This stalwart mama came to us pregnant, from a reasonably good situation: safe neighborhood, regular feeding by a nice woman…who hadn’t called when she had delivered her first (?) litter. She didn’t know what happened to the babies 🙁 but her Last litter was born safe, indoors, at our home. On March 5, 2021. We have a big bathroom in the back of the house, with a bay window and glass door which leads outside. We fixed up a box for her there. She had a week of great nutrition before she gave birth to these fat five babies. BIG and fat! They weighed almost twice what a normal newborn weighs! Holy googly-moogly! I was flabbergasted. Healthy too! They’re five days old in this photo,
I named mama Frances, after the redoubtable Frances McDormand. She put up with being kidnapped and confined, sensing that she and the babies were safe. I left her alone. Didn’t try to handle them for several days.
Mama is built like a tank! She’s all muscle. No neck; can’t be scruffed! She ate like a stevedore…we like that!
After delivery, Frances was still big. I wondered if there were more babies inside her…but no…she is just big. Never seen a cat with a body like this. Strong, for sure.
As the weeks went by, she stopped trying to put the hurt on me when I came in to change her bedding, her water, etc. At about four weeks the babies started eating solid food. Took quite a burden off Frances….
They didn’t just start eating: after looking up into fur for a nipple, a pile of stuff on the floor did not impress.
It’s a process, putting a bit into their mouths, then having them lick it off your finger, convincing them not to bite your finger, lowering finger slowly to bowl…takes time. Of course they still nursed as well.
Frances adopted two, Johnetta Lewis and Tuxedo Ted, who had lost their mother. Stellar feline, she!
Fast forward: remember that back door? The babies started going out, exploring the patio. They come alive when they get out into the living world, yes they DO! The smells in the wind, the bugs and plants…they run all over the yard now…and always go back in after a couple of hours!! We like it like that!
Frances has gone out a few times. By herself, then with the babies. However, Frances seems to want them to go under the house. I don’t. ( I once had a mother who tried to convince her babies to mistrust humans, to be ‘wild’) Frances led them there; at least they wound up there together…fortunately, the babies came when I called them. Now Frances and babies go out at different times. Babies have not since gone around and under the house.
Two have found a home together…happy they are! Great folks!
Frances lets me pet her now. She rubs her face on my hand. And I’m wondering, since mother has been here so long, if she wants to go home…certainly not till the other kittens have been adopted. Nothing has to be decided right this minute…