On the afternoon of 22 June our Welfare Officer, Gill Heath, received a call from our Catline about six kittens that needed immediate help. They had only been born two days previously but their mother had died that morning. Immediately, Gill rang someone who has hand-reared kittens for us in the past and she agreed to help but couldn’t start until the evening of the next day as she was going to be out of Derby. Gill asked a vet we use a lot for help and was told to bring the kittens to them because they would give them kitten formula milk that day and a young vet nurse would take them home that night. This was an impressive thing to offer because to feed six kittens of such a young age is no mean task. They need feeding every two hours, but the process of feeding them takes half an hour which means that the feeder gets very little rest in between.
Having secured the kittens immediate future, Gill dashed out to the owner’s house, not knowing what she would find because we had only had contact with a support worker, who had given us the address. Would some, or all, of the kittens have died? Would she be ringing the hand-rearer, thanking her for her offer of help, but saying it was no longer required? To her great relief, the kittens were all still alive and, wrapped in an old T-shirt, were cradled in the arms of the man of the house. This was a good precaution to take because kittens of that age need warmth almost as much as food - when they are cold, they cannot be fed.
Leaving the kittens at the vets, she still had more to do because the hand-rearer would not return to Derby until late evening and the vet she had taken the kittens to closed at 7 pm. Another vet practice in the hand-rearer's area was open till 10 pm and said they could give the kittens two feeds until they were picked up by the hand-rearer.
Gill had been warned that it was likely not all the kittens would last the night but was told the next morning that they had all survived - in fact, had been quite greedy in taking their feeds! Now that it seemed they might have a longer-term future, the kittens were sexed and weighed. There were three males and three females, three tabby and white, one black and white, one tortoiseshell and white and one ginger and white. Three weighed 0.1kg, two weighed 0.09kg and one weighed 0.08kg. At 4.30 pm that day, after the kittens' feed at 4 pm, another volunteer and Gill drove in rush hour traffic to the other vet, arriving 25 minutes before their next feed.
All the kittens are now doing very well and should be ready for homing by the middle of August. Anyone interested should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
round about then.