A year ago yesterday Tami, little TimTam Tami Cat came into our lives. I’ve posted about that elsewhere. What I somehow managed not to post about is that about a month later another kitten came into our lives. I don’t have photos of her then, as we met in the dark. We were walking the dogs after dark, as it is really just too hot to walk during the day this time of year, with Tami on my shoulder, when out from the yarn next door comes this small yellow and white kitten, about the same size and age as Tami! Very friendly, came right up to us with the dogs! We’ve had cats come to us for help before, but they always stayed away, well out of range of the dogs. The dogs are on leash next to us, but most cats are understandably, sensibly cautious about strange dogs.
Not this one! She came right up, rubbed against us, against the dogs, who were quite taken aback, meowed and wanted to be petted. So of course I did. But we were on our walk, had just started, so I didn’t want to go back. Besides, the people who live in the house have tended to get 2 kittens every year, who they then leave for days on end when they go someplace or other. If the cats come to my house I’ll feed them, but I’d never seen this one before.
So off we continued on our walk. And we were escorted quite happily by this young cat! And almost every time we’ve gone walking she’s joined us. She’s very careful and sensible about cars, ducking behind trees and bushes whenever one comes. Sometimes she’ll get tired and lay down in front of us as we’re walking, so I’ll pick her up and carry her for a while. When we got back home with her still with us I of course fed her.
She was there the next morning, and took up residence on our deck. She would hide under it where it was safe, cool and dry, and also go under the barn sometimes. I had thought she might move into the barn next door, but there is already a cat who was born there, and they didn’t get along. The other cat, being older, would chase the kitten away. Now note that the other cat didn’t start coming around until after the kitten took up residence, but apparently the food we gave the kitten was interesting enough to draw attention.
It took us a while, but finally we named her Nilla Wafer (due to being white and creamy yellow) but call her Waif (lost child). Since we have no clue where she came from nor how she got onto the road that night, we didn’t know if she had been spayed. I already had 2 cats and 2 dogs, and we didn’t need another indoor animal, and in fact, it is difficult to impossible to take an outdoor cat indoors unless one is willing to let it out sometimes. Which is a recipe for fleas in the house, so no, I don’t want an indoor/outdoor cat.
Here is a photo of Waif and Tami (on the leash) taken in February. Neither is a large cat, they are small, about 5 lbs. Tami’s build is longer and leaner, Waif is a bit more stocky.
Cats from rescue are always spayed/neutered, so I had hoped that she had been, too. I don’t know how she would do in a car or cat carrier, nor do I know if one of the other (rural) neighbors considered her theirs, even though she seems to spend most of her time at our place. She didn’t seem to go into heat in the fall, but in late winter she started to plump up. Yup, very, very pregnant.
She came to get food on Saturday, 22 April, 2017 no longer hugely pregnant. She was clearly nursing babies, but we couldn’t find them. I tracked her across the road a couple of times, where there are some buildings/barns, but couldn’t find her or her babies. I was very worried about them several times as we had some huge storms and there was a lot of flooding.
Friday evening, well after dark, one of us saw movement in the pile of big rocks we got to do some work around the place with. That movement turned out to be kittens. They were hiding in the rock pile.
The next morning they were under the barn, which is just a few feet from the rock pile. There are 5 cute kittens, about 7 weeks old. Here is what we saw:
Mama Waif has been trying to teach them that we are safe.
But they are still extremely shy. If they hear something or see movement from us that they don’t expect they dash back to safety. While it is disappointing from the perspective of someone who wants to cuddle baby kittens, they are living outside and there are many dangers. Hawks, coyotes, owls, all will take an animal the size of a small cat, especially these tiny kittens. So from that perspective I’m glad they have good survival instincts.
One kitten is The Brave One. I’ve been calling it Bold because it is so much bolder than the rest. Bold was the first one to come to the food bowl, and is the first oe to come when Waif calls them. Bold will come out alone, looking around and playing with plants, or Waif’s tail, or whatever else seems interesting.
The next most adventurous is Gold, who seems to be the only solid color in the litter.
Bold, Gold and one other kitten seem to be the Three Musketeers, and so far are the only kittens who have eaten from the food bowl.
The other two have been too shy to come to the food bowl, but are clearly hungry, and she is clearly weaning them all. I expect in the next few days they’ll get enough confidence to try the food we are offering.
Chip is very interested in the kittens, and seems fascinated watching them.
If he seems to get too interested I’ll say something to him and he relaxes. Notice that Waif is completely unconcerned with him watching, although she did move over and lay in front of him, between him and her babies. This was taken just before she lay down.
I do hope she can teach her babies to interact with the dogs as well as she does. They often will lay together when I’m outside with them.
And here are some photos just because kittens are cute!
And Waif, first time mother, who has done a bang up job raising 5 kittens!