And Then There Were 7

Posted By on 3rd October 2020

Well, I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a strange year and history will no doubt file it in the ‘you couldn’t make it up’ category. This has been particularly true in Scotland for my sister and her husband, but in their case due to cats, not Covid.

Back in February they were living an idyllic, peaceful life in the Highlands, with their 2 dogs, Arran and Skye and 4 sheep, Millie, Hazel, Bluebell and Fiver, when into their lives walked Isla, a pregnant stray cat, thin as a lath, not much more than a kitten herself, scavaging food from the bird feeder.

She was very nervous at first, yet despite this she did start to call for regular, proper meals, but did not introduce her first litter to Janice and Graham until they were several weeks old, by which time sadly only 2 had survived. One was re-homed with a neighbour across the valley, and as we know the other, Harry Potter, has become a permanent fixture, along with his Mum, in Janice’s life.

Regular readers will also know that Isla fell pregnant again very quickly, thanks to a visiting tomcat and over the following weeks Janice and Graham invested in a ‘cat hotel’ for the garden, to provide shelter and also rigged out the shed in readiness for Isla’s second confinement and later, post-operative care, as both she and HP would be visiting the vet, at the first opportunity.

Then on Thursday August 13th Isla gave birth in the farmer’s yard across the road. So much for the 5-star shed accommodation and cat hotel!

She continued to call for regular meals, but being a diligent Mum, always returned to the kittens. The farmer provided regular kitten updates and thought there might be about half a dozen. Harry Potter having now had his visit to the vet, just grew!

On the afternoon of Friday 25th September Isla decided the time was right to introduce her new family to the wider world. It was quite a shock to suddenly find half a dozen lively kittens racing around the front garden. Harry Potter took one look at them and headed for the hills. Clearly Uncle Harry isn’t going to be much use for child care!

Keeping track of them all was tricky to say the least, and trying to do a ‘headcount’ nigh on impossible, and then the penny dropped, there were actually 7 of them!

Isla had brought them from the farmyard and they had taken up residence in the shed. Trying to photograph them all together was difficult but here are 5 of them with proud Mum, Isla.

They are mostly white with random markings which makes them difficult to identify as they don’t stay still for long, but the all tabby one you can see has been christened Merlin.

As time went on the kittens became more used to being ‘snapped’ and as a result, I can show you Mum and all 7 offspring.

However, one of the white kittens was much smaller than all the rest, the runt of the litter. He was easy to identify because he was so tiny and often got pushed out at mealtimes. They christened him Piglet.

Nights come cold in Scotland in late September, Piglet was not eating properly and appeared to be fading fast, some kind of intervention was needed.

Probably because of his weakened state he proved quite easy to catch

and they were able to give him his first proper meal, which he enjoyed immensely,

though he didn’t like the kitten milk they had got especially for him from the vet.

And so a new chapter has begun, Janice and Graham find themselves foster parents to 7 lively kittens.

And I’m pleased to report that Piglet is going from strength to strength, venturing outside

and joining in with his siblings. Here he is playing ‘Piglet in the Middle’ with them!.

Janice is living the dream. (My dream!)

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