(Sorry for the image sizes, y'all; resizing made Safari really sad.)
This morning, I found that Daisy had brought her kittens back. I hung around while feeding her and I checked a few times throughout the morning to be sure, but I definitely saw both of her little kittens peeking at me from underneath the bushes.
Once I got home from work, I saw both of them out again, but I wasn't able to get them all by myself. One of them realized I was there and scooted under the stoop. violetcheetah took the mother into the basement first, and then I collected the first kitten.
The second kitten tried coming out of its hole a couple of times, but it quickly realized we were there and went under again each time. I decided I might as well go in after it.
I was able to get most of the way under, but I hadn't actually dug far enough out for my legs to come in with me ... unless I wanted to flip over first, which I didn't, considering the spiders.
The kitten was cowering in the farthest corner, and I couldn't reach without getting my legs inside. Calling for the trash-picker-upper tool, I used that to reach around behind the kitten. This encouraged it to move away from the tool, which meant towards me. I seized it and writhed my way out again.
We tried to give them a nice little nook to feel safe
but they weren't happy. We then tried to encourage them to nurse from Daisy once she settled down near us, but they didn't really get what they were supposed to do.
I called the city shelter's auxiliary and explained the situation. The contact said she would call back after 8pm (in about twenty minutes) and probably bring over some supplies. As we went up and down getting various items while waiting, the right-hand kitten huddled petrified; the left-hand one would creep forward, spot one of us, and creep back.
The contact called back and I gave her directions, using the abortion protesters as a landmark she immediately recognized. She had to call again once she was near, because we seem to be in a little pocket universe as far as maps and street design are concerned, so I talked her through the rest until she responded that she did in fact see the person in the street waving at her.
She arrived, leading another vehicle with her associate. They brought in a crate and a litterpan. We put all the cats inside, and the mother proceeded to wig out, climbing, twitching, trying to find a way out. I let her back out and put the food inside, hoping it might get her to like the place better, and one of the kittens started sneaking some of it. We had thought they were still exclusively nursing.
The auxiliary associate went back to her minivan for some wet kitten food, and they dove in
-- quite literally, once we moved the food from the little bowl onto a nice flat saucer.
The auxiliary then determined that the kittens are a male and a female; that all of them look remarkably healthy; and that Daisy was actually also pregnant again already.
We left the cats there briefly while seeing the auxiliary out. I went back down later and one of the cats, whom I've code-named Magellan, was already exploring the basement. (We've code-named the other Snowball.) I put that one back in the crate and tried to make it happy by showing it the remains of the food. The kittens were already wary of me again
so I decided to give them more soft food. This drew Daisy back over, but she was still wary of the crate -- which I was deliberately leaving open so she could grow accustomed to it more gradually -- so I gave her some just outside it, which made her happy.
She wants to leave, though. She could smell the outdoors through the bulkhead door and kept trying to find a way through it. And Magellan was born to roam.
Daisy goes to the vet tomorrow morning, to get tested and pregnancy-checked. She and the kittens may go to a foster in Rhode Island or may stay to be fostered here; they will then be adopted out directly from their foster. The details are not yet quite settled.
But the mission is in fact a success. Thanks to all who assisted, particularly Special Agent Tani.