ORK: Only Kittens Now

I’m trying to resist the urge to sing, “Ding dong, the witch is dead,” because (a) Drifter’s not dead and (b) she was a bitch because of nature and being lost or abandoned so it’s not completely her fault … but, damn, I’m glad she’s gone. The expression on her face in the video linkat the end of the post is typical of how she always looked.

She successfully passed on her habit of hissing to Callie, and I figured it was only a matter of time before all the kittens jumped at me and hated my food-bringing presence. Of course, now that Drifter’s gone, 3 out of 5 cats hiss anyway when I come in the room.

I can’t care, because I do care. It’s time for socialization.

Sky, Moss, Callie and Rose (clockwise from top left)
Sky, Moss, Callie and Rose (clockwise from top left)

As of this morning, I’ve handled all of the kittens. The easiest way I’ve found to grab one is to lure them underneath the triangles with wet food. Usually, they just eat dry. They all come out for wet; to be frank, it’s a little creepy to watch. By placing a ramekin of wet at the opposite end of the cage, they have to pass by the front door, which is open and where I’m waiting. The kitten starts to eat and, swish, I scoop him or her up.

Smokey in his ghetto palace
Smokey in his ghetto palace

There’s a little wriggling, but not scratching, biting, hissing or crying. The kitten gets wrapped partially in a towel to confine the legs. My right hand is underneath the kitten’s stomach for support while the left hand starts a-pettin’. I also close the front door, at which point the other kittens come out to eat and glance at the trapped kitten.

I’ve offered the trappee some wet food from a spoon but only Callie (who’s been the most hissy) has taken any, and she only licked the back of the spoon. The kittens have turned to look at me and tried to go back to the cage, but I’ve held on (gently, of course) for about 30 seconds while petting and talking reassuringly.

Only Rose had some trouble going back in the cage. She wanted to be on the top triangle and decided the best way to get there was through the cage, not the door. Her paw got stuck between the triangle and the cardboard. She wouldn’t let go and I didn’t want to let go in case she was hurt. She managed to free herself and all was right with the world.

Amazingly, the 4 kittens handled this morning (Sky was yesterday) didn’t learn from their siblings and kept coming out for food to be picked up one by one.

When each kitten went back in the cage, I dumped some wet food in front of them as a reward. They all seem happy. We’ll do another go ’round this afternoon and tonight.

Here’s a look at the family with Drifter the day before she left. She’s now living at a horse farm as a barn cat. Neighbor Peg found her the home and Steve from Stray Cat Blues took care of temporarily moving the kittens to a smaller cage and forcing Drifter into a carrier. He also put the kittens back in the big cage so they wouldn’t think I was the mean one.


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