Monday, October 22, 2007

Gender Identity Crises

All I can say is, "Oops," "They were young and underdeveloped," and "Girls aren't usually orange." I knew from the animal shelter paperwork that I had two girls and three boys. I had assumed that the orange cats were both male because orange cats are more likely to be male than female. Well, this evening I had Mae and Bengal in my lap. Someone hadn't cleaned themselves sufficiently after visiting the litter box. I checked Mae. My husband checked Bengal and said he thought I had been mistaken on my prior appraisal. A quick comparison with Mae and I saw they were the same. Then I checked Ziggy: not the same. Bengal's a girl, Ziggy's a boy.

I'm not too surprised that this happened. I don't have much experience looking at kitty genitalia, and when I was trying to assign gender they were only five-six weeks old. There wasn't much to look at.

My husband and I agreed that "Bengal" is a unisex name, and "Ziggy Stardust" is actually a boy in the song, so that worked out. Now I just have to retrain Ziggy and Bengal to use the boys and girls litter boxes respectively.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pics to Appease John

This is Bengal licking my finger. There's nothing on my finger, she just likes to lick it, and if I let him, she'll start chewing on it, too.

You can see here that "Grey" Mae West is not strictly grey tabby
since she has a few patches of beige on her. Just look at those eyes. Hollywood, here she comes.

Here's Ziggy Stardust resting on "Fat" Tony. They were the first two to nap on my lap that night. I grabbed the web cam and got a few close ups. Ziggy thought the camera was interesting, but Tony couldn't care less.

Fabio wasn't available for a solo portrait last night, but you can see him front and center in the fur pile below.
Gotta go. Tony and Ziggy are wrestling on my lap.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Kitty Pile Pic, Vocals

Ok, so I was going to take pictures of the furry little monsters today, but my husband was dragging his feet in the morning and we ended up being out most of the day running errands. All I have is the kitty pile picture. Last night, all five of them either jumped up there themselves or meowed at me until I picked them up, so I took a photo of the writhing mass of purrs. The picture is a little blurry because the kittens don't like to pose. Anyway, I'll put up individual pictures soon.

Fabio, Mae and Ziggy prefer to mouth their meows rather than make the noise. Bengal and Tony do it too, but to a lesser extent. What, is it that hard to meow? And here's Mae, who makes more noises through her nose than her mouth. Mae makes little chirping noises all the time - jumping onto or down from a chair, pouncing on her brothers and sister, even in the litter box. It sounds like she's saying, "Hmm!" in a very juvenile, feminine voice. It's very cute. People don't tend to like the grey kittens as much as some of the brighter colored ones, but fortunately, Mae's got the personality to win them over.

I've got to go. The kitties beckon.

By the way, Mae was trying to suck the snaps off my shirt there. Weirdo!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Escape and Entrapment

I can't keep them in the nursery any more... and by "nursery" I mean kitchen. That's where they spent the first few weeks of their stay, and that's where I left them when I left for my brother's wedding on Friday. However, when I opened my front door onto my living room on Sunday I found five kittens waiting anxiously for me on the wrong side of the baby gate. Baby's yes. Kitten's no.

I didn't start out with a baby gate. I tried various improvised gates, cardboard boxes and the like, but nothing withstood the Will of the Kitties. I broke down and bought a baby gate - just to find out that they could climb right up the holes. I stood the gate box up in front of the gate and secured it there with a trash can and an unopened bottle of juice. They couldn't climb up the smooth cardboard. That lasted a few days. Then, Grey Mae managed to launch herself onto the cardboard box and pull it crashing down. Fine. I flattened the box and tied it to the front of the baby gate. Take that, Mae! You already know how it turned out. When I got back from the wedding, the baby gate was still standing, but the box had been pulled out of the ropes. I made one last attempt at containing the furry flood. I re-secured the box so that it couldn't slide downwards out of the ropes. But the kittens, in a great show of strength and determination, forced the box away from the gate on one side and climbed up the holes. Kittens: 1, Jackie: 0.

Fortunately, the kittens are done with their digestive problems, (they just finished their second de-worming medication,) and they're pretty much over their colds, so I don't have to worry about them getting poo or snot all over my living room. However, every time I sit down, it's like someone yells, "Kitty pile on Jackie!" It's kind of hard to do anything when you have two to five kittens on your lap purring, squirming, licking, biting, and crawling up your chest to suck on your face, or whatever it is they're trying to do. And don't even think of trying to get up while they're sleeping on you... but that's why I started this blog. I couldn't keep the kitty piles all to myself. Now Fabio is dozing off next to Mae and Bengal is licking my arm. Kitty luvin' is where it's at.

Meet the Kitties

These are my first batch from the ARL. They came in together, presumably all from the same litter.

  • Bengal - Orange Tabby, Male Female
    Bengal is the friskiest of the litter. She will attack anything that moves, and many things that don't. She is also friendly and affectionate, and she just jumped onto my shoulder to proofread her profile.
  • Fabio - Blond Tabby, Male
    Fabio is a little smaller, more reserved than the rest of the litter. We were worried about him when we first got him because he wasn't eating. It turns out that he's very picky and will only eat dry food. Shy though he is, Fabio still loves to be petted on the back, and sometimes to be held. He also enjoys playing with his litter mates.
  • "Fat" Tony - Orange Tabby, Male
    "Fat" Tony is so called because he is the most enthusiastic eater. His "eat everything and anything" approach to life made him the biggest of the litter at first, though the rest of the litter has caught up to him. He is affectionate and outgoing, and he loves to play with his litter mates.
  • "Grey" Mae West - Grey Tabby, Female
    "Grey" Mae got her name from her movie-star personality. She is very out-going, affectionate and playful. She is the most aggressive in the kitty piles when competing for attention.
  • Ziggy Stardust - Blond Tabby, Female Male
    Ziggy doesn't play guitar, but his majestic beauty is out of this world. Somewhat aloof in his earlier days here, he has overtaken his litter mates in size and is now almost as affection-hungry and playful as Mae.

I promise to upload pictures soon, but I'm waiting for them to get over their URI (the feline version of the common cold) so that nobody has to see them with watery eyes and runny noses.

Welcome to Kittsburgh, USA

All of the animals featured on this page are adoptable through the Animal Rescue League of Western PA. ARL is an open door shelter - they don't turn any animals away. When they fill up they rely on foster families to take in extra cats and dogs, usually animals that are sick or too young for adoption. I got my first foster litter two weeks ago - five kittens born in early September. I will only have these kittens until early November when they're big enough to get "fixed." KittyFest is a window into the lives of my foster kitties.