Saturday, May 14, 2005

And then there were six...

Someone told us that kittens are better with evaporated milk than ordinary milk - I suppose it's thicker, so easier to lap, and also more packed with nutrients. So I made a sort of trough out of an empty milk carton and poured some evap in the bottom, and presented that to the orphaned kittens (see below...) since their mother didn't return, so we can only assume Dan is correct, and she was run over.

One or two of them did manage to lap a bit but they seemed much more eager to climb up us and mew loudly. I wish we knew what they wanted. They didn't stay in the neighbour's box for more than about ten minutes - they complained bitterly, and then climbed out and went back to their old 'nest' which I suppose smells of their mother. We tried watching them out of the window, not wanting to get too involved, and they kept trying to follow people down the street... most of whom brought them back, which was good. At least they didn't try to kick them.

About six o'clock I went out with more evaporated milk, and heard plaintive mewing again... and discovered that six of them were in one of our dustbins! Perhaps someone put them there to stop them running down the street. At that point I decided we needed to move them to our back garden where at least they would be safe from cars, and would not be able to follow people. However I couldn't find the seventh kitten.... I did wonder if one of the weaker ones had died, but then realised it was the largest and noisiest ginger kitten who was missing. I hope that means that someone decided to adopt him.

So I moved the remaining six to the back garden, and brought the neighbour's box for them as well as some more evaporated milk and a few crunchies, crumbled. Again one or two of them did lap a bit, so I hope they all manage it when necessary. I really don't know how much food a small kitten needs, but I'm quite sure they need to drink. Water doesn't seem to interest them at all.

It's all rather a dilemma, really. Cyprus is overrun with feral cats, and while they're generally encouraged since they eat lizards, snakes etc, some Cypriots kick them or even poison them (which is illegal, but it still happens). Cat protection societies neuter as many as they can, but inevitably there are far more than can be supported. In the wild, if a mother cat dies then the kittens do too... is it actually irresponsible to give them food?

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