Three tiny furry bodies, barely three weeks old, complaining heartily about empty tummies. There they were, huddled inside a box of fruit delivered to a Tampa produce stand from Plant City. Thanks to some very caring folks, who luckily knew about hand feeding newborn kittens, the babies were cared for overnight and brought to our center by a terrific lady named, Moira.
Hungry, confused and lost, they were fed and quickly transferred to their warm enclosure of soft blankets and stuffed toys. Within a few days, all three were devouring bottle after bottle of formula. Moira called to check on their progress several times.
The little masked bandits had quickly stolen her heart, but she knew she had made the best decision for their care. Kiwi, Kumquat and Berry would sleep, eat, play and snuggle and take many months to grow and learn what all raccoons must know. In the wild, they would stay with mama up to a year, so they will be with us 7-8 months before being released. They learned to eat on their own, swim, climb, play, defend themselves, discover what delicious golden substance is inside an egg and chase fish around their pool.
All three became more territorial, aggressive and independent as they reached maturity. Fast and strong, with long sharp teeth, a vicious bite, wicked claws and increasingly unpredictable as the wild instincts took over, we will gradually became less “hands on” with them. In the end, we closed the gap and prepared them for release far from humans as soon as the weather permitted.
Our success was bittersweet, there was be no good bye hugs or kisses…just an open door and a few tearfully whispered words as they scampered out into the world … goodbye little ones, our job here is done, be free now and take care!