Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Meet Calvin, our latest foster kitten!

Day 28

Day 28

Meet Calvin, a male kitten who is about 3 or 4 months old. Calvin was trapped and neutered by the SCRUFF (Spaying Capital Region’s Unowned Feral Felines) program, which clips the tip of the cats' ears to help distinguish altered animals from unaltered ones. Calvin stands a chance at life as an indoor pet if he can become comfortable with human contact, and that is where I come in.

Calvin and his two siblings, as it turns out, were trapped in our neighborhood, at the Bonfare, a small market within walking distance. After being altered, they came into the care of Robin's Nest. Since Owl had just been adopted, Robin thought it would be good to split up the three so that they would become habituated to people more readily. I was sent the least friendly kitten, while his more pliable sister and brother went to other foster homes.

Brian and I went to pick Calvin up during the adoption clinic at Petsmart on Monday night; the hours are typically 6-8 on weeknights, and we got there around 7pm. After chatting with the volunteers on duty that night, both of whom I'd worked with previously, and cuddling some of the adult cats up for adoption, we put our little guy into a pet carrier and drove him home (inconveniently forgetting the food that we were supposed to pick up as well, but that's another story).

That evening, I managed to trim his front nails without much trouble, but he slashed us pretty deeply with some agilely executed hind leg kicks before I was able to have Brian properly restrain him for trimming those as well. He seems to know that they're no longer deadly, so he hasn't attempted to maim us with those claws since. We talked to him gently, gave him some food and water, and left him alone for the night.

The next day, which is of course Tuesday (yesterday, as I write this), Brian and I went to see him separately in the morning. In the evening, after we'd returned from a trip to Albany, we went in together to interact with him. Since our foster room has also become our library (and a fine library it is, I must say), Brian and I were chatting about books while I gently stroked Calvin. He was sitting in the box pictured above, which had made Owl feel very secure because it was closed in on all but one side. I figured Calvin felt the same way, so I was trying to put him in the box while I petted him. Anyway, I was just gently stroking his side, and he went from giving me a death glare to repositioning himself into a comfortable, relaxed pose.

I felt a little thrill of progress, but did not react other than to keep my voice the same and told Brian what was going on in the box. We continued our conversation, and Calvin's eyes became half-closed. He sighed gently, and I heard a very faint sound coming from him. I hushed Brian, and kept petting the little kitty, and before long, his purr was loud enough for Brian to hear! I kept petting him, and after a little bit, I asked Brian if he wanted a turn. Brian took over the petting, and I very stealthily left the room so I could get some stuff done. Brian spent a little while petting him, and eventually Calvin decided that he was done, and just relaxed without purring.

This morning, I went in to say hello and give cuddles. I had to pull him out of a hidey hole, but once I had him in my arms, he cuddled against me readily. I petted him and kissed him for a little bit, and then needed to go to the other room to get the book I was reading (as well as some to put away). I leaned down to let him jump out of my arms and back into his hidey hole, but he leaned into me and stayed put, so I had to carry him with me to get the items I needed. He stayed nestled in my arms while I did that, quite content to be held. Once I was reading in the library, he curled up and purring against me for a bit, then crawled into the security box, allowing me to pet him some more while he purred and I read. At that point, I took my camera and made a little video, complete with a close up shot that captured the sound of his purr.

I think he's going to be just fine!

When the video is finished processing, it will be located here. It was a large file, and youtube wouldn't let me upload it, so I had to use Google. I love my camera for photography, but it's not the best for videography.


liz said...

You are definitely the kitten whisperer!

JeanC said...

Kewlness, I've never worked with a full feral kitty, just semi-ferals and that can be a chore. Currently I am feeding either a kitty who got dumped out in our neighborhood, or else his people live nearby and aren't taking proper car of him (in which case if I find out who they are there might be a midnight visit from me and my very handy baseball bat I have named "Clue"). He is starved for both food and attention.

There is also a little orange kitten who I think is feral, at least he is extremely skittish and suspicious. He was so hungry this weekend he scooted by me to get the food I was putting out for the Scrapper clone (the previously aforementioned kitty) and tucked in. I have previous found him in the little kitty shelter I set up on the porch, but when I came back out with food, he zoomed off into the night. I hope he did come back later, it was close to 0F that night. I hope to get pics of him next time he shows up.

Susan said...

I just adopted a young cat from an animal shelter (luckily he never knew shelter life...I adopted him just as one of the trustees brought him in).

Soloman is the best thing that's happened to me lately. If I could tell everyone one thing, it would be this: adopt your cat from a shelter. Don't waste your time and money on a purebred.

Keep up the good work, and I thank you for helping good kitties find good homes...

Sarah said...

As a cat lover, I want to thank you and Brian for all that you do for these beautiful animals.