Sunday, November 28, 2010

Foster kitteh

What have I done??
Approx six-week-old kitten
Yeah, I fell for that little face. Well, Byrd fell for it first.

I was out on the town on Black Friday when I got a text message from Byrd: we have kittens. I called him right then and there. Sometimes it's better to convey one's thoughts directly. Mine were: "WTF do you mean, 'we have kittens'?!?" (My sister and mom, two cat lovers who were in the car with me, squealed in unison.)

The truth was that we had one kitten, and it was hiding in the pipe that went under our driveway, and was unwilling to come out without a fight. Rather than leave it there overnight with the first freeze of the year upon us, I put the live trap at one end of the pipe, and slowly shoved a PVC pipe through the other end. Into the live trap it went, hissing and spitting like a tiny evil demon.

She's significantly tamed down after a bit of food and quiet. And now she's my newest foster.

"Chibi," aka "Tiny" for the U.S. crowd
I gave her a bath on the first day. I was not prepared for the fleas. Do you know what a fire ant mound looks like when you step on it? The fleas swarmed similarly as I rinsed the baby kitten with Dawn. The water ran bloody red. I spent several hours picking off fleas, but she still has tons. (Currently working on securing a better flea treatment.)

My tasks this week are getting her vetted and scheduled for spay. These costs are coming out of my pocket for this kitten because we're doing the foster independent from any rescue group.

Although I prefer to foster for rescue groups, because they cover medical costs, this is not an option for Tiny. The local rescue/foster groups pull directly from kill shelters--they don't take animals from the community. So I cannot "surrender" Tiny to a no-kill group and let them rehome her. I would have to drop Tiny off at the local open-intake (kill) shelter, and hope that a rescue group pulled her or someone adopted her before she was euthed. There's always the chance that Tiny might be killed by the shelter in such a scenario.

So I'm doing the foster, the vetting, the spay, and the rehoming legwork myself this time. Merry Christmas, kitteh. Your vet bills are going to eat up a good chunk of the money I was going to spend on Christmas gifts this year. :P

Oh well. It's a good learning experience for Star, whose only previous experience with cats went like this:

Me: What a nice garden center. Look at all these plants, Star!
Star: Oh yes, what nice plants. I shall smell this big one here. Sniff sniff.
Cat leaps from behind plant and claws Star across the face.
Me: Dear God, the plant is trying to kill us!! No... wait...
Cat: Nyaaah! Stoopid dog! (runs off)
Star: MY FACE!! I will DESTROY YOU!!! ...Where'd it go?
Me: Too late. You got whupped by a cat. (mops up cat-inflicted wounds)

Star hasn't been too keen on cats since the day her face got shredded by one. I don't really blame her. But I've been looking for an opportunity to desensitize her to cats in a controlled environment. This is a baby step.
"It's one of those evil THINGS! In MY HOUSE!"

"Gee, you sure have a lot of toys in there."

"When am I going to get that many toys?"
Actually, the toys are on loan from my sister's cat.

Okay, I promised a foster puppy update. I've gotten pics from a few of the adoptive families, and I got to see King Louie on Friday. The pups are a little over four months old now. If they're anything like Louie, they must all be total dolls. Louie was a class act.

Momma Nancy was a Boston Terrier x Beagle. Daddy was a mystery. Puppy Louie looks a bit like a Saint Bernard, Chow, Cocker Spaniel, or Dachshund. He's got thick fur, but his body is long and his legs are short. He's the most adorable, friendly, playful little furball... and surprisingly quiet, considering he was the leader of the Scream Team when he was born. 
King Louie, now King Louis
Bowser, now Maverick
Princess Daisy, now Sister
That's all for now... I'm hoping to get more updates when they are six months old!


Kari in WeHo said...

enjoy your kitty ;)


bitt said...

What a cutie! I love tabby and whites. What a good soul you are to take her in. As for fleas, I haven't had much luck with anything but advantage or that kind of thing. But you could try diametaceous earth on her fur.

Leila said...

OMG! a kitty! a KITTY! You have a Kitty! Mom won't let me get another Charlie. She says one Charlie is enough. Chibi sure looks cute.


As you can tell, Quizz loves him some cat. He always has. Charlie has come to accept his slobbery adoration with great patience and the occasional rebuke. The kitty will soon rule the roost.

Daisy Dog said...

She sure is cute!!!! You can get the cats/kittens advantage for fleas, and use just a couple drops on the end of a q-tip and put it on her back. Flea anemia is really dangerous with little kittens. You prolly already know this, but don't use the one for dogs its lethal on cats.

tiggsbuddi said...

I think the key to killing fleas is using the lemon Dawn- citrus seems to kill the fleas. I have used lemon Dawn/Joy for yrs when washing flea infested rescued critters and it always works. Another great product is Natural Groomer D Limonade. I have used it on puppies/kittens 5 wks old (over diluted) and it works wonders!
Good luck with ADORABLE kitty!

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cinci_celine said...

Try Head & Shoulders for fleas. I'm told to use it first then Dawn. I always used Dawn, but its not working as well this year and I only learned about H&S since it got cold.

forsythia said...

Grandson and I have been reading a book called "Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty." The book includes facts about cats, such as the optimum age for a kitten to leave its mother. It's 12 weeks! During that time, the mother teaches the kitten many things it needs to know, such as how to use the litter box. I hope the book is wrong and that this sort of behavior is hard-wired into your kitty. You are a kind soul.

happypitbull said...

Thanks for all the advice! Fortunately, I looked up a friend in the cat rescue side of the foster group I work with for dog foster. She helped me procure various age-appropriate flea and worming treatments. Also fortunately, this kitten immediately started using the litter box. I think that's hardwired into most kittens; we've never fostered one that didn't figure it out. Chibi also adjusted to indoor life VERY quickly. She learned how to climb up my pants in order to get into my lap, where she would roll around and play-fight with my shirt.

But here is the best news of all--Chibi got adopted in a matter of days. Although I usually foster until spay or neuter, in this case it turns out Chibi was only five weeks old, and couldn't be spayed until at least 12 weeks of age. Rather than wait another 7 weeks (after which time kittens are a little larger and more difficult to rehome), I found an adopter who I feel can be trusted to take care of her spay at the appropriate time, as she is an ex-cat rescuer herself. We wrote up an agreement to that effect, just to be sure.

I think it is a good outcome. The new adopter took the kitten to the vet that same day, and reported back to me that she (Chibi) was actually too young for vaccinations right now, but that she had a future vet appointment already scheduled. So I feel sure that Chibi has found a great new home with an owner that is prepared to take good care of her. Much better than being covered in fleas and starving in a freezing cold ditch under a driveway!