Kitten Posse Update: Two Years and Counting

Way back in May 2018 (seems like another lifetime, doesn’t it?) I first mentioned taking in a couple of orphaned kittens. Later, I posted a couple of updates on their condition. Now it’s been over two years since then, and I thought I’d give you a Kitten Posse update.

Or at least those that are still with us.

Kitten Posse Update after Two Years

Kitten Posse Update: The Original Posse Members

All of the original five cats still live with us. Basil, Bing, Bob, Bud and Lou have grown into fine, handsome cats. They are all healthy and happy, staying indoors at night, but getting outside as they wish during the day.

It’s been so hot the last few weeks that they’ve spent most of their days sleeping in cool, shady spots, but I have seen some chasing flying insects and hunting grasshoppers.

In other words, being cats.

Basil

We rescued poor Basil with bad infections in both eyes. His mother hid her kittens in a hollow of a tree, and dirt and debris was stuck to Basil’s left eye. When we cleaned the eye, the third eyelid appeared permanently closed. The eye eventually healed, but sealed itself, and we were never able to determine whether not there was actually an eye in that socket.

Basil still has a unique “air” due to the lack of a left eye, but that hasn’t hampered him. Much. He did have difficulty learning to climb and jump, requiring us to rescue him from high places a couple of times. But once he learned how to judge distance, he was fine. He now makes routine visits to the second story windows that overlook a low roof.

He’s grown into a lean muscled, long legged fellow, that doesn’t back down from opponents (even big dogs,) but is affectionate toward us.

One thing he hasn’t done is grow into his ears. They still seem too large for him!

Basil as a kitten.
Basil as a kitten. His condition in this photo is much improved from what it was when he first came into the house. His good eye has cleared up nicely.
Once he became accustomed to the out-of-doors, and especially climbing and jumping down again, he became a frequent visitor to the second-floor windows overlooking a lower roof.

Bing

Bing is a small dog in a cat’s body.

And a chatterer. He often greets us as the back gate when we’ve been away and escorts us to the house, talking all the way.

Pick him up and he automatically rolls over to have his ears rubbed. Sit down without him already on your lap, and he cannonballs into your lap. He is definitely not an old lady cat!

Bing went missing for two weeks in September 2019. We have no idea where he went or what he did, but he was in good shape when he returned. Maybe just a little lighter.

He now weighs in at around eleven pounds, which makes his floor-to-lap cannonball routine all the more startling for the unwary!

Bing as a kitten.
Bing in the early days. Two infected eyes and a touch of respiratory infection.
Kitten Posse Bing Now
Bing now, in one of his more dignified moments. He more often can be seen hunting grasshoppers, galloping around the yard, or lying upside down in Neal’s arms, getting his ears rubbed.

Bob

Bob, the first member of the Kitten Posse, looks a lot like his littermate Bing, but is much more reserved. He still has the dreamy-eyed expression that made him the subject of an old email drawing class.

He spent about a week as the only orphan. When the next two came into the house, he looked a little dismayed at having them in his overnight bed. Sometimes, he still looks that way!

Reserved or not, he’s still friendly and often comes inside to help me clean litter boxes even on nice days. Quiet he may be, but he likes being outside and is quite often the last one to come in. Most of the time, I have to go and get him.

Once or twice, he spent the night outside after mysteriously disappearing at evening.

Bob as a kitten.
Bob was the first and, for a few days, the only kitten. He started out a little rough around the edges, as you see in this photo. But he responded well to treatment and looked much better a week later.
Bob now
Bob is still a bit aloof as an adult. Friendly, but dignified. No displays of adoring affection; he likes attention, but on his terms.

Bud

Bud was the smallest of the original five and had persistent respiratory problems. Despite that, he was playful. I have photos of him tussling with the others, playing around the keyboard while I worked, and napping with the younger kittens.

He was “best bud” to Ember, a young adult female about two years older than he. She was never well, and usually ate best when Bud ate with her. When she died early this summer, Bud seemed a little lost.

He continues to have respiratory problems, though they seem to have settled in his sinuses now. It amazes me that he remains so friendly after all the treatments he’s put up with it. He’s like a bucking bronco to medicate, and hides if he sees us with a pill popper or syringe (even if they’re not meant for him.) But through it all, he remains affectionate.

Bud as a kitten.
Bud as a kitten. Despite his apparent health when this photo was taken, Bud grew up with the most persistent health problems.
Bud as an adult. He looks pretty good in this photo, though his face is a little dirty and his coat a little rough. When he has trouble breathing, he doesn’t groom much and it’s up to me to comb him and clean his face. He doesn’t mind the combing. He thinks he could live without the face cleaning, even if I follow it up with some chin chucking. Poor fellow. I feel sorry for him.

Lou

Lou is still the biggest of the five and tops out at twelve to thirteen pounds in the winter. During the hot summer months, he slims all the way down to about eleven pounds.

Despite his size, he’s pretty mellow with us. Definitely an armful when carried.

He behaves toward the non-posse-members as though he’s boss (or wants to be,) so he sometimes spends afternoons inside to prevent his running the older cats off.

Like Bud, Bing, and Bob, Lou suffers lingering respiratory problems, though nothing as severe or persistent as Bud. A little face cleaning now and again is all he requires.

As of the date of this writing, I’ve been unable to get a good photo of Lou as an adult, but will add one when able. Just imagine Bing mostly white, and you have the idea. They are built a lot alike and no wonder. They are litter mates.

Lou as a kitten.
Lou as a kitten. The biggest then, though not the toughest.

Later Posse Members: Pee Wee and Her Siblings

After the original Kitten Posse was settled, we took in four other kittens. Pee Wee and her three siblings; cousins to the original five.

One of them, Brummel, is no longer with us, but the others are doing well.

Pee Wee

Pee Wee is the smallest member of the Kitten Posse, though she’s grown more than I expected, given her poor health as a kitten. If there’s a “teacher’s pet” among them all, she’s it. At least in her own mind. If I happen to lean against the kitchen counter while talking to the chef (Neal,) it isn’t long before Pee Wee is as at my feet, gazing lovingly upward. If I pay no attention, it isn’t long before she takes matters into her own paws!

She also loves jigsaw puzzles, especially rolling around on partially assembled puzzles (while I’m working on them,) and loose pieces. She’s a good companion, but not much help.

Kitten Posse Pee Wee Then
The vet gave Pee Wee a 50/50 chance of survival when she joined the Kitten Posse. Bad infections in both eyes and a respiratory infection had her sitting around outside with her face toward the ground. Not a well kitten.
Pee Wee is now a healthy cat between six and seven pounds. Once the kittenhood infections cleared up, they did not return. Here she is on the computer chair, no doubt waiting for me to get back to work so she can “help.”

Rebel

Rebel has grown up to be as big as Lou, which is a surprise since he wasn’t remarkable for size as a kitten. He’s not the bravest cat in the pride, preferring to be safe rather than sorry. He gives the older neighborhood toms wide berth and sometimes also retreats from the three older females. He’s also cautious around strangers, though he’s friendly with us.

Make friends with him, though, and he’s all kinds of affectionate.

I’ve tried on several occasions to photograph Rebel as an adult, but he’s shy by nature and photographing a black cat in the shadows is challenging, to say the least!

Kitten Posse Rebel Then
Rebel came into the house pretty healthy. As I recall, the only reason he came inside was because his three litter mates came inside and their mother had disappeared.
This is the best photo of Rebel as an adult, doing what cats do. Looking for something to catch.

Sorrowful

Sorrowful is next in size to Rebel. She would like to be an outdoor cat, but is confined to the inside, because the outdoor cats simply don’t like her.

She also had one scare with a car (which I saw.) When she manages to sneak outside, she stays away from the street, but we keep her inside for her own safety.

Maybe, once the other Posse Members accept her, she can spend time outside. Until then, she gets time in her own upstairs room with an open window. Complete with all the amenities.

Kitten Posse Sorrowful Then
Sorrowful and her siblings (Brummel, Pee Wee, and Rebel) were like the younger children in a family. They didn’t get their pictures taken quite as often. Part of the reason for that is that they were over four weeks old when they joined the Posse. Another reason is that I was often too busy to take photos!

So That’s the Kitten Posse Update

Those orphaned kittens not only survived my mothering, but have grown into big, mostly healthy cats. For the most part, they grew up better than I could have hoped, given the rough starts a lot of them had.

It’s difficult to imagine life without them.

Or the experience of tending them as kittens.

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5 Replies to “Kitten Posse Update: Two Years and Counting”

  1. So cool to hear how the little fur persons are doing. Sounds like you have a houseful. You have a great big heart to take in so many little orphans. God bless you for that.

    1. Gail,

      Thank you!

      The nine members of the Kitten Posse were only the “first wave.” We had three more batches of kittens the following year, but the mothers were better at mothering and we didn’t have as many orphans. Sally is one of them. Sadly, her mother was killed this April. Only Basil, Bud, and Sally remain of the kittens born to Sissy over 2018 and 2019. Sally is the youngest.

      I’ll have to write about her some day. She’s the biggest chatterbox of the pride. I’ve never encountered a cat with such a rich vocabulary and that responds so well in conversation. I just wish I knew what she was saying.

      Or maybe I don’t!

  2. I had my own kitty when I was 12. He was quite a talker too. We joked and said he must have been part Siamese as he had the “monkey paws” too. He was very good at opening the kibble cupboard even when we put in a latch. I like the talkers. 🙂

    1. Most of our indoor cats can open the cupboards. You may remember Suzy, who had kittens last Fall. One of her favorite “nests” was in an upper cabinet. Her poor kitten kept falling out, but no matter how many times I moved them, Suzy kept going back. I got tired of washing dishes, so I moved the dishes and kept a thick towel on the counter.

      Suzy can also open cat food bags. The other cats sit around watching her and when she starts hauling out mouthfuls of food, then they join in. Opportunists!

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