Last weekend I heard a pitiful little cry just west of the chicken yard (the chicken coop is about 30 yards south of the house) and when I went to investigate, I found a tiny little kitten. I looked over and didn't see a mama around, but I wanted to give her a chance to pick him up although I did check him over to make sure he wasn't hurt. The mama kitties will often move their kittens and for the most part we let them do their job. We have a lot of barn cats around here and I throw cat food onto a slab in the evenings and everyone comes up to eat, but the cats are wild. They are hunters and do a good job of keeping mice and rats and snakes cleared out of the hay, barn, shop, and salt shed. I've been noticing our herd declining and figure we've got coyotes working around. I worked around the chicken yard and watched closely, but never saw the mama. We've got a few mama kitties tending to babies, but no-one claimed this little fella, so I picked him up and brought him into the yard. Meet Oliver:
I wasn't going to name him, but he was so tiny and skinny underneath all that hair that I brought him into the house and DH said he looked like an Oliver so Oliver it is. Thing is, I do not want an indoor cat, but I have to save him if I can so warm milk is being doled out every 3-4 hours.
Poor thing was terribly constipated and probably dehydrated. I did fix him a little box with a towel and when I was in town on Monday I picked up some milk replacer, kitten chow, and some litter. Later, I noticed 2 kittens squeezing into a spot under the house and they would wander out to play by the chicken yard. When I put Oliver out with them, they acted like they were familiar with each other so I'm certain they are litter-mates and Oliver is just a runt and something happened to their mama.
The other 2 are short haired and more active, but I also started putting warm milk and kitten chow out for them in an old discarded pan twice a day. Once their tummies are full, it's nap time:
For now, I let Oliver sleep in his box in the office at night, but I put him out with his siblings during the day. I want him to know how to be a kitten.
The funny thing is, I will step outside and find him sitting at the front door, or I will peek around the other side of the house and if he sees me or I call his name, he will begin to meow and run to me. And those of you who are members of Skeet's fan club will love him even more:
He is SO sweet and gentle with Oliver and when I walk outside and look for Oliver I ask Skeet, "Where's the baby?" he helps me look for him. I know everyone loves their dog, but Skeet truly has the most incredible heart. Oliver even talks to him. LOL (Skeet was right next to me when I snapped this shot)
Oliver's a little fluff ball, but there's nothing under all that hair so we're doing our best to put a little meat on his bones and turn him into a healthy, happy kitten. This is a good start: