Friday, August 07, 2009

In with the new

As I said, I knew Memphie was on his way out since the end of June.

I also knew of kittens born on June 5. I did not want one. I was really looking forward to only three cats using the litter boxes. I would own so many cats if it weren't for the litter box.

Three hours from me, this litter of kittens was born to Bea's ex's household from a stray they'd only adopted a few month earlier. To call these people white trash would be a compliment. They are ignorant and malicious. Within four weeks, five of the six kittens were dead. Bea crawled under the house after a deluge to save the last one, the day after the remaining three had been put out by the owners, and I use that term loosely.

The mother cat had already largely abandoned the kittens, as she was an outdoor cat without free access indoors. The kittens had lived inside and were exposed to people, to include children too young to understand handling them.

Bea bottle fed the last kitten for almost a week. Can you believe that you can buy kitten feeding supplies and dehydrated cat's milk at Wal-Mart?

She then transitioned the kitten to food fit for a kitten. She was a good mom, however she and her roommate continued to "play" with the kitten quite roughly, appropriately calling it an ankle biter. Apparently it was used to being played with that way, so Bea kept it up.

I guess you know where all this is going. She brought the cat to me 10 days ago, so for a few days I had five cats. Who knows? Maybe the little monster is what put Memph over the edge.

When I realized that the cat would be coming to me a few weeks ago, I named him/her/it Sammy/Sammie, as it was a name that could go either way, b/c they had no clue of the sex. Turns out, it is a Sammy. He is a beautiful gray that looks different shades from different angles, so very much like, except he completely lacks the composure she had as a kitten.

I said I would take him if Bea pays for the spay and shots. She agreed and said she'd do a one year plan at Banfield, too - not that I'm crazy about Banfield, but it would cover most everything Sammy would need without me worrying.

In addition to minimizing any testosterone in his aggressive system, I wanted Sammy spayed young so as to ensure it is done, as Bea too often fails to come through on what she says. We went to the vet that went to, b/c the (errant) receptionist said they'd spay early, whereas Banfield was trying to get me an appt for late October. During the appt when I told the vet I wanted him spayed early, she declined, then I protested with reason, then they said they'd consider it, as they do spay early with rescues they do. I figured out they fix the unattached kittens early, not the ones who are already pets, in case something happens.

Anyway, during the exam, the vet made the mistake of putting her finger too close to Sammy's face and he lit in, drew blood, shook his head, and growled. She called him "Devil Child" and labeled him hyperactive.

That's Sammy, but I am working hard on the kitten biting and other behaviors. He's people socialized, but was taunted, and he wasn't cat socialized enough to know when enough is enough. It's like he's feral, but he's not. He wants to be around so he can bite and scratch, play that could be cute as a kitten, but cannot be written off as an adult.

I have never purchased so many cat toys. Our motto around here is, "Skin is not a toy." We substitute, we redirect, we scruff like a mother cat would, we isolate, we walk away. We are the behaviorists. And it is working somewhat. He still nips, but he doesn't bite unless he gets angry, at which time he goes zero to 60 on the Anger Meter, another typical behavior for this sort of kitten. The other three cats were very fearful, but now they just whap him if he gets out of line. They have begun to play chase me/chase you, so that's a great sign. We all know our jobs in dealing with him.

Although the vet says that some cats stay overly frisky (aka mean), particularly the ones bottle fed and not having the mother cat's influence, I do think Sammy is being retrained and will perhaps grow out of the rest. For now, all I can say is thank goodness they trimmed his nails so well!

His blue eyes have turned greenish in the last week; he's a very handsome chap.

Ah, don't let him fool you. Yesterday, he napped for one hour in the afternoon and one in the evening. Bea actually crated him like a dog and told him when to take naps. I may use that approach. I do love that he's chosen my fuzzy robe as his favorite bed.
Of course, J is absolutely smitten...and bears the scratches to prove it.

Sammy is nine weeks old today.


Val said...

Heh heh - actually I expect he'll tame down pretty quickly, once the testosterone-poisoning leaks out of his system & he's no longer in a literal "fight for his life"...
[we apparently just added a new housecat this week; fortunately he too has calmed down quickly after a few days of Terror] Long story; I'll email ya!

Well-heeled mom said...

I love a new kitten! I had one much like this...he never really turned into a "people" cat. I am sorry about Memphie. I know how that hurts. Be well.