07.04.08

One from the vaults

Posted in Day-to-day, Humor at 12:01 am by ACR&S

The following is an old story which has never before been recorded, back from the days when I used to be involved in cat adoption.

I don’t work with cats any more. Stories like this are the reason for that.


Several years ago, I was a foster home for a cat rescue group. I fell into it by accident (that’s another tale for another time), but at one point I had six young kittens living with me.

After a couple of weeks, the kittens got big enough that they started roaming the house instead of staying nicely in their nest box. In general, this wasn’t a problem – we kept the door to the office and bedroom closed, so they never bothered our things or our birds. However, it became a problem once the kittens had enough energy to get up and play during the night, and decided that the Humans were great fun, and that it was Not Acceptable that we spend 8 hours at a stretch lying down quietly in the dark. Three AM is the best part of the day, you guys are missing it!

The kittens started by having early morning wrasslin’ matches right outside the bedroom door. When they realized that this caused us to get up and open the door and make loud noises at them, they started playing with the door, banging it and scratching at it and meowing loudly because the opening at the bottom was only big enough for a paw or nose and not a whole kitten. We blockaded the hallway with an up-ended kitchen table – and six 4-month old kittens quickly learned that they could leap about twelve times their own height to reach the door despite us. For about three days we were both getting up for work by 4am, because that’s when the kittens absolutely refused to let us sleep any longer.

The fourth day, by accident, I hit on the perfect solution to midnight kitten madness.

I had tried to block off the door itself by sticking the vacuum in front of it – outside the bedroom – under the assumption that the kittens, who disliked the vacuum, wouldn’t climb all over their nemesis to reach the door. Didn’t work. Bracing against the door, they could more easily attack the cords and hose, which made great, loud fun! If I got up and turned on the vacuum for a moment, they’d run off, but would be back as soon as I closed the door again.

Then I realized that there was a wall outlet within easy reach of the bed, and the vacuum cord could reach under the door and all the way across the room. So I went to sleep with the vacuum turned on, but unplugged, and the cord draped over the nightstand.

That morning, when the kittens started their matins, I half-awoke, grabbed the cord, and plugged it into the wall socket for just a second:

wirrRRRRRRRRRRRRAWWWWWWWRRrrrrrrrr…

Under the vacuum noise, I heard a hailstorm of twenty-four little kitten paws tearing away down the hallway. Then, silence. After a moment, a tentative miao? was distantly heard from the vicinity of the kitchen.

Kittens can be persistent, but they can also be very fast learners. They soon understood that their presence near my bedroom door would awaken a Big Growly Monster instead of a person who could operate a can opener, and we were able to sleep through the night.

It wasn’t the nicest thing I had ever done, but it meant I could go back to sleep. I made peace with my demons,and I’d certainly recommend this strategy to anyone with a kitten infestation.

07.02.08

More pigs find homes!

Posted in Adoptions, Day-to-day at 1:42 pm by Jenn

We’ve had another busy, amazing week at ACR&S!

This past Saturday (June 28th), baby Ruxpin (the runt and only boy of the litter pulled from the Cumberland County Animal Shelter) went to his forever home! We paired him up with Cindy’s lucky pig Maxwell. Maxwell was already a beloved family pet who was quite spoiled — he had his own 2×6 C&C cage, with a ton of toys, organic hay, and lots of yummy pellets!

On the couch.Unfortunately, Maxwell had already failed one introduction, quite badly, with a guinea pig from a different rescue. Since Maxwell was a teenager (the age where a pairing failure is most likely), we thought that a docile young baby may be the key.

It turns out we were right! Although Maxwell spent almost an hour rumblestrutting and showing how manly he was, Ruxpin was young and scared to be by himself, and decided that he would rather have a loud, somewhat pushy friend than no friend at all!

Once we saw the rumbling and posturing had slowed down, we left the boys on the couch with Cindy’s oldest daughter to supervise as we cleaned out the cage and scrubbed down all the accessories, and as you can see from the picture, they quickly squished in on top of each other for comfort and eventually fell asleep like that.

According to an email we received a couple of days later, Ruxpin and Maxwell will snooze together in a pigloo and are having a wonderful time together as best buddies! Ruxpin is also quickly calming down and becoming more confident now that he has an older brother to look out for him!


Then, on Monday the 30th, we were lucky enough to send home Niblet and Petal with Carrie and her family!

Their mom emailed me once they were settled in:

The girls are doing great. They stayed in the 2 x 2 kitchen the first night but this morning I helped them find and climb the ramp and now Petal/Pumpkin is running up and down with abandon. Niblet can definitely climb up but I haven’t confirmed that she will climb down yet so I moved her down when I added their fresh veggie bowl tonight. (both levels have water and hay)
Both girls are eating like pigs and drinking well. They have wonderful personalities. They are a little hard to catch (which I expected) but so sweet once you pick them up. They had a play time this afternoon on a fleece blanket on the kitchen floor (and loved playing in the 5 different ferritunnel tubes that Nick set up for them) and tonight they joined us on the couch for an episode of a kid’s show. They are great lap girls!!!
Thanks for the great girls. I will try to send pictures soon. Petal/Pumpkin is the bold one (like you said) but Niblet has been comfortable enough to move around on the kitchen floor and come out of the hiding areas in the cage so I think she’s adjusting well.
Congratulations to Petal and Niblet and their new family, it sounds like they’re loving their new C&C mansion! Guinea pigs do make great buddies to snuggle up with on the couch and watch a little TV!
As always, thank you to our wonderful adopters. We are truly lucky to have such a large group of caring individuals to offer homes to our guinea pigs, rabbits, and other small exotics!

07.01.08

Welcome, Sadie & Chester!

Posted in Sanctuary Spotlight at 1:35 am by ACR&S

We’ve got a few new residents up here at the Sanctuary. On June 19, I spent about 5 hours waiting for Midwest flight 2704 from Raleigh to Milwaukee, which had a special climate-controlled, pressurized cargo compartment carrying three new Sanctuary residents. I spoke about Gracie in the last update, now it’s time to introduce Sadie & Chester!

SadieChester & Sadie are a bonded pair of piggies. Sadie is mostly white, with lovely gold and black markings on her head, and a slight coronet (swirl of fur on the forehead). Chester is fawn, red, and white, and is enormous (nearly 3 lbs, over 1300 grams). They came to us through some unusual channels.

When they were about 1 year old, they were rescued by our friends up at Cave Spring Guinea Pig Rescue in Virginia, and then placed into an adoptive home. But after nearly four years, they were returned. ChesterCave Spring was inundated with surrender requests at the time, so having a pair of older pigs was hard on them. But we at ACR&S had very few adoptable pigs. Since these two were already bonded, altered and vet checked, we offered to bring them down to NC and offer them for adoption here, as we’ve done before with other Cave Spring piggies.

We knew that as 4/5 year old pigs, these two would be very difficult to rehome. Guinea pigs only have a 5-8 year lifespan, and we wouldn’t be able to guarantee to adopters that they wouldn’t die of old age very quickly. Also, unusually, Sadie is spayed and Chester is intact, so we couldn’t place them into a home with any other intact females. Chester is also aggressive towards other boys, so other intact boys were also out of the question. We’d pretty much be limited to adopters with no other pigs, who understood that they were taking on elderly animals and was prepared for the medical expenses that might crop up. That kind of adopter is pretty rare!

After several months of offering them up for adoption, we saw they were getting very few views on Petfinder, compared to our younger pigs. Since we were shipping up Gracie anyhow, we decided to ship them up as well, for entry into the Sanctuary. They endured the trip with good health and good spirits, despite having a leaky bottle and damp bedding by the time we made it home. They’ve already settled into the routine and learned when screaming makes the veggies come faster, and when it doesn’t.

We did have to make one special accommodation for these two: our cages are set up so that any empty cage I arranged for them would have to be next to a pair with an intact female. Regardless of how remote the possibility, we had to assume that Chester would scale the divider and impregnate the sow next door, so we had to modify the divider to prevent this. Fortunately, an advantage of having fat piggies is that they aren’t quite so athletic. He’s shown no interest in the other side of the divider at all!

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