Monday, November 1, 2010

Feral baby cats

Right after Labour Day weekend I thought my life was going to get back to the old routine. I kinda missed it, although it was a fun summer with lots of family things happening. I said good-bye to the last family member and started the day by going off to feed my two feral colonies and visit the gym.

A few hours later I got a call from another cat caregiver to say she had just received a phone call from someone in the office at the recycling plant where her colony lives. They had just found a small kitten under a pile of tires. It took me a nano second to say I would take this wee baby in to socialize and care for. When Robin arrived with the baby in a huge box I opened it up to find a tiny 4 week old black kitten with runny gooey eyes and wheezing breath sounds. We immediately took off for the vet's office. During the vet visit he got his name, Turtle. The vet was reluctant to start antibiotics until this wee baby gave us a poo, so I was told to keep him warm and fed and loved and to wipe his eyes with warm water.

Baby Turtle had to be bottle fed but he was having trouble adjusting to the bottle so feeding times where stressful for both of us. Going to bed late, getting up in the middle of the night and then again at 5:30 was taking its toll on me but I wouldn't have it any other way. This baby had to be fed and I knew it was only going to be temporary.

After three days of watching this wee baby closely, listening to him wheeze and gurgle when he took a breath and those runny eyes that needed constant attention, it was time to return to the vet. And I brought along a little Turtle poo. Turtle was given eye drops and antibiotics. He hadn't gained or lost any weight since being in my care, which meant he was getting just enough nourishment to survive. After only one treatment of eye drops his eyes looked so much better and continued to improve. It was only about 5 days of treatment and he looked at the world with bright baby blue cat eyes, just what I wanted to see in Turtle. The antibiotics took longer to clear up his URI but he was getting better.

A week after his arrival I tried him on a combination of canned kitten food mixed with kitten formula. Turtle tried it and liked it. The next feeding we tried again and this time he really got into feeding himself. I was finished with bottle feeding and Turtle was on his way to gaining weight and growing.

What surprised me most about Turtle was his very neat eating habits. Right from the beginning he did not stand in his food nor did he get it all over himself. He was eating well and often.

During the time I had Turtle he went from a tiny sick baby to a playful and thriving kitten with a zest for life. He spent his unsupervised time in a special kitten cage but much of the time he and I spent in the kitchen where he played and played. He also got to meet and play with my 3 year old orange boy, Boomer. These two got along so well, much to my surprise. I really didn't expect Boomer to be a gentle giant with wee Turtle but he was.
Three weeks after Turtle arrived, I had to hand Turtle over to his next foster home because I was going to be away for a few days. It was hard to say good-bye but his new foster mom invited me to come visit Turtle when I returned which made it somewhat easier, but only mildly.

When I did go visit Turtle, it was two days before he was scheduled to go to his forever home. He was doing really well at this foster home too, he was given the freedom of the main floor of the house and had taken over both the dog and cat's beds.

Five weeks after being found under that pile of old tires, Turtle went to his forever home where he has two kitty sisters. Last I heard they were not too fond of him but he had melted his new mom's heart with his sweetness. It always feels good to know that a kitten born in a feral colony has found a home with lots of good food, a warm bed and oodles of love.

Two weeks ago I got an email from Robin to say another kitten from the same colony had been spotted. Pumpkin was caught the following day and came to live with us. Will post more about this cutie in the next few days.

1 comment:

  1. OHC - Turtle is such a cutie. HUGS for taking such good care of him and for turning him over to a new foster mom. Dat has to be so very hard because who couldn't help but get attached to a sweet little kitty like Turtle. You are doing some fantastic work.