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fall leaf

Cats and More Cats

The past two weeks have been filled with cat events for us. Kitty Boy disappeared for 48 hours and we thought we'd lost him until he appeared again, as if by magic. The intervening time was filled with fraught searches in the woods surrounding our home and beyond. Bobo and we really missed the little guy and think he was adventuring only to be caught short by one of the numerous rain storms we were having at that time.

Then, a day after Kitty Boy's return, we discovered that a feral cat had given birth to kittens under the house addition's overhang. The cat had been seen from time to time and wasn't one that Bobo and Kitty Boy liked. We'd assumed it was a traveling male.

There were three kittens in a pile Friday evening and the mom had run off. We put out some food for her by the kittens and left them alone for the night. In the morning we saw that one kitten was some distance from the other two and looked slightly bigger. We decided to move the other two and had a shock when Molly picked them up. They were attached by their umbilical cords. Normally after giving birth the mother cat removes the sac surrounding the kitten and cuts the cord with her teeth. In this case there was at least one sack still attached and the umbilical cord for the other kitten wrapped around it. About 2 inches at most separated the kittens.

Molly called our vet and they explained what we needed to do. Tie off the cords and cut above the ties for reach kitten. So we were on our hands and knees under the house addition performing minor surgery and then we moved the two kittens to their litter mate. We left more food nearby and left the kittens alone to see if the mother would come back.

The mother cat did come back, not touch her food, and remove the healthy kitten to another, as yet unknown, spot. The two kittens were heartbroken and calling. Molly went into town to get kitty formula and a bottle, with the hope that by the time she got back the mother cat would have returned and taken at least one of the kittens.

Late Saturday afternoon the mother cat hadn't returned, so we brought the two kittens inside and began to feed them. It'd been cool outside and their little bodies were cold to the touch and they barely moved.

Feeding kittens is something we've never done and just that aspect has been an adventure. We moved from a baby bottle type affair for small animals to a much better Catac bottle which has better nipples and allows much better control. Feedings occur two hours after the last feeding has finished, day and night, and we've been lucky to accomplish anything else the past week.

The kittens seem to be thriving and are into the second week of hand feeding. Survival in instances like this is chancy and we've not given them names, calling them Gray and Blondie because of their coloration.

    This is Gray napping after a feeding. This photo was taken on May 26th. (We began feeding the kittens on May 22nd. I write we, but Molly has been the primary feeder with me assisting.)
  And this is Blondie, again napping after a feeding. This photograph was taken on May 29th.

Bobo and Kitty Boy have been very good in the circumstances. They've had to stay in so they won't drive the mother cat off, though we have no idea how the third kitten is doing or where it might be. The mother cat does appear for food but won't let anyone be within sight of her. We've had glimpses and that's all.

Memorial Day we'll be changing to a new feeding schedule with more time between feedings. And it won't be quite as necessary from now on to keep the house at 85 degrees. We'll keep everyone posted on what's happening.




They are really darling!!! Good luck with the kitty raising!