The kittens have now been given a stable and safe environment to enjoy their short childhood, which will last for about six months. This next set of images captures some of that time; they are getting noticeably bigger, happier and livelier.
A picture frame family photo, united with health.
One thing that was extremely noticeable before their makeshift home was provided outside my front door, they did not appear very happy. From their lack of kitten energetic playing spasms, I could assess that they were very subdued compared to how I remember the three kittens I bought up in my home. This could be due to the constant moving and lack of presence of their mother for long periods of time.
They would spend much of their time hiding, only appearing when myself or their mother would seek them out. Even then, they were not that active by comparison of the four the previous year and before that. When the mother did appear she was rejecting them at every approach. This was most likely because she was undernourished and could not meet the required demand for her milk. Once they were given a home and two meals a day, they began to slowly change. Feeding the mother helped produce the milk she needed, so kittens were not only getting solid food but the mother was now allowing milk feeding from her. The best time to get to her was when she was tucking into a bowl of cat food. Attention distracted, the kittens would sneak under her tummy and grasp a teat for as long as she would allow, and she did allow for short bursts. Sometimes two or three kittens at a time, the new stable environment was beginning to show signs of improvement in kittens and mother. Over the next few weeks as their trust in me grew, kitten activity increased to something like one would expect.
Walks down to the beach were becoming the norm, just as I had done with the other two sets of kittens over the last two years. I would start by attracting their attention with whistles. Move some way down to the beach, wait for them to catch on, then up, next move another ten metres or so and repeat the process. It took about a week to get them to the grassy area and let them explore, before attempting the sandy beach beyond.
As their confidence grew dashing ahead of me was all in order, as three little fluffy balls would steam past, and even risking dodging between my feet sometimes knowing very well where we were going. Somehow, I find the run of a small kitten quite amusing, something that could have come out of a cartoon creation. Not quite a full adult run, but not quite an undeveloped sprint. It is kind of dumpy, bouncy; fur fluffed out with a short tail up in the air, and full of energy. Each sprint was like a new discovery, full of pride, “look how fast I can go now!” I can imagine this expression in every new to attempt to break the last speed record.
Are you sure you now where we are? I’m wacked, all that running, jumping, climbing, time for a snooze.
The grassy green glade was explored, each time a new area would come under kitty curiosity. Nose down to the ground, then head held high checking 360 degrees of the environment around before a few paces and a few more sniffs. The metre tall stone wall, twenty centimetres thick, instead of the gate became a fascination as they discovered their developing claws really did have a practical use. Of course, after all this activity, a snooze in the sun was in order.
Trees and walls or anything going up are fun to explore.
Gates are boring as walls are the in thing now.
Clawing ones tiny body up one side, to then jumping down onto soft grass on the other. Gates have become boring. The six stone arches spaced out across the wall top became a favourite place to view both sides, nestled into just the right-sized crevice at the top; where both home and sea could be viewed with ease. Sometimes a daring tussle would take place, all in good fun of course. Weeks later the mulberry tree became the subsequent climbing challenge, conquered by all with ease. The sandy beach became the next curiosity. Each kitten discovered it was not good to eat after their first mouthful was spat out with a cat like, Yuk! A shake of the head to enhance their displeasure followed. Great for digging holes though, enthusiastic pawing and scratching produced further entertainment that had a practical use when done. Positioning the rear end by squatting over the construction, releasing waste, and then clawing back the removed ballast to cover-up that anything had ever happened.
You Wanna dance? HA!HA! Tha was funny.
“These claws are really useful,” as fresh thoughts entered into their minds. Thousands of completely new thoughts were entering into their minds as I endeavoured to increase their adventure space every day or two. They are getting bigger now. The sooner they develop the courage to venture further a field of their own accord, the earlier I can release myself of their responsibility.
More photographs, now about three months old.
Are you watching me? Are You!? Practicing stalking on the sand.
Get a move on, you are holding up the queue. Framed by rock, sky and a white halo.
I love this beach, lets go for a walk. Sniff sniff, you are not a cat.
Three tails are better than one, or should that be three heads are better than one?
Kitten-Olympics, the Mammoth Scratch In and the Chair Balance.
The Loudest Meow and Jump Across to the Wall.
Give me a push will you.
My point is this. They have been given the opportunity to live; they have taken it and are developing into beautiful kittens, then cats. They are happy, and their fur coats have lost that straggly appearance. It is now soft, shiny, and smooth. Their bright white tummy fur fluffs up in the wind as they sit and stare up at me, waiting with anticipation for another trip down to the beach, we set off. It only took a little bit of love to give them a chance.
There is tragedy to the end of this story. Friday evening, 29th November, there were three kittens left doing well. Now about three months old, they munched supper with gusto as usual. Saturday morning breakfast, 7.30am, only two raced in from over the low wall or came skidding around the corner. Mum was there as usual, but the female tabby with the golden splashes all over her coat did not appear. She was never seen again. Monday morning breakfast, 2nd December, the largest of the three, the male, mainly white with the odd black spot did not arrived, and was never seen again. It was becoming obvious that there must be a predator around which I was not aware of. It could have been an owl as they were disappearing overnight; the kittens were still light and small enough to be carried away. Thursday morning, 5th November, the male tabby looked very lonely. After feeding breakfast I tried bringing him into the flat. Because I had trained them never to come into the home, he instantly jumped off the table and raced back outside through the open door and disappeared. About 1pm, he returned for an extra feed just before I went out for the afternoon. I had made the decision to try and coax him into the flat where he would be safer, but that would have to wait until I returned. Five o’clock in the afternoon, I returned home and put out a bowl of food. No kitten, mum was around and I think I detected sadness in her meows, and that was the last I saw of him. It looks as though I was too late. I believe they had become part of the food chain, only one survived out of the five which I had found a home. Out of all that could have befallen them, it was the one thing I had not perceived. Maybe, there is a type of fox that I did not take account for. I wonder why it took three months for it to locate the kittens. I thought they were safe within the shelter I had provided for them; I was wrong. I never found their bodies, as the winter set in something was hungry enough to take them.