And Finally: A Kitten Post

Everyone knows what happens on April 15, don’t they?

That’s right!  It’s when kitten season begins for real.  I got the first call of the season to bottle-feed 6 newborn kittens on April 15 of this year.

There’s a story behind every new litter.  Sometimes we know the story, and sometimes we just make things up.  A lot of people have only bad things to say about people who put out litters, or move away leaving their animals shut up inside the house or apartment or trailer, or want to give away puppies or kittens or dogs or cats – free to a good home.  I say that desperate people do desperate things.  I’ve been desperate before.  I stole a roll of toilet tissue once from a public bathroom.  That’s desperate.  Can anyone judge another?  Of course we can, but let’s not.  Let’s help where we can.  Enter kittens.

The shelter called me to ask if I would bottle-feed 6 newborn kittens.  You’ve already heard that part of the story, but the story behind that is this:  Someone put a this newborn litter into a small dog bed, covered them with a blankie, put them into a cardboard box turned on its side, and set them out on a popular nature trail, perhaps on the evening of April 14, a Sunday.  That night was a downpour, which actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because the rain caused the predators to stay home and not go out in search of food, like newborn kittens with the umbilical cords attached.  The next day, Monday, April 15, someone found the box, and the kittens, still huddled on the bed under the blankie, made their way to the shelter.

This photo is 6 babies, brand-new, tucked into a towel which is tucked into my green wool hat.  Two calicoes, two blacks, one tuxedo, and one white with black markings.

This photo is 6 babies, brand-new, tucked into a towel which is tucked into my green wool hat. Two calicoes, two blacks, one tuxedo, and one white with black markings.

I made a deal with the shelter.  I would feed the kittens at night if they could feed them during the day.  I’ve bottle-fed kittens before, and after 48 hours of round-the-clock feeding, I. am. goo.  So the split-parenting worked out really well for two weeks, when the shelter found a nursing mother.  Oh, my heart be still.

The mother rejected them.

And it just so happened, because it is kitten season, that there was another nursing mother who took them in.

Mama & babies

Sadly, the two calicoes did not make it out of infancy.  One died at about one week, and the one in the photo above died later that night.  But she was with me.

Then I got a single neonate, who died in twenty-four hours, then another litter of four, who also died in twenty-four hours.  They had no nursing instinct at all.  Then a litter of five, four of whom died over the course of four weeks, and lastly a little orange babe found by a drainage pipe, who also died in twenty-four hours.

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We sat with our basket of kittens outside Panera Bread in Savannah on Father’s Day after visiting the Laurel Grove Cemetery. Kittens need to learn about history and lunchtime, too.

And now the “Soul” survivor of the litter of five is living at Sugar’s grooming salon until he is big enough to be neutered and then he will be ready for a home.

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So for now, it looks like it’s near the end of kitten season.  Sugar and Soul sit under the oaks at the nature trail near where the first litter was found.  If you click on the image of Sugar and Soul, you should get an enlargement.  You have to look closely for Soul, even though he’s right by Sugar’s side.

Full circle?  I hope so.

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3 Responses to “And Finally: A Kitten Post”

  1. TheBarnTales Says:

    A few years ago we rescued a dog who turned out to be pregnant. When the puppies were born, even the little bit that I did to “help” and to keep an eye on them was exhausting. I’m always so impressed by people who are ready and willing to care for these little critters!

    Like

    • ruthrawls Says:

      I’d rather bottle-feed babies than home-school. You should get an award.

      Like

      • TheBarnTales Says:

        hahaha! It must be a personality thing. I’d say school stuff is a cake walk compared to the bottle. But, then, I’ve seen some pretty scrappy cake walks, so maybe that’s not a good example…

        Like

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