The time has come. I hate this. This is the part I didn't sign up for—causing the kittens and "Mom" to suffer. I only ever want to spend time loving and playing with little kittens and making sure their every need is tended to. Sadly, this includes being "cruel to be kind."
My office is on the floor below the foster cat room. I can hear the sharp cries of the kittens slice through the silence in the house. I am causing their cries. I don't know how long I can do this without caving in. I want what's best for them, but I also want them to be happy and fearless and never know suffering. Yes, I know it's foolish. They are so young, though. Their world is new. I don't want them to learn that every day isn't filled with love and carefree playtime.
At almost seven weeks, the kittens refuse to be weaned from their feral Mom. Since they were four weeks old, I've been offering them baby food mixed into regular canned (grain-free, of course!) cat food. They didn't care for it. Would even run away from the food filled dish, as though they were scared off by the smell.
I didn't know about KMR until last week, but once I was told about it, I've been offering that to the kittens, instead. Elmo began to lap up the thin gruel right away and looked so sweet with a tiny white beard of leftover food on his chin. He needed it the most, being the smallest kitten. A week later and he still picks at it, but doesn't really eat a lot of it. His brother and sister don't bother with it at all. Now I'm forced to separate them from Mom until they eat on their own.
Since I can't go more than a foot away from her, I can't easily separate Mom from her offspring. I think I'd lose a limb if I tried. My only other choice is to lock the kittens up in the same room, but in a big dog crate or move them into my large bathroom and completely separate them from their Mother. I chose the former to begin. At least they can see Mom and vice versa. She needs a break from nursing and those kittens have nice sharp TEETH now, so I can't imagine she really enjoys them feeding from her.
While I set up the dog crate with a fresh litter pan, the kittens immediately ran into the crate to explore the new box. I brought them fresh water, baby food and KMR and a few toys. Before they realized what was going on, I shut the door on them and locked it—all while Mom was growling at me, not even a few feet away. I find myself wishing there was a way to talk to her, to make this day easier on everyone.
I also found out that Mom's spay surgery has been scheduled for Tuesday. She has six more days to be with her children, then she will never see them again nor they, her. The clock is ticking along, too quickly, and with the kittens locked up, they'll have even less time with her.
A few days after Mom goes, the kittens will most likely be spayed/neutered, too. We do early spay, so we can adopt out kittens at about eight to nine weeks. They get adopted right away, as I was told there are adopters already waiting to meet my kittens. I won't have any say over who adopts them and I won't have much of a chance to say good-bye or to even see them after their surgery. I'd prefer to be with them on this part of their journey, since it will be difficult, but I know I have to let go sooner or later. I've never had kittens for as long as I've had these little ones and I feel more protective of them.
The clock is ticking on my time with them, too. I don't want the last days together be stresseful for them. I hope they take to eating their food soon. I want to let them out of that crate!