Monday, December 1, 2014

Grace, the Thanksgiving kitten

There's been a kitten living in our bathroom right since the night before Thanksgiving. The kids named her Grace.

Here is the story of Grace, the Thanksgiving kitten:

Boxcar Kitty
Grace's mama – Boxcar Kitty

Grace and her brother are late-season kittens born to Boxcar Kitty. Boxcar Kitty had kept her kittens well hidden until two weeks ago, when I spotted Grace by the cats' food dish. I knew Boxcar Kitty was a good hunter who was capable of providing for her kittens, but I started putting out extra cat food and milk for the cats in the machine shed.

Since the arrival of our early winter, the rest of our farm cats have been hanging out in the barn, where it's warmer. I caught Grace's brother a week or so ago and moved him into the barn, but I couldn't catch Grace.

Last Wednesday, Glen found Grace meowing nonstop in the machine shed and brought her into the barn warm up. But she didn't know her way around the barn and ended up falling in the gutter. We moved her into our milk house to warm up. But that wasn't enough to warm up her cold, wet little body. When I checked on her during chores, I could tell that hypothermia was overcoming her.

So, I cradled her in a small pail of warm water until she started shivering again. That was a good sign, but I knew she had a long way to go, and I had a lot of chores yet to finish. So I carried her (in the pail of water) to the house and turned her care over to the kids. I helped them towel her off, set her in a box, and gave the kids the blow dryer with instructions to keep drying her until she was completely dry and fluffy. I crossed my fingers and went back outside.

kids with kitten

When I came back in later, there was a black-and-white ball of fluff looking up at me from inside the box. I told the kids they did a good job and that she might make it. They responded by asking if she could be our new house cat.

The next morning the little kitten felt considerably warmer, so I offered her some food, which she promptly ate. I told the kids that was another good sign. Monika decided then that her name should be Grace.

Grace's appetite has continued to improve since Thursday. But she has a lot of weight to gain. I'm guessing that she just couldn't eat enough to both grow and maintain her body temperature in this brutally cold weather we've had.

Monika with Grace, the kitten

Up until last Wednesday, Grace was an un-catchable, spit-fire. Now she starts purring non-stop whenever someone walks into the bathroom. The kids adore Grace and have volunteered to feed her and clean her litter box.

I'm warming up to the idea of a new house cat, but I'm not 100% sure. Even if Grace doesn't become a permanent house cat, she's going to stay inside at least until she's strong enough to go back outside.

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