Kittens!

Five beautiful kittens!
Five beautiful kittens!

We have kittens! These are those elusive kittens I was pursuing last week when we met Charm and Scarlett. They seemed to have been sighted several times through the week, but not until yesterday, Saturday, did Jenn get a good tip that they were actually under the porch where we’d first looked Friday a week previous, two doors down from Jenn’s house. She looked to see the kittens on the patio and in the grass.

Tuxie and Blondie playing (later in the day).
Tuxie and Blondie playing (later in the day).

Charm is very friendly so Jenn sat with her after feeding some canned food. She messaged that she had managed to capture two kittens just by picking them up when they were eating and they seemed friendly enough. She put them in a carrier in the shade and Charm kept watch.

Charm stayed near the two kittens in the carrier.
Charm stayed near the two kittens in the carrier.

Goopy eyes and a little hissy but interested in food. Jenn could pet these two.

I had stopped down last weekend but I’ve been advising during the week when Jenn and Melissa, who works in the office building across the street, sent messages. We were trying to guess where the kittens were by watching Charm’s activity—sleeping on the front porch most days—and where she headed when anyone saw her leave. I borrowed a trail cam so we could try to follow her activity and narrow down where she went when she left. And here they were where we thought they’d been all the time, though she likely moved them more than once as she’d only the day before that begun to sleep on the back porch instead of the front.

Trouble was the porch had a low clearance and a pile of dirt and debris in the center, and the kittens were behind that. No one could really crawl in. “Hoping to lure them out with mom, food and toys so we can grab them instead of having to trap,” I posted on Facebook as I arrived there and took a few photos.

The first two kittens Jenn caught by hand.
The first two kittens Jenn caught by hand.

I looked at the area and decided on a plan to keep the kittens from possibly running off if we tried to grab them and to keep them from running back under the porch: Use black plastic fencing I sometimes used as display material to surround the area and pieces of cardboard and old window screens to drop behind the kittens when they came out.

I had also found the cage I’d used to initially foster kittens. The last time I’d used it was for Mimi and the Four in the first three weeks they were here. I went home to get it and also digging tools in case I had to dig my way under the porch, extra dishes, wire and a few other sundry items I just might need. Giuseppe and Mr. Sunshine knew what was up when the dishes came in the house.

Giuseppe and Sunshine knew what was up.
Giuseppe and Sunshine knew what was up.

I set up the cage inside the perimeter. I hadn’t been sure the kittens were eating food yet so I wasn’t sure canned food would work as a lure, plus Charm regularly nursed them. But since the two had been caught while eating we set out food around the porch in a path that would direct them away from the porch. The sun was overhead and too hot to put Charm and the kittens in the cage, but we would do that as soon as the sun moved enough, later in the afternoon. Right then it was about 2:30.

And we waited. If you’ve never tried to trap cats or catch cats in any way, my main word of advice is “patience”. It’s going to happen in the cat’s own good time, not yours. Jenn has four children and their friends were around, so I could be preoccupied photographing the kids, the backs of old garages, dandelions in the grass, and peeling paint. Honestly, I enjoy all that, and someday they’ll be nice paintings!

All three kittens came out at the same time.
All three kittens came out at the same time.

No sign of the kittens until about 3:30 when all three came out at once. Jenn kept the kids busy at that end of the yard, and though the kittens had been spooked by the cage they were there, and they were hungry. I refreshed the food and went off to take more photos of apple and cherry blossoms, then came back about 4:00 to move Charm and the kittens in the cage, now in shade.

Charm in the cage with her kittens.
Charm in the cage with her kittens.

The tuxie and the buff kitten came out and played and went back under, but were now curious about their mom and siblings in the cage. When the tuxie came out alone again and began to eat I dropped the piece of cardboard between her and the porch opening, picked her up, went to the cage and put her in. Yes! The buff kitten came poking out a few more times and I let Charm out of the cage to lure her kids out personally. The buff kitten came out to his mom and started to nurse right where they stood, but I reached down and picked him up and put him in the cage too. Yes!

Look for kitten ears right above the soil line.
Look for kitten ears right above the soil line.

But the darker orange kitten had been the least active and appeared the least often of all of them so we knew we had a wait. Charm wandered around and looked bored. I photographed more peeling paint and the kids got tired and hungry. Charm thought she might leave but instead I picked her up and put her back in the perimeter. Instead of her kitten coming out to her, she went in and nursed him under the porch. No! It could be hours, after dark, until he was hungry enough to come out again. I looked under the porch, he was fully engaged in nursing but out of reach and behind the pile of dirt. Charm came out. I put her in the cage and I decided to see if I could dig him out. That was when I realized the “underneath” was far more than the porch, it was also a crawl space under that section of the house, which was an addition. I knew the other kittens had been too easy. I had the feeling we were headed for disaster. We couldn’t leave him alone, and Charm couldn’t be in two places at once. My phone battery was dead so I decided to go home, feed my cats, feed myself and make a few phone calls for ideas. “Got two more, still missing one–way under the porch, under the house! Thanks to Margo for meeting me back there with traps and ideas!”

Margo agreed to meet me back there as did Melissa who was bringing traps for the male cats she’d seen. We could try with a kitten trap, or we could just stand around and brainstorm.

But when I got back, Jenn had just captured the orange kitten! She said he came out on his own, she dropped one of the window screens behind him, he got tangled in the perimeter fencing and she got him! Margo and Melissa helped her open the cage and the whole family was inside!

Kittens looking a little hostile when they first arrived.
Kittens looking a little hostile when they first arrived.

So they came home with me last night and for now will stay here, in the bathroom. Charm’s kittens, awake and trying to glare at me, then later fast asleep.

Fast asleep.
Fast asleep.

Charm was the happiest kitty on earth! She was so happy when Melissa and I settled her into the bathroom that she just laid down on a pile of my slippers and kneaded them and purred. She ate a little and then laid down by her foods.

Charm was so happy she couldn't even eat.
Charm was so happy she couldn’t even eat.

Some of the kittens’ eyes looked really nasty that night but not that afternoon. Most had goopy eyes, but I don’t see any extra discharge, no sneezing or nasal discharge, most of the goop cleaned right off the first night and I decided I’d finish it the next day.

Charm looked into the tub to check on her kittens and they were fine.
Charm looked into the tub to check on her kittens and they were fine.

Charm looked into the tub and checked on her kittens, their bellies were full and they were all safe indoors so she decided to take the night off. She finally settled down next to my feet, kneading the air. She would not sit on my lap though, not yet.

Charm settled down by my foot, kneading the air.
Charm settled down by my foot, kneading the air.

The kittens were pretty hissy that first night but today are way less hissy and eating well.

The next morning.
The next morning.

I’ve wiped eyes a few more times and snuggled them, and I’m guessing the tuxie and the calico are girls, the other three are boys. The tuxie and calico are distinctly different sizes than the boys, short-haired and petite. The boys are very fuzzy and feel much more substantial.

Charm's favorite spot.
Charm’s favorite spot.

Charm had not nursed that night and the next morning her mammaries felt swollen and hot so I put her in the tub with the kittens and they readily nursed three times at least during the day, sitting up, lying down, walking around, however it would happen.

Nursing sitting up.
Nursing sitting up.

So because I’ve taken far too many photos already, here are plenty from today with better light and friendlier kittens, just total kitten and mom cuteness.

Nursing from above.
Nursing from above.
Kitten jumble!
Kitten jumble!
Nursing lying down
Nursing lying down
Kitten paws.
Kitten paws.
Nursing while lying on my feet.
Nursing while lying on my feet.
Doing the kitten twist.
Doing the kitten twist.
Charm hops back into the tub to check on them.
Charm hops back into the tub to check on them.
Little blue eyes.
Little blue eyes.
Mimi is concerned the new mom cat is getting the best service, as she did. Really, she wants to know what she's eating.
Mimi is concerned the new mom cat is getting the best service, as she did. Really, she wants to know what she’s eating.

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Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

17 thoughts on “Kittens!

  • May 5, 2015 at 1:54 am
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    Bernadette, they are beautiful … each and every one of them! Here’s hoping they all have forever homes when they are ready.

    Reply
    • May 5, 2015 at 8:30 am
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      Thanks Marg–they are so beautiful now and each day they are growing fast and getting even more beautiful, playful, affectionate, I don’t think they’ll have any problem finding homes!

      Reply
  • May 4, 2015 at 2:50 pm
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    a paws…a paws….a paws…thiz bee DE best monday mackerull with out de fish storee we haz hurd
    ina looooooooooooooooooooooooooong time…..total lee way kewl……..we iz veree glad charm N her
    crew iz safe…N headbonx…ouch…two everee one who helped rescue them ~~~~ ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

    Reply
    • May 4, 2015 at 5:58 pm
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      Thanks Tabbies! I’m so glad we found these little buns and that their sweet sweet mom is on her way to her own forever home starting with her rescue.

      Reply
  • May 4, 2015 at 2:00 pm
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    so glad this little family is safe now. it can be frustrating to see the ones you can’t help, but knowing you are helping here is HUGE!! enjoy the cute…

    Reply
    • May 4, 2015 at 5:56 pm
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      Random felines, I couldn’t do it at all without the support of Homeless Cat and Pittsburgh CAT. I remembered the days of trying to catch a littler of kittens by hand with no help and set up this big perimeter and things to block them with. It just reminded me how lucky I am to be able to work with these people, and though we don’t get them all we get way more than we ever could otherwise.

      Reply
  • May 4, 2015 at 12:26 pm
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    You look like you will have your hands full for a while. They are so cute and can’t wait to see more pictures of them as they grow.

    Reply
    • May 4, 2015 at 12:38 pm
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      Linda, I’ll definitely have a problem focusing for a while! They may go to another foster home where there is more than one person, we’ll see. I just hope I can keep up with socializing and playing and still get work done.

      Reply
  • May 4, 2015 at 11:45 am
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    OMG they’re gorgeous! Great story… looking forward to six happy endings when they find their homes!

    Reply
    • May 4, 2015 at 12:20 pm
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      Peg, if we’d only been a day earlier when she still had them in the box there would have been none of this!

      Reply
  • May 4, 2015 at 11:28 am
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    Hello everyone! Aside from chasing kittens and arranging for a few other cats to be trapped for spay/neuter, I’ve been having troubles with my template for this site since the last WordPress update and could only share from my smartphone and comment when the sun went behind a cloud. I think it’s all fixed now.

    Reply
  • May 4, 2015 at 7:48 am
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    What an incredible story – that goodness you were able to rescue them. And bless Charm, so amazing that she knows you are trying to help her. The pictures are melting my heart too…

    Reply
    • May 4, 2015 at 11:36 am
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      Deb, I’m so glad I could help with this and rescue this wonderful litter of kittens and their extra sweet mom. It’s just sad there are so many others out there, but we save who we can, and it does make a difference.They are giving me all this creative energy too!

      Reply
  • May 3, 2015 at 10:21 pm
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    They are all so precious..even Mama Charm..the best of luck to all of them..and a big thanks to all of you who rescued them..It is wonderful that Charm is so happy to be rescued..just like Mimi is..

    Reply
    • May 4, 2015 at 11:34 am
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      Bluemoonalone, there are so many moms out there just like Charm and I doubt most of them would choose to raise litters of kittens outdoors. Charm is so sweet, she deserves a home just like Mimi did.

      Reply
  • May 3, 2015 at 8:47 pm
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    What a sweet family.
    Purrs to you and your friends for rescuing them.
    Purrs Georgia and Julie,
    Treasure and JJ

    Reply
    • May 4, 2015 at 11:32 am
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      Georgia and Julie, it’s so fun to have them here! Imagine what they’ll look like as adults!

      Reply

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