Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The BIG Nocturnal Move

Snow again early this morning followed by sleet. My sleep was filled with bizarre dreams of white rats and squirrels who resembled kittens in a strange house. After blessing the instinct that led me to purchase stocks of dry cat food yesterday on a shopping expedition, I visited the kittens and discovered why my dreams had been filled with strange crying rats and squirrels.

Yesterday, while shopping, I had persuaded myself to invest in a proper cat 'bed' sold at the local chemist. What a waste of money THAT proved to be! When I came home to introduce it to Beauty, I discovered that it really was too small to fit both a nursing Cat and her litter.

I placed it on the floor for Ash to explore instead. Having done so, I reorganised her box because she kept destroying the bedding somehow. I found an old clean sheet and arranged it on top of the rug in the kitten box. At the same time, I spread an old thick blanket that Ash and Beauty both liked next to the kitten box.

Whether it was the growth of the kittens or Beauty's own ongoing dissatisfaction with the kitten bed, combined with the introduction of the sheet, I discovered this morning that a BIG move had taken place in the wee hours of the morning.

Beauty had moved all of the kittens out of the box onto the thick blanket I had spread next to the box. Both box and blanket are situated in an old defunct bathtub. I felt it would contain Queen and Kittens better than the floor. No doubt my dreams were prompted by the crying of the kittens as they were moved.

My hope that a new secure place had been chosen by Beauty was in vain, however. A few moments ago, I heard a desperate kitten's cries. I rushed to the site to find that Beauty once again had rearranged her bedding, this time with the unfortunate result that somehow a kitten now was caught BENEATH the blanket.

I managed to extricate one of them instantly, returning it to its mother's frantic attention. In fact, I was unaware of the fact that another kitten was similarly imprisoned until the piercing, heartrending cries continued... Beauty was shielding her kittens with her body. Often, when she changes position, one kitten ends up on the other side. At first I thought that was what had occurred but feeling for another warm little body beneath Beauty met with no success and the crying continued unabated.

I searched beneath the blanket then, but in vain. It was only when I tore everything to pieces that I finally discovered the poor little creature. He had been thrown or had wiggled somehow between two folds of the blanket. I actually expect that Beauty would have found him and rescued him in time. She is very enterprising and very devoted. Even so, I am glad that I was able to restore him to his mother and siblings. I am not certain what the future holds... I daresay my sleep at night will be punctuated with anxiety and frequent visits to the Kittens for the next week or so until their eyes open.

The kittens now have grown to the point where they can move about freely and one actually PURRS. Their genitals have become more pronounced. A quick glance has determined that two are male and two are female. The little Flame is a male. I had begun to suspect as much when his size quickly outpaced that of his siblings. Both males are larger than their sisters. The second female remains smaller than the other three but her appetite is good and I notice that she cleverly nurses while the others sleep, as they can be such bullies, pushing and shoving when they ought to share. I have posted a photograph of the littlest kitten nursing while her siblings sleep peacefully.

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