Rescue Story: What a Difference for Alvina, Simon and Theodore

 What would frightened kittens do if not for toilets?
What would frightened kittens do if not for toilets?

What would formerly feral kittens do if not for toilets to hide behind? This is what they did the first night.

Yes, something else has been taking extra time lately, some new kittens to foster, and yes, you do know who they are named for. I had told foster Debby Nicola, who had at one point recently, no lie, 27 foster cats and kittens, that I would help her with a few. She suggested these three slightly older kittens who needed more socialization before they could be adopted. I took Mia and Scarlett back to the shelter on Monday, and Monday night she brought them over.

The are about 16 weeks old, all are male and all are medium-haired.

Theodore is always in front. Solid gray and husky, the least frightened of them all.

All three kittens can fit in here.
All three kittens can fit in here.

Meet Simon, solid black with a little more of an oriental influence, long back, long face, tall ears, he kind of relaxes when I hold him.

Simon, eyeing the tie to my bathrobe.
Simon, eyeing the tie to my bathrobe.

And little Alvin is the smallest with a rounder face and smaller ears than his black brother, but he has those distinguishing whiskers.

Alvin
Alvin

A year ago, actually June 30, I met Alvin (Alvina), Simon and Theodore, and hoped I could convince them people were lots of fun and pretty useful to kitties. Above are the first photos and comments I shared on the little trio who were next in line for the bathroom last summer. All Charm’s kittens were adopted but Charm was still here, and since the bathroom was open I took in overnight or weekend fosters a few times. Charm made the household eight kitties, and adding these three added up to…11.

They had been feral, but a month in Debby’s house had gotten them accustomed to living with other cats but not people.They needed a little finishing.

Simon and Alvin think they can’t be seen.

What would frightened kittens do if not for litterboxes to hide behind?
What would frightened kittens do if not for litterboxes to hide behind?

With all her other kittens and cats, Debby did a wonderful job of gentling them. Their mom was feral and known as “Cruella”, looking much like Theodore. They were a little older when trapped as strays, between 8 and 12 weeks old, where optimal for socialization is before 8 weeks. They didn’t hiss or scratch or bite, I could pick them all up, and they even purred a relaxed purr and look at me, but except for Theo they hid whenever I entered the room and avoided my pesky hand at all costs.

One nice thing about fostering in the bathroom is that fosters are assured of seeing me several times a day. Each time I went in the bathroom I picked up each one of them and held them for a bit, then engaged them in some play. They usually ran to hide, then came back out, but they were also very playful. The second day they were here I had Theo and Alvin playing with a really exciting strip of fabric, one of my test strips for fabric dyes and paints and stitches. Multiple kittens could play at once.

Alvin and Theo really playing hard with the strip of cloth.
Alvin and Theo really playing hard with the strip of cloth.

I have many more photos since they’ve been here four three full days, but I thought I’d post just a few each day, and hopefully we’ll see some progress. They are really beautiful kittens, and Theodore reminds me it’s been years since I had a solid gray kitty here with his pewter nose and cobby facial features. Already little Alvin is cute and Simon is elegant, and I can’t wait to watch them grow.

I can model purr-fectly.
I can model purr-fectly.

What an interesting assessment of them right at the beginning. Of course, Alvin was not a boy—she became Alvina the day she rolled over on her back and showed me her spay scar! We all watched them socialize over the month of July until by August, five weeks after they arrived, they could begin visiting the world outside the bathroom.

No wonder I don't come out when you call me!
No wonder I don’t come out when you call me!

Theo was always the friendliest, Simon the most curious and Alvina a little timid. She had spent a week outdoors on her own at about 9 weeks when her mother and brothers were trapped and taken to Debby’s for foster. One week outside alone at that age can really change a kitty, and I wondered if she wouldn’t always be a little shy. She was hesitant about being petted and would still usually run from my hand, but she still stayed confident with her brothers and the other cats in the house.

Graceful Alvina, tail and all.
Graceful Alvina, tail and all.

By the end of August the three joined the household and began eating supper with the big cats, though I put them back in the bathroom overnight and fed them a couple of big meals since they were growing kittens. They apparently didn’t mind being biffed around by cats bigger than they were, and it seemed one or another of the adults took one of the kittens under his paw. Basil had his first assignment sharing his experience as a foster instead of being a fostered kitten himself.

Basil is assigned Simon for ninja training.
Basil is assigned Simon for ninja training.

In early September my niece and her children traveled up to Pttsburgh from Savannah unexpectedly, and stopped at my house. They no sooner walked in the door than Kyler was holding Theo upside down in his arms…

Kyler has Teddy Bear.
Kyler has Teddy Bear.

…and Kaden was holding Simon.

Kaden has Simon.
Kaden has Simon.

They visited again while they were here and played with the kittens for the afternoon. Cassidy already had her own kitty Baby at home and their mother Jennifer had a kitty too, but the boys did not.

Kaden needed a lap!
Kaden needed a lap!

Just for some historical reference, here they are ten years before this visit as young children meeting Peaches and Cream,who had just joined the household.

My great-niece Cassidy greets 15-year-old Cream.
My great-niece Cassidy greets 15-year-old Cream.
little boy with calico cat
My great-nephew Kaden greets 15-year-old Cream.

So I knew they loved cats. After they had left I entertained a brief thought about how wonderful it would be if they adopted them, and thought of my niece having to say “no” because they already had two cat and a dog, which was about as much as they could handle. But she called after they returned and said Kyler really wanted to adopt Theo so he could have his own cat, but they were all going to talk about it. I was thrilled! I thought about how wonderful it would be if each of my great-nephews adopted a kitty so Simon and Theo could stay together, and I could get to follow their lives and visit them, but never thought it would actually happen. Other people were interested in adopting each Simon and Theodore but I wanted to wait until they’d come back from a little vacation when I knew they had to decide, but I didn’t want to get in the way of a possible adoption if they weren’t. And they really did want to adopt both cats!

Hamlet and Ophelia joined us in mid-September, so the three could no longer spend the night in the bathroom, but by that time they were six months old and were fine being part of the household and getting a big breakfast in the studio. Alvina continued to be a bit skittish, but the boys were greeting people at the door.

That left Alvina to be adopted.

Alvina is so much fun!
Alvina is so much fun!

Alvina seemed to totally ignore her adopter when she visited, but I knew that Alvina was very interested because she stayed on the cat tree looking at birds and let her adopters pet her, a huge move for a shy girl. Her reticence didn’t bother her adopters at all, especially Lindsay, who loved Alvina from the start. Alvina went home in mid-October and her name is now Selina for the actor who played Catwoman. I was thrilled when Lindsay followed every instruction I gave her on how to introduce Selina to a new home without frightening her by the new space. A few days in her own room with her own things, then a slow introduction and then the house was hers in about two weeks. I also knew there was a chance she’d be timid around strangers, but I heard she was so friendly with Christmas guests they wanted to take her home because she was friendlier than some of their cats! I couldn’t be happier with the wonderful home she has ended up in (and any moment now she will have a brand new human sister!).

Selina with her person.
Selina with her person.

Simon and Theo, who I called Teddy Bear because he was really like a big plushy toy, stayed with me until I could get to Savannah with them in January, just being part of the clowder here.

Waiting for dinner.
Waiting for dinner.
Sunshine, Simon, Teddy Bear and Sunshine play a little dreidel game.
Sunshine, Simon, Teddy Bear and Sunshine play a little dreidel game.

Then we left for Savannah. They traveled better than I had dreamed they would, relaxed and trusting. We finally made it there and even before I left from my four-day stay they were excited and beginning to explore their new home, and have been adjusting well.

I love their big smiles.
I love their big smiles.

They would have turned one year old in March. My niece sent me the following photos taken in the last month or two. Simon and Teddy at the front door, watching the front yard wildlife.

Boys at the door.
Boys at the door.

Simon likes to ride the skateboard. I guess that’s what happens when you have three active teenagers and a couple of young cats, and Simon who must be involved in everything that happens.

Simon on the skateboard.
Simon on the skateboard.

And Theo is still trying to get Baby to like him!

Theo trying to befriend Baby.
Theo trying to befriend Baby.

And Selina’s adopter posted this on July 5, “Somebody is watching for the stork to bring her new baby sister. ”

Selina
Selina

It’s kind of what you always dream of when you foster, the litter of three frightened kittens who not only learn to trust but become very confident and relaxed and affectionate, and find loving forever homes where they are cherished.

So these three members of my 2015 graduating class are living amazing lives because caring volunteers for the Homeless Cat Management Team and Pittsburgh C.A.T. took the time to notice their situation, trap them all to bring them to safety, spay their mom and send her back to her human caretaker and socialize her last litter of kittens to live with loving forever humans, a dream come true for not only the cats, but the people too.


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© 2016 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!
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From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, The Creative Cat offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats. From catchy and creative headlines to factual articles and fictional stories, The Creative Cat provides constant entertainment and important information to people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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