by Madeline Laughs
~DECEMBER 29, 2012
FERAL FIVE UPDATE!!Today we moved Capone into the downstairs bathroom so we could take him out of the kennel and hold him. Being very careful not to spook him and allowing him to take his time to come out, we sat on the floor and watched.
My husband: (clicking his tongue) click, click, click, click
Me: (singing) YOU’RE A BIG BOY! YOU’RE A BIG…
My husband: Shhhhhhh!
Me: What? They like it when I sing.
My husband: No, I don’t think they do. Look at him.
Me: (pouting) theylikeitwhenIsing…
He finally came out and we were able to handle him a bit. He’s still skittish, but willing 🙂 Capone will eat his meals in front of us now!!
Monkey no longer swats me when I clean her kennel, so everyday now I reach in and give her a rubdown with a gloved hand. She still hisses and gives me warning bites, but you can tell she kind of likes it. Today she rolled over and almost showed me her belly. Today I gave her a treat of kitten milk mixed with some canned food and after her massage she lapped it all up while I finished putting in fresh bedding and filling her water dish.
Oreo runs hot and cold. Some days he wants to be petted, some days he just wants to bite you. We moved him closer to Capone so he can see that we aren’t evil and actually petting is nice.
Viper is eating less and less and becoming more and more aggressive. We’re not sure what’s wrong that she’s not adapting, but I have a feeling she might not feel good. If her demeanor doesn’t improve by Tuesday we’re going to talk about taking her to the vet to get checked.
Dexter is still at large 🙂 but he’s eating and playing with all of the toys and having a great time. He even slept in the shoebox bed Chris made for him.
~JANUARY 2, 2013
FERAL FIVE UPDATE!!!We can now pet Monkey with bare hands! She still hisses nonstop, but she likes the rubdowns. Every morning Monkey’s kennel was covered in litter from her potty box. I’m not sure what she does when she gets in there, but the litter just flies! So I made her a booda box, which is a covered potty box.
You take the plastic handled containers the litter comes in and cut a hole in the side. I’ll post pictures later today.
Yesterday Chris experienced some pure bliss with Oreo and Capone. He had been petting Capone and moved over to Oreo. He started out with a gloved hand on Oreo and once he relaxed, Chris took the glove off. He coos to the kittens when he pets them and while he was petting Oreo…Capone started purring!!!!
My husband is a cat whisperer.
Chris also picked up Capone yesterday and held him next to his chest. Capone was quite relaxed and didn’t even try to get away.
Viper is still very angry, but she’s eating again. She bit the crap out of me yesterday too.
The one thing you have to remember is that even though they’re biting you, you have to let them release the bite on their own. You can gently push in towards their mouth to make that happen, but pulling away is a no-no! Jerking your finger away could break their tiny fangs. They’re still just kitten teeth and very fragile. If you break them, it could hurt for them to eat, so grin and bear the bite!
She may be a kitten we can not tame, but no worries. We’ll have her spayed and her ear notched and release her to live in our outdoor colony as a feral.
Dexter is still at large in the garage. I do occasionally hunt for him and get a glimpse. He’s very healthy and getting bigger. Eventually I’m just going to have to be brave and grab him because he’s too smart for the trap noW.
~JANUARY 3, 2013
FERAL FIVE UPDATE!!Today was Disinfect Your Kennel Day. This always goes over like gangbusters with the girls. They totally hate it. The boy’s kennels are generally clean. They don’t track litter all over and use their potty boxes to coat the inside of the entire place, so theirs is usually easier.
Monkey is funny! Today during our cuddle session she made lots of biscuits. I told her she could get a job at McDonald’s as a biscuit maker because she was so good at it. I made her box a little smaller and turned her potty box a new way this time. I also gave her a Kermit the Frog finger puppet to play with.
After putting her kennel back together I did laundry and watched her out of the corner of my eye. As I folded clothes and filled the washer, she checked out her new potty box location, sat inside for a few minutes, checked out her new, smaller cuddle box and then rolled around on the kennel floor playing and gutting Kermit and having a large time in her new space….all done with me just a foot away from her.
~JANUARY 5, 2013
FERAL FIVE UPDATE!!After spending the morning with these kittens and having held and petted three of them, it is incredibly validating to me that we have been able to change their entire demeanor in a matter of weeks.
If you’ve been following this story, these kittens were completely wild and battled us every single day.Now three of them look forward to our visits and our hands are met with gentle buses from their heads, asking for pets and love.
The next step will be difficult because they will be tested for FIV and spayed/neutered. All of this will be traumatizing for them and may set us back a bit in the trust department. But they will be ready then to find Forever Homes.I hope that some of you that are local and have been watching them mature will step up and adopt one or two of our Feral Five ♥
~JANUARY 7, 2013
FERAL FIVE UPDATE!!!The fun continues!
This weekend we had a minor setback. Chris became totally smitten with Monkey’s progress and promptly forgot to latch her kennel shut Saturday night, so Sunday was spent recovering from a jail break.
The funny thing is that we don’t think she ever left the laundry room where her kennel is until late yesterday afternoon. We found her and Dexter snuggled together under the hot water heater, which sits right next to her kennel.
Chris spent hours trying to coax her out by feeding her canned food on a fork.
Dexter is a great sibling, however he is not terribly great at making sure Monkey could keep up and so he threw her under the bus and left her to fend for herself under a shelf that evening. After a chase into the bathroom, I closed the door and proceeded to speak softly and make comforting sounds before putting my hand down for a sniff. Then I scooped her up and Chris cleared a path for me to hurry her back to her kennel.
Once back in the safety of her condo she growled and cried as I put out fresh food that she couldn’t wait to devour. I rubbed her tiny head and scratched her belly while she complained and she finally purred and bussed my hand for more.
I don’t think “freedom” was at all what she remembered it to be and the safety and comfort of her warm kennel was appreciated, even though a run or two with her wayward brother must have been terribly exciting while it lasted.
~JANUARY 8, 2013
FERAL FIVE UPDATE!!!Three of the kitties are ready to start the adoption process! Capone, Monkey and Oreo are all well on their way to being kitty-pets for the right person and will be available for pets and cuddles after January 22nd.
On the 22nd these three babies will be spayed/neutered and get all of their first shots.
All three kittens can be handled safely. They do not bite or swat and Monkey is extremely playful and animated. Oreo is still a little snotty, however he is sweet and curious and likes to be held and Capone is very calm and perfect for younger children.
Anyone wanting more information or pictures of the kittens can send me a private message. Please share these upcoming adoptions with your friends and families that are looking to adopt a new furmily member soon. Thank you everyone!!
~JANUARY 9, 2013
FERAL FIVE UPDATE!! Today I had a huge revelation. The kittens needs to be socialized, and quickly.
I realized that when I go down in the mornings to feed and clean their kennels and I’m still in my pajamas and smell basically like sleep, I don’t get the hisses and spits when they first see me. And no jokes about me being a stinky sleeper, cause I’m not 🙂
But if I shower before going downstairs…watch out! Monkey will even growl at me until I start talking to her and she recognizes the sound of my voice. Then she’s fine and I get the usual purrs and biscuits.
I held her in my lap today and she rolled around and let me rub her belly ♥
I’m going to start sending out private invitations for as many of our local friends as possible to come by and visit the Feral Five.You don’t have to stay long and you don’t even have to touch them if you’re afraid to, but they need to be exposed to new and different human scents and sounds before the 22nd of this month.
If you would like to try holding them or petting them I would ask that you wear long sleeves, no gloves though. The sleeves are for their protection as much as yours.
They also have a wild scent themselves right now. The only time I’ve ever seen them groom is right after they’ve been held and they don’t have fleas or worms, so I guess grooming is optional when you’re bug free. I can’t decide if it’s just a pheromone they give off, but the whole garage smells “wild”, but not like their potty box either. If I had to give it a descriptive word I would use “gamey”.
Maybe that’s how they think I smell in the mornings…gamey and wild.If you’re up to the challenge, let me or my husband know 🙂
~JANUARY 22, 2013
FERAL FIVE UPDATE!!!Today is the day! Oreo, Monkey and Capone are all being loaded into carriers for their first adventure beyond the garage. They are going to the vet for their first shots, a flea and worm treatment and to be “fixed”…which means that this afternoon we will officially know who’s a girl and who’s a boy. Let’s see if I’m right.
Capone – male
Oreo – male
Monkey – female
More later 🙂
~LATER THAT DAY
FERAL FIVE UPDATE!!!
Oreo is a girl!!!
Capone is a boy and Monkey is a girl too.
The doctor was amazed at how much we have been able to tame them in such a short amount of time. All three kittens were docile and loving and could even be sedated after being removed from their carriers with absolutely no issues. Not one of them tried to scratch or bite any of the vet techs handling them.
I can’t even make that claim about our own 6 year old, indoor cat, Hattie, who has to be sedated just to be examined!
All three came through their surgeries in flying colors and Monkey was already in heat, so in the nick of time!
Once I got them all home I was faced with the dilemma of coaxing them from their carriers back into the kennels by myself. But I had nothing to worry about. Once I opened those carrier doors they stumbled groggily back into the safety of their kennels with no fuss at all.They are all resting comfortably now on soft woobies in dimmed light. I’m going to go back downstairs in a bit and feed and water them. I bet they’re starved!
- FERAL FIVE UPDATE!! Chapter 2 (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)
- FERAL FIVE UPDATE!! Chapter 1 (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)
- Feral Colonies may flower (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)
- Port Orange expanding feral cat program (news-journalonline.com)
- How to Train a Kitten to Use the Litter Box (kittencatcare.com)