Saturday, June 28, 2008
Fostering new cats always comes with surprises. Take Camille who we have now (known to us as Hazelnut). First surprise: did you know that a cat in heat when spayed may still yowl right after being spayed? The little gal couldn't be spayed until her kittens were done nursing (something they were reluctant to give up). She came to our house to give her some freedom from her growing brood that was in need of weaning and some much-needed individual attention. I was warned she might go into heat before her spay appointment and sure enough. But I was sure upon return from the vet she'd be both quiet and in need of rest. Instead, she was full of energy, all over the house, and still yowling! I guess it takes some time to get the hormones out of the system. She did stop but for awhile I'd wondered if I'd mistook a noisy vocal personality for being in heat.
Second surprise. I just finished writing Mary Ann, the cat division director, that Camille probably wouldn't be good around other cats because she seemed so nervous around ours. Then, while at our cabin, I discover her on the top bunk snuggling with our male Tabby, Leaf.
Third surprise. We though Camille was a quiet shy girl. Last night I heard a cat racing all over the bedroom, then up the stairs and down the stairs. I was sure it was Petal but soon saw it was Camille. It is like a light switch turned on for her and she is finally at ease because she's been chasing some sort of pompom puffball of my daughter's all over the house, moving like lightning.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Potential fosters and even some of our current fosters frequently ask, "How much work are kittens?". That's a loaded question. Kittens are adorable and they win your heart pretty quickly but they are a large commitment of time and energy.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
For any of you wondering about fostering or those who never considered it, let me share a few of my experiences. I was always the person who seemed to encounter desperate homeless cats that we couldn’t take in because our own cats were intolerant of newcomers. The stray kitten alone in the woods, the attention-starved cat a friend wanted to discard after the arrival of a baby, the old tabby lingering at the apartment complex hoping for some hand-outs. When our ancient cats died, we declared we would not actively get a new cat; we would wait for the inevitable needy cat to find us and for once we could take it in. You know what happened of course. No desperate cats showed up at our door anymore, now that we were available.
Then we discovered fostering. Not only could we take in one homeless cat after another and find them forever homes, but there was so much more joy we didn’t anticipate. The excitement of a new cat arriving, discovering their personalities emerge from the moment they poke their noses out of the carrier. What would this little one be like? There’s Tamari the brown tabby who chose to remain in the open carrier for 7 hours before creeping out in the dead of night. Or Ian, the orange tabby, who bounded out and started pouncing on things immediately. Or Dewdrop the gray girl who crawled right into our laps. Isaiah, the flame point Siamese, casually walked out as if he’d lived here his whole life. Over the first week or so, it is such a delight to discover who these creatures are. But even more wonderful is filling their cup with attention that the majority were so deprived of. I have found that most start out seeming incredibly needy. They want to be petted constantly and follow us all over the house. Over time, I can see them start to calm. They are not so desperate and they begin to relax. They seem so happy to have food and love; two things that most of them were very short on.
There is the learning curve as well. Never feed them first thing in the morning or else soon enough they will do all they can to make sure morning begins very early. We learned how to create a makeshift lock on our breadbox for Becca, the tabby-and-white girl who could get into anything for bread.
Our half litter of kittens (who incidentally did show up one day in the middle of the woods without a mom), Henry, Hayden, and Marshmallow, were so rambunctious that we kept them in my office at night and when I opened the door in the morning, they’d tumble out as if they’d been stacked one on top of the other, listening for my footstep. Then would begin a day of chasing, pouncing, surprise attacks, and of course snuggling to sleep as a threesome bundle of fur.
Who do we have now? Camille. Only we call her Hazelnut. She’s a ‘rubber’. She interacts with you by rubbing on your hand and on any available piece of furniture. She moves slowly as if through water, sliding her body along a bookcase or your leg. She’s the gentlest one we’ve had so far. She is so happy to have someone want to notice HER instead of just her kittens. We’re still learning who she is but hope soon she’ll be in a loving forever home.
There is a colony of spayed and neutered feral cats in Anoka who need regular feeding and watering. Several years ago Animal Ark spayed, neutered and cats were returned to the site and volunteers are needed to continue to support these cats. This has created a managed colony where there are no longer many, many kittens being born only to become feral and reproduce again and again. It has lessened or eliminated fighting by the male cats because they are no longer fighting over the females.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
These two 'mom's were spayed today also. Camille will be 'at the cabin' for the weekend so she won't be able to attend the adoption. Katie, who is sleek and black, plans to come. She loves to play with another cat - one of her kittens is her favorite. She also likes to be around you, follows you around and sits near you in your chair or on the couch. Camille had a burn on her back, over her shoulder blades, and lost a patch of hair. It is starting to grow back now. By our next adoption it should have filled in.
Charlie, Corrine and Cory will also be at the adoption on Sat. and Sun., 6/21 and 6/22. They are very social kids and love to run and play and visit for some attention. We have many wonderful 'older' cats - they're all under 2-4 yrs of age. Since cats live, on average, from 14-18 yrs. you will have a great companion for many years to come. One of the advantages of adoption an older kitten or 'adult' is that we know what their personality is like. Want a lap cat? Look at Holly. Want a busy kid? How about Nick. Looking for a pair? Mocha and Sophie. If you are anyone you know would like to adopt a cat, please e mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the 'want to adopt' line at 952-831-3825. Pictures and bios posted at pethavenmn.org!
5 Pet Haven kittens and 2 moms are being spayed and neutered today. They'll be able to come to the adoptions this weekend. If you are interested in kittens, we have very nice ones with lots of personality. Colors? You name it, and we probably have it.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Kittens love games. Here's a favorite one -
Katie is weaning her kittens. They've been lots of work. She's still willing to play with them and give them a kiss sometimes but finds being a mom a bit tiring!
Monday, June 2, 2008
We had 3 kitties join the contingency of Pet Haven volunteers, adopters, and dogs at Pet Haven's first appearance in the Grand Old Day parade.
Pet Haven cat foster Sandra looked especially cool in her Cat in a Hat outfit. And everyone wore peace sign necklaces to celebrate the 70s theme of the parade.
The strollers worked well for the cats. While we were waiting for our turn in the parade lineup, several people came over and petted Spanky (who is up for adoption) as he had his harness on and the top of the stroller was open. He didn't seem bothered by the dogs either. Kristin, who walked Silver in another stroller, kept Silver happy by reaching in and nuzzling him often.
It was a great day for all!
Watch a video for photos from the parade: http://www.youtube.com/user/PetHavenMN1