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Three orphan kittens find foster parents
Calico kitten explores Ivan's designer tennis shoe.

Our neighbor, Laura, got a call from her husband recently while she was visiting us on the front porch. Allen had questions about kittens. After some leading questions "when do their eyes open?" and "how old are they before they can eat?" they surmised the kittens at the police station where Allen worked were around a month old.

Best they could figure, the mama was most likely the three legged stray that had been hanging out around the police station. Mama had been killed - hit by a car. A good Samaritan called the police to report there were babies. There they were and there they could not stay.

A deal was struck. She could foster the kittens but they could not keep them. Foster care only. With their first baby on the way and their own cats and dogs in their new home, three kittens were three too many.

Laura went and picked them up. Sure enough, they were unweaned babies that needed eye dropper feedings every two hours. Laura fed the babies regularly- all the while holding her cats and dogs at bay. Adult animals are not big fans of babies - especially babies not their own.

Feeding them is only part of the job. Kittens need to be socialized, petted and have their tummies rubbed so they can poop. Not pooping can be a death sentence - and one of the kittens, the runt, came close. But with her care and attention, the little lady is catching up with her siblings. She tires more easily and is smaller, but she's lively when she's awake.

Laura puts pictures of the two black and white kittens and one calico on her facebook page regularly. True to her word, she has not named them. Naming them is the first step to claiming them. As usual with stray kittens, there are two females and one male. They aren't ready to be split up yet - but soon will be free to a good home.

Ivan and I spent a goodly portion of Memorial Day imposing on our neighbors and playing with the kittens. They are at that perfect stage of megacuteness.

My stated reason for the visit was to get pictures of the kittens for our next children's book. The kitten in the story is of an age of the three little orphans. Taking my illustrator husband to see real live kittens in action would help make his drawings more accurate.

He's nailed the hound dog in the story (yes, No-Count Dog is back for another adventure), recalling his first and favorite dog, Brownie. But he has tended to make the kitten look more like our five year old Maine Coon than a five week old tabby.

There is much to be said for research and if we have neglected writing for the Journal to delve into the intricacies of cat physiology, well.. it's been all work.

And lots of play.

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