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Posts Tagged ‘Kittens’

Beatrice-Plus-Four

If you would have told me a year ago that moving to Haiti would result in us become one of those “Cat People” who has a ton of cats running around their house, I would have never believed you.  But Beatrice made that dream come true yesterday by giving birth to a healthy litter of four little kittens.

It all began in our backyard garden, as just when I was getting ready to leave to run some errands I found Beatrice laying under a small bush with two new additions to her family.  I freaked out and called Jillian to ask her what to do next, as giving birth out in the open with Bumble Bea (her other, older kitten) jumping around and batting at the newborn kittens didn’t seem like the best situation.  I took out an empty box and put a towel in it, and Beatrice moved the two kittens there, and then had two more!

Four-Kittens

The five of them are safely holed up in the box in our living room, and even though the little kittens cry all the time (the bags under our eyes this morning was proof of that), they are a welcome addition, and it’s exciting that all four of them appear to be healthy and thriving.  Now please excuse me as Bob Barker is on the phone, we’re discussing plans to get this momma spayed!

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We went for a little day trip to Crouix de Bouqet with our friends Bryan and Sharon last weekend, and on our way back to Port-au-Prince we decided to make a stop to see the puppies! It had been 2 weeks since we had last visit them, so we were excited to see six bundles of puppy joy prouncing around waiting to be taken home.

You see, a wopping 60% of you voted for us to bring home both a puppy and a kitty, and to be honest, that is exactly what we planned to do.  Maybe having both is not the smartest decision to make, but we were excited at the prospect of having a pair of fluff balls running aimlessly around our Ti Kay.

So when we entered the grounds to the World Food Program warehouse that held the puppies and met with their caretaker, we were shocked to hear that all the puppies had died.  BAM! That hits you like a ton of bricks, doesn’t it?  All six of the puppies, every last one of them, had died.  In fact, the last two had died earlier that day.

We looked at the caretaker in disbelief, “How could they all be dead?” we asked.  This was going to be our puppy!  We even chose a name for him: Sebastian (if he was a boy, of course).  He explained that they had all died in succession, each puppy getting the one next to him deathly ill until they all retired.  To me, this sounded ridiculous, he probably just wasn’t feeding her!  I mean, look at their mother:

But how would we ever really know.  Turns out there were actually nine puppies total, and three had died before we had even met the last six.  We sat there is disbelief.  I walked around to the opening of their little enclosure to make sure this guy wasn’t just messing with us, which would have been SO not cool, and sure enough it was empty.

So we walked out dejected by a turn of events that none of us had seen coming.  Not even JeanBa, who owned them, knew it had happened, as we had spoken to him that morning to ask if we could visit.  And so now what was a major decision for the Thorp family just days ago was one that had been made for us.  We won’t need to worry about assimilating our puppy with the other dogs in the complex.  We won’t have to worry about buying expensive puppy food.  And we won’t have to worry about transporting him back to the States.  There will be no puppy, and we have no say in the matter.

And while this can’t be blamed on “Haiti”, it’s reflective of how the way things here just don’t work according to plan.  In Haiti, huge dump-trucks break down in the middle of major thoroughfares and create miles of traffic for hours.  In Haiti, you can never rely on power coming on regularly.  In Haiti, you go to the grocery store and sometimes they have the staples you need, and sometimes they don’t.

And while many of these things happen and are completely manageable (and sometimes fun), the fact that these puppies died is a reminder that not all this stuff is cute, and that the cracks in the systems here aren’t just anecdotal.  We can ride around on Pinotage and see dozens of cars waiting at gas stations because there is a gas shortage, and be like “Man, Haiti is wild!”, but this seems to cut much deeper, in a way I wasn’t expecting. (BTW, our friend Bryan wrote a blog post about this which is totally worth reading HERE)

You live life in Haiti always one step from the edge.  At any moment things could change completely, for better or worse (probably for the worse), but most of it is doable.  The fact that there is traffic makes driving a motorcycle so much more interesting, as you can weave through the jam-packed streets and come out victorious on the other end, cutting your commute in half.  Not having power all the time causes you to find things to do that don’t need it, so Jillian and I are reading and cooking more.  As I tell people that visit here, Haiti makes every day interesting, which isn’t really a bad thing at all.  But when the puppies died it hurt, and all those other things don’t hurt.

In the end, I was probably hit a little harder than Jillian.  Because I was at home so much more, the puppy was likely to be my responsibility, so the big question was if I was ready for it.  I had decided I was, so I was excited to bring Sebastian home and teach him how to eat from Jillian’s Cup-o’-Noodles, and not mine.  But now we’ll stick to a cat (or cats…), which was probably the more responsible, and reasonable, decision in the first place.  It’s just a bummer that we can’t make that decision ourselves anymore, but I guess that’s just Haiti.

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I unfortunately have some sad news to pass along: last week one of the kittens passed away.  The picture above is of the remaining four.  They don’t exactly know why the kitten died, but there is one interesting tidbit of information.  Of the five kittens that Luna gave birth to, there are two sets of mirrored identical twins.  These sets of twins hang out next to each other, and have almost the exact same color designs.  The one that passed away was the one that didn’t have a twin.  Apparently, since the beginning, it also had a hard time nursing, which may have been the ultimate cause.  It’s a total bummer.

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Well, we told you it would be any day!  Yesterday we got the call from our friends, Ben and Alexis, that Luna had finally exploded, filling their house with kitten love.  My call, from Ben, went something like this:

Me: Hey Ben, what’s goin on?

Ben: Ahh, nothing.  Do you have a firewire chord to connect my video camera to my computer?

Me: I don’t know, probably, I’ll check. Anything else?

Ben: Well, Luna had her kittens.

Me: OMG!  Hoorah! (then silence as my head bursts from excitement)

I picked Jillian up from work and we quickly weaved through PAP traffic en route to see what Luna had concocted during her 2 month pregnancy.  We arrived at Ben and Alexis’ house and looked around but saw no kittens.  We curiously turned to Ben, who was in the kitchen preparing a delicious dinner for him and his bride, and he said, “they’re up there.”

Luna had precariously perched herself on top of the cabinets in their kitchen, in what can only be described as a Kitten Canopy.  You step up onto their kitchen counter, and in the corner is Luna lazily nursing each of her FIVE (5!) new kittens!

This is so incredibly exciting.  Jillian and I were likening it to being 8 year-olds on Christmas morning.  It’s like there are five brand-new models of iPhones (or whatever you’re into) sitting above the cabinets in Ben and Alexis’ kitchen, after months of waiting for them to be revealed.  The kitties are all black and white, just like their mother, each with a different patchwork of spots splayed along their coats.

Of course it will take some time for the kittens to mature into something more than just a turd shaped ball of fluff, so we’re not sure which one we will take.  I mean, who knows, you could pick one now and he could turn out to be a real jerk in a month.  Take the one below for example, he already looks like he has an attitude:

But it’s funny how incredibly exciting, yet totally anti-climactic this birth has turned out to be.  On one hand it’s so much fun to be able to see all these healthy little kittens just after they were born to a teenage mother that we know well, but at the same time, they don’t really DO anything.

It’s fun and all to stand up on the counter and ‘ooh’ and ‘ahhh’, but until they grow up and are able to pounce around and tumble all over each other (or sneeze!), then it’s just another waiting game until we get our new kitten home.

So now that the new kitten countdown has begun, the real hard questions present themselves: Mostly-black or mostly-white? Boy or girl?  Judging by how promiscuous their mother was by getting knocked up at the ripe old age of 8 months 5 months, I’m pushing for a boy.  Just saying….

If you want more pictures you can click on “Continue Reading” below:

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Hmmm, this makes things a little complicated…

As you know, Jillian and I will be adding a kitten to the Thorp family any day now.  Luna is about twice the size she was before getting knocked up, and we are anxiously awaiting the call from our friends saying, “Luna exploded and there are kittens everywhere! Hoorah!!!”

It’s something that we’ve put a lot of thought into.  After looking at our family budget and figuring out if a new kitten was even economically viable for us, we weren’t really given a choice in the matter as we were party to Luna getting pregnant.  It’s therefore our responsibility as the irresponsible temporary parents of this cat to take one of her bastard children in an effort to alleviate the responsibility from her (semi)responsible permanent parents.

Well, we thought we were going to have our hands full already until Jillian got a non-kitten-explosion related phone call.   Jillian’s old co-worker, JeanBa, has thrown a kink in our spokes, and it’s is in the form of a cute ball of puppy goodness!

“Awwwww” is right!  JeanBa’s dog just had 6 puppies that are waiting to be snuggled and posted on youtube for all our family and friends!  Their mother is a mild-mannered Rottweiler mix, and the father is whatever mutt that got lucky with her about 3 months ago.

But now the debate begins, a dog is clearly more responsibility than a cat who could care less if you are home or not.  Transporting a dog also creates it’s own roadblocks as Jillian and I only have our trusted Pinotage at the moment.

You also can’t leave a puppy at home for an extended period of time, and add that to the work of having a kitten, you have a full time job.  It’s almost as if you would need a husband who works freelance and is home most of the time to be able to handle all of this…….WAIT A SECOND!!!

The puppies need to grow for another three weeks before they can be harvested, but we’ve already put a hold on the spotted one above in the event that we decide to convert our house into a baby animal farm.  It doesn’t help that Jillian’s parents have just purchased the cutest little puppy in the world, named Jack.  You can see a picture of him, and more of the puppies if you click the “Continue Reading” link below.

I think we have made a decision, which I will not post here in a brash attempt at creating suspense.  We are definitely still getting one of the kittens, so that’s a lock.  But we would love to hear what you think, and I found this cool button on our blog’s website that allows you to create polls, so vote (OR DIE!)  Just kidding….

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