Tuesday, November 18, 2014

More Kitten Camaraderie

Today is my second anniversary of discovering the Kitten Cam(s).  With six thousand other watchers all over the globe, I spent last evening fascinated and glued to the screen witnessing Mama Dorothy give birth to the six Kittens of Oz on foster mom Shelly's Tiny Kittens cam.  Dorothy was kicked out of her home after coming home pregnant and luckily found herself at Langley Animal Protection Services, LAPS, near Vancouver, British Columbia.  She hit the kitty lottery and ended up for the last several weeks growing huge and healthy in Shelly's care.  She is a tiny young first-time mother (and last-time, too!) and was exhausted and confused during the birthing process - without Shelly's tender ministrations the story may not have had such a happy ending/new beginning.

Shelly is orchestrating seating at the milk bar and feeding Mama Dorothy (talk about a lovin' spoonful!) in her nest.  One of the tiny kittens is really tiny so Shelly is supplementing her with formula, to jumpstart her interest in nursing.  Little by little the mothering instincts are kicking in and soon, with Shelly's skillful assistance, Dorothy will be a pro.The poor dear is plumb knackered (as is Shelly, who had been on active birth-watch for four days or more!  She has also been talking on camera for nearly all of this time and I just do not know how she does it.).

I am thinking a lot about my own semi-feral rescue kitty, Mama Lucy.  Although she managed to win the affection of a number of people in her neighborhood - some who made sure she had food when they discovered her pregnancy - when she gave birth to her six little boys, it was all alone and in the dark and on the packed dirt floor of a dusty crawl space.  It was also during the no-doubt frightful aural onslaught of Fourth of July fireworks.  Mama Lucy is a city kitty, but that racket must have been terrifying for her.  We will never know for sure - this litter may not have been her first.  By the time I met Mama Lucy her boys were five weeks old, they were fat and happy and she was giving them her all.  If she had experienced a retained placenta or tangled umbilical cords, kittens might have died.  She did not have the luxury of clean blankets, fresh towels, heated nests and the soothing voice and hands of the amazing Shelly (and all the unsung heroes of the rescue world).  Mama Lucy was fortunate to have found shelter.

Mama Lucy and her boys at 7 weeks of age
In my lifetime of living with cats, three have given birth in my own home and I have never learned so much about cats as I have from watching Kitten Cams.  Malaika gave birth to two kittens who suffered from congenital complications and died tragically, little Leela gave birth to a litter which included Shadow and Junior (Leela Junior)  and Junior gave birth to two litters, making Joker (from the May litter)  and Sunday (born one day after the rest of her September littermates) half-siblings.  All of these pregnancies were quite unplanned - this was the early eighties - spaying and neutering was not done as young as it is now. I remember my vet making me wait until a female was at least six months old.  Too late!  In those days it was easier to find homes for the kittens that I was not keeping as my friends were not all way over their limit of kitties. 

Right now in Seattle, another lucky mama-to-be kitty named Marge is awaiting the birth of her litter, which will go on to be raised by the inimitable Foster Dad John.  Marge and her kittens will move into FDJ's care as soon as mama kitty is comfortable.  In the last year John has raised and graduated several more litters of marvelous rockstar kittens and mamas into the world, and he broke all his own rules when he fell in love with one amazing little soul and adopted her into his own feline household.  If Kitten Cam kitties win the lottery, Trillian won the Powerball. 

In the last year Kitten Cam watchers have developed even closer bonds - we have supported each other through thick and thin, triumph and tragedy.  So far I have met one avid watcher in person and I am trying my darndest to talk myself into traveling to Seattle in May for the Kitten Cam Convention - me, the world's least likely traveler!  Will the Camaraderie of the Kitten Cams be enough to lure me out of my cave and onto an airplane?  Stay tuned....