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If you’re in the Tennessee Valley (Alabama) area (and even if you’re not!), you may have heard about No Kill Huntsville and the recent news about the mayor of Decatur declaring that Decatur Animal Services must reduce their animal capacity from 300 down to 45 total, which would require a lot of adoptable cats and dogs to be put down.

Sunday afternoon Susan – who is the Challenger’s House shelter manager and also part of No Kill Huntsville – did an interview with Animal Wise Radio in Minnesota. You can listen to that here. It takes a minute, there’s the last 15 seconds or so of a song before the interview starts. Check it out!


Tony in the sun. Oh, the blue eyes. I wish they’d stay that gorgeous color!

Tony showing that scratcher who the boss is.

“I spy with my little eye a lady who desperately needs a manicure.”

“With just one of the little monsters nursing, this is like a VACATION for me!”

Silvio cleaning his paw. He’s certainly serious about it.

I think that’s Silvio on the left, nursing whilst resting his back foot on his head. I’m not sure what that’s about, and it looks like Meadow’s not sure, either.

Tony, Carmela and Adriana doing the snoozin’ thing.

Melfi, with attitude.

Silvio’s all “Wahhhh!” and Meadow’s all “What’s HIS problem?”

Silvio is SO pleased with himself.

The tail straight up in the air kills me.

I swear, one day I’m just going to squoosh all those kittens. They kill me DEAD. Now when I walk into the room, they all run over to me. I (carefully!) sit down, and then they all climb into my lap. Whereupon they ignore me and fight with each other. When they get all screamy because “SOMEONE IS BITING MEEEEE”, I pick up the screamer and kiss him or her. Those kittens are getting used to being kissed, you can be sure of that!

They seem to really have the hang of using the litter box, though of course there have been a few accidents. Some of them are interested in canned food, and some of them are more interested in kibble. I’ve seen all 7 of them either eat canned food or kibble, so I’d say they’re right on track.


Meet Kintaro.

Kintaro is NOT A FOSTER. We’re keeping him for three weeks while Fred’s sister and her husband are in France. Actually, I guess it’s just another week and a half – he’s been with us for a week and a half so far. Fred’s sister told us what a sweet, friendly cat he is, and that he’s laid-back and not an Alpha cat at all. SOMEONE (who is not me) decided that it would be cruel to leave Kintaro locked in a room all the time, and after being here for one day, SOMEONE (not me) opened the door where Kintaro was staying, and let him have roaming privileges.

I can tell you that while Kintaro is not an Alpha cat at his home, where there are no other cats (though there are two Dachsunds), in our home – where there are a dozen cats, plus the eight in the foster room – Kintaro is aggressive and not prone to being buddies with any other feline. After he scared the poop (LITERALLY) out of poor Jake, SOMEONE (who is not me) finally decided that SOMEONE ELSE (me) was right about keeping Kintaro separate from the other cats.

This is why we now have two baby gates at the bottom of the stairs and why Kintaro gets to have the entire upstairs (except for the foster room, and there’s a blockade up in front of the foster room door so that he can’t even sniff at the bottom of the door and get Livia all worked up) to roam during the day. At night, Kintaro is locked in Fred’s office with his food and water and litter box.

Kintaro uses Swheat Scoop litter, and I have never in my entire life seen litter that tracks that badly. Oh, it is horrifying. I could vacuum three times a day and not have any hope of keeping up with it. I hate that stuff, but I do have to say that it clumps pretty well and does a good job of odor control. But I will never – I WILL NEVER – have it in my house again once Kintaro is gone. It must come with its own invisible elves who kick it all over the place. I swear, I’ve never seen anything like it.

Fred’s sister was right, Kintaro is a sweet and friendly cat to humans. But I CANNOT WAIT until he’s gone. The baby gates at the bottom of the stairs are a huge pain, because I go up those stairs 75 times a day (I have to, to get to the foster room), and I have to remove the bottom baby gate, squeeze under the top baby gate, put the bottom baby gate back up, and then reverse the process when I go back downstairs, every single time. Miz Poo, Tommy, and Stefan love to hang out in Fred’s room and his office during the day, but because Kintaro now has the upstairs as his domain during the day, they can’t go up there. Fred attempted taking Stefan up there to hang out with Kintaro, and Kintaro lost his MIND. Poor Stefan.

Someone (I suspect Tommy) is displeased with this new arrangement, and has sprayed a few times. I don’t blame him. I KNOW HOW HE FEELS.

I seriously cannot wait until this cat is gone. We are not ever doing this again.


Is it time? I think it is!

YouTube link.


2012: Petey and Thistle, doin’ the snuggle thang.
2011: No entry.
2009: “How YOU doin’?”
2008: I swear that every time a foster cat’s stay with us draws near to a close, they get unbearably cuter and sweeter.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



10-8-13 — 59 Comments

  1. having not much experience with other litters, I have used Swheat Scoop for years and think it is just fine…? but I have only 1 cat.

    • I suspect that Fred has given Kintaro a tiny shovel to scatter litter EVERYwhere. It probably doesn’t help that the whole upstairs is hardwood, with only one small rug to catch the scatter.

      • I tried that Swheat Scoop and cursed the person who came up with it. I found it just as horrible as you, Robyn, and would never buy it again.

  2. Whoops, didn’t they tell you? Kintaro’s humans are considering a short term assignment in the UK, just six months. But you know what those quarantine restrictions are……it really isn’t long

    Seriously, never say ever. You want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. At least that’s what we say in Texas.

  3. Do be sure to tell Kintaro’s humans…uh…the truth about him being “not alpha”. Oh my….kisses to Stepan and Tommy!!

    • They might be learning along with us… if they have internet and follow Robyn’s blog. Hi Kintaro’s family!

      • If they don’t already know, Fred will make sure they do – he’s already fired off an email. Just to reiterate: had SOMEONE (not me) not let Kintaro have free access to the house, I don’t think we would have had any issues (except for me having to move the baby gate to get upstairs, and having to clean up the scattered litter, but I’m fully cognizant of the fact that I’m being a big ol’ baby about that!)

        With the baby gates at the bottom of the stairs, Kintaro’s pretty calm. He watches the other cats go by and occasionally growls, but they know he can’t get to them, so they aren’t too worried.

  4. Many thanks for my Silvio fix: what a darling. Kintaro is a handsome poppet, isn’t he, but there’s more than one reason his name rhymes with Pain-in-the-Arse-o. Swheat Scoop true story: it was fine in a one-cat household — till a giant moth flew out of the sack I had just opened. Au revoir, Litter of Nightmares.

  5. Awww poor Kintaro – don’t be too hard on him (not that you would). He is, after all, a beautiful tuxie… and has been an ‘only kitten’ child – he’s probably wondering ‘what the hell did I do, where are MY hoomins?’… Here’s to the next week and a half going more painlessly – hate that he scared Jake and Stefan though! The Sopranos are growing up quite nicely – – still haven’t (and can’t seem to) pick my favorite… I’m partial to tuxies (MEADOW) with orange/gingers (PAULIE WALNUTS) coming in close second… but I’ve been cultivating a liking for Torties (ADRIANA) over the past couple of years… hmmmmm once I get this issue resolved, I will start to work on the government shutdown and world peace.

    • Yeah, Kintaro’s been through a lot, been shuffled around a lot. I think he would have been better off at home with someone to come in and feed and play with him, which I’ll mention to his Mom and Dad.

      I do feel guilty for being eager to have him gone, so I make up for by paying extra attention to him. He probably thinks “This lady LOVES me. It’s going to break her heart when I’m gone!” 🙂

  6. Poor Kintaro and all the rest of you. But even though it’s a pain for you, it’s a really nice thing that you are doing for your sister-in-law. If I had to leave the country for three weeks I would worry so much about my kitties! All the same, here’s hoping they bring you something really nice from France.

  7. Can we talk litter? Fun topic, I know… I use Swheat Scoop because a) it’s unscented and b) it’s FLUSHABLE. I have GOT to be able to flush my litter, because, I live in a townhome and the trash comes twice a week and my trash has to stay INSIDE. Meaning there’s no way I can imagine having to scoop and not being able to put it outside immediately.

    Swheat Scoop is also somewhat dusty and can be expensive, too. What can I use INSTEAD?? Most litters say clearly you can’t flush them.

    These kittens…. they are so effing adorable I can’t stand it. I LOVE Meadow and Paulie Walnuts and Silvio and Tony and… omg. seriously. adorable.

    • I can’t take my trash out all the time either, so what I do is use dog-poop bags (I get the biodegradable ones from the pet store) and put the poop and such into those, and tie them up and put them in my kitchen garbage bin. The smell is minimal.

    • Is this my cue to ramble on and on about crystal litter and how unbelievably odorless the litter-box leavings are once they’ve been desiccated? If you scoop, like, five minutes after your cat leaves a present for you, then yeah, there’ll be some odor. But if you make sure everything’s good and buried for an hour or two before you scoop, there’s no moisture left to allow the smell to… smell. However that works. (It is, however, NOT NOT NOT flushable.)

      I did a bit of cleaning and rearranging and put a new trash can in the back room by the litter boxes, and put a few days’ worth of scoopings into that can. Then I forgot that it was there, so I forgot to empty it to take out to the curb on trash day. It was like a week and a half before I remembered it was there, and even when I DID remember it was only because I saw it, not because I smelled anything!

      Edit to add: The brand I use is unscented, though it has its own faintly unpleasant (to me) dry, dusty smell. Other brands I’ve tried, when I haven’t been able to get my regular brand, have been scented, and for a few of them the scent was so strong I’d almost rather smell cat poop.

      Crystal litter is a big change in almost all ways from regular litter, and some cats may not like it because it’s so radically different. There are some clumping litters that have crystal litter mixed in; I don’t know how well they work overall, but might be worth a try for odor control. The silica crystals desiccate the urine and feces, and without moisture there is very little odor. /EndCrystalLitterFangirlComment

  8. Poor Jake! Give me an extra cuddle for me.

    Good for Fred for reassuring Kintaro, it’s got to be scary being dropped in the middle of a crazy pack/tribute. I’d feel on the defensive too!!

    Silvio’s got giant claws, I can understand why it takes so long to keep ’em clean. I think Meadow’s going to be the Miss Congeniality. She doesn’t seem to have the diva attitude of her siblings (Tony, Paulie I’m looking at you two)

  9. Aww poor Kintaro…it’s hard being in a new environment with so many other kitties! Someone SHOULD have listened to you Robyn, and kept the Perms in the dark about the visitor and vice versa! 😉 But when Kintaro’s (cool name – what’s the background?) picture popped up, the first thing I thought was that this is how Meadow will look when she’s all grown up!

    I tried Swheat Scoop for a while and I didn’t think it covered odors well at all! Of course I changed from Fresh Step to that, so that probably made a big difference.

    • I think what you’re saying is that Kintaro’s poop doesn’t stink. 😉

      The name came from Fred’s nephew, who is a gamer, so I guess it’s a gamer reference (Google tells me there’s a character in Mortal Kombat named Kintaro, so I’m assuming that’s where it came from.)

  10. THAT’S why Fred posted on FB that you were right. 🙂

    Poor kitties all around – Kintaro is a beauty. too bad he’s not friendly to other felines.

  11. Kintaro sure is gorgeous, but it must be hard to have a temporary resident causing chaos like that.

    I haven’t commented in a while, but I still read every day. I now have a problem that I hope you can help me with, or at least give me some guidance:
    My 15-year-old Chanie has had problems with constipation before. He was diagnosed with a megacolon a few years ago and for a while I had to give him sticky medicine three times a day, then two, then one, and now I don’t need to give him any. Last night, when I scooped his litterbox, I noticed he seemed to have an episode of very soft poo (sorry!), I’m guessing it was shortly before. I had already fed him for the night (he always has kibbles, but because of his constipation problems, I give him a bit of wet food twice a day to keep matters under control), so I decided not to give him any wet food this morning. Well, that wasn’t a problem, because the cat who usually wakes me up because he’s SOOO hungry hasn’t moved from the couch since I got up. I know he ate some kibbles at around 5:45 AM, when I got up to have a glass of water. He’s not laying in his usual “sick” position, and he purrs when I pet him, but he seems a bit under the weather.

    My question is: what signs should I look for? If he continues to have diarrhea, can I give him anything to help? When should I take him to the vet? He really doesn’t like that, and he turns a bit into a monster there, so I want to do that only if I have to, especially since I would have to take him to a new vet because we moved three months ago.

    Thanks for any help you can give me!

    • I would give it a few more hours and see how he does, but unless he suddenly snaps out of it, he’s probably going to need to go to the vet. I don’t really know anything about megacolon, so I don’t want to suggest giving him anything for the diarrhea. If he does start acting like he’s not feeling well, I’d definitely get him to the vet as soon as possible, but otherwise I’d just keep an eye on him for a while and see how he does.

      • He kinda snapped out of it in the afternoon. He ate and was his jerky self during the night, so I’m thinking we’re good for now. I’ll continue to keep an eye on his litter droppings, of course. I’ll take him to the vet soon, even if he’s feeling fine, if only to open a file for him and have a place nearby that knows his story and can take care of him if it comes back. Thanks!

  12. Wow. That must be tough to have a temp resident causing chaos. Poor kitties all around. Personally, I have a trusted friend house-sit for me when I go on vacation. I have two or three options, and they’re all kitty lovers. I have one cat who gets snarly when there are too many strangers or Mommy’s not around, which adds to the need to leave them where they are.

    • I think Kintaro would have been happier off at home. Now that he can be sure no other cats are invading “his” territory, though, he seems pretty happy.

  13. Kintaro is a cutie, but we got a “no adult male cats in the house” rule. Tried it once short term when mom found a persian boy wandering the neighborhood (don’t ask – we caught his girlfriend a himilayan a few days later). Tommy was NOT happy and growled at the door for 3 days. At least he didn’t pee on it. 🙂

    I have to agree about the tiny tail straight up….cracks me up too!!

    • I found out yesterday that Corbie is the sprayer – this despite the fact that he’s on Prozac for it. But he stopped at the bottom of the stairs, glared at Kintaro through the baby gate, then stomped into the computer room and sprayed the door, while giving me A Look. It’s like Gee, Corbie. Are you trying to send me a message?! 🙂

  14. Kintaro reminds me of a former foster Soldier who is almost all black – that real coal black. Super sweet cat, but I had him in my house for 5 weeks, intending to have him longer term (there was a situation his human was dealing with), but he kept chasing all my cats and being aggressive. He went to Challenger’s House (he was a form CH kitty) and behaved himself there…he was very outnumbered there! I know he got adopted to a house with other cats so apparently he’s chilled out now after spending time at CH. Sorry Kintaro is making more work. He sure is pretty. Very kind of you and Fred to keep give him a place to stay.

    • I remember Soldier!

      I think that part of the issue is that the cats are still trying to adjust to Stefan (thank god Stefan is so laid-back and not prone to get pushy with the other cats), and to throw another adult male into the mix was not a great idea!

  15. My 8 year-old Gollum hates anything new. Strangers at the door, a visitor’s small dog, a new feral cat outside, maybe even if I sleep on the couch instead of my bed. When she hates things, she poops in my chair to let me know about it. This past weekend I was away at a poultry show and my son had a party with friends who slept over on the couch. This morning there was poop everywhere, not all in one place, just little pieces scattered around in all the places where strangers had tread. THEN she peed in my chair, the first time for that. Must have been a whingdinger of a party. Other than having strong opinions, she’s a wonderful, clean, affectionate lady. Isn’t it odd how one more cat can set the rest on edge? Maybe until they rework their pecking order, like chickens? What’s bad is when a cat includes humans and other animals in the pecking order.

  16. Tony in the Sun is a very artistic photo..

    as for swheat scoop, I absolutely HATE that litter. I can’t believe anyone likes it let alone loves it..

  17. So Stefan’s presence caused Kintaro to go bonkers? I assume there was hissing and swatting involved.

    Oh well, I suppose for every well-behaved mama cat and kitten litter you get to foster, there’s always the chance that another one of your furry charges might not be as amenable! Here’s hoping Kintaro mellows out.

    • Oh, it was worse than hissing and swatting – Fred picked up Stefan to move him off the cat tree (which is where he was, just minding his own beeswax) and Kintaro was howling and jumping straight up from the floor, trying to get to Stefan. Fred got pretty badly scratched. (I would have more sympathy for Fred except I TOLD HIM not to do it, so NO SYMPATHY FOR HIM.)

    • Thank you! I’ll post the link to that in Friday’s post (and will try to remember to add it to the sidebar!)

  18. I tried one of those grain-based litters once–I’m not sure if it was Swheat Scoop or a corn-derived one. And discovered that it is a complete roach magnet. My crappy cheap apartment has roaches no matter what I do, but they can be kept at a minimum. But they came swarming out for that stuff, wow.

    I might be tempted to try it again if I ever get to move.