Click photos to enlarge them.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Liz, the New Kitten

For anyone who hasn't had the news on lately, the St. Louis airport had major damage from a tornado or straight-line winds Friday night.  My brother, Steve, and his wife, Judy, from Dallas had flown in Thursday night because the flight was $30 cheaper.  Lucky for them or they might still be stuck on a plane. His son, Corey, and wife, Liz, came down Thursday night from Chicago and drove through a lot of it.  My sister, Sue, came from Mt. Vernon on Friday, but it went through her place, too.  We all weathered out the storm here just fine.  The damage went north and south of us.  But, right before the storm started, Joanie, a friend of a friend, Darlene, brought over a 7-week-old kitten, just under 2 pounds, from her mother's house in Hermann, another hard-hit area from the storm.  Joanie's mom had been feeding a friendly feral cat since last fall.  A few weeks ago the cat was bringing three kittens with her.  Joanie asked Darlene if she knew anyone who could take the kittens, and her mom would keep mama cat.  Being one of my best friends, Darlene did know who to call.  I said if Joanie could get them tested for leukemia and aids, and if they were negative, I would take them.  I couldn't risk my other adults and nine other babies here.  Before Joanie could get to the vet Friday, Mom found a home for one kitten.  Then while Joanie was at the vet's office, someone wanted one of the other two.  So, the one she brought me is negative, but it was the black one.  Now, I have nothing at all against black cats, and my favorite foster is Ebony, a black cat, but I do have five shiny black fosters here among the gang and am ready for something not black.  Well, this little girl is not a solid, shiny black.  She's a fuzzy tortie and has little blotches of tan here and there.  I fell in love with her instantly.  And so did Liz, who carried the kitten around and held her while we played Dominos.  Liz couldn't get Corey to consent to a cat in the apartment and went back to Chicago yesterday kittenless.  Sorry, Liz.  Corey did take these two pictures of Liz holding the kitten, and I'm naming the kitten in her honor. 

Since the kitten was negative, I've put her in Ellie's room and she and Ellie are doing just fine and eating canned food from the same dish.  Liz is not okay with Ellie's kittens, though, so Liz sleeps on the recliner.  Next week I cut the door of the birthing box all the way to the floor, and the kittens will be all over the room.  Hopefully Liz will be okay with them by then.  I also have her laying on me now in the family room.  I think it's going to take a couple days for her to get used to Lucy, the dog, too, but everybody does.  Isn't she just gorgeous?  I wish Corey had taken a picture of both Lizes together.  They're both beautiful girls. John has a picture of Corey and Liz from our daughter's wedding on his computer and I'll get that soon and add it here.

In a couple weeks, Liz, the kitten, will go in for her package and will be spayed, microchipped, and vaccinated.  Then she'll be ready for adoption.

NOTE:  Liz was adopted May 7, her first day at Petsmart.  Turns out the adopter's brother lives on my street and I've known the family for years.  Small world.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ellie's Kittens at Two Weeks

Mama Ellie and her four kittens.  I think they're all girls and have given them names.  The light buff one was easy - Buffy.  Then I got started on a Buffy, the Vampire Slayer theme.  Yes, we watched the show every week.  Buffy's last name was Summers, so the one with the split colored face, under mom's paw, is Summer.  The big, fat, adorable gray one is Willow, and the other gray one with a light tan patch on one side of her face is Anya.  My favorite seems to change every five minutes.  Now, I have no favorite.  They're all my favorites.  Ellie is such a good mom, but is getting a little too protective.  Since Ellie came with roundworms, she had a dose of dewormer the day I got her two weeks ago.  Also the day the kittens were born.  Now, at two weeks, Ellie got her second dose tonight and the babies got their first dose.  I think I made a mistake in giving Ellie hers first.  When I reached in to get a kitten, I got a nip on my wrist, then my arm, then a hiss, as I slowly took a baby out of the box.  It's like she knew what I was going to do.  Weird.  All kittens got their meds and I didn't bleed doing it.  Fair enough.

Here are individual pictures of the kittens that I'm quite proud of.  You would think two week old kittens would just lay there and let you snap picture after picture.  Hah!  You would be wrong.  For each cute picture here, there's nine or ten that got deleted. They turned their head or put their head down, or closed their eyes.  They can turn themselves completely around in my hand before I can take the picture.  Got a lot of butt shots that I deleted. Even the ones I did get were not in focus,  John had to come in and take some while I held them.  That's my hand under the fabric.





Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Minnie Has Babies, Finally

This is Minnie Tuesday morning.  She's resting her leg on something John made for me to allow a bedroom door to open only a couple inches so cats on either side of the door can get acquainted before letting them together.  I'd been holding her leg up to give her more room and my arm got really tired.  I saw this door stop on the supply shelf and it worked like a charm as a leg rest.  She used it off and on for hours.
Minnie started contractions Tuesday at 12:30 pm, just the time I was supposed to be leaving for a quilt guild meeting.  I love my Tuesday group and don't miss a monthly meeting unless I absolutely have to.  Kittens are one of the few reasons to miss a meeting.  She had her first kitten at 1:15, then the second one at 1:30.  Boy, this is going to be a piece of cake.  Then they got further and further apart.  Number 5 was born at 7pm, and I sat on a folding chair, next to the birthing box, holding a flashlight on her butt, just like I'd done for a major part of four days, waiting for these kittens to come.  I don't think I was this exhausted after I gave birth to my daughter.  After the fifth kitten, Minnie stopped acting like there was another one coming, but the vet, Kelly, had seen six skulls on the x-ray.  After 9pm I changed the towels in the box and cleaned her up a little while the five kittens nursed - or tried to.  They weren't very good at it in the beginning.  The poor little sixth one was stillborn about 11pm.  For some reason we'll never know, he just wouldn't come out.  The others are doing very well and all gained a third of an ounce between midnight and 9am this morning.  It doesn't sound like much, but when you only weigh 3.8 oz, that's a 7% weight gain in nine hours.

There are two darker gray, two medium gray with slight orange blotches, and one orange that has the classic tabby swirl on each side.  Several have white feet.  Minnie and the babies are all doing very, very well.  I'll weigh them on a digital scale every morning to make sure everybody is gaining weight.  Whew!  I'm sure Minnie's as happy as I am to have this over with.  She was huge, but she could still jump up on a bed to cuddle.
This photo was taken tonight, so they're one day old.  It's a little hard to see everybody, and Minnie's looking a little rough around the edges. There's two kittens by Minnie's front legs.  One's head is under her fur.  Minnie has her paw on the orange one's head.  One gray has it's head in the orange one's neck and the other gray is laying across Minnie's back legs.  None of these positions look comfortable to me. I had trimmed some of her fur around the nipples so the babies could find them easier, but their tiny toenails were still getting caught in her hair, and Minnie was not liking that at all.  She actually let me use a noisy battery-powered mustache trimmer to shave around each nipple and trim most of her belly fur, too.  What a girl.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Brooke and Ellie's Kittens

My niece, Brooke, spent the weekend with me awaiting Minnie's kittens.  We were so sure they would come Friday night, then Saturday, and now it's Sunday afternoon, and still no kittens.  I think she's really close.  She lays in the birthing box and pants like it'll be any second, and the she jumps out, jumps on the bed, and wants us with her.  Then she'll jump off the bed, go back in the box like they're coming, and five minutes later, she's back on the bed.  I'm editing as the evening goes on.
3:15 pm - no kittens
6:00 pm - no kittens
9:00 pm - no kittens
11:30 pm - no kittens
 Mon, 11:30 am - no kittens, but a slight discharge.  Getting close?
Tue, 2:30 am - no kittens, and she's jumping on the bed at will.  I want babies!!!

So, Brooke and I went downstairs to see Ellie and her babies again and we took some pictures. The orange ball is just for a size reference.  I used it in their picture from last week.  They're getting so big in just a week, and will be two weeks old Wed.  All their eyes are open.  The buff one is Buffy, and the light gray one, the largest one, is Willow, and that's as far as we got.
 Here's Brooke with the dark kitten with the split color face.  So adorable.

Brooke really likes this kitten.  It's her favorite.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Queen of the Washer Toss

Nothing much happened today.  No babies came.  I read a lot.  So, I'll tell about last Friday night.  My dear friend, Madeline, who lives a couple hours away, came up to St. Charles to a patio party her daughter was giving to christen said new patio.  Just family and a few friends, and I was happy to be invited.  There was a washer toss game set up in the yard and grandson, Isaiah was playing against his father, Levaughn.  When they were finished, Madeline and I played each other and I won.  Now I haven't played this game except once about six years ago.  Then I played against Levaughn and beat him. By this time it's past dusk and there's no yard lights.  Isaiah was holding a flashlight on the boxes so we could have something to aim at, and he and his sister were arguing about who would hold the flashlight to search for the washers when we couldn't find them in the yard. We had a rematch, and I beat him again.  In one round, three of my four washers were in the box and the fourth was in the center pipe.  Six points! The crowd went wild!!!  Well, Madeline clapped for me.  I retired undefeated. It was awesome.  I am proclaiming myself Queen of the Washer Toss. The old lady was cleaning up.  Mopping the floor with them.  No, I'm not a gracious winner.  I AM a good tosser, though.  It comes from 40 years of marriage and tossing things into the trash cans, into the laundry, into the drawer.  I can toss John's PJ pants onto the 12" of shelf space above my head, from five feet away, and nail it every time. Overhand, underhand, sideways, it doesn't matter.  I couldn't play basketball in grade school or high school worth a darn, but I could stand at the free-throw line and toss the ball backwards and hit nothin' but net. A thing of beauty. I guess I could look in the garage for a 3" washer to photograph, but I don't think we have any that large.  I do think I'll get one of the games and see if my next victims guests would like to make a friendly wager.  I could start playing for cat food.  I'm already quilting for cat food. To all my Tuesday and Wed girls:  practice up and we'll have the hubby's over for burgers and washer toss.  I need more cat food.

Madeline's been wonderful about including me in many of their family events.  She has three daughters who live in the St. Louis area, so she's up here quite a bit and tries to come out to O'Fallon when she can.  About a year and a half ago she brought her two grandkids, Isaiah and Bria with her to see the kittens.  They had a ball and the kittens cooperated and were fun.  This is Isaiah with a feather stick keeping two litters of kittens mesmerized. That's Madeline in the chair.

Isaiah is the cat whisperer.  "Okay, lets do the Meow Mix song again, Tony, and you try to keep up with the rest of them?

Isaiah with a new friend.  I don't even remember the kittens name.  This would be about the part of the day that Isaiah's eyes started to water, and his throat started to close in,and we decided he was allergic to cats.  I'm trying to find a children's antihistamine dated after 1988.  Gave him half an adult pill and it worked pretty fast.  What helped most was when they left my house.  He was fine when he got home.  So Isaiah is allergic to cats and kittens.  He also said he'd tough-it-out and come anyway.  We'll see what mom has to say.
Isaiah and Bria are two of the most beautiful children I know. Both will be in the movies.   She will be the "New Halle Berry" and he'll be a martial arts guy who single handedly saves the world from a catastrophe.  They're both great kids.  Isn't she stunning. I don't envy her parents in 10 years. Not at all.  Nancy, Levaughn, you have my sympathy.  It's going to get brutal.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Minnie, the Pregnant Calico

Two weeks ago I received a new foster, Minnie.  One of our foster moms, Tami, found a cat outside her house and took it in.  A few weeks later Skinny Minnie wasn't so skinny anymore.  An x-ray confirmed Minnie was pregnant, but it was too early to get a number of babies.  Tami is living with her sister and her sister's two cats.  It was decided that Minnie would come to my house for the birth, where she would have her own room and almost 24-hour care. Another x-ray yesterday confirmed she is indeed pregnant and expecting six kittens any day.

I couldn't get a good photo of Minnie with her beautiful eyes open.  She kept squinting from the flash, but it makes her look mean, which she isn't at all.  She's a medium-haired calico, and very sweet and affectionate. She has gorgeous markings, and is going to have gorgeous babies.

It's easier to see how wide she is with an overhead shot. Some of that is hair, but only about half an inch or so total. The nursery was vacated by Sprinkles and her six babies to another foster mom, Cheri's, house to make room for Minnie and her six babies.  I see a pattern developing here.

A couple days ago when I went in the closet nursery of Minnie's room, I opened a can of food for her dish and heard the most awful cat shriek, yowl, spit, screech, whatever, and turned to see Lucy standing in the doorway to the closet.  I hadn't closed the bedroom door completely and Lucy, my dog who loves cats, came in to visit and see what was going on.  I think Lucy came within inches of getting her face rearranged by a very protective mama-to-be. Whoa, my heart did a couple flips as I yelled for Lucy to get out and got the bedroom door closed - completely, this time.  That was a pretty exciting 3 seconds.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

TJ Got Adopted

My big beautiful boy, TJ, got adopted last night to a wonderful guy, Jason.  He's a young (everybody under 35 is young to me) single guy with a house and no other animals.  He reads a lot, so TJ will have a lap to lay in. I know they're going to be best buds very soon.

We started talking about books, and found we like some of the same authors like Dean Koontz (the older books) and Stephen King (also the older books).  And I told him about Jeffrey Deaver and the Lincoln Rhyme series.  The Bone Collector movie with Denzel Washington and Anjelina Jolie is the first book in the series. We could have talked about books all night.  It was hard for me to remember that he was anxious to get his new cat home.

I also loved the fact that he wants to continue feeding TJ the no-grain food all my cats get. It's so much better for them.  Cats are meat eaters.  I want to gag when I read labels on cat food bags that prominently proclaim "whole grains" or "made with brown rice" like these are good things for cats. If three of the first five ingredients of your dry cat food are corn, wheat, rice or barley, get a different food. They're just fillers. And you don't even want to know what by-products and digest are.

Ellie and Kittens

Wednesday night a former foster mom brought over a beautiful calico cat who had just delivered four kittens that afternoon in her barn.  The cat showed up with a group last fall and made themselves at home in Julie's barn.  Far from being feral, she is quite friendly and affectionate, and I've named her Ellie.  One little quirk is that she hisses - a lot.  When I come in the room, when I walk up to the birthing box, when I pull the towel covering it away, and when I reach into the box to pet her.  Okay, now you think I have a death wish, but while she's hissing, she's stretching her head over to my hand so she can rub and rub and rub.  My legs almost went numb tonight kneeling down, bending over and sticking my head in a box to pet this cat.  It's like she didn't want me to leave.  Julie said she's always hissed like that and they just ignore it.  The day after I got her, I had her tested, and she's negative for feline leukemia and aids, so the babies probably are, too.  Yea!  That's one thing we fear about getting feral and barn cats.  She did test positive for roundworms.  It would be more unusual if she didn't have them.  She got a dose of a dewormer, and the babies will get one at two weeks.

I think the babies are all girls.  The diluted buff, the light one, is my absolute favorite cat color.  To have one dropped in my lap like this is amazing.  She's just so beautiful.  No, I already own three cats, and that's my limit. But, I'm sure she'll get a little extra attention and cuddling before she's adopted. Ellie lets me pick them up, so I'm getting my kitten fix. The kittens are one day old here.  Their eyes will open at about 10 days, so right now, they find mom's milk by smell.  There's a heating pad under the towel.  Kittens can't regulate their body temperature until about three weeks old and need to be kept warm.

I've finally found a good use for ashtrays.  Large ones make wonderful food bowls.  Cats don't like their whiskers to touch the sides of a bowl, but the sides are high enough so food doesn't go over the edge.

I stole the name Ellie from Barb, who adopted Tracie and renamed her Ellie.  She sent me a picture tonight of their other cat, Zor (top), and Ellie, who have become best friends in a week. Even though cats were friendly and got along with others at my house, doesn't mean they'll get along with cats at an adopter's house. Usually, they're just fine, like these two, but we never know.  Warms your heart.  Thank you, Barb, for adopting my little girl.