Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kittens at the Cottage

How many times does a mama cat move her kittens?
I don't know the exact answer, but she'll move them as many times as she thinks necessary. Necessary in human terms may not agree with the mama cat's way, though. On April Fool's Day I came home in the afternoon to find my surprise in one of my flower beds - five tiny kittens cuddled up close to their mama, Smokey. 
April Fool Surprises

After about a week, Smokey moved her babies to a chicken coop.
Smokey, the Ferrel in the Chicken Coop with Her Babies
Mr. Fun and I inherited with our cottage cabin. Last spring I used the coop for large pots of herbs. Smokey moved the kittens to one of the coop holes. Then one day she moved them back to the flower bed but to the opposite end of it. Little did I know that day that this last flower bed move was part of her strategic plan for the next big move - somewhere near the neighbor's porch across the street. I noticed her carrying one of the kittens across the road one day and asked the neighbor lady one day if she'd seen any kittens.
"No," she said, "I haven't heard any kittens, either."
Smokey moved three of them and left the other two in the flower bed for hours. I put them in a box then called a pet place and asked details about keeping the two. I was advised to let the mama cat continue to feed them. Of course, Mama Cat knows best. So I put the kittens back in the flower bed. Smokey took one and left Black Velvet for awhile, and I took little BV inside the house and held it. I was becoming attached.
Black Velvet
I figured that I wouldn't see the kittens again after that. Wrong. The evening before my late sweet mother's birthday my dog that we keep inside would not stop barking. He acted like he heard something. I mentioned this to my husband when I heard a noise. A kitten outside our bedroom window. I ran outside to see if the five kittens were back. Smokey met me at the door with a hiss. She hasn't hissed at me since she moved the kittens to the neighbor's yard. Incidentally, Smokey is my cat - only because she came for a visit to my yard one day, and I've fed her ever since. So she is not particularly tame. Tame enough to come an arm's length close to me. I went to the back of the house and met the first kitten coming around the corner - hissing. Laughing, I said, "I see your mama is training you right." All five kittens had made it back home safe for at least a few days.
I Want It All

Kittens Eating

Calico Playing with Smokey
About three days ago they had moved under a large juniper. Now she's moved them again. I can't imagine why since I'm the one giving them Cat Milk from the grocery store and crunchy kitten food and can food. They love all of it. For some reason Smokey isn't satisfied with an adobe dog house (that came with our cottage cabin) or the pet taxi or the juniper tree. I've noticed, however, that she looks very curiously inside the doors of my house. We've let her come in a couple of times, but that's as far as it goes. Just a look. I refuse to become the next 101 feral housekeeper. If Smokey decides to keep her babies around our place and will allow me to get close enough to them, I'll share them with families who love cats and will give them a loving home. Maybe I'll keep one or two - at least Black Velvet, the smallest and the solid black one that I got to hold once. The important thing is the kittens need their mother to survive. I'm not that mother. I'll leave the mothering to Ms. Smokey.
How many times will a cat move her kittens? That's a question I may never learn. All I know is as long as Ms. Smokey stays around my cottage, she'll get to eat. Can a feral make a good pet? It's possible. They'll love you because you feed them, but independent they will be. How can you encourage a feral to love you? Plant catnip in your garden, spoil your cat with treats, feed it plenty of food, provide lots of water - and grant it's wish for independence.


Marydon said...

Lil Ms. Feral is keeping you hopping, isn't she! I love the story, the darling wee ones & you. I'd be in heaven as I adore cats ... what a fun share.

Have a beautiful day ~

Great flower lady said...

a cat who came to use about a month ago gave birth 2 weeks ago we have not seen or heard any of the babies.. BUT I know they are alive because she is nursing them she comes to eat everyday!! I wish she would bring them to me..

Gabriela Delworth said...

Ohhhh, how cute!

~ Gabriela ~

Marsha S said...

too too precious!!

Eileen @ Cottage Beach House said...

Mama cats are so protective of their babies.Our cat gave birth in the house under my daughter's bed.
when that room got a little too busy for her liking she moved each baby downstairs and under a chair. She made 5 trips to get them all there. A few weeks later she moved them back up under the bed. So cute

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