Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Kittens Week 2!

The kittens eyes have opened! They continue to gain weight and are crawling around a lot more! 

Eyes Open! 

 Like Her Mama has quite the personality! She hates to sit still and is constantly crawling all over Cali, sometimes even batting at her face! We think she's going to be the little trouble maker!

Like Her Mama Getting A Bath!

Pudge on the other hand is as darling as can be. She loves to eat, sleep and cuddle!

Mmmm Mommy your footie tastes yummy!

We are thoroughly enjoying watching them grow and change every week!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Losing Little B

It breaks my heart to write this, but Little B is no longer with us.  We began weighing the kittens Tuesday morning and although he weighed the least of the trio it was only by a few grams.  He was active and vocal and moving around a lot so we just thought we'd keep our eye on him.  As Cali only had three kittens they were also fairly big compared to other newborns from larger litters.  On Wednesday he had lost 3g.  Nothing too drastic but kittens are delicate and in their first week should gain on average about 10g daily.  The other two were well surpassing that.  We took it to mean he was the runt of the litter and began giving him time alone with Cali to feed so the other two couldn't push him away.  I did notice however that he seemed to be having a hard time latching on.

On Thursday he stayed the same in weight so we began bottle feeding him a supplement.  It's hard because Hubby and I both work full-time but we were determined to help Little B out.  Of course the other two continued to gain weight  and get stronger and bigger.  By Friday he was noticeably smaller.  Even with us bottle feeding him continually and trying to give him the time he needed with Cali he dropped 8g over Thursday evening.  My heart sank when I weighed him Friday morning but he was still moving around and crying so I mixed up fresh formula and fed him twice before I left.  Hubby was working the afternoon shift and fed him twice before he went to work as well.

When I came home from work Friday evening Little B had passed away.  I held him in my arms and cried, frustrated that we couldn't help him.  I was angry.  Angry that Cali had been left to wander the neighbourhood unfixed and angry that for at least 4 weeks before she came in to our lives she had gone hungry and pregnant.  I had felt all of this had been meant to be so why had we lost one of those precious kittens?  And after the anger came the What Ifs.  What if I hadn't brought Cali inside that first night?  What if I had started feeding him the minute I noticed his weight wasn't increasing?  It's hard to not let the anger and the What Ifs overcome you.

In the end I try to push these thoughts from my head and instead believe it was for the best.  Something had been wrong with him and it was best that he didn't suffer any longer than he had to.  I know animals have multiple babies because of this and so the chance of their species' survival is higher but it doesn't make the pain I feel in my heart any less profound.  And I try to remind myself that Cali and her two kittens are strong, healthy and still need our love and support to keep them that way.

Before taking Little B from Cali I let her sniff him.  She made a little meow and nuzzled his cheek and then I wrapped him in a blanket and took him away.  When Hubby came home from work he brought a box he had made to put Little B in.  He had even made a nice label on it that said L'il B on it (the box wasn't that big so he'd shortened the name to make it fit).  Then we said our goodbyes and laid him to rest down the side of our house.  And cried.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Kittens Week 1

Cali has 3 beautiful kittens!

We tell them apart by their markings.
One is getting beautiful Calico colouring so we call her Like Her Mama.
The second is roly-poly and mostly black with a little white near her neck and lower stomach.  
This one we call Pudge.
The third is all black.  We call him Little B as he is the smallest of the three.

We don't want to give them real names because they won't be staying with us.

They are all beautiful and doing well!  

Cali is being an excellent mother!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The Kittens Are Here!

Well we certainly underestimated Cali's due date!  Hubby and I had thought by her size that kittens would be coming around the beginning of September so we were shocked when she delivered so early!

Our area got a lot of rain last week so we started leaving the bottom of our garage door up just a little bit so Cali could run in and out as she pleased.  At night we were closing it completely to keep her safe.  We didn't think the garage would be suitable when she had the kittens as we couldn't control the temperature and it's windowless so we decided we would put her in the office when the time came.  That way she was safe but we could keep the door shut and her safely away from our other pets.  At this point we're pretty convinced that she isn't carrying anything but we'd rather be safe than sorry.

Friday night the skies were finally clearing up and Cali was enjoying our front porch when Hubby and I left to go out for dinner and a movie.  He asked me if we should close her up in the garage for the night but it was still pretty early and I knew she'd be antsy to get some fresh air so I said to leave it open and we'd put her in the garage when we got home.  She hadn't left our house in 3 weeks so I wasn't concerned.

During the movie, we got another round of thunderstorms and when we came home, Cali wasn't in the garage.  We went around the neighbourhood looking for her but it was late and pouring rain so we thought she'd taken shelter somewhere and would come back in the morning.  Well it rained all day Saturday and even though we went looking for her, called her, left the garage opened a bit with soft food for her and kept checking to see if she had shown up, she didn't.  I was having panic attacks about the awful things that could have happened to her so to keep my mind off it, I began cleaning and organizing the office and upstairs closets.  The office always becomes my junk room - when I can't figure out where to put something it gets tossed in there.

By the end of the weekend I was finished my cleaning and there was still no sign of Cali.  After dinner Sunday night I told Hubby I wanted to take a drive around the neighbourhood to make sure she wasn't on the side of the road somewhere.  I was terrified to do it, but also wanted the peace of mind.  We were just about to get in the truck when up walks Cali, noticeably thinner.  She started rubbing up against our legs and purring like crazy so we led her in to the garage so she could have some food and water.

Then we debated on what to do.  The first thing we thought was - it's too early for her to have the kittens and if she did have them why haven't we been able to find them?  The next thing was that she didn't look like she'd given birth and her nipples looked normal.  Also she hadn't gotten big, just a little tubby which could have easily been explained by the proper meals she'd been getting.  And since she'd been gone for 48 hours it was possible if she didn't eat and had been roaming around she could have lost the weight easily.  Although it's rare she could have also had a false pregnancy or a miscarriage.

At first we didn't force her to stay but after about 4 hours of her sitting outside our house we decided to bring her in to the office.  We didn't think she would have left the kittens for so long if she'd had any and it was looking more and more like she hadn't.  We were thinking we should take advantage of the fact that she wasn't pregnant, bring her somewhere safe and call the vet to book her vaccinations and spay before she did end up pregnant.  We were both so glad to have her back and she was happy to be indoors.  She snuggled up to me on the bed, purring and fell asleep.

Then today after work, some neighbours across the street popped over to our house to tell us they had crying kittens in their backyard!  Hubby had previously told them about Cali and how we thought she was pregnant.  We ran upstairs and grabbed Cali, then brought her to their daughter's playhouse in their backyard where 3 beautiful kittens were squeaking!  I gently laid Cali beside them and they all snuggled in, eager to get the meal they'd missed in the last day while she purred away.  I have never felt so bad in my entire life but am so grateful that everything worked itself out.  After leaving her there for about an hour we decided the safest thing to do would be to bring them all back to our office.  Our neighbour lent us some gloves and we ran back home and got a large cardboard box to put everyone in.  We were nervous about touching the kittens but Cali has been great with us.  She watches what we do, but seems to know that we're there to help them and her.  She had a small litter that we are so grateful for as it means there will be less homes to find for them and that hopefully they will all be healthy and strong.

Hubby has never really believed in fate like I do but tonight he told me this has made him believe that everything happens for a reason.  I was meant to find Cali in those bushes that day so that she could find a good home and so that she got the nourishment she needed while she was pregnant.  He was meant to tell those neighbours in passing that she was pregnant so they knew who to come to when they found the kittens.  And although it seems less important than the miracle of birth I had that office ready at just the right moment to become a safe haven for a cat and her babies.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

On Cats, Kittens & Responsibility

So much has happened since I last blogged about the little stray cat who we now call Cali.  After that day we didn't see her for almost a week.  I continued to change her water every morning and night but the food went untouched day after day.  I was worried about her but Hubby reminded me that she was a stray and probably did a lot of roaming around.  He also said it was likely she had other homes she visited who fed her and maybe even gave her shelter like we did.

The more I thought about her the more distressed I was getting.  My area of the city is heavily populated and we don't see many strays hanging around although our two cats Charlie and Indie came from a litter born to a stray cat in my friend's backyard.  Being the animal lover I am I couldn't sit by and do nothing, it just didn't seem right.  Hubby and I started talking about building her an outdoor shelter down the side of her house and as my birthday is coming up at the end of the month I told him the only thing I wanted was to have her fixed and vaccinated so I knew she had some protection while living outdoors.  We asked friends and family to spread the word about this poor little kitty but we seem to know a lot of dog people or people who already live in a multiple cat household.  We didn't even want to think about what would happen in winter.

When Cali was waiting for me when I came home from work one afternoon I was overjoyed to see her!  It brought me such relief to know she was safe - although I sassed her through snuggles about leaving us for so long!  To entice her to stay around I started feeding her soft food every morning before work.  I have yet to meet a cat who can resist the sweet temptation of canned food.  At night we would let her stay in the garage and when I took the dogs out in the morning she would saunter out and hide in my garden.

Hubby agreed we could look in to getting her vaccinated in fixed but we both agreed we should check with some neighbours and make sure she didn't belong to anyone.  We were convinced she wasn't as we'd seen her outdoors in all kinds of weather and at all hours of the night but sure enough one neighbour told me she belonged to the house at the end of our street.  Hubby and I weren't sure how to react to this news.  Clearly she wasn't getting the nourishment, affection or attention she needed otherwise what was she doing being an outside kitty and coming to us for proper meals?  I asked the neighbour who lived beside the woman to find out more details for me.  I didn't want to go over there myself as my emotions can frequently get the best of me and I didn't want to start a neighbourhood rivalry.

A few days later I ran in to my neighbour again who said she had talked to the woman at the end of the road.  Her daughter had brought home the cat who was to be euthanized at a shelter.  She wanted to save the cat but neither of them wanted to take responsibility for her so they put her on the streets, which is where I'm sure she came from in the beginning.  She wasn't fixed or vaccinated (which I felt was the least they could have done for her) but was very sweet and loving (well obviously). We left our conversation at that and Hubby and I were once again to ponder Cali's fate.

Unfortunately calling Animal Control wasn't an option as it was inevitable Cali would be put down.  All local shelters and our humane society are full and if we brought her to one she would either be put down or just turned away and we didn't want to see that happen either.  And Cali was getting bigger.  At first we thought it was because she was getting proper meals but she was growing at an alarming rate and her nipples were pink and swollen.

I have been on vacation this week and spent a lot of time with Cali.  She never leaves our property.  At night she sleeps in a box full of blankets in our garage and during the day she hangs out at the front of our house or in our dense gardens in the back.  We've been keeping her food and water in the backyard under our patio set with the umbrella up for extra shade.  We prefer her in the backyard during the day because we don't have to worry about traffic.

This past Thursday Hubby came home and told me he had been doing a lot of thinking.  He wanted to help Cali raise her kittens, find them good homes and then we would have her vaccinated, spayed and keep her.  He said he'd fallen in love with her just as I had and that our home was the best place for her.  I couldn't agree more.  I had him stop by the woman's house at the end of the street and tell her.  I didn't think she would care but I also didn't want it to become an issue in the future.  Plus if Cali ever got out and went back to her place we wanted her on our side.  She said she was glad someone was willing to look after her and that was about it.  The important thing though is that Cali will now have a loving home and somewhere safe to raise her kittens.