In case you missed it on Facebook yesterday, we got an application on Almanzo Sunday. We’re waiting for all the references to check out (which I’m sure they will), and then hopefully that boy can go home soon. I know many of you were hoping he’d go home with some of his siblings or his parents, but trust me – he will be going to a great home, and he’ll be perfectly fine and happy.
Some of you noticed the tease in yesterday’s post – the closed guest bedroom door, with the fireplace screen in place to stop the Half Pints from getting to the door and sticking their paws underneath.
YES, you smartypants readers, we DO have more fosters in there.
First, the introduction, and then their story.
Collectively they’ll be known as Les Chatons, or if your French accent isn’t as superb as mine (HA), you can just call them The French Kittens. (I’ll explain the naming theme after I tell their story.)
So we were intending to wait until Charles and Caroline and all the Half Pints had vacated the premises before we took in more fosters. But last Tuesday, Brittany told me that the cat they’d hoped I would take – a mother cat with kittens – was very stressed out in the shelter, and had lost one of her kittens over the weekend. She asked if I had ANYwhere to stash them, and since we knew that all of the Half Pints except Almanzo had homes to go to, I talked Fred into it. I set up the guest bedroom and picked them up last Tuesday evening.
The kittens were skin and bones. The very first thing I did was bring food into the room for them.
Though they bellied up to the food, they were doing what kittens do when they’re first figuring out how to eat – putting their faces in the food and trying to suck it up. I made some formula and tried to get them to take it. Amelie (brown tabby) was curious and let me syringe a little into her mouth before she gave me the paw of “NO THANK YOU, MADAME.” Esmee (meezer girl) acted like I was trying to poison her. Jacques (meezer boy) was the largest of the three and seemed to be getting some of the food from the plate into his mouth, so I wasn’t so concerned about him.
I wondered if the stress of being at the shelter had caused Margeaux’s milk to dry up, and investigation of her belly showed that she had no milk at all. Since I was taking the Half Pints to be spayed and neutered the next day, I took Margeaux and her kittens with me so the vet could look them all over.
“I’ve never seen a mother so disinterested in her kittens,” I said. “She lets them nurse, but she doesn’t groom them, and she spends a large amount of time up away from them.”
There was good reason for her disinterest.
We’re pretty sure she’s not their mother. Not ANYone’s mother. It turns out that Margeaux was rescued as one of 12 female cats and a bunch of kittens from a hoarding situation. When they were trying to figure out which kittens went to which cat, they put these three kittens in with Margeaux, and since she didn’t fight it, they figured they’d gotten the right mother.
(I know your reaction might be to put down the shelter employees, but please let’s not. They do the best they can with the resources they have, and they thought they’d figured it out. I probably don’t need to mention again the insane kitten season we’re having, and it’s only the very beginning of June. It’s not going to get less insane, unfortunately.)
So I began going into the room every 3 hours with a slurry consisting of canned cat food blended with chicken baby food, probiotics, a glug of high-calorie gel, and some water, and syringing as much of it as I could into each kitten. Some feedings they ate better than others, and they’d always go over to Margeaux’s plate of food and try to eat some of it. (They are finally starting to get the hang of that maneuver, thankfully.)
They’re a mess. I wipe them down the best I can (since Margeaux’s not cleaning them), but haven’t given them full-on baths yet. At first I didn’t want to because they seemed so fragile, and now I don’t see the point, since they’ll just get covered in food at their next feeding. Once they get the hang of getting food into their mouths without rolling around in it, I’ll give them baths.
I told Brittany “She’s like the teenage babysitter who eats all the potato chips and ignores the kids. Or the au pair. The French au pair. We should give them French names.” So that’s how the naming theme happened. (Note: I am certain that MOST French au pairs do not eat all the potato chips and ignore the kids, I was JOKING. YOUR French au pair is awesome and doing a great job, I just know it.)
After staring into the kittens’ mouths, looking at their teeth and trying to figure out how old they are, I’m going to declare that they’re 5 weeks old today. They might be a bit older or younger, but that’s my decision and I’m stickin’ to it. That gives them a date of birth of April 30th. Their eyes are still blue, but they’re starting to eat on their own, they move like they’re around that age – toddling, but not prone to fall over – and I’ve seen them starting to play. They’ve got big bellies (I am deworming them) and skinny little legs, but they’re gaining ever so slowly. The average kitten at this age weighs roughly 1 pound, 4 ounces. These guys are at 9 ounces (Amelie and Esmee) and 14 ounces (Jacques). I suspect that once they completely figure out how to get the food into their mouths and not all over them, they’ll start gaining pretty quickly. They’re already at nearly 100% on litter box usage, with just a few accidents.
Margeaux was very timid for her first few days with us – not helped by the fact that just as she started to warm up to me, I put her in a carrier and took her to the vet – but she’s turned into a real love bug, very much loves to be petted. I think she’s fairly young, so I’m going to declare that she’s 1 1/2, and if I’m wrong the vet can let me know.
So there we go – without one set of fosters completely gone, we’ve already got our next set in place. Once Charles, Caroline and Almanzo have gone to their homes, Fred and I will be doing some rearranging of the upstairs, and I’ll move Les Chatons from the guest bedroom to the foster room. Which will be nice, because having them in the guest bedroom, with that bed in the way, makes it hard to clean up all the scattered litter.
2018: “Come on, Mister Mousie, let’s play!”
2016: No entry.
2015: She just loves loves LOVES her Mama.
2014: Gilbert gets bitey with Marshall, who is MINDING his OWN BUSINESS, climbing the cat tree.
2013: Norbert, International Man of Mystery.
2012: The Noms have learned that Jake is a good friend to have.
2011: No entry.
2010: The cheek!
2009: “Pipe down, Phyllis, this one is mine!”
2008: Kaylee wubs Tigger.
2007: Good thing we put SoftPaws on his claws, right? So he can’t go climbing trees or anything. Right?
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.