Not only did I see the little kittens this morning, I got to have HUGE progress with them!
First progress was with this one. This one kept right on eating as I came closer, then reached out to pet it. That’s when I spotted a wood tick on its ear. It took some doing to reach over the water tray, hold on to the ear with one hand and pull the tick with the other (getting a wet boob in the process. 😂), but it never stopped eating! It just let me do my thing and ignored me.
The others had moved away, but this little fuzzy one likes to just sit there, posing so adorably, to watch me. After a while, its sibling came out – the less fuzzy one that I’ve been able to handle more often. I did manage to pick up the fuzzy one last night, but it wasn’t happy about that, so I didn’t hang on to it for long.
The calico and the other black and white started to come closer, too. They wanted that food, but not quite enough to go to the tray while I was there.
When these three were in the tray, I was able to pet ALL of them! Yes, even the fuzzy one! They just kept on eating.
Eventually, they all came out, though the other black and white one didn’t want to be too close to me. Still, I was able to pick up the container I use to carry the kibble, without them all running away. Even the calico just froze in place and watched me, then went back to eating after I picked up the container and moved away.
For the past while, I’ve been rather confused about these kittens. While they were in the branch pile, I counted 6 small kittens, and even saw the mama nursing all of them. Then there were the 4 larger kittens, including that calico, and they all played together. I just went back to some older photos to confirm, and that calico is definitely one of the kittens we would see under the cats’ house last month. The one that, when we first saw it, had leaky eyes that were almost glued shut. That dark patch on its forehead is quite distinctive.
So the calico has simply moved in with this younger litter. The other three older kittens still frequent the area by the sun room, playing in the old kitchen garden or on the laundry platform, and eating from the food there.
That accounts for 8 kittens.
So I went looking at older photos.
This is the very first photo I got of this litter, when I discovered they were in the entry into the cats’ house. There are 5 kittens. You can see the two black and white kittens on top of each other. In the foreground is the fuzzy one, and beside the mama is the other one that I’ve been able to pick up every now and then.
The dark kitten next to the fuzzy one is missing.
Also… where did the 6th kitten I saw among them in the branch pile come from? I suppose it’s possible it was in the cats’ house with the 5 pictured above, just out of sight.
Whether it was originally part of this litter or not, where did it go when the mama moved her kittens to the board pile?
I found some video I took of the kittens in the branch pile. The quality sucks, because I had to zoom in so much, but I can still figure out which two kittens are now missing.
So are these two actually gone gone? Was there three, rather than two, litters in the pile at the time? Are the two unaccounted for kittens hidden away somewhere else? The mamas don’t seem to care all that much about which kittens are their own or which are part of another litter.
These guys are hard to keep track of!