2017 in Review.
We began 2017 with one lone foster we’d received in mid-December: Willa, who I was excited to foster because (1) we thought she was pregnant, and (2) OMG SHE WILL HAVE THE PRETTIEST BABIES EVERRR. Spoiler: she was not pregnant, went into heat, and was spayed.
On January 3rd we introduced new permanent resident Dustin by his new name:
After coming up with 1,000 different names (I am still partial to Tater Boudreaux, but that is obviously not his name), we settled on Dewey, and it’s remained Dewey ever since, with nicknames of Dewbs, Dewber, and Dewbey-Doo.
In that same post, I told y’all that Willa was headed off to Petsmart that evening. She went and cooled her heels for approximately 20 seconds before she was snatched up.
In the January 9th post, I told y’all that Fred had requested some foster-free weeks in order to let Dewey acclimate, which gave me time to get the foster room repainted.
On January 10th, Alice thought there was ham (I am sharing this picture because I love it so), but then discovered there actually was no ham, and she was not interested in the tortilla chips Fred was about to eat.
Dewey acclimated quite nicely.
Fred took Dennis to the vet for his yearly visit, and took one of my favorite pictures of the year.
On January 16th I reported that late the night before I’d heard the very loud sound of a cat in distress on the front porch. When I went out to see what was what, a small orange cat took off from the shrubbery by the front porch, and wouldn’t come back no matter how much I called. A moment later, Archie hopped up onto the front porch and asked to come inside. We put the game cam out at the feeding station, but didn’t catch the orange kitty on the camera.
Three months after I went to Myrtle Beach with my parents, I got around to sharing pictures, including my very favorite sunrise picture I’ve ever taken.
On January 19th, I shared the news that Challenger’s House was no longer housing cats and kittens at Petsmart, and would be turning over the space to Forgotten Felines of Huntsville; further, they were changing from being a rescue to becoming a sanctuary for Challenger’s House cats. I also reassured y’all that we would continue fostering, but that I hate change (I still hate change, though you sure couldn’t tell by looking at this last year.)
On January 23rd – remember that loud orange kitty who’d been having a conniption on the front porch earlier? He showed up again, he let Fred pick him up, and we started calling him Malachi.
We didn’t bring him inside (2018 Robyn disapproves of that particular move), but we got the okay from Susan to make him a Challenger’s House cat if we could get him to the vet.
On January 25th, I reported that the orange cat we’d named Malachi had shown up again, spent the night in the garage, and went off to be vetted. Whereupon we found out he was FIV+. We brought him home and I suggested that if anyone were interested in adopting him, to let me know.
Two days later, I admitted that unless he didn’t get along with the other permanent residents, he’d be staying with us. You were all SO VERY SHOCKED.
And the day after that, I announced his permanent resident name: Frankie. He’s now often also known as Franks, Franken, and Franklin Beans.
The day after that, I announced that we’d jumped the gun on deciding to keep him, that we were still looking for a home. I don’t recall what caused the flip-flop, but if I had to guess I’d say there was probably a big scary fight between Frankie and someone else (Fred tells me that Frankie went after Stefan, which doesn’t really surprise me in retrospect). It took about 5 days and another trip to the vet before I admitted that we were keeping him. Not only was he FIV positive, he was also heartworm positive and had mycoplasma, which required about a month of medication. With all those issues (and because he had pretty much behaved himself), we decided it wouldn’t be fair to adopt him out, not that anyone had shown interest in doing so.
To that end, I announced that we wouldn’t be fostering again until Frankie was doing better.
A few days later – February 8th – I told y’all that I was dropping Frankie off at the vet. He was still occasionally screaming when he ate (he’d had 4 teeth removed when he was neutered) and we needed to figure out what was going on. The vet informed us that Frankie’s mouth was in terrible shape, inflamed and looked like hamburger meat going partway down his throat. He saw a spot that looked like a growth and took a biopsy, but his gut told him it was stomatitis.
Also in mid-February I went on a painting rampage and repainted the foster room (the exact same color) and the computer room (also the exact same color), and the downstairs hall. If I’d known that we’d end up selling the house to people who were intending to do some renovations and repaint, I’m not entirely sure I would have put so much effort into all that repainting. (Of course, if I hadn’t repainted, maybe it wouldn’t have looked as good to them, either.)
Carla Mae the chicken hung out on the side stoop (I love this picture so much).
On March 2nd, I posted an entry about Stefan making Dewey cry, which made Frankie run over and bring on the ol’ whappy paw to protect his friend. This was our first sign that Frankie had the makings of a lawman.
On St. Patrick’s Day, I posted possibly my favorite-ever picture of Newt. His FACE still kills me dead.
Then I went off to New Orleans with my sister for the better part of a week. When I got back, I introduced our first foster of the year, Nola.
Nola had the usual story – showed up on someone’s doorstep, stray and pregnant. She was nervous about me and nervous about the foster room, but she settled down eventually.
Archie saved us from another dish towel.
On March 28th, I told y’all how Nola faked me out thinking she was practically in labor, but alas she was not. I predicted it wouldn’t be long before there were babies.
On March 30th I posted side-by-side pictures of Willa (from December/early January) to show that they looked like they could be sisters.
No kittens on March 31st.
On April 3rd there were no kittens at 6:38, and an hour later there were two. Another hour later, there were a total of four.
On April 4th, I told Nola’s birth story. Despite the soft and safe places I’d provided for her to give birth, she thought that directly on the hardwood floor next to the litter box, behind the door, was the ideal place to do it. And her tail was the ideal sponge to soak up all the liquids that went along with kittenbirth. I moved the little family into the crate once I was sure she was done having kittens, and she put up with that for a brief amount of time.
Then she moved them onto the hard bare floor when I wasn’t paying attention.
I moved them back to the crate, she moved them back to the floor. I put a blanket down on the floor.
I left the house to go to an appointment, and she moved them from that corner back to the corner where she’d given birth. Fred put them back in the previous corner. By the time I got home, she’d moved her kittens BACK to the corner where she’d given birth, so Fred put the crate over there and put them all inside.
They stayed put there for several days. Maybe Nola was tired of moving them.
When they were nearly a week old, I introduced the kittens by name – Andouille, Beignet, Praline & Roux.
On April 11th, I announced that eyeballs were opening.
Roux got hissy and even spit. So scary.
Beignet had some wiggly ears.
On April 17th, I announced that I was off on vacation again, this time to Florida with my parents. I shared pictures from my trip to New Orleans (and still haven’t shared pictures from my trip to Florida!)
While I was in Florida, Fred sent me a picture of YET ANOTHER FREAKIN’ CAT who showed up at Crooked Acres. Fred dubbed him Jimmy Ray. Jimmy Ray showed up several times, and then didn’t come back.
When I got home, Nola’s kittens had all turned into chunky little roly-poly monkeys. Before I left, she’d decided they were done with the crate, so I moved the quilt/rug over to that side of the room, left the crate next to them, and called it good. When I got back, they were sticking to that same general area.
Something that still amazes me – while I was sitting there, 17 day old Andouille tottered past me to Nola’s plate of soft food and ate like a little pig. SEVENTEEN DAYS OLD, Y’ALL. Smart boy!
This picture of Roux kills me dead.
Andouille’s pratfall kills me dead.
And I mean, COME ON.
At two days short of 4 weeks old, brilliant little muffin Roux used the litter box. At 4 weeks old, there were multiple kittens using the litter boxes, and Andouille was bellying up to the food with Nola every time I brought a plate into the room. The kittens learned that the holes in the Go Pets scratcher were fun to slide through.
I shared one of the very first pictures I ever took of Maxi, who was SO TINY when we first saw her in 2006.
Nola’s Cajuns turned one month old and I posted comparative pictures of each of them.
Andouille and Praline got their skitter on.
I took one of my favorite pictures of the year.
On May 11th, the cat we were then calling Fancypants v2.0 (now Khal) FINALLY went off to the vet to be neutered and vetted. Fred had tried to do so 5 months previously, but hadn’t latched the carrier all the way, and Khal escaped. It took Fred almost 5 months to get Khal to trust him again. The next day I posted that he was FIV+ but otherwise in good health, and said that if anyone wanted a beautiful mostly-feral floofy black cat, to let me know. Khal was estimated to be “3 or 4”, so I gave him the date of birth of 5-12-14.
In that same post, I introduced y’all to my fosters-in-waiting, Belle and her little beasts.
Belle and her kittens were at Challenger’s House for a few weeks, waiting for room to open up in my foster room.
Nola’s Cajuns turned 6 weeks old, and I posted comparison pictures.
On May 17th, I took Roux and Praline to my room as a field trip. Uncle Stefan was hanging out in the room, so thought he’d come over and say “hi.” This pictures makes me giggle.
I went to visit fosters-in-waiting Belle and her kittens, and took a zillion pictures.
Praline made a Kramer-esque entrance, and I slowed it way down.
Roux and Andouille went on a field trip to my bedroom, and I took a bunch of excellent pictures. (Is there anything more awesome than a floofed-out kitten? I think not!)
On May 24th, I announced that there was an adoption pending on Andouille… AND Beignet! Together!
That day, Nola went to be spayed, and I was extremely relieved that I wouldn’t have to suffer through her going into heat. Also, I visited my fosters-in-waiting, Belle and her kittens.
This was the time when we were frantically getting the house ready to put on the market, by the way, and I’m amazed I was able to do ANYTHING else, let alone keep on blogging and kissing kittens.
On June 1st, I told y’all that you could suggest names for Belle and her kittens (Belle was originally Belle Starr, and we were going to go with a western theme. The radio personality had other ideas, and so people were able to make suggestions.)
In June 5th’s post, I told y’all that the steroids we’d been giving Frankie had stopped keeping the inflammation at bay, and he needed surgery. For the first time, I asked for donations toward his surgery (donations to Challenger’s House, who would then pay for his surgery, so that your donations were tax deductible), and you guys blew me away. By the end of the day, we had enough to pay for his surgery, plus some. (All funds above what was needed for his surgery went to help support Challenger’s House.)
In the June 6th post, I thanked you all profusely (and seriously, you guys – THANK YOU), and posted pictures of Nola’s 2 month old Cajuns. I also posted another of my favorite pictures of the year.
I visited my fosters-in-waiting, and was surprised at how fast they were growing (funny how that happens, isn’t it?)
Finally, on June 12th I introduced Belle’s Beasts by name.
On June 13th, I dropped Frankie off at the vet for his dental surgery, but first we spoiled him a little. (He had 7 teeth removed and it took him a few days to recover afterward.)
On June 15th, I did a Crooked Acres post, and shared a picture of two small raccoons that Fred found behind the chicken coop in the middle of the day. We freaked out briefly, then found a rescuer to take them.
On June 19th, we said goodbye to Andouille and Beignet, who went home and became Andre and Bella. (And you know that you can see them on Facebook now, right? They have grown up to be stunning!)
Before they left, I got a family picture or two! Well, kind of. Nola refused to cooperate, so Dewey played the part of Nola.
On June 26th, I visited the fosters-in-waiting and told y’all that with Nola headed off to Petsmart and Praline and Roux mingling with the permanent residents, I’d be bringing Belle and the Beasts home later in the week. I also told y’all that Praline and Roux had been adopted TOGETHER!
Nola headed off to Petsmart on June 27th, and I shared more pictures of my fosters-in-waiting, Belle and her Beasts. I love this one:
On June 29th, I let y’all know that Challenger’s House had had several cats returned suddenly, and one of them was my foster from 2015, Paul Simon.
Paul Simon is still available for adoption; he is currently at Challenger’s House, and a total sweetheart. He’s only 3 years old, I wish his people would come along and take him home.
On June 30th, I announced that Belle and her Beasts had finally taken up residence in my foster room, and I reintroduced them all. Along with Belle and her four kittens came Agnes and Ressler, two unrelated orphans who’d been at the shelter since they were tiny. We threw them all in together and they took a day or two to adjust, but were all best friends before long.
In early July we had Roux and Praline running around the house, Belle and her kittens in the foster room, and Khal Drogo (then known as Fancypants) still giving me the cold shoulder. He was making brief trips into the house in the evenings, maybe 5 or 10 minutes each time, before asking to go back outside.
Belle’s kittens continued to nurse, despite being nearly as big as she was. Ressler was always interested when the nursing was going on, but never actually tried the milk bar himself.
Roux got herself a bath from Uncle Dewey.
We admired Chip’s Happy Tail.
In mid-July, Nola was adopted.
And her daughters went home, too!
Hijinx in the foster room continued.
Belle’s kittens went off for spaying and neutering (Belle had already been spayed), and then Lumiere went home. He joined new big sister Smurf (formerly Charlotte from the Carolina Kittens litter). He was initially renamed Poseidon, but they decided that name was too severe for him, and he became Buck.
In the post for July 26, I posted extensive profiles of Belle and her remaining kittens in hopes of getting people interested in adopting them.
On July 30th, Belle, Agnes and Mrs. Potts headed off to Petsmart. Ressler, Chip and Gaston stayed a while longer, waiting for room to open up for them at Petsmart.
On August 3rd, Frankie went back to the vet to have most of the rest of his teeth pulled (he’s still got a few teeth left in the front.) He came through surgery just fine.
Chip, Gaston and Ressler made themselves at home while waiting for room to open up at Petsmart. They got the run of the house during the day and spent their nights in the foster room.
Agnes got herself adopted after about a week at Petsmart.
I went to visit the kittens formerly known as Andouille (now Andre) and Beignet (now Bella). Those TAILS!
I teased y’all with a picture of the fosters-to-be, Mercury and her nipples.
And then the next day I announced that Teresa (who had Mercury) and I had decided that it would make the most sense to move Mercury before she had her kittens, rather than after. So I ran right on over to get her and bring her home.
She had her kittens after midnight on the 9th, while I was sleeping. I miscounted at first and reported that there were five, but there were actually six.
I posted her birthin’ story in August 10th’s post. I included pictures of each kitten.
I had some very sad news the next day. Kepler, the smallest of Mercury’s kittens, had passed away.
In that same post, I introduced Mercury’s remaining kittens, but don’t go by that – there was some switching-around of names in following days because someone (FRED) sexed them incorrectly.
Chip and Gaston were adopted together, but since their people were about to go on vacation, they got to come back to me for while.
In the August 14th post, I re-introduced Mercury’s kittens with their final names and sexes.
The Missions started getting their eyeballs, with Phoenix in the lead.
In the August 17th post, I announced that Ressler was adoption-pending, and would have a big brother in the form of former Challenger’s House cat Zoomer.
Mercury’s Missions turned 1 week old and I posted comparison pictures of each of them.
I left the house to run errands one day, and when I got back, I had to search for a couple of missing kittens. Turned out, they were in a bed on the other side of the room, moved there by Mercury. Maybe Nola left a secret note for Mercury to let her know that it was fun to move the kittens around and drive the weird lady crazy.
Chip and Gaston debated the eternal question: who’s da BAYbee?
I walked into the kitten room and found that Mercury had moved all her kittens to the opposite side of the room from where the crate was located. I try to know when I’m beat, so I let her have her way.
Chip declared his love for Uncle Dewey.
Gaston was also fond of the Dewbs.
Mercury’s Missions turned two weeks old, and I shared comparison pictures.
I had another sad loss – I received an orphaned kitten with the idea of adding her to Mercury’s litter. She was in bad shape when I got her, and despite Mercury being willing to mother her, she was too weak. I spent the night on the foster room floor, doing my best to get food into her and keep her going, but early the next morning she passed away. We named her Skylab.
Chip and Gaston went home, and we missed those crazy boys and their antics.
Mercury’s Missions turned three weeks old, and I shared comparison pictures of each of them.
Stardust Sneaking is another of my favorite pictures of the year (spoiler: I had a lot of favorite pictures this year.)
On September 1st I got very worried about Mercury, who had stopped eating completely. I rushed her to the vet, and the instant they popped open a can of food, Mercury perked up, went over, and started eating. BRAT.
Hubble used his mama as a couch, and thought I should just hush up about it. (That defiant little FACE.)
On September 4th, we had yet another sad story. A kitten we named Sigma came to me from Brittany. She was an orphan and had a broken leg that the vet anticipated they’d have to eventually amputate. She’d been doing okay, but then started going downhill and wouldn’t eat. Brittany asked if I’d consider introducing her to Mercury. I told her that I would give it a try, but that if it didn’t work out, I would bottle feed. Mercury was NOT having it, so I began bottle feeding, and Sigma actually did eat. Unfortunately she started going downhill in the late afternoon and passed away.
I shared a family picture of Mercury and her Missions.
The Missions started using the litter boxes, but were uninterested in eating on their own at all (unless it was eating litter, which they were ALL about.)
They turned 4 weeks old, and I shared their progression pictures.
On September 8th, I told y’all that I’d had an especially busy week. That was right after our house sold the first time, and we were frantically looking for a place to live. From this side, I am 100% impressed that I was able to keep blogging all along with little to no disruption. You GO, September Robyn! High five!
Stardust ate litter, as you do.
Someone asked if Mercury was people-friendly or more timid, and I answered that question.
(VERY people-friendly, that girl.)
Mercury’s Missions turned 5 weeks old, and I posted progression pictures.
Phoenix went fishin’.
Mercury’s Missions learned to climb.
There was a Frankie update on September 18th. We’d weaned him off of steroids yet again, and after only a couple of days off of them completely, he started yelping in pain. He went back to the vet, and found that the inflammation in the back of his mouth was revving up again. We got a prescription for Atopica and hoped that would help.
Mercury’s Missions turned 6 weeks old, and I posted progression pictures of each of them, and closeup pictures of their eyes to show the changing colors (SO pretty!)
Then they turned 7 weeks old, and yep – more progression pictures. Also kitten bellies AND eyes AND a milk bar then-and-now comparison. That’s a jam-packed post!
On September 28th, I shared that we’d changed Mrs. Potts’s name to Moana in hopes of catching someone’s attention.
I love this three-feet-off-the-floor picture of Phoenix.
Mercury’s Missions turned 8 weeks old, and that’s right – progression pics! Also, eyeball pictures AND I put all the progression pictures in short videos, which was really neat.
I took the kittens down to my room for a little field trip without realizing that there were TWO uncles – Stefan and Dewey – in the room. There were 7,000 floofed-kitten pictures in that post. I love this reaction from Hubble.
The kittens turned 9 weeks old, but due to the gloomy weather, I didn’t get decent pictures of them, so skipped the progression pictures for the week. Also, I announced that Phoenix was adoption-pending and would be going home after she was spayed at the end of October.
Finally, FINALLY Moana – formerly known as Mrs. Potts – was adopted! She was adopted with her buddy Spangle.
The week of October 16th, I went on vacation to Myrtle Beach, but because I love y’all, I had pre-written and scheduled posts for the week. My special favorite is the kitten-trapped-under-a-tree post on October 17th.
On October 23rd, I posted pictures of me, sitting on the computer room floor, petting Khal Drogo.
With two weeks left before they were spayed and neutered, the kittens and Mercury started having the run of the upstairs.
The kittens turned 11 weeks old and like a big ol’ slacker, I let the progression pictures slide, but promised I’d have some the following week.
I got a family portrait of the whole bunch.
The day before Mercury and her kittens went off for spaying and neutering, I posted in-depth profiles of each of them (including Phoenix, even though she was already adopted, because I didn’t want to leave her out.)
We had our Halloween post, where the kittens and Mercury dressed up (well, kinda) and some of the permanent residents did, too. (Mercury and her kittens came through their surgeries just fine.) There were more Halloween pictures in that week’s Weekly Roundup post.
Mercury’s Missions turned 12 weeks old, and I posted progression pictures of each of them.
Phoenix went home on November 7th!
I received packages of adorable hand-knitted hats for the cats in the mail, and I took pictures of fosters in hats.
We were scheduled to have a potential adopter come meet Stardust and Aurora, but she ultimately decided to wait until after her Thanksgiving vacation and hoped that they’d still be available for adoption, so the kittens and Mercury all went off to Petsmart.
One last family portrait:
In absolutely heartbreaking news, I posted that Dennis had escaped the house while we were having work done (due to a miscommunication, I thought Fred had Dennis contained and he thought I did), and Dennis escaped the house and was hit by a car.
I sure do miss that beautiful boy.
We released another record-breaking hit album.
We wished you a Happy Thanksgiving via some long-suffering permanent residents and the turkey hat.
Khal Drogo began spending the occasional night inside, and then he began spending EVERY night inside. This was a huge relief to us, since we knew that we’d be moving soon and he’d be spending EVERY night (and day) inside.
Newt showed off his stunningly graceful moves.
Mercury was adopted!
Aurora and Telstar were adopted – TOGETHER.
Also, I apparently never shared it here that I can tell – it happened the day we lost Dennis – but Stardust was adopted on November 14th! She joined another Forgotten Felines kitty, Oreo.
On December 9th, Belle finally went home! She joined her new sister Sasha (formerly Torres), who was our foster back in 2015.
In the December 10th post, I answered all your questions, and then shared pictures I took of Shady Cove during our final walk through, the day before closing. And then the next day I posted pictures of the back yard.
In the December 14th post, I revealed which cat was adapting better to the move than we’d expected.
On Christmas Day, I shared this year’s holiday card and then previous years’ holiday cards, along with pictures that COULD have been holiday cards but were not.
Come, let us adore him. (Dennis)
On December 26th, I posted a tribute to Joe Bob. He hadn’t looked right to me for several days, but tests showed nothing obvious wrong. He crashed hard Friday morning, and we ultimately made the decision to let him go.
So if you include the foster we started the year with – Willa – and the one unadopted foster we’re ending the year with – Hubble – then we had a total of 22 fosters move through.
We have fostered a total of 339 cats and kittens.
Want to see all of this year’s fosters in one place? You know you do. Click on the picture below to see a larger version over at Flickr.
Former Foster Updates we received this year.
(Arranged, roughly, in the order in which we fostered them.)
Pink (now Tribble) – January 17th.
The state of the permanent residents in 2017.
It has been a freakin’ roller coaster this year. We started 2017 with 10 cats: Maxi, Newt, Kara, Joe Bob, Jake, Alice, Stefan, Dennis, Archie, and Dewey. We rose to 12 with the additions of Frankie and Khal Drogo, and then dropped back to 10 with the losses of Dennis and Joe Bob.
Our overriding concern with selling the house and moving to one with less property was how the cats would adjust. There have been some bumps in the process, but for the most part they adjusted with less drama than we’d anticipated, though I’ll say that some of them (HELLO, Archie and Kara) are going a little nuts with the desire to go outside. That will happen eventually, but right now it’s so cold outside that I suspect they wouldn’t be spending much time out there anyway.
Health-wise, everyone is doing well. Frankie is currently on Atopica twice a week, and it seems to be doing the job quite well. I’d like to see him gain a little more weight, but he’s a small cat anyway, and certainly not the skin and bones he was when he showed up on our doorstep nearly a year ago.
I don’t know what the year ahead has in store for us, but my hope this year is the same as it was last year: I’d like to end 2018 with the same cats we have now, with no major injuries or illnesses. It might be too much to hope for, especially with an aging population, but I’m going to just go right ahead and hope.
I’m just going to go ahead and repeat what I’ve said for the past several years in a row.
As we begin this new year, I’d like to take a moment to thank you all for reading. I know that a lot of you say that you like to start (or end) your day at Love & Hisses, reading about the kittens and the permanent residents. You give me (and each other) advice, ask and answer questions, fall in love with the kittens we foster and our permanent residents, and grieve with us as we’ve lost permanent residents. I started this site because I can’t shut my face about cats and kittens, and to have y’all enjoy the pictures and stories I post means more than I could ever begin to express. I appreciate each and every one of you, whether you’re here every day or just come by every now and then. We’ve built an amazing community here, and I certainly could never have done it alone.
So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you all so very very much!
2017: No entry.
2016: 2015 in review.
2015: 2014 in review.
2014: 2013 in review.
2013: 2012 in review.
2012: No entry.
2011: No entry.
2010: No entry.
2009: This is going to be hard – it always is – but I have to trust that they’ll end up in fantastic homes with people who spoil them as rotten as we do.
2008: No entry.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.