The question came to me the other day: do kitties have angels? How did two tiny orphaned kittens, not much more than two weeks old, born under our mobile home, know to go towards a tiny bit of light they saw seeping through a vent?  How did they know to go right to the only spot I could have reached them?  How did they know I WOULD rescue them?  They had no adult cat to direct them.  So do kitties have angels?  I think they do.

Here is a remarkable story, done in diary form, of how two orphaned kittens, about two weeks old, found their way to my care.

For quite some time now, I have been feeding several neighbourhood strays. Two of them, a male and female - wild, but beautiful - Siamese are offspring of Keeper.*  I had not seen the female Siamese at the feed dish for quite some time. I had suspected that she might have had kittens some place.

 

Part I:

Friday, June 17, 2005

At 4 pm, when I went with Rocky to get the mail, I heard a loud mewing sound coming from under the house.  Rocky and I scrambled around, trying to find an opening where a cat could have been trapped.  We went to the vent just under our office window.  With a hammer I pried off the cover.  Reaching down, I pulled out a very tiny Siamese kitten, probably no more than 2 weeks old, still unstable on its feet. I took it into the house and fixed up a cat carrier for it.  I know that cats often cannot tolerate dairy milk, but that is all I had to offer it.  So, after supper I started off to the store to see what else I could get for it -- maybe pabulum or something. Just as I was leaving the house, I heard another loud mewing.  Going to the same spot, I pulled out a black kitten.  So now, here I was with two very young kittens on my hand, and NO mother cat.  I had to become an instant mother. I came home from the store with Whiskas cat milk. But I still was not satisfied that this milk was enough.  The kittens should have some sort of supplement, as they would have had on their mother's milk.  But what could I do at 8 pm? I had a medicine dispenser, with a kind of dropper top, so I used that to feed them. I was up a couple of times during the night to feed the pair. The black kitten, I temporarily named, Black Beauty. The white one, I decided I would call Billy Boy (for now). 

Saturday, June 18

We got a can of cat's mother's milk, expensive, but necessary for the health of the kittens.  After getting the mother's milk and some canned chicken cat food, I mixed them together and began spoon feeding the kittens.  I did that for a few times until bedtime, and then I fixed up a mixture and put it in tiny containers and encouraged them to eat on their own. I tried saucers, but they just walked in the food. Black Beauty, who is much bigger and stronger, caught on right away.  Billy Boy, I had to spoon feed. 

They couldn't stay penned up in a tiny cat carrier for long, so I got some boards and made a barricade to keep them in the kitchen, where cleanup would be easy, and where they couldn't get into any dangerous places. I put down a few toys for them, and something soft and furry to play with.  I was used to watching where I stepped while I work around the kitchen, as this is not the first time I have been nurse mother to kittens.  Scooter had to be babied at first when we took Keeper away to the Vet's last October, and E~Z was very undernourished when he came almost three years ago.  He was older though, about 10 weeks old when he came to us.  Another mystery that makes me think kitties have angels. How could a kitten so young, lost or abandoned, find his way to someone who would care for him, and how did he survive in cold, rainy October weather? {But he did and now he is a very big kitty.} 

I use the clumping kitty litter for the rest of my cats, but when I put the tiny new kittens into it, it stuck on their feet, and they started to eat it.  I knew I would have to get something safer, as clay-based litter would be very bad for them, if ingested. So, off I went again to the store in search of something safer for the kittens; although both Scooter and E~Z survived through the clumping litter.  I came home with something I had heard of before, called Swheat litter.  It is made, as its name suggests, from wheat.  I put it in a shallow box, putting each of the kittens in and holding their front paws, scratching the litter to show them how.  Right away they caught on.  Now they have a bigger pan, but still separate from the big kitties' box. 

Sunday, June 19

I am amazed at the progress the kittens have made in 24 hours.  Both of them are eating now on their own.  Nine-month old Scooter is very curious about these two new "things" and has sniffed them out, but is not yet brave enough to play with them.  E~Z (Ezee) is jealous of them, as he is "MY BABY," Casey and Casper have both ignored them, and Keeper - their grandmother - hates them.  No mother instinct left in her.  She lost it all in December when we had her fixed.

Rocky, with his great shepherding instincts, has taken on the role, as he did with the other two - E~Z and Scooter - of guardian.  He got into their enclosure and was playing so gently with them.  And to think, when we took Rocky at 17 months old, in 2002, he was dubbed "a cat hater!"

Monday, June 20

I took away all the barricades and decided it was time for the kittens to explore their full surroundings.  After last night's struggle at trying to make a kitten-proof barricade to keep the kittens in, I decided it was easiest to let them run free.  And they eat from a small bowl now -- cat milk mixed with chicken cat food. Scooter is having a ball, playing with them.  EZ looks interested in joining in, but instead, comes to me for an "ear nibble," a habit he has had since I brought him home nearly three years ago.  He and Scooter were great playmates when Scooter was small.  Casper, 9, and Casey, 3, looked on with mild interest. But Keeper will have nothing to do with these little intruders.

Keeper

Tuesday, June 21

Well, we made it through the first day of "kitten freedom" without incident.  It is amazing how fast those little guys have developed in 72 hours that they have been here.  They are running around with the big kitties now, and Black Beauty even tries to eat the hard cat food.  But of course, I still put their mixture down. 

Still no mother Siamese.  I fear something has happened to her.  I know that Racoons kill or maim cats, and I have seen a racoon at the strays' food dish.  I chase him away, but he comes back.  Even if the mama cat came back now, she would not recognize, nor have milk for, her babies. The markings on the little white kitten aren't perfect for a Siamese. In fact, maybe that thief Racoon is his father (just joking, of course). How did this little kitten end up having a striped tail and a bit of a Racoon look to his face?  Quite funny! 

The kittens are not the least bit afraid of any of the cats.  They are interacting with the big kitties and us.  Rocky enjoys tussling them around.  Scooter plays with them, and last night we saw E~Z trying to play with them.  Grandma Keeper still hates them.  We pick them up and hold them while we are watching TV in the evening, and if they come around my feet while I am at the computer, I pick them up and cuddle them.  They still have the need for suckling. Last evening Black Beauty came up and was suckling on my blouse, and then he fell asleep on my arm.  He stayed there until I moved. They each have their own favourite places to sleep. For about two and a half weeks old, they are progressing very well. 

Wednesday, June 22

This morning I got a phone call from a neighbour, Dianne, asking me if she could have the Siamese kitten.  She said she had a mother cat with three, 3-week-old kittens.  Since Billy Boy is still not as strong or independent as Black Beauty, we decided it would be okay. So I walked over with the little guy, and told Dianne that if it didn't work out I would take him back.

Black kitty, BB for short, seems perfectly contented and hasn't missed his brother yet; but then, he has lots of company - people, dogs, and kitties ... Later – BB slept cuddled up to me most of the evening.  He wanders the whole house now, but always knows where to find us. 

 

Helen Dowd, Canada

 

For the next part of this story, please click here:

 

 

 

A Morning Kiss

A morning kiss, a discreet touch of his nose landing somewhere on the middle of my face.
Because his long white whiskers tickled, I began every day laughing.

Janet F Faure

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