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We heard from Splinter’s mom that Emi (Splinter’s new name) adjusted quickly to her new surroundings. I’d been a little worried about her congestion and inconsistent eating habits, but it sounds like graduating from the villa into a bedroom she shares with her mom was the right prescription. She’s eating well and doesn’t seem stressed.

By now Emi should be getting to know her mom’s roommate’s cat, and after they work things out, she’ll have free rein of the apartment. A great outcome for a friendly and entertaining young cat.

After four kitten-free days, we got a call yesterday afternoon from a Homeward Trails coordinator who had just picked up a nursing mom-cat and her seven 10-day-old kittens from a house in northeast Washington, DC. It’s a tough neighborhood, and it sounds like an indeterminate number of cats and kittens were repeatedly cycling through this house. The HT volunteer said the family that lived there seemed sympathetic to cats, but had more than they could handle and wasn’t able to feed them much. The family’s mother was happy to stash the mom-cat and her kits in the HT volunteer’s carrier and hand them off.

I drove down to the Iwo Jima Memorial (roughly halfway between the Washington Humane Society clinic – where the mom-cat tested negative for FeLV/FIV – and our house), a site I’d never visited even though we live less than 10 miles away, and met the volunteer, who’d only been there once herself.

In the quiet, pine-shaded parking lot, with the huge flag-raising memorial in the background, we transferred a not-too-thrilled mom and her kits from one carrier to another inside my car.

Given the iconic DC scenery, it kind of reminded me of a scene from a spy thriller, where a government mole passes a briefcase full of classified documents to a foreign agent. Only she was handing over 6-ounce tabbies instead of documents, and I was stashing them in my own carrier instead of a briefcase. I checked to make sure we weren’t being watched, and then we drove off in different directions.

When I got them home, I stashed the kits in a nest that fits under a rack covered by a blanket, since I didn’t want mom to transfer all her kits under the futon. So far, so good – the kits are all still in the nest.

The mom-cat is a cute patchy tabby who bolts from the nest and hides under the futon when she hears the door open. So we practically never laid eyes on her yesterday. This morning she was a bit slower to slink out of the nest, so maybe she’s becoming less fearful.

Mom is eating well (though she did vomit up her breakfast, and I found something that looked like a paper tag in the puddle), and all her kits seem healthy. The HT coordinator said the mom has lots of milk. For 10-day-old kits, they seem to be the right size.

So now we need some names. For some reason I’ve started calling the mom-cat Hattie, but we’re not wedded to that. In keeping with topical/timely names for litters, we thought about calling this pack the Dogwoods (cherry-blossom season ended early this year.) But maybe something related to their handoff site (officially the Marine Corps War Memorial) would work?

And the kits will be a challenge. Three male orange tabbies, right now distinguishable only by weight. And four brown tabbies (one male, three female) whose colors and sizes vary enough that we should be able to tell them apart. Suggestions welcomed!

filed by: TS



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