Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Animal Nursery Doings


The four kittens had vet appointments today, during which I learned what I usually do from vets - that I've mis-sexed my critters.  Or rather, I just took someone else's word for it, who told me they were all girls.  So I didn't bother checking it out for myself.  (Why do I keep doing this?  When will I learn?)  Anyway, Miss Fortune is now Blackie, and Aurora is now Rory!  That also explains why they are the more affectionate cats; males usually are.

They had their temperatures taken and were wormed and had their first vaccinations and were tested for feline leukemia and HIV.  All tests negative. 

They are all very tame now, enjoying human company, and they've had exposure to children and dogs, too.  They're ready to be adopted, and tomorrow they go back to the agency whence they came. 

They're also quite a handful, and I'll be relieved when they're gone, even though I'll miss those purring furballs in my lap and climbing all over me.


The three squirrels are being ninnies.  They hide in their bag all day and all night.  They not only do not come out to find food, preferring to starve; they don't even come out to do their business; instead, they just soak the baby blanket I've put in there.  My idea was they should snuggle underneath it for warmth, not sit on top of a cold, wet, odiferous wad!  This keeps my washing machine busy.  And my sunroom a bit smelly.

They're well old enough to be weaned, and I've checked that they all do have bottom teeth of sufficient size.  (Top teeth they will have had for weeks now.)  So yesterday I just stopped bottle-feeding them.  Instead, I poured their formula into three little bowls (heavy ashtrays, really) and set those on the floor of their cage.  Nothing, no response.  They didn't even come out to investigate.

I hauled each baby out of the bag and dipped its nose in the warm formula, and they finally got the idea.  Of course they also stuck their front paws in it and got it all over themselves, necessitating a thorough wipe-off for each one with a warm, damp rag. 

And that's where we stand today.  I put out the formula, they still don't come out for it on their own.  I pull them out of their bag.  They drink and I clean up each of them.  I do not put them back in their nest bag, but on the cage floor.  If they want to go hide in their bag, they have to climb to get to it, at which they are, of course, very adept.

I also keep solid food in their cage - peanuts, dried corn, sunflower seeds, fresh veggies, Cheerios - and today one of them chewed on a peanut in its shell, but quit before discovering the treat inside.  (Peanuts are to squirrels as candy is to children.)  Tomorrow I'll break open several of them myself to show them what they're looking for. 

Thursday I take them back to Chris, who will keep them for me over the weekend, because I'm going out of town.  She's the one who raised them the first couple of weeks; maybe they'll do better for her, be less frightened. 

I get back Sunday night and pick up the squirrels again on Monday.

Not that there's any hurry; they will be with me all winter, but I was rather hoping to have them functioning on their own and outdoors by now.


elizabeth said...

Wow. Sounds like the squirrels have a lot to learn! loved reading about them!