The Nestlings are a cobbled-together litter of kittens; two are related to each other, the other two are singletons. As far as they’re concerned, though, they’re totally siblings.
You can read the full story below, or you can skip the sad parts and meet each kitten by clicking here.
On April 13th, I was asked to take two bottle babies. Their mother was in terrible shape and couldn’t/wouldn’t care for them, and the kittens were premature. By the time I went to pick them up, one of the kittens had passed away, just leaving one cream-colored boy who I eventually named Finch.
Because Finch needed to not be an only kitten (kittens need other kittens to teach them how to kitten; I had a single bottle baby once, and swore I’d never have a single bottle baby again), Michelle told me of someone local who had two bottle babies. They were also premature; their mother was young and wasn’t producing milk, and so couldn’t care for them. I took them that night, and added them to the crate with Finch. They were Felicity (a gray tabby) and Wren (a torbie), both girls.
The kittens did well for the first day, but unexpectedly the next evening (she had been fine at the previous feeding), Felicity passed away.
A few days later, Michelle said that she had a 3 day old bottle baby who was fighting the bottle. Since I can tube feed, she asked if I’d take him, add him to the others, and tube feed him. I took him and named him Dave. He did great for the first day, but the next morning when I went to feed the kittens, he was open-mouth breathing and had a small puddle of vomit next to him. I was pretty sure he had vomited and aspirated. I took him immediately to the vet. They said he did have a small amount of fluid in his lungs but pronounced him stable. They prescribed meds for him, and I was optimistic. Unfortunately, the next morning he passed away.
The same day that I took Dave to the vet, Michelle asked me to take a tiny orange tabby boy who (I think) had been found abandoned by someone. I took him, fed him, and named him Rufous.
With Dave’s passing, that left me with three kittens: Finch, Wren and Rufous. They were doing great, and then one morning I heard Finch cry. I looked in the crate to see him on his back, kicking his feet. I thought he was trying to turn over, so I assisted. 10 minutes later, I reached in to pick him up to feed him, and he was completely limp. To my utter shock, he took a last breath and died.
That same weekend, Forgotten Felines of Huntsville was working a huge Trap-Neuter-Return effort at a horse barn. They’d discovered two newborn kittens alongside a third kitten who had died. Michelle asked if I’d take them, and I did.
They were gray tabby Plover and brown tabby Starling, both girls.
This gave us four kittens – Wren, Rufous, Starling and Plover – and as of now (the beginning of June), they are all doing well and thriving. They are a delight – meet them below.
Wren – date of birth April 11, 2023. (Nickname: “Mouth” because she’s got a lot to say.)
Rufous – date of birth April 16, 2023.
Starling – date of birth April 23, 2023. (Nickname: “Rusty” because for a while her meow sounded like a rusty hinge.)
Plover – date of birth April 23, 2023. (Nickname: “Tater” or “Plovetato” because she is shaped like a potato.)
A note about the names: I decided on a bird naming theme (Rufous is named after the Rufous Hummingbird) because the preemies (Finch, Wren, Felicity and Rufous) reminded me so much of baby birds right after they’ve hatched with their looks (very little fur) and their flopping around. Felicity got her name because she died before I’d decided on a naming theme and names, and I just wanted a pretty name for her. Dave got his name because I needed a name for him at the vet (I hadn’t named him yet) and I am not great under pressure – “Dave” came to me, and that became his name. All the others were named after birds.
You can read about the Nestlings beginning here. There are links at the top and bottom of each entry; click on the one on the right to take you to the next entry.
Rufous and Wren were adopted together on August 5, 2023 – they are now residents of the Orlando, Florida area!
You can see all the pictures taken of the Nestlings here at Flickr, or scroll through them below.