Seems like it was only yesterday 2019 got started and here we now are fast rocketing towards the middle of the year. European spring in Greece is now in full swing and kitten season has had an early start. A couple of weeks back and right in the midst of a busy personal time I was contacted by a local who reported some very young kittens abandoned. in a crate with a little bit of foam in the bottom on the harbour.
The short and sad story is that I went down and collected these precious little ones, only a few days old, eyes still closed and brought them home to care for them. This involved feeding every 2 - 3 hours around the clock, attention to pooping and weeing and keeping them toasty warm. I could not have managed this without the support of a dear friend who was visiting me for just over a week and assisted with the babies during the day while I did the night feeds. By the 6th day all 4 kittens had died despite our very best efforts to keep them going; just too sad.
Very young kittens, especially those under 4 weeks of age have an infinitesimally small chance of survival when they are separated from their mother. This sad situation prompted me to announce to my local community that care should be taken when coming across kittens that there is no mother in the picture. Mother cats will leave their babies in the nest and go off for food and toileting etc and come back regularly to feed them, warm them up and check on their welfare. If you find kittens in the wild or tucked away some place, just keep watch to see if there's a Mum that comes back before removing the bubs. Of course if you find a kitten in the dumpster like another friend did just a few days ago, like happens all to often here in Greece then that's a different thing.
A week after the kittens died, a friend in the neighbouring village called distressed to report that one of her cats that had a litter of 4 three week old kittens was hit and killed by a car. A went straight over with formula and a feeding bottle to get them started and gave my friend advice and support as well my sympathies for her deceased cat while seething inside that people insist on driving too fast down small, windy village roads. The village where she lives is a very dangerous place for the felines that live there as far as the traffic goes. This litter of four is a beautiful bunch, well cared for by their mum up until her sad demise and so far they are hanging in and our fingers are crossed. As I said before, it really is touch and go for little ones orphaned so young.
It is bad enough that cats fall prey to cars but what is undeniably evil and sadly prevalent here as the population explodes with new arrivals and the tourist season gets underway is the appalling practice of laying out baits for cats and dogs (in fact any creatures). It is an indescribably cruel and unpleasant way for an animal to die but something that does happen here all too often and yet another threat to the animals.
Another of the joys of Spring in Greece is the snakes which emerge when the sun comes out. About a week ago another friend's cat came home distressed and crying after playing outside during the day with a snake bite. As luck would have it this happened on a Sunday, however one of the local vets responded to the call for help and this lovely young cat who I have cat-sat was treated and is recovering well.
These events have prompted me to expand my knowledge and preparedness to respond to situations such as poisonings, bites and stings and care of orphaned kittens. I always have antibiotics, cortisone and eye drops on hand as well as kitten formula and a bottle (which I must replace since I gave them away!). As soon as I can manage it I need to get some first aid instruction on how to handle the bites and poisonings and buy some supplies to have in my animal care kit. Now my little 'Sanctuary' is quite known locally and I am tagged as the "Cat Lady" people regularly ask me for advice and help. I'm thinking I should look into an on line vet nursing course too at this rate!!! Once again the support I get through this site and my local community are invaluable in resourcing me to provide the help I do.
The four little kittens that didn't make it are now buried under my lemon tree and the rest of the gang are essentially going along fine with the odd wound, sniffle etc. and the twice daily feeding that goes on as ever at a current monthly cost of approximately 200 euros on average. In addition there are medications, vet costs and the additional laundry and cleaning that is needed.
Thanks again for all your support, til next time :-)