Once we discovered last year that Daisy loves kittens, 2016 saw the Mackenzie Finishing School for Felines back in full swing once again! It’s been a banner season of 25, with our latest enrollees still with us until the end of the year.
The kitties we take in are big enough to eat on their own, generally five to six weeks old, and we keep them until they’re at least eight weeks, two pounds, and in good body condition. It’s so much fun, and so rewarding to watch them grow from sometimes shy, teensy little klutzes with short stubby legs to sturdy confident pre-teens who sprout legs and run thumping and banging around the house. All have been promptly adopted upon their return to the shelter.
Our first batch, all the way back in April, were Emmie, Cedric, and Benjamin.
Next we had two siblings, Abby and Avery, and an additional singleton for good measure, Bobbie Sox.
The next batch were a group of thee brothers. The DH named them when I was out of town at a quilt show. Ace, Jack, and King. Yes, named after the playing cards. I thought King was more for a horse, or a German shepherd, so we came up with Kingsley.
They were teeny tiny when I got them, and pretty messy.
I got them cleaned up, and they soon began to prosper being warm, fed, and cared for. They grew to sturdy little kittens and got snatched up by happy adopters.
Usually three at a time is our limit, but maybe once a year I agree to take a batch of four. That’s how we got Winifred, Moo, Cooper, and Tab Hunter.
Next up were some kittens from a larger litter. One of them was a runt, and the staff at the shelter asked me if I wanted to try. I said I would give it a whirl, so home they came with me.
Kittens can be runty for any number of reasons, and Kip gave us some worry at the beginning. He was not a good eater, and not very social either. He just acted like he didn’t feel good and didn’t want to be bothered. If you petted him, he wouldn’t object, but pretty soon he would just get up and move away. I fed him diluted wet food through a wide syringe like the shelter vet taught me, but still he was acting pretty puny. Finally we opened a can of low-sodium tuna in water, and that did the trick! He found his stomach, and learned that eating was good! After a couple cans of tuna, we transitioned him back to a regular kitten diet (tuna does not provide complete nutrition so it can only be a temporary thing).
Jinjur, in the front, was a torbie.. that is, tortie and tabby. Jasper, back left, was a brown tabby, as was Kip. All fuzzy.
Eventually, as Kip felt better and better, he started to become more social, and got to the point where he would seek out my lap, enjoy being petted, and purr. That was a tremendous relief for me. Now for a shock.. I hate it when this happens… I took them in for their booster shots and was informed that Kip was a girl! Oy vey, he was given to me as a boy, and I never even checked!
When Kip was adopted, I believe the little girl named her Aria. :)
Next we had a brother-sister duo, two sweet brown mackerel tabbies.
The DH speaks Russian, and if you know your Russian literature you’ll remember that Nikolai and Natasha were brother and sister in War and Peace.
There was a whole lot of grooming going on with these two.
The next enrollees were two kittens from different litters, both smaller than their respective siblings and in need of a little foster time.
Shy little Misty was the smallest in a litter of 8 (that’s right, eight) pastel torties. Maggie was exactly the same size, a black-and-white “cow cat.” These girls got along instantly.
Once Misty and Maggie went back, kitten season was starting to wind down. The only kitty they had in need of foster was a scrappy little singleton. Usually I prefer to have 2 or 3, but in this case I took the little guy home with me.
There’s a whole syndrome named after single kittens. What it boils down to is that when they don’t have other kittens around to tussle with and learn limits from, they tend to treat human hands like other kittens… bite, chomp, thrash, etc., without the benefit of the other kittens letting them know when they’re playing too hard. Eddie wasn’t such a hard case, and he learned to rein in his teeth after a few well-timed puffs of air in his face. He was a super cute little dude, full of personality, and we enjoyed him immensely. Eddie stayed with us a good 3 weeks as the only kitten. He loved Daisy to pieces.
Finally another single kitten came in and I was able to bring her home to join Eddie in foster.
Bella was a fancy mostly-white calico. She was a sweet marshmallow of a girl, but when I brought her home, it was pretty hilarious. At first, Eddie in particular was none too happy to be introduced, and acted like it was a mortal affront that this other creature was breathing his air. I wasn’t worried, because I’ve seen this before. Within 3 days they totally got over it and you’d never guess they hadn’t known each other all their lives. Bella also took to Daisy.
Last but not least, I took three from a litter of six.
One of them had a rather rotund shape, which earned her the name Muffin. The black one, Pepper, has a coat that is actually what they call a black smoke… black at the ends and light gray underneath. The third one looks almost exactly like Muffin, except more slender. We call her Josie.
These three are still with us, spreading Christmas tree pine needles throughout the living room with gusto. They have been a delight to have… friendly, healthy lap cats. Two of them have already found a home! A family friend of one of the staff members at the shelter was looking to adopt two kittens. Kittens aren’t that common this time of year, so it was a perfect match! Pepper and Muffin will go to their new home just in time for the new year. I have no doubt that Josie will be snapped up immediately once she appears in Adoptables at the shelter.