Five of Aradia's, three of her daughter's that I have not only successfully saved, but, with the considerable help of Aradia and Ghandi, appear to be on their way to being successful barn cats. (Though Toulouse seems to be pouting a bit about it)
All of the kittens are playing constantly. There is very little cuter than playing babies, whether it's pouncing kittens, gamboling (yes, they really gambol) lambs, king-of-the-mountain kid goats, or discovering and imagining children. This part of the cycle of life is a joy to just sit and soak in.
It's amazing how easy it is for even the smallest kittens to stay away from a pursuing toddler. It's also amazing that sometimes they don't want to stay away.
Hannah, my bull-in-the-china-shop when it comes to cats, has really calmed down with these kittens. When she discovered Aradia's kittens, they were old enough and curious enough to come out and play. I told her if she sat quiet and still, they'd be more likely to trust her and like her. That four year old girl sat there as still as I've ever seen her for over fifteen minutes while the kittens climbed all over her. The poor kid was nearly in tears from legs that were tingly painful from having gone to sleep, but it paid off. Those little kittens will come up to her when they won't come to any of the rest of us.
One of the orphan kittens is a male, three of Aradia's are male. That leaves three females. I'm not ok with three intact females running around. The males are easy - less expensive to fix. The females are cost-prohibitive, especially in this area. Desiree (the orphans' mother) notwithstanding, we don't lose a lot of cats around here. We lose some kittens (Desiree was the only surviving kitten of her mother's last three litters - one litter was lost to owls, one ... well, Aradia didn't pick the best place to have her babies, and D was the only surviving baby in her litter), but we don't lose cats. These kittens are so far doing very well which means that soon I'll be facing the music when it comes to the reproduction issue. How many barn cats (and one house cat - shhh - don't tell my husband) does one farm need?
Here - I found a picture of the stupid place Aradia chose to give birth to her kittens.
Yes. It's an abandoned bird's nest. I climbed up there and tried to get a picture, but this is the best I could get. She wouldn't let me touch them - and I couldn't reach them well anyway. They all fell out of the nest as soon as they could wiggle enough to fall out. Poor things.