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.