A Day in My Life and New Respect for Cat Rescuers
My cat Ava was a gift to me from my husband on Christmas Eve. Ava had been abused by her former owners and it took a long time for her to trust us.
Every night she slept between my legs and although it was annoying, I felt like she finally was trusting me.
One day she accidentally escaped the safety of our home and you guessed it- she came home pregnant.
We excitedly looked forward to the birth and the last few weeks of her pregnancy I prepared our bedroom for the kittens. In our home, with another cat present (our older male Pokey), the only safe place for Ava is our bedroom.
I studied how to help Ava should she not instinctively do what she was supposed to during the birth and I was ready. The morning came and I watched nervously as she gave birth to her kittens underneath my bed. (not where I wanted her to give birth, but it was finally happening and I was relieved)
Everything went fine and I was proud of how well this high-anxiety cat calmly did what she needed to do.
The morning after the birth my husband and I moved Ava and her 5 kittens into a box in our closet. We inspected each kitten and were amazed at how this tiny cat had carried so many healthy kittens.
As the days went on and the kittens grew, I began the process of helping Ava to get her kittens to adapt to humans. I carefully watched Ava's response, aware that she was (is) extremely protective like a Jewish mother.
As the kittens began to get mobile, I saw that it was up to me to teach them how to use the litter box, introduce them to food and teach them to play. Ava has been reluctant to let her babies grow up but as they turned 5 weeks old, I finally see her letting go a little bit.
Five kittens and 1 cat in my bedroom with 2 litter boxes, a large plate for kitten food, water bowl and Ava's food dish along with a play area for the kitties takes up most of my bedroom's floor space.
Keeping it clean is a job. I scoop the litter boxes at least twice a day, sometimes three times and I constantly feel like I am cleaning the carpet from messes.
My husband learned (finally) to not leave his dirty clothes on the floor or someone may use them as a litter box. In all fairness, the man is working two jobs presently and is zombie-like when he comes home.
It is adorable to have these 5 1/2 week old kittens climb up onto my bed in the morning. We both keep flashlights next to us at night so that we can scan the floor before we step out of bed. The fear of stepping on wandering kittens at night has been stressful. We did have them in a box but their mother decided they should be free.
It is a job to take care of these kittens. They are coming along nicely and after several days of training, all are using the litter box, coming out clean and even covering up their business.
I have a new respect for people like my online friend Susan Golis who rescues feral cats. Sure taking care of kittens is hard but you also get to enjoy their antics. It is also like being a grandma. You enjoy them but they go home after a while ( I imagine, I am not yet a grandma).
Susan takes care of the discarded, often sick and mistrustful cats that no one wants or can no longer care for. It takes a special kind of person to do that.
Ava and I developed a stronger bond during her pregnancy and new motherhood. She trusts me now and that is huge to me. Her kittens are very human-friendly and they will make excellent pets.
In another week, one of the kittens will be moving to his new home with my daughter two blocks away. I am sure he will visit often but as the kittens move out, it will be bittersweet.
I know that they will be very loved by their new humans. The humans who are adopting them are all looking forward to their arrivals. We will miss their running around, playing with each other and just adorable antics that kittens are known for.
The chaos of 5 growing kittens in my bedroom will be gone and life will return to normal. Ava will be getting fixed so our kitten days will be over for good.
It has been an adventure caring for a pregnant,high-strung cat like Ava and helping to train her 5 kittens. I am glad I got the opportunity to experience this. I have learned that people who do this constantly are special and unique individuals.
I cannot imagine being a cat rescuer like my friend Susan. These past weeks have been fun but also a lot of work and expense. I know they will be over soon and although I will miss them, life will go back to normal. Pokey, Ava and one of her little boys will be our only cats and the house will seem a bit emptier. That is okay with me.
Labels: cat rescue