It’s amazing how much effort it takes to care for three tiny kittens. Bottle-feeding, for starters, was something quite new for me. My son was breastfed, so mixing, measuring, and washing up were things I never even thought about when he was a baby. And did you know that bottle-fed kittens need to be burped just like human babies? It was really kind of funny to hear; it sounded more like a squeak than any burp my son ever let loose.
Although I had never thought about burping kittens, it didn’t really come as a huge surprise. One thing that did catch me off guard, however, was the fact that very young kittens do not spontaneously pee or poop; they have to be stimulated. Usually, the mother cat does this by licking the kittens on their bottoms. But with Mother Cat no longer in the picture, who do you think inherited this honor? You guessed it: Yours Truly. I’ve never been much of an arse kisser, so you can imagine how relieved I was to learn that this ritual can be simulated with the use of a damp cotton ball. And, by golly, it works. Who knew? Well… someone did, obviously.
When my cat had kittens a few years ago, I did wonder briefly where they “went”. I saw Sassy licking their bums, but it only registered in my brain as grooming. I now realize that it was grooming and then some. I was probably just in denial. I mean, who wants to think about these things? In fact, you’re probably not thanking me for making you think about it, but I refuse to bear the burden of this knowledge alone.
Seriously, though, it was an interesting and fun experience for the most part. Not only did I learn about caring for kittens, I learned quite a bit about the pet over-population in our area, and the resources available to deal with it.
It was difficult finding someone to take the kittens due to their age and the fact that they had signs of infection. I called around to every organization I could find a number for, and none of them had space available or the staff to care for them. Even the city pound wouldn’t take them. Not that I would have taken them there anyway, but it illustrates just how bad the problem is.
I was very sad and worried about the kittens. I simply could not afford to take them to a vet, and they were going to die if they didn’t get medical care. I called Mike at work, crying and asking for advice. He emailed me a link to an animal sanctuary in Seguin, but I didn’t feel very hopeful about it – even if they could accept the kittens, I didn’t have a way of getting them there.
I sent them an email explaining the situation, and asking for any help they could offer. Within an hour, I received a call from the woman who founded the sanctuary. Because I had no way to get to her, she offered to bring kitten formula and medicine to my house. She also said that she would make an appointment with a veterinarian in our area who does pro bono work for her. As long as I could serve as a foster home for the kittens, she would make sure we had all the supplies and medical care they needed until they were old enough to be adopted.
I was very grateful, but still a little nervous because the kittens seemed so fragile and I wasn’t sure exactly how to care for them. When Tracy arrived, she took one look at the kittens and offered to take them with her. She said she would take them to her house until they were well, and able to go to the sanctuary.
I have a feeling that our kittens will do just fine, thanks to my sweet little boy who rescued them, and Tracy who gave them everything else they need.
SARA’s mission: love, life, food, shelter
Southern Animal Rescue Association, SARA, provides homeless companion animals with unconditional life – food, shelter, love and life in a permanent, safe, and healthy environment, despite special health needs or temperament. We seek loving adoptive homes for our animals, but when adoption is impossible, the animals live the rest of their natural lives at the sanctuary in the company of other animals and human caregivers.