Friday, January 14, 2022

Foster Kitten Friday - First Day of Kindergarten

As any parent knows, the first day of Kindergarten can be a hard one. As a former teacher I can tell you it usually goes one of two ways:

1. The child screams and cries and won't let go of the parent. 
2. The child runs off into the room without even saying goodbye to mom. Sometimes dad - but mostly mom - is left standing there all alone, not sure of what to do with herself. The little one has been her world for the last 5 years and now she's not needed anymore. She will be worried all day long, wondering if kiddo is doing okay on the first day of Kindergarten, hoping friends are being made and kiddo is happy. (It's not much different from the feeling you get when you drop the same kid off at college many years later.) 

If you're a parent you may know those feelings. As it has been a long while since I've experienced the drop-kiddo-at-Kindergarten I-hope-she's-doing-ok feeling, I was quite surprised when the feelings arose again this week. 

All because of Mr. Hans Solo. 

Having just one foster kitten in the house this time around made for a different experience. And when he headed to the adoption floor this week I wondered - and worried - if he would make other kitty cat friends. I may not have been ready for him to leave me, but he was quite ready for the first-day-of-Kindergarten adventure.

*He wanted to be confident climbing the jungle gym at school Simply Cats so he practiced by climbing between the chair and end table again and again.
*He said goodbye to his security blanket.
*He double checked to make sure he had all his supplies in his Simply Cats bag.
*He promised he would make sure he wouldn't be a messy eater at snack time. Shh..don't tell him he left food on his face.
*His teacher made a home visit to meet him. (Not really. I caught a black cat on our security camera and couldn't think of any other way to work it into the story!)
*And bless little Hans Solo's heart, he climbed up and onto the school bus all by himself.
He had a great first day at Kindergarten. He made a new kitty cat friend and smiled big for his school picture.
Photo courtesy of Simply Cats

And exciting news - he's already been adopted and he and his new kitty cat friend are going home together! 

After looking at where he started:
November 16
Photo courtesy of Simply Cats
to where he is now:
January 12
Photo courtesy of Simply Cats
I say forget Kindergarten - bring on first grade!

Friday, January 7, 2022

Foster Kitten Friday - Heredity Versus Environment

While last week with Hans Solo reminded me of an episode of Hoarders, this week had me thinking more of the movie Trading Places. A rich Dan Aykroyd and poor Eddie Murphy wind up having their positions in life swapped as part of a bet. The fellows who are pulling the strings on their lives were debating the whole heredity versus environment thing. One particular line from the movie ran through my head this week when dealing with Hans Solo:

Given the right surroundings and encouragement...

So how and why does this apply to a foster kitten? As a parent to a foster kitten you are responsible for helping them not only grow big and strong, but well socialized and loving and kind. And when you are raising kitties from the very beginning (like bottle baby stage) you do have the opportunity to provide the right surroundings and encouragement to make it work. Except when it feels like it doesn't.

This was the week the little guy turned into no-more-loving kitty and into the bite-your-hands and climb-your-legs-when-you're-walking boy. Even though I continued to redirect his energy into all those hoarding toys we saw last week, he seemed to want my hands more. 

Any time my hands were near Hans Solo
this was my view.
We continued to help get those wiggles out with the wand toys. I tell ya, the boy hasn't met one he hasn't liked. 
Here's my best attempt at getting a photo of the
crazy wand toy sessions. The boy's too fast for the camera.
So as I pondered why, despite the typical fostering techniques used, Hans Solo has a wild streak in him I've wondered if it's because he was abandoned so early. If it's because he was so sick at the beginning and didn't get medical care immediately. Maybe because several milestones were delayed. Perhaps because his siblings passed away. And while I know it's not necessarily a bad thing that he's a rough and tumble boy instead of a lovey-dovey one, I still have to look inward at the quality of care (surroundings and encouragement, perhaps?) I provided and why he hasn't turned out like the others I've fostered. 
The sweet face after we get all the wiggles out.
Then as I was uploading pictures, it hit me. The boy has a wild hair. While it's not a wild hair up his b---, it's three wild hairs on top of his head. 
Wild hairs so long they can't fit in the picture!