Thursday, June 15, 2006

Me? A CAT Person??!!!!

Well, who could resist these adorable little guys?
My neighbor was moving. The husband was rummaging in the shed for something. Something made noise. Certain it wasn't a mouse (or heaven forbid, a bigger rodent!!!) but still a very small animal - or small animals- and convinced it was an infantile sound he heard...what do you do? Get me of course! Duh. I'm the go to person in the neighborhood for all creatures great and small. Now, I'll spare him some dignity, he wasn't afraid, just didn't know what to do...

Six kittens! Eyes barely open, 10 to 12 days old. Where's Mama Cat? Hiding. Duh. Not happy we found her litter, but grateful for the can of cat food (borrowed from the neighbor who actually does have a cat) and a bowl of water! Mama Cat proceeds to move 4 of the 6 kittens over the course of the evening. Then she stops. I check it at 11 PM before going to bed. Hmmm... by this time, I am of course keeping an eye on things, because even though I am deathly allergic to cats, I am not opposed to them as beings. After all, they serve a purpose and some of them can be quite cool. (I'm a Dog Person, deal with it!) That night, early next morning, (it is now 5:30 AM) just these two left... a little more food is put out, shed door is checked to be sure it is open enough for a cat but not anything bigger can get in there, blankets are fluffed, they seem ok... I head off to an appointment, praying for the best. No one comes. 9 AM, I go in after the two remaining little fuzzballs. What I will do with them yet, I have no idea. I roll them up in my sweatshirt and start rubbing them to get circulation going. One seems to be somewhat alright, the other is much worse than at the crack of dawn. Of course, I am worthless at the crack of dawn, too. With the help of my neighbor, we get them warmed up an in a fresh box with warm towels and blanket. I am frantically searching to see if the other kittens are somewhere - did something happen to Mama Cat? Why didn't she come back?? Finally, after deciding not to crawl into some disgusting places, (thank you to whomever invented flashlights) I head down to Maser's Pet in Kenmore, where I am sure to find help. No rescue places are answering their phones and I know they need to eat. At least I think that is what they are saying!!
Thank heavens for communities that have people who care. I love my local shops. Joni, the Manager spots the box as I come in the door and immediately takes charge. KMR and the teeniest little nursing bottle in hand, she demonstrates the proper way to Feed and Potty a kitten. Oh, yes! You must also make it pee! Don't want it to swell up like a giant water balloon! That would be horrifying. I am completely inept. When, in all my years of dog training, did I lose my ability to handle a little tiny, living, breathing, precious gift from God that only weighs an ounce or two and fits in the palm of my hand?
They finally begin to nurse and I am totally in love and showing them off (when not fretting over keeping them warm enough) and dealing with the duties of Mom. Thank Heavens for Joni, that's all I can say!
Finally, I hear back from some shelters. MEOW Cat Rescue has a possible Surrogate Mother. A blessing! What a place! Cats, cats and more cats! Wonderful people! Very nice, loving, helpful, caring cat people. (I felt a bit out of place, and thankfully my allergies didn't explode until I got out the door!) It took the Surrogate Mom some time to decide she'd like these new kittens to raise, but it was amazing to watch. The more lethargic of the two, the bigger, all black one, just went over to the SM's other kittens and cuddled in with them. The rowdier one, with the white nose, laid down right in front of this Mother cat, who was hissing bloody murder at them and out her nose down an inch from her face. (Being a dog trainer, I know that sound, it is quite distinct and it means bad things are about to happen.) The kitten however, just laid there, still as could be, looking up at this big, gray cat who's hissing like a venomous snake and stares at her with those beautiful baby blue eyes. After a few minutes (I'm constantly being reassured this is normal and it will take time and it could take an hour to find out if she accepts them or not) the mother cat starts cleaning the kitten. Then scoots her over to a teat and goes to clean the black one. When I left, the mother was reclined with 2 gray, 2 black kittens happily gorging themselves on milk. That's as close as I'll ever come to having cats. I hope you both have wonderful, spoiled, long, healthy lives!

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