Author Archives: accidental fosterer

“just stuff”

Not sure how this blog is going to turn out.  It’s been a while since we posted anything and feels like time we should .. no … not “should” … would actually really like to.  However there hasn’t been a “story” really to share, nothing obvious to talk about.  Don’t get me wrong .. its absolutely not that nothing is happening … we’re so busy its crazy  … but it doesn’t arrange itself conveniently round a blog post.  Texting a friend a few days ago about having not been in touch because I felt overwhelmed, she asked “by bad or good stuff?”  Having pondered on it a while … I replied “just stuff!”

In our last blog we talked about Jette’s kittens growing up … and they still are!  The coloured collars we put on them allowed us to begin to see them as individual people rather than just the amorphous mass named “Jette’s kittens”.

Whilst Jette’s kittens were growing, Raven & Squiggle’s kittens were growing even bigger!

Then Kevin arrived.  We weren’t going to take in any more cats until we’d sorted this lot … but Kev is about the same age as Raven & Squiggle’s kits … and also we’re still trying to find a suitable pal for Dasher to be rehomed with … and Kev was a baby living on his own in a garden.  How could we say no?

Then Squiggle and Raven found a lovely new home.

Once the mums had moved on we decided that it would be best for the two most timid kits (Rolo & Rowan) to move downstairs so they could have more contact time and build their confidence.  But then, probably with the stress of it all, little Rowan was poorly with a nasty tummy upset.

poorly rowan

So instead of putting them in a large crate together, so we could start stroking more often and building confidence, we needed to separate Rowan and barrier nurse him to avoid passing on the tummy upset.  Only in order to do that we needed to order a second large crate.  Then were was a mess up with the delivery and we had to go to Rotherham to the depot to collect it, but only found out that we’d need to do that about 40 minutes before the depot was closing.

Managing several separate groups of cats in one house is hard work.  Just for context, we live in a small 3 bed semi.  There are the 6 residents who kind of share space and Dasher (and now Kevin) too, but Henderson needs some degree of separation to have his renal diet.  We also need to try so far as possible for most of the other residents to have senior food, Rufus to have adult food, and Dasher and Kevin to have kitten stage food.  Except Dasher for some reason loves renal food, and Henderson loves to eat buffet style taking a few mouthfuls from each bowl.

Then there were the Squiggle/Raven kittens, being kept separate from Jette and her kittens in the two spare bedrooms.  Except on opening either of their doors we were met by an avalanche of kittens onto the landing, down the stairs and into the bathroom.   Collecting them up, posting them back into their bedrooms without the others getting out was starting to be impossible … so we ended up with a combined group.

Add to that two separate crates to manage with litter trays, food, water bowls, and in Rowan’s case meds (to add to the everyday long term meds that Henderson & Jango need), without the kittens getting out and it gets very complicated indeed.  We have an awesome cat sitter who comes in on the nights I’m working late and sorts the cats for me.  I normally get a message from her just as I’m doing the last of my paperwork to say she’s finished and passing on any updates I need to know.  The other night I’d heard nothing, finished my admin, drove the half hour back from work, stopped at the shop, and arrived home to find cat sitter only just leaving.  It had been a two hour ordeal to get around them all.

It was all so stressful that when aunty Jenny invited young Rufus to spend part of his summer holiday at her house I jumped at the chance.  He’s a precious little boy who we hand reared from 10 days old between us.   He’s very loved, but out of all the cats here, he’s the one who taken out of the equation would make the most difference.  Despite living around other cats all of his life, the fact that he’s been hand reared seems to have impacted on his ability to socialise properly with other felines.  Amber is terrified of him.  He must have upset her at some point …. but now he only needs to walk into the room and she’s stressed.  Honey (Amber’s mum) understandbly is angry with him for upsetting her daughter.  Old Uncle Henderson is intimidated by him too.  He’s an amenable old chap … but I’ve been horrified to see him cowering infront of Rufus, looking like an elderly gent being mugged.  I miss Ru terribly and feel awful that I missed his 3rd birthday … but its made things a lot easier around here.

Dasher & Kevin fell in love.

Rowan started to feel better, Rolo became more confident.

Then all four kittens were chasing around happily in the main part of the house along with the residents.

With Rufus out of the way, Amber ventured downstairs for the fist time in ages.  So long that one of the cat flaps had forgotten her.  We had a bit of a saga getting her scanned in again because she won’t go near the cat flap whilst I’m standing there … she’s semi feral and I’ve touched her only a handful of times in the years she’s lived here.  We had multiple instances of me putting a peg on the flap to wedge it open, setting it to scan a new customer, getting out the way so Amber felt safe to go through it, and then Dasher rushing through instead.  The flap says it has the capacity to scan and recognise 30 cats – 20 of them are Dasher!  Finally though it was done and Amber was out enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.

The next event was that Ringo & Scruff found a lovely new home.  Our house has become much calmer and quieter since they left.  I guess their adoptive parents’ home has suddenly become rather more noisy and chaotic.

So then the next thing is the dilemma of how to manage the remaining kittens.  Ringo, Scruff and Smartie had been upstairs sharing space some of the time with Jette and her kittens.   Smartie was now the only one of the Squiggle/Raven kits upstairs.  Should we leave her in a room alone? (no .. that’s not really an option)  Put her full time with Jette et all? (Maybe … though she and Scruff had been a bit hissy with Jette and kits)  Bring her downstairs to join the others? (Possibly … though that might just be the last straw for what the residents will tolerate .. and I can cope with.  Five kittens running wild through the house like a whirlwind)  Put some of the others back upstairs to join her?  (Again this could be an option … but which ones … who are we going to pair with whom?)

We’ll leave you with that cliff hanger 😉

You might have noticed that some of our photos are of considerably better quality than usual!  The rogues galleries of kitten photos are gorgeous.  That was the other big exciting event here.  We had a visit from Isobel from Steel Rose photography last weekend.  Absolutely delighted with the lovely photos she took.

 

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tempus fugit

It seems only a few days ago that I was watching Jette’s kittens taking their first breath … but today they’re chasing around their bedroom, and I know from experience that in a few more days they’ll be climbing and causing absolute mayhem.  What I DON’T seem to learn from experience is just how quickly this happens.

They were 4 weeks old last Sunday and desperate to be allowed out of the nest. Jette and I reluctantly decided to drop the drawbridge on the “very useful box” and allow them out.

Jette found it hard at first … needing eyes in the back of her head to keep track of all of them:

It wasn’t easy … but once they were out there was no going back.

So we enter the period of very steep learning curve for kittens. Moving from fighting over nipples to perfecting table manners …

Just what DO you do with your feet whilst eating?

And then there’s a minefield of litter tray etiquette to learn. Hint! Pooing right behind the door so that when its opened your sh1t is smeared across the floor is not generally regarded as good manners! Neither is peeing right at the door opening and just where I step sock or bare footed into the room. Other handy tips: don’t go to sleep in the litter tray, don’t wee on your siblings, don’t kick litter in other people’s faces.

The intermediate course covers the ability to wee & poo quietly without having to announce to mummy and everyone else in the house what you’re doing, and expects that if you go into the ‘grown up’ litter tray you’ll be able to get yourself out again. Also: NO FIGHTING in the tray! For some reason it brought to mind an image from childhood swimming baths days:

Some of the little Riggle (Squiggle/Raven) kittens have been to visit aunty Jette and haven’t been made entirely welcome. However one little J toddled off to see aunties Squiggle & Raven this week and was given a much better reception ….

…. if you regard having your bottom washed as a positive sign of hospitality! We’re not judging … It’s one thing to have a tiny kitten intruder when your kits are twice her size … its quite something else to have ninja kits bouncing into the nursery when you’re feeding tiny kittens.

They’re 5 weeks old today. Ninja kittens in training, and starting to emerge as individuals. We don’t usually use collars but we have two black kits (Jellybean & Jethro) and two tabbies (Jaffa & Jade) who look very similar … so decided to go for colour coding. Little Jemima as the only black and white kit doesn’t need a collar, but we don’t want her to feel left out.

Jemima

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Kitten season! part 3 – Jette and kittens make two dozen

So we’ve told you about Raven & Squiggle’s kittens, but Jette’s kits arrived here undercover … hidden inside mummy’s tummy.   She looked ready to pop when she arrived.

 

Then again …  we’ve had enough experience to know that when they look like they’re about to pop there could well be another week or more to go.  Perhaps because she was heavily pregnant and in a room on her own, she seemed to be the most stressed and anxious of the new arrivals.   Raven & Squiggle had each other for support and had to be ok for their kits.   On the one hand I wanted to take it slowly with Jette, on the other I was concered that if we didn’t establish a good relationship before the kittens were born it could be more difficult in many ways after the birth.

Jette – anxious and very pregnant

You may remember Hecate who arrived here with 4 x 3 day old kits almost exactly a year ago.  She was very scared and reluctant to allow us to interact with the kits, and her anxiety rubbed off on them.  It’s all good now … mum and kits all in loving homes and confident and settled .. but it was hard work and ideally not something we want to repeat.

Jette hid at first, but over a few days made friends thanks to some chicken.  She quickly became very friendly and affectionate.  We created a nice little cot with the “really useful box” that has served for all births here since Betty’s kittens.  Jette refused to look at it.  She alternated between her bed on a chest of drawers and perching on an almost ceiling height shelf.   I anxiously watched her on the webcam from work, though I’m not sure how I was going to help from miles away, or what I thought I’d tell my manager as I rushed out the building.

hopefully not in Jette’s birth plan

She was unsettled for a couple of days coming up to giving birth, moving from bed to shelf to widowsill to my lap and I spent hours with her thinking the kits were on their way.  However on Sunday 16 June, it was clear that things were starting to move.  Thankfully the high shelf went off the list of places to sit and she switched between my lap and her bed on the chest of drawers, and finally (thankfully) the cot.  As the birth got closer she settled herself in the cot, and I laid down on the floor at the other end of the room so I could give her some space but still be able to see some of what was happening and check she was ok.  I used one of the blankets she’d been snuggling on my knee on as a pillow since the floor was hard.   To my surprise, at the very last moment, she rushed out of the cot, threw herself onto the blanket I had my head on, and seconds later gave birth to the first kit within inches of my nose.

Kit number one born

 

She clearly felt safer with me than I’d hoped to imagine.   Things started to get a bit more complicated then though.  For one thing, it was just after 8.30pm when she started to give birth and the light started to fade.  I didn’t want to move and put the big light on, and didn’t really want to be shining phone torch at them either.  The other thing was that the babies were coming quicker than she could sort them out …. and as they weren’t in the confines of the cot they could go anywhere.  So whilst baby number two was being born, baby one had set off across the bedroom floor, dragging the remains of his placenta behind him.

I always avoid touching very newborn kittens unless absolutely necessary so was wary … but once off the blanket the floor was cold (hard to believe on the hot night I’m writing this … but a couple of weeks ago the room was chilly).   I didn’t want to stand up and scared her, but managed to reach a spare fleece from the shelf.   Jette seemed happy for me to sort him out and get him back on the blanket close to her.  As kit number 3 was born, I was left with the responsibility for kits 1 and 2 … and so it went on.   I gradually gained confidence with coralling kittens in the dark, and cheerfully managed 5 little ones as number 6 was born.  Sadly the happy mood evaporated when it was clear that number 6 was not ok.  Jette worked on him for some time, licking him and nudging him …. but he didn’t respond … and after a while we had to accept that however much love he’d been born into … he just wasn’t going to make it.

Once it was fairly clear that she’d finished we gathered them up an put them all safely in the ‘really useful box’.

In the morning I sobbed as I went up the garden to dig a small kitten sized hole.  Dasher came with me to comfort me.   Jette looked distressed to see her kit go … but was soon enjoying a clean fleece and getting to know her remaining five kittens better.

Apart from nipping out for a wee she never left them for the next 10 days.  I’d check in her several times a day, and watch her on the web cam from work, and every time I looked she was there snuggled up with them.

Her hard work has paid off as they’re clearly much bigger by one week old.   Kittens will normally double their birth weight in the first week and I’m pretty sure she’s achieved that.

Ps.  I’ve just realised I didn’t end the post by clarifying the title.  These little ones brought the total number of cats in our home to 24 … which is a record number of cats at 8 Lives … not to mention the few we have out in foster homes.

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Kitten Season! part 2: And mothers make 9.

Even here where we’re used to running between multiple cats it was a challenge to know where to go first with all the new arrivals.  We needed to check that Alice & Arnold were settling ok downstairs with the other cats, work out which of the 7 kits was which in the Squiggle/Raven family and make sure they were all eating for themselves or getting fed by one or other of the mummies, and then try to put anxious very pregnant Jette at her ease not least so if she needed help whilst giving birth we’d be able to get close to her.

Initially when I went into the kindergarten with Raven & Squiggle both mums would run at me all fluffed up and hissing.  Their attempt to intimidate intruders worked to some extent … I was certainly wary.  Very soon though they’d be purring and enjoying a snuggle, until I left the room and returned and we’d be back to fluffed up and growling.  It took a couple of days until I could confidently identify each of the kittens and the mummies could equally confidently identify me and not need to growl when I approached.

Thankfully Dasher took over with helping Alice & Arnold.  I’m sooo impressed with and grateful to him.  He may be so anxious that he hides under the sink when anyone new comes to visit but he’s turned things around for these two little ones.  Maybe it was because of his own fears that he was able to tune into theirs.  They’ve very quickly come to adore him and the purring starts as soon as he comes in the room.

Dasher with his kits

I was anxious about Jette .. on her own in the nursery.   Of all of them she was the most stressed with the process of being caught and put in the carrier to come here.  She hid at lot.  First in the walk in cupboard in her room, then on a high shelf.  I seriously hoped the high shelf wasn’t part of her birth plan.  A couple of days after her arrival she was happy to take chicken from me.  A day or two later she was very keen to have cuddles and I was less anxious about how we’d manage when the kits arrived.

Jette – anxious and very pregnant

Raven & Squiggle sorted their kits out.  Despite only being biological mum to only 28% of the kittens, Squiggle appears to have done about 95% of the work.

Raven does help with washing and will investigate if any of the kits appears to be distressed, but mostly it seems to have been Squig who sorts them out.  Despite still being heavily involved in mothering, Squiggle came back into season when the kits were only 6 weeks old, so if she wasn’t safely here there would be another litter of kittens on the way by now.  Raven has since come into season too.  Thankfully they’re both off to be neutered tomorrow.

There’s a bit of a feel of deja vu … it was only 6 weeks previously that Ailbhe and her 7 kittens arrived here, her kits born mid March, these  7 born end of April.   There are many similarities …. not least in the amount of mess they create in their bedroom!  Of course they’re all unique but the combined Raven/Squiggle family is now affectionately known as the Riggles thanks to their reluctance to pose for photos.   Ailbhe’s kits were supermodels and gave us some lovely photos.  This little gang are equally adorable … but models they are not 😉  Not yet 🙂

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Kitten Season! part 1

As the photos of the A Team in their new homes began to come in, so did the requests for help with other cats and kittens.

With the rest of the family gone, we didn’t want to leave little Alice & Arnold on their own in their bedroom.  It felt important to give them more opportunity to socialise and gain their confidence … and to be honest …. we needed their room!

So they packed their bags and moved downstairs.   It was scary at first and they were happy to hide in a large dog crate.  Uncle Henderson did his best to reassure them … but they weren’t convinced.   Surprisingly quickly though things started to change.   Arnold realised that if he could stay with his fear of being touched he actually really loved a tummy rub …. he simultaneously found his purr.

Alice has starting thinking of her future … and has decided that hair styling is her thing.  She’s certainly keen …. I’ll give her that …. she spends ages sitting on the back of the sofa, purring loudly and grooming me.  I’m kind of hoping she’ll refine her technique and not cause quite so much pain to future clients.

hair by alice

One of the main factors in making things better for these little ones is ‘uncle’ Dasher. It’s a bit of a delicate situation. You may remember that Dasher has been with us a while, waiting to find a pal to go to a new home with. He’s now found the love of his life in Alice … but she’s attached to her brother too. Arnold is also attached to Dasher … though not so much. He’s being very sweet and generous as this awkward love triangle plays itself out.

Anyway … I digress. A couple of days before Ailbhe & Alix went off to their new home, we had a message asking if we could take in 25 cats from one home! We said we couldn’t possibly take that many but had a pregnant cat/nursing cat space and/or room for a group of kittens. We were a bit shocked by the reply which said that there was a heavily pregnant cat, two mums nursing 7 kittens between them and 4 five month old kittens. It was one of those rushed-in-between-appointments-at-work kind of email exchanges. We couldn’t take them all … and were aware that even then these were only 14 of the 25. It’s the nightmare game of Lifeboat that rescues are regularly asked to play. Pregnant cat v mums with young kittens v older kittens who may be pregnant soon. We agreed to take pregnant puss, plus the two mums with their 7 kits … but then started trying to get help for the others.

alice & arnold much more confident

On the day of their arrival I was up by 6am cleaning and getting the space ready.  Ten new arrivals was daunting …. we never had such a big intake of cats. Sure … Ailbhe and 7 kittens arrived a few weeks ago … that was 8. Years and years ago when we were fostering for another rescue, on one day we took in a mum with 5 kittens 3 days old, and another mum with 4 kittens a day old. Yes … I know … that makes 11 … but at the time we just had two or three other cats in the house, and 9 of the arrivals were very tiny. The recent ten were coming to add to a household of nine. And of course one of the ten had several more small cats inside her.

We took a deep breath … what else can you do? Drove up the motorway in the pouring rain, and yet again suffered the misery of sat nav crashing off the dashboard. Seriously … WTF! … how does anyone stop the suicidal plummet of sat nav mid journey? And finally arrived at the house. It was a strange experience. It’s rare (acutally never … unless I visit a bigger cat rescue) that I go somewhere that has more cats than we have here. A real insight into how friends/ neighbours/ tradespeople might view my own home … a cat on every surface … mega size food boxes piled high. This owner clearly cared about their cats … but sadly hadn’t been able to get them neutered before they multiplied exponentially.

We got the carriers loaded up … Carrier 1: Jette the pregnant puss. Carrier 2: Squiggle plus 4 kits Carrier 3: Raven plus 3 kits. It’s not exactly a fair share. We understand that Raven gave birth to 5 kits, and a few days later Squiggle had 2. It seems that Squiggle has taken them all on as her own while Raven has stepped back .. other than a few bath times. At their vet check we found that Raven has very little milk whilst Squiggle is full of it. What we’ll never know is whether Squig took over because Raven had no milk, or whether Raven has no milk because Squiggle is feeding them all. Perhaps what matters most is that its one big happy family.

Here they are arriving in their rooms and starting to settle in

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And Mother Makes Eight

You might wonder why we’ve not posted for a while.   There were at least 8 good reasons … and the clue is in our last blog post:

“So … 7 kittens, plus mum to some of them, arriving today … with no room actually available just yet”

They did indeed arrive:

two boxes full of them 🙂

If I felt a little overwhelmed I can only reflect on how poor Ailbhe felt.   You may remember that she and another cat had had 9 kittens between them prior to rescue.  The information was a bit sketchy but we think only three of the nine were Ailbhe’s and that prior to rescue the other mummy had done the bulk of the work.  We don’t actually know which of the kits were hers … so worst case scenario is that she was caring for 7 kittens, only one of whom she gave birth to.   I was anxious about how this might pan out … and had kitten formula and bottles ready … but thankfully didn’t need them.

 

It took a while to get my head around who was who … but gradually they emerged as individuals, each with their own purrsonality and prefurances.

I think I can honestly say that Ailbhe has been the gentlest kindest mummy cat I’ve ever known. We’ve had lots of lovely mummy cats here … but normally by age 6 weeks the joy of parenthood is wearing a bit thin and they’re swearing at the kits and slapping them about a bit. However, I’ve never seen her have a cross word with any of them.

It’s been a whirlwind … a delightful, stressful whirlwind …  but Aric & Archie, and then Ash & Arran went off to their new homes.  Last night after work (mine not theirs!) Ailbhe & Alix went to their new home.  Alice & Arnold moved downstairs for remedial catting lessons … supervised by Uncle Henderson.

There was a brief pause and celebration last night … then up at six this morning to clean … and prepare for new arrivals.

And so the next story begins ………….

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End of an era

On Easter Monday I took Fingers & Bandit to their furever home … the second pair of the Norton 4 kittens … now young cats.

It marked the end of quite a long chapter in 8 Lives history.  We had the original message about the Norton 4 back in August 2018 – Four kittens around 5 or 6 months old had been living in a garden for some considerable time.  Intially mum had been with them … but she’d moved on .. sadly presumably pregnant again.   Kind people had fed them, but not really interacted with them … and for reasons that made sense, but won’t be disclosed here, had just let them be.

It was a more challenging situation than we’d normally tackle, but it was very close to home, other rescues were full and we could see that if something wasn’t done very soon, the Norton 4 would be the Norton 14!

You can read all the twists and turns in their story if you scroll down the blog a bit … but back to Easter Monday ….

In an almost exact paralell with the rehoming of Nancy & Dodger … Fingers came out the carrier and ran under a chair, Bandit was reluctant to leave the carrier.   In the Nancy & Dodger story, it was a cupboard rather than a chair … but it’s the same difference.   Eventually Bandit made a dash to be with her sister … and that’s where I left them.

 

Fortunately they are a little more confident than their brother & sister, that is Fingers is more or less as confident as Nancy … though she doesn’t quite express it in the same way, while Bandit is quite a bit less shy than Dodger.  So by the following day they’d put in an appearance at the food bowl next to the chair.

In terms of further exploration it seems Fingers was sent out to check the perimeter of the room whilst Bandit stayed close to the chair watching, cleaning herself and tapping a few toys.

It didn’t take very many days before Fingers was up on the sofa, checking out the cuddles.

Bandit isn’t quite there with cuddles yet …. but is enjoying sitting on the windowsill with her sister each evening … watching the world go by.

Couldn’t be happier for all 4 of them.  They’ve found two lovely families to give them the best chance possible in life.

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It’s complicated

After the failed relationship between Dasher & Dexi, she went off and found herself a lovely ‘only cat’ home.

Dasher had been longing to try again to find a pal … but we couldn’t do anything until Dexi had moved out as there was no space for another one … especially when we had Dexi complaining loudly about how many cats there were around here.

He was philosohpical about it and spent his time just chatting with uncle Henderson … and playing in the garden.

We started putting the word out again that he was looking … and heard that there were 5(!) kits needing somewhere … but they were only about 5 weeks old … so would need to stay with their mum for several more weeks. Five were rather too many to manage … but then Howard landed himself the offer of a foster home, so his bedroom was going to be free. So we agreed we’d take them … hopefully there would be two pairs and another who could be a mate for Dasher. Then we found out the place they were in seemed less safe and we offered to take them earlier so long as mum could come with them. Howard’s room would be free so it would be ok. Then we learned that there were actually 9 kittens and 2 mums … but 3 of the kits had homes lined up and the home they were coming from would only part with one of the mums. So the agreement became that we’d take one mum and six kittens. And we realised that through the long and complicated negotiations we’d started by looking for a pal for Dasher, but ended up agreeing to take a (part) family of 7 which meant there were 3 pairs of kittens, and an adult cat .. but in reality no one for Dasher to pal up with. They needed a place of safety though … so we sucked it up, laughed about it, and got on with making the plans.

The plan was that Howard would go to his foster home on Easter Monday, the room would be available from that evening. Then a couple of things happened. One of the three kits who had a home lined up had his offer withdrawn. Then there was a greater risk of tiny kittens being handed out “free to good home” … except these homes are rarely “good”. An odd number of kittens at last …. but who needed to move pronto if they were to be safe.

So … 7 kittens, plus mum to some of them, arriving today … with no room actually available just yet

backend clash between henderson & howard

Emergency plan was to move Howard downstairs with the residents for a couple of days until he goes to his foster home. He’s spent some time down here when there was a hope he might be integrated with them.  It went sort of ok .. though there’s a bit of a rivalry for my lap between Henderson & Howard.

Yesterday I frantically cleaned downstairs, so there woudn’t be too much disruption if Howard moved down. Today I guiltily evicted Howard from his bedroom, cleaned my bedroom (next door to Howard’s room) and Howard’s room … ready for kits arriving and not having too much noise and disruption. It’s one of those situations that illustrate the warning to “be careful what you wish for!”. I’d wanted kittens for Dasher & Howard had been desperate to come downstairs. The reality was more stressful than either of us would have expected. Dasher hissed lots at Howard, Rufus started being a little b@gger again and slapping anyone and everyone … just to make his point.

Howard is trying to manage it by stealing my seat on the sofa.   I’m trying to manage it with a complicted algorithm of doors closed and open … and a few beers.  Tomorrow we need to find a way of separting them enough to manage any arguments … but be able to show Dasher off to his best to potential adopters (they also want him to come to his new home with a pal) … without him being able to run off and hide under the sink .. and without any embarassing family arguments in front of visitors.

Praying to the Easter Bunny for assistance 🙂

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Norton 2+2 – the remainers

Bandit and Finger were clearly a little unsettled when their siblings went off to their new home 3 weeks ago.  Whether that was because they missed them, or because they feared they’d also be shuffled into carriers I’m not sure.

Three weeks on and Nancy & Dodger are getting well settled

 

The nice suprise here is that Bandit has come out of her shell more. There was no suggestion that she was being bullied or intimidated by her siblings … but she whilst she wasn’t particularly scared of people, she wasn’t that bothered about interacting either.  Since the others have moved she’s been much more interested in approaching for snuggles.

Bandit was much quicker to come out to play when Rachel visited this weekend, and she’s been more likely to come to find me when their bedroom door has been open than ever she used to be. Shyly peeping round the bathroom door, and loving the fuss she gets when I spot her.

Since they’ve just been a twosome they’ve been accepting other feline visitors.   That’s not been so much initiated by their hospitality as my need to make the most of time and space.  We have Dasher downstairs, desperate to play with someone, and Dexi who sadly does not like him.  So Dasher has been up for a play date.  Bandit was a bit shy with him but Finger entertained him and showed him some smart hunting moves.

It also occured to me that I spend ages waving toys around for these girls, and then a similar amount of time in the next room with Howard firmly planted on my lap … If we could join up and multitask they could have twice the play time and Howard could have double snuggles.   That kind of went ok too.  The girls are lovely and friendly, Howard does his best, he’s not actively aggressive but bear in mind that he arrived in rescue very poorly .. and recovering from an abscess that we assume was the result of a cat fight.   He has a clear idea about purrsonal space .. and each time the girls breached it, said “How” ..  more assertively than aggressively.

There was an awkward moment where Finger had gone into his bedrooom whilst he was in hers.  As Howard returned to his own room, Finger decided to leave.  The shape of the landing forced this into being a bit of a confrontation.   Words were said, but no threats were acted on.

Less stressful moments were when Howard and I sat in his room,  watching Finger play with a rug on the landing.  She suddenly noticed that the cat in the bathroom mirror had an identical rug … and freaked a bit.

Today it’s been Rufus who went to visit.  No particular reason .. other than the fact that the girls have been here for months now, confined to their bedroom with occasional access to bathroom, stairs and landing.   I wonder if we might be able to get them coming downstairs a bit, so they have more interaction, and even a chance to play out in the garden.  However that means them interacting the the residents, as well as Dasher (who they’ve met) and Dexi (who I’m sure will not be pleased to meet them).  That meant we left the door at the bottom of the stairs open

We love our Ru to bits … but his social skills aren’t great 😉

Categories: cat, cat rescue, kittens, Sheffield | Leave a comment

Norton 2+2 – the leavers

So it’s finally happened, two of the gorgeous Norton 4 have found their new home!

Nancy & Dodger

Just over a month ago we had an adoption enquiry from a lovely young couple who had just moved into their new home, and didn’t seem at all fazed by the prospect of shy cats.

I explained how our amazing friend Rachel had come over just after Christmas and spent hours with the 4 of them until they finally came out to play and started to trust her.  The couple arrived prepared to do the same.  It was the same sort of line up as with Rachel, though things happened more swiftly, as they’d all built up a lot more confidence through her visits.  Nancy bounced out first of course … curious, friendly and full of hope for chicken treats.  Then Finger, and eventually Bandit emerged, cautious at first but then very sweet.  I’m sure they knew what was at stake because whereas Finger normally plays with her feather wand toy like a crazy mad growly tiger, on that day she and Bandit daintily batted the toy back and forth between them .. as though choreographed for enticing adopters.   Dodger as ever hung back.  Although the couple had initially expressed an interest in N&D, Dodger’s reticence and F&B’s cuteness nearly swung things in their favour.  Then the gorgeous Dodge put in an appearance, and deigned to accept Dreamies.

 

 

Nancy & Dodger won the day and I spent a week fretting about how to get Dodger into a carrier to go to his new home without stressing him too much. We practised each night going into the carrier for Dreamies and for most of the week that carrier was his favourite spot.

Annoyingly though, on D Day, I misjudged it … tried to push him fully into the carrier when he was only half way in, and that was the end of that ruse. In the end he chased the red dot into another carrier, and I slammed the door.

We had the opposite problem at the other end of the journey.   Nancy came out her carrier and ran under a cupboard.  Dodger refused to leave the carrier.  Yes, we could have forced him out, but we didn’t want to make it any more stressful for him than it already was.  So there he sat, in an enormous carrier, similtaneously blocking entrance to kitchen, lounge and the stairs.

I cried in the car on the way home.  I knew they’d got the best home they could ever hope for, and all would eventually be well.  However they’d trusted me for 6 months and now I’d done something that had made them scared again.

Thankfully their adoptive parents are amazing.  Not only do they understand the cats’ anxiety, they seem to get my anxiety too!  … and send lots of updates.

Our first update was the following morning.  No photos as both hiding.  Dodger had come out the carrier and joined Nancy under the cupboard.  Nancy had accepted a little chicken when being hand fed.

A couple of days later, a photo of Nancy under their cupboard.  And the reassurance that they were eating and using the litter tray, and exploring … though only when the humans were out.

Another day or two and they’re looking more relaxed, starting to be interested in the laser toy again.  And a day or two later, confirmation that they’re exploring the part of the house they have access to, as Dreamies left in various locations have disappeared 🙂   They’ve also been spotted exploring the landing when the humans have arrived home unexpectedly.

 

A week or so on and Dodger is starting to remember that he really likes Dreamies and playing with the red dot.  They’re not quite comfortable interacting with the humans but are getting used to sharing the space with them, and happier about exploring whilst the humans are home.

And not many days after that, Nancy came out, feeling much bolder and had some strokes from both humans.

She was fascinated watching mum cooking, even though there was quite a lot of noise and crashing around in the kitchen.

And then this!  Growing in confidence by leaps and bounds

 

They’ve been in their new home for 3 weeks tomorrow, and its lovely to see how much they’ve grown in confidence. It will still take some time and patience … but we have absolute faith in them and their humans that they’ll get there.

Well done Nancy & Dodger!

Huge thanks to their lovely adoptive parents, and to Rachel for helping to socialise them x

We’ll update about the other two in our next blog 🙂

Categories: cat, cat rescue, kittens, Sheffield | Leave a comment

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