Sunday, October 14, 2012

Meet a Cat - Fox

In a continuing series, meet a cat, the next youngest cat to Grayson is Fox.

One night we were about to fall asleep when Brian saw a flashlight between our house and the house we rent next door.  It was a chilly fall night but Brian went out in his boxers and a trusty baseball bat to check it out.  He came back in and said the tenant was outside with a flashlight trying to locate the sound of a kitten crying.  The wail on this kitten!  There have been many stray kittens around and 99% of the time they are quiet as a mouse.  But not this one.  He was under the house in the crawlspace.  There was a vent near him that was screwed in the foundation and stuccoed in place.  I went in and got a screwdriver and pair of plyers and Brian ripped at it for a while before he could pull the wire mesh back.  The tenant reached her hand in the small hole and pulled out the tiniest kitten crying his head off.  I cannot believe he was just under the grate where she could reach him.

She was going to keep him but after about five minutes of him wailing his little kitten lungs out she pretty much just gave him to me.  We decided to take him to the emergency vet.  At the time I thought well that's what you do when you have a stray kitten.  You just turn him over.  But of course that's not what happened.  They gave me a can of formula and a bottle and sent us back home.

Surprisingly I've bottle feed a kitten before.  I hundred years ago, I was in my early 20s and I lived with a guy and we decided to adopt a kitten.  We found an ad the the newspaper, see I told you it was a long time ago, and we drove out to get a kitten.  We brought home the cutest black and white kitten with cow markings on his legs, he was so adorable.  And the folks who let us adopt him gave him away too soon.  He couldn't eat on his own.  That said, it wasn't long before the cow kitten could eat food, a couple days maybe.

Fox was so tiny his ears were still curved.  He was hungry ALL THE TIME.  I feed him every 2 hours and his little claw fingers would mark up my hand where I held the bottle.  He also could not use the bathroom on his own.  When kittens are very small their moms lick them to clean them and help them use the bathroom.  A warm wet paper towel stood in for a mom cat's tongue and it wasn't easy.  I went through a lot of papertowels.  I think he pooped 24 hours a day.  Because of this he was kept in a cage a lot of the time for easy clean up and when he was with me on the sofa I'd wrap him in a flour sack towel first.

And he bottle feed for like 6 weeks!  I'm not kidding.  He would not eat cat food, not dry food or wet food, tuna, none of it.  Finally we took him to the vet and the vet just shoved wet cat food down his mouth and gave me a syringe and some very wet cat food and he ate like that for about 3 days or so until finally, FINALLY, he would eat.  I was never more relieved when he finally ate cat food.

Fox had this habit of walking right under you so we would step on him all the time.  He also decided to jump on the stove for the first time when I was cooking for our Christmas party right on a hot burner.  Brian had to take him to the vet while I finished everything.  Fox's cone didn't make it through the party.  He'll still jump on the stove.  I'm super cautious with the stove now.

Fox is still very vocal, VERY WHINEY.  He doesn't know the word NO or if he does he doesn't care. I just a spray water bottle for discipline and all the other cats will jump down or stop what they are doing if you even lift the spray bottle but not Fox.  He looks right at you and squints waiting for the water.  You have to actually spray him for him to get down.  Stubborn.

He's also the only cat that tries to escape.  He's always trying to get outside and often does because he's sneaky.  He knows when you're hands are full.  He's eaten through the screen on the screened porch when we lived in the yellow house and escaped.  He's tried eating through the screen here, as a matter of fact I should check on him right now... 

Despite all that, Fox is my favorite cat.  Maybe because he needed me more, I don't know.  When he sleeps with me at night it's my favorite of all time.  His fur is so soft.  And I pretty much let him get away with murder.  Otherwise he just squints at me and who can spray a cat that's squinting at you?

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