Monday, October 19, 2009

Stop the car … or the kitty gets it. Gabrielle has started teaching violin, at a newly-formed musical association in a nearby village. Each Tuesday afternoon, she drives to the pôle culturelle at Plouasne to teach four French children. Coming home this week, she drove round a corner to find three tiny kittens sitting right in the middle of the road, looking very out of context. It seems that just seconds before, someone had stopped, opened their car door and unceremoniously chucked out the three unwanted tots and driven off : shameful.

So Gabrielle arrived home with rather more than she had left with. Our neighbours rallied round and the venerable Annick was consulted to see if they were old enough to survive away from their mother. She reckoned that they were, just, and we should feed them cat biscuits soaked in milk. Kysinia kindly provided a clean cage and a furry cat bed. Probably only used to suckling from their mother, they made rather a mess of drinking warmed milk out of a bowl, standing in it and putting their whole face in. Evidently they got something down as they survived the night.

The following morning we tried to work out what to do with them. We contacted the SPA (Société Protectrice Animaux) who wouldn’t take them because they were so young (pas viable) and suggested that we contact a fourrière, which translates as a pound. After numerous phone conversations, we discovered that we needed to speak to the maire of our commune, who would have an engagement with a particular fourrière and the commune would pay. I caught up with our maire, Jean-Luc when he was sat in a combine harvester, bringing in the maize. He was in an especially good humour, as the yield this year has been excellent, a grand improvement on the last couple of years. He promised to find out who our local fourrière was but also explained that the end result would be that the kittens would be put down. Putting them to sleep humanely would be preferable to them starving or freezing to death after being dumped in the middle of the road but we thought we would try and home them.

The thing is, you can’t give them away. As we put the word around we were met with many broad grins and quickly realised that with so many un-sterilised cats (especially at our neighbour, Annick’s!) around there is a plethora of cute kittens, so anyone who wants a cat usually has one. We put an ad on a site for English residents of Brittany, AngloInfo, which was swiftly and perfunctorily removed because “the cat’s microchip number wasn’t shown”. A second ad disappered just as quickly until Gabrielle had the cunning idea of placing a third ad, asking for “advice” and definitely NOT offering the cats for sale but inviting email contact. Which is how we met up with Martin, who’s taken the male. Gabrielle phone her coiffeuse, Mandy, who already has a young rescued cat called Millie, and who chose one of the female tabbies, who is now inevitably called Molly. That leaves one, who appears also to have a new home, although we have the pleasure of looking after her for a few more days.

The photos show the three the day they were found, then the male kitten with his new playmate, then Molly with Milly and finally, Billy-no-mates.

If you need to sex kittens, have a look at this website, which is how we worked it out, their bits being very small at the moment.