So here’s a bright spot of news from our household: we’re fostering a litter of kittens!
They were living under our shed and finally came out. The mother (a beautiful white and grey long-hair tabby) and father (red fluffy tabby) are both partially tame, like maybe they were owned once, but were abandoned. They aren’t skittish like most feral cats. And the kittens were much like them, not all too scared of us. They’d come within a couple feet and eat food from us, or watch us while grilling.
So we knew we had to rescue them. There are too many cats in the neighborhood and we don’t need them living under our shed. We knew they’d have a good chance at being tamed and having a great home. 10 weeks is borderline in age as to how easily kittens can be tamed, but we felt it would be worth the effort to save these kiddos. I’ve owned cats all my life and fostered my share of litters before, as has my husband. So we felt pretty comfortable with the attempt. And as one of our 16 year old babies recently died, the timing is probably right too. (Though we can’t take them all.)
We caught the litter at about 10 weeks I think. They are just losing front milk teeth now, which puts them at about 12 weeks according to the charts.
They were quite scared at first, but we’ve been making a point of handling them all every day. But there’s 5 of them! And 4 of us, not always home.
Three of the kittens have finally been coaxed enough to purr when we hold them.
Tonight, I’m sitting with little Red. She’s the only red kitten in the bunch. A couple of the others have some red marks, but she’s the only total red one. And she’s the sweetest in personality thus far.
I’ve finally been able to get her to sit with me in front of my computer, without freaking out or needing to be wrapped in a towel. and she’s been here purring.
But the cute little thing has been looking up at me, purring away, then laying her ears down and hissing at me. Then she’d hide her face and keep purring.
At first I chalked it up to, well, it takes time and we knew that it would. And I worried that maybe the bonding wasn’t going as well as I thought. Maybe Red wasn’t as comfortable as I thought. Maybe she was about to slap my face or something.
But then when she did it a few more times, I realized that she was seeking out eye contact, and when she hissed, she wasn’t actually quite meeting my gaze. And sometimes she’d turn her head all the way around to look at me upside down, but she wouldn’t hiss until she looked at me straight on.
Then it dawned on me. My glasses! I’m working on my computer and my glasses have the reduced glare coating, kinda looks purplish.
So I took them off. And do you know – that changed everything? She gazed into my eyes and purred, without flattening her ears and without a hiss.
And sometimes, we don’t have all the pieces, or the same perspective, to know that there’s another reasonable reality. A reality that’s just as logical, and even more accurate and real.
As this little kitten sleeps peacefully in my arms, I’m reminded that no matter how much I know, it’s but a slice. And there’s always room to observe and deepen our understanding of things, of our relationships and of our experience of Life.