Woody

16

Hello Furriends! Sunny here! I am also repurrting on behalf of my brother Sky.

That’s me in the tube, and Sky down below.

Today is a Big Birthday! Sky and I are two years old today! You may remember that there are six of us in this litter, so that means our sister (Marigold) and brothers (Hunter, Rusty, and Woody) are two years old today too! Hunter is in Dad’s lap, and that’s Woody, Rusty, Marigold, and Sky on the floor. They were enjoying a snack of Baby Food! The photo is from October 2010 when we were about 3 months old.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy! Mama Rose (feral) still visits us every day and hangs out on the porch. Human Mom and Dad feed her every single day.

You can all come over for a Game of Thundering Herds of Elephants, enjoy some Stinky Goodness, People Tuna, People Salmon, Niptinis and Meowgaritas (milk for the kittens), and enjoy some Nap Action when you want to rest.

Thanks for visiting us! Be sure to visit The Tabby Cat Club today to see photos of our Birthday Toesies!

8

Hi efurryone! I’m Sky! I would like to tell you about National Feral Cat Day (October 16). I will tell you about it, by telling you my story, and the story of my parents, Mama Rose and Daddy.

Last year, my brothers and sister and I were born to Mama Rose. We don’t know exactly when, but it was probably in July 2010. When we got big enough, Mama started bringing us to visit the back yard at Casa de Furry Bambinos. Mama was young, probably less than a year old herself. Our Human Mom and Dad began feeding us in a special cafeteria.

One day, the cafeteria door closed behind us while we were eating! We were trapped! That’s my brother Rusty and sister Marigold (now Mia).

Our Humans kept us in cages in the garage at first. Every day they fed us, scooped our boxes, and tried to cuddle and hold us. They gave us Baby Food as a reward for cuddling with them. That’s Sunny and me (Sky) huddling and trying to hide in our cage. Back then, Sunny was known as Mr. Wild Child, and I was Mr. Hissy.

Then one day we were all put into PTU’s, and taken to the Cleveland APL for our hoohaectomies and ladygardenectomies.

This is Woody, Hunter, and Sunny in the PTU. (Note the airplane ears and scared little faces.)

Soon after that, my sister and brothers and I moved into the Dormitory at Furry Bambino Foster Academy (Kitten Foster Room). That’s me on the right, hissing at Woody and Hunter. I was kind of crabiliated back then.

Mama was released to the Outside.

Our Human Mom and Dad feed her every day.

Recently, Mama has started TALKING to our Human Dad!!!  For those of you who know something about feral cats, you know that this is HUGE!!! And yesterday, for the First Time Ever, Mama said Hello to our Human Mom!!!

Per usual, our Biological Daddy was never part of our little family. He planted his seeds and left the scene. Our Humans saw him from time to time in the neighborhood.

My brother Woody and I look  A LOT like our Kitteh Daddy, which is why our Human Mom was convinced that Daddy was: a) A Male Cat, and b) Our Biological Daddy.

Then this summer, Daddy started showing up every day …

… to nom on Mama’s foods on the porch. Do you see Mama in the photo, too? She’s waiting for Daddy to finish eating. She always lets him eat first.

Our Humans got a Cafeteria (trap) and after some resistance on his part, trapped Daddy in July. He got his hoohaectomy at the Cleveland APL, and was released that night.

Now Mama shows up just about every day, and Daddy shows up often. Mama spent most sunny summer afternoons napping on the porch here at Casa de Furry Bambinos.

To celebrate National Feral Cat Day, our Human Mom is shopping online for some better ideas for winter shelter for Mama and/or Daddy. Our Human Parents are discussing the best way to keep Our Biological Parents safe this winter.

This Just In: Please if you could spare some purrs and purrayers, our Dear Friend Perfectly Parker and her family could use some.

And, while you are purring, please send some purrs for Carol, a Very Kind Human who is the volunteer coordinator for PAWS, the animal rescue group for which Mom and Dad volunteer. Carol is in the hospital right now after a terrible fall, and she and her family could really use all the purrs and purrayers you can muster.

8

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?

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!

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!

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!

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!