Time to let you know how the kittens are doing after eight weeks.
The Kitten Posse has grown since the last update four weeks ago. There have been some concerns since then, but overall, all the posse members are doing well.
How the Kittens are Doing After Eight Weeks
More Kittens: The Back Story
I don’t know if I ever mentioned it, but the mother cats are three sisters from a year ago. A neighborhood cat who was quite friendly brought her kittens to the garage for food one very early spring. She had two males and three females.
One of the males disappeared within weeks. The other four took some time to acclimate to human interaction, but most of them eventually got friendly. Especially after their mother also disappeared. Sammy, Sassy, Sissy, Cloud.
Fast forward to this spring. Cloud had the first litter of kittens the first weekend in May, followed by Sissy the second weekend in May. The first weekend in June, Sassy had her kittens.
We last saw Sassy July 15. Since then, there’s been not so much as a glimpse of her (a pattern with feral cats, who seem to take great delight in leaving their kittens on our doorstep.)
The three kittens she left were old enough to feed outside so that’s what we did. The more we fed them, the friendlier they became.
Why They Came Inside
So friendly that my husband saw one of them following someone down the sidewalk. We couldn’t find a second kitten and it turned out she’d followed someone in the opposite direction. Fortunately, a neighbor found her.
Equally as fortunate, the little cat went to the neighbor when the neighbor spoke to her, and the neighbor returned her to us.
That was a pretty big scare because we live on a main street, where drivers don’t always exercise discretion. So we decided to bring these three inside, too, rather than risk having them get onto the street or get lost.
After a day of uncertainty and looking for places to hide, they began to interact with the other kittens. They’d never been afraid of us, so that made things easier.
Now the kittens all eat together, play together, and sleep together during the day. We still have them in separate lodgings during the night, these three in one place, the original five in another, and Pee Wee in her own “suite.” (More about her in a moment.)
But to see them all together, you’d think they’d been born in the house in one, big, happy litter.
The Original Five
The original five are doing fabulous other than ordinary health issues. They all have “real” names now. Bob and Bing (formerly Kittens 1 & 3,) Bud and Lou (formerly Kittens 2 & 4,) and Basil (formerly Kitten 5.)
We watch a lot of old movies, and especially enjoy the Bob Hope and Bing Crosby “road” movies, and Abbott and Costello. You can no doubt figure out where four of our names came from.
But what about Basil?
The Bob Hope movie, The Ghost Breakers, opens with a violent thunderstorm in New York City. One of Bob’s lines is, “Basil Rathbone must be throwing a party,” spoken after a particularly bright flash of lightning. I’ve always liked Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes, so this unexpected mention was one of my favorite lines from the movie. Basil gives every sign of being a lean and lanky critter. He also has the unique air of one with only one eye, so the name suits him.
By the way, Sorrowful gets her name from the Bob Hope movie, Sorrowful Jones, which includes a racehorse named Dreamy Joe. For a while, I considered naming Bing Dreamy Joe because he has such a dreamy gaze.
There are still occasional bouts with the sniffles. Bud seems especially prone to them, but he’s the smallest of the five, and was the smallest when his mother left him at our door.
At the moment, all five are also getting “moussed” for ring worm. That appears to be a never-ending battle, though I know from past experience it isn’t. I can tell you it was a lot easier treating ring worm on dairy cattle than on five squirming kittens!
And Then There’s Pee Wee
Pee Wee came into the house in late June. She’s sister to Brummel, Rebel, and Sorrowful, and when we took her in, her survival was in doubt.
Her mother, who wasn’t the most friendly of the three mothers, nevertheless kept the kittens around the house. When we discovered Pee Wee had an eye infection, Sassy let me take care of her. For a few days, I tended her outside, and left her with the litter. I could also feed them and they all seemed happy.
When I found Pee Wee with her face in the dirt on Friday, June 29, I called our vet and explained the situation. He told me what medication to give her and recommended bringing her inside. Her chances, he thought, were 50/50 or less.
We had to feed her with a feeding tube for about three days, and she never did learn to suckle a bottle, but she was four weeks old by then, and should have been eating off a plate. We continued treating her eyes twice daily and started her on antibiotic.
After six days of that, Pee Wee started showing an interest in solid food, and once she tasted it, she never looked back.
She weighed 6.7 ounces on June 29. On July 23, she finally topped one pound, weighing in at 17.96 ounces.
Pee Wee’s Recovery
I don’t know if it’s genetics or a rough beginning, but she’s the tiniest of the group. Compared to Lou, who’s about four pounds, she’s positively puny. You’d expect her to hang back and be wary.
But not a bit of it. She runs for food among the rest, and pushes in among the rest while eating.
When she plays with them, she yells like she’s being skinned alive, but the moment her opponent lets her up, she’s on all fours, back arched, tail in the air, and threatening severe retaliation.
Usually until she gets bowled over again.
She’s a delight to have around, very affectionate and entertaining.
And her run is priceless! I need to capture it on video and post it.
We do have to be careful moving around, especially in the kitchen, since she’s about the color of our carpet and she has no markings whatsoever. Lighted from above, she all but disappears!
So That’s the Eight Week Update
And all the kittens are doing better!
It wasn’t in my summer plans to mother nine kittens, but that’s where I am. While they’re fun and entertaining, they also make for a lot of work. Three extra litter boxes to clean. Meals to dish up, and cats to wade through. Try concentrating on anything while nine hungry mouths are swarming around your ankles!
And living with them is like wading through razor wire. Fortunately, they’re learning what a water bottle means and they usually respect it. Still, I keep triple antibiotic ointment on hand!
Lot’s of it!