Today was a busy day. Right after breakfast I decide to start setting up the second crate. I am pretty nervous about this whole operation. One hiss can set me back and push me into hopelessness, while a responding blink by Mitsy and an easy food/litter refresh pushes me right back into gratitude and positivity!
So, I start this morning with getting my paint materials out of the way, because the new crate will be on one of the art tables. I push the table up to Basecamp and then ask Wim to lift up the crate. Thank God he is strong, because this crate, although advertised as ‘easy relocate with folding sides’ is heavy as hell in my humble opinion! I could not have done that easily myself, if at all. I am happy we can have both crates off the floor because our basement is unfinished and not exactly free of dust and drafts. Once the crate is on the table, I start preparing it and all of this under the watchful eyes of Mitsy. She stays in the Nest during the entire operation, looking at me but there are no hisses or other signs of irritation. I think I might be a welcome source of distraction. Cat Comedy…
First order of business: remove the door on the short end. It made a lot of noise and I kept an eye on Mitsy but she was comfortably lounging in front of the carrier, following everything I did, but not upset. I nevertheless worried a bit so instead of talking to myself in a low voice, I started to sing an old Dutch nursery rhyme. More to calm myself down and cover the noise than because I am used to singing. And I’ll be damned: she likes it when I sing! Her eyes close, she puts her head down and sleeps, despite my comings and goings! This is great!
Now I can start with the ‘decor’ on the inside. I start with what is the most work: put pieces of cardboard from our ample stock of carton housemoving boxes on the lower end of the crate, so no kittens can ever run the risk of falling through.
I also cover the ‘ceiling’ (on the outside) with carton because we have noticed that MItsy is a ground-dweller rather than a cat that climbs on top of things. She likes to sit under stuff. So the ceiling is better off being closed. Next, I have one more feeding dish left in a holder that can be fastened to the crate, so I put that in the door we plan to use for refreshing. The others will be in the door of basecamp and we can unscrew them right after fastening the crates to each other and relocate them.
I am pretty tired after all this work. Been singing the whole time, and blinking to Mitsy who remained in place the whole time and blinked back regularly. I wonder what she is thinking!
I have discovered that when our AC is on, the temp in the basement is lowered by 3 degrees. This makes Mitsy take the kittens into the carrier. This is good to know because in this way we can do better planning for refreshing her litter and dishes. I had spilled some food in the early days, when my routine was still developing. So I wanted to clean that desperately.
I have wonderful non-chemical wet tissues that will sanitise and clean. So, when she was in the Nest, I opened the side door calmly, then used the tissues to pick up the spills. Then took some fresh puppy pads, folded them and placed them under all 3 food dishes. So future spills will fall on that. The trick so that I could do this on my own, was to use the front door of the crate, the door the dishes are attached to. This was new to Mitsy and I could see she was puzzled. But it went like a charm! Much better than using the sidedoor!
Did not save too much footage from today although I did isolate one part where one of the stragglers, I think the big black kitten Pumba, gets brought back in my mom around 9:45pm after shouting, no, whistling loudly when he got out of the nest and did not know where Mitsy was… Mom is becoming more and more confident with them. I remember her moving a kitten right in the beginning and it was with much more hesitation.
When I see how the kittens develop, I wonder how long she was able to hold on to them in previous litters. I just cannot even imagine what her life must have been like, assuming she always had her litters in the ‘great outdoors’. She had to look for food, scavenge and hunt, make sure to poop and pee far away from the shelter, lest no other critters would know she was nesting in the area, sneak in and out without people noticing it. Be on her guard continuously, come rain or snow. Keep the kittens contained despite the fact that they do sort of swim around… And the heat. Lets not forget that cats are not big fans of heat. And on top of all that she had to feed them every 2 hours, certainly in the first week. Wow. Not sure I would be able to do that!