I’d intended to post this yesterday evening as a daily update.
Five little kittens are feeling very safe in their crate hammock this evening. You can count the ears in this photo, and don’t miss the one ear that’s right in the front, from a kitty hiding below the edge.
There are four girls and one boy, and I’ll bet you can guess which one is the boy. They were just about 8 to 10 weeks old as I had thought. The two short-haired gray kittens and the two black kittens look identical in pairs so I put a little dab of tempera paint on the ear or top of the head or whatever I could get on each kitten and a dab on the paperwork so we could keep them identified.
I had noticed when the two little black kittens were in traps that they were quite small and wasn’t sure if they’d hit the two-pound minimum for surgery. It turned out they were just a little over a pound but they were old enough and healthy and they decided to spay anyway. Both girls recovered as quickly as the bigger kittens. After we released each one from the traps into the crate, the two black kittens were the first ones to find the canned food and have a good meal.
They’ve eaten, had a drink and explored, ignored their hiding box, climb the sides of the crate and all piled into the hammock.
The caretakers had a bigger dog crate than any of mine because they’d had a few Dobermans through the years, buying the first from a breeder and adopting rescues after that, and they’ve also had a cat or two through the years.
The goal was to set up everything up front so the kittens could focus on socializing without needing to make changes to their crate.
We set up the crate the night before and while it’s big, all the things needed for five active kittens fill it up with nothing left over. Remembering how these five kittens had raced around the yard and up and down that slope to the sheds I knew they would do best with more space than even the big crate. I have two donated crates so brought one over and we zip tied them together end for end, using the end with a door on one crate and laying the wall down on mine, which is slightly smaller so there were no gaps in height.
To say the husband of the caretakers is handy is a huge understatement of his skills and love for problem solving—note the little food and water trays he made up for their traps, which they all used—and since I’m usually the one to take care of all that I am so grateful he’s got that! To fill a few gaps that might have been big enough for a tiny kitten to escape he found materials and cut to fit exactly, then zip-tied into place. They had some scraps of indoor-outdoor carpet and one cut down to fit the bottom of the crate so things might not slide around so much, especially food and water dishes.
I set the litterbox at one end so scooping and cleanup would be convenient, and the scratch lounge ended up in that end too. The hiding box, food and water bowls and a scratching post are at the other end. I added the crate hammock above their hiding box. We covered it completely, and it was all ready to add kittens.
Releasing the kittens into the crate
I opened the door at the end with the litterbox so I could put the open end of the trap well into the crate, to be fairly certain they’d see a tunnel with open space to run through ahead of them and what might look like a hiding space far ahead and run out toward that rather than stopping to look around and possibly trying to head out the door around me. The caretakers were right behind me in case anything happened, tiny kittens are very quick and hard to grab, but nothing of the sort happened.
I removed the cover from each trap so the kitten wanted to get back into a small protected area, pointed the trap into the crate and opened it. The first kitten ran right out and down to the end of the crate and stayed there, avoiding the hiding box but climbing up on it and on the create walls, eventually hiding next to the box.
Each other turned around to the back of its trap at first, then we all waved our hands back there and the kitten turned around and ran into the crate, not stopping until it got to the other end. The others ran into the hiding box and stayed there while the first girl, one of the short-haired gray kittens, kept hiding outside the box and then climbing.
When all were in I closed the door and dropped the cover, but watched through an opening so that I could see each of them moving around just to be sure of mobility after surgery. All of them were climbing and digging and looking for ways out, and none looked impaired in any way, so I let the cover fall and we sat around to talk quietly and let the kittens do their thing.
We could hear noises in there sounding mostly like they were in and on the cardboard box, and every so often the crate covers would move as they climbed the wires of the crate and we’d see a paw or a tile poking out from underneath the covers. But they settled down in about 15 minutes and the next time I peeked in the two black kittens were eating canned food and the others were on top of their box and in the crate hammock. Over time we added more canned food and heard them moving up and down the expanse, then they all collected in the crate hammock. They also had water and plenty of dry food so we decided to let them rest. The caretakers would be checking periodically and I had draped the covers so they would open near the doors and could be moved slightly to peek in without uncovering a large expanse of the crate so the kittens would still feel safe.
I’ll be going over each day to check on the kittens, coach the fosters and work on socialization so I hope to update and get lots of photos. I get the feeling they’ll socialize pretty quickly, but with large litters there’s often a holdout who can manage to elude the humans and doesn’t socialize as well, so I’ll keep an eye out for that.
The two black kittens are pretty bold and I think they’ll be fine. They are small and I want to monitor their health as time passes.
Contact from a neighbor
We had set the two extra traps I’d borrowed to try to trap the mother up on the side of the shed the kittens had been looking under and farther down hear where they’d been fed. They were out late into the night on Friday, then also early Saturday morning, but no sign of her.
As I was leaving my house to go over yesterday when they’d come back from the clinic I got a message from the woman from whom I’d borrowed the traps—we put our contact information on each of our traps so we hope they’re returned if borrowed or used for transport—with a screen shot of a message she’d received. It was from a neighbor with a house number quite near the caretakers and it turned out to be the house immediately behind and above the caretakers, and actually the owner of the shed the kittens had been living under. The home is a group home and she works there. She was concerned because she’d see the traps and now the kittens had only eaten a small portion of the food she’d put out for them. I gave her a call and it turns out she’d been feeding them too, and was acquainted with the mother from last autumn and through late winter; she’d moved into the house with her 19-year-old cat who was visiting the basement and singing at night, likely aware of the mother cat out there. I let her know what was up and talked for a while. She had been trying to find someone to call to help with the situation and was glad the kittens were safe, and she also wanted to visit and help socialize them. I told the caretakers when I arrived at the house a few minutes later and gave them her cell number so they could make arrangements.
So there’s another human to visit the kittens, and the neighbor to the side of the caretakers will visit as well. We’ll all network to locate the mother cat and we’ll have lots of places to set traps for her, and lots of people to watch them. Hopefully we’ll be successful soon.
Top find all the posts regarding these kittens, search “five little kittens”.
A note about my cat rescue activities
I’ve been at this one way or another since about 1980, and I’ve just accepted that rescuing cats is a permanent part of my life. I try to be very careful with my time to be sure I meet all my deadlines and have the time to create the artwork and gift items I sell, but rescuing cuts into both my income and my time. However, if I have the skills to help a cats and people who need it, and no one else is available, I am happy I can do that for them.
The caretakers have just laid out quite a sum for vetting for five kittens, even at low-cost rates, and I’d like to help them with any donations of goods you’d like to give, especially food and litter. I’ve been gathering some donations and purchased toys and scratchers as well.
I also have some pretty high veterinary costs right now after losing Mewsette, and still treating Jelly Bean, Mr. Sunshine and Giuseppe. Morty still needs prescription foods until I can get him back to the veterinarian for some blood tests so we can find out more about his particular condition, and all of them need to eat.
- Consider a Custom Pet Memorial Votive for yourself or a family member or friend. Remember that they don’t actually have to be memorials—a votive with someone’s pet on it while they are very much alive is also a nice custom gift!
- Visit www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net. I am currently preparing my basement studio for handmade goods but it will be a couple weeks before I start stocking things, but look around in my Handmade Gifts Gallery.
- I have four Stained Glass Cats small votives which I now offer with string lights in addition to an LED votive for your choice of lighting.
- I still have plenty of feline garden flags, though I’m currently out of a few designs.
- I have one of each of the Tortie Girls block prints and one of Awakening, all are matted and framed.
- And consider even a small portrait of one or more of your fine felines!
If you have any questions, please let me know! And thanks for any help.
Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
Feline Gifts from Portraits of Animals!
“22 Cats” votive lamp featuring all the portraits in my “Great Rescues Day Book”. Read more.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Thursday: New Merchandise
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!