Before I tell y’all about my weekend, first I have a confession to make: since Margeaux’s kittens were a day old, the big kittens have been going into the crate with them.
Antoine was the first, and then Madeline joined them, and Amelie did as well.
At first they would only go into the crate when Margeaux wasn’t in there, and they’d nap near the babies, then when she came back into the crate, they’d get up and leave. This turned into them staying in the crate even when Margeaux was there, and when the little ones were about a week old, I started finding the big kittens at the milk bar. I’d pull them out of the crate when I saw this happening, and distract them with cuddles and kisses and toys. I kept a close watch on the crate and weighed the little ones twice a day to be sure that they were gaining weight (which they were.)
Late Friday night I heard the angry howling of a tiny kitten, and went in to see what was going on. Gabrielle had crawled right on out of the crate and was about 5 feet from the crate, yelling for her mama. As I walked in, Margeaux stomped out of the crate, picked up Gabrielle, and took her back into the crate. The crate they were in – really just a large carrier – doesn’t really have a lip on it, so Gabrielle had no problem crawling right on out. I decided that Saturday morning I’d swap that crate for the larger one I usually use for mamas and babies when they’re that tiny; it’s harder for kittens to crawl out, because the front is about 4 inches high.
Saturday morning, I did just that.
To this point, the older kittens had been very very gentle with the babies. They didn’t really touch them, though they’d allow the little ones to snuggle up to them. But as the little ones started moving around more, the older ones would lick them and bat at them a little. Then I walked into the room Saturday afternoon and found a big kitten who shall remain nameless bunny-kicking one of the little ones.
Listen. Kittens are more resilient than you’d think – their mothers sit on them ALL THE TIME and they’re perfectly fine. Charles was rougher with the Half Pints than I would have liked – but he also didn’t have much contact with them until they were about 3 weeks old. So while the kitten was fine after being bunny-kicked, I didn’t want to take the chance that the big kittens (who are still kittens, after all, and aren’t trying to be mean, but they kind of don’t know their own strength) would hurt one or more of the little ones. So I moved the crate with Margeaux and her kittens in it into the guest bedroom.
That was fine until about 10:00 that evening, when Margeaux started HOWLING and digging at the door. She would not be calmed down, and so after some discussion Fred and I decided to move them back into the foster room. Margeaux was very happy to be back in there, and I threw up my hands and decided I’d keep an eye on the crate.
Well. Margeaux decided that that crate – which she hadn’t been sure about to begin with! – was the enemy. Half an hour after she and her kittens got back into the foster room, I saw her grab a kitten and carry it out of the crate. In no time flat, she’d moved 5 of the 6 to the Kitty Cardboard “apartment” over by the couch and left the 6th kitten in the crate with Antoine. A little while later, she moved that kitten to a Kitty Kasa on the opposite side of the room. I watched them for a while, considered moving them back to the crate, and decided I’d leave them where they were for the time being since both Margeaux and Katriane were checking on them frequently.
When Fred got up a few hours later, the very first thing he did was check the kitten room (which he usually doesn’t), and immediately move all the kittens back to the crate. By the time he got to the other end of the hall to report his actions to me, Margeaux had grabbed a kitten and moved it out of the crate. By the time he got BACK to the kitten room, she’d moved all the kittens out of the crate and abandoned them in various places in the room, including one in the middle of the floor.
In the end, we decided to move Margeaux and the kittens AND Katriane into the guest bedroom. We no sooner got them into the guest bedroom (I carried the kittens in the crate while Fred moved Margeaux and Katriance) than Margeaux was moving the kittens. Where’d they end up? Under the bed, of course. Margeaux gave me the cold shoulder for about half an hour, and then acted like she’d never been mad.
As of this writing – 9:00 last night – both Mamas and the little ones are still in the guest bedroom. Both Mamas are tending to the kittens, though I’m not sure whether they’re actually nursing from Katriane, or just being cleaned and snuggled by her.
(Yes, I KNOW, Margeaux totally does not deserve Katriane’s help!)
The plan for now is to leave them in the guest bedroom. That could change, of course. As things stand, the big kittens are scheduled for their spay/neuter surgeries on Friday, and should be heading off at some point after that. We’ve got an adoption pending on Esmee, and someone is coming tonight to meet Jacques and Antoine. That leaves Francois, Madeline and Amelie still available (if you’re interested, email Forgotten Felines at info (at) ffhsv.org .) Once the majority of the kittens have headed off to their homes, I’ll likely move the little ones and the mamas back into the big room and see how it goes.
For now, I’ll have to dig Margeaux’s kittens out from under the bed every morning to weigh them and check them over.
The big kittens honestly don’t seem to even notice that their mamas and the little kittens have disappeared.
2018: “You ain’t givin’ me a bath, lady. Just dust me off, I’ll be fine.”
2017: No entry.
2016: THE FLOOFIEST.
2015: Roundup: Roseanne.
2014: On Tuesdays, we leap.
2012: No entry.
2011: Who, him? Oh, just some cat. Nothin’ special. Corbie, I think they call him. ::shrug::
2010: He’s gotten past this whole “feral” nonsense at breathtaking speed.
2009: No entry.
2008: Kitten, mid-jump.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.