Mama Is Top Cat
“If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”Old Saying
(WordPress thinks if I’m going to have a quote, it needs a citation.)
Peppercorn, Little Mama, Miss Thang, is a semi-feral kitty, petite in everything but personality. If she thinks any other cat is too close to her kittens or too much of a threat or too close to the food, any food, then little mama growls and fusses, and she means it. She will chase if she thinks it’s too serious. She will give me a warning growl if she doesn’t immediately recognize me or if I’m very quiet. Yet she accepts me with the kittens and mostly with her, if I don’t get too personal, suchh as picking her up and carrying her. She has let me do that a few times, though. I think she’s gradually learning to trust me more. But because I’ve been feeding her so well and now she has a good home indoors, she thinks I must be pretty good, and she’s OK with me around the kittens, picking them up, and so on. I haven’t handled them a whole lot yet, but now they are warming up to me too, and I can be a little more easygoing and handle them, pet them, play with them, so they learn some humans are friends and loving, and so the kittens may get adopted by loving homes as pets, not feral.
However, there is a complication: I’m vision-impaired, plus cats tend to get underfoot without realizing we have trouble with that. So sometimes there’s a misstep and she fusses, and once, overnight, she just couldn’t keep from getting right underfoot, and so we fussed our way from one room back to the kitchen for food, but she still needs to learn I don’t mean any harm, I just can’t always see, or I miss because I’m doing something else.
Well, she woke me overnight by having a spat with Goober or Mystic, probably only one or two swipes, but it woke me and I hard one, so I presume there was another.
She wants to take Goober’s and Mystic’s food, even if she’s just had her can and they are being fed in the other room. This is a problem I haven’t fixed yet. Tonight, after she tried this, I got her back to the kitchen, set out a little more dry, and hustled Goober and Mystic into the two bedrooms, fed them there, and closed the doors. Whew. So they had peace and safety. These two boys are mild-mannered, for the most part. Goober is old and neutered and the most non-assertive cat in the universe, almost. Mystic is around one or two, not yet neutered because I just adopted him recently and he’s still awaiting clearance after his first vet appointment. Mystic is also very mild, and I think he has some depression or other issues going on, maybe former abuse. Yet he must have had a loving home at some point, because he loves attention, even lap sitting sometimes. But he hasn’t gotten on the bed much.
Peppercorn has been running the two boys ragged. It was when Mystic went to the back door wanting out again, when I knew he wanted food and hadn’t had moist since he got in at 6 or so yesterday evening, after being out since last night — I then fed the boys separately, with closed doors. Both of them felt better, but didn’t eat all their can.
So I am going oto have to get through this. I need her to make friends, so she trusts them with her babies. I need Goober and Mystic to make friends too. Goober made a list overture, but didn’t stick with it because I was there, or he chickened out. Mystic is just about as meek. They are not above passive-aggressive, or jealousy of someone else getting my attention, and you can only push a cat so far, after all. (Mystic would not let the vet Asst. draw blood, so they will do that when he’s sedated for neutering.)
The kittens, meanwhile, have gone from only in the box to very short distances out to be with mama and eat, to…within one day, first some nearby exploring, then deciding the carrier I had put out was a good kitten den for snoozing, then playing with the ottoman I put there and a few homemade toys and one ball, to…they decided I was not quite so scary, I might be OK to approach or play with, to…by yesterday evening (1st day) to overnight, I am mostly OK, they think, and they were down the hall to look at the bathroom and hallway, discover they could try to hog the male cats’ food, and two did a very brief foray into one of the bedrooms. I expect they will be everywhere by the end of tomorrow.
I am already being extra cautious where I step or sit and how I move. Old experience dealing with kittens is kicking back in, but oh, it’s been years since I last dealt with kittens daily, back when Goober and the Smokey were kittens, years apart. Before that, years more.
The kittens and mama are all-black, and the kittens are still very small, growing fast now, and active when they are awake, and very, very still when they are sleeping. So I don’t want to hurt a kitten by mistake.
Overnight was very challenging for a bit, but now all is settled as the cats are asleep, except for Goober, who is grooming.
Mystic came back after hours outside with it raining or misting and the temp dropping from the 50’s to 37 for our expected low. I heard Curry, I think, but didn’t see him, and I put out food.
If all goes well and I can finally get ahold of either cabbie, then mama can get to the vet and be treated for parasites and maybe ear mites, plus basic shots and checkup. And just in case, I think it’s too soon for her to be pregnant again, but could she be? They’ll check. Aside from diarrhea / loose stool, maybe ear mites too, she seems very healthy. The family sheltering her outside before had not taken her and the kittens to the vet. So far, the three strays around the complex, Curry, Mystic, and Peppercornhave all had this going on, so somewhere around the grounds, they can get to worms and bacteria that cause this, and the mites, and potentially fleas. Sigh. The pooping problem is the worst. I hope I don’t have to give her oral meds, but I will try if so. I got Curry to put up with that for the required time, but no more.
So, it has been quite something. — I will need to dump any old litter and clean heir boxes, plus mop to disinfect, before the vet appointment. I may not get to all of int, but should be OK enough before we go, if we get to go today.
I am trying to get Mystic used to a brush, because he’s having a lot of issues with longhair fur matting way too easily. Poor guy. I thin this is related to depression or old habits. I’m hoping with help and with patience, he’ll get past most of that and will groom better soon.
I’m going to lower the amount of moist in favor of dry kitten food with a little water for a while, but the kittens eat a little dry kibble anyway, already, and are fine with the moist. The kitten food hasn’t gotten here yet. Mama is so starved and defensive because of the parasites. All her energy is going to that instead of fueling herself and milk production for her babies. Once that starts healing up, she can get full food value for the first time in however long it’s been, and maybe she won’t be so grouchy.
I still have some hopes there might be a tamer, not-quite-feral kitty under all that. She does have a loving affectionate side. I can tell she has some manners, more so than Curry.
So, so far, so good. No major battles. No one’s gotten hurt, and I hope no one will.
If Goober and Mystic make friends, it will help. If mama Peppercorn can learn to trust them as her babies get older, it sure would help more.
The kittens should be 3+ weeks old by now, more like 3-1/2, so in three to five weeks, they should be ready to give away. That will be just enough time to locate a shelter to adopt them out, or homes, I hope. Mama herself will need to be spayed after she’s weaned them, and depending on how tame she is, where to place he. I like her feisty attitude, but it gets old when she fusses at the boys constantly, when they don’t show any signs of wanting to hurt anyone. And I can only have two pets in the apartment. (Having the two guys plus a mama and five babies is stretching it for me in all senses, budget, time, frustration versus enjoyment, food and litter. But I am in this for the duration. It’s not as bad as it could be, and in many ways, it’s nothing new or too unexpected. I am just not used to it, after so long, and not used to semi-feral inside. But I am learning again.)
The kittens are, of course, a joy. Few accidents so far. They are really good about the litterbox, which is a real blessing. But kittens and adults do have accidents once in a while, and cats have hairball or other issues at times. So I know the drill.
No new pics as of yet. I need desperately to tidy up and reduce down. Once I have some of that done, there should be pics again. The kittens are wonderful and still so new, I don’t know who’s who or what genders. One kitten though, is going to be named Squeaker, temporarily or full-time. He or she has a very high squeak for a meow, and is getting friendly. All of the kittens are getting friendly as they interact with me, and that’s great, that’s the idea, to get them tamed and adoptable to good homes. Three cats is about my maximum, but of course, mama and kittens need care until they are ready to be adopted out.
I should have an update tonight after the vet appointment, or news that I couldn’t get a cab and had to reschedule.