Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fostering furry babies

It has been a long time since my past post ... am back with a resolution to be more regular. One thing (or rather five!) that has been taking center stage at home is this litter of five kittens that we have been fostering for a month now. Austin Pets Alive rescues dogs and cats, including those in line for euthanasia at the shelter, and tries to get them adopted over time. In order to make room for more animals, they send little baby animals to fosters who care for them until they are old enough to be spayed/neutered and offered for adoption.

These babies came to us when they were 2 weeks old. Three black kittens, all female, and two tuxedo kittens, one male and one female. All five of the same litter.

At two weeks they had to be bottle fed every couple of hours. They all lived in our cat carrier, sleeping in a tight bundle of arms, legs, tails and whiskers over a heated pad and towels. They would start squealing as soon as we entered the room, and would tumble out of the carrier, groping wildly for the bottle.

Once they finished eating, they had to be "stimulated", since they didn't know how to go to the bathroom on their own. Small wet wipes wiping their rear would feel like mom licking them to teach them how to do it, and all of them would deposit the required treasures on cue.

They also had to be weighed to make sure they were growing at the correct rate. This was easier said than done. They refused to sit in the container, and would fall out as soon as we placed them on the scale. What worked in the end was a small cardboard box into which we would pack the kitten for a few seconds while we weighed them. They all weighed around 200-250 gms when they arrived.

Now they are close to 950 gms, and are boisterous little rascals. They live in the bathroom upstairs, and are constantly at work, demolishing what they can of what ever is in there. They come out to another room several times a day to play, and flit about with extremely short attention spans, play-fighting, chewing everything in sight, and running around at top speed.

Don't be fooled by these innocent little faces. They are naughty little devils that will entertain you for hours together, as long as you keep your arms and legs out of line or their razor sharp claws will slice you open. :)

This is Annie, the runt of the litter. She was always a fussy eater, and needs special attention because she doesn't believe in wasting time eating. She is super active though, and if there is a tussle going on, she is sure to be in the center of it.

Andy is the lone boy in this litter, and has a hard time keeping up with his five bratty sisters. He is growing bigger now, and is also very active and playful. He is always ready for a cuddle though, and will lie on his side quietly if you start to pet him.

Amelia is the only long-haired kitten in this litter, and is adorable and soft. She is extemely playful, and it's hard to put her down because she is so easy to fall in love with. She goes on and on like an energizer bunny, but when she's tired, she will lie down and fall asleep in the middle of the action.

Allie is the other tuxedo kitten. She has the prettiest pink lips ever, so we call her sweet lips. She is a little scared of loud noises and sudden movements, but has to keep up with her rowdy siblings to survive. She is the prettiest kitten in this litter, and is sure to find a family soon.

Addie is a little quieter than her siblings and loves to be cuddled, and will attach herself to you if she knows you might pet her.

We are hoping these sweet kittens find adoptive families soon and go to good, loving homes. But for now, they are our therapy kittens, for just a few minutes sitting with them drains away all the stress of the day.