I visited my friend, Dorothea, in mid-May. When I arrived, she was holding a tiny kitten to her chest and feeding it milk replacer from a syringe. "I was thinking about you," she said. This is because there were five more in a crate in the bathtub and she was already thinking about new homes for them. They'd been born in between bales of hay stacked on a pallet on a nearby farm. Dorothea's husband bought the hay and the entire pallet -- along with the kittens (but no Mama) -- had been delivered. They were about two weeks old and Dorothea brought them inside and got right to work saving their lives. And then I walked in the door.
Here are my two on the afternoon I brought them home. TimTom is on the left and Hecuba on the right. They were loaded with fleas, so I called my vet and, amazingly, they were able to see them early the next morning. The staff loved these bundles of flea-infested cuteness and after the vet checked them over, she and two assistants bathed them in kitten flea shampoo and picked and combed out the fleas for over half an hour. The tub was black with them and I don't know how that many could have found enough skin to stand upon on such tiny hosts. TimTom and Hecuba were not delighted with all of this, but put up with everything fairly well. Hecuba only bit her bather once.
|Hecuba not enjoying her spa treatment|
|TimTom wishing he were somewhere else|
|Using tweezers to remove fleas|
|Back home again: Relieved, very clean and no fleas|
Four weeks have now passed. The kittens growth is rocketing along and those wobbly bundles of fluff are now scampering around on ever-longer lean legs. They're also growing into those enormous ears.
|Selfie (that's my ear and bathrobe) with Kittens|
|Arby's pretty cool with the little brats|
|Poom's tail about to be attacked|
|The "new" cat tree (from the garage)|
|Little Rulers of the Universe|
The older resident cats are, in varying degrees, adjusting to the newcomers. Of all of them, Arby is the most accepting. I'd worried that he would suffer from jealousy, but he mostly just regally ignores him. Multi-pass, the other old kitty, is also taking them in stride. The youngest cats, Poom and Max are having the hardest time. Poom comes inside, but hisses and yowls if they approach him. Max is very upset and won't even come in the house anymore. I feed him on the porch rail and he spends time with me when I work outside. Things will gradually re-align and work out with my six-cat population. And me? I'm also becoming re-aligned myself as I open countless cans of cat food and sweep hair off the floor. I've found that not only did these little ones need me; I also needed them. So we're in a good place.