We've only just gotten through trying to settle teensy Twinkle in his new surroundings (surrounded by cats much bigger than him - and he is doing great in the company of his big brothers) before this (above) complete and utter heartbreaker cried its way into our lives just a few days ago.
Sunday morning whilst doing some gardening I suddenly heard a very loud and penetrating kitten cry from what sounded like our neighbors huge water tank (yes, oh horror!). As the neighbor hasn't actually moved in yet I instantly ran across to check where the sound came from. When I got there the sound had stopped and since I probably honestly didn't want the sound to come from the water tank I walked back. Only to hear the same sound about 45 minuttes later - and there really wasn't any doubt about where it came from. This time I insisted my husband came to help out with finding a ladder that was tall enough to go the whole way down the water tank. This time when we called out there was a desperate cry back. We had no idea how deep the water was but as we lowered the ladder we figured that the water "luckily" was only about ankle deep. My dear better half instantly climbed down the ladder and soon found this tiny kitten (about 9-10 weeks old) paddling around the water. Acting swiftly he grabbed the kitten, made his way up the ladder and suddenly cried out in pain... the panicked-senseless kitten had done what it knew best - to bite hard! He quickly handed me the kitten and same thing happened! It bit me hard (blood streaming) so I instinctively had to let it go. From the day long drama that then ensued I couldn't believe I'd made such a (as Monica from Friends would say) rookie mistake. Why on earth didn't I think to bring a transport box to place the kitten in??? Anyhow... the terrified kitten ran straight into a nearby waterpipe leading straight into the water tank where it had just been rescued from! And then it just sat there again hiding... and crying and crying and crying. It appeared to be a feral kitten not at all interested in human contact. After a long while we decided to just leave some food and come back later. I have to say I felt kind of desperate because even if it found it's way out I didn't think it would stand a chance on it's own. I've never heard of kittens that small roaming around.
Well, we came back a few hours later and found it had indeed eaten a bit of food and seemingly backed into the pipe again. The food had only been eaten from one side! And sure enough we heard it's cry again when we came back. Only this time it had made it's way up into another pipe (yes, can you imagine the agony!?) and it kept poking it's little head out only to retreat at the speed of lightning. It seemed that no way were we gonna catch it. Feeling somewhat defeated and rather desperate we went back to our house. I SO badly wanted to figure a way to rescue it - so I asked God to provide me with a solution. I kid you not, but a moment later I came up with the following idea. Only one thing could get it out of the pipes, which would be the sound of it's kitty mom calling it. Only that she obviously wasn't anywhere nearby (otherwise she for sure would have come to it's rescue long ago). So I got this idea to go on Youtube and search for a kitty mom calling her kittens and to record it onto my iPhone and to then play it down the pipes (yes, crazy girl... I know!). Thanks to all the weird and wonderful downloads on Youtube I did indeed find a kitty mom calling it's kittens. So back to the pipes I went with the downloaded sound on my iPhone and I swear that I almost jumped back in chock at the LOUD and instant response from the kitten. It was as if it appeared in a flash right in front of the opening. Crying desperately for it's mom to come and rescue it. It was acutally truly heartbreaking. I had to keep playing the recording for it to stay close - only that at some point it obviously got confused and thought she had to be at some other pipe opening since she wasn't coming inside to rescue it. After it having a few frantic runing to and fro inside the various pipe-openings I decided it was time to catch it, so I put down some more food and kept the recording going. It appeared, retreated, appeared, retreated and then I knew I had to make a fast and decisive swipe at the scruff of it's tiny neck. And bingo! - safely inside the box it went.
Back home I tried to see if our garden kitty mom (who'd recently lost some of her kittens) would show any interest, but unfortunaly she only sniffed the box, hissed and walked away. So there was no other thing to do than to let it recuperate in a warm quiet place with food and water until we could bring it to the vet the next morning. Turned out she was fine in spite of her ordeal. After her treatment for worms, fleas and earmites we brought her back - and in all honesty thinking it would be weeks before we could handle this seemingly wild feral kitten. Well, this is where my astute assistant (as my husband so endearingly calls himself) really gained his certificate :-) He firmly lifted the tiny kitten into his hands and after a brief struggle it began to purr!!!! My jaws dropped a little bit (a lot actually) - this was brilliant news. We were able to cuddle it. It was obviously terrified, but as long as it was gently but firmly handled it would purr. In the top image you can see my super talented assistant in action - and the girl is purring blissfully! Her name is Emma by the way.
Here she is having a rightfully carefree kitten moment again - fiercely tackling and killing a straw :-) She had the most sad, abandoned and painful look on her face when we first looked at her, but now - a few days later, I think she has gotten the hang of that she will be loved to bits.
It's a blessing that we can handle her but from my (maybe limited) experience, feral kittens won't let you anywhere nearby. This leaves us with a rather obscure feeling as to how she ended up in the water tank in the first place. No other houses nearby where she could have come from.
Anyway... I'm thrilled this girl has such strong lungs. I simply cannot bear to think of her fate otherwise. She's taugth me a lesson about not letting my fear hold me back (I dreaded to find a kitten in that water tank) - and to not be indecisive when you're dealing with someone in urgent need of help (I feared hurting her when grabbing her tiny neck). In a very brief moment I actaully felt that my indecisiveness could've cost her life, which was enough to cause a clear cut decision.