It's been a while since I blogged - we've had a frantic couple of weeks, and there just hasn't been time! So this is an apology post, and a catch up on one of the smaller happenings that has had a big impact. The educational bigger ones deserve their own posts, but that will have to wait a bit . . .
The biggest things in our lives at the moment are four new friends living in our spare room (called the green room, because the previous owners had *really* interesting taste in interior design. It is lime green - walls, floor, blind . . . just a tad overpowering.)
A few weeks ago some cute little kittens and their mum came exploring into our back garden. Most of the gardens along out bit of road are just grass, with a few toys etc. We have two plum trees, a lawn, another tree, some overgrown bits, and lots of bird feeders. Which bit attracted the kitties? I have no idea - we also have various things that trap rainwater, and once we spotted the kittens we put some food out . . .
They came back, repeatedly, munching the food and climbing the trees. It was magical to watch them play :) As a family we spend a fair amount of time watching the birds in our garden - we have large patio doors that are at one end of our dinner table, so it's easy to sit with a cup of tea and watch the starlings squabble, or the goldfinches massing on the lawn. Watching the cats was a natural extension of that - the birds even stuck around, and watching the cats watch the birds was cool too :)
After a few visits it was clear that the kittens weren't well - gooey eyes on two out of three, and odd shaped bellies. We set about enticing them in, hoping to get a better look. We asked if they belonged to anyone, and found that the neighbour whose garden they were born in had called the RSPCA, and the RSPCA were not able to help. We called the CPL, but they had no spaces in their foster homes.
A couple of days later - when half the house were out at the weekly games club - Ruby (our Jack Russell) went mad in the garden. She had cornered one of the kittens (in the dark, under a tree, in the overgrown bit of the garden.) When I managed to get to them Ruby had the kitten in her mouth. I had no choice but to physically separate them and try to check the kitten over. A short while later a second kitten was "crying" outside the back gate - I went out and managed to catch her too.
Both of them were sneezing, audibly wheezing, one had gooey eyes. We called the CPL, and they said the only option was to either hold on to the kittens and they would pay for vet care, or let them go. Given the state of the kittens we felt we had to give them a safe warm home and get them well again.
We let our neighbour know, and a couple of days later the third kitten was caught and brought to us. A few more days and mummy cat was caught and brought to us as well.
As much as we tried to get someone else to look after the kittens, it just wasn't possible. We couldn't let them back out - they were already pretty ill and would probably have deteriorated. The littlest would probably have disappeared, he was the sickest. Also, now they are under the CPL's care all four cats will be spayed / neutered. If they had gone back out, how long until there was another litter?
So now we have a spare room full of cats :) The kittens are getting over their colds - possibly cat 'flu but not confirmed - they had worms, which have now gone, and their eyes are clearing up. We have been spending time with all four cats -getting them used to human attention, and calming them down - in the hope that they will be easier to rehome when the time comes.
But there ^^^^^ is the problem.
The children are now really rather attached to the kittens. And Mummy cat is lovely too,( but she keeps attacking the kittens, which is a natural instinct to drive them off once they are independent.)
When the time comes, will any of us be able to wave goodbye to them all happily?
Maybe we can find a way for some of them to stay?
Who knows. But for now they are having fun climbing our bookcases, wrestling with each other, being hand fed, and generally just melting hearts all round.
I'll take some (more) pictures, so you can all fall in love with them too :)