’s reach, forcing the kitteh to work up the courage to come a little bit closer. Mommy and Daddy kept this up until the kitteh was very close to them.

Before the bebbeh realized what was happening, they were touching Mommy or Daddy!

Once the bebbehs became comfortable approaching Mommy and Daddy for bebbeh food, The Kitten Whisperer (Daddy) got to work teaching the bebbehs how to play with toys.

Daddy chose to use toys that let the still-timid bebbehs keep their distance. For example, he started by using the orange boa toy on a stick. Daddy waved the toy around, and the bebbeh kittehs had fun playing with the boa. The three bravest kittehs were Woody, Marigold, and Rusty.

Hiii-yaaaa!

Mommy taught the kittehs how to play with the trackball toy. Again, that is Rusty, Marigold, and Woody having a high old time whapping the little ball in the track.

After several days of this, with all the baby food as rewards, and the fun games, some of the bebbehs began to trust Mommy and Daddy. This is Rusty, Woody, Hunter, and Marigold with Daddy’s legs.

Sky and his brother Sunny (Mommy was finally able to determine his gender) were still much more timid than their siblings. They both still hissed a lot, at Mommy and Daddy as well as at their siblings. Woody and Hunter got big hiss from Mr. Airplane Ears, Sky.

Sunny and Sky both still flattened their ears a lot. Sunny spent most playtimes cooped up in his pink Man Kitten Tent.

Mommy had read that not all feral kittehs from the same litter will tame at the same rate. She read that she should continue to work with the shyer bebbehs, and to be patient as they took their time getting used to people.

Next time: How to give a pill to a feral kitteh! You don’t want to miss this one! Complete with video!

3

Hi Efurryone! It’s me, Cookie, your official Mama Rose and Her Babies storyteller. When we last left off, Mommy and Daddy had taught the bebbeh kittehs how to play with cat toys. Sunny was the shyest of the bebbehs, and tended to hide out during play times. But Mommy would reach into his pink ManCat cave and pick him up and pet him. When Mommy held Sunny and gave him scritches on his shoulder blades, he would start purring.

Fostering is not all fun and games. Foster kittehs sometimes get sick. That means that Mommy and Daddy must give the foster kittehs medicines. Like all good cats, fosters are no different in what they think of taking medicine.

Mama Rose and her babies had nasty cases of tapeworms. Giving pills “the usual way” to feral Mama Rose was simply NOT AN OPTION. Neither Mommy nor Daddy wanted to risk losing a finger, hand, or an eye trying to pick up Mama Rose to give her a pill. So Mommy bought a pill crusher, and then Daddy mixed up half a pill into some people tuna, and gave it to Mama Rose. Later, they mixed the other half pill into more people tuna. Mama Rose ate some of the Drontal-laced tuna fish. It was the best that Mommy and Daddy could do for her.

On the other paw, giving pills “the usual way” to feral bebbehs was a possibility. Mommy’s friend Christine, as well as Amy, the director of PAWS, recommended using “Squeeze Cheese” to mix the pill into to get the bebbehs to take their medicine. So Mommy tried to give Marigold and Rusty their half-pill crushed and mixed in Squeeze Cheese. It was a complete failure. The kittehs were too clever, and the pill tasted too nasty.

So, Mommy decided to give Woody, Hunter, Sunny, and Sky their Drontal half-pills “the usual way” using a pill popper. In case you have not heard of a pill popper, they are about as big as a pen, and have a rubber grabber at one end to hold the pill, and a release mechanism.

You can get them at your V-E-T’s office, or buy them online. As much as we kittehs hate getting medicine, it is much less stressful this way. Mom says she wishes she had known about these gadgets years ago, when Mohawk and Clyde had been sick. It would have helped a lot.

Mommy and Daddy teamed up to give Hunter, Woody, Sunny, and Sky their half-pills. I will let the videos tell you the rest of the story.

How To Give a Pill to a Feral Cat: Part 1

How To Give a Pill to a Feral Cat: Part 2

Next time: releasing Mama Rose! Complete with video!

7

Hi Efurryone! It’s me, Cookie! Today, we are going to tell you about the “R” part of TNR.

TNR stands for

Trap

Neuter (or Spay)

Release (or Return)

As much as Mommy and Daddy like Mama Rose, she dislikes them. More accurately, Mama Rose is afraid of Mommy and Daddy.

It was obvious early on that there would be no taming of Mama Rose. EVERY time Mommy or Daddy reached into Mama Rose’s cage, they were greeted by a HISSSSSSSS!!! So each and every time Mommy or Daddy would place a food bowl, a water bowl, or a freshly scooped litter box into Mama’s cage, Mama Rose was frightened by the experience. Sometimes, Mama Rose would hide under her bed.

This made Mommy and Daddy very, very sad. They knew that they would have to release Mama Rose soon after her spay surgery. All the feral kittehs were spayed or neutered in early October, so the weather here was still mild. As regular readers of our blog know, we live in northeast O Hi O, in a suburb of Cleveland. While we have moderately hot Summers, beautiful Autumns, and Spring seasons that range from 2 days to 2 months, it’s the Winters that earn Cleveland its reputation of being an unpleasant place to live. In fact, Cleveland was recently ranked second for snowiest “big” U.S. cities.

On average, the official reporting station for Cleveland gets about 60 inches of snow a season. It is at the airport, in western Cuyahoga County. We live in the bulls eye called “The Snow Belt”, and get about 90 inches a year at Casa de Furry Bambinos.

Now, imagine if your home is outdoors, like that of a feral kitteh like Mama Rose. So Daddy built Mama Rose a shelter, using directions he found at Alley Cat Allies web site. We will save that for another post.

So back in October, after Mama Rose had a few days to recover from her spay surgery, Mommy and Daddy released Mama Rose. Watch the video to find out what happened!

Mommy and Daddy are committed to feeding Mama Rose every day, as long as she chooses to visit us.

Mama Rose is currently showing up for dinner around 6:00 pm (shortly after sunset). If the wet food is not out there, Mama Rose sits on our welcome mat by our front door and waits, all but tapping her little footie. Mommy and Daddy have learned to place the wet food out as close to the time they expect to see Mama as possible. In the winter, the wet food freezes pretty quickly. Mommy is looking into buying a heated food dish. If any of you have suggestions about caring for outdoor feral kittehs, we would love to hear them.

Next time, we will tell you a funny story about Rusty and Woody!

12

Hi Efurryone! It’s me, Cookie! If you haven’t been following the story so far, here’s a quick recap. Mama Rose and her six bebbehs were spotted in our yard in late summer. Mommy and Daddy borrowed some humane traps, and saw to it that Mama and bebbehs were spayed or neutered. Mama Rose, a feral adult cat, was released back to the neighborhood. Mommy and Daddy have been working to “socialize” the bebbehs so that they would be adoptable into loving homes, rather than have to live their lives as feral outdoor kittehs.

After so many chatty posts about Mama Rose and her babies, I thought I would let the photos tell more of the story this time. The little brown tabby is Woody, and the orinch tabby in the litter box is Rusty. Sky (grey tabby) and Marigold (calico) are pictured later.

Sniff sniff …

“Hey, what are you doing back there?”

“I’m not quite done yet …”

“Do you mind?! I’d like some privacy!”

“Thank Bast, he left me alone!”

“He’s back …” Sigh … scratch scratch scratch …

Sniff sniff … scratch scratch scratch …

Sniff sniff …

Woody: “What would Rusty do without me?”

“Sky, cut it out!!!  Don’t you start in on me too!”

Yeah, brothers can be really annoying! Next time, Panda Bear is going to tell you about getting to meet the bebbehs in purrson!

10

Hello kittehs! In honor of Valentine’s Day, allow me to share some LOVE with all of you out there in bloggie land.

As regular readers know, all of us Furry Bambinos are former foster kittehs. Padre, my biological sister Meerkat, and I were adopted in October 2007.  Cookie and Caramel were Mom and Dad’s first attempt at fostering in 2009. They joined the fambly, but since then we have had lots of fosters come and go.

I, Panda Bear, am the President of the Furry Bambino Welcoming Committeh. I am the first Bambino to befriend the fosters. Caramel and Cookie are next to accept the newbies. Meerkat is always LAST to accept the fosters. Usually, she bops them on the head and gives them a hiss. Padre, big ManCat that he is, is usually AFRAID of these pipsqueak fosters, so he avoids them.

The fosters LOVE me. Srsly, they do. Why wouldn’t they? The second I walk into the foster room, I get swarmed by itteh bitteh kittehs. Here, I am teaching the tots how to get your nip on. That’s Sunny, Sky, and Hunter observing closely.

They watch my every move. That’s Silver, Sunny, Hunter, and Sky.

Here I am trying to enjoy a good look out the front window, while standing on the bar stool. That’s Hunter paying homage to me.

Dad even made a short film, depicting my groupies in action.

Honestly, ya’d think I was Justin Bieber or something.