While the past 10 days has been busy, in between we celebrated “Rescue Day” for our Musketeers, Midnight, Maxie and Tuxie, when they came inside from the cold.
Their story begins in Summer 2005, when they were born in late July. Miss Lady Grey, their mom cat, was a beautiful Russian Blue mix. Outside, on her own with three kittens, she carefully hid away her babies when she came to our front porch to have kitty crunchies and water. Miss Grey was rather aggressive when she came to eat, chasing off other visitors. And, she needed to be so. Three kittens required she consume more to maintain herself and her litter. It wasn’t until she brought over her 3-4 week old kittens when we realized why she was aggressive in her eating. From that point, we began to feed her much more. We knew it wouldn’t be long when Miss Grey would soon transition them to solid food.
Miss Grey with Maxie and Tuxie in the foreground and Midnight hiding behind mom
By the end of August 2005, her kittens were having their share of crunchies with mom. Like any feline mom, Miss Grey had her order. Maxie, her most-favored kitten. Tuxie, the number two. Midnight was the number three, and had to wait for her turn at the food bowl. There wasn’t much left when it came to Midnight’s turn. So, extra crunchies were brought out for her.
Unknown to this kitty family was a cruel twist of fate. Two days after Labor Day, Miss Grey was trapped by a neighbor and handed over to animal control. In our area, the shelter has a bad reputation for their kill level, especially with cats. I talked with the animal control officer, indicating to her Miss Grey had baby kittens. While the officer understood the situation, she couldn’t release Miss Grey. At most, she suggested that if I was able to capture the kittens, they could reunite them and move them into foster care. That was highly unlikely to happen. Miss Grey was stand-offish and her kittens weren’t trusting at all. It wasn’t until late that night, Maxie led Tuxie and Midnight to the front porch. They were hungry, but waited for darkness to find their way. The three babies ate quickly. As Tuxie and Midnight settled down to rest, Maxie kept watch hoping to see their mom cat.
the Musketeer kittens with their surrogate caretakers, a 6-month old tabby and black kittens
Within a day or two, two other kitten visitors from another cat’s litter decided to take the Musketeers under their wing. They taught them all the lessons they learned from their own mom cat. They taught them the essentials: hiding, playing, staying dry and warm, and hunting. The biggest essential they learned was that we were the safe harbor – food, water and protection.
By mid-November, the older tabby and black kitten had taken their leave. The Musketeers were on their own. The unusually warm fall season was ready to turn to winter just before Thanksgiving. It wasn’t until then, the Musketeers were ready to take the next step. Midnight stepped forward, making the connection while Tuxie and Maxie watched.
Maxie, Tuxie and Midnight, the Musketeer Kittens in November 2005
The first snow was deeper and colder than expected. It was decided the time had come for them to come inside, taking up their transitional residence in our enclosed patio. And, besides, Midnight would need to be spayed soon. The last thing we needed, or wanted, was a fresh batch of baby kittens the following spring. Each took their tentative steps walking into the patio. Midnight was the first, followed by Tuxie. Maxie was the last, ever so cautious.
In mid-December 2005, they began to settle into our home. First, in the patio. Then, the rest of the house weeks later. Dino and Egypt, they didn’t particularly care about the Musketeers gaining access into the rest of the house when that time came.
Then and now, we’re glad they found us and chose us to be their family.