First the story, then the pictures!
My father found her under the trampoline in their back yard, near the end of November. Actually he wouldn't have spotted her if it wasn't for one of my brother's cats, who had been sitting and staring intently at the grass where she was hidden. When my father investigated he found two little kittens, one alive and one dead and stiff. He brought the live one inside and tried to give her some milk, but she couldn't figure out how to lap; she was only three or four weeks old and was going to need four-hourly dropper feeding. Since I'm not working and I've looked after a few kittens before, my house was the best place for her to stay. I drove home with her on my knee and dug out the eyedropper.
My man loved her the moment he saw her. My cat Cliff (a privileged only cat, not yet two) was horrified at the sight of her and ran to hide under the bed. The little orphan spent the first few nights sleeping on top of a hot water bottle inside a shoebox, shut away in the bathroom to prevent unsupervised encounters, and Cliff growled and ran away whenever he heard her squeaking. In the daytime she mainly stayed close to me, and Cliff took to spending a lot of time away from home where the sight of the fluffy invader wouldn't assault his eyeballs, returning only at mealtimes. But eventually he became curious and approached her making friendly chirps, and once she stopped trying to make herself big and scary whenever she saw him they gradually became friends. (Cliff is pretty nervous, so a tiny scowling kitten with a bushy tail made him rather wary, and when she took a stiff-legged sideways step towards him he jumped back!) He did play a bit rough with her at first, pinning her down and biting until she squealed, but he learnt how to play nicely and now I'm not at all worried about leaving them unsupervised.
We don't know which of the many shifty-eyed stray cats in the area was the little girl's mother, or what happened to her; the mother wouldn't have been the sort to allow humans anywhere near her, but she didn't get the chance to pass that on to her kittens. She did give her surviving baby as good a start on life as was possible in the circumstances as well as passing down a stray's supreme adaptability. Nothing worries this little cat. On the second day she told me, "Enough of the dropper, I can do it myself," and a few hours later, "How about some of that meat stuff while you're at it?" I can tell she'll be very different to Cliff.
She went nameless for quite some time while I waited for the right name to strike me. My father said that she looked like a Borg with her half-and-half face, so the strongest contender was Annika, after Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager, but that never quite fitted her... I'd almost made up my mind that she'd have to be Annika rather than being called Little Squeak for the rest of her life, but the next day someone suggested Cilla and I liked that! I hadn't planned on having a naming theme, but Cilla does go well with Cliff too.
Now the pictures... these ones all from the early days. More recent ones to come, eventually.( Read more... )