Monday, August 1, 2011

Little Time Wasters

I haven't been blogging much this summer. Firstly, I'm still trying to get the house organized after our move in April, secondly, well, I'm trying to enjoy summer, and thirdly...

These little guys are keeping me busy!

I volunteer once a week as a receptionist at our local Humane Society. I also foster pregnant Moms and their kittens. We have had several litters so far, but this is the first one at this house. And although I had decided to postpone taking any more litters in order to get the house organized, it is kitten season and the shelter was overrun, and so these little guys and their Mama arrived at our house June 16 at 10 days old. Mama is a young cat, barely 8 months old when she gave birth, so she was rather stressed out about the whole thing and not nursing very well. But once she got settled in at our house, she slowly caught on with the whole process and eventually became a very good mom. I keep them downstairs in the laundry room, which is spacious, fairly indestructible and kitten proof.

These moms are usually strays or abandoned cats. The shelter finds foster homes for them so that they can be more relaxed and so that the kittens can grow up in a home environment to get socialized.

 This litter has 5 kittens: 3 boys, 2 girls

See this little grey and white one hiding under the brown tabby? He's the cutest little runt. He's about one third the size of the others, but he's feisty and scrappy and always the first one at the feeding bowl. And he has the sweetest disposition! Love!

Here he is again!

This one is a little girl who looks like her Mama.

Here's the sweet little one looking at water for the first time. Doesn't know what to make of it!

First time eating. Love the feet right in the bowl! They are 5 weeks old at this stage. At about the same time they start eating solids, they start using the litter box. Before that Mama cleans everything. They master the litter box remarkably fast!

Taking a little rest, all curled up together. How cozy!

And there's Mama. Her name is Mabel. I haven't come up with names yet for the little ones! Mabel had a very irresponsible owner who let her roam outside before she was spayed and now it becomes our problem to deal with.

This little one is all grey except for the white tips of his 4 paws!

This is the other little girl.

So tired after playing!

I spend a lot of time feeding them, cleaning the litter boxes, the food dishes, the floor, etc. But really I spend the most time just watching their antics! They run, they jump, they pounce, they climb, they do flips and somersaults, they wrestle and generally just practice doing big cat things. So much time wasted watching them play!

After doing this for a few years, you'd think I would be blasé about the whole thing, but not at all. Each time I get a new litter, I'm awed by the whole experience. And when the time comes to say good-bye, when they are 8 weeks old and ready to be adopted, I have mixed feelings: I won't miss all the hard work, but I am at this point attached to everyone of them and I blubber like a baby shed a tear or two on the way to the shelter and again when I say good-bye to them and Mama. (Mama then gets spayed and is also put up for adoption.) But I console myself with the fact that our shelter has very high standards of care, it is a no kill shelter and, because I'm there once a week, I may get to see them again before they each go to their forever home, and then get to hear their happy tail story about who adopted them, etc. And I also console myself thinking about how much joy they will bring to somebody else!

And this is the part where I do like Bob Barker and tell you to get your pets spayed and neutered!