Abandoned kittens in London rescued! A tale of two kitties
Finding the black kitten
I was strolling along Bedford Row in Holborn, London between my work place and the lunch I was intending to buy, when I heard a mewling from a pile of
I thought it was a rat, and the rubbish wobbled a bit, but it sounded cat-scared-like, rather than ratty.
So I found the right bin-bag, and untied it (extremely cautiously) to find it empty apart from a dead (definitely dead) kitten, and a live black kitten, howling quietly with distress.
I took it home to my flat, which isn't far away, and discovered it was seriously dehydrated but wouldn't lap, so I dipped a sock in water and it sucked that.
I was worried about his health, and so looked up local vets in the yellow pages, in those far-off days when the internet wasn't automatically used...
Rescue kittens need to see a vet!
I took it the vet, who said it was a boy-kitten, approximately 8 weeks old, and in good health. He wormed it and got rid of some ear mites.
Taking him to the vet was fun, because I didn't have a cat
basket. I had to fence him in at the back, and hope he didn't escape!
The odd thing was that the vet was pretty sure that until the previous 24-48 hours he was well looked after, and after taking him back home that seemed even more likely.
He developed properly, he was not
malnourished, he had no obvious signs of worms or any other parasites,
and no obvious fleas.
Back in my flat, he ate and lapped kitten milk quite happily, maybe he had been just shocked earlier (being tied up in a black bin bag with a dead sibling would be quite a nasty experience!) And he used a litter tray with no need for training or encouraging him to do so.
He seemed bright and curious, and he liked people - he purred when he was stroked, and climbed all over people to check them out.
He was not actually a black kitten either - when we washed him at the vet's,
he turned out to be a white kitten all over apart from a tabby-black tail
and a small black splodge between his ears; he's the whitest cat I'd
It seems that he was socialised, so must have spent his early weeks being nicely looked after by people - yet suddenly he is tied in a sack with his sibling and left to die.
I wonder what tale of human heartache might lie behind Elijah's brush with death?
The second kitten
We decided, as far as Elijah was concerned, to keep him for the moment.
The vet said almost all cats
can and are happy kept indoors, but if Elijah turned out not to be
one of them, he would go to my sisters in Kent, where he could come
I registered Elijah as found with the police and RSPCA on the off-chance that he was lost, not dumped.
There seemed a slight
chance of that, because he was in generally good health and liked
people so much.
I got a call at the weekend, which I returned
in trepidation <FX "MINE! GERROF!> However, no-one had
claimed him, but rather another kitten had been found on Bedford Row.
The new kitten came to us too. Very similar to Elijah in colouring, he was white, almost all over, with a grey stripy bit between his ears, and a white tail. Elijah was very white too, with the black tail, black ear spot, and two 5p-sized black bits on two of his legs.
We called him “Yossie”, to match the old-Testament name of Elijah.
Checking out Yossie
The vet opined that it was very likely
Yossie's grey stripe will grow out, and he will be pure white,
which makes his dumping odder. Apparently, pure white or almost
so kittens are quite valuable, even if not pedigree.
And, he says, someone chopped Yossie's whiskers off, they have scissor marks on them. I just thought they were stubby (about 1/2 inch long).There are some cruel people out there!
Introducing the kittens to each other
After 10 days apart, they had forgotten each other.
It wasn't love at first sight, sadly.
I put the closed box near Elijah, so that he could smell it, but he didn't appear interested.
Eventually, we opened it, and my flatmate held Elijah and I held Yossie, and we wandered around the living room, gradually passing a bit closer.
Suddenly, Elijah seemed to twig - his body
turned instantly to steel, and he started the deep throated growl. We
held them nearer, they sniffed noses, then Elijah spat.
So we separated them for a bit, and tried again later, and Yossie shrank into a corner with Elijah smelling him, growling, and with the occasional hissy-spit. Then Elijah swiped at his nose, so I separated them again.
They managed to get on better over the next week, and then we lost both of them for the first time.
We called Elijah, and he woke up and came out, and looking under the sofa there was another smaller white ball curled up there!
Life as house cats
We decided to keep them both.
My family had had cats as a child, but they'd always been free to come and go as they please, via the cat-flap set in the back door. I'd always thought previously that it was cruel to keep cats indoors, that they needed to go out.
The vet said it was fine to try, and we did. I decided to keep them, and my other half eventually agreed.
One of my friends said that having gone from no cats and no intention of having one to having two in just 3 weeks, I'd better watch out I didn't start having children....
And 5 months later, I was pregnant with my now three year old son.
The cat cubs were inseparable. Where one was, the other was. Elijah was definitely the boss cat, and led the way, washing Yossie when he thought hygenie standards were slipping.
When we stayed with my parents in Kent, we took the cubs, and they did wander outside there.
Elijah always thought that the outside was over-rated, and rarely poked his nose out of the door. Yossie did a little more often, but was always happy to return to the flat.
They adapted well to the birth of Isaac - in fact, they seemed to enjoy it, because it meant there were more people in the flat, more often.
As he started sitting and crawling and walking, Isaac adored them. They were a little less keen to have their tails pulled - Elijah kept his distance, and Yossie just ignored it.
We went down to my parents' house in Kent for Easter, when the cubs were about three years old. Both were fine in the flat, but when we arrived in mid-Kent 90 minutes later, Elijah was having trouble breathing.
We took him to a vet, and he was diagnosed with sudden heart failure, and he died 2 days later.
After Elijah died, Yossie was distraught. After a week or two, we decided that he should go and live with my parents, who had, at the time, a tortoise shell cat and a border collie.
He settled in there, got on well with Little Cat, and taught Polly who was boss. He's still there now, nearly 2 years later, and has taught my parents' new collie puppy his place as well.
Yossie has turned into a Mighty Hunter. My father calls him "Poll Puss" and "Chairman Miao" because of the vast quantities of rodents he catches - including rabbits and the odd squirrel.
They both had a pretty rough start in life, but being rescued wasn't all bad!