Welcome to our kitten diary 2013.
Every year rescue centres across the country are inundated with pregnant cats and unwanted kittens. Many are stray cats that have possibly wandered looking for a mate and become lost. Unfortunately in these cases unless the cat is micro-chipped it is all but impossible to trace the owner.
The sad truth is that many kittens born on the street do not survive to become adults as they can succumb to predators, cat flu or even massive flea or worm infestations. Those that do survive go on to breed yet more kittens and the cycle begins again.
It is possible for an adult female to produce up to 18 kittens in a single year of their life. If half of her kittens are female they could possibly produce up to 54 kittens between them in the first year of their lives, creating an incredible snowball effect.
Spaying your female cat may save her life as she may be less likely to wander looking for a mate possibly resulting in road traffic accidents and also reduce the risk of her picking up a life threatening illness such as FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus). Spaying is also beneficial in preventing pyometra which is a very serious condition and if the spay is performed early in life, reduces her chances of suffering from mammory tumours and mastitis. Neutering your male cat may also save his life for the same reasons as well as reducing the number of unwanted kittens. Micro-chipping your cat means there is a better chance of them returning to you, should they wander.
These are the stories of some of the lucky ones that are fortunate enough to be helped by the kind people who find them and call us for help. Some of the kittens are also the result of indiscriminate breeding by owners who then cannot find homes for them and cannot afford to care for them as they grow.
Lilly is approximately 3 years old and was brought in as a stray. She had been visiting her finder’s house for some time trying to get in and looking for some food. Being obviously pregnant her finder’s were keen to find her a place where she could be looked after and have her kittens.
Two weeks after she arrived she gave birth to two lovely healthy black and white kittens. They are now 2 weeks old and doing very well. Mum has plenty of milk so they are growing well and have just completed their initial worming dose. They will be due another dose at 5 weeks and then again at 9 weeks when they have their first vaccinations. We don’t usually name our kittens but we have named these two Nelly and Nancy. Nelly is named after one of our much loved older cats who sadly had to be put to sleep recently after suffering a stroke.
We will keep you updated on their progress.
To the right, Lilly's kittens at 2-3 weeks!
We are pleased to say that Lilly’s kittens have gone from strength to strength and grown into adorable, lively bundles. We have since discovered that they are in fact boys not girls, so a re-think on their names was needed. However, they have recently gone to a lovely new home where they will be company to a 17 year old boy cat. With any luck they will bring his inner kitten side out. We look forward to hearing more about them, once they have settled in as, after 3 months in the cattery, the Cattery Team have grown extremely fond of them.
Oddball and Chubbs
Oddball and Chubbs were two lovely girls brought into us due to over-breeding. At approximately 10 weeks they were both extremely playful and friendly. Both of them had a habit of climbing up our legs all the way to the top of our shoulders....all very well as long as we were wearing lots of layers. This lovely duo were re-homed almost immediately after their health checks and first vaccinations and are hopefully settling into their new home well if not already ruling the roost. We will be seeing them back here when they are 6 months old for their spay operations.
3 Orphaned kittens
These 3 adorable little mites came to us as orphans at only 11 days old after their Mum was the victim of a road traffic accident. Fortunately they have had some of their Mums milk which carries vital antibodies to help their immune systems. Without this they would be less likely to be able to fight off infections which could possibly occur at such a young age. They will now need to be bottle fed every 3 hours day and night, and toileted which is also a task that Mum would do regularly for the next few weeks. As they grow they will take more milk at longer intervals and kitten food will start to be introduced at approximately 4 weeks and fed as well as regular milk meals. Mum cats will have mostly weaned their kittens by 9 weeks and this is the earliest age that kittens should be re-homed away from Mum. Hand rearing kittens can be very challenging and should only be undertaken by experienced owners or with the close advice of a vet or rescue centre. Though it can be very rewarding it is difficult to teach them the behavioural boundaries that they would learn from Mum and many hand reared kittens although they can be extremely affectionate can also be quite boisterous.
Sadly, our litter of orphaned kittens who started off so well, became 2 instead of 3 when we lost one of the little mites within a few weeks, despite our best care and efforts of our staff and vets. Kittens of this age are vulnerable and can sometimes succumb to fading kitten syndrome. Although we were all upset to lose him, his two sisters grew and stayed healthy and have now gone to a lovely new permanent home. As they were hand reared, they are extremely well socialised and great time wasters who we all loved spending time with and we miss them but wish them well in their new home, where they are giving their new owners lots of pleasure. We look forward to hearing more about them and seeing new photos as they settle into their new home.
Lilly and kittens
Another cat called Lilly came to us from London. She had given birth to 2 kittens in an old washing up bowl in filthy conditions. A kind lady took Lilly and her 2 kits in but Lilly didn’t settle too well, probably because she is more feral than domestic. She was brought to Raystede when the kittens were 9 weeks old, to give them a better chance of finding homes. Both kittens were very nervous at first, as they were following Mum’s characteristics but we found them a super home where they will have the best chance of becoming fully domesticated cats. We will stay in touch and hopefully hear more news about them as they settle down. In the meantime, we are still seeking a good home for their mum, Lilly, who is still with us at Raystede.
Brian and Amy
Brian and Amy were two adorable kittens brought into us, again from an unwanted litter. These two very pretty kittens didn’t take long to re-home – and at nine weeks they went off together to their welcoming new home.
Ava and Evie
Ava and Evie were both abandoned in a cardboard box on someone’s doorstep just after Christmas. The kind gentleman that found them took care of them for several months before realising they had both become pregnant when he called us for help. We believe they are both approximately 7-8 months old which is very young to be having their own families. Evie gave birth to 3 lovely kittens on 11th May and Ava had 4 kittens approximately 2 weeks later. Both cats have been cared for in dedicated foster homes and will be coming back to Raystede in the next few days to be spayed and for their kittens to have their health checks when they reach 9 weeks, at which point they will all be available for re-homing.
Winnie and 3 kittens
Winnie was found in a garden shed nursing her 3 lovely kittens. She was a stray, though she is very affectionate and loving and has obviously belonged to someone. As she has no microchip, it is all but impossible to trace her owner. She has been raising her family at Raystede.
Happily Winnie and her kittens have all gone out to their new homes.
4 black kittens
Some more recent arrivals at Raystede included 4 black kittens that were signed over as an unwanted litter. Their owners had been unable to find homes for them and rang us for help. Happily, all of them were extremely well socialised and we were lucky people came forward to provide homes for them very quickly.
Simba is a lovely kitten that came into us when his owner could not find him a home. He is a very confident, friendly, adorable boy. On arrival he was quite distressed, as he had just been separated from his brother. We felt we couldn’t leave him all alone in a cat pen, so he went home with our Cattery Manager, who gave him plenty of love and cuddles for a few nights and Simba turned out to be a real character. His favourite toy was a little white stuffed mouse which would keep him amused for hours. Simba was very lucky to be re-homed to a family that had already taken one of Raystede’s kittens (Winnie’s), so Simba now has a new playmate and we look forward to hearing how they are getting on soon.
Beans and Wit
Beans (pictured to the right) and Wit are 2 lovely mum cats that were brought into us recently. Beans had 3 kittens, Patch, Muffin and Shadow and Wit was expecting a litter. Beans and her litter have all found loving forever homes. We managed to find a foster home for Wit and she gave birth to 5 lovely kittens.
Wit's kittens at approximately 4 weeks old.
Update: Wit and her kittens have all gone to new loving forever homes.
Gypsy came into us with her 3 kittens again as a result of not being spayed. She was a very quiet little black cat and her 3 black and white kittens were extremely lively. She was recently spayed and has now found a loving new home where she will be able to enjoy life without having to constantly nurse kittens. All 3 kittens have also found homes.
Columbo, Lewis and Sherlock
We had 3 lovely white and black kittens brought in again as a result of over breeding. We called them Columbo, Lewis (pictured to the right) and Sherlock and nicknamed them ‘the three detectives’. Again they were all adorable loving kittens and we found them homes very quickly. We will wait to hear how they are settling in.
Columbo and Sherlock.
The River kittens, so named as they were found on a river bank all alone with no sign of Mum, came into us about 3 weeks ago. One of the kittens was actually found in the water by a passer by so they were extremely lucky to have been found and survive. They are very friendly so have obviously known human contact and may have been abandoned by their owner. They are all doing very well and will soon be able to go to new homes.
As of December 2013, we are delighted to announce that these kittens have all found new loving homes.
Molly and Timmy
Molly and Timmy were another pair of kittens brought into us due to over breeding. Aged approximately 12 weeks they are extremely fortunate to have found a home together very quickly.
Millie, Cookie, Tabs, Oscar, Roly and Biscuit
Millie, Cookie and Tabs and Oscar, Roly and Biscuit (the latter two pictured to the right) all came to us from the same home again as a result of over breeding. They were heavily worm and flea infested and had extremely upset tummies, fortunately we have been able to treat them under the care of our vet and they have made a massive improvement. Cookie and Tabs are approximately 18 weeks old and Roly and Biscuit are around 14 weeks old although they are all quite small for their ages. Millie and the other Mum, Oscar, were found to already be pregnant again when they had their health checks so that will be 2 litters each that they have had this year. Both Mums are very sweet and friendly although a little on the thin side so we will have to feed them up to prepare them for their new litters. Hopefully we may be able to find them a foster home where the new kittens can be raised in more of a family environment. Once their new kittens are old enough they will be spayed and can have a more relaxed life as family cats.
December 2013; After thinking that Millie and Oscar were both pregnant again we found that it was only Millie expecting another litter and Oscar was not pregnant after all. She has now been spayed and re-homed to a lovely forever home where she can now relax and not be a constant Mum.
Millie gave birth to 4 lovely kittens and after spending their first 9 weeks here at Raystede they have all now gone to loving homes.
Ruby was found all alone in a workshop aged approximately 3 weeks. She was left overnight to see if Mum would come back for her but unfortunately she didn’t, so Ruby was brought into us and has been fostered by another member of our staff until she is old enough to be re-homed.
As of December 2013, Ruby has now found herself a loving forever home.
These 4 lovely kittens came in to be hand reared after their Mum sadly died not long after they were born. Initially they were being fed every 2 hours day and night, now they are fed every 3 hours which means some sleepless nights for some of the cattery staff.
As of December 2013, our 4 lovely orphans have all found lovely new homes. They are the friendliest kittens having been hand raised and would all start purring as soon as you open the door to their cat pen. A very well done to Kim one of our cattery assistants who spent the majority of their first 5 weeks taking them home and feeding them all through the nights, and also Jane, (cattery manager), and Sarah (cattery assistant) who also spent time looking after them at home.
Leo came in to Raystede as his owner was moving and couldn’t take him. He is an extremely lively kitten and was lucky enough to find a loving forever home within a few days.
Savannah and kittens
Savannah and her kittens were brought to us from a local vet as strays. However Savannah is extremely friendly and has obviously been owned by someone at some time. She has 5 lovely kittens that are all doing extremely well.
As of December 2013, Savannah and her kittens have just had their health checks and are all going to loving new homes over the next week. They are a very pretty litter of kittens and have all inherited Mums relaxed character.
Clover was found as a stray. She was quite thin and covered in what appeared to be some kind of oil or grease. She is a very friendly kitten and we think she may have been owned by someone and gotten lost. She has become firm friends with another female kitten we had in just recently and we are delighted to say that they have been reserved to go out to a new home together.
Nala was brought in as she wasn’t being accepted by the resident cat in her new home. It can sometimes be difficult introducing a new cat or kitten and sometimes the resident cats just cannot accept a new cat in their territory. She does however get on extremely wellwith Clover another kitten of similar age here at Raystede and we have been fortunate to find them a loving new home together.
Crystal and Lacey
Crystal and Lacey came into us after their owner sadly passed away. They are lovely girls although one is very shy and will need lots of socialising and tlc. They are both still available for adoption.
Polly was a lovely girl who came to us as a stray. She was lucky enough to find a new home a week after her arrival.
Smokey and Bandit
Smokey and Bandit also came in as their owners could not find them new homes. They have found a loving new home together.
Mickey and Minnie
Mickey and Minnie was another pair of kittens that came in when their owners couldn’t find homes for them. They were homed together very soon after joining us at Raystede.
Matilda came into us via a vet surgery with a minor health concern which will hopefully not have any long term effects. She has already found a loving new forever home with a dedicated new family.
Molly and Molly
The two Molly’s , as we have called them (after their Mum), have come in as their owners could not find them new homes. They are lovely playful girls and are still available for re-homing as a pair.
Our kitten diary covers some 80 kittens that we have helped, cared for and re-homed over the summer. Also because of the good summer weather we have been seeing kittens well into the autumn and winter.
To date it will have cost Raystede in excess of £6000.00 to spay/ neuter , vaccinate and microchip all these lovely kittens and there are many more every year. If you would like to help us continue our work please see our ‘How to help’ menu and select ‘donate’ from the list.
Thank you from the Cattery team.