Lessons Learned and Progress with Clementine!

The first week I had my foster kittens, I kept them all in a pet playpen. In the second week I let them out to play and for a week now just let them have free roam of my garage (which I kitten-proofed). After doing some more reading on fostering, I found this is a mistake and can cause the still skittish kittens to become “indoor ferals”. ¬†There’s no incentive for them to socialize. There is always unlimited food and a place to hide if they don’t want to interact with humans.

This seemed to be true with five of my seven foster kittens! Bert and Abby Cadabby came around very quick, don’t run at all from me and and are super social and friendly. They seem to spend the most time together, and Bert is often too rough with the other kittens, or will keep diving on top of the playpen caving it in while they are in it. I found it’s best to keep Bert and Abby separate from the other kittens. Playtime when I am in the room they can all be together, but when I am not in the room, Bert and Abby go in a separate cage that I just got last week. This is a three tier cage with shelves and a hammock.

Bert and Abby Cadabby in the new 3-tier Cat Playpen
Bert and Abby Cadabby in the new 3-tier Cat Playpen

Within the playpen I have Ernie, Oscar, Clementine and the Countess. My little tortie is still running around the garage and I haven’t caught her yet! As soon as I do she is going in the playpen. I am sure the little Countess misses her because they are BFF! While the kittens are in the playpen, it’s so much easier to pet and interact with them. Ernie was hissing at me today but did let me pet him. Oscar is still friendly with me but a little skittish. Today I made great progress with Clementine!

Clementine kept letting me pet her, so I picked her up no problem. I then gave her a “toothbrush grooming” session, and just like with Oscar and the other, this worked like a charm! I got to check to see if Clementine really was a girl or if I guessed wrong and she is a boy. Clementine is definitely a girl!!! The poor little girl must of really gotten herself into something back on the farm, because she is dirty! She had black dirt on her little nose and on her bottom legs. She needs a nice warm bath. I haven’t bathed any of my fosters yet as I didn’t want it to be a traumatic experience for them, but I think they are ready now so that is on my kitten to do list!

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Meet my darling Clementine! She is another success thanks to “toothbrush grooming”.

I could watch these guys play ALL day long . . .

Watching kittens play is very entertaining. I love their little different personalities, and I am very happy when I see my once hissy spitty foster kittens coming around and turning into the loveable, playful kittens they were meant to be!

Here is a cute video I recorded today of Bert, Abby Cadabby and Oscar! Bert is giving his sister Abby Cadabby some cuddles and neck biting on the Ikea bed when Oscar sneaks in and jacks their pillow! Abby Cadabby is not too happy about this!

Crazy kittens having fun

I spent several hours with the kittens today. I took my work laptop with me and the plan was just to sit in the room with them and get some work done to help with their socialization of being around humans and noise. It didn’t take long before the ringleader Bert figured out if he stood on my laptop it would make a loud beeping noise. Soon after Bert stood on my laptop, a few of the other kittens all had to have a turn and jump on the laptop. Here is Clementine having her turn.

I also spent some time with who I call “the Ernie’s”. The Ernie’s are the three black and white kittens I have. At first, I couldn’t tell them apart, but I knew for sure one was a boy that I named Ernie, and that’s how “the Ernie’s” came about. Their real names are Ernie, Oscar, and Clementine – keeping with my Sesame Street naming theme for these foster babies.

The Ernie’s still run and hide when I come into the room and they don’t want me to hold or pet them. Thankfully they are all past the hissy stage, so they are coming along. Today was the first time I was able to get a hold of Oscar for some cuddling. Oscar was eating only a few inches away from me, so while he was close, I grabbed him and wrapped him up like a burrito in a baby blanket. At first he really was Oscar the Grouch. He was NOT happy, his heart was pounding and his body was all tensed up. So I started using a toothbrush to mimic his mother grooming him, and brushed him on his head and under his chin with the toothbrush. Again, this worked like magic and within 2-3 minutes, Oscar was no longer a grouch and was enjoying the grooming. He even let me rub his belly! I loosed up the blankets completely, and Oscar stayed in my lap. This is huge progress with him made in a few minutes!

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Little Oscar, no longer a grouch after some toothbrush grooming.

The Ernie’s will play with toys when I am in the room, but at a distance from me.¬† I have been using a laser pointer to get them to play and to inch closer and closer to me.

Bert was running around like a crazy boy as usual. He just started this new thing he does where he takes a flying dive on top of the playpen. When the other kittens get on top of the playpen, they just jump up and it’s pretty quiet. But because Bert runs and dives on the playpen, when he does it, it’s pretty loud.

Watch this video and you will hear Bert do his flying dive and then see what happens next!!!

My first ever group of foster kittens – rescued from a local farm

Right now I am fostering seven little kittens that were found dumped on a farm. There are still 4 or 5 more kittens out there that I will be getting as soon as we can catch the little buggers! There were also three female adult cats found that went through the TNR program so they will not be having any more kittens. They will be ear tipped and will stay on at the farm. All the kittens will come to me so I can socialize them with humans so they can be adopted.

The first item I bought when I decided to foster was this mesh playpen shown in the video. It’s a good starter and it only cost me $25 from Walmart online. You can see who the class clown is in this video! It’s the grey and white kitten, Bert. He loves to play and he keeps all the other kittens entertained!

First blog post

This is my very first post, and this is also my very first blog ever. I started this blog because I recently became a volunteer with the Homeless Cat Management Team and their sister organization, Pittsburgh C.A.T. I decided to start this blog to keep track of the stories of the kittens I am fostering, their progress, and of course to have a place to post pictures of these cuties!

I also created this blog as an informational resource for other fosters, volunteers, and anyone who would like to learn more about cats and kittens, the importance of spaying and neutering your pets, and to show how the TNR program works! I will be posting things that I have learned, links to other helpful websites or videos, and links to any good deals on kitten supplies and products I have found to be very helpful with my foster babies. Happy fostering!

Abby and Bert chillin'
Here is calico Abby Cadabby hanging out with her brother Bert in a little cat bed. I converted from an Ikea doll bed to a kitten bed. More to come on the bed in another post . . .