The kitten situation has changed significantly over the past five days.
You may remember that I plucked Sun Volt off the deck and into our bathroom where he had a continuous source of kitten chow, clean water, sleep, and human attention. He was joined by one and then two of his littermates (now known as Luna and Galileo, respectively) who were a bit more hissy, but pretty much settled in.
Then … the next evening, we trapped the last two of the litter (Artemis and Ariel) who were also very mouthy with us but not aggressive or mean. Just scared and hungry.
They spent one night in the dog travel crate together and then I released the Kraken for one last time and gave them full access to the bathroom – wow! Our bathroom has been stripped of all shelving, decor, rugs, and more. We now have 4 boxes, a cat carrier, two litter pans, a big bag of pine litter, a cat bed, a feeding area with about 6 dishes, piles of clean rags and blankets, a giant hamper of dirty laundry hanging from the robe rack and five kittens in the bathroom. And my tablet which is playing WESA alongside the nanny camera.
It has been delightful and amazing to watch these kittens grow over just a few short days. We’ve gone from full throttle hissing at us while we pick them up anyway to reluctant nuzzling. Thankfully, nanny cam shows us that they are all eating, drinking, and playing PLAYING at full tilt.
Sun Volt had almost a full week of food and safety so he’s still the largest of the crew, but the others are slowly starting to catch on. I’m hoping that within a week or two, they will be caught up to his growth. It certainly doesn’t prevent them from tackling him or wrestling.
So this is our life until we get them to the vet for evals and assessments as well as testing to determine if they are healthy and not contagious. Once that’s determined, we can start considering integrating them into the larger house for more socializing and development.
How does everyone else feel about this invasion? Ana our Chihuahua mix is displeased, but laid back. She’s been struggling with some of her own health issues so mostly she’s camped out on the couch or our bed, sleeping.Our cats? Well, Simon is blissfully ignorant. Coco and Precious know there are new, cute kids on the block so they are wary, but curious.The ferals? Maylee and Mamma Mia are right next to the bathroom and hear every pathetic meow, each little growl, and all of the thudding. For the most part, they are hiding in their own cat tree. But when their human, Laura, goes in to interact with them – they begrudgingly emerge.
I’m on pins and needles until the day that we introduce Coco to five kittens. I fully expect Precious to be somewhat maternal and Coco to freak out. Not in a frightening way, but in a way that will amuse me.
So the plan now is to keep them in the bathroom, feed them many times a day, do endless laundry and dishes, high five if the litter box training works, and keep them safe. We are still waiting to hear from the foster care agency that we’ve been approved and they will handle the adoptions.
These kittens are a joy. We caught them at just the right moment – they were weaned, but not yet mean. They remind us of our connection to a larger world and yet keep us very grounded in day to day moments. They and their mama will be altered so there will be no more kittens in this family tree.
Are we going to adopt any of them? Probably, but we aren’t deciding until after they are vetted. Are we going to foster more kittens or cats? Well, this sort of happened to us unintentionally so if another pregnant mama moves in to our backyard or someone asks to do it, maybe?
What can you do to help? We are okay on supplies for now, but there are cat colony caretakers with 25-65 cats depending on them for food. You can help by donating cat food to those folks via our Cat Food Drive.
We are fortunate to be able to pay for the extra food and litter, especially because it is temporary. We do appreciate our friends sending us shipments of toys, litter, food, etc. There cannot be too many stainless steel bowls, silicone mats, fuzzy balls, or pine pellet litter. Ever.
Educate yourself on urban wildlife issues and policy. Cats are not wildlife, they are homeless domestic animals some of whom have turned feral. Feral is not wild. Feral cats need to be cared for and altered so they don’t reproduce and we have to do better by the cats and all of the critters. I’d like you to read these two (long) Q&A’s about feral cats and urban wildlife with local experts to get a better sense of the needs and policy issues.
Homeless Cats & Urban Residents: A Q&A With the Homeless Cat Management Team
Pittsburgh Wildlife Strategy & Urban Residents: Q&A with Scrap the Trap
And here are the photos …
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