Jingles started off the 2020 kitten season with five healthy kittens born in the wall of another foster’s home.
Nobody knows Jingles’s story. I don’t even know where she was found or who found her. Whoever they were they got her to Foothills in the nick of time because a few hours after her rescue she got out of her carrier and found a crack in the foster’s laundry room wall. Jingles’s drama was only beginning. The last kitten was breech and got stuck. The foster had to help deliver the kitten.
Four days after their birth, the foster’s 13-year-old daughter went to pet the new family and Jingles’s swat left a bloody mark. Foothills called me and I took her home.
Now I’m used to pissed off mom cats and the first lesson is NEVER turn your back on a lactating queen. Jingles stayed in the carrier with her family for almost 5 days and there wasn’t much room. Kittens would nurse upside down because of no room. I finally poured her out of the carrier and into a tub turned sideways and outfitted with warm blankets. The family settled in. There was one complaint about the accommodations:
Newborn kittens are not easy. Foothills asks that fosters weigh kittens each day and record their progress. This is terrifically difficult when mom is all fangs & tits. It’s also difficult when the kittens are all the same color with no shade variations or markings. I had to get creative and fast. I found a green rubber spoon in the kitten and used it to scoop the babies out and weigh them. Each kitten was given a different number: Kitten 1, Kitten 2, Kitten 3, Kitten 4, Kitten 5. Right from the start, Kitten 3 became and issue. One or two ounces stretches into 10 of 15 ounces lighter than the others and soon you have a problem. Kitten 3 was that problem. After a few syringe feedings, Kitten 3 got the idea.
The family grew and Jingles didn’t thaw. She kept her distance and the kittens got rambunctious and independent. Kitten 3 began to gain weight.
Jingles always kept her distance but a month into her foster she would let me take a picture.
None of these behaviors bode well for a foster cat. Shelters need to allocate their resources towards animals that WANT to be indoors, living with the people who adopted them. Jingles enjoyed the food and space but …
The family went back to FAS and all the kittens found homes right away. Nobody wanted Jingles.
After some debate the staff decided to put Jingles in the working cat program. This is both good and bad. Working cats live in barns and out buildings and work to keep the rodent population in check.
My daughter regularly adopted working cats for their property in Niwot. The cats were kept outdoors in an enclosure to acclimate and get used to the people feeding them. After a few weeks they’re allowed out to investigate their new territory of barns, fields, streams and freedom. Most of the eight cats they adopted headed for somewhere else. Only one stayed around and showed up for regular feedings. Peyton was easy to spot in the field, she was black and white. For a few months she hung out.
Until the day my daughter found her.
Along with the freedom comes the danger of foxes, coyotes and eagles.
Jingles went to a farm in Longmont and I hope it was to a warm barn with plenty of warmth, food and a place to hide and no predators.