The homecoming and the gender reveal….

Day 62

Drum roll…. the cats are back home and all are doing well! We picked them up at the veterinary practice at the end of the afternoon yesterday after a busy day. And we got our gender reveal… Wait for it… I was spot on with 5 of the 6 kittens… The only one that had me fooled was Cheetah. He is actually a she. So we have 3 males and 3 females. Long live equality! Cheetah is a little female! She is still the most scared one of the bunch, but once she feels confident, she is our champion climber…

Post script October 2: quelle surprise!

Yesterday, as I was playing with Sipke and Stipke, Sipke gave me a huge surprise. As this kitten was washing its belly on the window bench, something (!) became visible that made it very clear the Sipke is in fact not a girl, but a boy! Quelle surprise! We will stick with their names, because Stipke is named after the dots on her belly; one of the Dutch words (I was born and raised in the Netherlands) for spots is Stip. So we will stick to that but my jaw was on the ground when I saw what I saw. Now that I know I can see in Sipke’s face that the features are those of a beautiful Tom cat…

We heard that Mitsy gave the vet quite a hard time and they were not able to do a full check on her. They took care of the kittens first and saved mom for last. I was afraid that Mitsy would not take kindly to meeting the vet and had warned them about her semi-feral state, so they were well prepared and just did the essentials.

Which was vaccinate her, give her preventative flea treatment and look her over, like, literally, with their eyes. They think she is approximately 2 years old, healthy and in good condition. They might have even been able to ‘experience’ her teeth…. not sure about that! So she is still quite young. It might be that this is only her second litter, that we know of. No microchip was found, which confirms what we were thinking: she was either born outside or ‘got lost’ as an adolescent cat and then got pregnant a couple of times.

She is adjusting to domestic living like a champ and is receptive to our efforts to socialise her. At this stage though, she is mainly friendly with us, because she has learned to trust us. That trust does not extend yet to others. But that will come in due time. I am sure of it. We have come a long way since she came to live with us, not even 10 weeks ago. Only 3.5 weeks ago did she move into a real room and started to walk around in relative freedom. We sometimes forget how short of a time that actually is when you talk about socialisation. I have read stories about cats that take 5 years to even step into a house. So I am grateful and proud that my many efforts to put her at ease have been so successful so far. We are still looking at an open ending though, when it comes to her ultimate destination. We need to get to a point where we can pick her up, put her in a carrier, and do all of those types of things without risk of being bitten or attacked. We have not even tried to do those things, we are happy with the fact that she walks towards us to greet us, tail in the air, sometimes with a verbal “Hello”. We understand her when she hisses to express fear. She has never tried to harm us. So we are giving this cat some more months before deciding if she can stay with us or is better off in an inside colony with other cats. Some people tell us that after spaying cats relax even more than before, so that means we have to do one more critical trip to the rescue vet to get that done before we are on the final road to an ultimate outcome. We will never just chuck her out or dump her somewhere, that is for damn sure!

On the way back from the vet, Mitsy did not make a sound. The kittens on the other hands, had discovered their voices. We think we heard Pumba most of all, and little Sipke. Once they were back in the room and the door to the carrier was opened two of them decided however, that the carrier might be safer than wherever they were. I had to manually pick them up and put the in the room. It took maybe 10 minutes before they started to play again.

We brought Mitsy out last. I had my bitegloves on, just to make sure that she would not come out guns ‘ablazing’. But to my huge relief, she was not at all hissing or even mad at me. She stepped out after some encouraging words, moved to the bottom of our cat tree, belly low on the ground, and lay down. Panting. Which is what we have seen before: stress due to fear.

Five minutes later the whole lot was having a snack and all too soon returned to normal. We had expected them to be really tired, but no, no, they went sniffing around the room, taking in the small changes we had made and then were off to play. Mitsy just lay down on her side and took a nap…

This morning everything it was as if the vet visit had never happened and I cannot even describe how good that makes us feel! It is really fabulous and awe-inspiring to see that we have a healthy, resilient family of felines here. Some are more courageous than others, but all consider this room their home and that pleases us.

We will enjoy them all to the fullest the coming 3 weeks. They still have some growing up to do before they can be adopted and we are going to make the most of the time we have left with them. And see who is best paired with who so that they do not have to live in solitude.

We did not really think about the cameras when the family came home, but despite the two waterbottles obstructing the view a bit (they keep the crate door open and prevent the kittens from bumping into it at full speed during play), it does give a good impression on how calmly the homecoming happened. Isn’t it just the stuff of miracles!