About two months ago, four grey kittens were brought into Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA) needing a foster home. They had been found outside without a mother at about one week old.
One of them was in rough shape — emaciated, crusty, and frail. She would need intensive care from an experienced carer. Penny Richards of AWLA stepped up to help and took on the litter of four.
She placed the kittens in an incubator to keep them warm and cozy, as they were too young to regulate their body temperature. Penny gently cleaned the matted fur of the frail kitten, Twiglet, and fed her regular, small meals to slowly build up her strength and weight.
The rest of the litter, Cherry Bakewell, Jaffa Cake, and Jammie Dodger, showered Twiglet with snuggles and tiny purrs as if to help her heal. They were given a beating-heart snuggle toy which emulates the presence of a cat mom.
24 hours after arrival, Twiglet managed to gain a little over 20 grams, along with some newfound strength. She could rest comfortably without the pesky crust on her coat.
Over the next few days, she continued to make good strides and her appetite soared. “She turned around pretty quickly — within her first week with me, she had doubled in size, gained a lot of energy, and her body felt healthy,” Penny told Love Meow.
The four roly-polies put their voices to good use whenever Penny came in with their bottles. “They were loud when hungry, and so content when full.”
When they were healthy and big enough, they graduated to upgraded living arrangements. Some of them quickly figured out their litter box and the rest just followed suit.
They enjoyed napping in their cuddle-puddle, but as soon as Penny came in, they’d all swarm up on her lap to snooze instead.
Jammie Dodger is the gentle giant, the independent “big sister”, who saves all the best cuddles for when she’s sleepy.
“She doesn’t want to be fussed over, but when she’s tired she melts into me.”
Jaffa Cake is the loudest, most mischievous of the clowder, and a real clinger. “She bases all of her play around my lap, but she loves to attack anything that moves.”
She likes to gaze at her people with those sad kitten eyes to get what she wants.
Cherry Bakewell is a people-cat and revels in their company. She’s an avid shoulder-climber who likes to clamber up her people to get up-close and personal, nose-to-nose.
“Jaffa Cake and Cherry Bakewell are two peas in a pod. They must be on me at all times.”
Twiglet is the quiet one and sweet as can be. “She often saunters over for pets and cuddles as she purrs away and almost smiles with her little face.”
“As they roam the house, Twiglet cautiously descends the stairs, making sure that her siblings are nearby at all times. If they run ahead and she can’t find them, she’ll let out a little meow until I rescue her.”
“It was very clear from early on that Jaffa Cake and Cherry Bakewell shared a strong bond, as did Jammie Dodger and Twiglet,” Penny told Love Meow.
“They are a tight-knit bunch, who spend all of their time with each other, so it is recommended that they be adopted in two pairs.”
After a tough start to life, these kittens grew big and strong, and are now ready to find their happily-ever-after.