Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Kitten update

Kittens' Nest Site
Originally uploaded by JugglingScarves.
This is where they used to live. The nest was right in that hole (it's in about the middle of the picture). Compared to that wee space, I'm thinking a cat carrier with a towel, water bottle, makeshift litter pan in the back, and food brought in a few times a day must be a great big step up, comfort-wise. The view isn't as good, though. Nothing to look at but the baseboards of the kitchen cabinets. Also, there's the whole matter of being on the wrong side of a locked door.

Shortly after the last blog entry, I emailed a friend of a friend and asked for advice. She suggested I call that adoption/fostering agency I'd mentioned last time. I assumed (wrongly, thank goodness) that they wouldn't be open on the weekend. Apparently they're open to the public only on weekends. I talked to someone Sunday who promised to forward my information to the person who coordinates fostering and adoption for cats. I gave her as many of the particulars as I had (not sure of age. I think 6 weeks--eyes are open, ears are up, they have teeth, and can eat solid food), told the woman I was planning to take them to the vet sometime this week, and gave her every phone number I have. She had a great suggestion, which I employed immediately.

She suggested I cut off the end of a shoe-box, put it in the back of the carrier, and put some cat box filler in it. She said they'd probably know what to do with it, and this way I wouldn't need to change towels nearly so often. I was a little skeptical about the "they'll know what to do" part. They've never seen a litter box in their lives. Guess what? Shortly after I did that, I heard one of them scratching around in it. Son of a gun! Wish dogs were that easy to potty train. Or people, for that matter.

I've been letting them out every once in a while to run around in the bath tub--treating it sort of like a play pen. While they were in the tub the first time, I tried a water dish again, using a saucer instead of the plastic thing I used last time. It took me dipping my finger in the water and rubbing their mouths with it before they paid any attention to the saucer. Then they drank it dry, twice. That made me nervous. I didn't want them getting dehydrated, but I was pretty sure that if I put a water dish in that carrier with them they'd just knock it over again.

Well, duh! How many hamsters and gerbils did my sister and I have when we were kids? What about a water bottle? I could hook it to the metal grille of the door. And so, kitties back in the carrier after play time, I went out and got one. Works great.

I need to reiterate that I've never done this before. Please remember that what may look like simple common sense has to filter through a bit of worry that I might accidentally harm while trying to help.

I think I've got one boy and one girl. They're both tan and black tabbies. The male's stripes are much thinner than the (I think) female's. I say I think she's a she because she doesn't like me picking her up, so I only got a quick glance. The male is much more outgoing, a risk-taker. He's the one who was on top of the stump hollering for help. He was the first one down the tree, the first one to climb up the gully, and the first one to let me pet him. He talks to me a lot.

She is reserving judgment for now. Sometimes she'll give me a long, measuring look and then mew, and sometimes she gives a little baby hiss. Comes out more like "Hhhh" than an adult cat's hiss. I'm perversely pleased by the hissing. Everytime she does it, I think, "Good for you! Don't trust someone just because they're keeping you alive. They could have ulterior motives."

I tried my vet for an appointment, and even after I explained the situation, the receptionist said the best she could do was June 14th. That's two weeks away! I told her apologetically that I'd check with other vets first to see if I could find anything sooner. A coworker suggested the place she uses--it's a veterinary hospital. It's much closer to me, and there are a bunch of vets associated with it, so there'd be a better chance of an earlier appointment. I did that, and now we're going Friday at 4. Much better than June [expletive] 14th.

One of the things the receptionist at the hospital asked was about names for the kittens. I guess they need it for their files. "I, um, I'm trying not to get too attached. I can't keep them." So for now the boy is "Kitten One" and the girl is "Kitten Two."

Delilah is still acting funny. She's been extremely quiet. She's 3/4 Siamese (mom was full, dad was 1/2), and is usually very, very vocal. Since Saturday she's maybe given me two very quiet meows. Sticks to me like flypaper, though. When she's in my lap, she purrs up a storm. But then, she usually does. Since her first look into the carrier, she hasn't been back into the kitchen. It's like she's deleted it from her mental map of the apartment. I've moved her food and water to the bathroom, near the sink.

She came into that bathroom once when I had the kittens running around in the tub--they're relaxed enough now that they're starting to play, by the way. I think that's a good sign. Anyway, she let me hold her while she watched them for a moment or two. She didn't growl or anything, just took it in. Then she asked to leave. I wish I knew what she's thinking. I hope she's not worried that she's getting replaced.


G said...

Keep "Apartment Inspection in 3 weeks" in front of your eyes, V.

Big flashing letters.

--V said...

Oh, it is. I already told the manager about the little visitors, and assured him they're not permanent. Don't want him thinking I'm trying to start Noah's Ark in there.