These four kittens were not supposed to be mine, much less living in my house.
Born to a Roly Poly, a feral cat who had frequented my yard for the past two years ago, these feline newcomers took their first breath in the discarded old lumber pile of my back neighbor's yard.
I admit to being delighted.
Spring 2013 had already caused mini breaks to my soft heart through the birth, and fortunate death, of six deformed kittens and one stillbirth. All had occurred in sanctity of my backyard.
However, within a week of giving birth Roly Poly was spending more time lolling under my budding apricot tree and nowhere near her first-time family.
Physically, she was fine. She responded well to Reiki with her usual purring and subsequent head-butting of my hands and calves.
However her maternal instinct was MIA.
By the third week, tiny paws and spiky tails could be seen through the backyard’s fence slats. Accompanying little squeaks of hunger often announced Mama was late again with the meals.
Avoiding the outside cat drama was impossible, and I knew the neighbor, an elderly woman, was incapable of handling it.
Off I went to retrieve all the kittens.
The first day went well, as Roly regularly nursed them. Then their lactating grandmother, Licorice, took over the milk detail.
However, the next day her patience was worn and Roly was gone.
Uttering a comforting call, Licorice lured the tiny bundles of fur out to the front yard fence where fast-moving cars, unleashed dogs and other hazards were just inches away.
Quickly, scooped up the kittens were placed in a large box. Within minutes Licorice's siren-like calls had them again tottering towards disaster. This scenario was played out two more times until I came to the disheartening realization.
The kittens had to come inside the house.
This was a repeated scene. Three years earlier, Licorice had also been a non-attentive first-time mother. This resulted in Monte and Kiva becoming my indoor beloved duo of feline cuteness.
While the latters' beginnings had been just as humble, disdain filled their eyes when their access to the spare bedroom was no denied thanks to the quartet of 5-inch intruders.
Hoping a calm atmosphere would inspire Roly, I carried her inside for the first time. Promptly she curled up under the dressing table and fell asleep. Her snooze continued as my homemade "milk" was eye dropped into her babies' greedy mouths.
Occasionally, she ate before resuming her beauty sleep.
Four hours into the experiment, the truth came out when the kittens attempted to feed off their mother. She hissed and growled violently at them.
Cue the quick exit of Roly.
Now it was clear, the kittens were house guests until permanent homes could be found.
As is typical with any living thing deprived of a mother's care the kittens exhibited some stress.
The worse was Onslow. As the largest kitten, his size made it easy to bully the other three.
While smaller, Callie Calico was just as aggressive and used frequent high-pitched meows to disorient her victim before attacking with increasing sharp teeth.
Leahleo was the litter's runt. Afflicted with weak eyes she and her brother Sherpa held back when meals were offered.
Practicing Reiki was required.
Squirming fur balls are not the easiest animals to receive the healing energy owing their already overabundant supply of it.
But it is never impossible.
Each was individually wrapped in a warm towel and taken into a darkened room. Onslow violently fought for several seconds to free himself, but never cried out.
Reiki's gentle vibes slowed his breathing and for the first time his contented purr was heard.
He remainrd a thundering big guy, but several sessions later his "kill or be killed" attitude vanished.
Callie's meowing decreased to the usual cries for food, love or both.
Sherpa became the power purrer. He was capable of giving his brother an equal tussle, yet gentle with his nearly blind sister, Leahleo.
Her lack of 20/20 sight does not mean anyone should pity this kitty. She ran, jumped great heights and became the champion snoozer of the litter.
Regular Reiki sessions turned these wild kittens into docile house cats within two weeks.
What can it do for your animals?
2016 Post Note: Although, Onslow, Sherpa and LeahLeo all died within weeks of this posting, Callie hung on and is now a valued member of the family. She is still feisty, but no longer attacks first and asks forgiveness later. She has persuaded Monte, and occasionally Kiva, she is a good buddy to curl up next too.