I’m pretty overwhelmed at the moment. School is coming to an end – we’re in the last week, with graduation this weekend – and there’s only a few weeks left before Ambrose leaves for the Air Force. I spent almost a week in a hotel last week as we gutted and rebuilt my bathroom. We have guests coming into town over the upcoming weekend. There are two foster cats (Shai and Hulud) running around Jason’s bedroom until the 2nd, and they’ve been dealing with some bouts of diarrhea requiring medication for the last couple weeks. It’s all been a lot, so TNR-ing the neighborhood cats has taken a bit of a back seat.
This past weekend, though, we needed to act. King, the Deadbeat Father of the neighborhood, has been sniffing around our neighbor’s yard and trying to “snuggle up” to Shai and Hulud’s mother, Tippy. The litter of five are just shy of eight weeks old and eating solid food, though I’m sure the three still with their mother were still nursing a little, too. Mama cats can get pregnant any time after giving birth, though, and her heat cycles don’t stop while she’s nursing. Between that and the need to catch those three siblings before they’re too old to socialize, we had to act.
I won’t bore anyone with the details of multiple failures, and I’ll just say that we finally managed to trap Tippy –> and her sidekick/favorite baby, Mini-Tippy, on Sunday evening. Mini-Tippy went into the playpen in the garage, where we have a/c set up to make sure he doesn’t get too hot, and Tippy stayed in the covered cage, which we set up in my shower. (They couldn’t stay near each other, or it would be really stressful for them both, and we needed Tippy to stop producing milk before her spay surgery.) Monday evening, we finally managed to catch the other two siblings, one of which is a giant chonk (she’s got to be the size of a 10-week old kitten!) and one that’s small and fierce. By that point, Mini-Tippy (or Tip-tip, or Tip, or MT) had been with us for 24 hours and had let us hold him, determine he was male, and even purred for Jason.
By last night, we were able to pet and hold all three kittens, and determined that the tiniest and the chonkiest were both female. The girls were still scared of us, but most of the hissing had stopped. MT, on the other hand, was joyfully hopping around the pen, running for pets, and he even started grooming the neighbor (his former feeder) when she came by to see how they were doing. I think these guys are going to get really sweet, really fast!
Tippy has not been happy with her three nights in our care, and she went to the vet this morning. Assuming all goes well, she’ll have her spay soon and come back here for another night’s recovery. Hopefully she can return home tomorrow and spend a happy, baby-free life!
Note: No, Shai and Hulud won’t be reunited with their siblings. Because the three other kittens were outdoors, they need at least two weeks of quarantine for medical treatment (fleas, worms, making sure they don’t have any contagious diseases, etc). By that point, Shai and Hulud will be off for adoption already, and I’m sure they’ll be swept off the floor in no time! They are the cutest, cuddliest, sweetest babies ever. (Hulud will literally pet your face and demand kisses over and over and over when you hold her, then she’ll snuggle up and fall asleep perched on your shoulder! Shai will stare up at you adoringly and lick your fingers as you pet her. They’re incredible.)