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There is always something going on in a multi-cat household. Erm 9... cats and counting...... Plus stories from the Sheffield Cats Shelter

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Fostering Wendy and her kittens

As you may have read in my last post, I brought mum Wendy and her 3 kittens home on Sunday.
I'd already expressed an interest in fostering, but didn't think it would happen quite so soon!  Taking in this little family left a space free to bring another new mum in to the shelter who would otherwise be living outside.

We'd already discussed fostering as a family, but we did have the issue of where to put them. Our 'cat room' is still the safe area and bolt hole for Bertie. Whilst his door is open and he's free to move around the house he's not ready to be evicted from what he sees as his room.

Wendy and her babies need to have a room on their own and be kept away from our 'tribe'.
So, the only other option was our smallest bedroom which is home to bookshelves, the family pc and the printer. Oh and I think I forgot to mention the large rocking horse...
The rocking horse constantly moves around our house. My kids are too big for it, its too big to get in the loft and none of us want to part with it.  This is where a nannan comes in. She thinks its short term, but I may try and forget to bring it back..

Anyway, back to our fur family.  We borrowed a large wire cage from the Shelter to put into the newly named 'kitten room'. We came home armed with food, litter, paperwork and of course our new family.

Wendy is a lovely cat, only around 9 months old herself she is very petite with strikingly large ears! She is very vocal and enjoys a bit of attention.  When she's not being an attentive Mum she likes to rest on her own, while the kittens play nearby.

William is a 'proper' kitten, loves his food and likes rough play with his siblings, not to mention stray human hands and feet! His fluffy fur is mainly black but if you look closely he has a few white ones mixed in on his tummy. It almost looks like he got too close to wet paint and brushed against it.

William plays peek-a-boo

Willow is a real fur ball, again very playful stalking and wrestling with the others. She is the most vocal, often giving a squeak when you pick her up. With no interest in solid food yet, except to play football with kitten biscuits, she relies on Wendy for milk.

Willow gets ready to play fight

Whisper is quite aptly, the quietest. She does play with the others and is eating some solids, but there is often something about her that makes me smile. She studies you intently. When I clean out the cage she sits still and follows my every move with her eyes. It's almost as if she's seeing how I do it so she can do it next time!

Whisper checks out the windowsill (fully supervised!)
To begin with I noticed Wendy kept a very close eye on her babies, she didn't like it if they went too far or out of sight. Over the last few days this has started to change, maybe because she is learning to trust us, but more likely as she now knows the room better and knows her babies can't escape.
Wendy keeps an eye on her babies
On Monday Wendy started to have really watery poo, coming at regular intervals.  Elizabeth looked after her during the day and I took over when I got home from work.  We could hardly keep up with the trays.
It did worry me as, after all, we are being trusted to take care of these little souls.  I'd never forgive myself if anything happened to them.

On Tuesday this seemed to have settled. I took some advice from the Shelter and collected some pro-biotic powder and a worming treatment yesterday.

Last night we had something resembling a cow pat, unfortunately there was also blood in it. At 2am I woke to hear Wendy crying and sensed something wasn't right. She'd been sick and the trays needed changing. While I sorted out the cage the kittens took full advantage and started playing.

Checking with the Shelter today led to a trip to the vet.  Wendy had a slightly raised temperature and its likely her bowl is inflamed, causing the blood. I was told that nursing mums have a lower immunity so this could also impact on Wendy. She had an antibiotic injection and I brought home some special food to hopefully calm things down.

It's been a real learning curve.  It took a couple of days to get into a routine and a couple more to polish it, but we're getting a lot slicker.

I clean out the cage every day, just like the shelter would.  To start with I used a steamer to sterilise, but after a couple of days I decided to change to a pet safe spray from Pets at Home (it's safe for cats and kittens). I can also use this on the laminate floor to try and keep everything as germ free as possible.

Playtime :)

As for the trays, oh how I crave the big sinks in the Shelter!!  I scrub them clean and sterilise with the pet safe spray.  I knew I had a couple of spare trays at home and thought that would be enough....Oh my did I underestimate that! I've since gone and bought another 7 trays.  As I have 3 in use at any one time, this lets me have spare ones filled ready to go and there is no panic any more should they be filled all at once!

I have a lidded tub made up with Milton sterilising tablets to ensure the food and water bowls are as clean as they can be.  Lots of towels to use as bedding, changed at least once a day (usually more!)  Plenty of toys to keep them amused. I'm just missing a cardboard box.

My tribe are very curious about the visitors, but unfortunately they can't meet.  Likewise Wendy is very interested what goes on beyond the door.

It's been an interesting week so far and hard work at times, but those sweet little kitten faces more than make up for it :)

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