The world of kittens and the rescue mission

It all started with Zaeema. She’s a tabby kitten who resides in Kitzania. Being big and intelligent, I always failed to trap and neuter her. Well, my traps aren’t really sophisticated. I’d open a normal cat carrier and place a plate of food in it, before squatting quietly and patiently next to the open door. The trapped cats are then carried immediately to the vet.
Zaeema always found the whole thing insulting to her feline intelligence. She’d stare me in the eye while I squat and sweat in wait, before she moves away in total disbelief. Due to that, she got pregnant and decided to deliver in the neighbour’s house. Our neighbours are not cat lovers, so when I heard Zaeema meowing days later in distress — I knew that something was wrong with her kittens. I shot out of the house to investigate and found Zaeema placing her few days old kitten — literally drenched in water — under my mom’s car. I went back in again and got a box with a small blanket inside.
It was March and the weather was a bit chilly for the kittens to be sprayed with that capacious amount of water. As I went in to gather the rest of the kittens from their hiding place, Zaeema was following me on the wall — now panting in total distress. The old cleaner wasn’t really surprised to see me and — with the water hose still in his hand — said that he wasn’t sure about the number of kittens hidden in the garden.
There were two left so I took them out and my rescue mission was over. And then came Baraka (blessing in Arabic) who was found in our garden at the age of a week. She was placed with the litter of Siberia — who’d delivered three weeks earlier — and Siberia never minded. Baraka got weaned at the age of three weeks. I had to take her in and continue feeding her for another two weeks, as she was too small to eat. She wasn’t convinced by the idea of being weaned and decided to join the feeding litter of new cat mother!
One of the dramatic situations occurring here was that of a cat going through labour. Her mothering instincts kicked in too early and she started scruffing other kittens from the neck — including Baraka — to hide them under the old car (she confused them with her yet to be born litter). I had to grab the distressed kittens from her before she disappeared.
Another amazing story was that of one of the stray cats — that I later called Gubgub. She came in with a super swollen cheek. I had to trap and take her to the vet, who discovered that there was a crab leg stuck in her gum (hence the name of Gubgub that means crab in Gulf dialect). At that time, she had a litter of three weeks old kittens that I didn’t know of (they were hidden somewhere else). Zaeema — who had just weaned her own litter — adopted the kittens and fed them till their mother returned. The appearance of Zaeema’s new litter baffled me and when the kittens were reunited with their own mother, I was overwhelmed. As for Ayyash — the one-month old hypothermic kitten that I isolated in my room — he was the first kitten ever to fall inside the toilet (The definition of great escape going astray). I found him submerged in water — save his tiny head — meowing. He got worst before getting better and barely made it alive, hence the name I’d given him: the one who enjoys living.
(Rasha al Raisi is a certified skills trainer and the author of: The World According to Bahja. rashabooks@yahoo.com)