The story of our (semi) feral cats from Richmond, Tabbytha & Mowse, is proving quite popular. They both arrived here a few weeks ago, both pregnant. When Tabbytha gave birth last week, we were stunned to see Mowse helping her.
I couldn’t help but wonder how long that supportive bliss was going to last. It’s been a birth like no other here. The last one, Elsa, mum was very devoted for a day or so but then began to take more and more time out of the nest
Prior to Elsa, Betty had her kits and within hours was thinking about what next and how soon they’d grow up and go off to school.
Tabbytha & Mowse, however, have scarcely shifted from the nest since the baby Ts were born. I know that they do come out because food is eaten and litter trays used, but mostly they’re in there with kittens.
Of course one of the questions everyone was asking was whether Tabbytha would do the same for Mowse when her kits were born. Just a week after the little Ts were born, we had the answer. I went in to check them before bed, and Tabbytha was licking Mowse. When I went back in the morning the cats were cuddled next to each other, with an extra collection of small heads between them.
And then the other question everyone was asking was “how many kittens has she had?”. That’s not an easy one to answer. I think its 4 …but a combination of the fact that they’re mainly black/black & white, and carefully hidden between two very protective semi feral cats still leaves a degree of uncertainly even 3 days on. I think this may be all of them, but there could be an other/s not in this heap.
I’m mainly just trusting that all is well in there. I value my fingers, and don’t want to need to hand rear rejected kittens. I’m curious though as to whether there’s any recognition/preference regarding which kittens belong to whom. It’s difficult to observe very closely as the adults are so wary of humans. However it seems the two are just caring for all the kittens as a group. I’ve noticed at supper time that there seems to be some segregation of tasks with one mum feeding, and the other washing them and getting their pyjamas on. Mostly though, they’re huddled together protecting their little ones. Heart breaking to think how many previous babies they will have lost, born outdoors and vulnerable to so many threats.