Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lucky the Kitten

What on earth have I been doing lately, that is SO DARN important that I can't even take a few moments to jot it down?

Well, it's kind of death by a thousand tiny cuts...nothing catastrophic, but an accumulation of busy-ness that has kept me...well...busy!

For example, last weekend, we discovered a batch of kittens in my folks' garage...the fourth litter this year. This is hard to understand if you don't live out in the country, but cats come and go at an astonishing rate. So much so that most people do not fix their cats, because they are likely to disappear the next week. In this particular case, the mother was born and raised at my folks' house, but remained quite wild, and must have either abandoned the kittens, or died. By the time we figured this out, it looked like the kittens had expired, so the whole box was removed from the garage for disposal of some sort. Later, my sister noticed that one kitten was in fact alive. The box must have warmed up in the sun, and given this guy just enough energy to say "I'm not dead yet". My sister, who got the vast majority of the nurturing genes in our family, brought the little baby inside. She borrowed some kitten milk replacement, got some into him, and wouldn't you know it, the little guy rallied, squirming and crying for more, truly a testament to the tenacity of life.

Great, what? We have a week-old kitten with eyes still shut, some milk replacement, and some poor sucker to warm it and feed it through the night. Yes, that last component was me, sleeping with the little creature on my chest, waking when it cried, trying to feed it with milk replacement, and wiping its bottom with a warm wet paper towel to get it to go potty.

Did I mention this was every 2-3 hours?

After the first night, let's just say I was REALLY inspired to try to get the other nursing mother cats to adopt this baby. They had shown no interest the day prior. But eventually, one of the mothers, a fantastic cat who has co-mothered other litters, did break down and allow the little baby to nurse, and started to clean him. Giddy with this first success, I concocted a plan to keep the baby warm by making a nice, comfy box that all the other kittens would want to occupy. The plan worked!

So now, one week later, we have two cats co-mothering all eight kittens, including the little baby. His eyes are barely open, but he stumbles around, gamely trying to hold his own against the other kittens, many of whom are three times his size (and age). Here they are in a moment of peace.

At the top of the picture is the alpha mommy, Sassy, a dark brindle. The orange long hair to the right is the other mommy, Big Kid. We actually had misclassified her as a male, until we caught her in a compromising position that removed all doubt. She is a teenage mother, but has followed Sassy's lead, and is co-mothering the brood, including the baby. The baby, black and white, is sprawled on top of Big Kid here.

So...what do we call him? I say him, but in fact I don't really know, even after our quality time together. In fact, after the Big Kid fiasco, my confidence in gender ID is shot. I'd really have to ask someone else. But anyway, assume it's a boy, and think...what to call him?

Lucky? Chance? Lazarus? Phoenix?


  1. Oh how cute are they??? I was wondering where you have been, it's been over 10 days since you posted something here. We are eagerly awaiting the "move-in" post. Hope all is well.