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Posts tagged ‘foster cats’

Calliope-No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Today, Calliope ripped a hole in a second story screen and got out. That was the least of the problem.

Once I confirmed she was gone, I quickly went to Jacky’s, the nice lady who had been feeding her. Yup, there the little girl was, after eating a tin of tuna fish AND more cat food. And yes, she had been fed already and I was looking for her in the first place to feed her another meal.

It was on the short way back the trouble started. A little boy insisted she was his cat. I told him she wasn’t and if I would have to talk to his parents before I would release her. This cat came bone thin and with all of her hair pulled out. Jacky said when she first saw her she was even smaller and her fur had something in it that made it stiff. Calliope probably groomed it out, she is meticulously neat. Also he said this would be her second litter of kittens, she’s not even grown yet!

I talked to the parents who first said she wasn’t theirs, then said she was but they didn’t want her. I took Calliope home.

Then a disturbed boy who loves to cause trouble (the reason I took Calliope in so quickly) started claiming he knew who’s cat it was. Then the second kid, evidently an older brother, knocked on my door, claiming the cat. He claimed is cat was gray. I told him it wasn’t his cat, and anyway, his parents had told me they didn’t want her (their cats have been busy having kittens, obviously). I checked with Sandy who said that yes, when Calliope turned up she was still very small and has grown. NOT a two year old. The vet put her between 7 to 10 months. And quite frankly, I wouldn’t return her to that home anyway.

No one looked for Calliope when she first came. I asked everyone I saw, hoping she was someone’s kitten who had just gotten lost. For almost two weeks, what ever cat lived at that kid’s place, she never went home. Calliope spent a couple of weeks on Jacky’s patio, and that’s right where she goes if she gets out. Why not? Jacky gives tuna!

Still, it’s left me shaking. The older boy swore at me when I said I wasn’t giving her back. I told him to call the police if they wanted their cat back. There are laws here about animal abuse. Then the problem kid came knocking on my door claiming another child said it was HIS cat. I told problem kid to get away from my door and never talk to me again. There’s a kid who could use a good foster home himself. I retired long ago from doing human rescue.

I hope the weather stays cool as obviously I’m not going to be opening any windows. Now worried about the kittens. She is obviously ok, but I’m a worrier. And somewhere out there, is a lost, probably pregnant cat who’s home is not worth going back to. For having all these kids who say they want a kitty, they aren’t the ones who feed and take care of them. Jacky says there is another cat, the same age, also pregnant that is probably a littermate to Calliope.

I’m pretty peace-loving. I never start fights, although I don’t back down from them like I used to. But I never, even in my mousey childhood days ever backed down from rescuing an animal that needed it. The next person who knocks on my door next had better be a cop, because then I will file some charges of my own. Plus a vet certificate saying Calliope is still a kitten.

Some of the super stressful situations I’ve been living through have resolved themselves in the last few days. I was planning on getting some packing done and chilling.  While this re-enforces my desire to get the heck out of here, it hasn’t dampened my joy in fostering. If anything, it just makes me aware all over again how much rescuers are needed.

Calliope is purring softly, full of tuna fish. In a couple of hours I will feed her again. I will also make sure that jump didn’t hurt any kittens and they are still active. I will of course, worry like any grandma until I see those babies come out all healthy. And all this could have been avoided if just one person along the way had spayed their cat.

 

Calliope: Kitten Rumba

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As you can see, Calliope’s tummy is getting bigger by the day. Last night they were so active it seemed they were throwing a wild party in there!

I can tell she is getting ready, not only by kittens kicking and because she is demanding to stay by my side,  but by my dominate cats allowing her to get away with it. Mama kitties have special privileges. Tonight she is humming warning at them if they get close enough to step on her. Normally that would bring a stern glance by The Princess, as Calliope is cuddled close to me, so close I am typing with one hand. While Princess has demanded cuddle time, she hasn’t even hissed at Calliope, in fact when they were both up tight to me, Princess seemed about ready to groom her. Major Tom is only keeping his distance because she insists, he thinks he should baby her.

When Calliope first arrived I don’t think she was used to being cuddled. She clearly has staked me out for her own and even loves to be petted while she is eating. I suspect if she starts to give birth without me, I will hear about it. She definitely will want a midwife. Gee, it feels good to be wanted.

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Difficult to give herself a manicure now.

Sandy, who was feeding her when she was outside, has said there is another cat that is about the same age and who looks almost the same. That probably means there was a litter of kittens about the same age who don’t have homes.  Now all those female kittens are having babies. Sigh. Hopefully we can round them up and get them into homes. If the kittens are born and raised without human contact there is a good chance they will become feral.  That is if they even survive.  Feral kittens can die from many problems. Flea infestation, eye infection and even starving because their mother isn’t well enough to have milk for them to name a few. Calliope would have suffered the same fate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oh the suspense!

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Calliope gets some down time when she is in the main part of the house with me while the others are eating and sleeping. She’s feeling more at home every day. Look at that big tummy. I can just start to feel the kittens move.

In spite of having been with me for 16 days and was being fed before that, she is still much too thin. I feed her throughout the day so she can keep it all down, but I can still feel all of her bones. Her little hip bones feel like they are barely covered with skin. Each day I am more aware that if she hadn’t been rescued, she would probably have died. Even being able to eat as much as she wants, it seems all that food is going straight to her kittens. How sad it would be if this loving sweet spirit had been left to her fate.

And on the flip side:

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Never shy about voicing his opinion, Majyk thinks he looks amazing on my new fabric.

I love having multiple cats because watching them interact is fascinating. Majyk who is a rough and ready bratty little brother with the other cats is totally bemused by Calliope. He follows her around with the oddest expression on his face. He never tries to rough house with her like he does with Willetta. Calliope has the same regal stare as my Maine Coon mix . He did try and take a teasing swipe at her, she just sat down and gave him The Look. He tried to look nonchalant as he swaggered away, but you could see she had gotten her point across. Earlier when The Princess got too close to her food bowl, she put up a paw and very calmly pushed Princess away. No hissing, no growling. Princess bowed to her mamahood and withdrew.

Calliope looks like the love child of Major Tom and The Princess.

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The Princess will see you  now.

The Story of Calliope

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Calliope’s On-Line Poster

I first saw Calliope as she was being passed hand to hand by the neighbor’s children. She was so sweet and patient with all that handling, I had to go meet her myself. She looked to be “teenaged”, a bit gangly and still very kittenish. We played hide and go seek/tag among the trees, and I fell in love.

She was such a gentle spirit, I wanted to make sure she had a home She was so thin and had bare patches down to the skin. Sadly, while everyone liked her, no one claimed her. Cats can get pregnant at four months and she was at least six months, probably older. I fed her whenever I saw her and she was always happy to meet me with purrs and rrrrows. I worried about her, because the kids in my apartment complex are unsupervised and some are either too young or too disturbed to be allowed access to an animal. I began asking everyone I saw her with if they knew who owned her.

No one did. Then, she disappeared. I hoped she had been adopted, but judging by the local tom’s behavior, I thought it was more likely she had been injured and maybe even died. Still, I kept an eye out for her and one day there she was, older, and obviously pregnant . I managed to track her down to the lady who was feeding her. She does dog rescue, I do cat rescue. The little cat was much more wary about being handled (smart of her!) but looked healthy if still thin.

I went into rescue mode. First, I put my cat cage outside, and got it ready for her to stay in until I could get a health check, with five of my own kitties, that’s always my first move. I popped in a nice warm cardboard box shelter with a blanket, litterbox, big bowl of fresh water and all the dry food she could eat. She seemed to immediately know she was being rescued, she checked out her new home and settled down happily, purring like mad and uttering little chirps of happiness. Because she is a “talker”, I named her Calliope. She knew that was her name within 24 hours.

Luckily the weather was good, because it was a long Memorial Day weekend. I foster through Salem Friends of Felines, a fantastic no kill shelter. I was hoping they would let me foster her until she was adoptable. They are extremely good at screening adoptive new cat parents and would place her and her kittens in good homes. I was already in love with Calliope, it’s always hard to give up foster cats, some are more difficult than others and I already had a bond with this small multicolored cat.

The next morning I went out first thing to check on her. To my surprise there was the huge black tom laying companionably next to the cage. I’ve never seen him up close, he usually is a black blur as soon as he sees me. He’s HUGE, with tattered ears and missing patches of fur over his many scars. Although he jumped and ran when he saw me, this time he didn’t go far. Calliope greeted me as an old friend. As I filled her food dish, the tom looked interested. I dubbed him Tough Guy (TG for short) and tossed him some kibble. She must have communicated with him because he came up and loved on me! Tough Guy has a soft spot! He looks so vicious, but when he is not competing for a female, he is up for  a cuddle. Calliope had already brought me a new friend. She preened like a teenage girl getting ready for the prom! Her fur may be a bit ragged still, but it was spotlessly clean and soft as a cloud.

Finally I got her into Friends of Felines and luckily she was healthy. She’s between 7 to 10 months old, about halfway through her pregnancy at a guess. I installed her in my studio so I could introduce her to my five brats slowly. I’m being extra careful with her as she is so pregnant. Majyk in particular plays too rough.

calliope2Since Willetta isn’t aggressive, she was the first cat I introduced. The girls growled and hissed at each other as Willetta cruised the room, looking for stray kibble. Things were going well so I left them alone. They didn’t become instant friends but there wasn’t any fighting either. Calliope has gotten much more defensive since she is carrying kittens, before she would play with any friendly cat. I put Willetta back in with her today and again they hissed if they got too close, but that was all.

I’ll try her next with Major Tom. For having been a tomcat most of his life, he is super sweet and loves kittens. Calliope is still a kitten herself, if she will accept him he will love her and help raise the kittens. Since she wasn’t worried about Tough Guy, who is probably the father of some her kittens, I’m hoping her hormones won’t tell her Major is dangerous. She could use a little extra loving.