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So many questions - but how can I entertain a feral kitten?

koolimy

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Congratulations! They both are beautiful cats and it seems like Pumpkin is making wonderful progress!
 
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anticus

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Another wrinkle - several actually. Midnight has been spending a lot of time indoors napping. I think that Pumpkin believes that I have trapped him inside against his will. I have asked him to tell her that I am not trapping him, but he hasn't been feeling well. This morning he showed up injured - the spot on his head where an abscess was treated has been re-injured. It looks HORRIBLE. My wife texted the family who claims him but they didn't respond. I bought a travel carrier and made an appointment with an emergency animal hospital. But after lunch he asked to go outside and then wandered off until dinnertime when it was too late to take him. Pumpkin is distant. And if Midnight returns in the morning I will take him to the vet no matter what and no matter what the cost. We don't care if he isn't our cat - he needs immediate medial attention. The poor guy. He's a special being and doesn't deserve this.

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koolimy

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I'm sorry to hear that about Midnight, I hope you were able to find him and get him some help. You are doing a very good deed for him, I am sure he appreciates your kindness. I hope the owner also appreciates what you are doing and is a bit more mindful of him. Please keep us updated on his status.
 
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anticus

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Midnight didn't show up for breakfast. He arrived a few hours later and his wound had been treated, so I suspect his "family" got him some care finally. I gave him some pets and a celebratory buffet-style lunch and he's currently napping on our setee, which has become his favorite place. Pumpkin has become a finicky eater, which I attribute to her pregnancy. She has only been nibbling at the food I give her. Once yesterday I put everything out in a line for her to choose, then didn't eat it once I plated it. I got some other stuff today to try.

He was pretty tolerant of her affections yesterday and allowed her to dote on him. It was pretty adorable, but it kind of confirms that she holds a grudge against me for keeping him from her. She turns her back to me when I address her or just walks away. It's breaking my heart a little as I spend a majority of my day trying to provide a better life for her.

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Sorry that you can see how horrible his wound is.
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In spite of not feeling well, Midnight told her a funny joke. Pumpkin loves his sense of humor.
 
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anticus

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Total reversal recently. When I open the door for food time, Pumpkin bounds toward me with her tail high with a little curl at the tip and purrs while I fill her dishes. She solicited pets from my wife this morning and I have never seen her that happy, even on our wedding day. It is cold and rainy out today and I invited her to join Midnight indoors, as he has spent a lot of time here recovering. She has adopted my wife's reading chair as her favorite hangout. Occasionally she will go get a snack and a drink and will gaze at the exterior door I close, but she doesn't freak out and I open it for her and tell her she is free to leave if she wants but we want her to stay. She nibbles on her food, takes a few sips and moseys back to the chair. It has happened several times today. She has been in the house 4 hours at least.

Wait - I wonder where she is peeing.

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anticus

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I have thought about an article for The New Yorker: What I Did During the Pandemic - Fell In Love With Cats
 
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anticus

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So many wonderful things happened today.
 

Mrsty1203

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Another wrinkle - several actually. Midnight has been spending a lot of time indoors napping. I think that Pumpkin believes that I have trapped him inside against his will. I have asked him to tell her that I am not trapping him, but he hasn't been feeling well. This morning he showed up injured - the spot on his head where an abscess was treated has been re-injured. It looks HORRIBLE. My wife texted the family who claims him but they didn't respond. I bought a travel carrier and made an appointment with an emergency animal hospital. But after lunch he asked to go outside and then wandered off until dinnertime when it was too late to take him. Pumpkin is distant. And if Midnight returns in the morning I will take him to the vet no matter what and no matter what the cost. We don't care if he isn't our cat - he needs immediate medial attention. The poor guy. He's a special being and doesn't deserve this.

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With what it’s like getting vet appointments nowadays (due to covid) I would not let him out no matter what if you have an appointment. I had to take my new cat to the vet during a bad snow storm last week, because there was a cancellation. Otherwise I would have had to wait til April according to the vet’s office... she had some bad worms and Giardia making her really sick. Since I just adopted her I had no idea how long she had been suffering with this so I took her - no matter what.
 
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anticus

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I'm glad you got your friend the medical help she needed.

We had to let Midnight out - I doubt he is litter box trained - and we didn't even have one until today. I figured he would return but he didn't. I suspect it won't be the last time that we'll feel we need to take him to the vet.
 

koolimy

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What were the wonderful things that happened on Friday? Did you make any progress with Pumpkin?
 
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anticus

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Part of it I reported in an earlier post from Friday, but at the end of the day, Pumpkin was indoors for over 10 hours straight. When the storm calmed at night she wanted to go outside but Midnight stayed in. There were several times when I thought one or both of the cats were outside but was incorrect. During one, I was calling out to her in the yard and she scared the heck out of me by trotting up behind me indoors! The door had. been closed for an hour with her inside.

I was on the floor giving Midnight some head pets and Pumpkin wanted in on the action. She bunted him a lot while I was petting him, then I bunted him (which he enjoys). She studied that and seemed receptive, so I lowered my head toward her, which she licked and then patted my head with her paw several times. She gave ME pets! My wife went nuts at this it was so cute.

Another time during the day I was sitting on the floor, which I really shouldn't do at my age, and she walked over to me, turned around to present her butt to my face, then flomped over onto her side next to me and rolled onto her back. I thanked her and slow blinked that I love her. She used to never come inside unless we propped the door open and stepped away, but now she barges right in as soon as we open it and makes a point to rub against our legs as she passes!

We bonded a lot during Friday. Finally she wanted to go sleep in her own little house but Midnight wanted to stay in. He knows to come upstairs to get me if he wants something - and we eventually went to bed with him still in the house. At nearly 1am, he woke me and led me to the back door - I figured it was to relieve himself, but nope - Pumpkin was there and wanted in for a snack.

Earlier in the day he called for me and came upstairs to join me in my office - he wanted attention. I thought he would walk around my desk to me, but nope - he lept right up onto is, which was surprising! My desk is pretty messy and he let me know that it isn't acceptable.
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"Dude, why is there so much crap on your desk?" - Midnight, probably.

Pumpkin and my wife have formed a strong bond. Pumpkin must sense that they are both females, and in fact they share many similarities in behavior: Their desire for variety of food, they both eat the same way - they eat a little, go do something, come back and eat a little more. They both like the same chair for relaxation, they are both demure and proper, they both like all their options open, and are eager for new experiences. The only time we have seen Pumpkin with a cat other than Midnight, she has been afraid. I think we may be her only other friends. She loves Midnight to death but she doesn't have a colony - she spends 90% of her time in our yard either alone or with Midnight. So it feels great that she has accepted us as much as she does and we think she realizes now that we want to take care of her.

We got a litter box today and filled it with a mix of cat attracting litter and potting soil & mulch. She seems interested but I doubt she is comfortable enough to use it - and I don't know how to teach her.

Also I am trying to learn the next step to making her comfortable in the house with the door closed. She no longer freaks out, but every 15-20 minutes (unless she is asleep) she will go to the door and wait for me to open it, which I do. She often doesn't want to go out - she just wants to know that she can, then she returns to her spot in the house. I am not going to be able to continue monitoring this for very long - and we don't want her to unlearn being in the house. If anyone has insight into this I would love to hear it.

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anticus

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No new photos today - but last night Pumpkin slept indoors all night for the first time. Midnight left in the evening so we thought she would too, but she stayed in her chair in the dining room. I slept on the floor across from the closed exit doors so if she felt she needed to go outside she could wake me up. About 2:30am I woke up (because I was sleeping on the kitchen floor) and that woke her up. But she didn't want to go outside, she wanted to play. That woke my wife up, who was worried about Pumpkin eliminating on our dining room rug. Or chairs. She showed Pumpkin the litter box but it appeared someone had been in it because there was a small litter trail outside the box . I don't know how to tell if she peed in the box - it's my first time. But we all went back to sleep. Pumpkin woke me up at 5:30am wanting the door open. I thought for sure she needed to go outside but nope, she wanted me to let Midnight in for breakfast. That's a little earlier than normal but it wasn't a normal night for anyone. Afterward Midnight stayed but Pumpkin went outside and into her house. 90 minutes later I let her back in for a snack (at real breakfast time). She asked for head pets and I obliged.

Now I wonder if it was the right thing to do. We don't want her to give birth inside the house, but I fear that we have confused her. I am building a few birthing boxes today, several for outside and one for our utility room, which is not ideal because there is no easy egress for her, only through our kitchen.
 
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anticus

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Midnight is not feeling well. We think it is the antibiotics because his head and ear are healing really well! He has been in our house most of the day every day. He has asked for and received quality pets. Sometimes I don't know which end is which.

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Pumpkin is wary of me again. It could just be a phase in her pregnancy where she doesn't want males around. She is getting really close with my wife, which thrills me because happy wife, et al. I am building a few birthing boxes for her tomorrow, but she may plan to giver birth in her house. She spends a lot of time in it, which makes me feel like I won the Champions League.
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We bought this house from Chewy and tried to get her to go in it for a month. I moved it several times with no effect. So my wife got a refund and they said just donate the house to a shelter. I like them. Well, I moved it to the porch and she warmed to it quickly. My wife called Chewy again to tell them the story and told them to re-charge us, but they said not to worry about it! GREAT company in my opinion.

Midnight was being a jerk to her, intentionally putting his tail across her food dish. She didn't care. She loves him SO much. Sometimes I worry because she doesn't have any other cat friends besides him, and he is just tolerating her now. I told him I appreciate him.

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I've never had a bond with an animal as strong as I have with him. When he isn't around, sometimes I pick up my phone to text him. Seriously. Also there is no way to keep our patio tidy. There is a tree that sheds more than Midnight. She is a spectacular golden chonk.
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Here's a little yin & yang for you. I have been having nightmares lately because I took a job that is going to take me out of town for a few days - and they are not going to be fed regularly - only early in the morning and in the evening when my wife comes home from work. I feel terrible that they will think we abandoned them. I fear that she will go find another place to have her kittens. I probably need an appointment with a therapist.
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I love her so much.
 

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koolimy

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Wow, they both look really relaxed and comfortable around you! I don't think you should worry too much. My feral cat always goes through phases where one day she really likes me and the next day she is wary of me. You can plot out your relationship on a line graph. It will be a whole bunch of ups and downs but as long as the trend is upward you are good. Honestly, you seem to have gotten closer to Pumpkin in 3 months than I have to my feral cat in 9, you are doing fantastic.

The cats may get a bit upset at first if you stop showing up as much, but they will adapt. They are feral and outside cats, so adapting to different situations is their MO. And I highly doubt that they will leave. As long as they get a meal or 2 a day, they will come around b/c it's their best chance at a nice meal.

You are doing great and the cats are super adorable! Hope Midnight gets better soon.
 
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anticus

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Thank you so much, Koolimy. I just had a nice playtime with her after dinner. It wouldn't have happened if my wife hadn't been there as well. This is from last night, when we put some stuff in the breakfast nook for her to play with. She moves like a Ray Harryhausen stop-motion figure. I love her so much.

 
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anticus

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This is a photo update. I have been having nightmares lately and I think they're due to me not knowing how to properly care for her and her kittens, her thinking I have abandoned her (I have to leave town for a week but my wife can feed them in the morning and evening), and general cat care inadequacy. But she found a perfect bed in my wife's sweater drying rack.

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Midnight has been sleeping on our guest bed for 6-8 hours at a time. Like all day. Here he is having fallen asleep in his food.
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Earlier he tried to kill me by laying on our stairs. He was in near total darkness and it was almost a horror movie scene if I hadn't seen him at the last second. It's not his fault. Black cats are bred for murder, aren't they?
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By the way, our house is 120 years old and these are the original stairs. Don't judge us.

Finally, here is the bean burrito in her full glory.
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She used our litter box for the first time! I don't think she was successful because she ran out to our mulch pile afterward, but she definitely sat in it and scooted litter around. I hope she will try again.
 
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anticus

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Poor chonk.
 
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anticus

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Pumpkin stayed in the house the entire time I was gone. My wife said she would cry during the night, and invited Pumpkin upstairs. Pumpkin joined her on the bed often but only for 20-30 minutes at a time, and then wanted it to be play time, which frustrated Dr. Wifey. However I returned yesterday and Pumpkin didn't cry at all last night.

She is zaftig now. Probably only a week or two until she gives birth and I bet she will be grateful, except that then she will have to take care of kittens. I bought her a bunch of toys that she has no interest in. We are preparing as best as we can for the birth.

I don't communicate with her as well as I do with Midnight. It's frustrating. I often don't know what she wants. However she has become a pro at the litter box.
 
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