Thursday, January 29, 2015

Learning how to pet a feral kitten - Yanjing day 64

I think that this is day 64 with Yanjing (Eyes) my feral kitten. I am writing in his room while he eats and watches his Cat Sitter video. As you will see in the video he does enjoy watching it. I always unplug it when he is done watching. I also make sure that the TV is on the floor. 

Progress has been made. I have been very lucky and have seen all three of the kittens again. They are incredibly cute. They are also becoming much more aware of movement so it is getting very difficult to take photos of them anymore.

I covered the door with blankets and managed to get a nice photo of Stripes and Spots.  FuzzyWuzzy would have none of it.  She could see the camera lens and would not come to eat. The photo of her is one from a couple of weeks ago.

The absolute best thing right now is that I have gotten to pet Yanjing. Wooo Hooo I am in feral kitty heaven.

I began by brushing him with a long handled back brush a few strokes at a time while he was eating. 

Yesterday I noticed that I was able to brush him for the whole time he ate breakfast. I decided to throw all caution to the wind and to slide my fingers up around the brush when I gave him his afternoon feeding.  I was able to pet him a few times with my fingers and brush and then the brush and then my fingers and the brush again. I would always go back to the brush when he would turn his head. No hissing. He is also starting to meow very very softly. He does not do this very much. It is so much better than the hissing.

I need to weigh him one more time this Sunday for his last worm treatment and hope and hope and hope that I will be able to just hold him and get on the scale.  I never thought we would get this far. 

Wish me luck!

hugs to all,

Friday, January 9, 2015

Day 44 with my feral kitten Yanjing - worried about his siblings out in the cold

A very interesting article on the lives of feral cats.

Today is Day 44 in my feral kitten adventure. Today I will try to honor Yajing's three siblings and his Mom and all the other ferals living out in the cold today. It has been very cold here. Today 7 degrees F feeling more like -13 degrees F. cold, really really cold.

I have not seen Yanjing's siblings since I took their photos through the kitchen door on December 31st. It has been a long time. I am very lucky to have my boy, to have noticed that he had a bad case of round worms, to weigh him and get him medicine, and to watch him grow. His other siblings would have had worms too and with that and the very cold weather things are not looking good. I can only hope for the best.

On the brightest side of the news I am typing this in Yanjing's room.  He is snoozing in his condo. He did come to check me out and to see if I had any treats for him. I did and he is now even when he is hissing at me will sit for a treat or his food.

Yesterday and today I have been introducing brushing. I am using a soft back brush because it has a nice long handle. He is the hungriest in the morning so that is my best chance to introduce anything new to him while he eats. The brushing went much better today. That makes me very happy. My hope is that I will be able to shorten up my grip on the brush handle and in a few weeks substitute my hand for the brush. I want to make this transition so smooth that he will be fine with either.

Now on to the darker side - Yanjing is still hissing and spitting at the oddest times. He will be a large male cat so I want to hopefully change this habit into purring. I do not need my own personal attack kitty.

I have decided to try feliway. I sent away for an infuser and also the spray. Supposedly it does not have a smell or people will begin to sniff the air around me avoid me.  For those of you new to the feral cat world (which would be me) feliway is "a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone, used by cats to mark their territory as safe and secure".

I brought a few kitty treats in today and Yanjing quietly came up and put his paws on my leg looking for more treats.  This is another first. That makes me a happy camper.

If I don't get to see the kittens again I will always be haunted by the very brief opportunity I had to look into Fuzzywuzzy's eyes before she ran away. I do have a heated water dish now so no more kitties standing on frozen water.

More to come, please spay and neuter your pets, and if you have a chance take in a stray, or contribute to trap, spay, neuter, and release programs.  

Thanks for reading.
Stripe and Spots (spots is the


my feral cat food station

sadly only one set of cat tracks

Yanjing's first brushing experience

Checking out the brush - yes he is also teething

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Day 39 (Sunday) Feral kitty in play mode

Day 39 - Feral kitty in play mode

Yanjing would only come within about 6 inches of me when we played.  Touching was and still is off limits. BUT today (Sunday) with a double layer of thick socks on (the 2 blue things) and covered with a triple layer of flannel sheet with a towel on top I was ready for play time.

I felt secure I would be able to ward off pin point baby teeth and major claws. Yanjing didn't know where he was and did take a bit of a nap (about 90 seconds). A good safe time was had by all.  :-)

He finally crawled up to my lap and stared at me and hissed and spit - our relationship is a work in progress.  I just love that little face.   :-)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Feral Kitten - day 38 - My life as a giant cat toy!

Feral kitten - day 38 - My life as a giant cat toy!

Two fuzzies and the yellow beak of the catnip bird visible on my leg

This morning I decided to step it up a notch and after Yanjing had his breakfast to put his favorite cat toys on my leg and see what happened. I was not going to take photos of this event because my cameras all make noise and he has super great hearing. But I sat far enough away so that I did get some endearing photos of the kitty and virtual kitties encounter.

Most of his vocalizations are hissing - no purring, no meowing - just hissing... so much that I nicknamed him hissy face. After the time spent with the youtube videos I heard the first meows last night and again today. I am taking them to mean that he is hungry. So I gave him more food.

I have been throwing his favorite toys in his cat carrier and sticking the feather wand inside so that he spends a good amount of time in the carrier.  That will make it so much easier for me to weigh him and call his weight in to the vet.

He is used to me putting his food bowl on my stomach or beside me so climbing up onto my leg was not as scary for him. He did this with claws only partially out and I had on my fleece pants that are a little like fur. He did jump or climb up to get his toys many times and even while he was playing stayed for a minute or two right next to me.   

Here is this morning's encounter with the kitten video.

More to come...   

Step one - the investigation
Step two - the sniff
Step three - the interaction

Friday, January 2, 2015

life with a feral kitten - I am on my way to becoming a well trained human

Yanjing 3 weeks ago
Yanjing on the 6th floor of his kitty condo

Feral Kitty- Yanjing - Eyes

I have considered myself a dog person since I was in the 5th grade.  I had traded my parakeet for a cat a few years before . . . but . . . sadly it got hit by a car and died. I was devastated. I have had dogs ever since.

Dogs - they love you no matter what. So how did I fall for a big eyed kitten looking down at me from behind the spool of coiling wire that hauls up and down one of the garage doors?

That was 37 days ago, Thanksgiving evening after dinner.  My son heard it mewing and it sounded like it was in the heating duct between our basement garage and the first floor living/dining room. This put all of the grandkids into action including pulling the cover off the heat register while I was down in the garage looking at the vents and trying to figure out how a kitty could get in there and how I would get it out.

I was studying the vent connection with the register when I saw something move. It was a very small head with great big eyes. I opened a can of tuna and left it where it was to come up with a plan. One son's family lives locally and went home and the other son's family was staying with us and there was no sleeping that night. It was very hard to convince an almost two year old that the kitty would be just fine in the heat run.

The next day I found a long wide board and put it up to the kitty's hiding spot and left a trail of tuna down the wood ramp and out of the garage to a small bowl with more tuna.
The kitty came down and seemed to have vacated the garage so I took down all of the boards and closed the door.  The next day the same son heard the kitty again, still inside the garage.
Dog proof kitty condo
I could not turn down a Thanksgiving kitty. After feeding it and only catching glimpses of it I got a kitty safe live trap from a friend and after much hesitation the kitty was trapped and ready to move to its new room.

I went about constructing a kitty condo out of two display cases so that I could create a safe habitat for the kitty when my son and his family returned with my grand dog that does not like cats.

The kitty condo worked! Kitty, dog, kids, and parents all survived.
Kitty is being wormed which involves weighing him every two weeks for 4 doses (just discovered that kitty is a male) and that is not much fun. I hope that he will go into his carrier so I can weigh him Saturday or Sunday.

Currently he will eat out of my hand if I have it very very still and open. He will also eat from the bowl if it is close to me as long as I don't move around a lot or make any sudden noises (sneezing scares him), and our brand new activity - watching We are watching videos of kitties purring and kitties being petted. He finds these very interesting. He sniffs the computer screen and wonders why these kitties make noise but don't smell like anything. I also brought in a toy stuffed kitty to pet. He did watch every move I made.

We have had a good day today - less hissing and more playing. He looks twice as big as when he arrived; bigger than his outdoor siblings. Yes, I am feeding them too. I hope to spay/neuter, vaccinate, and return them to our neighborhood.

Each day is a learning experience. Yanjing loves to eat and play; he still has the biggest yellow green eyes and endless curiosity. More to come!