One of my neighbors is fostering some tiny kittens whose feral mother seems to have disappeared. Her (adult) daughter found them and brought them home, and is supposed to be responsible for feeding them and taking care of them. I think her daughter is doing most of the heavy lifting, but my neighbor is filling in quite a bit. She texted me a few days ago, “Want to help me kitten-sit?”
I went over to hang out, pet them and help socialize them. There was an article in the New York Times science section several years ago which explained the types of cat personalities and said studies had shown cats are more socialized toward humans if you handle them when they are small kittens, less than 8 weeks old. So playing with and petting kittens is actually good pet parenting. It’s a great excuse, anyway!
Spending an hour with them reminded me how much fun they are–and how much work! I’ve always adopted adult cats because they have a harder time getting adopted, and because they already have their personalities and habits.
These three little kittens were tiny furballs in perpetual motion, then they would just conk out. The largest was a grey male with white paws, whose fur stuck out in all directions. The middle one was a pretty female, sort of tabby. The runt of the litter was a tiny female with muddy markings and a white stomach but a loud squeak of a meow and a purr bigger than anything a creature that small should be able to produce. She discovered she could climb up the front of the couch before I rescued her from an end table.
Kittens are like wild children, running until they are exhausted–wild children with claws, who can climb curtains and shred chairs! I was tempted by the runt, but I’m afraid my aggressive cat would not react well to a small, furry irritant.
Playing with them and petting them was good for them, but it was great for me. It’s impossible to think of anything unpleasant when a little fur lump has its head tucked under your chin, purring. I’ll come play again before they find homes, I hope.