A little over two weeks ago I took in a litter of 5 newborn kittens through my local Cats Protection branch, for which I am a volunteer. The kittens were tiny, able to fit easily in the palm of my hand and could not have been more than a couple of days old as their dried umbilical cords were still attached.
The mother cat had not been seen for an entire day and may have been killed on the road, and so it was vital to bring the kittens into care before they perished in the cold or starved to death.
With eyes and ears clamped firmly shut the tiny babies were blind, deaf and helpless, relying on me for food, warm, comfort and their very survival. The next few weeks and months would be no easy task!
For the first few days I had to feed them painstaking slowly and from a tiny syringe every few hours around the clock. I was pessimistic that all five kittens would make it through this crucial stage, particularly one tiny little black kitten who was half the size of it’s siblings and clearly the runt of the litter.
Towards the end of their first week however the kittens had grown visibly larger and stronger, and as they were able to progress from syringe feeding to suckling from a bottle I began to be cautiously optimistic that they would survive.
The kittens had even started to purr, an utterly delightful sound from such tiny creatures!
Approaching the 2 week mark and one of the kittens eyes were just beginning to open, starting with a tiny twinkle visible between sealed eyelids. Over a few days all the kittens’ eyes had fully opened revealing faint blue, blurry eyes which will not be able to focus for a some time yet.
We are now on day 19 and all kittens appear to be thriving. Now more than double their birth weight, the kittens are gradually becoming more aware of their surroundings and their individual personalities are already beginning to emerge.
With their new found senses they are rapidly becoming a hand full, bumbling around awkwardly but with surprising speed to be the first out of the box at milk time!
The kittens have been given temporary names to make it easier to identify them.
The littlest kitten named Ebony. She is still very tiny compared to her siblings, but holding her own and progressing very well. The fur on her head always sticks up in a rather comical quiff making her look rather gremlin like.
Next up are the identikits! Two fluffy black boys with rather forlorn expressions, and virtually impossible to tell apart from each other. My husband has dubbed them Bert & Ernie, although even we aren’t sure which is which!
And finally we have two tabby females. Twinkle (left) was the first to open her eyes and appears to be the most confident, outgoing of the bunch. She’s not afraid to make her voice heard! Nel (right) is darker in colouration and much more reserved in personality, but very affectionate.
I will update on the kittens’ progress regularly in the coming weeks as they approach various milestones.
All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography 2017 ©
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