We did it! We opened the second crate! We now have Basecamp, The Nest and… drum roll… the Ensuite! It all went incredibly smoothly, I have to say. Thank the Universe for that!
Mitsy was in the Nest, watching it all, barely getting worried. She watched us open the front door, take off the feeding bowls, swing the door open fully, push the crate and fasten it with zipties. We stayed very calm, both of us and I even felt comfortable to refresh the Basecamp litter box. She did not hiss. Just looked at it. I think there is a level of trust growing here, but I also think cats are really good at tuning out. Just retreating in themselves, while watching. All of the kittens were with her in the Nest, so no risks to take.
The only thing I need to do when the opportunity presents itself is block that space at the Nest door. I am not liking that. The risk gets less and less as the kittens grow, but I have seen one or two of them sticking their heads in. Brrrr. I would hate to see one cornered or stuck. Has not happened yet, but it is now that they are getting adventurous that I do think there is a risk. So I have to wait for mom to be in the far end of the Ensuite or put a rolled up towel in while she is in the Nest. Which will be risky. It might require putting a towel on the Nest so she does not see me coming. Or do it with that grabbing stick and let that take the claw when it does come. I actually am just thinking of that now. That might work but I have to practice that move a bit… I think it could work!
Mitsy has not spent much time in the Ensuite yet, just early this morning. She was lounging near the scratch pole and I think she was sniffing the catnip envelope: that is a suggestion I picked up somewhere. Fill a small paper envelope with some cat nip and they can smell it, play with it, eat in it and it will just degrade when you do that outside. But of course you can also do that inside!
Got the birthing blankie!
This morning I have put some catnip on the actual scratch pole. I also washed the birthing blankie twice after I was finally able to grab it and replace it. It did not look that dirty on the top, but when I turned it around, there was a lot of blood and other fluids underneath, The stains of the birthing fluids will not come out, but at least it is clean now. Had it outside for an hour or so to get rid of the detergent smell a bit. But, the new towel that is now in front of the Nest does not seem to cause any issues. So if she lies on that blankie a couple of times her smell will mask the newness of it, I am thinking, and no risk of the kittens getting lost because there is no familiar smell.
Touching a kitten
The Ensuite already made this into a BIG day today and it got a memorable ending. I was refreshing food in both the Ensuite and the Basecamp, when one of the black kittens was out of the Nest and pretty close to the feeding bowls. I used my phone to check on Mom, she was lying down facing away from me in the Nest and all seemed quiet. So I opened the side door of Basecamp and really touched the kitten! First on the back, then under its chin, which it did not like (!) and then on its back again. Looked at the Nest cam and saw mom move around so closed the door. It was awesome. We are quite sure that this was Vampy (or: “Tiny”) the kitten we might want to adopt.
I really appreciate Wim for letting me do this – I know he would love to touch the kittens too, but he wants to give me space. Maybe this will fill the hole in my heart left by the passing of my senior cat Dixie, even though it will make finding a new house a bit more difficult as landlords can be really critical of tenants with pets. But that is a worry for another day. We have not even seen her character yet, we are just going by the colouring and the fact that she seems to be the smallest kitten of the bunch. I believe she arrived last and that she is therefore a half day younger than the rest of them. Before her came a small tabby, that we have not named yet. She is as tiny as Vampy. We will see.
I also had a very enjoyable chat with a lady on a blog that is specifically for people who have done the TNR course. I read her story with “her feral” and reacted to it. She was just ahead of us, her feral had a litter end of March, when Mitsy had hers as well. And the way she described her experience was so similar to mine, that I really wanted to connect. She seems like a lovely lady. A kindred spirit! She was going to trap her feral, get it neutered and released, when the Humane Society, to which she went for neutering, told her: ‘No can do, she is just days away from delivery…’ So quite unexpectedly, she and her husband took the cat back home and did what we are currently doing with as little experience as us. It was so good to read about her high levels of anxiety and knowing that I am not some unstable, emotional wreck. She has gone through the same thing.
Whether our outcome will be the same as hers: we will have to wait and see. She kept 2 of the kittens and also the mom who is still a scaredy-pants, but social enough to stay and live with them. Who knows…