Fostering scare: “Trapped” kitten

Every animal mishap when you have pets— and consider yourself an experienced pet owner— starts with the phrase: “I knew better” or “I should have known better.”

This one is no exception.

Everything I state in this blog entry is based on my 40-somethings years of experience with all sorts of cats and a teen obsession with Cat Fancy magazine circa 1990. Do my knowledge may be wrong, don’t take what I say as gospel. I’m just trying to spare you from making my mistakes.

So, yesterday, the teenager suggested moving two of our foster litter, The Roman Pride, to join Hermes (our final in-house résident from The Greek Pride) now six months old and young, fluffy The Norse Pride.

Clockwise from top: Loki, Vale & Hermes

Now, what we should have done is brought the cat carrier to the mud room, put the kittens in, and transported them to the teenager’s room. What we did instead (and I was dumb to do this) was scoop them up and carry them into the kitchen.

The teenager even warned me that I had a terrible hold of Vesta, the most timid of her litter. Now, my cat friends, do not confuse timid with docile.

As soon as we set foot in the kitchen— Vesta started to wiggle and I lost my hold of her. A timid cat is a scaredy-cat. This poor kitten has been in a house three weeks, and I suddenly try to carry her away from her siblings into a room— a new world— that she has never seen.

Luckily, her cat instinct drove her into the bathroom off the kitchen. Unfortunately she wedged herself between the shower and the wall.

That little glowing moon is a cat eye

There is a litter box right next to this shower, we gave her a plate of wet food and closed the door. We had to wait her out. She had to regain her sense of safety and trust in her environment. We closed the door.

About four hours later, the teenager tried to disassemble the shower, but it’s so old the fasteners are corroded. So we had to wait.

In the morning, she was screaming. I opened the door and after a few minutes the screaming stopped and she cautiously crawled free.

But then my personal cats scared her. Back she went. I moved my personal cats to another location in the house, have her food, and left the door to the room where her siblings are open. The bathroom door was also open.

After a while, I brought the calmest sibling of her litter into the bathroom and the two of them called to each other and then I put Minerva back with her brother.

All the doors are open.

About ten minutes later, Vesta carefully crept toward her siblings and “home base.” All kittens safe.

Update on the Roman Pride

With Apollo and Zeus of the Greek Pride on display (hoping for an adoption) at Chaar, working on brother Hermes’ fear of human hands, integrating 2 new adult cats in our personal household, and the addition of the Fluffy Norse Pride, the world has not heard nearly enough about the tuxedo kittens we dubbed The Roman Pride.

We’ve had them about two weeks and the teenager is nervous that we don’t spend enough time with them.

I spend 30 minutes to an hour with them each time I feed them. They are in the mud room with the garbage and recycling can right off the kitchen — so we see them every time we throw things away and they hear all the kitchen activity.

But the teenager wants to bring them to the bedroom with the others.

Meanwhile… Let me tell you about them.

All four can be handled.

Jupiter — was originally the most docile and willing to be cuddled. Has grown more shy over time, now the last one to the food bowl. Has an adorable white snout with a black blob in the middle. Make.

Mars — the spunky one. Has a white line on his nose and one black nostril. Male. Has started making strides in the playing with and eating with humans. Video: Mars playing with me

Minerva — I thought she was the runt. But it turns out Vesta is smaller. Minerva is the first to investigate the other cats when they visit and the first one to the food bowl every morning. I love to cuddle her.

Vesta— Vesta is very timid and she often comes to the food bowl and then runs back to the corner feeling exposed and unsafe and then comes back. She has a beautiful stripe on her face. Very narrow.

Video: The Romans meet my cats

Video: Jupiter and Mars

Embracing crazy cat lady

This morning I discovered this video on YouTube (Cat Indoor Playland) and thought I’d found my dream house.

The owner of the house starts listing all his cats and I start thinking, “Oh my! How many cats does he have?! That’s insane.”

At the time of this video, he had 15. Because of my fostering work, I have 14 in house and 2 at a nearby pet store.

Ready— in age order— Oz, Opie, Venom, TJ, Misty, Fog, Hermes, Mars, Jupiter, Minerva, Vesta, Fenrir, Loki and Vale.

When I first started fostering I met a woman (whom I lovingly and admiringly refer to as my foster godmother) who had a cat room in her house, outdoor cats and cats in cages in her garage.

A lot of cats.

I have come to understand that the cage cats are transitioning back to life as outdoor cats, many of whom will be relocated to a barn or farm.

But this man is right— cats don’t usually congregate together so when they do it is special. And there’s usually one or two interesting in what you are doing.

So I’m officially becoming a crazy cat lady, but I love seeing them move on to new homes and seeing their growth.

What I’m watching

It’s time for an update on What Angel is Watching. Other than foster kittens. I watch them eat, I watch them sleep, I watch them look at me suspiciously. The Roman Pride kittens ate THREE cans of cat food in front of me today. For breakfast.

Minerva, Mars, Vesta, Jupiter

They must be going through a growth spurt.

So, even though I am job hunting and now have four volunteer responsibilities (foster kitten mom for FURR, communications director for ASPIRE to Autonomy, trustee at my local library and now member of the drug and alcohol board at the county level… and an informal member of the social justice committee at the YWCA of Bethlehem… so maybe 5…) and have two teen girls at home who also participate in marching band, I occasionally have time to watch some programming usually while folding laundry or late at night waiting for the dishwasher to finish.

This is what I have recently watched or tried to watch:

  1. The Social Dilemma — I already came to the conclusion that Netflix makes boring documentaries. This one is no exception. Well, except maybe they finally have watched some of their own documentaries and know how truly dull they are. I say this because they added a dramatization of a fake family to demonstrate their point and made some elaborate “Matrix” vibe scenes when discussing the effects of social media. It makes the awkward sensation of watching a Netflix documentary even more uncomfortable. The content of course is good, but if you hadn’t thought about how social media manipulates you and your life, well you must either be one of the brainwashed masses or live off-the-grid.
  2. The Kitten Lady— since we work with feral kittens, we’ve been watching The Kitten Lady on YouTube to gather some new techniques on socializing our fosters.
  3. Jackson Galaxy/Cat Mojo— Another YouTube personality with more cat information. Both of these people are a little vibrant and off-kilter.
  4. Diana: In her Own Words— Another slow-paced Netflix documentary I didn’t finish. This documentary uses recordings of interviews done with the princess in secret. Fascinating and compelling topic but dry in execution.
  5. Fight the New Drug (Human Trafficking stories)— These 5-10 minute videos were recommended on YouTube and I enjoyed their presentation, though the content is sad. I didn’t research the organization to see how they put together these shorts.
  6. Real Families: Thalidomide Disaster Survivors Share their Fight to Get Justice— This is a feature-length documentary on YouTube about the Thalidomide babies of the early Sixties. I found it much better done than anything on Netflix.

The Highlights

The last two days have involved trying to deal with the demands of house and health, applying for jobs, and keeping the pets alive and hopefully happy.

Today I learned county council passed a resolution appointing me to the Drug & Alcohol Advisory Board.

Yesterday and earlier today, I exchanged text with some of my peers volunteering with Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab. One person is updating Zeus and Apollo’s pictures on the web site and report that the pair are “playful” and becoming more outgoing. And as usual, Zeus is the attention hog.

I miss her so much. I haven’t stopped St. Chaar Pet Supply since Tuesday because it makes my heart hurt.

Zeus is the one in front

This morning I got my monthly Ipsy Glam Bag. It was due between October 6 and 16. So I was getting impatient. Especially since this is my last one until I get some income.

Ipsy Unboxing on YouTube

Later in the day I got some grey cat cuddles.

The teenagers had to go to Marching Band and record their performance for competition.

Click on the  image to see my recording
Click on the image to see my recording

So in the afternoon, I worked on posts for Lucha Bella’s social media. (Lucha Bella_skincare on Instagram)

Finally, the teenagers are off doing laundry and homework with the estranged husband at his parents’ house. I used the last $20 of my GrubHub gift card to order Taco Bell. I chose Taco Bell for several reasons:

  1. With a $15 order you got a free taco and free delivery (delivery is $3.99 plus $3 service fee plus tip)
  2. The food is cheap, so even with all those fees you can still get food for $20.
  3. My last two orders got screwed up— I blame the app not the restaurant. I don’t want small independent restaurants to be penalized for problems caused by the app and fault’s in GrubHub’s design. Ironically Taco Bell is the only order that came out right.

So finally, here is yet another video. Nala and I have Taco Bell

Tasting everything

If you’ve read this blog at all you already know several things.

  1. I love to try new grocery items.
  2. I love to save money while shopping.
  3. I love The Grocery Outlet.
  4. I make a lot of ridiculous videos that combine all of these things.

So today, I hope to enjoy some “brain off” time by tasting things and making silly videos. Here is the first one: Birds Eye Cauliflower Buffalo wings vs. Morningstar Popcorn Chicken

Later in the day I did a taste test of doughnuts — Giant Bakery vs. Maple Doughnots at Grocery Outlet. Fog crashed this video so you can get the cat’s opinion, too.

The Doughnut Debate on YouTube

And of course the teenager wanted to try something so she tried the ranch flavored Pirate Booty.

Review of ranch Pirate Booty: YouTube

And now as I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, I am mixing the Positive Beverage Cucumber into a gin cocktail and chatting with one of my Sarahs.

Mixing a cocktail: recipe here

Cats and a rainy Tuesday

I woke up grumpy and frustrated and irritated.

I had my first dental cleaning in close to nine months— and it had me on edge but luckily I got my favorite hygienist. It was a relaxing visit after all with no issues.

I went to the bank to deposit the $127 I had collected over time. It was 9, but they didn’t have the door unlocked so I used the ATM. I get unrealistically nervous that the machine will eat my money.

It did not.

The tellers unlocked the doors at 9:10 a.m. a I pulled away.

After the dentist, the teens and I went to Chaar to see our fosters, Zeus and Apollo, on display there. It was delivery day so we couldn’t get too personal.

Also a note about yesterday, Nan, the teens and I went to Lidl where they had pet carriers for $15 and the teenager bought a new cat toy for $10.

Checking on Zeus and Apollo

The Greek Pride was my first litter of foster kittens and they came to me two weeks after I lost my job under circumstances that still surprise me.

These kittens gave me so much joy— even little Hades who bit me on her first day here and sent me to the hospital for the first time in my life.

Artemus found his FURRever home as soon as he went live on the web site. Zeus and Apollo haven’t been so lucky. And poor Zeus and Apollo were so sickly and nervous when we got them and now Zeus is a love.

I asked for them to be placed at Chaar, a specialty pet store with three local locations, and they went on Friday. (Chaar’s web site: Chaar) The kittens are at the Forks Township location.

They have a teepee made of cardboard and were both asleep when I arrived at noon. But they both got up and came to me and of course, Zeus cried.

The employee there said this was her first day meeting them so I explained their difference and mentioned how Zeus loved her cuddles. And with the employee’s permission, I took her out of the cage and held her for a nice ten minutes. Apollo didn’t want to be held, but I did give him pets.

My fosters at Chaar (YouTube)

Zeus saying hi

Apollo saying hi

Random Sunday update

I have so many potential posts running around in my head, I am opting to combine them all in a long post.

Coffee review: Bread and Basket French Roast

So I made a new brand of coffee this morning, Bread and Basket French Roast from ShopRite. It was the same price as the Folger’s Black Silk I bought at Target. Wonderful aroma and while it looked like it brewed extra strong and my cream didn’t really lighten it, it tasted just right.

Weight and stress relief

I have started counting calories again, using Fooducate this time and not My Fitness Pal. My Fitness Pal has more information such nutritional tracking and macros and connects more seamlessly with iHealth. Fooducate focuses on the quality of calories you eat, and since my stress foods are processed and refined carbohydrates I find that the best step in my process right now.

I had lost a solid two pounds this week but last night’s binge of Doritos and horseradish dip, sour patch kids and two alcoholic beverages reacquainted me with half a pound AND gave me nightmares.

Kittens

I haven’t even had a change to truly introduce the Norse Pride Kittens I am pet sitting for Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab. They don’t have a permanent foster placement yet so we may keep them as they are friendly, jolly and fluffy two-pound kittens. See them on YouTube here: Norse Pride.

Hermes of the Greek Pride is doing well but scratched his nose. Stopping to see Zeus and Apollo today. They are at Chaar in Forks Township. Chaar’s web site

And finally my look of the day:

**Since I wrote this post, it has been brought to my attention I called the Shoprite brand Bread and Basket instead of Bowl and Basket. Oops! Can’t blame me for that— I managed to get my waist into the leg hole of my panties today.

Kitten ruminations

I have to admit— I’m exhausted. I’ve been cleaning up after and playing with kittens for probably 3 hours this morning while spending another hour on laundry and 30 minutes on the kitchen and 15 minutes on the birds. (Though they cockatoo spent at least an hour on my shoulder.)

It’s cold and rainy and I just ate breakfast at 11:30. The teens are due home from school around 1 pm, at which point we are taking Zeus and Apollo, two of the three remaining foster kittens from the Greek Pride, to Chaar pet supply in Forks Township to live in one of their habitats for a while. And hopefully find a home.

Hermes and Apollo are both still skittish, but Apollo is definitely braver than Hermes. Apollo will sit with you— just don’t touch him! He won’t lash out on you but he will leave. And look at you like you are a presumptuous monster.

Hermes and Apollo

According to our foster godmother, Hades is doing well but still retains her feral instincts so transitioning her out of domestic life was the right call. We may get to see her in our cat-themed travels today.

The Greek Pride taught me a lot about the classic “nature vs nurture” debate. The Greek Pride has five members— Artemus, Hades, Zeus, Apollo and Hermes.

Artemus (then Artemis) came to us fully socialized. He found a wonderful family and became Artemus Gordon sidekick for a real life Jim West.

Zeus was the runt, but learned to play and frolick very quickly. Apollo and Hermes want to trust people but both became very sick and needed medicine to heal. They have bad associations with human hands and won’t let you touch them.

And then Hades… she’s the one that bit me and would walk right up as if interested in me and then run. Her behavior got increasingly aggressive instead of calmer.

Five very different cats, from the same litter, that were wired very differently. They had the same life circumstances but different outcomes.

Reminds me of some human families, including my own.