About 3 weeks in, something spooked her and she moved them to the top of the garage. We have plywood resting across the ceiling beams to make a storage space up there and she moved them to an empty box toward the back. This would have been fine, but they were already getting active by that point and were able to get out of the box.
First, one toppled down to the floor, a little tabby with orange girl. My grandma took her inside. Later, down came a fluffy gray one. When I came over, she had me climb up on a ladder to see which box they were in and how deep it was.
She still had 5 more up there! One was a tiny, pitiful, sickly little siamese mix that I took down with me. I put the little tabby girl back but kept the gray one and the siamese. They both looked like they could use a little extra attention and care.
The little siamese died the next day. I wasn't surprised really. He was so tiny and so frail. But I had hoped I could do something for him.
The next day, the mama had moved the remaining 5 from the box down to the upper kitty apartment. I don' know if it was because of my meddling or not. They get upset about things like that so it's likely. That day my grandma said she found one of the 5, a little tortoiseshell girl on the floor twitching and looking like Stranger when he was having his seizures. She didn't know what had happened to her but she thought she was going to die. She went to look for a little box for her, expecting the worst, but when she returned, the little girl was sitting up and looking more normal. So g-ma took her in and put her with the little gray boy.
They were in the house together for several days. In the meantime, perhaps the same day g-ma found the tortie, I found the other little tabby girl on the floor dead. No idea what happened. After that, the mama took the three others (two orange tabby and the little girl tabby) back up to the top of the garage in a different box.
I don't know why she moved them from there but after that she took the short haired orange tabby boy and the tabby girl off to the woods, but left the long haired orange boy behind. He cried and cried and cried and eventually I felt so sorry for him that I took him in. He was kind of skinny, and dirty and stinky. After a bath he was a little orange fluff ball. He's awfully cute. They're *all* awfully cute.
Then for a day or so we had the three of them and she had two. When it started to rain, later on the day that I took the fluffy orange one, she brought the other two back and put them in yet *another* box in the garage "upstairs". But the next day she took off with the tabby girl and left the orange tabby boy behind and he cried loudly all day. For hours. I felt so bad for him but I figured she'd come back for him!
I told my grandma to call me if the mama didn't come back for him, since we couldn't just leave him up there to starve/freeze. She went to the store in the early evening and planned on calling me when she got back. When she got home, she pulled into the garage and when she was getting stuff out of the back of her car, she felt something by her feet. It was the little orange tabby boy. It's just so scary how narrowly he must have missed death. I don't know where he was when she pulled in, but he's lucky he didn't get crushed. Which would have been terrible and horrifying. Particularly after I had left him all day, telling him mama would be back.
I didn't learn this until yesterday, but apparently, later that night, my grandma saw the mama bringing the little girl back up the driveway in the cold and pouring rain. She kept dropping her and when my grandma went out and took her, she was wet, super cold, and had just been dropped in a puddle. My grandma didn't know if she would be alright or not. Her lungs sounded like they had something in them and she was so cold and wet.
Yesterday when I got there, everyone seemed fine, though dirty and stinky. So baths were in order for a few of them first thing. The fluffy gray boy first. I trimmed a lot of his hair around his butt, hoping it would help him stay cleaner. I'd shave him if I could. The fluffy orange boy came next and he had a lot of hair trimmed as well. The little tortie girl got a half bath and a little trim but she's short haired and has kept much cleaner. Everyone got fed and put back to bed to sleep for a while.
The hardest thing is keeping them clean. They're still not really using a litter box and have to be kept contained for their safety most of the time anyway. This means lots of dirty stinky kittens. I'm sure I'll start the afternoon with baths today too.
My little gray boy is the only one who doesn't seem to be doing well. Not yesterday anyway. He's so tiny and skinny and doesn't like the syringe at all. He wants mama and he wants mama kitty nipple, which I just can't provide. He has had to spend a lot of his time confined because he has been trying to suckle his siblings' genitals. I never knew they did that. I read about it when I was researching stuff for Muffin and Biscuit when they were babies. I have a little kitten feeding bottle that I brought with me today and I'm hoping he'll take to it.
Next challenge: trying to live trap the mama so she can be spayed. She's not at all tame, so I don't know if we'll be able to do it or not. But she just can't keep having kittens.