Friday, October 7, 2011

Adventures in Kitty Adoptions, Day 2

I got up early this morning to see my husband off to work. He broke his ankle a month ago and still requires my help in at least getting his socks and shoe and walking boot on. After he left, I went to the garage to check on the kitties. I was surprised to see that neither was in the carrier. I glanced to the right and saw that someone had used the litter box. Yay! We were afraid that since they had never known kitty litter that we might have problems with them. There were signs that they had nibbled on the food as well. I found Smidgen under the workbench again and Butterball at the bottom of the basement stairs. Butterball was trembling and I figured out that the automatic litter box must have scared them. I comforted him as best I could and then left them alone.

When the kids got up to get ready for school, I checked on them again and found that they were both at the foot of the basement stairs. They were lying side by side, looking like a furry little yin-yang symbol. I put them in their carrier and shut the door so we could take Jesse (the border collie) out. So far, we decided not to introduce them yet. We want to let the kitties acclimate and calm down and gain some confidence first. So, I put them in the carrier, put Jesse on the leash and keep him close by me as I bring him up from his crate in the basement to go outside and to come back in to feed him. Then I let the kitties out again.

I left them alone for the whole morning and then checked on them around lunch time. Butterball was at the bottom of the stairs again and Smidgen was in the carrier. I went down the stairs and sat on the bottom step and petted Butterball. He seemed okay with it, so I picked him up and put him in my lap. He appeared to enjoy the petting. I felt sorry for him because he had a runny nose last night when I put him to bed and in the morning, his left eye was running and goopy. I was worried he may have a cold or be allergic to something at our house. When he wanted down, I allowed him to step off my lap. But, he chose to walk near me and rub against my leg and arm. I petted him and he seemed to like it. When he laid back down, I went to see Smidgen. After a little persuasion, he cautiously crept out of the carrier. I stroked his fur and rubbed his head and he melted. He stalked in circles around me, rubbing against me and arching his back to get the full effect of the petting. He started purring and when I didn't pet him fast enough, he stood on my legs and rubbed his nose and cheek on my face. What a change from the scared kitty that scratched me to get under the workbench yesterday! I was so happy that he was responding to me, I told him we should go get his brother! I went to the bottom of the stairs and picked up Butterball and brought him up. It was like I flipped a light switch! They walked around, curiously investigating the garage. Butterball walked over to the litter box and sat in it. Smidgen was really puzzled and watched him closely. When Butterball got out, he scratched and I saw a wet spot in the litter! I told him what a good boy he was. Smidgen kept going to the litter box and sniffing and checking it out. Even Butterball, who seemed to know what to do with it, was curious about this contraption. He eventually found that he could look out the garage window by standing on Billy's rubbermaid tub of play-doh and ducking his head under the curtain. But, when the litter box motor came on to rake through the litter, they both scattered. One went under the workbench and one to the bottom of the stairs.

I was very encouraged by their progress though. I went out for a few minutes before I picked the kids up from school. Smidgen was in the carrier, Butterball behind a folding table that was leaning against the wall. Smidgen came out almost as soon as I started calling to him. Butterball watched, obviously curious. Smidgen allowed me to pet him thoroughly, then went to the food dish and started eating. That was all Butterball could take. He came out, checked things out, then began nibbling himself. They took turns eating. Then Smidgen went back to the carrier and Butterball gave himself a bath.

When the kids came home, they came out for a visit, one at a time. Smidgen delighted them by coming out and allowing them to pet him and he even played with Kimberly with her homemade cat toy: a feather tied to the end of a string.

Butterball's eye seems clearer tonight, so I am hoping that it was just stress and not an illness. I watched him have diarrhea tonight in the litter box, so I hope that is also from nervousness. On a good note, this time when the litter box motor started up, they didn't run and hide. They were concerned and watched, but they didn't take off. They are very hesitant to get in it and puzzle over it and sniff at it a lot. But, thankfully, they are using it!

I went out and played with them before bed and they were very receptive. They always do better if I get on the floor. When I stand up, they cower. Smidgen welcomed his petting and played for a while and then jealousy must have gotten a hold of Butterball because before I knew it, he came up the stairs and watched us and then came over. He still is not purring when I pet him and neither one will voluntarily get in my lap, but they sure will circle me and rub up against me asking for attention. And Smidgen is often stretching his paws up to my chest/neck to nuzzle my face. Going to have to try to get someone to catch a picture of this. I will have to break him of biting though. He rubs on my hand or licks my finger, then bites. I don't think he is trying to hurt, but sometimes he bites down a little too hard, especially when he does this to my toe. Butterball cracked me up when he discovered that he could see my reflection in part of the workbench. He sat there, swishing his tail, watching raptly, jerking at my every movement. After Smidgen was petted, played, took a long drink, explored a tad, he laid down and relaxed. He stayed on the floor for most of his chill time, but he also tested out the two lawn chairs we left sitting up in the garage for our kitty watching. When I went in the house, they both looked at me like I was abandoning them! I turned off the light tonight, hoping that it will not only help calm them, but get them used to nighttime in our house.

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