It all started in September 2009.
I was walking home with my older son when we decided to catch a kitten that we had seen following a male feral Siamese cat. We took him home and named him Deuce, the cat pictured above. When we found him, he was about 4 weeks old, was skinny, and was losing some whiskers. I initially kept him in the garage and fed him a homemade version of KMR since he had a sensitive tummy. When he got older, we fed him homemade cat food for awhile because of his sensitive tummy. Currently, we are trying different kinds of dry foods on the cats since it's cheaper and easier than making it fresh from scratch.
The next day, my son decided to trap a kitten with the empty kitchen garbage can. We took him home to the garage and named him Domino, who is pictured above. He was also about 4 weeks old when we found him, and we also raised him on homemade KMR. Domino and Deuce have treated each other like brothers and are pretty inseparable now.
In March 2010, I decided to go shopping at a local Korean Store. I was shocked to find a kitten that had been dumped in the shopping cart area, left with some fish and milk. When I initially saw her, she had green infected cataracts that were so badly infected that she couldn't close her eyes. So I managed to pick up the blind and frightened kitten and asked passerby who was responsible for her. Everyone denied it, and since she seemed to need help, I took her home and she was named Oreo Kookie, and is pictured above. I kept her in the shed in quarantine, rinsing her eyes out daily until the infection was gone and she wouldn't tolerate it any more. Nobody really expected her to live or survive, but it seemed promising when the infection was gone and she could close her eyes. So I brought her into the house and introduced her to our other cats. Deuce took to her right away, but Domino would growl, hiss, and bully her for awhile. I eventually managed to get Domino to accept her, but Deuce always acted like she was his and would make sure that Domino stayed away from her, especially when she was in heat. Domino sprayed the house and had kittens with feral neighborhood females until we got him fixed. He stopped spraying and seems fascinated with my hair since he got neutered. Deuce got Kookie pregnant before we decided to get him fixed too since he kept going out too much and brought in a lot of fleas.
The first time Kookie went into heat, we thought she got pregnant, and thought we heard mewing later, but we never found any kittens because of the inaccessability of where she may have had her first litter. The second time she went into heat, she definitely got pregnant because we found the litter on June 20, 2011. She had her kittens in the bottom of my son's clothing dresser. To make the nest safer, I emptied out one of his drawers, put a small blanket in the bottom, then moved her and the kittens into the empty drawer. The kittens were born with fur and seemed to all be healthy and all the same size. The above photo was taken on 6/21/11. At first, she didn't seem to understand that she should try to nurse her babies whenever they cried, so I supplemented her nursing with the homemade KMR. One of the kittens that we later named Rosie made a noise that sounded like "Ewww" when I fed her some. When I fed one of her brothers that we named Frosty, he said "Mmmm... Ewww..." By the time I took the picture, Kookie learned how to nurse her babies herself without any assistance from me. Each day, the kittens are getting bigger and more active. Panther and Rosie have lost their umbilical cords on the morning of 6/23/11. Frosty lost his later that day. The black kitten is Panther, the calico is Rosie, and the blue and white kitten is Frosty. Here's another picture of them.
I'm trying to figure out where Frosty got his blue and white coloration from since his mom is black and white and his dad is either red smoke or red tabby depending on who you ask.
Meanwhile, my son had trapped a black feral kitten in our laundry room, thinking we could tame her. (We were trying to catch Diamond, Domino's son, but caught a different kitty instead.) She looked like she was about 6 months old when we caught her. She had never been in a house before and tried jumping out the windows and climbed the walls when we let her out of the room we trapped her in. I put her back in the room, and she seemed to be taming up nicely, easily, and quickly, so I put her with the other cats in the living room. The heater guy had left a hole high under the ceiling, and I forgot about it temporarily. I steamed my carpet, and then went to check on the feral kitty. She decided to (you guessed it) jump into the hole and has been hiding in the ceiling ever since. The hole was closed up, but we leave the skylight open so that we can feed her; she seems to be doing fine although she's lonely up there. We named her Heidi. She refuses to come down. I'm trying to trap her, but every time I think we caught her, she gets away. I think I'm going to try a different kind of trap later...
6/24/11: The kittens enjoy being petted already and allow themselves to be touched anywhere so long as we're gentle; Kookie trusts us and lets us handle them, merely meowing when she wants them back. Their paws are getting bigger and have more fur on them, as Rosie and Frosty had paws that had only a little bit of white peach fuzz on them when they were born and are getting less visible skin gradually every day. Their front claws are starting to become retractable, they're crying less, and their ears are almost completely unfolded.
Since someone asked about her eyesight, I'll take more photos of her and post them below:
The above photo shows her relaxing with her eyes fully shut. To the right are two of her kittens, Rosie and Frosty.
This above photo shows her with her eyes open, looking into the camera. If you look carefully, you will notice that her cataracts make her eyes look light blue. Her actual eye color is yellow where the cataracts aren't blocking them, but the only way to show that requires me to force her eyes open wider, so I'm not doing that now. She acts like she can see, but it's hard to guess how good her eyesight is. She used to sit on top of our fish tank and try to catch the fish. She probably has blurry vision, and doesn't always look before she sits or lies down, so I help make sure she doesn't accidently hurt her babies.
This above picture shows her lying down with her babies. She loves them and seems to be doing the best she can in spite of her cataracts.
Later, I noticed that the original blanket needed to be changed, so I cleaned out the nest and gave them a fresh blanket that was previously used by my 3 year old son when he was younger. The above photo shows them with the clean blanket. Uh-oh, Panther looks like he's trying to get out of the nest already! Their little purrsonalities are getting stronger every day. Rosie will try to kiss you like her mom when you pet her in certain spots, and her tail goes up slightly in response to being petted also. Panther and Frosty are more active, being boys, and are frequently climbing on top of their mom. Panther definitely looks like he's ready to explore already even though his eyes aren't open yet.
6/25/11: The kittens are wiggling their ears while they nurse. Rosie is really starting to use her mouth to suck on just about anything she can. She even sucks on her paws! Frosty is starting to think about using his mouth to suck on other things, but Panther doesn't seem to be thinking about it yet.
6/26/11: Their eyes are starting to open today. Rosie and Frosty have both eyes open slightly, but Panther has only one eye open slightly so far.
6/27/11: The kittens are one week old today, and Rosie's eyes are open a bit wider than they were yesterday. She also likes to grab your hand and hold it in place when you pet her. She's definitely acting like she can see. Frosty is also acting like he can see, although his eyes aren't open as wide. Panther meows the loudest of the three, and I think he can see out of the eye that's opened, but he gets more scared when you try to hold him than the other two. They all definitely have their ears open and respond to sound.
The above photo shows them cuddling with their mom. I tried taking pictures of their faces, but they're too wiggly on my lap and won't hold still even for two seconds. And the detail on my camera isn't good enough to capture their eye color yet, especially since it's overcast today. Maybe next time they'll let me try taking pics of their faces.
6/28/11: Panther finally opened his other eye. Frosty had some yellow gunk in one eye, which we repeatedly attempted to remove until he reopened that eye. It took all day, but it was worth it. Rosie's eyes are fully open wide.
6/29/11: All 3 kitties have their eyes opened fully. No sign of cataracts from any of the babies, so I guess Kookie's eye problem wasn't genetic? They can definitely all see. Seems a bit early, but they may have been born later than normal since they were born with fur. They are very wobbly when they try to walk, but are determined to climb out of their nest on their own already. They still aren't happy when you pick them up; dangling in midair scares them. Frosty likes being held the most. Rosie is most comfortable being petted and played with if she's next to her mom. Rosie is also the most cautious and seems to be able to have good depth perception already. Panther likes being held the least; he seems to be the most independant, but he likes being petted. All three like having their tummies rubbed.
7/4/11: The kittens are now 2 weeks old, so that means it's time to give them all baths. All the kitties had their baths today. I let my older son take care of the 3 adult kitties; I washed the babies in the bathroom sink with some tear-free shampoo. I washed Frosty first with only him in the bathroom at the time. He dipped his nose into the water the most, making me nervous about him drowning himself. I had to hold his head out of the water for him. Panther was loudest during the bath, but calmed down faster when I held him to dry off with the towel. After I put him down, he started screaming again, even though Kookie was right next to him on the ground. She seemed to be confused about what was happening, and meowed at me as if to ask for help while I bathed Rosie. I noticed some fleas on Rosie, so I picked them off as gently as possible. I also managed to pick fleas off the adults today after my son washed them. I plan to spray the adult males with the flea spray when their coats are dry since Kookie isn't allowed to be sprayed with the flea spray while she's nursing, and the kittens can't be treated until they're at least 6 weeks old. Domino used to hiss at the kittens at first, but seems to be more accepting of them now. When I handle the kittens away from their nest, they seem to be trying to nurse off of me sometimes. They also seem to want to climb up onto my shoulder or even my back. Panther seems to be the most curious about my face, especially my mouth (he wants to sniff it a lot). They are all purring strongly, and are definitely cutting their kitten teeth (although they don't have any teeth yet). I changed their blanket today also (helps keep them clean after their bath). They also mew when they hear my voice wake them up in their nest. Here's some photos of them, taken today:
Rosie is towards the top of this photo, with her eyes open. Her brothers didn't want to hold still in the nest with their eyes open for the camera, so I held them by their scruffs until they cooperated as shown below:
That's Frosty. He doesn't like being made to hold still for the camera, but takes a good photo anyways.
And there's Panther, the least cooperative with taking a photo and protesting (but I got a good close-up anyways).
7/7/11: The kittens are getting into and out of their nest by themselves now. Kookie seems to think the nest is wherever they are. They are starting to explore the house...
7/8/11: They went under and behind the couch. I got them out of there since they were crying. I decided to try to give them some cream today in a saucer. They like it but don't understand how to drink it properly yet. They made a mess! Meanwhile, Domino decided to pick up the stopper from the bathtub in his mouth and was going to play with it in the living room. I grabbed it and put it away before he lost it. This is something he's started doing since he's been neutered. He also likes to play with my sons' small stuffed animals, acting like they're mice. It's really funny to watch.
7/9/11: Kookie decided to move her babies to one of the lower kitchen cabinets. After a lot of meowing, she figured out how to pick up her babies and move them on her own, although she was a bit rough about it and seemed a bit confused as to where their napes were before she moved them. She tried picking up Frosty by his ear repeatedly, which he didn't like. Meanwhile, Heidi has been approaching me when I feed her. She was chatting with me today and let me pet her, but seemed to be too jumpy to pick up still. She also meowed back and forth with Kookie. I think if I'm patient enough with Heidi, she will eventually trust me enough to allow me to pick her up to get her down from the crawl space in the ceiling.
7/11/11: The kittens are 3 weeks old today. I wanted to take a photo, but my camera doesn't have a flash button, so it came out too dark when I tried taking the photo of them in their new nest. I'll post new photos below when I can get them to cooperate with being out in better light.
7/12/11: The kittens definitely have their teeth in and are able to walk and climb in and out of their nest without falling down.
We successfully caught Heidi at last! I had made a trap out of a pillowcase by poking 2 holes in the cuff, then I put a big piece of yarn through the holes and was able to pull the opening shut with the yarn. To hold it open, I put a plastic hanger in the back of it and used a piece of wood for the front. After baiting it with kibble, I put it in the crawl space in the ceiling and tied it to the ladder so that it couldn't get lost. I kept it up there with the food in it. She went inside to get the food, then Edward (my 10 year old son) noticed that she was in the pillowcase and pulled the opening shut, then pulled her down with the yarn. I put the skylight back so that she couldn't climb back up (she can climb the walls), then we opened up the pillowcase and removed the hanger, cat, and food. She first ran to hide behind the computer. Edward got her out of there and placed her in the bathroom. After I told him to leave her alone, he decided to scare her into climbing into the coat closet, making so much noise that she fell down, and then, being scared, she managed to squeeze under the new heater. The heater is maybe 1 or 2 inches off the carpet, so you can imagine how desparate she was to find a good hiding spot. Edward had her so mad at him that although he was wearing leather gloves, she bit him hard enough to leave an indentation in his hand. He got her out of the heater and put her in the bathtub with the glass door shut. After making dinner, I went to the bathroom to find her huddled in the tub. I managed to pick her up and move her to the laundry room without any problems. She merely held onto my sweatshirt and meowed at me until I put her down. As soon as she was in the laundry room, she ran and hid. I opened the back door so that she could get out if she wanted to, but she wanted to hide instead, so I shut the door, not wanting to leave it open all night. After I repeatedly told Edward to just LEAVE HER ALONE, he decided to make a lot of noise to get her out the back door. He banged some metal rods together and she ran out the back door. I don't know if she'll come back or not since he traumatized her so much... :(
7/13/11: (Edward is grounded from touching all the other kitties today because of what he did to Heidi last night.) After warning him that if he messed with the other kitties today he'd be grounded from them until after he comes back from camp on Monday, July 25, he decided to (you guessed it) handle the kittens anyways. I followed through and he acted like he didn't care. (He's leaving for camp this Sunday right after church, so it's not really that long of a groundation on my part. I told him what do you think would happen if you treated a wild animal like a racoon like that at camp. I decided to have him be more responsible today by making him pull foxtails in the backyard).
The kittens are able to defend themselves from Domino when he hisses at them. They just hit him on the head and keep exploring. Rosie explored the boy's room today, Panther wanted to be held a lot, and Frosty wanted his mom the soonest.
7/18/11: Updates to this blog will be about once a week or so until further notice due to a crazy schedule. The kittens are 4 weeks old now. They are trying to run and scamper like the big kitties. Frosty fell asleep and purred on me last night.The kitten's ears look too big for their little heads, as do their paws. I'm probably giving all kitties another bath tomorrow. Kookie is currently nesting under the couch with them. Deuce got out, and so did the other 2 adult cats; Deuce hasn't returned, but the other 2 came back instantly. Seems quieter without Edward, but Jeffrey is currently giving the kittens a hard time and being disciplined for it.
7/25/11: The kittens are now 5 weeks old. They are starting to be potty trained and Rosie is already trying out solid food. They are also starting to climb and jump now. They like to play with and pounce on shoes and people's feet. They also like to kiss people.
Deuce hasn't come back yet, but we've seen Heidi in our yard and wandering the neighborhood. She is pretty skittish, but still begs for food.
Edward is coming home from camp soon, so I'll cut this entry short for now.
7/26/11: Deuce finally came back at around 10:00 last night. I gave him a bath right away, but I'm sure he still has fleas. He said "no" and "help" in his bath last night, which my hubby thought was funny as he wasn't being hurt. Time to spray him today. He was gone so long that his kittens didn't recognise him and tried to scare him off by puffing up and hissing at him. He just watched them do that and tried sniffing them and purring at them. He loves his babies, but still likes to wander off from time to time. He came back mostly because he was hungry. He seems to think he's still intact even though he's neutered. Oh well...
8/1/11: The kittens are 6 weeks old today. Time for another bath for all the cats (Deuce got out twice yesterday, and dragged in more fleas). The kittens' eyes are changing color (their eyes are now greenish), they have all discivered their tails, they use the cat boxes, and they all eat kibble now. But they also are still nursing regularly off their mom. The kittens scamper all over the house and have no particular nesting spot. They figured out how to hide, too. They aren't really scared of their dad anymore, and all the adult kitties get along well with them now. Yesterday, while I was outside repairing the stair railing to the back enterance, I saw a black cat get within 5 feet of me and relax twice. It didn't quite look like Heidi, but was kinda hard to tell since I couldn't get close enough to make sure. It was very relaxed when I talked to it, and didn't run off unless it was scared of a noise or if I got too close.
8/16/11: The kittens are now 8 weeks old as of yesterday, old enough to sell to new homes. Frosty has coppery orange eyes, Rosie's eyes are turquoise, and Panther's eyes are green. They are very friendly and playful and look healthy. Domino got out today; he'll be back later. I couldn't get Kookie spayed on the 13th because somebody let her out of the room that had just water and a cat box in it, so she ate something when she was supposed to fast. I'll have to try to get her spayed in September since the 2nd Saturday of the month is the only day available to get it done for free. Either that or try to get some extra money for it in the meantime. Frosty likes to sit up on his haunches like a sqirrel, Rosie likes to jump in your lap, and Panther's more of an observer. They all play with their tails, attack shoes and feet (Frosty more than the other 2), and give kisses (Rosie kisses bare feet after attacking them). I wish I had a camcorder to record their silly antics.
9/10/11: I know I haven't been updating this blog as often as I should.The kittens are 13 weeks old now. Frosty and Rosie like to play with my long sleeved shirts now. Rosie likes to lick them also. Panther usually cuddles in my arms instead of playing with my sleeves like the other 2 do. I decided to try to get Kookie spayed today, so I got up early and took the bus to the free mobile clinic area in Pacifica that comes every 2nd Saturday of the month. There were a lot of people there today, so I waited patiently in line after filling out the paperwork. When the vet looked at Kookie, he didn't like the fact that her eyes were weeping brown stuff and then he noticed that she had a heart murmur. Apparently, if an animal is put under anesthesia with a heart murmur, they could die, so they refused to spay her. The only way that she could be spayed with a heart murmur would be if somebody did an ultrasound of her heart to determine the exact cause of the murmur and whether it would be safe to put her under anesthesia or not. Plus, her eyes have to stop weeping to guarantee there's no infection left in her eyes. Otherwise, she could also die from the infection afterwards due to a suppressed immune system from the surgery. I guess it's a good thing I know this stuff about her now; I wish I had known this before!