Our Thanksgiving weekend (2015) brought more kittens into the family. Five that weekend and a sixth one about a month later.
Thanksgiving morning started the new arrivals when my spouse got home from work about 7:30 that morning. Hearing frantic kitten cries, they found a small black kitten bobbing up and down in a 5 gallon bucket that was half full of water. I’d been collecting rainwater off of the eaves and evidently when Feral Mama brought her kittens out to feed, this little black cat had fallen off of the bridge ledge that circles the house…right down into the bucket of water, where she couldn’t get out. The newest addition, about five to six weeks old was promptly named ‘Lucky’.
Over the next twenty-four hours, we nabbed her two brothers. One was another little black fellow that we named ‘Shadow’. And then there was the gray tabby brother, a little larger and prone to biting anything threatening – hence the chomp marks on the wrist and his name ‘Nippers’.
“That’s it!” I loudly proclaimed. “No more cats until we get a larger house. No. More.”
Until Sunday evening, after dark, when I let the dogs in the back door and thought I heard frantic meows. I rolled up my PJ legs, threw off my cloth slippers, and grabbed a flashlight to go looking in the wet pond that we call our backyard. Three or four days of steady rain had not been good for our yard. I found two little gray tabby’s that had crawled out from under the house and were traipsing through puddles in the dark, out calling for their mama.
I plucked them up, bundled them in my sweatshirt and brought them in where I had to eat crow and take back my no-more-cats ultimatum. ‘Marbles’ got his name from the marbling in his coat. And ‘Puddles’ …well, because of the knee deep puddle her little legs were taking her through as she followed her bigger brother out in search of mama.
At first we thought that they were all from the same litter, but after a few days, and seeing how Puddles wasn’t really getting the eating thing yet, we determined that Marbles and Puddles were about ten days younger. And, obviously from the backyard, underneath the house. A neighbor across the street claimed that a feral had three kittens at his house, which we feel were Lucky, Shadow, and Nippers.
About a month later, we
grabbed rescued another gray tabby, ‘Harley’, which we think is the sibling of Marbles and Puddles. He was just enough older that he took a lot more work to acclimate into living inside with us. The first few weeks, he’d hide and cower where he thought we couldn’t find him. But soft food at breakfast and dinner gradually swayed him. It took a lot of concentrated effort to go pick him up, and pet him and talk to him, knowing that he’d easily stay very skittish if we didn’t give him extra attention. It worked and he’s now out all day, now coming up to me in search of love, pets, and snuggles.
And Nippers…well, he doesn’t nip, or chomp, anymore. He’s now the snuggliest one of the bunch. All you have to do is touch him, pet him, or start to pick him up and he’s instant purrs and love, the most loving one of the whole bunch.