The story of Birdie - Foster kitten

I wanted to take the time to share this story with all of my readers. It starts out with a little backstory that you can read here: The last litter of kittens.

I wasn't sure I could do fostering of kittens again after that ordeal. Then on Saturday July 9th, we came home from our Saturday farmer's market vending and found a new litter in the same carrier on the back porch. "Ozzy" as we call her had given birth to a huge litter of 8 kittens. She was in the carrier with them nursing the litter. We weren't as worried as with the previous litter as these kittens were of a more normal size and were generally looking better plus the weather wasn't as crappy. Two days later two of the kittens were dead. Momma took care of those in her own way and was a very vigilant momma. We decided we'd let Ozzy do her momma thing and we'd monitor the situation, not wanting another 6 strays in the yard to feed and watch reproduce.

One day a couple weeks later I was outside feeding the cats one afternoon and while checking on Ozzy & her litter I heard mewing from the other side of the porch. I thought maybe one of the kittens had gotten out or she'd started moving them out of the carrier. I wandered over to the side of the house and peered around the corner, surprised when an adult cat bolted out of the cubbyhole area there. When the adult was clear and my heart was calmer I realized there was a second momma kitty. This time it was "Scar" who was the mother of the litter in April. I was afraid for the kittens based on her previous disinterest in the kittens. I needn't be. She'd been nursing them. There were 4 more kittens (if you're keeping track that's 10 total).

I went in the house and notified Curtis that there were more kittens. He came out and I got nominated to crawl down in the space and check their health & such since Scar wasn't as territorial as Ozzy was over her litter. I discovered 3 strong kittens and one a little weaker - these kittens were about 1week younger than Ozzy's litter.

We decided again to let Scar keep doing the mother thing but to check on them all regularly. Fastforward another 10 days. Curtis went out to feed the adults and check on Ozzy's litter, discovering one of them missing. They were now active and walking - if wobbly, but we figured she'd started moving the litter. With the number of kittens, the colony having grown from 6 cats to 16 cats in a matter of days we had to do something. We decided we would bring the kittens in and foster them until we could find homes for them. We managed to catch the litter when Ozzy wasn't at her litter, so we were able to grab them, carefully of course and put them in a carrier and bring them in the house. Curtis also brought in the 4 that Scar had mothered as they were among leaves and dirt and the tiny one needed medical care.

While looking for the largest kitten who Ozzy had moved Curtis investigated the shed that sits bordering our property but belongs to someone else though it has never been maintained by anyone but us. Upon checking in there he heard mewing. He of course discovered more kittens. Another litter of 5...are you good at math. A colony of 6 kitties had become a colony of 21 in a matter of weeks. THIS is why you need to spay/neuter your pets - even if they're indoor cats. He came and got me and we grabbed this litter too, they were about the same age as Scar's litter size wise and were in relatively good shape.

And so began a long heartbreaking process. We went and bought powdered KMR from the vet and bottles and I had to do bottle feedings for 15 kittens every 4 hours. I didn't sleep much those first two weeks. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. One of Scar's kittens whom we named Yoda, and one of the litter from the shed who we named Bird both had a case of conjunctivitis (pink eye). Yoda's one eye was very swollen and very infected. Bird was worse. Both her eyes were swollen shut and we worried about her vision. We took the two of them to the vet and got the diagnosis confirmed. We had treatments to give and to work hard on getting these two to switch from bottle to canned food. The other 13 kittens had taken to canned food really quickly even if they were messy about it.

My sleep got worse. 2 kittens who were resisting bottle feedings, who refused to feed for anyone else, but would eat something for me, were getting bottle feedings every 2 hours. This was August 14th (give or take).

A week goes by and we're still fighting the eye infection in Yoda - his eye is finally open here (above) 8/24/11.
We lost one of the stronger kitties that week. "Teddy" died of unknown causes after a bath to remove food residue. 8 of the kittens were bathed the day we lost Teddy, all of them are fine to this day.
A month or so later, one night Yoda started having seizures. He died in my arms a few hours later. That was two in less than a month. I thought we were going down the same road as the April litter. I was heartbroken. 5am Curtis and I went and buried Yoda in the garden next to Teddy, and the two from the previous litter who died here at home.

Bird had started having tummy issues a day or so before Yoda died, so we called the vet and begged off an emergency vet visit for Bird. They kindly allowed us to be billed for the visit. She had an intestinal parasite common in stray kittens. Antibiotics and special canned food were in order. She'd started eating canned food but wasn't entirely thrilled with the Friskies we'd been feeding. However she immediately dived right into the special canned food from the vet. Bird was 9oz when we took her to the vet that day.
September 29 - Birdie kitten 9oz

She did well on the canned food but was chewing everything so we called the vet and got a bag of the same special diet dry food. 2 weeks after her initial visit for the tummy bug we had a follow up. She was now 2lbs 2oz. Growing and doing good. Bird's key aspects are - her voice. She sounds like a baby bird when she talks. It used to be quite loud and to some extent annoying. Now she's not as vocal because she's happy.
Birdie kitten at 2lbs 2oz - October 10

Since then there's been no stopping this little kitten. She's now free to wander the upstairs of the house and plays well with all of our adult cats, even the ones who hissed at her and made her feel unwelcome. She's gone down and visited her siblings and cousins a couple of times but isn't fond of that adventure so we don't force it on her.
Birdie kitten relaxing - November 14

Birdie sleeping on mom's chest November 29th - you can see she's growing finally

Birdie is up and about and cute as a bug - notice the wild ear hair - December 2

Being kyoot is hard work - Asleep on my laptop December 9

This is the rest of the kittens - 12 of them at chow time.

Because of our love of cats in general and because we want to make sure these cats go to forever homes, we're still fostering them, all of them. We want them to go to people we know, who we know are good to their animals. So far no one's taken us up on adopting a furevver friend. But we have leads on homes for at least two of them. We will continue to feed, love and care for all of them until they go to their forever homes. When I ask for help with coupons or offer a sale on my jewelry. These animals are why. Pretty much every dime we have is going into their care and feeding. They're of age to get fixed. Either way we have 6 or 7 to get fixed.

There are: Zim (gray very short hair - female), Nezumi (Zim's twin - female), Chy [shy] (gray shorthair female, Ashland [Ash] (Chy's twin - gray short hair female), Bigboy (huge gray long haired male - likely has a home), Random (short hair gray male - a little crosseyed but adorable), Leo (dark tortie, possibly ragdoll hybrid - very floppy cat - male), Flame (dark gray tabby with a white tip on the tail - female), Mjölnir [Molly for short] (silver & black tabby - very independent - female), Smolder (dark gray & brown tabby - male - very loving and my personal favorite hehe), Draco Invictus [Draco] (Cream with seal (?) points and mask, short hair - male), Flower (white long hair with gray splotches - likes to climb everyone - female.) 7 females & 6 males total (including Birdie).

We know someone who will likely take Bigboy its just a matter of coordinating a day for him to come visit.
We know someone else who wants a kitten but we have to have them visit and we'll need to approve them.

We're in Mitchell IN, if you're good with cats and can provide a couple references and you'd like a kitten we'd love to have you see our herd.

If you happen to get the Sunday paper in your area and you don't use cat food or cat litter we could use the coupons. Feel free to email me and we can get in touch about you donating coupons.

For the most current photo of Birdie - this is it:
Pocket (orange) and Birdie - curled up together on the bed January 5 2012

Birdie almost surely outweighs Pocket kitten. Pocket is a small cat we knew this would be true based on her parent cats being smaller than normal cats. The parents Birdie came from are larger, more robust stock. Its evident based on her rapid growth. She's about 6 months old - and weighs about 4lbs. Some of the larger kitties in the basement (Smolder, Bigboy, Leo, weigh at least 6-8lbs and will be LARGE adult cats).

I've grown so close to all of them over this half year and I'm going to miss all of them terribly when they go to their new forever homes, but we will continue to care for them until they all have homes. Its a passion. I love these little animals and would do anything for them. 

I hope you've enjoyed this story and if you've made it this far you too have a passion for cats.
*note rude comments, joking of any negative type toward cats will get your comment deleted. I WILL NOT tolerate it.
--the frawg--


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