DAY 1, 6 PM: New nine day olds came into foster today. We are going to follow them the next few days and let them teach us a few lessons. These little ones arrived in a very typical manner. Employees at a CVS heard meowing in the trash compactor behind the store; they dug through the trash and found the kittens; they waited to see if mom would return, when she did not, one employed took them home and called the local shelter…they were told that animal control would pick them up, but they would be euthanized since they could not care for bottle babies. This may seem harsh, but actually is a positive since it let the finders know they needed to seek an alternative. They next took the kittens to their vet who got them in touch with a rescue with a trained neonatal foster. Today we checked them in with an intake exam, weight and sex check and PenG injection. LESSON: How do we know how old they are? None of the four kittens still had umbilical cords attached; two had both eyes slightly open and two had eyes just beginning to open. Umbilical cords fall off around 5 days and eyes open, on average, at 7-10 days so we can estimate 9 days old with confidence. Notice that we did not use weight as the primary factor; compromised kittens can weigh far less than average. In this case, the kittens are actually in good condition, weighing from 6.1 to 7.3 ounces which is about normal for their age, but this is often not the case. Note: If you age your kittens at two weeks or more and eyes are not yet open, make sure you check to assure that the eyes are not crusted shut. To preclude this, eyes should be wiped gently at each feeding with a warm wet cloth. Remember, mom cats groom the kittens 24/7 and now this is your job as their foster mom.