Fostering the Runner Litter - Part 2
Fostering the Runner Kittens: Part 2
A good friend has a strong belief that our thoughts affect our lives, we can choose how we interpret various situations and if we are in need it can be useful to focus on what we want, literally “putting it out to the Universe”.
The Runner kittens and I were certainly in need. At a week old they were surviving but not thriving.
A newborn kittens birth weight should double in the first week, they were probably about 3 days old when they came into foster care, all weighing around 3.5 oz and a week later they had only gained
1.0 to 1.5 oz. They were all active and their eyes were starting to open but feeding wasn't going well.
We all needed a feline foster mother.
Sometimes an experienced mother cat will care for orphaned kittens, grooming and cuddling them even if she can't nurse them. We tried one of the shelter cats whose kits had been weaned earlier but she had no interest whatsoever in taking on another batch.
Then Ivy came into NWAS care. Found on the highway near a community 40 kms from Smithers she was friendly, thin and very pregnant. That evening she gave birth to 4 kittens, all fat and healthy. Would she be willing to help out the Runners? Would she have enough milk to feed 7 kits? If she would even snuggle and groom them I could keep trying to feed. It would be so good for the babies to have a mother figure 24/7. It was certainly worth a try.
The next day Ivy and her kits came home with me. She was surprisingly calm considering how many changes she had been through in 24 hours. Picked up by strangers, transferred to the shelter, giving birth, now coming to another strange place. She took it all in stride, purring quietly as she nursed and cared for her babies while watching what was happening around her which included me caring for the orphans.
For two days she saw and heard the Runners. I would hold them near her crate to try and assess her reaction which was mild interest. Then after a very frustrating 2am feeding things couldn't wait any longer. Racer, the smallest, had only gained 1.0 oz in a week, feeding wasn't going well. Her face and chest covered with formula I held her out to Ivy asking for help. With no hesitation Ivy leant forward and started licking her. In a few moments the kitten had been scrubbed clean from head to tail and tucked under a protective arm along with her own four babies.
Tears rolled down my face as I thanked her even while wondering if she'd be as accepting of the other two siblings.
The next feeding presented a dilemma. Would Ivy accept both the other kittens? It wouldn't be right to have one left on their own. It had to be both or none.
Once fed, Sprint, the next smallest, was held out. Once again Ivy accepted and groomed her without question. Then came Zoom. This time there was no move forward. Zoom squirmed. Ivy stared at me with that blank look cats have perfected. “Please,” I whispered, “if you take her too you'll have all the tuna you can eat for as long as you stay with me”. Another blank look. Then she slowly stood up and moved over to her food dish! With great relief I added Zoom to the pile of sleeping kittens and went to get Ivy her well deserved tuna.