The Five are Three

The kittens are three weeks old today! Well, technically tonight…but close enough.

Clearly they won’t fit in this basket much longer. They are all in the 12 ounce range now, some are 12.5. All gained weight last week, and that’s what we like to see.

Our little girl with the icky eye, Buffy, is looking much better, thanks to her eye drops.

And these two, the orange boys, Spike and Oz,  are often together. When they’re not they often cry for the other one. Might have a bonded pair here…too soon to tell.  (And yes, there’s the Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme with these three.)

Our explorer extraordinaire, Pixel, continues his journeys, and is first to try anything new out.

And Jagger, our little buff boy…such a sweetie.

They are nursing well, though they don’t all fit at mom’s belly at the same time anymore. We will be trying to start them on some KMR (kitten milk replacer) soon, mostly to try to wean them so mom can be spayed and freed. She’s quite tired of being cooped up and she’s not quite friendly enough that we can let her roam in the cat house. So we’re trying to push the weaning by a tiny bit…may or may not work. And if not, momma is stuck with us a bit longer. She’s not terribly interested in the kittens, though she does what is required of her. But anytime she’s not nursing, she’s up on her shelf away from the kittens. She’s quite ready to go home!

In the meantime, the kittens are starting to look like cats, and developing their own personalities. Those unsteady legs of last week are steadier each day and climb over siblings without any problem. They are a bundle of adorableness on their way to being a bundle of mischief any day now. Our goal, in Derry Township Community Cats, is to NOT have kittens that need care, to get everyone possible spayed or neutered. But realistically there will always be some kittens. Last summer we were buried in them. Hoping this summer our ongoing work pays off and there are many fewer. And in the meantime, we’ll enjoy the little ones, who are just too cute for words.

Our Eyes Are Open: Two Weeks Old

I was out of town for a week and so much changes with kittens of this age. At two weeks old, they doubled in weight. They’re around 10 ounces now, headed to a full pound soon I suspect.

Their eyes are open, and they are able to stand, though they mostly wobble on those legs. Gotta develop a little muscle tone still!

One of the babies, the only female (we think) has a bit of an eye infection, but saw the vet this week and is on some nifty eye drops to help her with that.

But they can get themselves around now, even if it is a bit unsteady. Our tuxedo kitten, however, is the great explorer. He’s going to get himself over every barrier we can erect pretty soon.

Some of them are pretty vocal at times too, especially when separated from the rest.

 

They still sleep a lot, and huddle in a mass for their naps, which is just so stinkin’ adorable.

That’s the story of two week old kittens. They spend their days sleeping, toddling, and being adorable. Works for us.

Now We Are One (Week Old)

The kittens are doing well. All are gaining weight – up to 5 ounces at one week old. The eyes aren’t yet starting to open, but they are moving themselves around, dragging mostly but they are starting to stand a little. They prefer to be touching each other and utter little cries if they get separated from everyone. They still sleep and eat mostly, but here and there they are a little active. The tuxedo kitten, in particular, is the great explorer and climbed up on mom’s food dish one day. With their pudgy, full little bellies, they are an adorable group. Four boys and one girl, we think.

Twelve Hours Old

Sometimes you make plans and things go more or less according to what you expected. Other days, the universe has something entirely else in mind. Friday was one of those days.

We have a TNR clinic coming up Wednesday and the two cats to be trapped were supposed to be trapped sometime between Saturday night and Tuesday morning. We try not to keep the cats in traps longer than need be, but one of the caretakers trapped her cat Friday morning. We weren’t going to tell her to let the cat go, and try again in 48 hours, so in the cat came to our cat house.

She’s a pretty dilute torti, and we checked her in case she was lactating. No, but she did have clear nipples underneath, and she looked, well…round. Really round. As in, probably pregnant, though that’s difficult to determine with a cat you’ve never seen before who is crouched in a trap.

Because she was very docile with us, and since she was going to be trapped longer than we usually like, we put her in a dog crate instead of her trap. Some nice fleece, a litter box, food and water. A little easier stay than in the traps.

After my last pet sit of the day I decided to stop for a minute and just check on her. She’d used her litter box and eaten some food, so I was getting a litter scoop to do a quick clean for her when I started to hear a small chirping sound. It wasn’t coming from the female cat. Instead there was a little head popping out with a couple claws, and a constant bit of chatter from…you got it…kitten #1, who popped out of mom a minute later. Given the cold and rain outside, my irritation at the cat being caught early instantly changed to gratitude that she had a warm, dry place to deliver her kittens. Because my presence was stressing her out, I left her to the task without disturbing her.

This morning, mom and five babies were all doing well.

Mom isn’t totally friendly, but she hasn’t been mean or difficult yet either. She’s okay with us caring for her and the kittens if we do it carefully. And she’s ok with us touching the kittens, which will be a big help. These little ones are going to be socialized to the hilt over the next three months! They will stay with mom for 6-7 weeks until weaned, and then they have a foster home waiting for them where they will get introduced to the sounds of a real home until they are 12 weeks old and ready for their surgeries. Mom, if she is very nice, may go into an adoption program, but if she isn’t comfortable with people, she will be spayed in 8 weeks, and go back to her caretaker. We’ll just have to see.

In the meantime, these little ones – all of 12 hours old here – are so entertaining. They do two things…eat and sleep. Well, actually, three. They climb all over each other in order to belly up to the bar. They are just a tangle of bodies at times.

They are so used to a much smaller space that crawling all over each other out in the open is no big problem!

Eventually everyone finds a space at the bar.

And once they’ve had their fill, nap time is next.

When nap time is over…start climbing, eat, and back to sleep. Repeat. That will pretty much be their first week. Eyes won’t open for about a week, and they’re not terribly mobile either. They can’t control their own body temperature yet, so they are glued to momma for now. She takes a break here and there to pee/poop and get a snack, but she’s basically their bed and breakfast for the next while.

It is truly amazing that Derry Township Community Cats has TNR’d around 930 cats and we’ve never had this happen before. Wouldn’t want to have this occur every day, but I think we’re all going to have some fun with it while the kittens are with us. And though I don’t venture into politics here much, I have to say that the kittens are a lovely corrective to the hate and mean spirit flying around our country, and others as well, right now. I’m glad to have something positive to focus on in the midst of so much that feels negative.

Stay tuned for photo shots over the next three months! Should be fun to watch the little ones grow.

 

New Alliances

For those of you who have been following along, I’m abandoning my January challenge to myself. This walking pneumonia thing has been kicking my butt, chocolate or not, so I’m taking the time I need to recover, and not worrying too much about photographs right now.

In the meantime, I’ve been watching a developing alliance in the house. Since Thomas died a few months ago, Annie – who was attached to Thomas at the hip – has been kind of lost. Hiro is top cat in the house without question, and Stripe puts herself at the bottom of the heap acting like prey all the time. Several of our cats don’t give a damn about hierarchy and just get on with their days. But Minh and Annie had been vying for second place below Hiro, and there have been some uncomfortable days. But lately Annie seems to be trying to cozy up to Minh and I find them sleeping in the same chair some evenings.

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Annie seems more anxious for a new friend than Minh in general. I watched Minh stand on Annie last evening and bite her scruff after the two had been sleeping on the same chair. Didn’t seem affectionate to me, but what do I know? But Annie’s not giving up. She really needs a buddy in the house, and Minh has been tagged “it” like it or not.

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Both cats were born outside, and didn’t come in until they were older kittens, so these two have a lot in common. Minh is very happy to be around people, and Annie isn’t totally there yet, but she continues to make progress. Because Minh has been on my lap a couple of times recently Annie jumped up to join him before realizing it was a human lap she was on, and departing. But she’ll get there. I watch the budding alliance with great curiosity.

Jan Challenge, Day 17: Sunny’s Harem

Are you ready for some…kittens? (No, not football.)

I don’t know about you, but if you’re one of my regular followers, you may be missing kitten pictures. I know I was! Kitten season 2016 is passed, thankfully, and 2017’s crop is yet to be born, and hopefully will be smaller than last year’s, given all the TNR work we’ve done over the last 4 years. But this little crew was one that came in very late in 2016, and you never got to see photos of them. They were a little older when captured, close to two months, and they’ve been living with a wonderful foster mom, and her cat Sunny. This is another all-female litter (the vet thinks we specialize in them) and Sunny is enamored of his harem!

Meet Sunny:

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And his harem.

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They absolutely adore him!

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All, except Sunny, will be available from Castaway Critters very soon now.