I seem to be just full of reasons for not blogging faithfully this year, but this time I assure you, it's a really really really good reason. OK - they were good reasons in the past as well. But THESE reasons are tiny and fluffy and infinitely cuddle-worthy.
Yes, we took in a another litter of foster kittens. As you can see, these little fuzzies were quite scared the first night that we took them in (Tuesday.) It just broke my heart. Unlike the last group (and the first group, to be honest) that we fostered, who were wary of me the first night, but obviously had been socialized and warmed up quickly... these guys were found stray in someone's yard. Their only exposure to people had been getting captured and transported to the shelter, getting their exams and shots and blood tests and microchips at the shelter, then loaded up by me and taken through a punishing thunderstorm to my house. So they were terrified Tuesday night.
And they are slowly, slowly warming up to us. We'll each hold one (or two) while we're watching t.v. to let them get used to us, and to being handled by humans. They're starting to enjoy the attention, though they're still a bit skittish when I'm trying to pick them up.
The biggest one, a female, we've named Rogue. I think that she's the shyest of the bunch, though is quite adventurous in other ways. This is her, learning that human laps can be nice places to rest. Even if the human keeps doing alarming things with its hands, like taking pictures.
The smallest, the gray one, is now Jean. You can see her here on my lap, tolerating me giving her hoods out of the blanket. You can also see that Maera is fascinated with her. She really, really, really wants to play with the kittens, and is upset with us that we won't let her. I just have no way of knowing that she completely understands that these little guys are be treated gently, and that they are not just really sweet squeaky toys.
Unfortunately, as soon as we took them out of their carrier on Tuesday night, I saw that one of them was favoring her back leg, unwilling to put any weight on it. We both gently felt the leg for breaks and didn't find anything obvious. We waited a day just to see if it was something that would self-correct, but it didn't. Jeff took her to the shelter vet on Thursday, where they x-rayed the leg after putting her under anesthesia. Come to find out, it's a minor problem: a small tear in her achilles tendon (ouch!) but it's also one that requires that she not move her leg.
How, you might ask, do you prevent a kitten (who we named Storm, by the way) from moving her leg?
By putting an enormous bandage on that forces her to keep her leg extended. She has to wear it like this for quite a long time, too. We're taking her back in a week to get the leg checked out, and then rebandaged. I am assuming that we'll keep repeating this cycle until she's able to put weight back on her foot.
The only one that I don't have a picture of here (yet) is the only male of the litter, who we named Logan. He was the only one to actually hiss at me when I went to take him out of the cage. (He is far less hissy now.) He is still a bit frightened of us, but once one of us has picked him up and snuggled him up against us, he relaxes and purrs and enjoys the warmth.
We have a little more work to do with socializing them, but they're going to be lovely pets for someone when they gain their confidence. They're already very sweet, and despite their fear, are very gentle with us. To think that their lives have been completely disrupted from where they WERE going is amazing to me. I think that we all know what happens when kittens grow up stray... if they've never had the opportunity to interact positively with humans, then they become feral. So here's four little lives that are no longer going to be feral. My hopes for them: a home for each, with a good family, soft, warm and sunny places to sleep, full bowl of food every day, and all of the cuddles and petting and attention that they could possibly want.