Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Kittens.... Somewhere!

We had a gorgeous cat here called Barb, she was here before we moved in. About a year ago sadly she disappeared. We think possibly she was ill, and she simply took herself off to pastures new. Last spring she had a litter of kittens, they all grew up beautiful and strong. We now had three female cats plus a male. Usually every year Barb would hold some kind of meeting. I imagine it to be a little like a Disney film, where they would sit around her and she would decide who should be the next to leave home. They would have a little spotted hanky on a stick, leaning on their shoulder and off they would go, on their next adventure. Gradually they would all leave and she would give birth to her next litter. This year however with no Barb, the four stayed. We could see the three females were pregnant, we were also a tad concerned we maybe over run with little kitty cats! Last years litter were named Eeny, Meeny, Miny and Mo.

One morning we noticed Eeny's tummy had gone, she had obviously given birth. We looked around as discretely as we could, but saw no signs of any kittens. Next, a couple of days later it was Meeny, again the slightly saggy, empty looking tummy, but also no signs of any kittens. Last but not least was little Mo. Miny is the only male, in case you were wondering, but he wasn't the dad. I think possibly next year he maybe tough enough to give it a go, but there were a couple of larger males that he did try and stand up to, although they won this year. Every evening after feeding the alpacas I would do a little hunt and always came back disappointed. On looking at the new mums occasionally I would suspect they had just been feeding, as their little nipples would appear larger. A couple of weeks later we still had no idea however if the new kittens were doing ok, or indeed how many there were!

We would watch the cats and try and follow them, and one day we had the shock of our lives when we heard meowing from tiny kittens. Would you believe the smallest of the mums, Mo, had brought her 2 tiny kittens to show us. They were in the indoor outdoor garden, and she had left then in a big plant holder. They were there just for 24 hours then she moved them on again. One was grey and quite a good size, the other was black which a strange stumpy tail and a little smaller. You can just make out Little grey kitten but the little black one was hiding in a corner.

It was quite a few days later that Alan noticed Meeny going in and out of a small outbuilding, the same place in fact where she was born just over a year ago. Alan did an impersonation of Bear Grylls and clambered in. Small gap for a big bloke,... sorry Alan! I'm not sure what this building would have been used for in the past, but it has holes in the walls inside it. As Alan shone his torch in, he could see some little wriggling bundles, in one of the holes. He wasn't sure how many, but they were alive and moving around, they seemed to be mainly grey and white, the same as mum. A part solved mystery there.

Another week or so went by but there was still no sign of Eeny's kittens, until one evening I spotted her going around behind the pool pump. It's a bit of a wilderness with metre high weeds and there is a small ruin too. I crept in behind her, and she was lying amongst the weeds growling to warn me off. She had her babies there. No idea how many, or if they were ok, but she was protecting something, we had to be patient.

Whilst feeding the alpacas one night we spotted in between the bales of hay in the barn, two tiny kittens, the little grey one and little black stumpy Jack, with a stump for a tail. Little Mo was spotted going in and out of the barn, so that was one mystery solved, we now knew where they lived.

Now this is where it becomes confusing... Stumpy Jack was nowhere to be seen, but what we thought was the grey kitten that was brought to us, was trying to climb out of the chicken out house, so Alan put him in with the other kittens, in the holes in the wall. Thinking of course they had been moved by their mum. Later that night our little Miliko was barking like crazy, we thought the alpacas were fighting but it turned out little grey kitten had got himself out of the chicken  out house, and possibly fallen and was on the floor, far too close for comfort to the little dogs.

I tried for about an hour to reunite grey kitten with who we thought was it's mum, Little Mo. We were sure it was her grey kitten she had brought to show us. I even had them both on my lap at one point. I fed Mo and put the kitten near her, but she was hissing and spitting at it, and clouted it really hard a couple of times. I was totally at a loss as to what to do, it was horrible to see her turn her back on her kitten. After a little while Meeny wandered into the indoor outdoor garden and she seemed to take a bit of a shine to little grey kitten. To our great relief she seemed to foster her, and fed and washed her at least 3 times that we saw.

Little Beauty

With Mo, who doesn't want to know

Foster mum, Eeny

That evening when Alan and I went to feed the animals, little black kitten (Stumpy Jack) that did belong to Mo, peeped out from the bales of hay, with a grey kitten behind it! We had thought maybe the little black one hadn't made it, he was rather tiny. So who was this grey kitten belonging to?

After the evening dog walk, Eeny whose kittens we hadn't seen, was in the indoor outdoor garden, and Alan put the baby to her. She immediatly started rubbing her head all over him as though to get her smell onto him and she was trying to pick him up. She struggled for a bit but managed to get hold of him and dragged him off, by the scruff round by the pool filter. It must have been hers all along!

Sadly I don't have a photo of Meeny with the kitten as she packed her bags and left home just a couple of days after. Little grey kitten is doing great however.  More news on them, very soon.

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