December 25, 2017

Another year of foster kittens! Not as many this year, explanation to follow.

We work with the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter to provide foster care for kittens that are not yet old enough to be adopted out. 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. Then in general they go back to the shelter and get adopted immediately if not sooner.

Our first batch of 2017 were the Z3: Zane, Zack, and Zoë. Zane, of course is the gray tuxedo; Zack is the lynx point in the front, and Zoë is the black-and-white cow cat.

These guys came to us all the way back in January… a rare winter litter. From these photos it looks like all they did was take life easy, but Zane will show you his pouncy side.

Next we had the C3. Hilarious! These were their intake pictures from the shelter. So tiny!

Left to right are Courtney, Chauncey, and Casey.

This is how 3 kittens can share a small cat bed.

Some friends were enchanted with Courtney on my husband’s Facebook and came over for a visit. Chauncey crawled into the guy’s lap and did not leave the entire visit, so he got himself a home too!

In the windowsill of their forever home, they are now Simone and Garfunkel.

Next were what my husband called the Gasoline Alley Gang.

They were two singletons that I took together into foster. The one on the left was called Forklift. Sigh. A guy found her under a forklift and decided to call her Forklift. He made noises about coming back to adopt her so they kept the name. The other cutie had the loudest, readiest purr, so I called her Purr Motor.

They became fast foster friends.

Next up were Cassie, Kirby, and Parker.

I called Parker “Lord Buffington Crankypants of FluffyCat Manor” because he was a very grumpy, growly little man. Come to find out, it was because he didn’t feel well.

We then entered into one of the scary scenarios that every foster home takes on as a risk. Parker was acting ill and tested positive for panleukopenia. That’s a bad disease for kittens to get and honestly it’s often fatal.

BUT my boy was kind to me, the little dear, and SURVIVED.

Panleukopenia is a strong virus with no cure, only supportive care. Once he made it through the first night, the shelter vet and I nursed Parker back to health, and when he recovered he was the sweetest, most affectionate and loving little kitten ever! Maybe it was all that syringe feeding in my lap…

The other two never got sick at all, thank goodness! Here are Cassie and Kirby, with their I’ve-never-seen-that-before-in-my-life eyes on.

Once Parker was fully recovered, they could all go back to the shelter (after a quick bath) for regular adoption. There are no long-term effects from the disease, in fact now he has a built-in lifetime immunity!

Cassie had caught the eye of another friend via Facebook, and home she went to live with a couple of our former graduates!

I’m flyyyying!

However, the Mackenzie Finishing School for Felines was then out of commission. Panleukopenia is highly contagious and lives in the environment for a long time. Some serious measures were going to have to be taken before we could receive kittens again. It was quite a process. Let’s just say, I either threw it out or bleached the living daylights out of it. :)

Finally, months later, we were once again kitten-approved, and I brought home one very shy snowshoe singleton and two completely social tabby kitties from another litter to be her friends.

Marshmallow, the snowshoe Siamese mix, had been alone at the shelter for a period of time before coming into foster care. She was scared and undersocialized, both towards people and other kittens.

Scurry and Chase, on the other hand, were completely relaxed and friendly. They were from a litter of five so they were used to being around other kittens, and did not think anything of it when Marshmallow acted all grumpy and growly the first day. By the second day, she started to play with them. By the third day, she had forgotten all about it and was part of the crowd, playing and tussling as if she’d known them all her life. It was both hilarious and very touching to watch the transition.

In addition to learning how to be a kitten, Marshmallow learned that humans are pretty okay too. She was flighty, but it got so that we could go right up to her when she was relaxing, pet her, and be rewarded with a loud purr. She never quite overcame her flight reflex when she was up and about, though, so I had the shelter put an advisory in her record that her adopters would need to be patient. It didn’t take long before both she and Scurry had forever homes.

Chase has a different story. I noticed the first time he was let out of the kitty hotel that he went right up to Daisy and made friends. Did you know that kitten ears are delicious? Chase had the cleanest ears in town.

I texted the photo to one of the shelter’s vet techs, who was in the market for a kitten for her daughter. “That’s a dog-lovin’ one, just sayin,” was the caption. They have two big, sweet dogs in their family and also a couple cats.

It just so happened that Chase made friends with our large resident cat as well!

My dastardly plan worked! Chase is now a part of their family, He fits in like peanut butter and jelly, and they are completely in love with him.

Which brings us to our current foster, Chantelle. She came into the shelter with a broken leg but you would never know it now. After several weeks of rest the vet sent her home with me for some further recuperation time. Now she runs, jumps, plays… she is a busy kitten!

One does occasionally have to charge up one’s batteries.

Another volunteer originally named her Chantrelle, but I was like, who would name a cat after a mushroom? So they took the R out. Chantelle started to sound more and more familiar… then I remembered! Ricky Tims’ Chantelle Tulips! If I recall the story somewhat correctly, he was teaching in England and one of the students mistook his American southern accented “Show and Tell” for Chantelle! Ever since then he has called his “Caveman Style” tulips Chantelle Tulips.

And Chantelle is starting to be more and more of a “caveman kitty!” As her confidence grows, so does her feistiness! She loves the Christmas tree… taking the ornaments off, climbing the branches, lurking underneath to jump out on Daisy or Max. She’ll be with us for a couple more days, then back to the shelter where someone will give themselves a furry post-Christmas gift!

Very happy holidays to you and yours!

By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop


12 Responses to “8th Annual Cavalcade of Kittens”

  1. QuiltShopGal on December 25th, 2017 10:34 am

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, including your beautiful foster kittens. Thanks for sharing and inspiring. Years ago I was a foster mom and enjoyed it. Although my two cats concluded I was a traitor and they didn’t want anything to do with me for months. As my cats have now gone to kitty heaven (old age), you’ve inspired me to sign up to be a foster cat mom again. Thanks. It is rewarding to help save lives of kittens, as well as being able to fit the volunteer activity into our schedules as there is a fairly clear start/stop date.


  2. Kay Mackenzie on December 25th, 2017 10:50 am

    QuiltShopGal, I am so glad to hear that you are inspired to start fostering again! It is my very favorite thing. I had to wait years before I started, too, until my 3 cats went to Kitty Heaven of old age. Now we have a resident cat (a former foster :) who is fairly tolerant of the young ‘uns, and a kitten-loving dog, so it works out! Will look forward to hearing how it goes.

  3. Marie-Claude on December 25th, 2017 1:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing! I was looking forward to it. That virus sounds nasty though. Glad the kitten survived. Looking forward to next year already!

  4. Kay Mackenzie on December 25th, 2017 1:54 pm

    Hi Marie-Claude! So happy that you enjoy the Cavalcades!!

  5. Helen LeBrett on December 25th, 2017 9:33 pm

    I loved every word of your “kitty Cavalcade roundup”!! You are such a sweet person to help all those kitties!! I’ll have to sign up to do that when our old kittie goes. She’s way to anit-social to handle some fiesty little kitties!! :-) I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!! Hugs, H

  6. Dot on December 25th, 2017 10:48 pm

    I love reading your kitten roundup every year. I hadn’t seen any mention of kittens during this year, so thought you might not be doing them any more. Nice to see that Max is getting along well, too, and Daisy.

  7. Loris Mills on December 26th, 2017 8:01 am

    Adorbs! Your kittens are so beautiful. Thank you for sharing the pictures. Pats and head scratches to your two resident helpers.

  8. Kay Mackenzie on December 26th, 2017 12:06 pm

    Hellen, Dot, and Loris, thank you so much for your nice words! Max and Daisy thank you too for the extra love. :)

  9. Sandi on December 26th, 2017 4:44 pm

    I love reading about all your foster kittens. They are so cute. We use to foster kittens that we had to bottle feed and wean. The last two we had were brothers and were 3 weeks old when we got them. They went to the shelter when they were 7 weeks old but we missed them and went back and got them a week later. We were foster failures. We’ve had them 2 years now plus we took in my mother-in-law’s cat. We also have a feral cat that is living on our back porch. We put one of our cat’s tents outside with a bath mat and blanket (it’s pretty cold here right now) and I feed him twice a day. He also has 1 eye. He runs as soon as we open the door but I’m hoping to trap him and get him fixed. Keep up the good work with your kittens.

  10. Kay Mackenzie on December 26th, 2017 4:51 pm

    Hi Sandi! So glad you enjoy the Cavalcade. Good for you for the bottle feeding! That’s something I haven’t done… they’re always old enough to eat by the time I get ’em :) You are a great Kitty Angel.

  11. Kathy in NC on December 31st, 2017 12:57 pm

    Thanks for all you do💜🐈😉

  12. Kay Mackenzie on December 31st, 2017 1:05 pm

    Kathy in NC, 😊 , Kay from NC