Sunday, December 27, 2020

Chorizo's first Christmas

This is our first Christmas after adopting a cat. I couldn't resist buying Chorizo this adorable stocking. The embroidery was done by FallenStarCoutureInc on Etsy.

The bow tie collar I bought him on Shein ended up matching his stocking perfectly.

We got him silver line sticks, catnip mice, and paw balm. He went bonkers over the silver line sticks.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Saying Goodbye to Ham and Pork Roll

This morning we had to give our foster kittens Ham and Pork Roll back to the shelter. (My previous post explains we adopted their brother, Chorizo.) I took the day off but had Timmy take the girls by himself. I knew I'd be a crying mess and didn't want to have to say goodbye in public.

The rescue is having more visitors coming in to adopt now, so having the fosters back at the shelter will increase their chances of being adopted quickly. If you are interested in adopting them, they are at the Tree House Humane Society in Chicago.  

This is our first experience with fostering. I knew going into it that letting the fosters go at the end would be tough. I have tried to remain focused on a few things:

  1. They will be going to their forever home with someone who will love them as much as we do.

  2. When a foster cat leaves our home, that makes room for another cat that we can save.

  3. If our foster cats get adopted, that means we did our job of socializing them well.

The first one was a big one for me. So, having to take them back to the shelter without an adoption already lined up has been heartbreaking. I don't want them to feel like we abandoned them.

I tried to make this morning as special as possible: lots of pets and cuddles, their favorite toys, and their favorite food. When it came time to leave, we did everything we could to lure them into their carrier. When that didn't work, we had to pick them up. The girls scratched us like crazy because they knew they were going into the carrier. They have never scratched us, despite being terrified of us at first, so, I know that they were extra scared. Then they were pressing their heads into the metal gate/door of the carrier trying to get out. I tried calming them down by petting them but it didn't help much.

This is the point where most people say "Why not just adopt them?" It is an understandable, but naive, question. Taking care of three cats is time-consuming and expensive. As people who don't own our own home, we have to consider how challenging it could make finding an apartment that will accept three cats. Three cats in an apartment is also not ideal. 

I am hoping that Pork Roll and Ham will get adopted together. Ham cried previously when she was separated from Pork Roll. Ham is a sweetie but still nervous around people, and I think she'd get lonely without her sister.

Fostering has been such rewarding work seeing all the progress the cats have made under our care. Fostering also allows shelters to save more cats. I'm sure that letting go will get easier with experience, but I'm just not sure I can emotionally handle more goodbyes. I have shed so many tears.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Adopted Chorizo!

When we started cat fostering, I was pretty set on not adopting one. I love pets, but I wasn't up to the idea of caring for a cat for the next 15ish years.  I like not having to take care of anyone but myself.

But then Chorizo stole my heart. He is the chillist cat ever and he loves to snuggle. He may not have the best bathroom habits (haha), but he is the sweetest little guy. He brings so much love and joy to my life. I would do anything for him. We officially adopted him on August 15th.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Meet our foster kittens tomorrow on Facebook Live!

Tomorrow, August 5th, I'll be taking our foster kittens on Facebook Live on the Tree House Humane Society's Facebook page. People from the rescue will also be there to answer any questions about medicial history, the adoption process, etc. If you are interested in adopting a cat in the Chicago area, please check it out. It will be at 1:00 PM Chicago time (Central Standard Time).

Click here to join us tomorrow, or to check out the recording later:

Friday, July 24, 2020

Fostering Three Eight-Week-Old Kittens

Growing up my family had three cats and a dog. I really missed having pets but I also knew that I didn't want to make a 15-year commitment to being a pet owner. There are a lot of great things about being a pet owner, but there are also plenty of not-so-great things about being a pet owner. Like having to arrange care for your pet if you want to make a trip, and having to hurry home so they won't be left alone too long. This led to my interest in fostering animals; it would let me have the benefits of having pets without having to schedule my life around pet ownership for the next 15 years. I never pursued fostering because I knew that being away from home 10+ hours a day wouldn't make us very good foster parents. Because of the coronavirus, we are expected to work from home through the spring of next year, so, this was a perfect time to foster. We end up fostering with the Tree House Humane Society. I liked how they are really organized, give you a care guide, and have on-site veterinary services.

On Wednesday we picked up our first foster kittens: eight-week-old siblings Chorizo, Ham, and Pork Roll. They have two siblings, Bacon and Sausage. Treehouse, understandably, only lets you foster three cats at a time, so Bacon and Sausage aren't with us.

Animals fostering is definitely a lot of work. When we feed them three times a day, we have to separate them so we can monitor how much they are eating. Two of the cats get oral medication twice a day (which as expected, they hate). Maintaining a litterbox for three cats is a full-time job itself, haha. And of course, accidents happen (poop on rugs, towels, etc.) The most challenging, and surprisingly rewarding part, is socializing the cats. Foster cats are often not used to being around humans so you have to work slowly to make them comfortable.

The day after we got them, two of the cats had their backs to me when I was in the room. I was so excited by that seemingly small thing because that meant that they had developed some trust, and didn't feel the need to be on high alert with me. After two days we have just worked up to them allowing us to pet them without running away. Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to work to get them more comfortable with us.

While the fostering experience tasks were mostly what I expected, it feels different than I expected. It takes a lot of trying and failing to build trust and sometimes it feels like you take one step forward and two steps back. I think that once we get them to the point of enjoying human contact, it is going to feel very rewarding.

In a couple weeks, Treehouse is going to have me introduce our foster kittens on Facebook live. If you are interested in adopting a cat in Chicago, please be on the lookout for that!

Now, for what you have all been waiting for, photos!

Chorizo, Pork Roll, and Ham huddled in the back of the open carrier as far away from us as they could get. (Day 1)

Pork Roll, Chorizo, and Ham looking more relaxed. Chorizo is the black cat in the back that is hard to see. (Day 2)

Ham enjoying her favorite spot. The difference in her body language from day one is pretty awesome to see. (Day 2)

Pork Roll not very entertained by a ribbon (Day 3)

Ham barely tolerating us trying to get her to play with the stuffed octopus (Day 3)

Chorizo and Pork Roll snugging. We put the carrier under the window as a step because the ladies were having trouble getting up there. (Day 3)

Friday, June 5, 2020

DIY Marker Stand

Welp, it has been almost a year since I posted here. That is in large part because my work computer is a Macbook, so, I cannot use the photo-editing software that I've used for nearly two decades. And Macbook monitors show photos at their actual pixel size. Which sounds great, until you realize that pretty much every Internet browser does not display photos at their actual pixel size. So, if you are planning on using the photos on the web, while you are editing them, you have no idea how they are actually going to look online (hence why these photos are blurry).

Anywayssss, I am not here to rant about Macbooks. I am here because I just finished a project that I am chuffed enough about to get past my hatred of editing photos on a Macbook.

With all the stay at home orders, I have been doing a lot of coloring. I decide to upgrade to alcohol-based markers and wanted a nice place to store them. A wooden rack that can hold a decent amount of markers starts around $50, and goes much, much higher. I decided to get creative. I bought a mDesign teabox on Amazon and hacked it into a marker stand. The product image photo:

Originally my plan was much simpler, however, the teabox was not quite deep enough to keep markers from falling out when it was on its side. I discovered this after I already hastily removed the plastic window on the lid, so, I could not return it. I am glad that happened because I really like what I came up with. I did not have to purchase anything, as I already had glue and a hacksaw. All the bamboo you see came from the one teabox.

It is probably fairly self-explanatory how I made it, but just in case... I pulled the dividers out halfway, and glue them into place. The half squares at the top and bottom of the rack are the lid/frame that was around the plastic window. The thin pieces at the front of the stand on the right and left sides are made from some small pieces of bamboo that were on the inside of the teabox's lid.