As we all know, kitten season happens twice a year, roughly speaking. In spring and in autumn. They say that a female cat only has 3 modes of being: she’s either in heat, pregnant, or nursing. That is all.
And this is one of the main reasons that KLAWS and other animal welfare charities are always going on about the importance of neutering your cats (and getting your neighbourhood cats neutered, maybe, with the help of an animal rescue charity in your vicinity).
What happens if cats don’t get neutered before they reach sexual maturity? They can have kittens twice a year for about 8 years. That means producing around 64 direct offspring personally, and those 64 may produce just as many and their offspring just as many etc, etc. You see where we’re going with this?
Leaving cats unneutered can cause many problems, such as spread of diseases among cat colonies or hoards, etc. And any stray cats left unneutered can lead to orphaned, helpless kittens because of injuries or death suffered by their mother, who’s had to fend for herself and the babies in often dreadful conditions.
And those neonatal kittens, if they’re lucky, end up in foster care where they are bottle-fed by humans. As you can imagine, this is a huge commitment and a significant responsibility. This year so far our cat fosterers have had to raise ten bottle kittens.
So, let’s shine a light on some of this year’s bottle kittens and their foster moms:
This is Crystal, who looked more like a mouse than a cat at first, according to her foster mom Ursula😊
Ursula, ‘I had to carry her in a jumper during home office for body warmth and comfort as she cried all the time otherwise’
Lucky Crystal! After weeks of constant care and effort by her foster mom, Crystal grew into a healthy, well-adjusted and friendly kitten, who's always up for some tender moments of play.
Another cute little bottle baby is called Hope and she is being fostered by Lena:
This is Hope when she had just arrived at Lena’s, shivering with cold and in serious need of TLC. Which she has received in abundance.
This is what Lena said about her bottle baby, ‘She came to me when she was about 1 week old. Somebody noticed her in their garden shed and they were hoping that the mother would come back for her but the next morning they asked us to take her.
Hope needed a few days to get strong enough to actually drink from the bottle but after that she only got better and better.
She’s now about 4 weeks old, started eating on her own and she even used the litter tray a few times🥰’
This is Hope now, recovering from an eye infection (which is something that neonatal kittens can be very susceptible to). Onwards and upwards for Hope now!
This year, we had to take in a litter of 5 orphans whose mother was killed by a car when the babies were just over a week old. So they ended up in KLAWS at 2 weeks of age.
As they were born in May, they were named after wildflowers: Myrtle, Periwinkle, Thistle, Clover and Bluebell.
Their fosterer Kris has said, ‘The bond that forms between you and your bottle babies is really rather special. Their trust is complete and seemingly boundless. Of course, you form bonds with all your foster cats, but the bottle babies kinda take it to another level. It makes sense, certainly: their lives are quite literally in your hands. They have to trust you to survive. And you have to trust your own ability to care for these tiny creatures. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not always smooth sailing and you may experience some pretty scary moments, or bouts of self-doubt; but once you persevere, you learn that the little ones are remarkably resilient. It helps to remember that all they want is to live, to stay alive. We just need to help them along the way a little bit😊
And when you see them grow and blossom into this bunch of cuties, then it’s more than worth it’
PS. We at KLAWS are always on the lookout for more fosterers and if this is something you’d like to try, please get in touch with us by clicking here
KLAWS has set up great support circles for its volunteers – you’re never alone with any worries or queries you might have!
♥Fostering is not a lifetime commitment, it’s a commitment to saving a life♥