Feral Kittens

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With great sadness, we report that our beautiful little tortie girl Samoa went to the Rainbow Bridge on Monday, October 24, after a brief but severe bout of pneumonia. We are still in shock as it seems just yesterday she was bounding up and down the stairs. We greatly appreciate the purrs and purrayers from family and friends.

Samoa came into our life in April of 2015.  She was rescued by a dear friend from Slavic Village, along with her four kittens, whom we named Ginger Snap, Peanut Butter, S’mores, and Thin Mint.  S’mores is the only girl and her tortie markings look just like her Mom Samoa!  Ginger Snap is an orange tabby, Peanut Butter is white with orange tabby markings, and Thin Mint is solid black. This first photo is from our first meeting with Samoa and her 2-day old kittens. The second photo is just a week later, and her kittens have grown so much that they look like they are smothering her tiny 7-pound body.

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In addition to her own litter of four kittens, Samoa cared for four “Cowboy Kittens” (Cassidy, Clementine, Harlee, and Sadie) for a few days until their Mama Mae West was rescued, and could resume her motherly duties. Mae West was particularly elusive, and now resides with a dear friend.

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No sooner than Mae West began nursing her four Cowgirls, than a 2-day-old kitten abandoned by his mother was found in the Waterloo neighborhood. We named this kitten, Snickerdoodle, and he was readily welcomed by Samoa into her little family. Snickerdoodle is mostly white with orange tabby markings, and closely resembles Peanut Butter, so he really looked like part of the family!

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Finally came the “Charlie Angels” kittens.  Although Jaclyn Fluff, Farrah Fluff Major, and Kate Fluffson did not resemble Samoa or her own babies, they were also lovingly accepted by Samoa and treated as her own. The three black and white tuxedo kittens were rescued from the home of dear friends who have their own little feral family in their garden. By rescuing the tuxie girls, the hope was to give them safe and loving indoor homes, so they were rescued as young kittens close to weaning so they would be easier to socialize.

Samoa was a good Mom (and surrogate Mom) to a total of 12 kittens … patient with her kittens’ antics, and training her babies how to be Good Cats.

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While confined to the “back kitten room” (back bedroom), Samoa gradually became comfortable with Sue and would allow Sue to pet her on rare occasions. Samoa would rub against Sue’s legs and was pleased to accept treats. However, Samoa was still easily startled and would hiss loudly when Sue or David moved too quickly or without advance notice.

The orange marking over her left eye made Samoa appear as if she was always raising her left eyebrow at us, as if to ask “What now?”

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Over time, after Samoa raised her babies and they started to get adopted, we let her into Gen Pop (gave her full run of the house) with The Furry Bambinos.  Samoa was still a foster with us, and would hide when we needed to take her to adoption events.  Finally, David stated the obvious as we rode to the third consecutive adoption event without Samoa because we could not catch her.  “We may have just adopted our eighth Bambino.”  Shortly thereafter, we discussed it over dinner and concluded that she was happy here with us.  “Let’s just adopt her.”  And that’s how Samoa officially became a Furry Bambino, in early 2016.

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Samoa (aka “Shmo”) fit in with The Furry Bambinos very easily.  She seemed content to be the low girl on the totem pole of the cat hierarchy.  She stood in the background and didn’t seem to care if she was the last one to be fed treats.  She never started fights, and always used the litter boxes.   She regularly helped the other Bambinos on “Bird Patrol” and “Squirrel Patrol” from her favorite position in one of the “tubes” of the cat furniture.

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She also liked to explore.  A few times a week we could guarantee hearing a loud “thump” coming from the basement.  It was usually Samoa landing on the washing machine after jumping down from exploring the crawl space under the family room. She would emerge with her whiskers covered in cobwebs, then dash off upstairs.

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For a long time, she would only eat breakfast by poking her head out from the chair covers in the dining room.

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But over time, Samoa became more comfortable and would eat out in the open.  During our morning feeding routines, she began to occasionally brush up against David’s legs, and he got so he could stroke Samoa across her head and back after giving her a food dish.

The rest of the time, Samoa usually kept her distance from us.  If we came within more than 24 inches of her, she would abruptly dash off to another part of the house.  She would sniff a hand extended to her, but we had to move slowly, or else risk a loud snake-like hiss of fear before she dashed off. There were a few rare occasions that Samoa would snuggle with Sue on the sofa.

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Samoa made friends with Panda Bear, our friendly tuxedo cat.  All the cats in the house, and especially our fosters and former fosters, love Panda Bear.  Samoa would walk beside him, brush up against him repeatedly, sleep beside him in the front window or on Sue’s legs on the sofa, and eat next to him.

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Sunny, Panda Bear and Samoa having a snack.

In Samoa’s last nights with us, we had her sequestered to a large cage in our family room so we could closely monitor her and care for her.  Panda Bear walked into her cage, and even in her weakened state Samoa reached her head over to brush against him.

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Samoa also had become a play friend for little Farrah Fluff (another new Furry Bambino, c. 2016).  Samoa and Fluff would chase each other the length of the house, back and forth, chomp on each other and bunny kick each other’s heads, and then dash off with wild abandon.  They both seemed to enjoy the play time.

On Sunday evening, the night before Samoa passed, Farrah Fluff reached a paw into Samoa’s cage to tap (maybe pet?) Samoa on the head, and then came around from another angle to tap her friend on the side.  Fluff was obviously checking in with her friend to see how she was doing.

We are so happy we chose to adopt Samoa.  We were honored to have been Samoa’s guardians for the relatively short time she was with us. We did our best to keep her well fed, safe, and happy despite her efforts to avoid us.

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We wish we had known earlier that she was ill.  Cats have a way of hiding their illnesses until it’s too late to save them.  It’s so frustrating to know we might have done more for her.  We had her at the veterinarian on Saturday, and by late Monday afternoon she was gone. Sue has the lyrics of the Hall and Oates song “She’s Gone” running on a loop in her head.

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It’s amazing that such a little cat could leave such a big hole in our hearts.  We hope that Samoa will be waiting for us at the Rainbow Bridge. When we get too close, she will probably dash off to hide.  So long as we see her there, that’s all that matters.

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Until we meet again, Sweet Samoa.  We love you!

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Hi Effurryone!!  ::waves paws excitedly::

Today is my first birthday!!!

And that means it’s Sky’s first birthday too!!

We do just about everything together!

We got borned together. Happy Mother’s Day,  Mama!

We got trapped together in the very same trap. We got to hang out in the kitty condo together (at first).

We got to stay at the Furry Bambino Foster Academy together.

We like to swarm Panda Bear together.

We got adopted together!

We nap together!

We beg for treats together.

We drink milk from Mom’s cereal dish together.

In honor of our birthday, we will be holding a Comment-a-thon! For every comment we receive on this post between now and next Sunday, July 31st at 11:59 pm, Mom will donate green papers to the Cleveland APL.

Enough about that – time to party! Make yourselves at home! We have noms, nip, niptinis, nap spots, toys, and brotherly love to share!

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Greetings, furriends! It is me, your Floofy Furry Bambino, Caramel, with today’s update on our second class of Kitten Season 2011.

Meet Joan, Jett, and Braveheart! Sisters Joan (back) and Braveheart (front) are huddled together in the kitten bed. Brother Jett is sitting next to the kitten bed. (Mom and Dad considered naming Braveheart “Blackheart” to be consistent, but thought that was too unkind. Plus, Mom hopes that little Braveheart’s name becomes self-fulfilling.)

That’s because Joan, and especially Braveheart, are feral. Presently, Joan is “semi-feral” and Braveheart is about 90% feral. Brother Jett is the most trusting of the three siblings. They were found in a cat carrier along with their three other siblings in a local park. Because all six kittens were all skittish, the litter was divided up between two foster homes to socialize the babies.

Soon after enrolling in Furry Bambino Foster Academy, Jett developed some weird lesions on the bridge of his nose. About the same time,  Daddy casually mentioned to Mom over dinner that (another PAWS volunteer) “Eileen called this afternoon, and said that the other three kittens in the litter might have ringworm”.

Mom stopped eating, and replied: “R-r-r-ringworm? Do you know what that is? It is SO contagious! Aaahhhhh! That must be what the lesions on Jett’s face are!!!” She fled the dinner table and immediately called Eileen.

At the time, Daddy didn’t understand how serious ringworm is. He thought Mom was just being melodramatic (again). A lot of people think that ringworm is a parasite because of the name. Actually, ringworm is a skin infection that is caused by a fungus, the same one that causes Athlete’s Foot. Its spores become AIRBORNE and it can spread rapidly, and the spores can survive a long time (like a year) outside the host.

So Mom and Dad removed Joan, Jett, and Braveheart from the kitten room and moved them into a cat condo in the garage. Unfortunately, Nadia and Bart got exposed to Joan, Jett, and Braveheart, and would need to be quarantined for 14 days to see if they developed ringworm, too. Luckily, Lilia and Vitaly had just gotten adopted, so they were not exposed.

Next time: Treating the feral threesome for ringworm! Good times, kittehs, good times.

P.S. Joan, Jett, and Braveheart are the 13th class in the history of Furry Bambino Foster Academy. Not that we’re superstitious or anything …

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Hi efurryone! My name is Sky. Sky Bambino.

I was trapped by The Lady and The Man on September 18, 2010.

At the time, I thought it was the worst day of my life.

Now, I realize it was the best day of my life.

Over time, I began to trust The Lady and The Man. They fed us baby food on their fingers.

They took good care of me and my sister and brothers. They even took good care of my biological Mama.

Sudden movements and loud sounds still make me nervous. But today I am writing about how much I secretly love The Lady. She gives me treats, like lunch meat, Temptations, and milk from her cereal dish.

She’s says it’s OK to call her Mommy.

I’m not quite ready to call her Mommy yet, so I will call her The Lady Mommy.

Happy The Lady Mommy’s Day to your The Lady Mommies too!

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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.

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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!

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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!