Mallory Echols

After a week of feeling all the emotions, I’m up early this Monday morning feeling thankful and motivated.

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Last Sunday, the kittens pictured above disappeared without a trace. There was no sign of struggle and no real explanation as to where they had gone. I had been watching the mama cat all through her pregnancy, but she was very skittish and never let either of us touch her before she was heavily pregnant. As soon as I knew she was pregnant, I prepared a safe and warm place for her to give birth and raise the babies, hoping to be able to socialize the kittens and sterilize them ASAP. Needless to say, I had grown pretty fond of them and was devastated to discover they were gone.

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Camomila (center) grooming herself in the sun with the other kitties, Ticri and Toto
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Camomila 2 days before giving birth. This was taken the day she let me touch her for the first time EVER!
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Mama kitty, Camomila, nesting in her box. I added an old sweater for warmth and comfort.

These kittens disappeared on Sunday, then on Wednesday night, another cat who hangs around the house and won’t allow anyone to touch her went into labor. I missed the arrival of the first kitten, but I went to sit with her for the following 3. She went into labor out in the open on the balcony. It was a chilly night, so I brought her some towels, which she seemed to appreciate. Then I offered her some milk, and she drank it greedily. I maintained my distance because I didn’t want to upset her. After the 3rd kitten emerged, she started purring, so I thought I’d get near and try to pet her, and she let me!!!! So then I moved the towels closer around her to keep her warm.

By around 3am, she had finished giving birth to all 4 kittens. She war purring, and the kittens were nursing, so I went to bed. But the next morning around 8am, she had left the kittens. They were cold and crying. So I tried to save them, but all 4 had died by Friday night. It was absolutely devastating. I had gone from the high of being witness to their arrival into the world to the low of seeing them depart.

So on Saturday afternoon, my feeble heart was overwhelmed with joy to see the beloved kittens born in April return! But not only that, the other mama let me pet her again!

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Camomila is still nursing the kittens, so I suspect she took them away to make room for the other cat’s kittens.

So on this lovely Monday morning, I am thankful and motivated. Both mama kitties have now let me touch them, and they will be sterilized on Saturday. Then, as soon as the kittens are able, I will sterilize them too!

During the abandoned kitten fiasco, I contacted an organization that I found on Facebook called AnimalSicilia (https://www.facebook.com/Animalsicilia/). Gabriella, the woman who runs the group, offered me advice and support, even while going through a medical emergency. One of the resources she directed me to was this website (http://www.catsnip.org.uk/) dedicated to protecting feral cats in Sicily. I definitely want to invest more time into helping all the cats on the island be sterilized.

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