Foster Kitty Adventures: Driving Me Around the Yowling Bend

Standard

Caution: This story involves poop. I have found that poop is always involved when working with little people and animals, so maybe you won’t be surprised. But I thought I should warn you.

My friend LeAnna, a horse lady from way back, said: “Fostering kittens is like having a tiny herd of horses in your house that also climb your curtains.”

She is so right, and I’m so glad the critters are healthy enough to wreak havoc again.

IMG_5043

Glitter uses the bird perch to escape her babies now and then. We haven’t told the bird.

Glitter’s stomach has been bothering her. Last Saturday night it was bothering her so much that her poop looked like a cow patty and smelled like something that could be a biological weapon.Then the black kitten started to have diarrhea.

IMG_5051

The best picture of the black cat yet. Can you see the eyes in the bookshelf cubby? (Photo credit goes to Kieran.)

I did the usual foster cat mom thing. I freaked and tried to pretend that I was not imagining all sorts of deadly diseases I once saw in kennels full of cats.

I ended up going the the Blue Pearl Veterinary Clinic in Tacoma (If you ever need a place to go late at night when your own animal is scaring the sleep out of you, this is the one. It’s clean, open 24 hours a day, has friendly staff, and the prices were not in the slightest bit ridiculous.)

We have them sorted now and the poop situation is back to normal. No horrible nightmare viruses wiped out the whole family.

IMG_5039

Mom and her mini-me again. Kieran is calling her Bacon. I’m not sure about naming pets after food.

Two weeks ago, the mom gave me heart failure when she moved a baby without asking for a permit. Here’s what I wrote on Facebook about that adventure:

Mama cat has been agitated and bawling at us for the last day or so. I kept thinking she wanted out of the kitten room to stretch so I let her roam and put the dog outside.
Then Kieran says: “Uh, Mom. There are only two kittens in the basket now.”
Ack! We could not find her or the kitten for a few VERY long minutes. (You probably know how this ends and I guessed at the time but was still quasi panicked.)
Finally, she reappeared and lead us to where she had hid the baby deep under the couch. Kieran had to use a flashlight to find and retrieve him.
I thought I might croak. 
And I took the hint. We consulted with shelter experts and got a kennel I covered with a blanket and moved up into my office to make her feel more secure.
Now they are quiet and she is resting sprawled out on my office floor. Not bawling or pacing. Totally content.
My keyboard may now have a cat fur lining.

IMG_5052

Lap is not big enough for the three any longer.

From all this I learned (for the millionth trillionth time) that loving comes with such a high worry price tag. The zen masters would tell me to use it as a practice in letting go and for the most part I do. My skill falls a bit short late at night when the vet says words like cat forms of parvo and distemper. Then I get to dig a little deeper and practice with a fierce intensity through a sleepless night.

I am sleeping once more and they are really beginning to gallop around.

May you know great love and find the strength to live through it at the same time. 

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 6.57.01 AM

P.S. Here is a video of a cat raising ducklings I saw a while back. It struck me more today after watching the herd that has taken over my office. As an added bonus, the farmers have an Irish accent they use to describe the fostering mama cat. Life can be full of surprising goodness.

Advertisements

Foster Kitty Adventures: Patience Lessons from the Animal House

Standard

The first time Glitter saw our yellow lab she hissed and charged, thowing all of her 6 pounds (mostly fur) at his quivering 90 pound dog body.

My dog is not thrilled about the newcomers and I can’t say I blame him. The two of them are now beginning to tolerate each other but we like to play it safe and keep them apart.

IMG_4995

The first time Glitter walked into the room where Ella the cockatoo stays, the bird hollered like: “What is that!?! Oh. My. Bird in Heaven!!! What is THAT!!!”

She can be very loud. Sometimes I think firecrackers have nothing on her volume.

The cat flattened herself like a sniper and slunk as quickly away as she possibly could, thinking: “What was THAT!?! What kind of place is this!?!” If she could have covered her ears, she would have.

Now Ella does not holler at Glitter. She just gives her the one-eyed beady stare down and the feline never stays long in The Room of Doom from Above.

IMG_4997

This beady-eyed stare is for the scary camera phone.

Transitions are tough whether you are the one moving in or the one trying to adjust to others in your space.

I understand their troubles. Lately, I’ve noticed that transitions make up the hardest part of my own days. Something about moving from the house to the car and then from the car back into my house pushes every cranky button I have, especially if I have to inspire someone else to move along with me.

Changing from writing mode, to get ready for work mode, to drop the kid off mode to start work mode often feels like I need to race to get it all done or Something Terrible will happen. And that is at the front end of my day. More transitions happen until the moment I fall into sleep for the night.

It helps when I stop in my anxious rush to remember that the moment I am in is a transition, not a race. Living in the moment can mean breathing through moving from one space to another.

I am a much better writer, mom, wife, teacher, and human when I   am not hissing or hollering like my cat and bird.

I know the critters need time to adjust to each other in changes they never asked for, and I’m starting to give myself the gift of that time between, too.

May you know calm in your own moments between different worlds and with new people and animals who come your way.

May you, in the best possible transitions, feel like a kid in the sprinkler, drinking in the joy of now.

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 6.57.01 AM

IMG_4988

Foster Kitty Adventures: Double Syrup Whammy

Standard

The only thing slightly more syrupy than kitten stories has to be a story with kids and kittens.

Brace yourself for syrup.

This week Quinton started helping me to change the blanket in the kittens’ basket by holding the tiny ones in his lap on a blanket.

We had thought Glitter might want to roam a bit to get some time to herself but when she saw the kitties on Q’s lap she curled up in his lap to nurse them there.

My five year old was born with dimples. His indented smile was so deep when he looked at the cat family in his lap that I thought his cheeks might not recover.

IMG_4938

Meanwhile, the babies are growing and starting to look at our faces like they know we exist even as they begin to scootch around on their bellies.

Life in this house is grand.

May you know great small joys in your own place.

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 6.57.01 AM

Foster Kitty Adventures: Part One

Standard

My friend Lynn won with the most original way of saying it: “You are taking in a teenaged mom!”

I am.

Here is Glitter.

IMG_4924

I fell in love with this very young mama cat at a local animal shelter but couldn’t take her home because she had just had kittens who needed to grow up before they could find homes of their own.

It occurred to me that I once fostered kittens back in the day when I worked for an animal shelter. Why not foster this mom and baby crew and have the added joy of watching her little ones get big?

That’s how we came have them with us for now, and I foresee more cat-related posts in my future. I suppose if you don’t care for felines you can consider yourself warned. Cat pictures like these will be here often.

If you do like tiny ones, though, then by all means stay tuned.

They have all gained about an ounce in the past 3 days which is more than 10 percent of their body weight. The big guy tips the scale at 10.5 ounces today.

May you know the joy of squeaking kittens and dimpled kids like my Q giggling over miniature claws as they tickle his legs.

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 6.57.01 AM