While doing my evening rounds and tending the garden (something has started to nibbled on our carrot greens, so that bed now has a net around it), I topped up the kibble trays. Along with going to the pump shack and leaving some kibble there, I also left a bit of kibble in front of the branch pile, where the bitty kitties are.
While walking around the outer yard, I heard the distinctive crunching noises of a skunk eating kibble – coming from the pump shack.
So of course, I went to chase the skunk away from the kitten’s food.
Oh. My. Goodness!
Would you look at how TINY it is!!!! The litter of kittens in the pump shack are bigger than this guy!
No, I did not chase it away. It’s just a baby! A very hungry baby that let me come quite close. Far more interested in food.
So… we have both kittens and baby skunks in the pump shack now!
I heard a noise and took a quick peek, finding one of the big kittens skirting around the pump shack. Later on, I came back and found no food and no babies, so I went inside. I found the bike I got at the garage sale had been knocked to the floor. While picking it up again I could see, behind some junk, a tuxedo face was watching me. I heard movement in other places, so I left.
The branch pile, meanwhile, was just crawling with kittens!
The four kittens that have been coming to the house were playing with the six little kittens in the branch pile.
That kitten in the foreground?
I was able to catch it and hold it for a while. Some time later, I came over and picked it up again, only to realize it was a different little kitten. I was able to pick this one up again when I came back one last time, topping up the kibble at the branch pile, and the pump shack, again.
Hopefully, this is the start of being able to socialize at least some of the kittens!
When I headed out to feed the yard cats, I found a rather alarming surprise.
A cold, wet kitten wandering up the side walk and into the equally cold, wet grass!
Not a mother in sight.
We were cold enough to get a few snowflakes this morning. Cold enough that I was wearing my parka and a toque, so of course I picked it up to warm it up.
It did hiss a tiny bit.
Then it started to slither up my neck before burrowing down my shoulder and into my sleeve.
I brought it inside so my husband could help me get it out of my sleeve. I found a super soft winter hat to use as a nest, tucked it into my coat, and went looking around the yard for Mama. There were a number of cats around, but this is one I recognize as Junk Pile’s kittens, from when they were in the cats’ house. I couldn’t see her, anywhere. I had things to do outside, so I returned the kitten to my husband and kept looking while I continued my morning rounds.
I spotted Junk Pile, watching me from the branch pile she’d moved her kittens to, as I went to switch out the memory card on the gate cam.
This is nowhere near where I found the kitten.
With the amount of water and much in between the branch pile and where I found it, it had to have been carried. Was she moving her litter again? Why was it alone in the middle of the yard?
I went and got the kitten again, still carrying it in its next, but Junk Pile was gone when I came back.
With more work to do outside, I had to return the kitten into the tender care of my husband.
The kitten was okay with that.
While I was working in the garden (which I’ll post about separately), I asked the rest of the family to keep an eye out for cats the appeared to be looking for kittens! I was almost finished laying down mulch when one of my daughters came and asked me to come over. She’s seen the mamas eating in the kibble house – Junk Pile and the cat the looks like her that also had her litter in the cats’ house – and brought the kitten over. They sniffed at it, then went away, and the kitten went under the cat’s house. I went over to help, though there wasn’t much I could do. My daughter lay a floor mat on the muddy ground so she could get down and try and see the kitten and maybe get it out. It’s pretty wet under there, too, but from what little my daughter could see, the kitten was able to get on top of the sledge the main part of the cats’ house is sitting on top of. We’ve got bricks under the sledge to keep it off the ground and level it as much as we could, and there would be space under the floorboards, so there’s a fair amount of room under there.
There was no way to reach the kitten.
We decided to watch from a distance. I had only one or two fork fulls of mulch to lay down, so I quickly went to finish that while my daughter stayed to watch. By the time came back around the house, Junk Pile was on the mat that was still by the cats’ house, looking under. Then the other mama came up. Sure enough, the kitten came out to them, and off they went!
We kept watching from a distance as the led the kitten away, with Junk Pile sometimes trying to drag it by the scruff of the neck.
Once in the outer yard, I thought they’d go into the pump shack, but the mamas led the baby behind it, and we could no longer see. They might have found a place for their kittens under the warehouse, or maybe in one of the junk cars out there.
I’m glad we were able to warm up the kitten, then reunite it with is mother – and that the two moms are still sticking together and co-parenting their litters. If they hadn’t come back for it, of course we would have taken it in, but it’s still too young to be weaned. We’d have had to get supplies to be able to feed it.
The kitten was much more mobile, after getting warm and dry! That was good to see, too.
Chances are we won’t see any kittens again until the moms start bringing them to the kibble house. Probably in July. Maybe even August. Then we can see about catching them for adoption. I’ve just been in contact with out Cat Lady, who is currently out of province – someone dumped a pregnant cat at her door while she was gone, and it had its kittens! What is it with people??? Anyhow, she’s been able to procure free spays, and when she comes back, we’ll be working on getting more done and on the adoptions page.
I’m glad the kitten is now safe with its mothers, but I’m also kinda glad we were able to spend some time with it. Maybe, when it’s older, it will have some memory of being safe and warm with humans, and we’ll be able to start socializing it.
I’ve made a post that’s now pinned to the top of the main page on this blog, while we’ve got a fundraiser going for the Cat Lady. I got a call from her while I was outside this morning and got some other news.
With her new cat rescue organization started, she had an interview with a community paper. Not one we get in our area, though. Anyhow; she wanted to let me know about it, because they had asked a lot of questions about Cabbages’ history. She assured me she was careful and tactful about it, to respect our privacy, but also used our situation to illustrate the need for affordable spay and neuter programs in rural areas. Which I greatly appreciated.
She also expects to be able to take another cat to the vet she has worked an arrangement out with. It sounds like it will be one at a time, at first. It will be Turmeric. She has Saffron and Nicco listed on her new website, and has noted that Saffron’s sister will soon be available for adoption, too. She was asking me about keeping Saffron and Turmeric together or not. Saffron is apparently the most chill and adaptable cat she’s ever worked with. Nicco has been getting along well, too, but there doesn’t seem to be any bond between her and Saffron. Which doesn’t surprise me. Nicco never really had a chance to bond with any of the other cats here, as she was on the bottom of the pecking order here. I think she will be much happier somewhere with much fewer other animals around! The Cat Lady will contact us again when she has timing worked out between the vet and the foster families.
Speaking of bonding…
Check this out!
Nosencrantz joined a cuddle pile!!!
She was snuggled right up to David’s butt.
A lot of the cats like to snuggle up to David. 😀
This is HUGE, because Turmeric and Beep Beep are right there, and they tend to hiss at Nosencrantz pretty regularly. They hiss at the other cats, too, but as the new kit on the block, Nosencrantz hasn’t learned to just roll with it, yet.
There was another cuddle pile happening.
It involved me.
Fenrir decided to snuggle into my arms and take a nap on my chest while I was at the computer earlier.
This is Fenrir being all sweet and cuddly.
Yeah. She always has that “murder” look in her eyes.
Before we converted the big aquarium into a greenhouse, it was used to store our collection of baskets. They got moved to the top of the piano, and ended up just staying there.
This is partly why.
The cats discovered they fit perfectly, as Big Rig is demonstrating in the most adorable way.
This is not what we see, btw. This is me holding my phone up high to get the picture. What we usually see is nothing at all, until a cat suddenly gets up and stretches from a nap. Before I took this photo, all I could see of Big Rig was a paw (sticking over the edge, on the left) and an ear. My daughters, from across the room, could see a mound of fluff.
We used these baskets for Easter baskets. The little ones tend to be used for small baskets we give as gifts, while the big ones are used for our traditional family baskets.
When I go outside in the mornings, Braveheart is usually the one to come running towards me. Then she stops and acts surprised that she’s so close to me and starts backing off. 😀 This morning, however, she came up to me – and let me pet her! She even started purring! This is the first time she has allowed me to pet her, without her being at the food bowl and eating.
What a crowd!
I was very happy to see Butterscotch’s kittens hanging around – and to see a Creamsicle Jr. and the calico hanging out with the bigger ones! The two orange babies were with their mom at another kibble container, but I didn’t want to potentially scare them away from food, just to get a picture.
Rosencrantz and her baby, keeping their distance!
I got to pet both Braveheart and Nostrildamus while they were eating. Mystery kept running off and coming back before finally settling in to eat. The calico was doing much the same, but once she saw all the others staying to eat while I was so close, she finally joined them. I didn’t try to pet her; this was progress enough for now!
Keith and “grandma” – the mama cat that moved out here with us – cuddling together for a nap.
Keith, again, dropping back to sleep, even as he reached out to grab my phone while I took the picture!
Our old mama cat is turning out to be an unexpected problem with the kittens.
When it was time to wean them, Beep Beep was pretty blunt about it. They’d come hunting for nip, and she’d bat them upside the head. They got discouraged pretty quickly.
When Two Face was first introduced to the kittens, she was aggressively affectionate, hunting them down to groom then, and would allow them to try to nurse. We chalked this up to our discovery that she was pregnant at the time she was taken in to get fixed. She somehow understood that she should have had a bunch of her own furry little worms. That did eventually stop, thankfully. It was rather heartbreaking to watch her.
Then there’s our old mama cat. She and her boy moved out here with us. She has largely been pretty good about the new cats being introduced. When Cheddar came in after having surgery to remove the stick he’d somehow impaled himself with, she flat out adopted him. With the kittens, she was motherly, but not like she was with Cheddar.
Once Beep Beep weaned her babies, “grandma” decided she would take over. Not only does she allow the kittens to try and nurse on her, she actively encourages it. Mostly, it’s Turmeric, but Saffron and Leyendecker also give it ago. We discourage it as much as possible, but she’s got two nips that no longer have fur around them, and one of them is looking very red – I can’t imagine how it doesn’t hurt her! Yet she still encourages it. Today, much to my surprise, not only did I find both Turmeric and Saffron trying to nurse on her, but even Cheddar – Cheddar!!! – was snuffling about, hunting for nip.
I’ve tried making a belly band for her, but she gets out of it easily. We’d need to make something that is more like a sweater, but I really would prefer not to force her to wear clothes. I’d rather the whole thing stop! We could rub something on her to make it taste bad, but with how raw one of them is looking, I don’t want to cause more irritation.
Has anyone ever encountered something like this before? Any suggestions?
I was a little late in doing the outside part of my morning routine.
Which meant there were hungry kitties wondering where I was!
Little Braveheart was not only willing to let me come fairly close, but she kept going for the food bowls by the sun room, even when I added kibble to the bowl near the spirea they like to hide and play in.