As the photos of the A Team in their new homes began to come in, so did the requests for help with other cats and kittens.
With the rest of the family gone, we didn’t want to leave little Alice & Arnold on their own in their bedroom. It felt important to give them more opportunity to socialise and gain their confidence … and to be honest …. we needed their room!
So they packed their bags and moved downstairs. It was scary at first and they were happy to hide in a large dog crate. Uncle Henderson did his best to reassure them … but they weren’t convinced. Surprisingly quickly though things started to change. Arnold realised that if he could stay with his fear of being touched he actually really loved a tummy rub …. he simultaneously found his purr.
Alice has starting thinking of her future … and has decided that hair styling is her thing. She’s certainly keen …. I’ll give her that …. she spends ages sitting on the back of the sofa, purring loudly and grooming me. I’m kind of hoping she’ll refine her technique and not cause quite so much pain to future clients.
One of the main factors in making things better for these little ones is ‘uncle’ Dasher. It’s a bit of a delicate situation. You may remember that Dasher has been with us a while, waiting to find a pal to go to a new home with. He’s now found the love of his life in Alice … but she’s attached to her brother too. Arnold is also attached to Dasher … though not so much. He’s being very sweet and generous as this awkward love triangle plays itself out.
Anyway … I digress. A couple of days before Ailbhe & Alix went off to their new home, we had a message asking if we could take in 25 cats from one home! We said we couldn’t possibly take that many but had a pregnant cat/nursing cat space and/or room for a group of kittens. We were a bit shocked by the reply which said that there was a heavily pregnant cat, two mums nursing 7 kittens between them and 4 five month old kittens. It was one of those rushed-in-between-appointments-at-work kind of email exchanges. We couldn’t take them all … and were aware that even then these were only 14 of the 25. It’s the nightmare game of Lifeboat that rescues are regularly asked to play. Pregnant cat v mums with young kittens v older kittens who may be pregnant soon. We agreed to take pregnant puss, plus the two mums with their 7 kits … but then started trying to get help for the others.
On the day of their arrival I was up by 6am cleaning and getting the space ready. Ten new arrivals was daunting …. we never had such a big intake of cats. Sure … Ailbhe and 7 kittens arrived a few weeks ago … that was 8. Years and years ago when we were fostering for another rescue, on one day we took in a mum with 5 kittens 3 days old, and another mum with 4 kittens a day old. Yes … I know … that makes 11 … but at the time we just had two or three other cats in the house, and 9 of the arrivals were very tiny. The recent ten were coming to add to a household of nine. And of course one of the ten had several more small cats inside her.
We took a deep breath … what else can you do? Drove up the motorway in the pouring rain, and yet again suffered the misery of sat nav crashing off the dashboard. Seriously … WTF! … how does anyone stop the suicidal plummet of sat nav mid journey? And finally arrived at the house. It was a strange experience. It’s rare (acutally never … unless I visit a bigger cat rescue) that I go somewhere that has more cats than we have here. A real insight into how friends/ neighbours/ tradespeople might view my own home … a cat on every surface … mega size food boxes piled high. This owner clearly cared about their cats … but sadly hadn’t been able to get them neutered before they multiplied exponentially.
We got the carriers loaded up … Carrier 1: Jette the pregnant puss. Carrier 2: Squiggle plus 4 kits Carrier 3: Raven plus 3 kits. It’s not exactly a fair share. We understand that Raven gave birth to 5 kits, and a few days later Squiggle had 2. It seems that Squiggle has taken them all on as her own while Raven has stepped back .. other than a few bath times. At their vet check we found that Raven has very little milk whilst Squiggle is full of it. What we’ll never know is whether Squig took over because Raven had no milk, or whether Raven has no milk because Squiggle is feeding them all. Perhaps what matters most is that its one big happy family.
Here they are arriving in their rooms and starting to settle in