Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The April Fools' Day Kittens (edited)

At the end of March, this year, Heather looked about ready to give birth. Irene looked as if she might be pregnant, too. Heather was the one who prodded me to prepare a nest box.

In the United States the first day of April is traditionally the day when anybody has the right to "fool" a friend with any kind of confusing message. I don't know whether anybody told the cats about this but I know that, on the morning of the first day of April, Irene gave birth to three kittens in the box I'd prepared for Heather.

For the next week or so Heather was very affectionate and even clingy. (Usually Ivy might be a bit clingy, but Heather is not, so her clinginess really got my attention.) I stayed home, for whatever moral support I could offer, for several days. I offered Heather another nest box. Finally I went to work, and when I came home, Heather had dragged a flat piece of cardboard across the porch, right in front of the front door, and given birth to two of her five kittens on that. I asked Heather for permission to transfer her and her kittens to the nest box. She accepted the offer, gave birth to the other three during the night, and then mixed her kittens in with Irene's.

For three weeks, Irene kept one of her own kittens and one of Heather's in her nest box, and Heather kept the rest of them in her box. Then the kittens started climbing out of the boxes, and were reintegrated as one litter, who have since been living all over the house...

Here you see eight happy little April Fool jokes, exploring the dayflowers in the not-a-lawn at the Cat Sanctuary for the very first time. (Yes, they are too young to be out on their own; they were carried out, two at a time, for official photos, then carried back inside.)

They are being raised by...three devoted mothers. Irene and Heather nurse all eight babies impartially and, possibly for birth control purposes, Sisawat (their full sister, one year older) is inducing lactation and nursing them too.

(Edited: The other thing that makes these kittens April Fool jokes is that, although their father is Siamese, none of them has Siamese coloring, and although Heather has polydactyl paws, none of these kittens has an extra toe. If anybody wanted a Siamese-looking polydactyl kitten this year...April Fool!)