Heads Up: This post is just to get some pet related stuff off my chest…and is long winded and gross. That’s the beauty of having your own site…you can write what you want! So, if you don’t give two clicks about how I’m feeling today, then move on. Thanks for checking in, anyway!!
Our cat had kittens in the barn sometime in the middle of the week and had completely abandoned them. We went out around 8:00 Friday morning to check on them because the evening before they were all out of their burrow in the hay stack and Mommy was nowhere to be found (my cat’s name is literally Mommy Black Cat). My husband and oldest had put them back in because they would’ve gotten too cold quickly, and notified me that he didn’t think she was tending them. “Well,” I sighed and shook my head. I knew he wanted to bring them in, but have you ever taken care of baby anythings other than a human? It’s so much work!! I hate to sound selfish, but I wanted to leave them and let nature take its course. I didn’t want to, I guess. I needed to. It never pans out well for me. So here’s where my nature and my good sense conflict. I’ve gone as long as two weeks with a puppy bottle feeding, wiping it to mimic the mother’s cleaning (that’s how they have to go to the potty), just to lose it, anyway. The vet was even working with me on that one. Kittens have never lasted more than three or four days. And they are LONG days! Feeding every couple of hours, then cleaning after the meal.
The twins and I checked the next morning, anyway, and sure enough…there were three spread out across the edge of the hay. I really thought they were dead. The twins immediately went to pick them up and I just about jumped out of my skin but then one squeaked. I rounded them up and put them in a new spot in the hay because there were big green flies all over where they had been (I was pretty sure there the fourth was dead in there) but they were so cold. Mommy Black Cat came by and I rejoiced! I picked her up and tried to put her with them to warm and feed them, but she was having no part of it. We left and I watched. She never went back.
But….could I really let them die and do nothing? The most I could get invested was to make a rice pack to warm and put with them. So that’s what I did.
That’s as far as I got with the tutorial…I was in a hurry. So I sewed a pouch and put the plastic bag full of rice inside so that A) I could wash the cover if needed and B)I could remove the cover and not have kitten junk in my microwave when I reheated it. I microwaved it for a minute and a half, then set out to pretend to save some kittens. By the time I got back to the barn they had the big green flies pestering them. I didn’t even check the bag once during the day. I knew that they would die if not fed and cleaned, but I couldn’t. I went about my day, dragging all sorts of crazy things out into the house to try a few things I’ve been meaning to do. I didn’t not check because I was busy. I didn’t check cause I just didn’t feel I had it in me to go through it all right now, and the next step would’ve been to bring them inside.
“What,” you ask, was I working on all day? I can’t tell you yet…but here’s what I started tinkering around with: You can surely guess what Project Two is going to be! Actually, leave a comment with your guess! It’s getting awfully lonely around here!
So on to the evening. I told the twins when they asked to go look that the kittens weren’t going to make it. I really fully expected them to be gone by the time my oldest got home from school. Oh, but no. Once he caught wind of the rice pack he had something proactive he could do, so he warmed it again for them….then again a few hours later. Then my husband started carrying on. See. It’s always him. He’s always the one to pack orphaned babies to the house. I’m always the one to tend them, get attached and be heartbroken. This was no exception. Nights are getting chilly. They had them out on the front porch with a bucket of water, it already almost dark, trying to wash the fly eggs off of them. “Just bring them in,” I conceded.
So there we were for the next however many hours…tending kittens. It was a huge mess. All the tiny bottle things were packed in a box containing the contents of a junk drawer (moved out during the water leak). So I ram sacked the box looking and finally found the nipples but that was it. My kids acted like they struck gold. Oh, the goodies in an old forgotten junk drawer! But that led to a bigger mess when my youngest found an old jar lifted and figured out he could use it like chopsticks to move everything around!
I improvised a bottle. I took a glycerine bottle and wallowed out the pour hole just a bit to fit the nipple. But I didn’t have any milk replacer so they got cow’s milk. I figured it better that they get the runs than die. They all drank! They all peed! Only one had a movement. By Saturday morning they were all loud. They all ate and I intended to buy the milk replacer and went grocery shopping and came home with out it. I was going to drive back to town, but they were going downhill. By Saturday night two were gone. One was so loud. He was so strong. He was so breaking my heart. I knew it was only a matter of time because fly eggs had hatched…um…inside him. He was so bloated but all I could get him to pass was more and more larvae. It was disgusting. Of course, my husband and son had got me into this mess. I didn’t want this to start with. Now I had to make a decision. And it’s a different decision the first time. The first time the decision would have been to let nature do as it does. The second time I had to say this is more than I can deal with. I had taken responsibility for this animal and wasn’t willing to spend the money at the vet when I know from twice now that they die, anyway. We took him back outside alone in the cold to pass more quickly. Wouldn’t you know that after all this I just want to dig back into my project, so I set out to find the staple gun. No luck. I looked everywhere but one place. The one place I figured it was. The shed where my husband had taken the kitten to breathe his last. I waited until super late. I had been messing around all day and couldn’t see a bit of progress and all I needed was that stupid staple gun. I went. I could hear him scratching around the box ever so lightly. I’m broken typing it right now.
So what decision do you make? Do you try? When you try and know it’s over before it actually is, do you end the animal yourself? Or do you leave it to happen the fastest way you can figure? This happened before, as I have said. Not just like this. But I had the last of a week-long pursuit once and he was as good as gone. He would quit breathing for so long, then all of a sudden inhale so deeply and just wheeze and wheeze. I begged God to help him pass or heal him. I did it myself, finally. I still remember begging out loud in the middle of my yard all alone for God to help me. It was the worst thing I’ve ever had to do. If you’ve ever “put an animal out of its misery” you know that misery transfers to you. It doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel like you’ve done a good thing. We have two cats right now. Mommy and Grey Cat (Great names, right?) Mommy is already in heat. There was a male around already Friday morning. Grey Cat confirmed my theory by Saturday. I figure one of the kittens was killed and the rest packed out to send her back in heat…which worked. I’m going to quarantine her when she gets close to delivering so that this doesn’t happen again, then her and any others will be spade and I am never going through this again. EVER!!