I already posted photos of some of my cats in a separate post, so if you haven't seen it please look for it. This post is about my four youngest cats.
One day I was doing yardwork, when I suddenly heard mewing. I looked around, trying to figure out where it was coming from, and it seemed like it was under the porch. I crawled under there but as soon as I got down I realized it was from the other side of the porch, near the corner where the house meets the porch, in my vegetable garden. I went over there and what did I find? A whole bunch of kittens in an overturned flowerpot!
Well, long story short I ended up taking the kittens in. There ended up being SEVEN of them. 4 girls and 3 boys-- 1 torbie and white girl, 2 torbie girls, 1 brown tabby girl, and 3 brown tabby and white boys.
Three of them were much smaller than the others, skinny and had something wrong with their tails. I had to bottlefeed all 7, which was a difficult task! My vet said she thought the 3 smaller kittens could have been younger than the rest (sometimes a cat can carry 2 different aged litters at once) but since they developmentally seemed the same age as the others aside from their size they might have just been "runts". They were literally half the size of their littermates! Those three would probably not have survived in the 'wild' as they were skin and bones when I found them. Aside from that, the kittens were healthy, amazingly they did not seem to have any parasites (were wormed anyway) and tested negative for all illnesses.
I saw the mother of these kittens, and I think she may have been the mother of my other cat Church as well. Church was also a feral kitten, found very close to where I found this litter, the mother looked the same and the kittens look a lot like Church.
This is a photo I took right after I found them, if you look closely, all 7 are in this shot (that's the flowerpot I found them in)
Here they are a bit older, they're a mess because this was one of their first encounters with eating solid food-
You can kinda tell how much smaller the "runts" were in these photos.
Here you can see the size difference, the smaller kitten is Mr Grey who was the smallest in the group for a long time (he eventually caught up to his brothers)-
The larger kitten here is his sister Pumpkin.
I had to pick names for these guys very suddenly, when I was calling the shelter's spay/neuter clinic to make an appointment for them they asked me the cat's names and I realized they mostly didn't have any! I was using facial features to help me tell them apart when feeding but only for the ones who looked alike, so some I had to improvise! There was Spot, who had a black dot on his nose and Blaze who had the clearest white blaze on his face, and then I made up the names Tiger for the "runt" torbie, Rosalie for the larger torbie and Pumpkin for the orange-eyed tabby girl on the spot. The shelter would only fix 5 cats per person so the smallest two kittens waited in hopes they were get a little bigger and sturdier before being fixed. I ended up naming them Mr Grey (the brown tabby/white shown above) and Harlequin (the torbie and white girl.)
When the kittens were 12 weeks, I began looking for homes. Pumpkin was adopted first and renamed Pixie by her new owner. Tiger was adopted next and renamed Tobie. Unfortunately Tiger ended up coming back to me when her new owners turned out to be allergic to her. She was adopted out a second time at about 8 months old, and now lives with her new owners who dote on her, and renamed her Gracie. Her new owners actually work at the university I recently graduated from, and when I passed them on the way down from the stage to get my diploma, they said "Gracie says congratulations!"
A friend of mine who owns a pet boutique adopted Rosalie at around 6 months old, which left me with four.... I had originally thought I might keep one kitten or maybe two...well, I ended up with four. The two smallest kittens I had purposefully held back because I wanted to wait until they grew a little before getting them fixed and did not want to adopt them out without getting fixed. Mr Grey eventually caught up in growth to the rest of the litter and began to look like Blaze's twin. Harlequin was the second smallest in the litter and she never caught up to the rest in size. Originally I had planned to keep the smallest kitten, Mr Grey and possibly the biggest kitten, Spot... Well, I ended up with those two plus Blaze and Harlequin.
Everyone says how sweet and friendly these guys are, from the new owners of the ones who were adopted to the people who meet the ones I kept. I think it's because they had all their littermates and because they were bottlefed so they were well socialized to people and to other animals.
Here are a few photos of the group growing up--
They liked to sleep cuddled up until almost adulthood
Spot and Harley are interesting for a few reasons. Most of the kittens in the litter grew up to be about 9-10 pounds, but Harley was only 7 1/2 pounds and Spot was over 14! They are also both interesting in their markings. Unlike most of the kittens, they were not striped (mackerel) tabbies... Spot is a ticked tabby and Harley is a ticked torbie. "Ticked" is a term referring to the tabby markings, similar to what is seen on an Abyssinian cat. Since they are random bred cats they don't have the clarity of markings you see on an Aby-- they still have stripes on their heads and legs, just not on the body.
Here is a photo of Spot where you can see the ticked markings-
Blaze and Mr Grey are still very close looking and may actually be identical twins. Their white markings are not identical but since markings are not genetically determined that doesn't preclude them from being identical. I can tell them apart by their faces but most of my family has to look at their 'socks'-- Blaze has one longer front 'sock', while Mr Grey only has white at the tips of his front feet.
Blaze(left) and Mr Grey
All four have been to at least one cat show. Blaze and Mr Grey were a bit shy so they each only went to one show, but they earned the "Master" title in TICA (equivalent to "Champion" but for household pets/non-purebreds.) Spot is very relaxed and laid back and was just fine with all aspects of the showing, but didn't place well most likely because of being overweight. Harlequin on the other hand is the star of the group. She is very friendly and outgoing, even a crowded pet show or event does not faze her! I've taken her to several pet events as well as the cat shows, and some costume contests (which are usually mostly dogs but dogs don't scare her.) She loves all the attention, and when I walk her through a crowded event she will sit up at the front of her stroller and soak in all the attention. She currently is a Triple Grand Master in TICA and we are hoping to go on from there.
Spot is also a blood donor, an emergency vet in the city provides blood for their patients as well as other hospitals and has an animal blood donor program. Spot and my dog are both in it and give blood every 2 months. The other cats were not big enough, they have to be at least 10 pounds.
Here are a few recent professional photos of the four of them... I don't know if you can tell in the photos, but Harley was basically acting like a model at a routine photo shoot, she was sitting up perfectly, watching the camera and soaking up the attention! When I wanted to get a photo of a few other the others without her, she just lay down on the couch and hung out there!
(from left- Harley, Mr Grey, Blaze and Spot)
Harley (left) and Spot
From left- Harley, Spot, Blaze and Mr Grey
Harley doesn't even mind wearing clothes-