Sunday, September 25, 2011

Update on that mama cat and her kittens

In June I wrote about the stray cat who gave birth to a litter of three kittens in my ice house. A lot has happened since then.

The neighbor who offered to help get the mama cat spayed hasn't been heard from since. As the kittens approached weaning age, I worried that the mother could become pregnant again at any time—and worried more when a large male cat began hanging around the property. The three kittens were orange, dark calico, and black (with a little white). I posted their pictures on Facebook, and also emailed other friends in hopes of finding good homes for them.

A friend saw the pictures, and asked me to save the orange kitten for his mother. Another friend forwarded the pictures to a friend of hers, who fell in love with the calico. I delivered the calico (now named Sugar) to her new owner, and took the others to the vet to have their genders revealed. (Yes, I still haven't learned to do this reliably.) We were surprised to learn the orange kitten was a female. (Most are male.) The black was a male.

My friend's mother decided she didn't want a female, and asked for the male. By this time I thought I'd be keeping the black one myself because they are hardest to place (black dogs, too). But now I was left with the orange—the smallest and bravest of the litter. I brought her into the house, and took her mother—by now named Bones . . . or Bonz . . . or Bonzy by my son and daughter-in-law—to be spayed. We couldn't risk the baby nursing or grooming her mother while the latter recovered from her surgery, so they hung out separately in the house.

When Bonzy recovered, I put her back outside and kept her supplied with food and water. She was furious with me for taking away her kittens. She was such a good mother, and I sympathized completely. I couldn't consider making her a house cat because she had so thoroughly alienated Annie the Mean, my adult calico. The two of them managed to be at war through the glass of the living room windows. Because Bonzy is such a fierce hunter, I figured she'd have plenty to amuse her outdoors. We recently installed a dog house on the porch in anticipation of the coming cold weather. I made a fleece bed for her, and will use something like this to keep her warm at night.

Meanwhile, I named the kitten Peachy and kept her sequestered in my bedroom until I had the time and energy to begin introducing her to Annie and Pogo. I knew the longer she stayed hidden, where they could get used to her smell, the better the introductions would go. And they've gone very well. Annie tries to avoid her for the most part, and Pogo still shows some signs of being jealous. But he actually plays with her now. Major progress!

Peachy is a smart, affectionate kitten with a great purr. She is slowly getting resigned to the fact that I won't let her nurse from my earlobes. I'd forgotten how unbelievably agile and fast kittens are! She makes me laugh every day.



11 comments:

Dona said...

Glad you found homes for some of the kittens and that you're enjoying the one you kept. I wish I could have really considered getting a kitten. I wish we were not going to try the pet free life whenever our current cat, Halloween, joins Joe, her brother, in cat heaven.

Susan said...

Perhaps you should revise your plan, Dona. Cats aren't much trouble. Well, you did say "try." If it doesn't work out, you know what to do. :-)

PS: We had a cat named Halloween once--for about two days, until one of the kids gave her another name.

Indigo Bunting said...

So the all-orange-cats-are-male rule isn't true?

Susan said...

Apparently not, IB. What I recall from looking it up is that Peachy's father must have been orange. Her mother's coloration (pastel calico) played a role, too.

crystal said...

She's so cute :) When I was in college we had a girl cat who looked almost like her - we called her Pinky. I bought a heating pad for the cats when they were sick. I was always worried it would get too hot or electrocute them but it seemed to be ok. Glad you were able to find homes for the other kittens.

Susan said...

"Pinky" isn't far from "Peachy"--same idea. BTW, the woman who took the black ended up keeping him less than 24 hours. She gave him to her son and his girlfriend, which was fine with me as I know them (I'd never met the mother) and knew they'd give him a good home.

Eulalia (Lali) Benejam Cobb said...

Oh, what a lovely kitten! And am I jealous...

crystal said...

I went to breakfast with my stepfather yesterday. He used to hate cats when I was growing up. Now he has two indoor cats and two outdoor ones. He's just had a new cat that's been hanging around and he wondered if I would take him. I didn't - hope he can stay with my stepfather. So many animals that need homes.

Susan said...

Maybe Lali would like your stepfather's cat.......Lali? ;-)

Good for him for not hating cats anymore. I'll have to tell a friend of mine whose stepfather hates cats. It will give her hope. False hope, perhaps, but hope.

Crystal, it would make me so happy to learn you went to the shelter and got yourself a new little companion to love.

crystal said...

As soon as I win the lottery or get my vision back or get married, then i will ... or maybe just when I get braver :)

Susan said...

Crystal, I'm certain that painting again will increase your bravery quotient beyond measure.