Saturday, August 31, 2013

Gale: Bitten Kitten!

Good news for Gale! We were worried about the strange bumps on his forehead, especially when they seemed to get bigger almost overnight. They were side by side, just above his eyes, in the middle of his forehead. It almost seemed as if he was growing little ... well ... horns! 

Should we start calling Gale "Hellboy?"
 At first, we thought Gale might have bumped his head, but since there were two lumps, and since they had changed size, we started to worry. What if this sweet little guy had a tumor?

Gale didn't act like a sick kitten. He still ran around, jumped, and played with his litter-mates, still had a good appetite, and didn't seem to have any hearing or vision problems. Still, this just didn't seem normal. So, even though funds are tight, we decided that another trip to the vet was in order.

As before, we decided to load the whole kit 'n' kaboodle into the carrier so that Mama wouldn't stress out over her missing kittens, or vice versa. Also as before, the awesome staff at Acoaxet Veterinary Clinic all gathered round for their dose of floofy kitten cuddles.  But this time, instead of Rue, it was Gale in the hot seat. Dr. Hall examined Gale and didn't find anything wrong, but he could definitely feel two bumps. We'd  hoped they could avoid shaving his head, but unfortunately, it looked like Gale was going to get a mini-Mohawk.

Whatchu lookin' at? I think Joe Strummer rocked this haircut once.
 Poor Gale! When the vet took him into another room to shave his head and aspirate the wounds for biopsy, he made his displeasure known, vocally and VERY loudly. Poor Runway was frantic, running around the room and chirping at the door: "I want my baby back!"

When Gale returned, he had a new punk haircut and two clearly visible red bumps. We couldn't help but comment on his resemblance to the comic character Hellboy. And there were further indignities to endure: an antibiotic shot and worm medicine, which he proceeded to spit out all over the examining table. We couldn't really blame the poor guy. He's had a bad day.

"I gots boo-boo!"
The good news is that Gale's bites, while serious enough to need antibiotics, should recover within a week. We'll need to keep an eye on his boo-boos, apply hot compresses twice a day, and make sure his siblings don't go all True Blood on him again. We don't know who the biter is, but we strongly suspect Peeta, who was the very first eater, and has already used our hands and ankles as chew toys.

Just another day at Chez Kitten. We will be keeping an even closer eye on the growing clowder, moving them into a bigger room to give them more room to play as they move into this new, more active phase of kittenhood.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to Gale's medical expenses. They were higher than we expected ($128.62), but we've already raised one-fifth of the cost through donations, and the vet has graciously given us until Friday to pay off the remainder. If you'd like to help sponsor Gale, or any of the Hunger Games Kittens, just use the link below to donate. Thanks for following our story, and stay tuned for more kitty adventures!

And remember, your brother's face is NOT a chew toy!

Image credit: "Hellboy and Kitten" by Kory Bingaman, retrieved from

Friday, August 30, 2013

Gale goes to the Vet

Oh, No ... not the VET!
We are concerned about Gale, our lively little redhead. Five days ago I noticed a bump on his forehead and worried that he had hit his head during boisterous play with his siblings. I spent the next several days watching him for signs of illness or trauma: loss of appetite, listlessness, failure to use the cat box, or weight loss. He showed no real signs of illness but last night I noticed the bump on his head had grown into two bumps, side by side above his eyes.

Gale with his Mousie
I called the vet for an appointment and got one for tomorrow. The initial appointment will be $45.00, not including other charges for medicine, excision, or, worst of all, surgery.  
I’d like to ask anyone who can to sponsor this little one’s vet visit and treatment. Please use the PayPal link on our page to make a donation, large or small. Even a few dollars will help.

If you are not able to make a donation, perhaps you could post some good wishes for him on the blog to see him through this tough time and get him on the road to recovery, or share Gale’s status in the hope that others will come through for this rescued cutie. Thanks!

Sponsor Gale's Vet Visit

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Vincent: Man of the House

Vincent, loving the view from his forever home.

Vincent was a neighborhood cat with long, light-orange fur, an I-Own-This-Town strut, and a proud tail. For years, we'd see him around: marching through the back yard (making our cats crazy), playing with neighborhood kids, on the prowl for mice at the edge of the woods.

Surely, we thought, such a beautiful cat has a home. But no one seemed to know just where he lived.  He never wore a collar. And when we started seeing him out at all hours of the night, and begging for food on the back porch, we began to worry. Maybe this gorgeous, friendly cat really didn't have anyone looking out for him.

Our animal-loving neighbors reported that Vincent was one of the outdoor cats they were feeding. He really wanted to be an indoor cat, but another male cat they'd rescued was his sworn enemy. Could we help?

It was February. There was snow on the ground. And there was Vincent: his long ginger fur dirty and matted, so thin that his ribs and backbone stood out, but still purring when we picked him up. As clearly as any words, his beautiful eyes said, "Pet me. Love me. Rescue me!"

Vincent with his come-hither eyes.

We decided to foster Vincent until we could find him a good home, but we knew it wouldn't be easy. He was an adult cat, not a cute little kitten. His origins were unknown. He didn't get along with other cats. Worst of all, a visit to the vet revealed that Vincent tested positive for FIV, or feline immunodeficiency virus. While cats with the virus can often live long and healthy lives, they can be vulnerable to infection, and the virus can be transmitted to other cats through bites. It looked like Vincent would need a home without other cats.

Vincent had a few strikes against him, but he also had some things in his favor. He was an incredibly sweet, friendly, loving guy who loved nothing more than to be brushed and petted for hours. He had problems keeping food down at first, but as he got used to good food and regular meals, Vincent put on weight and gained energy, becoming more playful, and his fur grew even thicker, longer, glossier, and more luxuriant.

Vincent was posted on Petfinder and Maine Coon Rescue, and we put up posters of our "adoptable mini-lion," hoping to find just the right home for him. Then came the call that would change Vincent's life. Linda, a 92-year-old widow from Nantucket, had lost her beloved cat Snacker a few months ago, and she missed having an animal companion in her life. She had seen Vincent's picture, and something about him called to her. Could she meet him?

Vincent in "his" bed (but he does allow his person to share it).
After weeks of phone conversations, we made arrangements for Linda to bring Vincent back to Nantucket. It would be a long journey by car and ferry, but we knew that Vincent had found the perfect home, and a person who would give him all the love and attention he had gone so long without and so deserved.

It's always hard to say goodbye to a foster kitty, and it was especially hard to let Vincent go, but we had a good feeling about his new home, and we were so right!

Linda, Vincent's loving new mom, keeps us up on all his doings. Vincent has explored every room of her Nantucket home and made it his own. He loves smelling the window boxes from his sunny window perch, lounging on the porch, greeting every visitor at the door, and curling up for a nap in a comfy pile of pillows on the bed. Now a fluffy 15 pounds, Vincent rules the roost, and Linda couldn't be happier. "Thank you for restoring my lifeline with the world," she writes. "He makes it all worth living. What a joy he is!"

It looks like the joy is mutual. Linda, thank you for opening your heart and your home to Vincent.  We think he's found his purr-fect match!

Linda and the "Man of the House."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Peeta Steps Out!

Sweet little Peeta. Yes, he's a bit of a crybaby. Yes, he's something of a mama's boy. But there's something about his innocent little face, wobbly legs, and wooly coat that makes him impossible to resist.
Peeta and Mom

Peeta is the smallest of the three boys (only little Rue, the one girl of the litter, is smaller), but he's no slouch. Not only has he managed to jump up to the window perch on his own, he was also the first to try eating solid food. After Peeta took the plunge, Gale chowed down, and Katniss had a few bites. Only Rue is still holding back, but she's showing some interest, and we're sure she'll catch up to the boys soon.

Yay, Peeta! We're sure Mom is breathing a huge sigh of relief. Now, off to buy more kitten food!

"What's THAT stuff? I'M not gonna try it! Let's get Peeta..."
"He likes it! Hey, Peeta!"

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Hungry, Hungry Kittens!

It's a floofy ball o'cuteness!

They're small and fluffy and playful, and they're growing every day. Katniss is still the leader at 1 lb., 7.8 oz. ; Gale is not far behind at 1 lb., 7 oz.; Peeta is catching up at 1 lb., 5 oz., and tiny Rue has finally broken the pound barrier at 1 lb., .5 oz.

Mom Runway in a rare quiet moment

Meanwhile, none of them have started eating solid food, despite many attempts to introduce it. They still think Mama's Kitchen serves up the best meals in town! But the kittens are five weeks old now, so it is time for them to start being more independent. We expect the next week to be messy but fun, with more attempts to interest them in "kitten glop." Stay tuned! 

Peeta, a/k/a "Cry Baby Kitten." He's very vocal when he's hungry!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kittens on the Move!

 The Hunger Games kittens are four weeks old and coming into their own. Sure, they still like to snuggle with Mom and sleep in kitten piles ... some of the time. But they're much more active, exploring their environment. They're moving on up and out of the nursery!

Katniss, out of the box! (4 weeks)
Katniss leading the crew in the Great Escape.
They are starting to show their distinct personalities. Katniss is the leader, always the first to explore new turf. Peeta likes to splash and play in the water dish, as if it's his own personal swimming pool. Gale is rather bold, and prefers the heights of the bed, although we've had to pull him back from the edge a few times. Rue is the smallest, but by no means the shyest. Her eye infection is healing nicely, and she can hold her own in kitten wrestling matches against her bigger brothers.

Mama Runway, while still eating voraciously, is getting thinner. No doubt she's hoping the kittens will soon show interest in eating solid food, but so far, they're more interested in walking through the food dish than in actually eating the stuff. They have, however, been observed in the litter box--Peeta, especially, seems to enjoy kicking litter around. We can't say that they're actually using the litter box for its designated purpose, but we're hoping that Mom's example will guide them in that direction.

Peeta and Gale, 4 weeks
"Hey, have you tried that new sandbox thing?"
 Basically, they're changing from babies to kittens, and they're just adorable. Sturdy, sweet Gale is stunning with his bright blue eyes and red hair. Peeta's lighter ginger coat is developing beautiful tabby stripes. Katniss has a thick, plush  coat of soft grey fur, and little dilute calico Rue has the cutest, funniest smudge on her nose. They are starting to play with toys (we need to get them more of those), are spending more time running around and less time sleeping, and are starting to talk more, demanding to be noticed--as if such cuteness could go unnoticed!

For her part, Mama is less nervous when they're running about, more willing to let them venture from her side for short periods of time. She even seems to enjoy some alone time, lounging on the floor or in her window perch. After all, even the best mother needs a little break from the kids now and then.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Brave Little Rue!

15-oz. Rue faced her captors bravely.
What kind of birthday is this?

The kittens are one month old today. They are growing, romping, meowing, and starting to get braver and more playful. They're ready for adventure!

But going to the vet? That's not really the kind of adventure poor Rue had in mind. Rue was showing signs of an eye infection, though, so she went for her first car trip to see the kind and cat-loving people at Acoaxet Veterinary Clinic. And just so she wouldn't be scared at being all alone, Mama and the rest of the kittens came with her.

The other kittens weren't all that happy about having to go in "the cage" to a strange building, even if they did get to have lots of strangers ooh and ahh over their amazing cuteness. The vet techs had a hard time figuring out which kittens were male and which were female because they were "just too FLOOFY," but Dr. Mailloux blew the floof aside and determined that we have THREE boys and only one girl--little Rue. So Gale, Peeta, AND Katniss are all boys, which means we may need to come up with a new name for Katniss. Any ideas?

Meanwhile, Rue was very brave through her ordeal, even though she had to have yucky yellow dye put into her eye and have the vet examine it under a bright light. The good news is, she has no scratches or structural damage. The bad news is, she does have an infection, so she's now on antibiotic treatment. So far, none of the other kittens show signs of anything, so we're hoping that by catching and treating it early, we'll make sure the infection doesn't spread.

Orange (Cat) is the New Black:
Felines behind bars!
 Through it all, Rue was a real trooper and barely made a peep. We can't say the same for Peeta, alas. He screeched loudly whenever anyone dared pick him up: Mama's boy all the way!

We were hoping to get the kittens dewormed today, but they're still too small, so we'll have to wait and give them their medicine after they pass the 1 1/2-pound mark. Here are their official one-month weights:

Katniss:  1 lb. 4 oz.
Gale:      1 lb. 4 oz. 
Peeta:     1 lb. 1 oz.
Rue:       15 oz.

The vet scale, I'm sure, is more accurate than the food scale we've been using to weigh them. But it's all good. According to Dr. Mailloux, one-month-old kittens should weigh about a pound, so everybody's right on target, and they all look healthy. And cute. And, of course, FLOOFY.

So, as the vet said, "Good job, Mama!" 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Feed the Kittehs!

It takes a village to raise a kitten. We are fortunate to have had help from friends and animal lovers over the years.

We feed our nursing mama cats a high-quality canned kitten food, supplemented by dry kitten food. As the kittens learn to eat solid food, they eat a special "baby cat" food designed just for young kittens. Food is the major ongoing expense for both moms and babies; there's also cat litter, blankets, toys, and bedding. Before they're adopted, kittens go for a vet check and get their first set of shots, and mom cats need to be spayed. We always appreciate donations to help with our fostering and rescue.

Sponsor a foster cat or kitten!
You can also go to PayPal and send a donation of any amount to If you'd prefer to mail a check, please email us for our address.

Miri's House in reality has existed for years. We'd like to take this time to thank all those who have helped with donations of money, time, loving homes, referrals, and advice over the years.

Big Purrs to: 

Lisa B., Somerville, MA
Lori B., New Bedford, MA
Samantha C., Warren, RI
Kimberly C., Warren, RI
Julie D., Somerset, MA
Lily Marlaina G., Somerset, MA
Christa H., Oakland, CA
Kendall K., Portsmouth, RI
Emily L., Portsmouth, RI
Linda L., Nantucket, MA
Kiersten M., Cranston, RI
Amy U., Newport, RI
The Crowley Family, Somerville, MA
The Kret Family, Newton, MA
The Rua-Larsen Family, Somerset, MA
C.A.R.E. Southcoast, New Bedford, MA
Animal Associates, Dartmouth, MA
Rhode Island Community Spay/Neuter Clinic, Warwick, RI

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Caturday's Child Works Hard (at Being Cute) for a Living

Four kits, three weeks. The Hunger Games Kittens--Katniss, Peeta, Gale, and Rue--turned three weeks old today, which meant it was time for their weigh-in. They didn't like it any more than we humans do (of course, we might not mind it so much if we were tiny enough to be weighed on a food scale)!

We're happy to report that all four kittens are growing apace. They are either closing in on one pound or have already passed it. This week, Katniss leads the pack at 1 lb., 6 oz., with Gale close behind at 1.4, then Peeta at 15.7 oz., and little Rue at 12.9 oz.

They still love to sleep kitten-pile style, but are more aware of their surroundings and have even made some attempts to climb out of their nursing box. Mom Runway is clearly proud of them, and who can blame her?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

New Family on the Block: The Hunger Games Kittens!

How do cats and kittens get to Miri's House?
Miri, the first mama cat fostered here.
Sometimes, we've taken in kittens from a local animal shelter, but usually, like Miri, they just find their way here. Maybe homeless cats leave invisible hobo signs pointing the way, saying "Good food, soft beds, high-potency catnip here!" Maybe not. But however they get here, we're glad these little wanderers find a safe stopping place on their way to a forever home.

Runway, the current mama cat in residence, was wandering around the neighborhood for a while. Sometimes we'd glimpse a little calico face peeking out from under cars or bushes. On a hot Fourth of July day, we got a frantic call from some neighbors. They had managed to capture the little calico, and she was very thin--AND very pregnant. Panting and terrified, she looked as if she were about to give birth immediately. But once released from the cat carrier, she calmed down and showed her true nature: a complete purr bug. With two weeks of high-quality kitten food, Mama grew ... and grew ... Finally, on July 20, she gave birth to four healthy and absolutely stunning kittens: one calico, one grey, one light orange, and one dark orange--the same number and coloring as Miri's kittens.

Runway with Peeta, Rue, Gale, and Katniss.
 Runway got her name from the cute little "landing strip" of orange under her chin, but what to call the kittens? We'd already had a "Harry Potter" family (Molly, Ginny, and Luna), so it seemed only right to honor another favorite young adult book series and name these plucky little survivors after characters in The Hunger Games. So, we have strong and determined Katniss, with the softest grey fur ever; Peeta, the fluffy ginger-blond boy with a gift for gab; sleek dark-red Gale, already a bold explorer; and sweet little Rue, the tiniest but very likely the brightest.

Right now, they still wobble when they walk, and they haven't really seen the world beyond Mama's side. But soon, they will be getting into all kinds of cute kitten trouble, the way kittens do. We'll keep you posted.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Welcome to Miri's House!

Miri's House is a small rescue that specializes in fostering mother cats with kittens. We occasionally foster older and hard-to-place cats.

The Miri's House blog features our adorable, adoptable foster cats and their seriously cute kittens. We love sharing photos and stories of our kittens growing up, and we especially love sharing our success stories of cats and kittens adopted into loving homes.

In addition to our fosters, we also have three resident cats, Duncan, Ian, and Molly, who may make an appearance from time to time.

Visit us for the cute. Support us for the animals.

Help us feed the Kitties! 

We are always in need of Royal Canin Babycat Instinctive canned food, Royal Canin Kitten dry food, non-toxic cat litter, and help with kittens' first vet visits and shots. Please send your donations  through PayPal. We appreciate any help you can give--from $1.50 for a can of kitten food to larger donations to help with medical care, cat supplies, and our dream goal: a safe, fenced-in cat enclosure.

Because we are a private residence, we prefer not to publish our address, but if you'd rather send a check, email us at mirishouse (at) Because young kittens are vulnerable to infection, we cannot accept donations of used bedding, litter boxes, cat trees, etc. Thank you for your support!