Those of you who know us know that we much prefer to rehome kittens in pairs than singly. There are lots of benefits – they keep each other company, they have a partner in crime to trash the house with, they continue to learn social skills, and it’s actually more fun to have two than one.
So, when little Hanne arrived here age six weeks we set out on a mission to find another singleton to send her off to her new home with. That has turned out to be much more of a saga than you might expect.
Our first attempt was following a request to take three kittens who were about 12 weeks old, so twice as old as Hanne at that point, but that age gap would close quickly. Two of them could go as a pair and the one who got on best with Hanne could go with her. Granted the place we were collecting them from was about 50 minutes drive away, but by the time we arrived the owner had given away one of the kittens, despite having a rescue place for them. The remaining two turned out to be Solly and Hilde. Hilde was indeed about 9 weeks but Sol was a year old. We wondered if Hilde and Hanne might pair up and Solly enjoy having a home of his own but it quickly became apparent that they were devoted to each other and there was no way we were going to separate them. So we had two extra cats in rescue, who were gorgeous but weren’t going to be a buddy for Hanne.
Once Solly and Hilde were rehomed we set about our search again. We were told of a stray, an older kitten, who had been living in someone’s garden for weeks. He was ALWAYS there. Except of course the day we went round to collect him he’d evaporated. There was no sign of him the following day either. So when later that evening we had a message asking if we could take a 6 month old kitten into rescue we thought our prayers had been answered. We prepared ourselves for the fact that she might actually be older than we’d been told, she’d probably be black (which we love, but it is the hardest colour to find adoptive homes for) and she might not be in great health. What we didn’t prepare ourselves for was that she she was in fact 8 weeks pregnant! Nocka and a belly full of babies came home with us.
The following day, August bank holiday Monday we planned a rare treat .. going out to a concert that was nothing to do with cats. My friend and I had just settled ourselves into our seats when my phone buzzed. The first cat, the one that had evaporated, had rematerialised. We left the concert, came home and turned the house upside down in order to accommodate an extra cat that we didn’t have space for. Luci who had been starting to mix gradually with the resident cats was evicted from his bedroom and thrown in at the deep end with the gang. I have to say he’s managed this magnificently.
And off we went to collect Walter. Walter turned out to be huge. Still a kitten certainly but probably about 10 months, very sturdy and about 6 times bigger than Hanne. Nocka, was also a lot bigger than Hanne too of course, but only around the tummy area. It was heartbreaking to see what would otherwise have been a kitten not much older than Hanne really heavily pregnant.
We’ll maybe tell Nocka’s story in more detail elsewhere so not say too much here. It was a long labour, much longer than any of the other mums we’ve had here. I’ll never forget the early stage where she sat on my lap, purring, paddling at my fleece and sucking it like an anxious little kitten, whilst she had a partially born kitten of her own making it’s way into the world. Eight hours later and with a little help, she’d given birth to five live and apparently healthy kittens. We’d braced ourselves for the possibility that they may not be born alive and she may not be able to take care of them. In the following days we began to relax a little as she took pretty good care of them and they began to grow. Sadly on day 5 we waltzed into her bedroom in the morning to find two kittens dead in their cot and the others not looking too good. We tried to give them a bottle but they were weak and over the course of the day they all passed over rainbow bridge. Nocka was unwell too and needed antibiotics for an infection.
Once Nocka recovered we thought we might try introducing her and Hanne, but she had her own ideas. One evening Walter was sitting on the landing and Nocka rushed out of her bedroom door when we opened it. I swung round to grab her and separate them but they were already rubbing faces and starting to chat to each other. They’ve gradually spent more and more time together and look for each other when separated. Hopefully they will be going to a new home together too.
So back to the drawing board. Just to say, meanwhile Hanne is entirely happy living with the resident cats, especially her bestie Rowan.
Three weeks ago we had a message asking if we could take in an eight week old kitten. Much smaller now than Hanne but still a promising match for her. We went more or less straight away to collect her, and within an hour of collecting her were at the vet with her. Within 24 hours we’d spent nearly £1k on her! On initial examination Muriel had a huge lump on the side of her abdomen which turned out to be a hernia, we believe caused by blunt force trauma. There were scary decisions to make about whether she should have difficult surgery or whether we should say good bye to her. It didn’t feel very hopeful, especially for such a tiny kitten (we were told she was 8 weeks but she was the size of a 5 week old kitten). However, she was very lively and purry and clearly seemed to want to live. Amazingly she came through the surgery and is making a fabulous recovery. She’s in a foster home at present, until she recovers and until she’s fully vaccinated. Then we’re hoping to be able to introduce her to Hanne. We’re hoping that this time we might be lucky in our matchmaking.