Such was the conversation between two of our newest residents: tiny Numi and elegant mama Chai.
To clarify, mama Chai is not Numi’s mama – a point which would become increasingly clear over the few hours they spent together.
Numi, as you can see, is scarcely larger than a hamster, and just celebrated her one-week birthday. Found abandoned in a barn, Numi made her way to us in desperate need of milk and a mom.
So, we thought it was perfect that we’d also just rescued Chai, a new-ish mama. Days before Numi’s arrival, Chai and her babies (Chamomile and Darjeeling) had come to Tabby’s Place from a high-kill shelter in West Virginia. As gentle, beautiful Chai still had milk for her kittens, but Darjeeling and Chamomile were old enough to be separated from her, we thought Chai would be the perfect adoptive mom for Numi.
Chai agreed…at first.
Actually, I originally thought that this would be one of the most touching blog posts I’d yet been blessed to write. My heart melted into a puddle of goo when I heard about Chai’s initial reaction to Numi. Our stunning Siamese-mix mom flopped onto her side, immediately letting the little one nurse, and began grooming Numi gently. This new family seemed meant to be!
But what a difference a day makes.
The next day, Jonathan noticed that Numi was on the opposite side of Chai’s crate, and that Chai didn’t seem particularly interested in her foster baby. Shortly thereafter, Karina took a peek into Quarantine (where Chai and Numi, like all of our new cats, were spending their first three weeks), only to see a disturbing sight: tiny Numi had her head caught between the crate bars, and Chai, after looking up and noticing this, continued grooming herself, unmoved.
Can you say dysfunctional family?
I’m grateful to report that Numi has found a foster mama who is giving her the TLC she needs: none other than Karina – who, to clarify, is human, not feline. (In the video at left, Karina’s the one narrating as she cares for newborn Numi.) Karina was the one to rescue Numi from Chai’s, um, neglect. Karina was the one to tenderly warm up little Numi, who had gotten quite cold and lethargic in the short time since Chai had started ignoring her. And, Karina will be the one to cry the most – and cheer the loudest – when Numi goes to her forever home – a happy day that will take place just as soon as Numi’s old enough. (Yes, she’s already been spoken for!)
As for Chai, of course we’ll forgive her for changing her mind about adopting little Numi. After all, giving birth, ending up in a cramped shelter, traveling 1200 miles north, and becoming a Jersey girl is an awful lot for one kitty to go through in a few weeks’ time – maybe adopting Numi was just one thing too many. Or, maybe becoming a mother again so soon after weaning her own kittens just wasn’t Chai’s cup of tea.
The moral of the story for little Numi? The best mama is the one who loves you. Karina, thank you for loving this little angel-face so well!