Our last batch of foster kittens went back to the shelter about six weeks ago. I'm happy to report that they all found forever homes right away. They were adorable, but by the time they were 8 or 10 weeks old, they were quite a bundle of kitten energy. I gave them one last hug goodbye, and then breathed a sigh of relief.
It was nice to open the door to the master bath first thing in the morning and be met with silence, instead of five little furballs tearing out the door and over me and everything in sight. I was able to retire the litter box and food dishes, scrub the floors and have order restored once again.
The next day I was on my way out to the shelter to pick up a litter of four 3-week old kittens and their mom.
They were stunning and quite possibly the cutest things I'd ever seen (at least in the last three weeks).
The first week they were here, it seemed as if they did nothing but nurse.
When they weren't nursing, they were venturing off in all directions and momma kitty would patiently round them up, only to have them run right back off again in their wobbly, head-too-big-for-the-body gate.
Watching her brought me back, quite viscerally, to those early days of parenthood when a mother's identity is wiped clean and we exist purely as a vessel to nourish and care for our babies. It was beautiful and touching and exhausting all at once.
Want a gander at the kittens? They are pretty adorable.
These are just two of them. The other two are a bit shy and didn't seem to want their pictures taken.
When they are this small, it is important to make sure they are all growing and thriving. The best way to do that is to weigh them every few days. I bought a food scale, as they were too small to register on a regular bathroom scale.
This is Bobby. He's the smallest in the litter (and sports a bobtail).
He has a bit to go yet until he's over a pound!
They are quite a bit of fun. I'm back to scooping and scrubbing and ferrying back and forth to the vet, but I think they're worth it.
They are starting to wean now and this gives momma kitty a bit of a break. Momma is friendly, but a bit skittish and scares easily (I'm going to guess she was a barn cat and is not used to confinement). She is more comfortable around kids than adults, oddly, and is quite gentle with them and with our other cats. Once she warms up to you, she really is quite affectionate.
I've been working with her to try to get her clicker-trained to settle her down a bit. If you're wondering what clicker training is, it's basically using a clicker and behavior reinforcement to teach cats simple tricks. The best thing about it, however, is that it helps cats feel calm and secure, and cuts down on stress. I'm not sure why that is, but I'm hoping that using it with her will help make her more adoptable once her kittens are grown.
I'll have them for a few more weeks yet, so that should give her some time to settle down. Who knows, maybe she'll be jumping through hoops by then.
Won't you, Momma?