Oh, i have so been wanting to tell this whole story in full length for so long!
Where I live we have many strays lurking about. We try not to feed them or get attatched, but sometimes it is difficult. We grew fond of one partcular kitten that hung around our porch about 2 years ago. My boyfriend described her best by saying "She was so ugly she was cute!". And he was right. She was black in the shade, but whjen she went in the sun she was orange!
So we started bringing her in the house every now and again, and came to call her "Felix", because she looked just like one of those cat clocks with the big eyes. My boyfriend absolutly adored her, and she could often be seen asleep at his side.
She slept with us at night, and in the morning went back outside. when she started to get around the age where strays become rather slutty, we began keeping her in more often. And i like to think she didn't really mind much because it was winter.
Spring came, and she was dying to get out. Eventually she did get loose. Just one day outside, and she got pregnant! We were actually very excited. And even found homes for 3 of them in advance.
We prepared endlessly for the kittens. We got a huge plastic box, i think 23 gallon tupperware container that we knew would be large enough for growing kittens and a mother.
The day before Mother's Day (wouldn't you know it) she began giving birth. We put her on our screened in front porch to give birth (it was soooo messy!). The process took hours on end! She ended up having 5 beautiful kittens! 3 were black and white, 2 were tabbys. The last kitten out was Pete, and he was not looking so good. He was having a hard time breathing and Felix wouldn't take care of him. This is common if a kitten is not normal for the mother to ignore it. But I was not having it. I put him beside her everywhere she walked, and she eventaully took to him.
We brought them in. Felix did not like the box we had chosen for her. She wanted to instead keep them under the bed. So we cleaned it out really well, and put down blankets and left her alone. She seemed rather content, and i must admit, the little meows coming from under the bed was actually quite serene to me.
3 days after the birth, and everything seemed to be going rather well at this point. Most of the cats had named themselves, and Felix seemed happy with her spot under the bed.
About 6pm that night, I noticed her sleeping half way out from under the bed with the kittens nursing on her. I thought this was a perfect time to hold my favorite kitten Skunky. So I held him for a few and put him back down. After a few hours i noticed the kittens were getting loud, really crying. Then it hit me. Wasn't it odd that she did not wake up when i picked up Skunky? And wasn't it odd for her to not be all the way under the bed? I was so afraid to touch her, and i didn't really see her breathing. I screamed for my boyfriend to come, and he confirmed our fears. Felix was dead.
After an hour of crying and trying to figure out what happened to her, we buried her in our backyard. One of her favorite places.
But wait, we have 5 kittens to take care of! And boy, they were not happy at all. Their cries only made us cry more. I put them all in the box we got for them. And went on an internet hunt to see what I needed to do.
I could have taken them to a shelter. I could have given them to my vet. I could have done alot of other things and been through with it all. But I think Felix brought them out from under the bed for a reason. I think she would have wanted us to take care of them, and I wasn't going to let her down.
So i did the whole run around. Went to town and found everything i thought i neeed after much research.
Sleepless In Carolina
Much to my surprise, they were great with a bottle. I swear, I never knew a tiny .5 lb kitten could eat twice it's weight. These kittens ate so much they put me to shame. But they were so loving, in a way that only a child could be. They did think i was their mother, and they felt like my children. I would go without food and cigarettes just to afford to buy their formula.
Every two hours, night or day, i would awaken to feed them. I began putting a sheet over their box because the dark made it easier for them to sleep. Once that sheet came off...... well..... does the word "Chaos" mean anything? They would scream! they would be soooo hungry! One by one, I would feed and clean them, showed them love and care (the most important thing any baby needs), and also had to help them out with the going to the bathroom.
What has happened to me?
The only thing my life consisted of at this point was the kittens. Once their eyes opened and they saw me for the first time, i was so happy. Then they were walking, climbing, purring, and playing with eachother. I kept them inside their box until they were big anough to climb out of it. I ended up weining them at a whopping 5 weeks (which was way too late).
I have to let them go?
6 weeks, and I was being told that i had to give them away! Well.... as expected, I couldn't conceive of it! I ended up giving one to my mother, mostly because I could go to herhouse everyday and visit her and the kitten.
The other 4... well.... I ran out of family members, so I kept them all!
I realize this story is getting long, so i will cut it here, and write more later if anyone is actually interested.
If you took the time to read all of this, i thank you very much. It's great to tell this story!