1-11-19 Friday with Newt

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Hi,I wanted to get thoughts from you and the community here. I live in an urban area. There was young cat with 4 kittens in a yard of an empty house, that also seemed that they were getting in and out of the basement. I had been feeding them about 3 weeks. Once the holidays were over, I got a live trap from the local shelter that does TNR. This is the first time I’ve done this. Over the last few days I’ve caught the kittens. Haven’t seen the mom in about 5 days, still going to keep putting the trap out. The kittens are about 4 months old and all about 4 lbs. Three of the kittens were really wild and I released them in my back yard where I had put together DIY cat shelter and a food station. Sorry I’m so long winded. The last one I caught on Sunday seemed to be the runt and the most fearful, but didn’t seem at all aggressive(it let me touch it’s nose through the bars). This one seems least likely to survive through the winter. Looks like it’s part munchkin. I will pick him up Wednesday from the shelter. In addition to the neuter, they also did some vaccinations. Has anyone fostered anything like this? Is 4 months too old to be viable in adapting to be a pet. Any advise would be appreciated. Thank you

Are you thinking of trying to make the runt an indoor cat? 4 months is usually a little old to try to turn a feral kitten into a lap cat, but I think it would be worth a try, as long as you realize it’s probably going to take a while (maybe a long while) and you might end up with a house feral. (House ferals aren’t necessarily a bad thing – that’s pretty much what Stinkerbelle was, and I’d say she had a happy life with us.)


I have a question about the med you’re giving Frankie. I have a cat, FIV positive and recently diagnosed with stomatitis, and I’ve been researching Atopica. It’s noted that it shouldn’t be given to cats with FeLV and FIV so I’m surprised to hear you giving it to Frankie. Can you share with me your insight on why it was prescribed?

Basically, it was prescribed because nothing else was working. Having his teeth removed didn’t work as we’d hoped it would. Prednisone worked for a while, and then stopped working. Atopica is an immunosuppressant, and giving it to a cat whose immune system is already compromised is not ideal (to say the least). Unfortunately there weren’t any other good options, and he was in a great amount of pain (every time he yawned, he’d scream). It’s possible that at some point the Atopica will stop working, but it’s working for now (he gets it twice a week), so we’ll stick with it.


Today, we focus on Newt.

Newt always looks ever so slightly amused, pretty much by everything.

That boy loves him some feathers.

I’m sure there’s a feather teaser over this way.

Enjoying that heated bed.

Isn’t he a pretty boy?

Newt is officially our old man – 13 years old this month (though that birth date is a guesstimation. He could be a bit older or a bit younger). We first met him in October of 2006. We’d bought and were renovating the house that would eventually become known as Crooked Acres, and Maxi had been coming around for a few months. She was obviously feeding kittens, but we hadn’t seen them yet. One day we were working on the house and Maxi showed up with a buff cat we started calling “Daddy Cat,” assuming that he’d been the father of her kittens. (When they were spayed and neutered a little later, the vet suggested that he might be her kitten from a previous litter.) A few days after we first met Newt, we were working on the house (again) and Maxi and Newt showed up with her kittens. Once Maxi’s kittens were adopted out, Newt was the only cat Maxi would put up with. He’s a sweet old guy with lots of pep in his step still, who just wants a bit of whatever you’re having for lunch, the occasional scritch, and in the past week he’s been spending his days curled up in the pie plate in front of the window in the kitten room. (The permanent residents are REALLY enjoying making the entire upstairs their own again!)


2017: That must be some pretty potent ‘nip in those toys!
2016: And the King was all “There, there, little subject. No one’s impressed by your nonsense.”
2015: No entry.
2014: No entry.
2013: It’s the angle. The angle, I tells ya!
2012: He likes to run around with it in his mouth and growl at his brothers.
2011: (But I’m sure Anderson Litter Lung will still get me in the end. I’ve been inhaling that dust for years now.)
2010: Hydrox blew them out of the water at a hefty 5 pounds!
2009: No entry.
2008: No entry.
2007: Poor Cosette – she runs from us now because almost every time we go into the kitten room, we grab her up and shoot stuff down her throat.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



1-11-19 Friday with Newt — 22 Comments

  1. I have so enjoyed the posts this week about your permanent residents. Of course, I love the foster kitten posts, too! I’ve been following your blog for about 5 or 6 years now and I really enjoy starting my day with you and your kitties.

  2. For the one who trapped the kittens, it’s perfectly possible to work with a feral and make them a lap cat. We did that with our first cat when we got back to the States. You also might want to join the Tiny Kittens Unite Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/tinykittensunite/ . The Tiny Kittens rescue has lots of experience with socializing older kittens and cats and there is a lot of knowledgeable people there who can help.

    • Thanks, I’ll check it out. I’m taking it slow and letting her get used to me. She’s a cute tuxi and very quiet, so far. I’m not trying to handle her to minimize her stress.

    • We have cats/kittens at work (we own a landscape company, kinda a requirement!). In 2015 a mama kitty came in and made herself at home outside. She had three kittens, all wild as a buck. Well now the calico (one of the kittens) aggravates the dickens out of me…..jumping on me desk while I am doing paperwork, running to the kitchen EVERYTIME I go in that direction, basically follows me every step I make!!!!!! It took me over a year with plenty of canned cat food but She decided we weren’t so bad. I still can’t believe how sweet she is!!!! All but two are now fixed, I need to trap them soon. Sorry for being so long winded…don’t loose hope!

  3. I’ve also brought in formerly feral cats (over a year old) and had them adapt well to indoor life. I had one that did try (and succeed) getting out of the house on a couple of occasions, but we caught him. Once he realized how good he had it living indoors, he never tried to sneak out again. Some adapt quickly, but I have had others that it has taken them years to allow us to even pet them. Lots of patience. Good luck!

    • My Harley, now probably almost 18 years old, was living in a feral community and was probably about 1-2 years old when a friend trapped her. She was the friendliest cat in the colony, although she certainly was nervous around humans. Like Diane’s cat above, she has never tried to escape. When I first got her, I had another cat, Simon, who always wanted out and she always seemed obviously shocked that he would want to leave! One thing that really made an impression on me when Harley first came to live with me was how much she LOVED fresh water. People had been feeding the feral colony, but I think the water probably got stale fast (this was in South Texas, where it’s hot) and she would drink and drink and drink. And the bed! The first time she jumped up on the bed, I could tell she was amazed at how soft it was! She has never become a lap cat, but she spends much time curled up next to me.

      As you can probably tell, I’m really happy to have adopted her, and she’s pretty happy that I did!

      • That is hilarious about the water!!!! I have a heated bowl out for our ferals but the inside cat (at work, landscape business) likes to drink out of the puddles in the lot!!!!

  4. I have an indoor feral. I wa able to get the mom Sofie, and then 2 of kittens and get them to the vet. One of the kittens was sick so they neede to go then. The kittens were boys, the girl, the indoor feral was fast so it was not until the next day that I was able to touch her and get her to the vet. She knows her name and can be in the same room with the rest of family with me also, she just stays away from my touch. She is a smart girl even outsmarted the trap I used to attempt to get her. We survive all together.

  5. I love that Maxi brought her son to meet you and let him judge if you were worthy to meet his younger siblings. 😀 And I love that Maxi always had a soft spot for, what I like to think was, her first born son.

  6. Always like to scroll down to read the comments, and on the way there, I saw the “JUST WANT TO LOVE YOU KHAL” post from 2018 and I laughed and laughed, especially after reading the “Thursday with Khal” post this week. Such a change in catitude. So nice to see how much you have won Khal over.

    On feral, semi-feral kitties. Move slowly. Take your time. Talk around them all the time so they get used to your voice. Sing softly, whatever you want, doesn’t matter if you can’t carry a tune, another way for them to get used to your presence. Laser pointer is a great toy since you don’t have to get too close to them to use that kind of toy but you are still there. Other types of toys for them to bat around, especially mouse shaped toys with catnip in them. Lots of hiding places, like this kitty cube bed https://www.amazon.com/PETMAKER-Cozy-Cave-Enclosed-Cube/dp/B00MP2PX2Q

    Fostered a 18 month old feral from a local shelter, and they were concerned that she wasn’t eating enough and wanted me to weigh her 2x a week. Boy, was that an adventure! Lured her into the bathroom with food, closed the door, let her get her face in the food and did a quick but gentle grab to get her on the scale. She loved to hide under the upholstered chair in the bedroom. Blocked off the space under my bed with cardboard, so she couldn’t sneak under there. Took 2 months until she was a little more used to me. Still runs if I move too fast, still gets scooped up 2x a week for weigh ins. Lap cat on her terms. I found that laying down, on the floor or bed, made her more comfortable around me. Now 7 years later, every morning, she jumps up on the bed and dances along the edge to get scritchies and beg for breakfast. If I’m laying down on the couch, she’ll sometimes jump up and lay on my legs for a little bit.

    • Thanks, debl! (And now that you mention it, Khal will run from me if I’m standing over him and reach down for him, but if I sit or lay down, he stomps right on over.) 🙂

  7. True house ferals aren’t a bad thing. I adopted an 8 week old and when I got home, he ran and hid. I didn’t see him again for 2 weeks. After about 2 years, he felt safe enough to come sleep on the far corner of my bed at night. He let me pet him with my feet. When he was around 12, I could pet him with my hand in bed and occasionally he’d come up to me in the day. I couldn’t, however, look at him while petting. He lived to 16 and I was happy to know I gave him a safe, happy life.

  8. Hi all — question for you. My old, old, old cat seems to want some warmth for his old bones. What is your favorite (indoor) cat-activated heating mat (brand and where’d you get it)?


    • Depending on what kind of bed your kitty likes, I can recommend the Aspen Pet Self Warming Bed if he likes the big, plush overstuffed type of bed (they come in larger sizes, too), or if you’re looking for a mat-type bed, we’ve used (and the cats have liked) the Milliard Thermal Cat Mat. I’ve gotten both of those beds from Amazon, but I think (though I can’t swear to it) that Petsmart or Petco would have the mat-type beds, especially this time of year.

  9. Of all the Permies – and granted it would be a tough choice – Newt has always been the one I’d want to snuggle up with. I have such a soft spot for buffies/ornj kitties, and he has always made me swoon. I just love his sweet face!

  10. sounds like good advice above about the kitten. Junior was live trapped at 3 months old and is my house feral. That said, I blame myself for not doing much research or knowing what I was doing at the time (it was 9 years ago). They can come around.

  11. We had a cat that was a feral cat that found me in a regional park. I had been cycling. She meowed to me and started following me. She was still a very young cat, but under a year. We had her checked out by a vet, and adopted her. She quickly became my husband’s buddy.She was the smartest cat we ever had.However , if anyone, except for her daddy touched her , she cringed, and had a real phobia about being brushed, so we didn’t. You would have thought she was being killed , or in a bad cat fight. yet, we could trim her nails.She would only eat, if by herself, without the other 2 cars around. and she always was standing while eating, never sat down. She led a happy life with us for about 14 years.

  12. Stomatitis: My 16-year-old cat developed stomatitis and all of her side teeth were removed. The inflammation didn’t didn’t clear up as well as expected. One of the things her vet suggested was adding Zymox Oratene drinking water additive to her drinking water. (It’s available on Amazon. Safe for other animals, too.) The stomatitis did eventually clear completely and she no longer requires anything for it.