NaBloPoMo Post #17
Cats, and Dogs, and Foxes Can Mix! All The Nyans, Part Eight
Despite the fact that Fennec foxes are the most social of foxes, and that they have been domesticated and owned as pets for many years, there are still the facts that they are actually wild animals,and they are very, very fast. So there are certain things you have to know about them before deciding to own one. Although they love to socialize and can become attached to their person, they aren't necessarily lovey, snuggly pets like other mammals. They must be on a leash and preferably a harness if you take them outside, and they don't usually even like going outside or going to visit other places. They like their own little territory and their own people and pets and are shy with others. They spook easily, especially by noises. Their big ears are so sensitive they can hear very well, and something we think isn't very loud can seem explosive to them. So if they were to get out of your arms or off their leash, they could run off in fright and you might never get them back. They should be housed indoors exclusively and if you do have them outside, they have to have a structure specially built for them that they can't dig under or climb or jump out of.
Remi became very loving almost right away. He doesn't want to be held often or for very long, but there are times when what he does want is to be petted, cuddled, and snuggled, and he absolutely loves his mom, Eler Beth, and all of his cat and dog siblings.
Fennecs can be litter box trained, but not always, and Summer makes it plain to any interested buyer that this is the case. Even when they do use a litter box, they don't always use it. We were pleasantly surprised with Remiel in this area, too. From the beginning he started using the litter box. He has a small "corner" box in his condo, and there is the larger box in Eler Beth's room that he and the cats use. He almost never has an accident, as long as the boxes are kept clean. But if he comes out into the rest of the house where there is no box, he might leave a "golden nugget" on the floor as he's playing. He spends 90% of his time in his room -- which is what he prefers -- so that's not a big deal.
Eler Beth has trained him to sit on command for a Cheerio reward. I don't know if he'll ever learn anything else -- and really, we don't expect him to -- but he at least knows that he'll get a Cheerio if he sits. It's very cute to watch him do it, too.
Bryant had proved he was good with babies. When we introduced him to Remiel he was very excited. As far as he was concerned we had brought him a new baby to take care of. We only let them have time together under supervision while Remi was so small, as we were doing with the kittens. But soon, as the little ones all started growing quickly, Bryant discovered that cats and Fennec foxes like to play, and he was happy to stop trying to clean them and just play with them.
Remiel became acclimated to his new room and his "condo" very quickly. He also decided that he really liked Little Bit's dog bed. And he LOVED Little Bit, who of course hated him! Little Bit is a toy fox terrier, 9 years old, and very set in her ways. She doesn't want ANY new animal on the premises, much less babies of any kind. She is very possessive and protective of me, but she had to learn to put up with Bryant, and now she was going to have to learn to put up with the kittens and the fox. She sleeps in Eler Beth's room at night because she is not allowed in our bed, and she will try to sneak in if she's allowed to roam the house at night. I don't like to keep our door closed all night long, so the solution was to make her sleep in Eler Beth's room.
At left, Little Bit trying her best to ignore the sleeping Remiel, snuggled up behind her bed.
At right, we've given Remi his own plushy bed, and he snuggles up beside his plushy rabbit.
Remi began doing his excited "Whee! Whee! Whee!" call whenever Bryant or Little Bit came into the room. If "mom" (Eler Beth) left the room and came back in, he would "Whee!" And he even started doing it when I came in or if he could hear me or Thomas coming down the hall. He developed a little game to play with me. As soon as he knew I was coming in, he'd grab a toy, "Whee" all over the room and "keep" me from getting it. He'll lie down with it in his mouth, "whee'ing" the whole time, and I'll say, "You give me that toy," and either try to take it (and fail, of course) or just give him a good petting. It makes him so happy to think he's keeping that toy from "grandma!" I'll have to get a video of that.
To the left, me with a fox sleeping on my head. :)
Not long after we got Remiel, Eler Beth and I went on a five-day trip and we took Remi with us. The kittens we left at home, and Thomas took care of them. He got so attached to them that by the time we got home, he said we could keep them if we wanted. We had felt that he was turning toward that decision but we hadn't dared ask, so we'd just been kind of holding our breath. Now we could breathe. It was a good thing, too, because Remiel, Illyana, and Soren became fast and loyal friends. As far as the cats were concerned Remi was just one of them, and he, because he'd nursed with kittens, seemed to think it was just a matter of course that he had cat siblings in his new home.
So Eler Beth was very happy. She had Bryant, her companion dog, her best friend, who came to us at a time when he was really needed. She had her fox that she'd planned for for 8 years. And she had cats in the house, which she thought would never happen again.
And in June there was to be another addition to the menagerie....
(See previous posts for more of the kittens' and Remiel's stories.)
~ ~ Lori