In case you missed it, these three siblings have joined our family. Tonks the calico is my newest furbaby. Little black lady cat Winky was taken in by my sister, and since my sister lives with me, Winky lives with us as well. Tabby boy Flitwick owns my parents, and though he doesn't live with us, he visits often for play dates with his sisters.
Now, we mentioned on Sunday that there is a story to go with these little cuties, and we'll tell you that story now. Let's begin with this shocker that may or may not be worthy of The Jerry Springer Show: Tonks, Winky, and Flitwick are, believe it or not, the younger siblings of Thimble and her brothers Toby, Trapper, and Talon. Did you see that one coming?
Let's rewind. My grandmother found 3-week-old Thimble and her brothers in a bucket four years ago, after her neighbor had placed them there upon finding them under his patio. My grandma had previously caught glimpses of a cat who had clearly been nursing in the area around that time, but had not seen her in a while. So, it was assumed something had happened to her, and Thimble and her brothers were then adopted into our family.
Fast forward a few months, and the cat, Thimble and her brothers' mother, showed up again. After that, she showed up regularly. My grandma named her Big Foot. What's more, every few months, Big Foot would show up either pregnant or accompanied by her newest kitten(s). My grandma always fed Big Foot and her kittens and gave them shelter, but was never able to catch or trap Big Foot. She was the epitome of feral, and was smart and unwilling to cooperate to boot. In addition to this, my grandma lives in a very small town. In that tiny town, there is no animal control, there is no animal shelter, there are no rescue groups, and so there were certainly no groups to assist in TNR for a feral kitty like Big Foot.
So, Big Foot would show up pregnant or with kittens, and my grandma would put out food for them and give them shelter in the yard. That became the norm. As a side note, don't worry, though my grandma could not get her hands on Big Foot at that point in time, she was always able to get her hands on the kittens and find them homes when they were old enough. You'll see proof of this shortly.
Then, guess what? When Big Foot brought this newest litter of kittens around, this being the litter including Tonks, Winky, and Flitwick (and a fourth calico sister who was adopted by my grandma's nice neighbor lady), Big Foot finally proved to be more open to human intervention. Though my grandma could still not handle or really touch Big Foot, she was finally able to coax her and the kittens into a fenced-in enclosure in her yard.
Now, let's make the last part of this story short. When Tonks, Winky, Flitwick, and their other calico sister were old enough, my grandma managed to get Big Foot coaxed into a carrier with some food. She was then taken to the vet and is now, finally, spayed. Big Foot will no longer have to worry about raising kittens in the wild. She is still mostly feral, but she usually stays safe in my grandma's yard, and her last litter of kittens all have homes with us and my grandma's neighbor.
Want to see a recent picture of Big Foot, the mother of Thimble, Toby, Trapper, Talon, Tonks, Winky, and Flitwick? Here she is:
If I ever had any doubt that Big Foot is the mother to Thimble and her brothers, this negates it. Thimble may not look like her, but Toby looks incredibly similar to her, especially in the face. Talon also looks like his mom Big Foot.
How about this? Below are some shots of not only Toby and Talon, but all of the kittens that Big Foot brought to my grandmother's property over the past few years, and who have all found homes.
Toby, who owns my sister and lives with us, looks a lot like his mama cat Big Foot. To be honest, this is not the best shot of Toby to show off his similarities to his mama. If I can find a better one to show you all a side-by-side of look-alike Toby and his mama cat, I will certainly do so.
Talon, who owns my parents, looks like his mama cat as well.
Trapper, who also owns my parents, is one of the few tabbies Big Foot produced.
Thimble! This girl, the only girl in the litter also consisting of Toby, Talon, and Trapper, is another one of the very few known tabbies birthed by Big Foot.
This is Andi. She was found as a kitten by my grandmother. As far as we know, she is actually the oldest of Big Foot's offspring, as she appeared right around the same time my grandma first began sighting Big Foot roughly 5 years ago. Therefore, she is actually older than Thimble and her brothers. Andi lives indoors with my grandma.
This lady cat here is Little Feet. She arrived in my grandmother's yard as a kitten roughly 2 years ago, of course following Big Foot. This girl is still pretty much feral. She does not seem too fond of humans, at all, but my grandma was able to get her caught, and she now lives as a barn cat on the property of a family friend.
This is Cassidy. He appeared as a kitten alongside Pocahontas (see below) just over a year ago. Big Foot brought them to my grandmother's yard, and they stayed in that area for many months. When my grandmother finally got the kittens caught, Cassidy soon after displayed an extreme hatred for living indoors. He now happily lives in my grandmother's yard, with his mom Big Foot, where my grandma feeds and shelters him, and where he often follows her around.
Pocahontas (aka, Pokey), after being caught by my grandmother, proved to be a very shy yet docile and sweet kitty. She now lives with my twin uncles, indoors, just one town over from me.
And here is a group shot of Tonks, Winky, Flitwick, and their other calico sister. As far as we know, Tonks and her tricolor sister were the only calicoes ever born to Big Foot. Flitwick was her third and final tabby, that we know of.
While I am so grateful that Big Foot brought me my Thimble and now Tonks, and also brought Toby, Talon, Trapper, Winky, and Flitwick into my immediate family, I am equally glad that she finally allowed herself to be caught and spayed. She has been producing kittens in the wild for somewhere around 5 years. I can only imagine how taxing those years must have been for her. For years, attempts at catching her were unsuccessful. Now, though, she can live a happy life without the worries of motherhood.
So, there was the long-winded origin story of Tonks, Winky, and Flitwick. Did you make it this far? I sure can get pretty long-winded. My apologies.
Also, on another note, I am working on getting some newer photos of the kittens. Let's just say they are no better than Eddy when it comes to sitting still for the camera.
Happy Tuesday, friends!
Our Doodle of the Day:
Our newest series of doodles will involve the big kids around here expressing their thoughts on the arrival of the kittens. That being said, we are still in the very early introductory stages between the kittens and the older furbabies. Just one reason for this is that the kittens have been treated for coccidia, which is transferable by way of feces, the litter box, and all that jazz. No direct contact will be made until we are certain that the kittens are clear of this intestinal parasite.
So, for now, the kittens are secluded to their own area, but the big kids can see them, and they can see the big kids. For the furbabies in our household, this is working well. All of the big kids know that the babies are present in the house, and are now being given time to adjust to that fact. The older furbabies all have mixed reviews on the fact that kittens have invaded the home turf. Today, Evan and Toby thought they'd let you know their thoughts.
Our Tip of the Day:
Today's tip on bringing a new furbaby into the home is to have a safe area for them to spend their introductory days. Depending on your situation and living space, this can take on many forms. If you are bringing a social, calm cat into a home with no other animals, there is a chance that they might have free roam of the home right off the bat. However, in many cases, such as if they are nervous or if there are other animals in the home, it is far more wise and safe to give a new furbaby a particular safe area where they can go when first beginning their life at their new home. This safe area could be a bedroom, a bathroom, a spacious cage or similar setup in a safe and quiet room, or something else along these lines.
What's more, consider what this safe area should contain. It should of course have the new furbaby's food, water, litter box, toys, a bed or blanket, and other necessities and comforts. Especially when it comes to nervous or shy furbabies, it is also crucial to ensure that a new kitty or pup has an area where they can feel secure or even hidden. If their safe area does not include anywhere for them to feel secure and hidden, consider giving them some options, even simply by cutting holes in upside-down cardboard boxes.
All in all, you have to consider what a new furbaby is coming home to. Do you live with a large family? Are there other animals? Is the new cat or dog shy? Consider all of these factors, and then decide where and how to keep your new furbaby safe while they are first learning the ropes at their new home.