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

Adieu dear Hades, enjoy the freedom

Fostering is not for the feint of heart.

The teenager and I applied to be foster parents for feral kittens through Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab at the end of July.

We received our first litter July 31— a little faster than we expected. That litter was about 3 months old (the same age as our newest litter) and consisted of 5 spunky but sickly kittens. By August 2, I was in the hospital for a cat bite.

Trial by fire, I guess.

There was only one all black kitten in that litter of tabbies. Two were lovely silver tigers. Two were brown tabbies with lots of white.

Since we wanted to name them after Greek Gods, we quickly decided the black one, regardless of gender, would be Hades.

Hades had bad eye infections and bit me, piercing me with one tooth, while I was trying to give her meds. It was my first time in nearly a decade scruffing a kitten. I’m used to scruffing my 15 lb adult cats.

Hades never trusted people. She would never let me closer than 2 feet away. Yet, if I sat still she would come up to about 18 inches away from me and cock her head inquisitively.

Sometimes she slept in the top bunk with the other kittens, but most of the time she hid in the corner.

And then she got ringworm. We crated her to try and give her meds. She would not let us. And every day she got more aggressive.

So we talked to our FURR foster godmother. Together the three of us decided it was time to transition Hades to a barn cat.

Today we transferred Hades to godmother’s house where she will have her ringworm treated and continue the process to become a barn cat.

We all hope the open space is what she needs to be happy.