We haven’t had a foster dog since Brandi, the cart German Shepard, left in early spring. The reasons are various including trips, our crazy schedule, and spending a lot of time and resources on another secret dog project.
I do not mean to be secretive about the project any longer, but the point of this post is foster kittens. Even my best attempt at briefly describing the dog project was multiple paragraphs. So for now, I shall leave you wanting more.
A few weeks ago we decided to resume contact with the shelter and ask about fostering. For once, there wasn’t an overload. And being in a such a rural area, they prefer to have as many adoptable dogs at the shelter itself for potential new families.
But after a week went by, we got a call. The shelter was still OK, but a shelter in an adjacent county was full up with kitten season. Could we foster cats?
Mamma Jane and her six kittens came to us that same day.
The kittens were four weeks old then, and two of them very sick. Mamma Jane herself went through some illness with us too where we were syringe feeding her, cleaning up vomit, and checking the litter box with growing concern. Luckily, we have experience in the cat-won’t-poop department. A little medication, a little time and trust, and she pulled through.
The two sick kittens are doing much better as well. The smallest, Baby, had an abscess on her leg that had been drained and she wasn’t walking when she arrived. She is still the smallest and slowest. I weigh her every night and if she hasn’t gained I will syringe feed her some formula. But her appetite, energy, and playfulness have all increased dramatically. She is the one we were worried wouldn’t make it. We’re less worried now.
The other sick kitten, Stumpy (I am trying to get in the habit of calling him Cole Jr because no one wants to adopt a cat named Stumpy), had a hind foot removed. Both Stumpy’s and Baby’s injuries were a result of all the kittens (seven at birth) being on the same umbilical cord. I’m not familiar with cat births (or human births for that matter – thank goodness!) but I guess this is rare and complicates the birth. Stumpy not only had to have his stump heal but he had contracted pneumonia. That has completely cleared up now. While all the kittens needed formula-feedings via syringe when they arrived, now only Baby and Stumpy receive them to make sure they stay on track.
Grey is the last of the “runts”. Nothing is wrong with him, he’s just smaller. Well, smaller and maybe dumber. He always has a dumb look on his face at least. He’s definitely beefing up though. Grey is a big fan of the Louis C.K. “Bang-Bang”. Grey will come out to one restaurant (a plate of formula), eat, then walk around the corner (to the bedroom) to another restaurant (wet food plate), and eat an entire second meal.
We’ve named the last three kittens WRK (for World’s Roughest Kitten), Boots (very imaginative), and Gandalf (for a grey beard on her chin that Boots is missing). All of them are fat, fast, rough and girls. Our biggest challenge with them is socializing them with humans – allowing for pets and lap sitting.
As you might imagine, our permanent feline crew is not happy about this. That is acerbated by the fact that Mamma Jane wants to kill them. The fosters are in a spare bedroom where we’ve installed a hook catch on the outside to make sure the door can’t be opened if not shut well (this is an old door on the original cabin).
But we can’t chance just trying to open the door quickly and slip in. If Jane gets a shot, there will be fur and claws and blood flying before we can blink. So in order to handle the fosters, we have to lock our crew up in the 3rd bedroom/study area (the “new” 1979 addition to the cabin with thankfully a better door handle). While they prefer this to getting the shit beat out of them, they resent giving up their house and toys. Celeste, Pixie, and Spike have all taken to slinking away from us if we make motions towards the study.
But overall they haven’t acted out. No bathroom activities outside the litter box (that we’ve found yet). No hunger strikes. No silent treatment. They still treat us like the food-doling-chin-scratching humans they always have, with a tolerant annoyance to the fact we feel other animals besides them deserve to be rescued too.
In a few days, we will start bringing a few kittens to the shop. I was initially wary of this; worried their immune systems weren’t up to such a public and social setting. But the shelter is full and think it would be wonderful if we can pimp them for adoption.
And no. We’re not keeping them. Any of them.
Celeste thinks it would be awesome if Pixie and Spike were adopted too.
Apologies for the photo-placement weirdness. Between new computer, new browser, new App, and not-Interneting in forever, this is the best I could do.