Friday, February 24, 2012

Peppermint and her kittens update!

The kittens are now eight months old! This has been such an experience, deciding to keep all four of the kittens. An experience that has taught me so much about the interactions of mother cats with their young. We read or see on tv or videos how the large cat mothers usually keep their young with them for a year or longer. Hunting for and teaching them all the things they will need to know to fend for themselves when grown. From this experience I have seen an amazing dynamic between domestic cats and their young, that many might not be aware of. It really reinforced my decision to not break up the family. It also reinforced my personal soapbox rant to please spay and neuter your animals. You might just think to yourself, well I will just give away the kittens. Easier said than done for one thing, and for another, a grave injustice to both the mother and the kittens. You see, their mother just doesn’t nurse them 6 weeks and is done with them. I have found quite the opposite to be true…


still nursing at three months old


another where at three months of age, mama Peppermint would still call to them to come nurse.

and now eight months old, still the occasional suckle


They hang out and sleep all together….



Mama Peppermint and Lilac (note the toy mouse. more about it in a moment)


they sleep with the other cats. This is big Earl and Little Earl (EJ for short). Not father and son, but enough alike in looks and temperment, you would think so!


Poor little Lilac got very ill from a scratch her brother Mugwort gave her while playing. She just hugged the heater vent and our full figured gal Wisteria moved right on the blanket with her, mothering her and adding her warmth. Lilac is all recovered now


her brother EJ comforted her too.



Earl Jr. took a toy kitten out of the toy box and moved it into this box to play with


remember I said keep an eye out for the mouse?


Peppermint packs this mouse with her everywhere! I mean constantly all over the house, from the basement to every other space, this mouse is thrown, tossed, and carried! She will deliberately put it in hard to reach places, like around chair legs and places, to make it harder to “hunt”. No wonder her kittens raid the toy box for soft toys that they pack around also! She is “hiding” it under the legs of this stool in this photo.


a pile of kittens, Dandelion and Hyacith


we get a hoot out of watching EJ watch tv. If we have on a nature show with other animals, he parks right in front and just is mesmerized!


So Comfrey Cottage increased its cat population by five last year. Nothing we set out to do, but finding and little Peppermint and deciding to keep her kittens also is a decision we will never regret. We love them. We were able to have them spayed and neutered from a wonderful program the Animal Protection League offered, which was hosted by our local Humane Society. The price was ridiculously low and the cats were well treated and cared for. Just a side note, Peppermint did not go into heat until the kittens were 7 months old. I suppose being able to nurse so long helped delay it, but again, female cats usually have two litters of kittens a year. Spay and neuter your animals, please! Financial help is available if you just will ask your local vet or animal shelter, there is often times very low cost programs and some vets around our town even offer a yearly lottery and the winners (usually over a dozen) get the service for free! My daughters work even had one lady take the initiative to put a can up asking for donations to help her vet her animal. I was delighted when I heard of it and eagerly made a contribution also. Lets all work together to help all animals to be wanted and have homes, it starts with taking responsibility. Ok, off my soapbox.



Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xxx


Anke said...

I bet there is never a dull moment at your house. ;-)

Rita M said...

They are all grown up to be beautiful kittens Leslie, I can imagine it was quite an experience to see them grow up :)

Pen at the Little Herb Farm said...

Such a lovely post!

Sherri B. said...

I so enjoyed this post, seeing mom and babies happy as peas in a pod. - As soon as our pets are old enough to even begin thinking of 'getting married' we send them to the spa (vets) for a day of pampering. xo

Cheryl said...

Well done and bravo for the advice.
We have so many unwanted cats and dogs in the UK. It is so sad, the animals have done nothing but follow their instinct, we as owners should always be responsible for the care and welfare of our pets.
My last three dogs were all rescue and although there were initially a lot of problems with them, with patience and a lot of tlc it worked out and I never regret having any of them.

Love seeing your furry friends.....beautiful to read about the relationship with Mum.
I am glad they have a good home, it warms my heart this Saturday morning :)

Whispering Earth said...

Oh Leslie, so wonderful to see them looking as big as Mum! It's so lovely that you kept them all together and their interactions are still so loving. They are all such beautiful cats. Peppermint and Lilac especially have quite captured my heart!
How many cats do you live with in total now? It must be quite a few, you are well outnumbered I imagine. :)
I completely agree with the importance of spaying and neutering, it always saddens me when people I know get their cats from breeders when there are so many beautiful cats in rescue centres just waiting for a home.
Congratulations on this wonderful family, they are testament to your care and compassion. You're a supterstar! xxx

Comfrey Cottages said...

There truly is never a dull moment here, Anke. Always some action! lol!! xx
Aren't they beautiful, Rita?! Just a wonderful experience! xxx
Pen, I am so happy for your life change I could burst!! xx
Awww Sherri, that is a lovely way to think of their vet trip! xxx good job you on being such a responsible pet owner!xx
Thank you Cheryl for your kind supportive words!Well done with your three rescue dogs! People make me so angry going to breeders to get their pets. There are so many shelter and street animals that deserve a loving home. It warms my heart this blustery morning to hear of your little fur family! xx
Thank you Lucinda! You are so right, there are so many animals needing homes, why or why would someone go to a breeder?! Grrrr.... I kind of hate telling how many cats I have, but only animal lovers will be reading this, and they will understand I am not some sort of crazy collector... I have 11 and yes, we are outnumbered!! We did have 7 which was plenty (all rescues from the streets, not even shelters, but ones that were strays or left by owners to fend for themselves). Since Peppermint and the kittens arrived we did a bit of juggling to make more room for everyone and insure each cat would have space to roam and have privacy if needed. We now leave our basement door open, arranged it to be cat friendly and put two litter boxes down there also.I won't pretend it is easy, it is not. It takes a lot of work and time to properly tend these kitties! But the joys, oh the joys of providing them their forever home outweighs any negative! lol! I know what you mean, little Peppermint and Lilac are very special. I am so glad Lilac will never have to endure the life her mommy did before I took her in! big hugs xxxx

Ms.Chief loves wigwams! said...

How wonderful, lovely cats & lovely carers. You're an angel :) What a gorgeous feline family. Yes, we are blessed & honoured to share such wonderful teachings from our feline friends. Your family of cats are beautiful & you're all so lucky to share such happiness together. They chose you/their protectors & sustainers well :)
We were lucky to be chosen by a pregnant feral a few years ago. I too watched in awe as she easily shared, mastered the skills of rearing of her young. So instinctive so methodical & step by step perfection. A fabulous insight into such amazing maternal knowledge. In fact she was sooooo devoted to her kittens we simply called her "M.C." .. an abbreviation for Mother Cat as her wholeness of being was all about nurturing, teaching, disciplining & loving. She just couldn't be called anything other than MC :) Still she is a wonderful Mum but more than that she is still a great teacher & student. She is still open to learning, adaption - survival. Its the feral instinct!! When our new pup arrived on the scene, she just adapted. Let the pup know who was boss but simultaneously still welcoming, sharing & caring about the 'family unit' she had. Keeping the comfort so to maintain the continuity of all her & the other cats lifestyle :) The cats & dog often share a bed :) Love is such a wonderful energy uniting us all as one. xXx Lovely lovely post & photographs

Moon Gazing Hare said...

Thank you for such a wonderful story and pictures, what a heart warming post x

Comfrey Cottages said...

Oh Paules, what a lovely story about MC! That is so wonderful. Yes indeed the wonderful energy of all your furbabies sleeping together is so beautiful! I am in awes of animals! xxx
Thank you Jackie! xxxx

Comfrey Cottages said...

Oh Paules, what a lovely story about MC! That is so wonderful. Yes indeed the wonderful energy of all your furbabies sleeping together is so beautiful! I am in awes of animals! xxx
Thank you Jackie! xxxx