For to be free is not to merely cast off one's chains,
but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
- Nelson Mandela -

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Cat-ching up

I am craving for normality.
So instead of the umptiest post about my quest for whatever it is that a new home represents, I am going to do some cat-ching up on some of the more ‘normal’ things in our lives.

I could of course do a full report on the excitement about the latest HP film - Ken and the kids went to see it today! - or about the trance-like state that everybody in this household has gone into since the arrival of the new HP book, but I’m sure that most of you have similar experiences. Or have read enough about it. So I’ll just skip that. For now.

Instead I am really dying to show you our educational project of the past couple of weeks. After all, I would like to make it clear that in spite of everything going on, providing an adequate education for our children is still our top priority. Of course. For this particular project we invited a team of teachers to our house. Allow me to introduce:

from left to right: Rosie, Tilly, Jack, Shadow, Jamie and Misty:

These six sweeties lost their mother when they were four days old. The mother was a stray cat, but luckily someone had seen her go into his shed and was aware of her having kittens. So when he found her body by the road, he went looking for them and took them to cat protection. They took the litter to a foster home, where they were hand reared and bottle fed. These fosterers are friends of ours and Myrna goes there quite regularly to help out. Of course she was there nearly every day when this lot came in and she was given the delightful task of naming them all.

After kindly checking with me if we were alright with it, Mrs D asked Myrna if she would like to look after them at home for a weekend once they were big enough to go through the night without being fed. You can guess what the answer was. It was an excellent incentive for Myrna to tidy up her room, by the way... And she started to keep a diary on everything she learned about kittens, how to feed them of course, but also the pretty realistic stuff about what risks there are with littles ones like that, what diseases or ailments they can get, how to make them pee and poo, etcetera.

The first time they came to stay they were four weeks old and needed to be fed, cleaned and toiletted every three hours. We all helped, but Myrna insisted they stayed in her room. After two nights she agreed that maybe next time they’d better stay in the spare room or in the living room... if only because of the smell... But they were so gorgeous and already they all had their own little characters. I enjoyed sitting there and just observing them for times at an end.

Their second visit was two weeks later, after Myrna’s music exams. This time they stayed for a whole four nights... in the spare room. The main purpose of this visit - apart from enjoyment for all - was to get the kittens used to dogs. So Bobby and Lagsi also got involved into this major educational project. Myrna and I both kept notes about everything we observed and learned and we made a little diary with photo’s for Mr and Mrs D, and possibly for potential new owners. Yes, yes, I know... people don’t own cats, cats allow people to feed and house them...

Let me indulge and show you some more photo's from the diary:

These were taken at the foster home when they were just one week old. 1. Rosie, the runt of the litter. 2. Misty being bottle-fed and 3. The whole litter with their artificial mother, a clever thing with a beating heart and a hot water bottle inside to keep the little ones warm.

Their first visit to our house, at four weeks old. 1. Myrna with Tilly, Misty and Shadow. 2. Little Rosie, hasn't she grown! 3. Jamie loves to go to sleep on the nice and warm power supply of Myrna's keyboard.

1. Lagsi, patiently but eagerly waiting for me to allow him to go and have a sniff. The kittens first hissed and spat at him, but after a short while and in the safety of Myrna's arms they were soon alright. Misty was the first to make nose contact (2). 3. Shadow just loved to cuddle up in Myrna's neck, he loved it even better than playing with his siblings!

Their most recent visit, at six weeks old. 1. They don't need bottle feeding anymore, and they are litter trained. Wow, what a difference! 2. Rosie is so absolutely adorable, but no longer the runt of the litter. She eats for England and is the biggest of the three girls now. 3. Lean on me! Isn't it wonderful to have a supportive big brother? Tilly and Shadow. 4. Jack has the most beautiful eyes.

1. We created a dog-free zone in the living room and it took the kittens a whole five minutes to figure out exactly to where they could go and still be 'safe' from the dogs.
2 and 3. The art these creatures master - and teach - more than anything else: relaxing.
They gave some very special private lessons on that subject, on which the male members of our family scored highest marks (4 and 5). Myrna couldn't resist stroking them... (6)

1 comment:

Ruth said...

They are gorgeous :)