April 17, 2021

Taking Care Of Mama Cat & Kittens...

Brynwood Needleworks - Mama's Kittens
 
I made some tough, but unselfish, decisions yesterday...and it was pretty emotional for me. I made a phone call in the morning, based on recommendations from local cat people. I contacted Critter Junction Pet Rescue and had a conversation with one of their volunteers, Renee.

I had lots of questions about how I might get help for Mama cat. I'd actually written a post on FaceBook for our local town group, and Renee had been tagged by someone else, hoping she could help me. By the time I called, she said she'd seen my inquiry - and Mama kitty had already been the topic of conversation prior to my call.

She told me, 1) If the foot was broken, it could cost me upward of $2,000 to have surgery/casting/care (I gasped.); or 2) with her being a feral/full time outdoor cat, if her foot is broken, the likely option would be amputation. (I gasped again.). Neither option was palatable to me (cost or possibility of amputation), and I told them so. Then, Renee told me that there was one more option.

I could take Mama and her kittens to the rescue. They would get her vetted and get the best treatment for whatever is going on with her foot, let her stay with her kittens until they're weaned, and then place the kittens with loving homes. Mama would then be spayed, vaccinated, treated for fleas/ticks...and returned to me, because the farm property is her home. I've heard that if the adults are moved and manage to get out, they'll do their best to return to their original home (which would put her at risk of injury from any number of hazards). 

Understand that I was doing my best to keep my composure during the telephone conversation, but I had already considered the fact that as the kittens got bigger and started to explore their surroundings (outside the Compass Barn), they could be at risk of injury from predators - or curiosity from the dogs. More importantly, I needed to get Mama checked and treated for her paw injury. My voice broke numerous times, and toward the end of the conversation, the tears freely flowed.

So, I made the decision before I hung up with Renee to release Mama and her kittens to the rescue. When the call was finished, I blew my nose, told Handsome what I was going to do, and then I went to the barn.

Mama's been caring for her kittens in one of our dog kennels that I'd filled with straw before she had them. I originally had it in a south window so the winter sun could keep her and last season's kittens, Crystal and Leo (thanks for reminding me, Shelly) warm. I had taken the kennel door off, as it wasn't needed.
 
Once the kittens started opening their eyes, I moved that kennel down onto the barn floor, on top of and surrounded by more straw to insulate them from the cold floor. So, when I went outside, I gave Mama some warm milk to drink, and when she'd had her fill, I picked her up and put her in my lap. She let me cuddle her as I explained the plan.

I took the kennel door off the hook on the wall, moved some of the straw out of the way, and reinstalled the door. When I was finished, I picked Mama up and gently placed her inside with her babies. I spoke softly to her the entire time, and then placed the towel (that's been over the vents all winter) in front of the door to calm her as I put her into our truck for the trip to town.

When we arrived at the shelter, I went inside without them, and after introducing myself, asked more questions. She'd be able to stay with her kittens until they are weaned, right? (yes) She'll get the veterinary care for her paw, right? (yes) ...and if it's just a thorn in her paw or a laceration, should I come back and get her and her babies? (no. They'll still take care of her, placing her babies, and spaying her for me) Did I say they'll do all that at no charge whatsoever to me? That's right. And I'll still get her back to bring her home after all that. Then I asked if I could see where she'd be while in their care. 
 
They showed me the enclosure that was already waiting for her. A nice bi-level with towels that they change every day, fresh water, self feed dry food, plus daily wet food, and a nice litter box for her personal needs. Being satisfied that she and her babies would receive the best care, I agreed to go out and get her.
 
Brynwood Needleworks - Mama and Kittens

I didn't uncover the kennel until we were in front of her new, temporary home. It was suggested that I hold her kennel in front of the "apartment" and the lady helping me would open the door to the kennel so Mama could go right in the upper level. Once she was in, we got all the babies out, to put them in the bottom so Mom would know there's a second floor when she went to her babies.
 
Before putting the kittens in with her, I asked for a photo with them, which is the first picture in this post. I left my glasses on so you can't see the tears in my eyes. Her babies are beautiful, and upon re-inspection, there are two boys and two girls. (I'm glad they're in care now. I was already thinking of names for them.)
 
By the time the babies were ready to go into the lower level of the enclosure, Mama was already there, waiting for them. She stayed on the lower level shelf as her kittens were placed on the bottom below her. I told her she'd be getting the best of care, and that I'd be back for her soon.
 
Before I left, the ladies recorded my name and phone number so they could contact me to come get her in a few weeks. Then they asked me Mama's name. Well, because she has that sweet moustache marking on her face, I'd originally called her "Poirot" after the PBS detective series. (I thought she was a boy until her belly started to swell.) I then learned that Shelly was calling her "Groucho". Today, I decided this sweet Mama deserved a more fitting name, so I told them, "I'm going to call her "Claudette"...a nod to the French name I originally gave her. "
 
And so, with tears falling down my cheeks - a sniveling, sniffling mess, I told her I was leaving her behind so they could help her paw, and I'd see her soon; asked them to take really good care of her; and that I'd soon be making a donation to their rescue, I went out to my vehicle and cried a little more before coming back home to the farm.

I took food out to Leo and Crystal tonight. I put Claudette's kennel back up on the south workbench where they like it, in front of the window where the sun shines in during the day. I told them their mama would be gone for a little while, but she'd be back soon. Leo meowed at me. I cried a little more, and went back inside.
 
Call me a soft touch, but I like taking care of these tough, little cats. I like that I was able to earn their trust enough to be able to cuddle them instead of only catching glimpses of them as they'd run and hide from me. I went to sleep knowing I'd done the best thing for Claudette and her sore paw, and that her kittens would be loved and safe in forever homes, instead of living a rough outdoor life. I'm grateful that I could find a place that was willing to help.

I'm going to be making donations to Critter Junction. In the event that you might like to contribute a little something, HERE is a link to their website. They have a "Donate" button, but I know that many rescues also accept gifts purchased and shipped through Amazon to their door. A list of their "needs" also appears on the site. If you choose to contribute, I'd love it if you mention your donation is to help their rescue because of their care for Claudette and her kittens, with my thanks.

One more thing, they'll update their Facebook and website with pictures of Claudette and her babies soon, plus they said I can contact them to find out what Claudette's paw diagnosis is, or anything else I want to know. As they give me updates, I'll share those with you, too. She never made a peep before I left. I think she knows she and her babies are safe. Because she's okay with that, I am, too. I still have tears in my eyes as I write this, though. Happy tears.
 
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12 comments:

  1. What a wonderful thing you are doing for Claudette & her babies.
    It's hard to do, but they will be in the best care that way.
    ((((((HUGS))))))
    Marilyn

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    1. Hi Marilyn:
      I received a photo and update today. They're scheduling Claudette's vet appointment, and she and her babies are doing well. I know I did the right thing, but I (and her older kids) are missing her.
      xoxo
      Donna

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  2. I'll be making a donation in honor of Claudette and her kittens. Let's all make donations in our love for Donna and her blog that we enjoy so much.

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    1. Thank you, dear Nancy. I'm grateful beyond words.
      xoxo
      Donna

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  3. Thanks for the update. You did the right thing. Do please keep up posted.

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    1. Hi Deb:
      I sure will. I'm looking forward to hearing that her paw is okay and that she and her babies will be fine.
      xoxo
      Donna

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  4. You definitely are giving the kittens a chance for their best life. Mama is getting the best care too. Kudos to you for loving them enough to do the hardest thing.

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    1. Hi Andrea:
      I think so, too. I don't believe they'll have any trouble placing them. I know Mama's in the best care, but she's missed dearly here at the farm. We'll be glad when she's back home.
      xoxo
      Donna

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  5. I think you did the right thing.
    She will be well look after and receive good care.
    It’s always difficult to decide what is best.
    Hugs

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  6. Thank you for being so kind to these sweet creatures. Your tenderheartedness is inspiring to me - thank God that there are still kind people like you in this world.

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  7. Hi Donna, I just went to Chewy and made an order donated to the shelter. I know that every little bit helps. Coming from an animal lover from way back. Now Mom to 4 dogs, 2 (outdoor) cats, and 3 horses.

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    1. Dear Carmen:
      Thank you so much for your lovely gesture. I'm so grateful. I know the shelter appreciates it, too. I got an update on Claudette today. The vet treated her paw for her today, and she won't be needing an amputation. I thank God for that. She'll be healed in no time.
      Thanks again, dear friend.
      Claudette and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
      xoxo
      Donna

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Blessings, Donna