Sunday, August 19, 2012
RESCUING A KITTEN, Part 1
We rescued a kitten this summer. We love her to bits. In my new mystery series, my heroine rescues strays. Maybe what I visualized came true! But I thought I'd write a blog on our rescue process because taking in a stray can be complicated and costly. Maybe that's why more people are hesitant to do it.
This kitten was in a shrub, crying. My husband and a friend found her when they were gardening. But--and I think this is more a guy thing--they watched her run away. So when they told me about the baby kitten who had been crying in a bush, I decided to try to find her. It wasn't hard. She was still in our backyard.
Tons of thoughts ran through my head. We have two older cats who are eleven. One has a territorial problem. We had never thought about bringing in another kitten because of all the complications one could present. I've had cats as companions all my life so I'm aware of their behaviors and physical problems as they grow older. Taking in a kitten would be a big commitment.
However, as soon as my husband caught her and put her in my arms, I was pretty sure we'd figure out whatever we had to do. She was a baby (about six weeks), hungry and thirsty and dehydrated on an almost 100 degree day. First thing to do was feed her smooshed cat food with water mixed in. She knew how to eat so we knew she'd been weaned. After she ate, she curled up in my arms and fell asleep. We have a sunroom with A/C and that's where I sat with her, holding her and stroking her. My husband asked if this was where we were going to keep her and I responded, "For now." He knew she'd be in the house eventually. We'd bonded.
Still, I called a neighbor who lived on a farm to the rear of our yard and he knew nothing about the kitten. After speaking to other neighbors, we realized no one was searching for a small black kitten. In our area, passersby have dropped kittens before because we knew of other neighbors who took them in. No one was claiming this one.
Her eyes were runny and I found flea dirt in her fur, which meant she had fleas even if I couldn't see them in her black fuz. So the next thing I did was make an appointment with a veterinarian. I couldn't get an appointment with our regular vet for three days, so I phoned a new vet in our area who our petsitter recommended. I spoke with the receptionist about the kitten and they could get me in the next day. The tech reminded me to feed her small amounts often with fresh water. My husband went to the store for kitten food and readied a box with towels as a bed. At first the kitten was disoriented and she urinated on the towel in the box. Cats rarely soil where they sleep. But as soon as she'd eaten two meals and had a nap, she used the nearby litter box and hasn't had an accident since. Her mom taught her well. I also think she was well-tended by her mom, groomed and played with because she liked the petting and stroking and was easy to handle. She was a sweetie. I held her for hours until she went to sleep, then fed her and repeated the whole process over again.
We also were careful about washing our hands thoroughly before going into the house with our other two cats. I changed clothes each time because I was the one who handled all three cats. We didn't know yet if the kitten had distemper or feline leukemia. That's why a quick vet appointment was necessary.
More about the veterinarian visit, the cost and naming the new kitty in the next blog.
© 2012 Karen Rose Smith
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