Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Little Progress Every Day

Max is still a loving but spooky kitty. He's brave in his own way-- as I said, he doesn't seem put out by my other cats distaste for him. If you open up the Kitten Hatchery and let him have the run of the place, he'll eventually ninja kitty his way out and under the futon. (I've never seen him do this, but I have several times thought he was in the bathroom but found him under the futon. Hence 'ninja'.) He even took a nap with me today on the futon for a while before he decided to hide under it.

He's playing a little with me, but more by himself. I can hear and later see the evidence of this. When I'm home, he's only stuck in the Kitten Hatchery at night, and I can hear him playing with the jingle ball sometimes. Also, I found one of his toys in his litter box this morning.

Not just in the litter box, but, y'know, buried. Very strange. I'm fairly certain that Max is playing in the litter box. He definitely spends a lot of time in it-- he scratches everything up. (Because this includes the "clumps", I've had to change his litter box many times 'cause there was no other way to get it clean.) Unfortunately I didn't think ahead, and was using ordinary clay clumping cat litter and he's been getting himself dirty with it. While I've only ever seen him clean himself after a bath, I have to imagine he's cleaning himself other times, too, and getting all that cat litter into his tummy is a *bad* thing. Today we began the process of switching him to Swheat Scoop, (which is what I ought to have started with anyway, that or Yesterday's News, but I wasn't thinking) at least until he stops playing in said litter box.

I had a heck of a time getting the clumped clay litter out from between his claws. He doesn't mind me touching his feet at all which is good, but it still wasn't easy. In the end Max got his second bath today. I'd not say he enjoyed it but he seemed to mind it even less than the first time. And again he liked the post-bath snuggle in the towel, at which point he started to groom himself, as well as enjoying the brushing I gave him.

His thin patches are starting to fill in. They're still noticeable, but it's coming in as quite soft fur. The rest of his coat is becoming shiny, too. Now if we could just keep his paws clean... :)

He's starting to grow into his round belly, which is good. His ears and feet, though... well, he still has a lot of growing to do before he'll fit those!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

NEWS! of the GOOD variety!

Wheee! All sorts of happy-making news to report today regarding little kitten Max's progress.

First, and most importantly, I got the results from his Feline Leukemia and Feline-Immuno-deficiency-Virus tests-- and he is NEGATIVE. Huzzah!! Much rejoicing!! Yay!
Because I know now that he's not dangerous to my house cats, I've let little Max out and about from the Kitten Hatchery a bit. My cats are less than thrilled about this, but he doesn't seem to mind them so much. He is, however, still pretty much afraid of everything and prefers to sleep in the sink even when he could be out and exploring or hanging out with me. Poor fuzzy, he's clearly had a bad time of it before now. I'm glad that thanks to your help, I'm able to give him a better, healthier life.

He's still a purr-monster. Oh! And progress-- he still meows when you get close for the first time (and by "first time" I mean any time he hasn't seen you in more than 10minutes) but the growling and hissing has stopped. And as soon as you touch him, he goes into purring mode, pretty quickly flopping over to give you his belly and ask for rubs.

I noticed at that present Mr Max has TWO sets of upper canines, which amuses me to no end. (The first time I saw this happen in a kitten I freaked out, wondering, WHY IS MY CAT A MUTANT?! Now though I know it just means his baby teeth haven't come out yet, and it definitely means he's about 5months old.) It does, however, mean I can call him Mutant Max for a bit.

My very favoritest thing for a kitten to do is to be on his back in your lap and to suddenly catch sight of his tail and grab at it with his paws. And kitten Max pleased me to no end last night when he suddenly did this. Not only is it freakin' adorable, but it was the first time I'd seen him play since he moved in last week. After that, he did a bit of wrestling with me (as if my hand were another kitten.) I know that I ought not encourage him to attack human hands, but I was so pleased to see him playing!!

(One of my cats, a rescue brought to me by The Most Awesome Cat Rescuer and Friend Ever, Tam, came with her very own lobster. At the time, the lobster was the same size as the kitten, and perfect for wrestling. The cat, how an adult who prefers wrestling with my yarn skeins, eschews the lobster now, and so it has become a fostering toy. I will find dig it out tonight so that Max will have something other than human hands with which to tussle.)

And last, but by no means least, I think it's safe for me to announce one more piece of good news. Kitten Max has a forever home. Yes, that's right. And even better? Max will have siblings-- one of which is the previous foster, Dean!! Dean's Dad has opened his heart and home again, and when Max has been neutered and gotten his second set of shots (so a month yet) he'll be off to his forever home. Dean has blossomed in his forever home (and grown huge, and apparently stayed very, very cuddly) so I'm certain that Max will do wonderfully.

More updates (and pictures) as they're warranted. :D

Monday, September 13, 2010

Baby's First Vet Visit

Mr Max's first vet visit went as well as could be. Unfortunately, right before we had to leave to get there, Max had a bit of a poo-problem, getting it all over the Kitten Hatchery floor and on his head. How does that even happen? On the bright side, it certainly meant I had a nice fresh fecal sample for the vet... ew.

(Aren't you glad *every* Project-Cat blog post doesn't start out with "fecal sample"?)

The vet and techs are guessing Max to be older than I thought-- four to five months. (I was guessing three to four.) And because he's so friendly (even if very scared) at such an advanced age, he must have had human contact before this-- meaning he wasn't from the colony but was dumped by someone. ARG, people. ARG, I say.

Actually, this might explain his whiskers, too. I couldn't figure out how a cat who had had no contact with people could have had a number of his whiskers be cropped close to his face. Now I'm even crankier at people....

Anyway, before the vet came in, Mr Max actually explored a wee little bit-- hopping into the sink, and then deciding to hide beneath the paper towel dispenser. When the vet came in, though, he let her slide him out and submitted to her will. He was very good, apparently, at getting his blood drawn and everything (they did this in the back) and was good at getting his shot. (This last was done in the exam room.)

We won't know the results of the FIV/FLeuk test 'til tomorrow. Fingers crossed!! Similarly the fecal exam won't be back 'til tomorrow. But the vet agreed that he has worms, and gave him the dewormer today already. If anything else comes back as unfortunate from the fecal, she'll prescribe as necessary. (Beatrice, you might remember, came with her own case of ... something I can't spell. Nevermind then...)

She's not concerned about his thin fur-- she says even the bald patches on his ears are likely just malnutrition (not ear mites! Yay!) She even thinks he *might* be a medium-haired cat when his hair fills in.

She's also not concerned with his lack of playing-- she's guessing it's just that he's not comfortable yet. And while his temperature is at the upper end of normal, he doesn't have a fever. So overall, Mr Max is doing pretty well. I'll update you tomorrow on what the vet says when she calls. 'Til then, keep your fingers (and paws) crossed for negative results!!

Baby's First Bath

Life with little Napoleon Maximilian continues with progress. Some progress, like the purring and the loving, is leaps and bounds. Other progress, like the lack of playing, is slow going.

Yesterday morning I entered the Kitten Hatchery to discover little Max curled up in the sink with my toothbrush holder. I've never seen him jump that high, but clearly he can or he'd not have been in the sink. I took this as a sign of his being ready for a bath. He was sitting up and watching my every movement as I prepared (I wanted to clean everything off of the countertop so as to protect it) but not as wary as he might have been.

He submitted to the bath with, if not grace then at least without anger. His wee little paws kept scrabbling at the faucet as if to grab on and pull himself away from me. But he never scratched or bit, and didn't even hiss, howl or growl. Instead, he just meowed in a forlorn kind of way. We turned two basins full of water dirty, and still I couldn't get his paws quite white. Then we sat down, little Max bundled up in a towel, and cuddled for a while. He seemed to like this part-- he was purring up a storm. Eventually he even ventured so far as to start bathing himself-- so far the only time I've seen him do this. He let me trim his claws, too. And all this before his breakfast!

Speaking of which, he's still eating quite well, both dry and wet food. And he noms down the vitamin gel I bought for him like it's -- frankly, I don't know how to describe how much he loves this vitamin gel. He eats it straight from the tube! Kittens are supposed to gain weight fairly rapidly and little Max certainly is. I don't have a feel yet for how big he'll be at full size-- I need the vet's estimate on his age first-- but he'll be a sizeable cat. (All the male cats from our colony tend to be pretty big, it seems.) He's got the bat ears and oversized paws, after all.

He still hisses when you go towards him the first time you enter the room, but the instant you touch him he purrs. And he has a loud, deep purr. I was washing my face this morning (after all, the Kitten Hatchery must do double duty as my bathroom) and I realized I could hear him all the way down on the floor and a few feet away. Notice that at this point I was not (obviously) touching him, but he was still purring. A good sign, I think.

I'm a little worried about his health, but I hope his ailments are simply the usual outdoor kitten ones. His fur is thin and coarse, but I think good food will help that. His ears are scratched up on the outside, and missing fur, and I assume that's due to scratching due to ear mites. (He let me clean out his hears no problem with kitten-ear-cleaner and a cotton ball, but I'll ask a vet to do a more thorough clean out, and of course there'll be drops and such if there are mites.) As I mentioned before, he has the roundest belly of all time, so there'll be deworming. Eeww. He also seemed to be running rather hot last night, although much less so this morning. Fever? I don't know. But this may well explain why he isn't playing, if he's not feeling up to it.

The good news, though, is that thanks to the incredible generosity of Project-Cat donors, little Max has enough funds for at least his first vet visit, and probably his second as well. (Okay, so this assumes that there's nothing majorly wrong with him... Fingers crossed.) So thank you thank you thank you, donors. You are Teh Awesome.
I've mentioned the vet several times in this entry. We are heading to see said vet this evening (5pm AZ time). The Animal Hospital I go to has a lot of vets in it, but we are seeing one that I've gone to once before (with one of the kittens-- which one I am not sure... Malcolm and Zoe the first time maybe?) and so that is good. There'll be an update tonight or tomorrow about how the vet visit goes, I'm sure.

I'm always terrified when taking one of these kittens to the vet for the first time. The diagnoses... So 'til then cross your fingers that it goes boringly frankly. Boring in this kind of thing is good. Boring is healthy!