The boys were both out this evening. Dan helping at the theatre, Tim went to a teenage Bible study. I was sitting here writing some email when the doorbell went - it was Dan's art teacher, who loves cats although he seems to have very bad luck with them. He breeds pedigree cats but even though he keeps them inside, they seem to escape and a couple have been run over. Dan phoned him at lunchtime once we realised the kittens were orphans, because he knew that one of his cats recently had some kittens who died, and wondered if she might like to be a foster-mother. But our friend didn't think that would work, or that she would accept them, and he certainly didn't feel he could take on seven extra kittens.
However he wanted to find out how they were doing, and about 8.30pm he called round to see them, bringing a tiny feeding bottle. He asked what we'd been doing, and I explained that only two of them could lap the evaporated milk we'd been giving them. He said they needed some soft cheese, and went to buy some. While he was gone I put some of the evap in the bottle and found that several of them would take a few gulps - I just shoved the teat in a mewing mouth and the kitten started suckling. I know it's not ideal, but we can't get hold of Lactol until Monday since shops close from Saturday lunchtime and all day Sunday. Right now I think any sort of fluid is vital.
I had just made some yogurt so I gave them some while it was still warm. Two of them started eating it, a couple of others took a tiny amount from a spoon. But in the dark, and with their colouring being so similar, I have a hard time knowing which ones have eaten and which haven't. One of them seems quite weak, it's smaller than the rest and seems to have his eyes rather caked over. I made sure that one got the bottle a couple of times.
Our friend came back with some canned cat food and some soft cheese in triangles, and showed me how to force-feed it to them from his finger. Again we have no idea if all of them managed to get some, but certainly most did and seemed to like it. He put out some meaty cat food too, but they just walked through it, and weren't remotely interested in trying to eat it.
It was very difficult trying to do anything by torchlight, but now they've gone quiet again for at least half an hour so I'm hoping they've gone to sleep in the box, and that they'll survive the night. It's reasonably warm and they all huddle up together for comfort. Tomorrow our friend says he'll come over again, and see about trying to get them a bit cleaner. It's good to have someone who knows what he's doing, but I hope they're not going to become too dependent on us.
This would happen while Richard's away!