Today at Kingsford – Kittens

Merlin and Oliver

Is there anything cuter than a sleeping kitten? Raven’s been getting a lot of face time lately, but the kittens have been largely ignored here, so I’d promised Mom I’d do a post on them. Part of that is because Raven will come on walks, and the kittens are strictly indoor cats (much as I imagine they’d love to wander around outside). We’ve also had Raven longer. The kittens arrived a couple weeks ago, but have settled in well in that time. They’re both very friendly, though the stripy one more so than the other. They get along well with Raven, as much as can be expected; they’ll still run the other way if she comes bounding up with that puppy exuberance, but if she approaches quietly they’ll sit and let her lick them and even tolerate her gently grasping their neck in her mouth – perhaps it reminds them of what their mother would do when carrying them? I have no doubt that if Raven hurt them they’d be quick to let her know, but I keep an eye on their interactions nonetheless.

Merlin
Merlin

The dark one is named Merlin, the stripy one is Oliver. He’d come with the name Ziggy, and I toyed with calling him Ziggy Stardust (at least on his vet records; that’s too much of a mouthful to call him around the house) but he just seemed much more like an Oliver, a name that popped into my head for him – that’s when you know a name really suits the animal, it just comes to you. So far they’re working hard at eliminating the vicious wasp population in the house; they’ve eaten at least three that we know of, before we could get to the wasp to remove it ourselves. Raven tried to help out, and got stung for her efforts. Her face swelled up like a French Bulldog, her eyes so swollen she could barely see out. I wish I’d gotten a photo, it was hilarious. I took her to the vet, but fortunately there was no swelling of her tongue or anything else that would potentially cause breathing or other problems, and the swelling went down within a couple hours.

This evening I’m off to visit my sister. She got tickets for the “World Famous” Lipizzaner Stallions, which we’re going to see, and I’m excited. I hope they’ll let you bring cameras!

Oliver
Oliver

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An infusion of cute

Four kittens and a girl

It seems that so far I’ve posted about a wide variety of different things – unusual, bizarre, interesting, cool, current, pretty, colourful, diverse… but nothing that I would necessarily classify as cute. This post is to rectify that oversight.

This weekend my middlest sister was at my parents’ for a few days. She’ll be moving to Ottawa this coming weekend, and I wanted to visit with her before she takes off for the far reaches of the province (actually, it could be worse, she could be moving to Thunder Bay). Also, I wanted to visit with the cute bundles of fur currently in her care.

Momcat

This is Momcat. She’s a stray who has adopted my parents. She’s been living there for about five years now. She first arrived in the area, we think, by means of some thoughtful person who dumped her and her young litter in a box at the side of the road not far from my parents’ place. There seems to be some underground network among the animal community directing the lost, the sick, and the homeless to my parents’ – good people live here. Momcat isn’t the first stray to arrive at their doorstep, and she’s unlikely to be the last, although with my parents’ moving this summer they’ll have to establish a new network.

My mom rescued a couple of Momcat’s kittens from that first litter, but Momcat herself has remained elusive. I’ve never known a more wary, nor a more wiley, stray. Most strays that arrive remain stout outdoors cats (my parents keep their own cats indoors all the time, but strays are allowed to come and go – that’s the life they know, and they’d be unhappy trapped indoors), but they pay for their lifestyle choice – most disappear after about two years, probably to cars or coyotes. The fact that Momcat has resolutely remained outdoors, and is still around five years later attests to her wileyness.

Momcat has had a litter of kittens every year since she arrived. So far she’s evaded all attempts to catch her to have her spayed, unfortunately. Over the years she’s become more comfortable around us, though she knows precisely how long our arms are and stays just out of reach. This summer I’ve spent some time trying to tame her down and win her trust enough to be able to bring her in for that (sadly, just to break that trust again, but it’s for the best). There’s hope yet.

Kittens in the loft

This spring Momcat chose to have her litter in the hayloft of the barn. The hayloft hasn’t been used in a long time, it just being too cumbersome to get the hay up there, and then bring it down again. Now the hay’s stored in a shed that sides the barn. The hayloft, however, retains a nice bed of old, loose hay and straw, and is cozy, protected from the elements and predators. Since no one’s ever up there, it’s a nice quiet place for a family.

Kittens

In the past, when Momcat has started bringing her kittens around to the house for food (she gets fed regular meals like the indoor cats get, but with the hopes that it will not only sustain her, but perhaps cut down on the amount of hunting she does on her own time), an attempt would be made to catch as many of the kittens (who’re slower and less wiley than their mother) as possible and distribute them to indoor homes. My parents have kept a few of Momcat’s babies, but most now live with many different friends of my sisters.

This year, because we knew the location of her kittens before she moved them, and because the location was a contained space, we were able to go in just when they reached the age of starting to feed themselves and catch them all. It was a bit of a kitten-wrangling session, not helped by the fact that the hayloft isn’t large enough for adults to stand up in so my sister and I were trying to scurry as we chased the poor frightened creatures from one end to the other. But in the end we did get them all, and brought them in to a cage we had set up.

Nap time

They’ve adjusted well in the couple weeks since they’ve been in, and while Momcat still seems a bit lonely from time to time, the kittens are having a grand ol’ time with each other, and have become very friendly with people. They all have new homes lined up that they’ll be going to in the next little while. Hopefully we’ll be able to catch Momcat this summer, because we’re just about out of cat-less friends to take the kittens!

While my sister’s been visiting this weekend, the kittens have been kept on the screened-in porch where they can be separate from the other cats but still have lots of room to run around and play and make a mess (with flowerpots and the like, of course – one of the great things about kittens is that they come litter-trained). Below are some photos of the furry balls of cute.

Ruby

Ruby

Tabby

Tabby

Maverick

Maverick

Schroeder

Schroeder

Jack

Jack

Kittens playing

Fun with toys

Fun with bags

Fun with bags (carefully supervised, of course, but nothing crinkles as intriguingly as a plastic bag)

Fun with knives

Fun with knives (following dinner; fortunately a very dull butter-knife)

Fun with toes

Fun with toes

Fun with kittens

Fun with kittens