Sunny

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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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Great News, Kittehs!! We have finally found a suitable fambly to adopt Sunny and Sky!!

The brothers are still a bit skittish, Sky more so than Sunny. We knew it would be a challenge to find the right home for them.

Sunny and Sky must be adopted into a QUIET and CALM household.

With NO woofies.

AND with NO sticky little people. AND with NO sticky medium people, either.

AND Sunny and Sky must be adopted TOGETHER.

The right home must have PATIENT people who would understand that Sunny, and especially Sky, are still somewhat timid. The boys need to be given time and space to learn to trust the adopters.

Mom and Dad decided that the best thing for Sunny and Sky would be for them to stay here with us.

Sunny and Sky are now officially Furry Bambinos!

We have already posted this video, but we thought it would be appropriate to show it again.

Welcome to the Fambly!!

Next time, we will tell you our OTHER REALLY BIG NEWS!

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Hi kittehs! As promised, I am continuing where we left off telling you about Mama Rose’s bebbehs. Mommy and Daddy had trapped Mama Rose and her six kittens last September. Mama Rose is feral, which means that she has not been socialized to trust humans. For more information about feral cats, see the Alley Cat Allies web site. It is a fantastic resource that helped Mommy and Daddy learn how to socialize the bebbehs.

Mommy and Daddy love Mama Rose, even though she is terrified of them. On Thursday night, Daddy got home just after Mommy had put out the food for Mama Rose. Daddy could see Mama Rose eating on the porch. So he called Mom from his cell phone to say that he would come in when Mama Rose finished eating. He didn’t want her to get scared and leave, so he stayed in the car until she was done eating. This is a photo of Mama Rose’s feeding station on the front porch. The grey tub in the background under the bush is the shelter that Daddy built for Mama Rose. We don’t think she uses it.

Mama Rose’s bebbehs started out feral too. When they were trapped, the bebbehs were about eight weeks old. The older kittens get without human contact, the less likely it is that they will become socialized to trust humans. When a kitten goes from feral to trusting, we call that “flipping”.

In early October, when Mama Rose and her bebbehs were getting spayed or neutered, Mommy had to decide which bebbehs she thought would definitely “flip”, and which she was unsure about. This is because while they were under anesthesia, ear tipping would be done. Ear tipping is the universal mark that a feral cat has been spayed or neutered:

We use the word “eartip” to describe when a small portion of the tip of a feral cat’s left ear is surgically removed during neuter surgery, to denote that the cat has been neutered and vaccinated. Eartipping is done while the cat is anesthetized and is not painful for the cat. Eartipping is the most effective way to identify neutered feral cats from a distance, to make sure they are not trapped or undergo surgery a second time.

Alley Cat Allies

By early October, Marigold, the only female in the litter, and a Mama Rose lookalike, had completely “flipped”. She trusted Mommy and Daddy enough to climb into their laps of her own free will.

So had Rusty, one of the orange boys in the litter.

Woody was close behind, but too close to call. Hunter was less trusting than Woody, but more trusting than Sky. Sunny was known as Mr. Wild Child, if that gives you an idea of what he thought of Mom and Dad! So Mommy had a sleepless night trying to decide whose ears would be tipped. Reluctantly, she agreed to ear tipping Woody and Hunter, in addition to Sky and Sunny. Sky and Sunny were were still mostly feral in early October.

Marigold was the first of Mama Rose’s kittens to get adopted – on October 16, 2010 – National Feral Cat Day!!!  Marigold has been renamed Mia by her adoptive family, and was a birthday present for the teenage daughter.

A few weeks later, on November 12, Rusty and Woody got adopted –TOGETHER!!! Into a wonderful family – with a Mom, Dad,  Son, and Golden Retriever to keep the boys company! The Mom was initially interested in adopting Rusty …

but when she read their cage card and saw that Rusty and Woody are brothers …

she knew she couldn’t break up the brothers.

And then in December, a wonderful family with Mom, Dad, and Little Girl adopted Hunter!

Which just leaves Sunny …

and Sky, waiting for their furrever fambly.

Doesn’t everyone want a Sunny Sky in their lives?

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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! 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!

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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!

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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!