Monday, December 17, 2007

An Act of Kindness

Today thousands of bloggers are posting about acts of kindness that they have performed and that's great! I heartily applaud the sentiment and although I've decided to join this event I'm not going to blog about my own act(s) of kindness as that would be totally cringe worthy for me. Instead I've opted to write about a wonderful act of kindness that I've witnessed at close quarters.

A few years ago my darling Russian Blue girl Pippa was pregnant for the first time and we were all very pleased about that. The pregnancy went well but unfortunately when the time came for the babies to be born things went rather down hill fast. Although Pippa had had contractions for hours, no babies came. In the end she had to have a Cesarean at the vet's.

I was there during the operation to assist the vet and noticed that he had a hard time anaesthetising Pippa and had to give her more and more before she finally went under. The op went smoothly and soon 2 Russian Blue babies were born, one boy, Delius, and one girl, Delia. After the op the vet gave Pippa something to revive her, the babies got a drop each too and home we went.

As soon as we got home I put the babies with their mum Pippa but they wanted to have nothing to do with her. Both Pippa and her babies felt cold to the touch so I made two hot water bottles and stoked up the central heating. I rubbed both babies vigorously with a towel to get their circulation going and did the same with Pippa. But all three of them still felt too cold and their reactions were sluggish which worried me a great deal. Especially Pippa had me worried as she seemed unable to shake off the effects of the anaesthetic. So I phoned the vet and he told me that I was doing the right thing in keeping her warm and rubbing her and that if things had not improved by the end of the afternoon I would have to take Pippa back to the vet's.

So there I was, getting very worried as I didn't want to lose my Pippa but I didn't want to lose the 2 babies either. I couldn't look after all of them at the same time and was starting to feel a bit desperate. What to do?
Three weeks earlier my Maine Coon Vita had given birth to a lovely litter of bouncing Maine Coon babies. The wonderful thing about my Vita is, that she is such an exceptionally good mother, she loves all kittens dearly. So I decided to put the newborn Ruskies with Vita even though her kittens were already 3 weeks old. Cat mums are very protective of their babies and anything out of the ordinary would be perceived as a threat by them. Many female cats, if (and that's a big if) they'll accept another kitten, will only accept kittens that are about the same age as their own, so I was a bit apprehensive when I put the 2 Ruskie babies with Vita; would she accept them?

As soon as Vita saw the babies she sniffed them and then she gave both of them a thorough wash which was what they needed. After the bath she encouraged them to drink with her, and after a few false starts, they succeeded in doing so. They had not wanted to drink with their mum Pippa, so I was very relieved to see them drinking with Vita at long last. Phewwy!!!

The 5 Maine Coon kiitens also accepted the 2 little grey intruders very kindly, which was wonderful to see.
Here you see some of the Maine Coon kittens drinking and the 2 Ruskies as well. Note the vast difference in size. The 2 babies were about 100 grams each at that time, whereas the Maine Coons were about 400 to 500 grams each. One little shove or push from a Coonie would have sent a little Ruskie flying. But no, they were very calmly accepted into the bosom of the family and it was very quickly and peacefully decided that they should all take their turn to drink at the milk bar. There were after all only 5 milk producing nipples but 7 kitty customers.

I was utterly amazed; usually kittens fight over who gets which nipple to drink from and they all want the best one. And believe me when I tell you that no prisoners are ever taken; it's a fight to the death, literally. Mother Nature can be very cruel.
I was so happy to see everything going so well with the 2 newborn kittens; Vita was looking after them properly and by doing so, gave me the opportunity to look after Pippa. In the end I decided to go to bed and take Pippa with me. She was still far too cold and very lethargic which worried me a great deal. But once we were under the covers her temperature started to rise and her responses became slowly more normal. After a few hours Pippa had fully regained consciousness, her body temperature had much improved and, after some encouragement from me, she had drank some lukewarm cat milk and was starting to feel better. I was so relieved, I can't tell you.

All in all it took Pippa 2 weeks to fully recover from the op and by that time it was much too late to introduce her to her babies and the other way round. So Pippa's babies remained with their foster mum Vita who took excellent care of them.
When the Coon babies were about 4 weeks old, they boldly went where no kitten had gone before and started to explore the world outside their nest box. Soon they discovered the couch and how the climb up it. Vita was keeping a watchful eye over her kittens as good mums do. But the two Ruskie babies were still in the nest box as they were only 1 week old and not ready yet to explore the world. But as soon as all 5 Maine Coon kittens were on the couch, Vita went back to the nest and gently took one of the Ruskie babies in her mouth and carried it to the couch. Then she went back for number two and she put that kitten also on the couch. After that she gently lay down and let the 2 babies drink while keeping an eye on her Coon babies' antics. I was utterly amazed by how intelligent Vita was in solving this problem
And mother nature was not lacking in intelligence either. Normally Russian Blue kittens start to explore the world when they're 3 weeks old as they are then able to walk properly. The 2 Ruskie babies managed to walk when they were a mere 2 weeks old, one week earlier than normal. To be together with kittens older than them, forced these two to develop more quickly than they would normally have done.

I was surprised from start to finish by the very gentle way the big Maine Coon kittens treated the little Ruskie babies. It was as if they realised that they had to treat the 2 babies much more gentle than they would treat their siblings.
And Vita continued to be an excellent mum for both her own kittens and the two adopted ones. I was amazed to see that she knew from the start that she had to treat the 2 younger kittens very differently from her own. Ordinarily as soon as the kittens are about 8 weeks old they have to initiate drinking, whereas before the mother cat would offer the opportunity to drink to her kittens. So when the Coon babies were 8 weeks old they had to ask for their milk but Vita would still freely offer it to both the Ruskie babies until they were 8 weeks old as well. My Vita is a very clever cat, no doubt about that.

The wonderful way in which Vita and her kittens adopted the 2 Russian Blue kittens was truly an act of kindness.
Little Delia and her brother Delius were pampered to the max, being surrounded by a loving foster mum and 4 gentle big sisters and one big, kind brother. It's no wonder that they both grew up to be very gentle and loving pets.

Little Delia stayed with me and she has a son herself now that also lives with me. His name is Merlijn (Merlin) and he and his mum are inseparable. Like his mum Delia, Merlin has a very loving disposition. Between you and me; he is a bit of a mummy's boy. ;-)
Vita and Delia are mother and daughter still in the way they behave towards each other. It's wonderful to see how Vita treats Delia as her baby girl from time to time. My dearest Vita, she is such a wonderful cat and she has clearly demonstrated that it's not only human beings that are capable of acts of kindness.
copyright 2007: Y.E.W. Heuzen

Hollies in the window
Home's where the wind blows
Can't walk for running
Christmas time's a comin'.
Emmylou Harris, Christmas Time's A-coming.


Beverly said...

What a lovely post. Thank you!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

This is such a wonderful story Yolanda. That Vita is an exceptional cat and so beautiful too.

I wouldn't like to write about my acts of kindness either. That is not what it is all about.

Frances, said...

How uplifting! Many thanks for starting my day with your wonderful post. We love your cats, especially Vita.

OldRoses said...

Lots of teary eyes here. Coonies are the best cats! Thanks for sharing your wonderful story and wonderful kitty.

Anonymous said...

Natuurlijk Yolanda, wat kunnen we anders verwachten van een poes die Vita heet :-)

Mijn Vita was van hetzelfde laken een pak.

Unknown said...

Wow, this made me all misty-eyed too, Yolanda. What wonderful creatures cats are--so knowing and wise and compassionate when they need to be. Vita is obviously a most remarkable girl, (well, aren't all of your purrfect family members remarkable?) Thanks for sharing this story...just what I needed to perk me up on a rather rude stormy Monday

sky said...

What an uplifting post! I needed this today. Thank you, Yolanda!

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Hi all and welcome to Bliss!

* Beverley: you're welcome!

* Lisa: yes, Vita is a very special cat and we agree; writing about something like that would be like blowing your own trumpet!

* Frances: glad you liked it so much! Purrrrrs from Vita!

* OldRoses: Vita is such a sweety, I feel very lucky that she came into my life. Yep, Coonies are the best! Purrrrrrrrs from Vita to your Coonies!

* Brimstone: LOL poesjes met die naam zijn erg bijzonder. Ga je nog eens over jouw Vita bloggen?

* Jodi: yes, each and every one is remarkable in his or her own way. And how Vita and her kittens behaved was precious and very special to me. Glad this post perked you up a bit. Are you feeling better? I know you've been under the weather lately.

* Sky: glad to share it with you all!

Andrea's Garden said...

Yolanda, I enjoyed reading your story. It made me want to reach out and cuddle your kitties when I saw those pictures. Great story and thank you for sharing it with us. Andrea

Shammickite said...

What a lovely story! I'm so glad Vita looked after the kittens so well, and that Pippa was able to recover without having the stress of feeding kittens. Did darius go to a good home? Does he still remember his mother Pippa and his step mother Vita?

CyberCelt said...

I am so glad everything worked out for all the kitties. Thanks for sharing this story with us.

Kylee Baumle said...

Oh Yolanda Elizabet, you know this story is right up my alley! Your Vita is special, all right. Our Simon is not of the friendly Maine Coon nature. He has his affectionate moments though.

This story is just wonderful and you've got such great photos as supporting cast.

Your Russian Blues look almost identical to our Jilly. Of course, we don't know her heritage, other than she looks identical to her mother and two of her other siblings. We know she's a bit different than the other cats, too, in he looks and her behavior and even her meow. She's very vocal and it's very high pitched. So many different sounds, too. She's a character, doing the funniest things!

I really love when you write stories of your kitties!!

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Hi all and welcome to Bliss!

* Andrea: glad you liked it and yes those kittycats are very cuddlesome. ;-)

* Ex-Shammickite: Delius went to a dear friend of mine and he's a very happy Ruskie, living with people and other Ruskies who all adore him. I don't think he remembers his mother or his forster mother anymore but perhaps his sister Delia would ring a bell as he was so very close to her.

* CyberCelt: welcome to Bliss! And glad you liked the story.

* Kylee: of course I knew this would be just the thing for you. ;-) Your Jilly looks very much like a Russian Blue, not only in looks but also in behaviour. Ruskies are very much focused on the people in their lives and most talk to us! On the whole Ruskies have very soft voices, mine all do.

Glad you liked it so much!

Lis vom Lindenhof said...

Das war jetzt zu viel englisch für mich zum lesen und so habe ich mich nur an den netten Fotos erfreut.

Anonymous said...

dit is een mooi kerstverhaal , dieren kunnen ontroeren en je boel zorgen geven , zeg !!
mooi verteld .....meestal zit ik vol van hondenverhalen , maar deze heeft mijn hartje gestolen ..klasse !!
alhoewel .....vogelstories ...ja daar weet ik er ook genoeg van hihihihihihihi ;))

Lilibet said...

What a lovely lady cat Vita is! I love you cat stories, Yolanda!

A wildlife gardener said...

I have enjoyed catching up with your recent posts, Yolanda...the plants still in bloom in your garden, beautiful orchids in your conservatory, your feast of goodies, from kumquats and oranges to scrumptious jars of marmalade, and the amazing lengths of peanuts all strung around the garden for the hungry birds...

BUT! The most recent post filled me with the most joy! I LOVED that story! What an amazing foster mum, Vita was, to nurture those litttle kittens and bring them up as her own. I feel humbled reading that story. Never let it be said that animals can't teach us humans a thing or two...

They enrich our lives so much. they never fail to bring a smile to my face :)

Sue Swift said...

Lovely story. Reminds me of when my cat had kittens. No problems at all, but I'd spent the previous days preparing "hidden" nests for her as I know cats like to hide away to give birth. And then at 3am I was woken up by mewing. To have her kittens she'd climbed up on the bed beside me. It was a one of the best moments of my life.
We then made a nest for them and they lived there happily till one day I came home to find the mother cat mewing frantically - and no kittens. My lovely German Shepherd, Tess, who loved babies of any sort, had stolen them and transferred them all to her basket. I felt so sorry for her as I moved them all back ...

Aiyana said...

I don't know a thing about cats, but I really enjoyed reading this post. Vita does seem like a special cat.

Garden Cats + Crafts said...

Liebe Yolanda,
ich muss mich hier leider Lis anschließen: So viel Englisch kann ich leider nicht in angemessener Zeit übersetzen. Die Fotos jedoch von den süßen Pelznasen sind ganz bezaubernd (wie immer).
Du fragest, ob Bonnie und Nicki auch von mir zu Weihnachten beschenkt werden. Natürlich. Sie bekommen zartes selbst gekochtes Geflügelfleisch. Für Leckerlis sind beide leider nicht zu haben. Ein paar neue Fellmäuse, an denen sie sich vielleicht mal erfreuen können und eine GROOOSSE Portion Extra-Streicheleinheiten sind aber ein MUSS und Bedürfnis an Weihnachten.
Ganz liebe Grüße an das ganze BLISS-Team und natürlich dessen Dosi Yolanda.

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

My heart is full and my eyes are moist as I read this wonderful account of your sweet and loving Vita. She is truly an example of how we, as humans, we need to be in our stewardship over each other and all of God's creatures. Thank you for the uplifting account on this very dreary and rainy December day. Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Betty said...

What a heart warming post....God's creatures have such heart, don't they?

We had a mother cat to give birth once and was unable to take care of her babies and another mother took them, nursed them and reared them....

Merry Christmas to you and those dear to you...Betty

Anonymous said...

Once again a lovely story about your cats. What a blessing Vita is to you & how sweet a mother to all of her kittens even adopted ones. Reminded me of my sweet Missy Anne who was always a great mother to her babies. Have a very Merry Christmas & I look forward to more sweet stories about your kitties & gardens in the new year.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Hi all and welcome to Bliss!

* Lis: I understand, it is a lot to read especially in a different language. Hope you liked the pics!

* Lenie: leuk Lenie, dat nu een katje je hart heeft gestolen. ;-)

* Julia: glad you enjoyed it!

* WG: they do enrich our lives so much and for those of us who want to, there is much to be learned from the other animals.

*Sue Swift: thanks for sharing your lovely cat story, I enjoyed it.

* Aiyana: we're never to old to learn. ;-)

* Birgit: don't worry, I understand. And thanks for answering my question, I'm very happy to read that both your Pelznasen will be very much spoiled on Christmas.

* Cindy: I knew you would appreciate this story!

*Betty: yes, there's a lot we can learn from them on that score. And a merry Christmas to you too, Betty!

* Vicki: Vita certainly is and stay tuned for more cat stories in the new year. A Merry Christmas to you too!

firefly said...

What a marvelous story, and what a lively time you must have had with seven kittens loose in the house!

I've read things about how barn cats cooperate to care for the collective batch of kittens -- "aunties" all helping to babysit and protect the young. Many things that my cats do contradict their "myth" as solitary and aloof too.

Beneath that furry exterior, and in spite of the claws, they're just little love machines!

Libbys Blog said...

Such a lovely true story. Thank you for sharing it with us!

Anonymous said...

Wat mooi!
Katten kunnen soms problemen zo "wijs" oplossen hè!
Leuke foto's van het hele spul,
zeker van die tuttebellen bij elkaar,
daar blijf ik een zwak voor houden,
dat innige!
Ik heb trouwens de Tuin&Co gekocht, die laat ik nog even liggen voor de feestdagen, dan ga ik jouw stuk een even lekker lezen.
Wens ik jou alvast fijne feestdagen!
groetjes, Marian

Tracy said...

Such a beautiful story--so inspiring! Thank you for sharing! Wishing you and all of yours--with & without fur ;o)--a wonderful holiday season and peace & many blessing in the New Year ((HUGS))

Karin said...

What an amazing story! Thank you so much for sharing your pictures and thoughts about cats. I enjoy reading and learn about your cats every time you write about them. Your Vita truly made an act of kindness.

I hope you'll have a merry christmas and a happy new (blogging) year!

Garden Cats + Crafts said...

Liebe Yolanda,
Dir und Deinen Lieben wünsche ich ein FROHES WEIHNACHTSFEST.
Liebe Grüße, Birgit

Anonymous said...

Hi Yolanda,

What a very nice story and what a lovely mother Vita is!
A cat to be proud of.
Merry Christmas an a happy New Year.



kate said...

Now I know why I was so drawn to Vita from the first time I saw her picture here. What an amazing story ... it makes me realise yet again how incredible cats are.

You have a wonderful family - each one special. I was so relieved to hear that Pippa was okay too.

I think this is one of the best random acts of kindness I have ever heard about ...

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season... and that you'll be posting again soon!

Ewa said...

Dear Yolanda Elizabet,
This post is so touchy - I read it twice actually starting Monday as first time.
I dropped by also to wish you Happy Christmas. I also would like to let you know, that I made Christmas meme and would be very happy if you could do yours during Christmas :)
Merry Christmas again!

TYRA Hallsénius Lindhe said...

Seasonal Greetings from Vaxholm. I wish you a Merry Christmas, l.o.l Tyra

Naturegirl said...

Beautiful story and photos that warmed my heart!Purzzzzzzzzzzzz NG

lisa said...

Great story!

Gattina said...

Gisela at Guildwoodgardens gave me your link because you are dutch and I just had spent Christmas together with my son in Amsterdam. The first thing which draw my attention was the cats in your sidebar and then scrolling down I found this post. It is such a cute story and I can understand that so well because I just took a little 6 weeks old kitten home which is now 7 months old and she too had two mothers. And a friend of mine had the same adventure as you with one of her cats. That gave me the idea to ask you to join my Cat group "Cats on Tuesday" It is a group of Bloggers who love cats but don't have a special blog for that (except me because of the group) so once a week they write about their cat or cats and we always have a lot of fun. This story would be very nice to read for them. You will find all explanations about my group on the top of my blog. My cat blog is called "My cats and funny stories".
Flowers, plants and gardens I only like to see but otherwise I have rather an uncolored thumb then a green one, lol !
BTW I don't live that far, I live in Brussels or more exactly Waterloo.

Rhondi said...

Hi. This is my first visit and I just had to tell you that your cats are adorable and I loved reading all about them. I am a cat lover too. Rhondi