Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Rest of Day 2 and Day 3: Temper, Temper

Miehiera is quite tempermental. She'll be fine with me one second, then gruffing and nipping the next.

From Day 2...
I continued throughout the day to pick her up and hold her, and offer her the bottle.

I picked her up from her crate and I barely noticed her gruffing. She did for a second and stopped, then tried to move away but I grabbed her. I held her and she was more frantic this time, but I did get her to take a bottle a bit. She lapped from my hand first, then took a bit from a bottle. She settled down somewhat after that, and I let her roam my room a bit more. She promptly pooped on the floor, which I put into her litter box and her back into her crate. She didn't gruff at me at all while I was moving around in her crate. Afterwards I put the poops 
into the litter box, she very cutely covered both of them, nosing litter over top of them.

I fed her a nice dinner, but later I was told I should not give her veggies as they cause bloating, so she's not going to get anymore, just kibble. She is a little bit food aggressive but will let me take the bowl from her if I'm careful.

I didn't want her cooped up in the crate all day getting no air, but I also didn't want to put her on the ground as she is not yet vaccinated, so I picked her up and took her outside and went into my backyard. I walked around with her, but she started getting growly and bit me hard enough to break the skin. She wasn't gruffing, she was growling, and continued to do so, trying to bite every time I reached towards her with my other hand. I make a noise the first time, and I ignored her, calmly walked inside, put in her the crate, shut it, turned off the lights and left her in the room. I want her to realize that biting me = going back into the crate. She's stayed in there for 

After her time out, I warmed up another bottle (note: do not warm up the milk directly in the bottle) and offered it to her. She did lap from my hand and took it for a little while, but she refused it after nursing for barely a minute. I made up her dinner and put it with her.

I did hold for a bit. I picked her up without much of a problem. She gruffed at me just a little, but after I picked her up she was really sweet, letting me pet her and she laid down, resting her head on my thigh. I even managed to get an all-natural aloe dry bath on her, mostly to clean up the stuff caught in her fur. She let me do that by rubbing her down. 

I put her back into her freshly cleaned crate, and she promptly pooped on everything, her tower, her toys, her box (I gave her a little cardboard box to play with - she's gone to town on that.), and peed here and there. She went everywhere except her litter box. She also spilled her water all over the bottom of her crate. Siiiigh.

She's became restless, so I let her out to explore the room, where she marked everything with feces and urine.

The room was really muggy, I only had one fan going. I couldn't take her out into the living room with AC, as my Grandmother has come over to spend the night and brought her Cocker spaniel, so I can't take Miehiera out in her crate to spend the night in the living room.

I ended up setting a fan by the door, pointing inwards so that I could pull in some cool air and blow it over the room. I also set up the fan so that Kissy, my Grandma's dog couldn't get in or the cats. It helped a lot but also  my family could smell her. My mom thought it stunk to high heavens. My dad smelled it, but my Grandma, my brother and I couldn't smell her.

My cat Amber has hidden in the bathroom, either because she is scared of the fox smell or my Grandmother's dog. Either way, she is rooted in there and hardly comes out. I do hope it is the dog as I do not want to deal with a growly, pouty cat.

End Day 2...

Day 3:

Miehiera woke me up around 7, crying and fussing and carrying on. I came in and while she refused to be held, wanted me inside. I stayed in with her, gave her some water and left once she has settled down.

 I just got her, and her belly is still bloated. She did not take the bottle.

She is getting a lot better about being picked up and held. She didn't scramble away when I reached in for her, she did open her mouth at me and hunch over, but nothing much. I held her and pet her for a bit and put her back into her crate. Hopefully my Grandma will leave soon so that I can take her out into the house.

I cleaned up my room, rolled the rug, covered up wires, tried to seal off cracks, etc, and she keeps going to bite me whenever I try to pick her up in my room. She's also nipping if I walk by the cage or put my hand on it, she will come over to bite it.

I really hate to stick her in the crate all the time, but she just won't behave. She's not going out into the living room if she can't behave in my bedroom and not bite. I can't find the spray bottle either, so I've resorted to clapping. Unfortunately that involves pulling both my hands away so she doesn't really get it.

Miehiera has become quite bloated, but it's unclear if it's because of stress, her diet or worms. Time will tell, but I will worm her again in about a week or so.
I will also be giving her Canine Spectra 7 in two weeks, so that she can go outside. I don't want to risk her health by potentially exposing her to parvo or some other dangerous disease.

I cleaned out her cage once more, and of course she made a mess right after, tearing up newspaper, pooping and spilling her water. 

Miehiera is now asleep, and I'm tired, but we're barely through the day yet.

I also must go to camp tomorrow. I will hold her, pet her and feed her before I go, take a shower and leave, so I'll have to get up a bit earlier than usual.

I have to admit that I am frustrated with her. I know that it's unreasonable to expect her to be nice, but all the other arctic fox kits I've seen are playful, cuddly, and kind even at her age. Miehiera is just the opposite, she refuses to play with me, doesn't like to be held and is still going in to bite me. She is destructive and untrusting.

I know that a lot of fox owners have had a similar scenario to mine, having their kit be affectionate, kind and playful when they are in the car on the ride home, aggressive and standoffish once they are home, then warming up after a few days, but I hope I do see that change soon, as I am becoming disheartened. 

Patience, patience.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day 2: Babysteps

A little past 3:30 am in Michigan. I was woke up by the sound of Miehiera crying. It sounded like a puppy's cry, except somehow more raspier and urgent.
I went in, pulled her out and held her. She was not gruffing or nipping at me anymore when I went to grab her, but she still cowered.
She's started to get better about being held, but would still try to claw her way over my left arm to get away.

I gave her some food and water, and I put her little poops inside the litter box. She ate a bit of solid food, the first time she's eaten since she got home. She had completely shredded apart her newspaper playing with it, so I put down puppy pads instead later in the crate. She's loves that  striped shirt though, she will go hide in either that shirt or on top of the cat tower whenever she gets scared, or even the litter box.

Even though she doesn't want to be held she starts crying again when I leave the room. :roll: 
I stayed in the room for awhile, then once she seemed sleepy I left to go sleep on the couch. 
Perhaps I should have called her Scooter, because she crawled around and scooted around on her belly to get wherever she wants to go. From the corner to the food dish she slid across the bottom of the crate.

About six hours later I woke up, and went into my room. She was awake, and no longer gruffing at me, which was pretty exciting.
I figured it was time to clean out her crate. I dumped the litter into a plastic bag and put it in the garbage. I let her out to explore my room some more while I continued to clean, picking up the newspaper and laying down pads, re adjusting where the tower and litter box were, and I gave her some water, but no food. I plan on trying to get her on the bottle, which I have offered it to her twice this morning with little luck.

As she was exploring, she started to head towards an area I didn't want her to be in. I grabbed her. She got scared and bit me, breaking the skin. However, this was my fault as I should have known better than to just scoop her up without warning, as coming from above can make her think it is a raptor picking her up for a little fox treat.

I put her in her crate, where she gruffed angrily at me. I gruffed back rather loudly. She then stopped gruffing herself and stared at me like she was surprised!

I left her alone to cool off for awhile, but around 11 am I came back with a bottle. I reached in an grabbed her. She gruffed at me, but once she was in my lap she was shockingly calm, sitting there and letting me pet her. She wasn't trying to get away, but just sat there, no clawing, no climbing over my arm. She gruffed once or twice, but it was a few little notes and not a full blown temper tantrum. I pet her, and she looked up at me. I'm really quite surprised. I did offer her the bottle but she was uninterested

Once I put her back in, she kept gruffing at me, but didn't flinch, jump away or cower when I reached in to correct her puppy pad which she had started to turn over.
I suppose this is progress - as she is not scrambling to get away when I hold and isn't flinching and jumping back as nearly as badly as she was. She's also stopped mouthing me. But she is back to the gruffing/bluffing with me.

Consistency and babysteps are what I need. I've talked with other fox owners and lot of them said their babies had very similar behavior - sweet and affectionate on the ride home, then standoffish and stressed when they got home. After a few days they cooled off. So hopefully Miehiera will do the same

I also must say it feels almost wrong to call her Miehiera. She seems to wild right now to have a name. I think when she's tame enough she will have earned it, but for now it feels sort of wrong.

As far as the stink goes, lighting a candle or two really helps. I am no longer overwhelmed by the smell when I go in, but it does stink around her change, not surprisingly.

Unfortunately our two video cameras are dead and I can't find the chargers. My phone is also dead and the charger has been lost for awhile. 

My camera doesn't take video just pictures. So, no videos for awhile.

I leave you with this adorable picture of her sleeping in the litter box, where she is right now.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 1: Homecoming

So... here's how exactly my whole adventure went.

We left town around 3:40 pm, right after I got out of camp. 

We drove 2 hours to Auburn, suffering through some terrible roads in Ohio. 

When we arrived (25 minutes early).

We were welcomed in, and I picked out my kit out of two. The other one seemed somewhat skittish and frantic, while the other one was pretty chill, and I chose that one.

We walked back to the cabinets and desk. I held her, and she scratched up my left arm a bit crawling up to my shoulder and tucking her head there. I gave a big whiff of her fur, but I couldn't tell if she smelled or the room did. Either way, it smelled oddly similar to barbecue sauce. 

We got our paperwork, bag of food and some puppy training pads. We thanked Tammy and Alyssa and walked back to the car.

I put the kit into the travel container. She seemed to panic for a second, but as we were going down the road, a foul smell came from the crate. She had pooped, and now seemed content that the crate smelled like her. I smiled and scratched her.

My dad was making a fuss, and at the gas station down at the road, we pulled out the badly-soiled towel and threw it away. Miehiera had decided to smear it all over the towel, so there was no chance of saving it. I put a pad into the crate, put her inside, and went to the gas station to wash my hands.

When I got back, Miehiera's demeanor shifted dramatically. She was biting at the metal bars, and grunting at my mother. She was clawing the cage, and had soiled the pad. Again.
When I got in the car, she calmed down. She looked at me, gave a little grunt as if she were content and went to the back of her crate. 

I reached in, pulled her out and the soiled pad. I had a poopy pad in one hand and a fox in the other, so I couldn't very well get out and throw it away. My mom took it for me. Miehiera settled into my lap, laid down and tucked her nose into the crook of my elbow. 

I put in another pad, and put her back in. She paced for a bit, but finally settled down. We continued down the road sailing smooth.

About half way back home, about an hour away from home, she fell asleep, but was rudely woken up at toll road. She sat in the cage for awhile and tried to sleep but couldn't.

I looked away and became distracted, when about 3/4's of the way home I heard a little 'thump'. I looked over and my heart melted. Miehiera was on her back, paws in the air, and panting, right next to me, looking up at me. 

I poked my fingers into the crate, and I scratched her on the bridge of her nose. Miehiera closed her eyes and panted happily. She turned her head, and I scratched her ear, and she once again seemed happy.

Miehiera then retreated to the back of her crate for the rest of the drive home.

When we got home, I pulled Miehiera's crate out and brought her into my room. My cat was already curious as I couldn't get her to stay away from my room. I chased her out and shut the door.

I set Miehiera's crate on the ground, and opened the door. She stared at me for awhile. I reached in, where she let out a little growl, and mouthed me. I wouldn't say she bit or nipped - she didn't bite down or break the skin, but she did put her little teeth on me. Then she pulled back and hid in the back of her crate, gruffing at me.

I figured it would be too traumatizing to punish her, and she hadn't actually bit me. So I set the little crate next to the big one, and she went right in. She climbed onto the cat tower, and gruffed at me. I've figured out at this point that gruffing means 'back off'. 
She then explored, tumbling onto and off her cat tower, nibbling at a stuffed animal, chewing on her kong and peeing on the shirt I gave her. She played with the dishes and stepped in the litter, which startled her when it crunched under her. One of the most interesting things she did was climb onto the cat tower and 'roo' at me. She pointed her little nose up and let out a little howl - 'roooo!' - in my direction.

She kept gruffing at me whenever I got too close, so I simply sat by the cage, talking gently to her. I eventually could reach in and get her dishes so I could get her some water and food.
I gave her that, and ate pizza and started to type this.

Right now, she is passed out on top of the cat tower.

Phew, it's been a long day.

I just hope she warms up to me more. I mean, she seemed to get agitated whenever I left her when she was in the little crate, and loved to be held and pet, now that she's in the big crate she seems to want me to stay back. What a moody little girl!

Surprisingly she was extremely mellow during the whole car ride. She was better than any puppy or cat I've had to transport. No crying, no fussing, no digging or scratching. She either laid down, came over to beg for a scratching or sat staring out of the crate -- unless I left or acted like I was leaving. It was then she would gruff and start furiously biting at the wire in her crate, and calmed down again when I came back.

And, I do note, she does stink. :lol: Whether or not it's because she rolled around in her doo-doo, was in a room with a bunch of other animals or simply stinks, I don't know. I didn't really clean her off.
She will calm down and let me pet her if she falls asleep, but if she really realize it she will rear her head and gruff at me.

Dave gave me some pointers, instructing me to grab her, and if I give into her gruffing she will just keep pushing her limits. 

So, I'll grab her, sometimes getting mouthed and nipped. The first time I picked her up she struggled quite a bit, and peed on me. By the end of the night, cycling between picking her up, petting her, letting her roam the room, putting her back into her crate, she seems to have calmed down. The last time I picked her up, she struggled a bit, but she stopped gruffing at me. She sat on my knee and had settled down quite a bit.

Tomorrow, I'm going to put her on the bottle. I really need to create a bond with her, which I'm having a hard time doing right now. I admit it's a bit discouraging to talk to other arctic fox owners and they have smooth sailing and lovely little affectionate kits. I watched a video of a six week old kit running to his Human Momma, squealing with joy. He crawled under, poked his head out between her knees, then jumped up to lick her face. 

Wish me luck in getting through to her.

I'd wish I could get some good pictures of her- she was constantly scrambling around, and I only managed to get about one good shot of her while she was sleeping.


Climbing on the cat tower:

Almost got a good shot:

Nomming at the cat tower:


The only good shot I got so far, of her sleeping:


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day -1: She's Almost Home!

Tomorrow I will be picking up Miehiera in the evening! I. Can't. WAIT!

I have everything ready to go - her crate, of course, her harness, her leash, yesterday I got her bottle and today I got her formula in the mail from Fox Valley Nutrition! This formula is specially made for foxes, so there is no concern about low taurine content (in the case of puppy formula) or it being too rich (what some people have said about kitten formula).

I am very happy with the service I received. I ordered the formula Tuesday night, with the order being confirmed yesterday, and it arrived today! I am ecstatic, as I was concerned it would not arrive on time and I'd have to get a bit from my breeder until it arrived. 
For anyone getting a fox kit or nursing one, I would highly recommend Fox Valley Nutrition. Their service is great and their products are fantastic. I will be writing them a letter personally letting them know that I am so grateful for their quick and easy service.

Their website:

The page for the fox formula:

Even though Miehiera is old enough to be on a solid diet, bottle feeding is great for bonding her to me. I would recommend it especially if you are going to have an older kit. For older kits you can 'starve' them onto the bottle, which is not as cruel as it sounds. Even if they are on a solid diet it helps ensure you bond to them, which is especially important in the case of foxes as they are not as fully domesticated as a cat or dog.

It even seems to work with domesticated animals though, as I had bottle fed my kitten because she and her litter mates were orphaned. Four years later, she is a spoiled rotten lap-cat. That may just be her personality, but her brother, who was also very skittish as a kitten, loves attention as well. Maybe a coincidence, maybe not. :P

(Also, a sidenote: The formula smells like vanilla!
 I did a blind smell test with my brother and he agreed. It smells way better than kitten formula, which smells like grits. It's funny considering there is no vanilla from what I can tell in it.)

Here are some pictures of Miehiera that I was sent by my breeder, Dave:

(Is it normal that I went running through the house screaming when I saw these...?)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Day -9: Almost Ready to Go

June 6th has just arrived, nine days away from pick-up. We will be picking up Miehiera a little later than expected due to a bit of a mix-up, but we will be getting her all the same.

Her crate has been set up, where she will be spending nights until she is housetrained. Otherwise, she will have free-reign of the house and our large backyard. Once she's old enough she will be moved into an outdoor enclosure.

Inside the large dog crate, she has been provided with bedding, an old t-shirt of mine, a small cat tower, sturdy bowls for food and water, five toys, a litter-box and on top is her pink, rolled leather collar.

I can't wait to bring her home!