Merry Christmas to all!!
Usual Disclaimer: What you are about to see contains images of cute fluffy kitties. It has nothing to do with appliqué, so be warned if you must. Welcome to the Fourth Annual Cavalcade of Kittens!
In the spring, the Mackenzie Finishing School for Felines opened its doors for the season. Dana and I had the joy and privilege of taking care of 24 little balls of fur for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter.
The kitties we take in are big enough to eat on their own, generally five to six weeks old, and we keep them until they’re at least eight weeks, two pounds, and in good body condition. It’s so much fun, and so rewarding to watch them grow from teensy little klutzes with short stubby legs to sturdy pre-teens who sprout legs and run thumping and banging around the house.
When Stormy came into the shelter as a stray kitten in a cardboard carrier, everyone knew about it! This tiny kid had a set of lungs on him! Two visitors who were there to look at kittens took a liking to his spirit right away. I was able to follow up with them throughout Stormy’s foster period, and they adopted him just as soon as he was ready.
Stormy, complete with ring-around-the nose from enthusiastic Fancy Feast eating.
His first trip up the stairs.
A little more grown up, and with a cleaner nose.
Max is very sensitive about his magnificent tail, but allowed Stormy to use it for a pillow.
Normally three at a time is our limit, but once in awhile it bears breaking the rules when there’s an irresistible batch of three that can come home to join the one that you’ve already got. (Plus the giant.)
Kiki, checking out the tomatoes and parsley with Max.
Stormy (left) and Nick (right).
Next we had a batch of three, one girl and two boys. They came from behind a tire shop so they were a little greasy. I had to give them baths with a drop of Dawn.
Trixie, enduring well.
All recovered and feeling clean and happy.
Baxter, the orange boy.
Moxie with his one gray toe.
Trixie thinks Baxter makes the best pillow.
That’s a lot of legs.
Our next batch of three were what we call “cow cats.” Three darling black and white kitties just home from the shelter. In the front are Pickles and Scooter Bug. Shy guy Blake holds up the rear.
I put on a bird video to see how they would like it.
After all that excitement, everyone was ready for a nap.
Blake was Pet of the Week at the shelter. What a handsome guy he grew into!
After that we had three torties. Now torties are sometimes known for having “tortietude,” but these three girls were sweet as sugar.
Genevieve, Georgie, and Gingersnap.
Dana called them the “pod kitties” because they moved as a group, whatever they did.
They inducted Max into their pod.
Georgie, with her little-old-man eyebrows.
Bootsie makes a good chin rest.
Gingersnap, the pastel tortie of the group.
Max gives Gingersnap a lesson in herbology.
Then came two of the funniest little cats we’ve ever had. Austin and Andrew were two orange medium-hair boys.
See that dove there that got knocked over? We didn’t do that.
Austin, on toy overload. They liked to sleep upside down.
These guys were on the shy side. In fact, they could be downright reclusive. They went to ground probably more than any other kitties we’ve had. After three years of doing this, I know all the hiding places, but I was still stumped! Finally we found them tucked away in a partially open drawer.
Did I mention that they liked to sleep upside down?
Then one day, we couldn’t find them, again! At last Dana heard rustling. They had gone behind that drawer, down to the drawer underneath, and were sleeping peacefully on Dana’s magazine archive.
Dana posted photos of them on Facebook, and a friend of his who was in the market for kittens fell in love with them. As soon as they were ready, they were adopted together into a loving family that dotes on them. They named them Thor and Loki.
Happy in their new home, still upside down, dreaming of soaring through the air with Thor’s hammer.
The next three that we had all came as singles, but overlapped one another.
Cindy Lou was a beyond-adorable torbie, that is, combination tortie and tabby. This little cutie had something strange going on in that she ate clay litter and licked concrete. She was transferred to a wonderful rescue organization who took on her issues, resolved them, and successfully adopted her out within a day of making her available. Thank you, AFRP!
Our next little guy was a brown tiger who charmed the entire staff at the shelter with his antics. I could hardly get to his kennel to take him home for all the people crowded around cooing over him! He certainly was a gem, full of personality and a joy to have around.
Jeffty in a patch of sunlight.
We do try to instill table manners in our kittens, but Jeffty considered any etiquette he had learned to be irrelevant where Gizdich Ranch pie was concerned.
Next came Jeremy, a little black fellow with a white locket on his throat. He was a bit nervous, totally people-friendly but not at all sure about “that other kitten.”
Within a day, affable Jeffty had won him over and they were BFF.
We named Jeffty after a famous short story by Harlan Ellison. I was at the shelter when he was adopted, and I could hardly believe it when the family not only recognized the name, but turned out to be personal friends of the author!
At that point, there were exactly two weeks before our U.K. trip, so I let the staff know that I had a short window. I didn’t even make it home that day before Dana took a call that some kittens had come back when another foster family had to go out of town, and needed two weeks! Lucky me!
Fuzz and Casanova.
Casanova so named because he was a lover boy, a champion snuggler.
After we got back from Scotland, I thought we were pretty much done for the season. However, winter kittens, though rare, are not unheard of, so I kept my radar up. Sure enough, I was able to pick up a brother and sister last week, so we’ve got kittens for Christmas!
Meet Sparrow and Squidge.
Some kittens just name themselves. Squidge, with his milk-chocolate rabbit fur, roly-poly shape, and short little legs, reminds me alternatively of a hedgehog, a dusty snowball, and a Cocoa Puff. Before I could even think of a good name, “Squidgy” came out of my mouth.
Sparrow is a self-assured little mighty mite with a big voice. She weighs in at just over a pound, but makes up for lack of size with heart and spunk as big as Texas. These guys are so fun, so easy, I feel like they’re a holiday gift.
All settled in, with little halos around their heads.
The very best to you and yours, including all your furry friends! I leave you with this final video showcasing Kitten Mixed Martial Arts.
Until next year,
By Kay Mackenzie