How do you call the foster coordinator to tell her you’ve lost the nursing Momma?
I imagined the conversation would go something like this: “Don’t worry, it happens, she probably had an infection, or a heart attack due to all the stress. No, we lost her. I know. No, lost. She’s not dead, we cannot find her. You let her outside? No. We let her loose in the house to stretch her paws and she’s been missing for 8 hours. Do you live in Buckingham Palace? No, Fort Knox. We have cameras everywhere and alarms on all doors and still cannot find a trace of her. Not a shadow, not a sniff, not a meow. She has never meowed once anyway. She’s like a ghost.“
That was yesterday. We looked in every nook and cranny of our house. Under beds, inside pantry and cabinets, behind bookcases and appliances. Inside the armchairs and suitcases. Panic sets in. We have to feed the kittens. Oh no, we have to bottle-feed the kittens again. Will they take to a bottle now that they’ve had Momma for so long? Look, they like wet cat food! So we slowly fed them wet food by hand.
Around 2 am, Kodi started pawing at the drapes, and there was Duchess. Starving. Not a hint of guilt or remorse! We have no idea where she had been hiding all day. She’d been cooped up in that playpen for 3 weeks now and she’s a very dedicated mom. But she has to be going crazy so we decided to let her roam around. I am not sure we’ll do that again!
And she’s getting a collar, of a fluorescent color, with a bell, and a Tile™ on it!
Duchess is a feeding tube. Her entire life is about feeding her 5 kittens. She eats, poops and nurses. That’s it!
We have had her now for 11 days, and she has lived exclusively in the playpen since. It has to be boring. She hardly ever leaves her babies. She does pee and poop away from them, but she gets no exercise, no entertainment, nothing.
I was starting to worry about her muscle tone, since she lays down about 98% of her time (and remember we have a camera in there to check on the family). So tonight I took her into the bathroom, on her own, and let her roam around. There was at first no roaming, no walking. She snuggled next to me and let me comb her. I lifted her next to the sink and she started exploring, knocking stuff down off of the counter. That lasted a few minutes, and then she sat in front of the door and looked at me with a pathetic look on her face.
I brought her back “home”, and she laid down next to her kittens again.
She’s the most beautiful momma cat ever.
Not much to say here. All is good with Momma and her kittens. I want to brag and show you the most precious 12 day-old kittens in the whole wide world.
Momma cat has a new name, temporary since we are only fostering her. She is Duchess, named after the protective mother cat in The Aristocats. She is the sweetest, most devoted mother ever.
She came to us so traumatized. For days she would only eat if I fed her. The camera confirmed that she didn’t get out of her cardboard box. Now she sometimes sleeps away from the box, in the playpen, on a towel, sometimes even letting all the munchkins away from her.
She likes me a lot! She doesn’t know what a hug is, but she’s a lap cat. I comb her everyday, to get the filth off of her and as a trust-building activity. I now get kissed and headbutts from our Duchess.
She has no problem letting us her handle her kittens. Feeding is pretty much all she does all day. She has to be bored! She likes when she sees me walk into the room and climb into the playpen with her. I keep promising that I will grab a book and spend time with her in there, but I haven’t been good at that.
The only unpleasant thing about her, is that she has to idea what a litter box is for. I don’t know how to litter train an adult cat. I followed the advice found on the internet (place poop in there, placing her in the box and showing her how to scratch) but she doesn’t understand.
It can get smelly in there…
It’s been a rough night. Momma Cat doesn’t eat, doesn’t drink and doesn’t use her litter box. She clings to her kittens with all her might.
We put a bowl of dry food, of wet food, and of tuna fish in her playpen. And a camera for good measure, to track her whereabouts! I tried to feed her by hand but she wouldn’t touch the food. She’s the complete opposite of aggressive. Last night before we went to bed, she looked so so sad it broke my heart.
We gave her privacy by not going into her room for about 12 hours, from midnight until noon. I checked the camera feed several times, and she didn’t move an inch, except around 5 am when she came to sniff, not the food, but the camera! But she didn’t even go close to the food bowls.
This morning we go into crisis mode. We have to save her, make her eat or she’ll stop producing milk and then the kittens won’t make it either.
I went to Petco to buy high calorie food but you need a vet prescription. The manager suggested kitten milk at a higher concentration.
I tried to feed her with the kitten syringe and a kitten size nipple we have available. And she drank the milk, without a fight. Yipee!!! But she ate the nipple too, chewed it up, and the last thing she needs is to have to poop little pieces of plastic! We bought a much bigger syringe at Walgreens and tried to feed her again.
Here’s the progress.
Step one: feeding milk through a syringe.
Step two: feeding wet food on a spoon.
Step three: feeding her directly from the bowl. You can see the whole set up of the playpen in the room, and the cardboard “home” where she stays with her babies.
She still won’t walk to the bowl, but that’s immense progress. We are thrilled. She makes a mess on the towel but that is not a problem now. As long as she eats, she can soil the towel, I don’t care! She even let me clean up her wound under her tail.
She will surviiiiii-iiii-iiii-ve!
The foster coordinator from MCAS called me this morning. “How are you? Exhausted of course! I have a solution. We found the Momma. Can you take her?”.
We drove to the shelter with the 5 kittens in a carrier. The staff brought in Momma and we watched all excited to see if she would take to them. Bingo! Lots of Oooohs and Aaaahs and she curled up next to her kittens.
She’s a beautiful cat. White and tan and so sweet. One would think that she could be upset at humans after her kittens being kidnapped, but she’s so chill, so calm. She got her basic shots, was checked by a vet (she has an infection due to birth), but is ok.
We have had to rearrange quite a bit in the guest room. I want her separated from our two big girls, since they already feel left out because of Kodi. We set up the big playpen (60 inches wide) with food, water and a litter box, lowered the carrier with the full family in it and closed the door. Three hours later (after a wonderful uninterrupted nap for me!), she hadn’t moved an inch. I think she is afraid that if she steps even a foot away, she runs the risk of her kids being stolen again. We slowly took the kittens out one by one, and gently grabbed her out. (I had read last week a book by Jackson Galaxy about the blinking technique for establishing trust, and she blinked right back at me several times). We fed her her medicine which she took like a big girl. We placed her in the playpen, showed her the food bowl and let her take over. She curled up in the back of the box and the babies wiggled back next to her. All good.
So, we are now up to 9 cats in the house. 180 paws!
P.S.:. Obviously Momma wasn’t killed as I had thought. 1- I will not spread rumors anymore; 2- my previous statement about animal laws still stands.
My niece pointed out last night that we now have 8 cats in the house.
8 cats x 4 paws x 5 claws = 160 claws!!!
Because we have acquired 5 bottle babies yesterday evening. Plus our two girls, and Kodi.
As can be expected, they are super cute. They look like hamsters. They are about twice the size of the Floofs when we got them, and not much older but way more fluffy. Their eyes are closed, the umbilical cord still attached. Their mom was killed*.
The feeding schedule is very unpleasant of course, but I knew what I was getting myself into (did I?).
So, meet the …
We don’t really have a name for them yet. The Moops? The Moopits? The Moonpies? None of them sticks yet. And they don’t have individual name either, we refer them by color: light one, dark one, orange one, grey one and calico.
Once again: bye bye sleep!
* There really should be enforceable laws against people who voluntarily kill an animal without “good” reason.
I was once told: “One cat is good. Two cats is best”. This is so true it should be a rule, an ordinance, a law (the criminologist in me ain’t dead yet!). It should be illegal to only own one cat, since it is damaging to ones’ psychological wellbeing. The second cat should even be reimbursed by medical insurance companies.
Let me explain.
We had three Floofs. They were a lot of work, but they would play together and be cats. No need for much human interaction to pass time. Then we found them families, but Kodi came back to us. Kodi is now an only child. Or more exactly the youngest of the siblings, the “love child”, the one you hadn’t planned on, but ooops, here he is, and we love him dearly. Most of the time. Sometimes. Sometimes not!
He’s a horrible adorable little thing. He’s a pain playful. He’s so needy affectionate. He does under no circumstances respects his sisters’ boundaries and territory.
He gets into everything. He devoured 3 slices of bread straight out of the bag, mistakenly left on the kitchen counter at night. I bought catnip mice at Kroger and didn’t get a chance to give them to him, he scrambled his way into the bag and stole them. Later he was snooping in the bag I brought back from Hobby Lobby and got a sticker stuck on his nose. It didn’t bother him one bit. He pranced around with a sales tag on his face. And because I am a bad cat mom, instead of taking it off, I took a picture of him. He’s for sale, and he’s on sale, already tagged and ready to go! (just kidding!)
3 am. He’s pouncing on me. I grab the spray bottle and aim for his butt. I miss. I spray the books across the room instead. I am now wide awake, wiping water off the dust jackets while he jumps around clawing at the (brand new but now old looking) fluffy comforter. Thanks cat…
He won’t sleep next to me. He sleeps on me, preferably on my face. He does not just nestle on my shoulder like all the other kittens we have raised, or simply use my neck as a pillow. He plants his (smelly) behind on my face and tries to suck my eyeballs out while “making biscuits” on my cheeks. He tries to give me a hair cut by chewing on my hair when I am asleep. He has no concept of personal space at night. He needs to be exactly where I am. We have a king size bed. It’s huge. There is room for everybody on there. But no. His spot is on my face. Until I get up, and then:
A couple of nights ago, I grabbed my pillow and moved into the guest room, since the door can be locked. Kodi sat in front of that door and sang me the meow of his people. For 2 hours straight.
I am telling you, he’s one bad pussy cat!
I adore him!
To quote Agatha Christie
“and then there were three”.
“Three what” you might ask. Three cats. We are now the owner of three cats. No, not three foster kittens. Full fledge owner of our two resident adult cats, those who have traveled from North Carolina, to Texas, to California, to India (yes, India, as in the country of yummy spicy food), back to Texas, and now a black Floof.
One, two, three.
Yesterday was an awful day. A horrible day. We brought the three Floofs to their new families. All went on the same day, which was probably a logistical/emotional mistake. I had found three loving families. Tango was handed over around 1pm, Kodi at 6:30 and MC at 7pm. All met their new humans at the Petco close to our house. I was sad. I had prepared myself for that since the day I got them. Hubby however was devastated, a wreck. I can handle my own pain, my heavy heart, but not a heartbroken husband. It was, to say the least, a very difficult night.
This morning I casually texted the new families to see how the kittens were adapting. I got a picture of MC sitting like a princess with her new pink collar. Tango has slept all night on her new Momma. But Kodi’s new buddy developed a rash. Let’s wait a few days. Nope. A few hours later, the kid has broken out in hives.
So we got Kodi back.
And we are keeping Kodi!