Kitten Tales

 Two months without a post but with very, very good reason.

 River needed to perform community service for a Boy Scout merit badge he was earning. Given his age (12) and Covid restrictions finding a place to volunteer wasn't easy so he got creative and suggested fostering kittens for one of our local shelters.


In no time at all Quebec and Romeo were at our house, two less than four-week old kittens. While they are both black and about the same ago they were not litter-mates, we got Romeo first and Quebec a day later - they do so much better when they're not singletons and the two bonded immediately and were so good for each other.

We've fostered kittens before and decided long ago that to avoid keeping the kittens (you name them, you're likely keeping them) we'd use the military alphabet to temporarily name our kittens, in order backwards starting with Z. Xray, Yankee, and Zulu were our first fosters using this system; Yankee didn't make it but Xray and Zulu are now huge cats named Kit and Kat. Tango, Uniform, Victor, and Whiskey were next; Uniform stayed in the family and became Willie and the other three were adopted out of the shelter. Sierra was with us through Hurricane Irma; once the storm passed he (yes, Sierra was a he ... this isn't a perfect system) was adopted by Mia and is now a very fluffy cat named Linc. And then, most recently, Quebec and Romeo.


A day after getting our kittens Cassie decided she'd foster as well and she's now temporarily rearing Duck and Goose - who are absolutely adorable. Duck is slow to gain weight, having a metabolism I can only dream of, so she's had hers a little longer.


When Q and R first arrived they were syringe fed every 3 hours, moving to every 4 hours after a week or two.  They did not "relieve" themselves on their own and had to be stimulated with a cloth to go. They were given every hand towel in our house and we still had to do their laundry 3-4 times a day between pottying and bathing (because of pottying).


As they got older they got so much easier! By the time they left us, at about 8 weeks old, they were eating soft food and kibble, and using a litter box like the big cats that they were.


Romeo was always a little bigger than Quebec, but each of them more than tripled their weight while they were with us.


Big question ... how did we tell them apart? Quebec has a white stripe on his belly. But to be able to tell them apart without flipping one upside down Quebec wore lipstick on the back of his left ear ... without that we'd have been lost. As they got older it got easier - Romeo has bigger eyes and Quebec's eyes were more blue-green than Romeo's. Quebec was a bit smaller. One of them had a few white furs on his legs, the other on his ears. And their personalities were different. By the time they were about 5 weeks old I could tell them apart, River never mastered that.


We loved having them with us and can't wait to foster again after summer. Quebec was adopted by Mia and he and Linc are best of friends. Romeo went back to the shelter and was adopted within three days of being there.

I'm not really sure how many hours River put in in the six weeks we had the kittens. Definitely enough to meet his requirement.


A few last things:
* foster if you can ... the need is great
* if you see a kitten in the wild watch from a distance for a few hours, Mom is likely getting something to eat

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