Recently, we have added a new pet to our family. We're now up to four animals:
Fozzy, one of our 14-year-old bichon frises,
Gonzo, our other 14-year-old bichon frise, whose health is rapidly declining unfortunately,
Nibbles, Car Guy's rabbit, who is now hopping around and playing again after battling a near-fatal bout with pasteurella and head tilt (more details at http://musingsthoughtsandponderings.blogspot.com/2009/04/bunny-nurse.html and http://musingsthoughtsandponderings.blogspot.com/2009/04/hanging-in-there.html),
and Snowball, a 12-week-old kitten who is our newest addition.
Let me preface Snowball's story by stating that I have never previously owned a cat and have never considered myself to be a "cat person." My family and I started watching Snowball about six weeks ago, though, when we discovered that she belonged to a stray mother cat we had been feeding. For the back story on Snowball's family, check out http://musingsthoughtsandponderings.blogspot.com/2009/06/cat-wrangler.html and http://musingsthoughtsandponderings.blogspot.com/2009/06/cat-wrangler-part-2.html.
Since I had not been successful in previously catching and aiding the stray cat family, I had just continued to feed them and let them be until I learned this week how quickly cats can reproduce. My guess was that we would be covered up in stray cats unless I quickly took some action. Meanwhile, Curly Girl and Car Guy enjoyed watching the five kittens hang out on our porch and especially took a shine to the white kitten which they dubbed "Snowball."
This past Wednesday night, our family inadvertently left our garage door open during a thunderstorm. By the time we discovered our error, the mother cat and her kittens had taken up residence in our garage. When Patrick and I went in the garage about 10pm that night, we saw five cats run out, but did not spy Snowball running away. After searching for him for a bit, Patrick and I closed the garage door and went to bed.
The next morning, however, I heard a kitten loudly meowing in our garage and found Snowball tiptoeing across the top of our garage door. Realizing that this was our chance to intercept one of the kittens, Patrick gently picked up the feline and placed it in a pet carrier.
I still wasn't sure about the cat thing, but told my children that we would check into what we needed to do to acclimate a feral cat into being a pet. First, we took Snowball to our local Humane Society so someone else could handle him before I stuck my hand in the carrier. After getting the all-clear and making a future appointment to have the cat neutered and receive his vaccinations, the children and I brought Snowball home. The kitten did have a bit of a respiratory illness and needed some antibiotics for ten days which meant that we had to keep Snowball inside for the duration of his meds.
For now, Snowball is ensconced in one of our bathrooms where he will stay for the next two weeks. Since I have no previous cat experience, I wasn't sure what to expect from a kitten, and a stray one at that. Snowball has been fabulous, though. He has used his litter box consistently and has not displayed any aggressive behavior. After voluntarily hanging out in his pet carrier or in a corner for about the first 24 hours, he now plays with toys, purrs when held, rubs your hand asking for more petting, and rolls over for tummy rubs. The kitten has even been cooperative when taking his twice-daily oral antibiotics.
When allowing Snowball in the house, I told Curly Girl and Car Guy that we would re-evaluate Snowball's status in 10 days. For some reason, I think the kitten will be staying, though.
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