Our barnyard is an amazing thing. . . . Let me start back a few weeks. . . Sassy and Sister both had kittens within a week or so of each other- 6 babies each. Sassy’s babies seemed to flourish and Sister’s seemed to do okay but something wasn’t quite right. Sister’s not as friendly of a cat as some but I managed to notice a few days ago that her breasts didn’t seem to have any milk in them- they definately did not look like Sassy’s. So I started paying closer attention and the boys noticed that Sister’s kittens seemed to cry an awful lot. One afternoon, I decided to help Sister out and I made up some baby kitten formula and soaked up some bread crumbs in it and took it down to her nest. She seemed to appreciate the help but the kittens were just too little to do much more than swim in the pie pan as they cried. I left it for her and went about my day. The next morning, our youngest son got up early enough before school that he could go check on her. He found Sister covered in filth, smelling horrible, and barely breathing. I immediately brought her babies into the house and fed them with an eye dropper. . . all 6 of them. By mid-morning their mama was dead.
They should be about ready to be weaned but I think they were so malnourished from their mama being dry and sick that they are way behind Sassy’s kittens in size and maturity. I’ve been doing the best that I can- feeding them every 2 hours or as often as possible, trying to get them to learn how to drink out of a dish, bathing them , wiping their bottoms, and keeping them warm. It takes a LOT of time!! We showed the babies to Sassy when their mama died but she wanted nothing to do with them. Tomorrow I have to be away from home all day and so I’ve spent today, feeding them alot and trying to figure out a way to have someone or something keep an eye on them tomorrow.
My father-in-law suggested that I give all the kittens a bath and wipe Sassy down with the same smelling stuff and see what happened. My mother adopted two of Sassy’s kittens today and everyone thought this might help Sassy “take” to caring for the orphans (especially since Sassy was an orphan herself- you’d think she’d have a gracious heart towards others in the same predicament). So I gave everyone a bath, sat Sassy down to see what would happen. Sassy apparently took the change in odor as a sign that her own kittens were weaned. She has ignored all 10 of the remaining kittens since their bath!!
Close to dusk this evening, my boys and I went out to check on everyone and fill the orphans bellies one more time. Sassy had returned but was only observing the kittens and keeping the dog at bay. Shadow, one of our males, was happily playing with the older kittens. Some of the older kittens were curiously close to the orphans and Zoe, the dog, was happily making faces and playing chase with everyone. By the time the orphans were all full-bellied, Zoe had begun picking them up playfully yet gently and giving them a few licks of love (aka: cleaning off the spilled milk on their fur) here and there. We tucked the orphans under the porch in the open pet carrier that Shadow and Puma, the other tom, often snooze in with the older kittens.
I went out to check on them a bit ago and found Zoe returning a runaway back to the pet porter, Puma asleep in the pet carrier with 5 orphans and 2 other kittens, and Shadow “babysitting” those who were not ready for bed yet. It appears to be a group effort but I’m betting on the orphans!!!
God is good- all the time. . . .