Doggo News Foster Letter: Pretty Ricky (Leo) and Prickly Peartini (Doyle)

Day 1 with Pretty Ricky
Day 1 with Prickly Peartini

When these two boys came to us, despite the best efforts of their previous foster mother, they were underweight and skittish.  So we went to work on them to help them gain weight and become confident kittens.  Through this process, we learned a lot about them.  The most important thing we learned is that they simply won’t eat if they are nervous.  We learned to give them lots of cuddling and pets before putting them in front of their food bowls.  We also learned that they both love cuddling.  They are now comfortable with being picked up, having their toe beans touched, and being skritched.  Both kittens have spent time with local Puppyhurst human residents, both at socially distant play dates and a block party. They got to spend serious time playing, snuggling, and getting handled by many different people. They enjoyed the attention!

Doyle
Leo

Pretty Ricky was very much the cowardly lion when we got him.  And since he’s lion colored, we started calling him Leo.  Once he found some confidence, we learned that he loves people.  He wants to be with people most of the time.  He will sit just behind you, or on you, and with you.  Leo will seek you out and meow at you for cuddles.  He likes being cradled and carried around the house. 

Pretty Leo is still slightly underweight.  He eats slower than his brother and needs his own bowl and time to finish.  He also needs to be re-directed back to his bowl occasionally as if he simply forgets to eat or gets distracted.  But once he has tucked in, he usually finishes. 

Leo likes heat and sunspots.  He is an expert at finding any sunbath in the house.  He also likes two toys particularly well: the sparkly ball, which he carries around the house in his mouth, meowing through it, and the feather duster toy.  He will make that krickk-krickk-krickk sound when he thinks he’s got a lock on it.

Leo in super snuggle mode

Prickly Peartini is anything but prickly.  He is just as much of a lover as his brother, but he is much more of a rover, which is why we started calling him Doyle, after the guitarist and vocalist of Great Big Sea, a band that sings all about roving.  Doyle likes to sing to himself less than Leo, but he churrups and purrs pretty loudly.  Doyle is initially startled and shy about everything new, but he quickly recovers. He recovers even more quickly with cuddles.  We pick him up and cradle him, and he often rewards us by booping his nose to ours.  He is particularly skittish around our dog, who is very quiet and gentle.  He has been slowly getting more comfortable with our pooch.  Leo and Doyle both have been great with our resident adult cats, one who likes them, and one who can’t stand anyone who is not her humans.  Leo and Doyle have gotten the gamut of cat language, and have responded appropriately to both positive and negative feline signals from the adult cats.

Doyle has great zoomies.  He explores and climbs and tries new things when he’s comfortable.  He likes chase and soccer, and he loves the fish tank.  He’s never caught anything, but he has ended up with wet paws.  We’ve also noticed that he is not scared of the bathtub, and at one point he even got into the tub as it was filling, only jumping onto the side once the water got up to his paws.  Even then, he seemed very interested in the tub and not scared at all.  He is fascinated with our resident English Angora rabbit as well and has never shown any desire to play too rough.  He follows the rabbit around, and occasionally gets followed around by the rabbit.  Doyle also loves, loves, loves wrestling with our resident kitten, which is good because Leo has limited patience with this. 

Doyle explores the spinning wheel

Both boys are teething so they do bite, but a quick high pitched squeal or a No! usually stops it.  They do not intend to hurt you.  Both have had their claws clipped a few times apiece, and it really hasn’t been an issue.  They have always been great about using any and all litter boxes (we have 4 in the house right now).  We use Arm and Hammer Multi-cat clumping because it helps with odor.  Neither have messed outside of the litter boxes. 

Both boys like Royal Canin Kitten Loaf (what a terrible name for a cat food) and the Royal Canin Mama and Babycat dry food which we give them overnight.  They have also been getting Purina Veterinarian Probiotic sprinkled onto and mixed into their soft food, because our resident kitten is getting it, and it’s just easier that way.  We haven’t been feeding on a specific schedule, mostly feeding them soft food when we eat, and several snacks during the day.  Serving sizes have included 1/8 of a 5.8-ounce can, 1/2 of a 3-ounce can, and all the way up to 1/3 of a 5.8-ounce can.  We’ve been more focused on making sure that they eat and gain weight.  Leo is slightly smaller than Doyle, but both are filling in nicely.

These kittens have never been sprayed with water or tapped with a newspaper because we just don’t do that.  We have found that they respond to low pitched “Nooo” or “Heyyyy” to stop behavior and then gently picking them up and putting them somewhere safer.  In this way, they have stopped trying to chew on cords and stopped clawing things and have gotten used to being handled.  They have both voluntarily used the scratching posts and take redirection well.

Both boys like the cat trees and do not seem overly interested in going outside.  We keep toys scattered all over the house (literally), so they see inside as a better time.  Just this morning, we discovered that empty toilet paper rolls are also a great toy.

The three kittens on the cat tree

We will really miss these boys.  We weighed them daily so we know they are gaining weight, but we also know that we cannot leave them to eat until we see they are really committed, because they get distracted, and then the other cats in the house are often more than happy to help clean up the leftovers.  They have slept on the bed with my husband when he used the guest room and they were both very sweet, happy to purr and cuddle and fall asleep in the crook of an elbow or knee, but usually they have been on their own at night.  During the day, the guest room is also my husband’s remote office, and the two brothers were excellent work buddies.  They have occasionally helped in the drafting of an email or other document, and both have sometimes seemed fascinated by the keyboard.  Neither was very good at dictation.

They have distinct personalities and I think you will really enjoy getting to know them.  The house will seem much quieter without them. 

Doyle helps Erik with the fruit wines
Leo finds a sunbeam
The boys. We’ll miss you.

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