Saving Dinky and Her Donuts

It all started last August with 1 appointment, my first real ‘after lockdown’ venture to just outside Birmingham. While waiting in my car, my ‘rescuer’s eye caught sight of a cat box sitting outside a closed animal donation shop, and my rescuer instincts knew not to just assume it was an empty box. Of course, I looked inside and there was Dinky with at least 2 tinies also visible! The rest for me was a no-brainer. The box went into my car and straight home with me after my appointment, and the, as it turned out 5, donuts and their lovely mother have never left.

At first we did try the sensible approach; I  contacted a small local rescue who kindly offered help, and even to take them immediately, BUT Chris and I knew we had the experience and what we needed to give them initial shelter. Later we realised that, as this rescue already had many other cats looking for homes, and our home was set up well for our 7 remaining cats, there was no rush at all to hand this little family over. Within 2 weeks all 6 had names, and within 4 weeks they had moved from our cosy laundry shed into our office in the house, and were starting to meet our cats and dogs! The rest as they say is history. Because we could and because we wanted to, Chris and I decided these 5 kids would grow up together with their lovely mother, who had already shown she was very sociable to our other cats.

This has been one of the most rewarding and fascinating experiences of all our work with rescue animals. Never before have we been able to watch 5 tiny animals with exactly the same start and experiences of life, grow into 5 beautiful cats with their own unique features and personalities. Our home is all they have ever know as they were literally 1 day old when I found them.

We have been able to watch how amazing the mother / kitten bond is and how well Dinky fed and looked after them all. Having bottle fed tiny babies before I know what hard work and what a worry this is, but with the quite brilliant mother doing her job, all we really had to do was FEED her the best food and this we did with good quality dry food, AND to provide variety, everything from baby wet food to fresh chicken, fish and even fillet steak. Dinky ate everything we offered her and through all the feeding even managed to gain a little weight.

The other thing I learned is how the ‘natural’ weaning process works. It is NOT ‘when the kittens can eat for themselves’, which is often imposed on animals by we humans. It is a much more gentle progression for mother and kids. The Donuts were still suckling at 4 months with Dinky slowly making herself less available to them so that her milk very gradually reduced to nothing, and even after this we would often see the whole family snuggled close together in the office where they first slept in our home together. Slowly they started to move around the whole house and sleep more independently and among our other cats, but the family bond remains strong even at 1 year now, particularly between Dinky and her 2 girls. This is lovely to see.

Many people will think we are crazy to want to do this, but Chris and I love that we have been able to, and that we have given this little family the chance to live together always. In return we have a new generation of beautiful cats to love and care for and I continue to believe in fate, and to be SO grateful that I was there in the right place and at the right time to save them!

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