There were a few days during the first week when I thought “I can’t do this” but nearly three weeks in and Callie and I have settled in a comfortable routine. I’ve learnt a lot over these past days and made mistakes, but in many ways, it has been an extreme privilege. It has been 17 years since I last had a kitten in my house – there’ve been a couple of dozen or more kittens born in my home over my lifetime but they were always en-masse, surrounded by siblings, cared for by an attentive mother.
Hand rearing a kitten allows you to witness the hourly changes, the slowly unfurling character and first fumbling attempts at play!
Less than three weeks ago, Callie was a mewling scrap of milk and pooh. Now she is a feisty little personality, learning every minute of every day – using a litter tray, grooming herself, eating solids and lapping from a bowl, fully weaned. She now spends her entire waking life exploring – at ground level at the moment but she has her eyes on the prize. Gaining in independence, she often removes herself to her basket to sleep rather than demanding to be held in the crook of my arm.
Callie came into my life by chance nearly three weeks ago. I was enjoying a drink at Zorro’s when a holiday maker ran into the Plaza Del Guzman el Bueno with a squealing runt of a kitten in her outstretched hands. No-one wanted to take responsibility but the police took it in. Concerned for its future, I offered to foster the kitten. If the tourist had left the kitten where she found it, would its mother have reclaimed it? Who knows, but more similarly aged kittens have been found abandoned in the proximity so the theory is that someone could be dumping an unwanted litter around the village.
Initially I thought her to be about two weeks old but I revised that when I saw how quickly she began to eat solids, use a litter tray and try grooming herself and now estimate that she was probably at least 3 weeks old when she came to me, and is therefore around 5 to 6 weeks old now.
When I wake in the morning and make my first trip to the bathroom, she is always sitting outside waiting for me when I have finished. She enjoys exploring our secure patio and is already eyeing up the trellis – another couple of weeks and she’ll be scaling those heights with no problem.
Callie’s first encounter with a broom saw her take cover up the back of the fridge but it won’t be long before she is chasing said broom in time honoured kitten tradition.
Callie is going to make someone a fabulous cat. I admit to being biased but she is lively and intelligent, incredibly affectionate and obedient yet fiercely independent! Callie was so named due to her striking orange, black and white Calico markings. Interestingly the name Callie has a number of origins in history – the Hindu god Kali is the destroyer of evil; in African culture, Callie means lively and energetic, whilst in Greek mythology Cali is the fairest, the most beautiful of all.
I couldn’t have done this without friends who provided food and cat litter and helped me keep on top of the kitten-related laundry. I am also very grateful to the newly formed ADECA who have helped with advice, kitten milk, a flea comb and most importantly, publicity to help find Callie a permanent and loving home.
The answer to these unwanted litters is simple – castration for the Toms and spaying for the Queens – but this faces some local opposition. Although not yet fully operational and in need of funding, ADECA can support the cost of this simple procedure for families in need.
If you know of anyone who can give Callie a permanent home (or even a temporary foster home) please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.