Friday, April 17, 2009

Kitten Mortality

So far, in the first eight hours, we've had 25% kitten mortality: the litter started with four kittens, and we're already down to three. We're hoping it stabilizes here, but the odds aren't good; I don't know what the bigger statistics are, but we're closer to 60% with our feral colony, and that's only Natural Causes. If you factor in Unnatural Causes, like dog attacks, we've got to be closer to 90%. Case in point: Ghost and Tommy just had kittens a few days apart in the garage. Tommy's litter went from five to one in the first four days, and Ghost's went from five to two in the first three weeks; she would've lost another one, which got trapped in a basket in the garage, if I didn't notice and rescue the kitten with wire cutters. Tommy's last litter, early last summer, went from four to zero in under a minute; one of the stray dogs that lives in Brookside Park jumped our fence.

One of our lingering questions has been what to do with the deceased kittens. We've gotten more jaded as time's gone on. At this point, if the cat is old enough that we've named it, we'll bury it and plant something over it in the garden (Tosca's poppies started blooming last week). If it's too young or unknown to have a name yet, we just bag it and drop it in the trash....

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