Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I Have Animal Attraction

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Yesterday morning I woke up, drank a cup of coffee, checked the email then put my sneakers on for my morning run (What can I say, I recently got on a health kick.)

That run was not to be, however.

I opened the front door, and looked down.

My first impression was that Padme had been hunting and had left me three big fat presents. They looked like rats. Big fat rats.

I tried to clean them up, then one said “Meow.”

Uh-oh.

Every pet I own is adopted. Buddy turned up at our front door. Padme was one of a litter of kittens that were ‘deposited’ at my son in law’s house…the same batch of kittens that decided my son-in-law’s car’s wheel wells where a great place to sleep. Padme was the only survivor.

Even the gold fish where refugees from when my Mother-in-law decided to fill in her small pond to make a vegetable garden.

Now I have three newborn kittens at my front door…no sign of the mother. Oh, and these kittens were so young that one of them was still attached to the placenta.

Now, I want to make something clear here. I’m not ‘crazy-cat-person’. We live out in the country, so encouraging a few cats to hang around is actually a good thing. They keep the mouse population down. Feeding them once or twice a week keeps them around, or at least coming back…and also keeps them hungry and hunting.

Plus, people call me soft when it comes to animals…but to me, bringing the kittens inside, or leaving them out on the porch to die in the heat…that’s no choice.

Then I spotted the mother. It was Princess, one of the strays that uses our front porch as a holiday home. She was sitting in wood chips, a few feet away. I think when I’d let Buddy out that morning, He’d disturbed her.

So I lined a cardboard box with an old towel, put the kittens and Princess inside, and brought them into the house.

Unfortunately, one of the kittens died a few hours later, and another one died that night. It seemed Princess was a neglectful mother. She kept lying on the kittens, smothering them. She was pushing them away when they tried to feed…not exactly the poster-cat for motherhood.

It was only this morning when I realized what was going on.

I hadn’t seen Princess in a couple of weeks. She’d obviously not eaten in a long time. She was also completely exhausted and wiped out from childbirth. It was also obviously her first litter, so she had pretty much no clue what was going on. She was also so dehydrated that she wasn’t actually producing milk.

Unfortunately, we were out of cat food, so I spotted the can of salmon that had been sitting in out cupboard for a few months. I gave her some of that and a saucer of milk.

She slept for 25 hours straight. The next morning when I let her out, I was afraid she’d run off and we wouldn’t see her again. (Just in case, I’d looked up how to care for newborn kittens on the internet. If I had to, it involved feeding them by hand every two hours…around the clock. Nothing I was looking forward to, but I just couldn’t have the death of a newborn kitten on my conscience).

Luckily, after the food, water, milk and the 25 hours sleep she’d recovered and came to her senses. I was relieved as hell when I actually saw her jump back into the box and start cleaning and feeding the kitten.

Anyway, mother and baby are doing well, and I’m thinking of naming the kitten Pippin…because he looks like a Hobbit and never stops eating.

4 comments:

MC Etcher said...

You're a very good man to go to all that trouble. The little kitten is so cute!

Lois said...

You big old softie! Pippin is a cute little thing. I hope Princess continues to take good care of the little one. They do look like rats at this age, but just wait till Pippin becomes a fluffy little heart stealer.

mistyforeverlost said...

good man, taking care of a kitten and her mom.

Vicarious Living said...

aww - quite the story! Aren't they lucky to have you. Hope everything turns out well for Pippin and Princess.