Despite wanting to do more regular posting to my blog during this pandemic, the lack of stable internet has thwarted my desires in that department. Today, however, I am delighted to share the link for the first issue of Savannahgans!
The publication was the idea of Deb Roberts, who is the pet-parent of Luna the FIP survivor. I have talked about this lucky kitty before here. She designed the publication and the art is created by Wild Whims studio.
I hope you all enjoy this inaugural issue! https://www.savannahgans.com/2020issues
I actually thought that this COVID pandemic would provide ample opportunity to make continuous updates to this blog, but as it turns out, the lack of the long commute is instead giving me time to work outside, plant a garden, do some basic upkeep on other things and spend so much more time with the kittons! I keep meaning to post, but there seems to be little downtime for anything.
This story, however, most definitely needs to be told.
I have pretty much been full-time at our Cabin since the Shelter in Place orders were given. At one point a short while ago, when the BigMan had gone back to the other house for a couple of nights, I looked out on the porch and saw one of our resident feral felines, Tiny Face, was overseeing a lot of 4 kittens! They were still wobbly and tripping over their fluffy kitten feet as they were exploring and playing. The roster was two tabbies, one pale grey floof and an exceptionally puffy little black bruiser.
I think I tormented him for a good hour with kitten pics, videos and updates on every move the babies made. It really made my day every time I saw them out there bouncing around the porch.
The problem is that feral populations can grow and grow, and while we are more than happy to have a few resident ferals, the colony definitely need to be controlled. I started asking among my friends who I know socialize feral kittens or who do TNR work to see if anyone could take the litter if I could catch them.
The first friend I talked to was happy to socialize them, but the shelters she works with are not taking in kittens right now. I hit similar stumbling blocks with local shelters, although Rude Ranch is definitely willing to help me do a mass TNR at some point if I can round up a bunch of these adults at once. Eventually I got two offers to foster, and a third offer from a friend, Dr. Hillary at Alpha Animal Hospital . As a vet she was willing to get the kittens treated for kitten cooties, get them to a foster for Kitten Social School AND get mama spayed. MIRACLE!
The next part was more difficult. I had to trap the skittish little things. But I put out large traps to hopefully catch Tiny Face AND her mother, Mommy Cat. (Mommy Cat has the back of the house as her territory and Tiny Face claimed the front.)
When the kittens were about 6 weeks old, I set numerous traps for them and their mother. I immediately caught Tiny Face and within mere minutes I had Mommy Cat as well. The babies proved much more difficult. I spent all day (getting severely sunburned in the process) watching for them with box traps as well as kitten traps. By the time I needed to deliver the mom's (before they got dehydrated), I had only caught one single little grey kitten. Knowing that catching the mom's again would be almost impossible, I opted to deliver them into good hands and keep stalking the kittens.
Within minutes of getting home, I caught one of Tiny's tabby kittens. I set up a Kitton Prison in the garage, put a stuffed Lorax, food, water and little potty and the single spotty baby. This baby was a hissy little spitfire but ate well during the night. Early the next morning I managed to catch Tiny's other little tabby. Only the black one remained... or so I thought at the time.
I did not realize that Mommy Cat ALSO had kittens this year. Usually she shows them to me, or we hear them (she always puts them under the back porch). I had gone into the hallway by the back door to get something, looked out side and saw a black kitten with white toes on the porch. DAMN!
Now I only had one kitten trap and my box traps continually failed me, so I set an adult sized trap up by that porch and within minutes caught two at once! A fluffy black one with white whiskers and toe-tips and a calico tabby with the sweetest face. In they went with the other babies and I went back to stalking the little black one.
I had mentioned early on that I talked to a cat rescue friend. She had sent me a link to a YouTube video of kittens mewing. She said that sometimes little kittens will follow the cries of other babies.
She was absolutely right! I put my phone playing the video under the towel I had draped on the trap and almost immediately caught Severus! I was so happy I was in tears. I had the babies!!!
I thought I heard one more under Mommy Cat's porch (moving around, not meowing), but I looked and kept the trap out and never saw a positive sign of this (and she typically has two kittens at a time). I piled the babies into a crate, and I drove them to Dr. Hillary to be reunited with their moms and littermates.
Of course, when I got home I definitively heard the remaining baby crying. I was so heartbroken, but I knew it could eat on its own, so I got more kitten sized traps, set them under and around the porch and promptly caught Orange Boi (Mommy Cat's brother, who is a full grown animal that ended up pretty pissed about being mushed into a kitten trap). I let him go, but little does he know that his time for de-nutting will come soon enough. lol
Both mommies got spayed Monday, and were totally pissed about being at the vet, despite their rather luxe accommodations they were given. Doc kept them for another day for observation and then I was to bring them home. I kept feeding the hidden baby (who was definitely eating my offerings but wailing for mom as well).
Little thing was even taunting me by curling up ON TOP of my trap. She is a little puff of creamy peach fur and the biggest eyes that would make for a great career posing for Christmas cards. She was not as skittish as any of the others, but I still could not get close and she would not even leave the safety of the den for the entire day yesterday.
I was really worried that I would not get my hands on her before making the drive to pick up the mothers. (And by "really worried" I mean, stressed myself sick.) But very late last night Malik let me know she was meowing again. It was much louder this time so I went outside and found that some other animal ate ALL the food I had left her and she was on the porch hiding behind a bucket.
I decided I had to take a chance and just grab the little thing and she was letting me get closer and closer and then, of course, some idiot with an inexcusably loud motorcycle blazed down the lane scaring both of us. She darted back under the porch and I, tearing up, was resigned that it was not happening that night. I tied open the trap, gave her more food, and then went in the house to mix up some more kitten milk replacer for her.
Now it is time for me to tell you about Daddy Cat. This one is a big tabby with white toes. He comes by periodically to spray on things and babysit kittens. He would let Tiny Face's babies crawl all over him while she got a nap. He is the only male cat allowed to eat at the same time as the queens (the other boys hang back and wait).
So under the porch is the baby vigorously eating the wet food I had just left, with Daddy Cat just sitting next to it watching. I totally started crying. The baby was just under the stairs and had its back to me. This was my chance. I just reached in and plucked up the little thing. I handled all the others with heavy gloves, which was good because one tried to bite my finger, lol. I chanced it but the baby did not resist, and Daddy Cat just looked at me with luminous eyes. Maybe he knew that this little one would get a much better life now.
I set her up in the pen with the Lorax and food and toys and the towel she liked to lay on under the deck. She cried and cried every time I left the garage, so I sat with her and talked to her until she curled up and purred for me. (Vid is black to start, turn up the volume!)
Today I was able to take some time off of work to take her to her littermates and pick up the mothers. The ladies are NOT happy with me, but I released Tiny Face to her front porch life and she ate very well and walked around. I hope she sticks around, as she is a very sweet looking girl (even if she is feral as all get out).
I somehow managed to transfer Mommy to a larger crate and have her in the garage for one more night. She apparently has so much milk that she has kitty cleavage and doctors orders were to try to monitor just a little longer before she is allowed to do sprints and climb trees.
This whole adventure involved many nights of no sleep at all worrying about little baby kittens, but in the end, it is so worth it to know that those 7 babies will have a chance at a good life as fat housecats. The mommies are healthier now, have had their shots and are spayed so they can continue to live their lives here without being kitten factories. (And yes, in retrospect I should have gotten better pics of all the babies when I had them in the garage, but my focus was on collecting the whole set instead.)
These are some very interesting times. I get my desire to work from home full-time but I can absolutely say that I never wished it under these circumstances. My intention is to make of it what I can, and hopefully that others will do the same, when possible, until the danger becomes less profound.
So now instead of being in a beautiful, funky office everyday (recently named one of the coolest places to work in Baltimore), I am holed up at the Cabin in WV with my 4 furry coworkers. Nothing to complain about there, really, except that they are not always great at doing their jobs and sometimes take their supervisory roles too seriously!
It is that time of year that we celebrate the beauty of the Isis! I still remember that terror of a black kitton at the cat show who insisted that she go home with the BigMan (instead of the family with the annoy kids that were also looking at her).
She is doing amazingly well on her Royal Canin special diet. The difference is incredible as I was really worried that we would lose her a year and a half ago (especially with her extreme weight loss), but now she is again fat and happy and bellowing at crazy kittons.
If you are in Maryland and hoping to adopt and amazing feline companion like Isis or our very-much-missed Reeses, please visit Rude Ranch to interview your next best friend!
Two years ago my baby Malik was born. Just a day or so later I saw the photo online of his litter and their amazing little white ocelli (the white markings on the back of their ears). Days after that I saw his Baby Kitton picture of his fat tail and I started to fall in love.
This little guy is so gentle, especially compared to Nimar (or Siada, lol). He is affectionate and a pain in my butt. At night he curls up next to (or on) my chest and falls asleep in my arms.
And he is now two. I just cannot wrap my head around the fact that it has been that long already!
For his birthday this year, we got the Kittons a new, freestanding cat tree from Midwest Homes on Amazon that many of the Savannah owners were sharing on Facebook. I ordered it with some trepidation, but am more than pleasantly surprised with the sturdiness of this post. It also went together in all of five minutes, which was nice.
They have yet to flip it over (though it has rocked hard a few times when Malik leaps off the top), but all of them love to scratch and climb on it, or play King of the Hill with each other on it. Layla especially loves to climb to the top and just look around and perch. We like it so much that we are considering getting a second one to put in the Princess Palace!
The Merry Rosette participates in the Amazon Associates program and a small commission is earned on qualifying purchases.
And here I thought he would be tall enough now to look out the window without a step stool (or paint can). This is Malik every night when he hears his Papa pulling in the driveway.
Back in September I had this brilliant idea to take all the scraps from making reenactment costumes and turning them into a quilt for the BigMan.
Fun Fact: I hate sewing.
Fun Fact 2: Pushing multiple layers of heavy linen and dense batting through a sewing machine involves muscles I never knew I had.
Fun Fact 3: Savannahs are so NOT helpful!
Also, Layla Squashin' happened!
We had a discussion the other night about whether or not the kittons could survive in the wild if they got outside. The decisions we came to are as follows:
Siada: She could absolutely do it. She is fast, an accomplished huntress, and is capable of hiding in plain site. Could, however, is not would. She considers working for her food to be beneath her and therefor would expect to have a handmaiden out in the forest with her to hand feed her and provide kisses and warm lap.
Layla: Not for five minutes. Poor gal jumps at her own shadow and isn't capable of killing anything, as the mouse she watched getting fat sitting in the midst of her kibble bowl can attest. (She stared in awe, and perhaps sorrow over loss of kibble, as the tiny rodent just chowed away mere inches from her own fuzzy muzzle.)
Malik: Like Siada, he is an accomplished hunter, but given that there would be no one out there to tell him to eat his yummy, nummy food and OMGYOUARESUCHAGOODBOI and WHATACHAMPIONEATERYOUARE as he noshes away, he would not last much past a day.
Savannah Caretaker who is honored to do the job.
The Merry Rosette participates in the Amazon Associates program and a small commission is earned on qualifying purchases.