The Kitten Chronicles

My first experience as a foster mom was 17 years ago. I was working for California State Parks at the time. I was at the Benicia Capitol State Historic Park and Benicia State Recreation Area. A kind-hearted jogger came across 2 newborn kittens and brought them into the park office. I’d never bottle fed kittens before but I was game to give it a try. I named them Ben and Sara and spent the next few weeks feeding them every 2 hours and rubbing them with warm wet cloths to stimulate their insides to work. Momma cat does that by licking them. I waslucky to work in a place where I could take them with me, and the wonderful volunteers at the park helped me; we all had fun watching them grow.

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Seventeen years later, Sara (brown tabby) is still with me. Ben (orange tabby) died of liver cancer in the spring. I miss him greatly! In the foster world this is called “foster fail”, when you end up adopting your fosters. Maybe it should be called “foster success” since they end up in a loving home!

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I was reluctant to go that route again, but I want to stay connected with the East Bay SPCA, where I have volunteered for the last 6 years. As a new gradute student, I have a feeling extra and time will be words I don’t hear together for a while. By getting involved as a foster, I can contibute but have more time at home. I started with little Abracadabra, who I’ve written about here. I was at the shelter today and she is now available for adoption at the Oakland Adoption Center. She’s growing! I hope she finds a home soon. The sad thing is that black cats and kittens spend longer in the shelter because people are still superstitious about them in the 21st century.

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After having so much fun with Abracadabra, was ready to do it again. The wonderful staff at the East Bay SPCA were looking for aomeone who could take a mother cat with 4 newborn kittens. It’ll be easy, they said; you take care of the mother and she takes care of the babies. I figured that would work with my busy schedule, so the kitten nursery was established in the guest bathroom.

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Mother cat Mouse with her 6 day old babies Sugar Glider, Ferrett, Chinchilla, and Ratticus.

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Mouse is one of the sweetest cats I’ve ever had the pleasure to spend time with. And even though she is very young herself, she is an exellent mother.

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It was suggested that I take daily pictures to document the changes as the kittens grow. I missed their 7th day, but today I start with the daily shots of their progress. Here is Day 8. Their eyes are just starting to open.

Sugar Glider:

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Ferrett:

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Chinchilla:

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Ratticus:

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So far the biggest challenge is getting Mouse to eat enough. Understandably, after being moved from a county shelter to the SPCA and then to my house with newborn babies, she is little unsure of her surroundings. She didn’t eat the first night but has been showing more interest in food. She’s eating for 5, so she needs a lot of calories!

More posts to come!

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