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!

Friday, December 31, 2021

Foster Kitten Friday - The Hoarders Edition

I've never been much of a TV watcher. I'm not even sure I could switch between regular television and Sling TV without asking hubby which button (buttons?) to press. But when I hid away in a cabin a couple months back and worked, worked, worked I allowed myself one vice late at night when I was done with my tasks for the day.

Hoarders. The TV series, that is.

Anyone who knows me know I'm extremely organized and live with a minimal amount of possessions. How and why I started watching Hoarders while tucked away in a cabin is anyone's guess. But I did - and I still am. Every evening you'll find me knocking out at least a couple episodes to get through all 13 seasons worth. 

But some days, thanks to Hans Solo, I feel like I'm living in an episode of Hoarders myself. Little guy has made it his goal to take so many things we give him to play with - empty boxes, crinkly paper, cat toys and makeshift cat toys - and drag them to corner of the room alongside his cat tree. Check it out:

And that's not everything. Just outside the picture frame there are a half dozen more things he's dragged into his space. 

So you tell me, hoarder or cutie pie? You can be the judge.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Foster Kitten Friday - The Christmas Eve Edition

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house 
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were...

Heck, who am I kidding? Just like Christmas last year, I have little creatures who are definitely stirring in my house. This year it's just one creature but he is absolutely, definitely, positively stirring. And running and jumping and climbing.

Little Mr. Hans Solo spent this week turning from my sweet bottle baby kitten into a rough and tumble 8 week old kitten. With no other siblings in the house to keep him entertained and busy, it's important for this foster mom to provide additional activity and stimulating play. It's also important to make sure he picks up good play habits and not bad ones so a lot of this week was spent redirecting the play time. 

Which means we spent this entire week working on running through the house, jumping up and down on and off of furniture, hiding and pouncing, wrestling with stuffed animals, and playing with toys. Lots and lots of toys. 

Who knew proper play could be so exhausting?! (For this adult, at least. I think Hans Solo thought differently.)
Is this how you play peek-a-boo?
It's my toy and I can play with it
in the sun if I want to.
Told you! It's my toy and I can take it wherever I want to.
Turtle wrestling is a thing, I tell ya.
Excuse me, I need to get to the top of the recliner. 
Can't the picture wait?
Did I do something wrong?
Don't these fish swim any faster? I'm in a hurry.
Places to go, people to see, things to do!
Merry Christmas from foster kitten Hans Solo, 
his foster mom, and the foster mom's human daughter

Friday, December 17, 2021

Foster Kitten Friday - Taking Notes

Knowing I write about foster kitties on Fridays I spend my week taking notes on the babes so I have something to say. My weeks with solo Hans Solo are no different. Notes about his progress and about things we've done. Comparisons to other foster kitties who have come before him. But some weeks - like this one - those notes wind up being worthless.

On Monday, I was ready to make a video of the little guy. It was going to be of him climbing from his playpen and using a bridge to get to the couch. It was going to be just like my favorite video I've made of kittens, this one of the Yellowstone Crew:
But Hans Solo had another idea. He thought it best to sprint up the pen and run. Run fast like a cheetah. So fast I couldn't even capture the cuteness of him making his way across the bridge. Toss away those notes.

On Tuesday, I was ready to make sure I got plenty of pictures of him playing with toys. He was somewhat cooperative. Wrestling pictures? Check. We'll keep those notes. Playing with the wand toy pictures? The boy was too fast there, too.
Wednesday I thought I'd be able to share how much he loves the couch. How it's his favorite place to play and how I would soon be introducing him to the big playpen called the living room floor. Was he on the couch? For a brief moment.
Until he decided he should find out more about the air cast boot that lives on my foot. Yep, he decided he would get himself to the floor all by himself with no introduction needed from me. He's found the floor (and every single corner and nook and cranny) and thinks he owns it. Toss those couch notes out the window.
After Wednesday's not-on-the-couch adventures, I thought on Thursday we'd have some great things to share about his floor time. How it would be a couple days before he could get onto the furniture by himself. I don't know who was more surprised when this little face popped up from the side of my chair. Goodbye, draft Thursday notes.
But why did he choose my chair to climb into first? Kinda obvious, right? Not really...
On Friday, I found out there was more to the story. It wasn't me he was after. It was my notes!
Little Mr. Nosy had to get his nose into some of my other business on Friday, too. A pattern I'm writing for a quilt shop is in the works. 
Guess he's taking notes on me now.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Foster Kitten Friday - Milestones

It was a little over six months ago when the Duck Tales Gang - Huey, Dewey, and Louie - had started out with a good week. They were hitting some milestones like moving into the pop ups and getting big enough for supervised play on the couch. But the fun ended when they were found to have ringworm and had to be isolated for the next several weeks. And I learned all about foster home biosecurity. 

It was also the week I was bragging about my Etsy shop taking off with me having sewn (and sold) 800 vaccination card holders. With my sales now approaching 4,000 I am reminded how much things change. And how much they remain the same.

Mr. Hans Solo/Mr. Milestone, what a guy you are becoming. For those who don't know, when he came into Simply Cats just three weeks ago he was cold, dirty, underweight, dehydrated, with low blood sugar and infected eyes. 

Poor Hans Solo 3 weeks ago.
Photo credit: Simply Cats

Two of his siblings were with me, but despite all our efforts – medications, IVs, tube feedings, glucose, and an incubator - they were so sick they didn’t make it. But by some miracle Hans Solo did.

With him being so much smaller than he should have been, the developmental milestones you would expect from a kitten were a bit off. But boy, the boy is making up for it now. This week was an exciting one for the little fella.

He learned the ways of Spiderman and climbed out of the pop up pens. 

He also learned he has one entire room of the tent devoted to a litter box. Let me tell ya, the boy knows how to use it.  (I'll spare you that picture.)

He got his first crack at supervised play on the couch. He learned how to be a mountain goat, climbing up and down the cushions.
He also practiced being a race horse, running back and forth from end to end. He then, of course, had to strut to show us what a beautiful breed he was.
He even found time to be a flamingo. Or maybe an ostrich?
Wait, this isn't sand?!
This is the week he started transitioning from formula to gruel. It's a mixture of jarred baby food, canned cat food, and kitten formula and gets him ready for real cat food. Gruel needs to be introduced slowly so his system has a chance to get used to the new stuff. But it can sometimes be confusing going back and forth between the two.
What? This was straight formula?
Look at the mess you made me make!
And now you're making me messy with gruel?
I'm so confused!
Fine, I'll use my own tongue to clean it up!
Delayed milestones? No need to worry about this dude!
See my beautiful paws? Don't you just want to take me home?
Can't have me yet. But soon, I promise.