8-11-17 Friday

Jump to comments

In case you missed it on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter yesterday, Mercury’s little brown tabby and white boy, the smallest of her litter, passed away yesterday afternoon. He seemed okay in the morning when I first went in, but a few hours later he seemed lethargic and his color wasn’t right. Nothing I tried helped, and he faded away very quickly. Mercury was wonderful with him, concerned and loving right to the end. Mercury and her remaining five kittens are doing just fine.

Fred buried the kitten underneath our big pecan tree near where the garden usually is.

We named him Kepler, after NASA’s Kepler Mission.

Niz left this quote on the Facebook post, and it’s lovely and also fitting – the mission was named after astronomer Johannes Kepler.

“The soul of the newly born baby is marked for life by the pattern of the stars at the moment it comes into the world, unconsciously remembers it, and remains sensitive to the return of configurations of a similar kind.”

— Johannes Kepler

Thank you all so much for your kind words and thoughts. I take comfort in knowing that Kepler was warm and safe for his entire life, far too short as it was.

If you’re interested in making a donation in his memory, I know that Forgotten Felines could certainly use your donations. There’s a Paypal donation link on their Petfinder page, or you can mail a check to Forgotten Felines, Inc., PO Box 60, Capshaw, AL 35742.


Fred took another look at the kittens yesterday, and it turns out – assuming he’s right this time – that one of the tabby boys is actually a girl, so we have four girls and one boy.

Here are their names, subject to change in the future if we realize someone was mis-sexed.

First, of course, Mercury.

And then the kittens (and the patches from the project/missions they were named after), in alphabetical order.


Hubble (the boy).


She’s got a Phoenix on her back!




Several people have wondered whether this is Mercury’s first litter, so I thought I’d share this picture from around the time she was rescued.

That’s her in the upper part of the picture (this was in July, and look how big that belly already was!) They believe that the kittens in that picture were hers. So she’d had at least one, and given her age (1 1/2ish, I think?) it probably wasn’t her first litter. So there’s a good reason she’s such a calm and competent mother. Not her first time at the rodeo.

It’s her last time, though, that’s for sure!


Snoozing babies.

I believe that brown tabby is Stardust, but am not 100% sure.

Last shot of the entire litter from early yesterday.

Aurora, sleep-nursing.

Sweet Mama Mercury.


Archie, lookin’ grumpy and like he might cut you. In other words, lookin’ like Archie.


2016: β€œHey, lady. GIMME that camera, I gots to take a selfie!”
2015: Zuke has a think.
2014: Gilbert, taunting Jake.
2013: No entry.
2012: No entry.
2011: The Many Faces of Lucy Peppers.
2010: Maddy, then and now.
2009: Now, kitten by kitten, meet them all.
2008: Harbl airing commences.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: Rambo checks his fan mail.



8-11-17 Friday — 37 Comments

  1. I love the names. Will each kitten get a mission patch as they head out to their new home?

  2. Aw, sweet little Kepler… Today, I have to let Grandpa Atticus leave for his final mission – at 19, and after diabetes, hyperthyroidism and a stroke. I just know being the awesome, chill dude he is, he’ll have baby Kepler on his lap, telling him stories and playing with him. That’s just the way he always was – loving and patient – when his baby brothers and sister came home.

    Look at those little faces! Perfect names for such a sweet family.

    • Brigitte, I am so sorry that you will have a hard day. Tell Atticus to look up my Kitters, Josh, Emma and Lola so they know they are missed every day. May Atticus’ journey be peaceful and he rest easy in God’s lap.

      • Brigitte, every good wish to you and Grandpa Atticus. It’s clear from your comment that he’s been adored and has lived an exemplary life full of joy and fun.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about Atticus. I know that you’ve been focusing for so long on keeping him healthy but if he’s ready to go, you know that he’s been loved and adored for so long.

    • It’s always so hard to do what we must do for our beloved babies. Furry hugs and rough tongued kisses from my fur babies to you and Grandpa Atticus.

    • I am so sorry he has to leave you today. Know that I will be thinking of you on this sad day. Grandpa Atticus will have lots of friends over the bridge and can help Kepler learn the ways of being a spectacular cat.

    • Purrs and hugs Brigitte… I think most of us on this page have been where you are, and know that this is the hardest part of love.

  3. What an absolutely beautiful quote. So sorry for the loss. Bless him. He is among the stars in heaven (with God) now.

    I love the mission patches. The patches should be added to their adoption paperwork.

    • Thanks to Niz for that lovely quote. Yesterday can’t have been easy, Robyn. You and Fred have such huge hearts; I couldn’t admire you more. (You also have the most delightful style and sense of humor: that Archie caption!)

  4. I’m so sorry to hear about Baby Kepler’s passing. At least his brief little life was filled with warmth and love, I hope that that is some comfort to you Robyn.

    • He slipped from this life surrounded by his mama’s love. There are worse ways to go. Still, it hurts that he didn’t get more time.

  5. I’m so sad about Kepler, but it helps to know that he was safe, loved, and warm. I’m curious about your comment that you did what you could to help him. What kind of things can/should/could one do? I guess you just come to know through experience? I have zero experience with newborn kittens and am just curious. Purrs and headbutts to Mama Mercury and her Missions. I’ve said it before, but your blog is the first thing I read in the mornings, and I appreciate all that you and Fred do to share these precious cats with us.

    • Mostly I tried to get him to nurse from Mercury, tried to supplement him with kitten formula (neither of which worked – I had seen him eating earlier in the morning, though), rubbed Karo syrup on his gums, used a (needleless) syringe to be sure there was no fluid in his airway, and made sure to keep him warm. Some of that stuff I knew to do, the rest were suggestions from Brittany, who has dealt with fading kittens far too often. At 1 day old, there’s a limit to what can be done for them, unfortunately.

  6. Aw, poor baby Kepler. My ex mother-in-law once said that some kittens just don’t have a very good grip on this world. Now I’m all sniffly.

  7. Poor little Kepler, I guess some things just aren’t mean to be.

    thank you Robyn and Fred for ensuring that he had a warm, snug place with his mama for his brief hours and for caring for his family afterwards.

  8. So sorry for the loss of baby Kepler. He was in the best, loving hands with you and Fred. Brigitte’s loss of Atticus as well. It’s never easy to say goodbye. Hold fast the loving memories and know that they are at peace and were well cared for and loved.

  9. Reading about Kepler yesterday on twitter brought instant tears to my eyes. So sorry to see that the little one didn’t make it. But as everyone else has said at least his short life was with his momma and siblings where he was safe and warm. And with you and Fred where he couldn’t have found a better place to be.

    On a lighter note, Aurora is my favorite name. That would have been my girls name if I had ever decided to have a child and it was girl. So needless to say she’s going to be my favorite just because of her name. πŸ™‚

    I actually was going to ask the question in yesterday’s post about sexing them so darn early. It’s not an easy thing to do but then I figured y’all have been doing this for so long now that, well, you got this. LOL

    • As a knitter, I have to point out that those bibs are crocheted, not knitted. Still a good idea, though! Also, many commentors pointed out that the kittens shown seemed to not be held properly for bottle feeding.

      • Truth! They should never be on their backs! They should be on their bellies at about a45 degree angle. In the exact position they would be in if they were nursing off their momma. Else, they can aspirate and die!!!!

  10. So sorry to read about Kepler but like you said he was much loved in his very short life. I’ve been reading this site for several years and can’t recall this happening before. Have you lost other kittens over the years?

  11. that picture of Aurora with her tongue out is great – looks like she’s all “get him off – he is choking me”. Poor baby Kepler – at least he had every chance.

  12. And now I will forever hear Robert Redford’s voice when Hubble says anything.
    Sorry for the sad day.

    • That was my first thought when I read the name Hubble. The beautiful Robert Redford. Sigh.

  13. Robyn, for some reason I feel that calling you the CapCom of this kitten mission is appropriate. Remember the TV coverage in the 60’s when we’d be glued to our tv sets as the launches went up? There was a CapCom at the center of things if something went wrong. Am I dating myself? Probably. (If need be, look up Flight Controller on Wiki.)
    Thanks for the poetry from Mr. Kepler, mathematician, astronomer and astrologer.
    May all have a pleasant weekend. Peace to all of us.

  14. Oh Robyn. I’m so sorry about little Kepler. Outside of Hamilton, Jefferson, Marty and the Runt, I don’t recall you having dealt too often with fading kitten syndrome. I know you did everything you could, and this must be hard. I am in awe of the care and compassion you and Fred give to these furry babies. Kepler was warm and cared for in the best possible way, by the best possible fosters.

  15. Robyn,I’m sorry to hear about little Kepler. I’d like to think my girl, Rootie, met him at the Rainbow Bridge and is watching out for him now. Thank you and Fred for what you do for the foster kittehs.

  16. Sorry to hear about little Kepler. May he rest in peace.
    They all have great names. It’ll be fun to watch the rest of them grow.

  17. I was so sorry to read about Kepler not making it. I appreciate that Fred buried him under the pecan tree. He will always be close.

  18. I’m sorry about Kepler. At least he was loved. Sometimes Nature is…well, some words I won’t repeat here, most with four letters. And Brigitte, I’m very sorry about Atticus – I’ve had to make that call before. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Virtual hugs to anybody who needs or wants them.

    That being said, I can’t get over how happy the naming theme of this little family makes me. I am such a space nerd. πŸ™‚

  19. So sorry about the little guy Kepler. Another foster mom says that she looks as though the kitten would not have had a good, healthy life and so was spared that suffering. Hoping all the rest of the babies are healthy and doing well. <3