Black cat sniffs new kitten very carefully, walks three steps away, and throws up. OH DEAR
The kitten let me sleep all night long, it took me only an hour and a half to set up my new printer/scanner, and it’s a beautiful day. Okay. This is very difficult for me, as a confirmed pessimist.
Absolutely not cute. No. Not in any way.
If I didn’t already have the vet’s opinion that Mingo is male, today would be proof: he missed the litter tray by an inch. However, A for Effort.
So Mingo went to the vet today for his 10-days-from-rescue checkup. His weight is now .96 lb, up from .58 lb, which (Mary does Math) is something like a 65% increase. I expect my math is wrong; feel free to correct.
He is negative for feline leukemia, so I don’t have to lean so hard on the quarantine. Unfortunate, despite my and the vet’s best efforts, he still has a few fleas. The vet suggested I comb his little armpits more carefully, because that’s a good spot for fleas to hide. I pointed out that it was taking three people to hold him down while said combing was taking place, but promised I would do my best. (Note to Self: grow more arms) He bit and scratched everybody. “How cute!” they said. However, the vet said he was ready to be weaned so the syringe is a thing of the past. He’s also supposed to be encouraged to use a litter box, so I expect much mess in my future.
I’ve blocked off part of the bathroom floor as a pen for him. I had to put my bathroom scale in the closet: what a shame. I let him out of the carrier and he toddled over to the formula dish and lapped enthusiastically. The litter box was of no interest. Oh, I am really looking forward to the next few days… Assuming I can get rid of the fucking fleas, I can introduce him to the other cat members of the household. I will have to do this carefully, since the last time I brought in a kitten Rainy the Siamese devoted her life to killing it. Rainy does not share. I’m not sure how Squeaky will react since his only model for how to treat a kitten is…Rainy. He did survive, but it was fraught. If they team up Mingo is in trouble. On the other hand, all that biting… But the best news is I can increase the time between feedings and GET MORE SLEEP.
Here’s a picture of Mingo’s first meal on his own. Note the size of the feet. The vet said he will be a beautiful cat. Huh.
Want to reduce your time on social media? Bottle-feed a baby kitten. Also reduces those wasteful hours you’ve been sleeping. #exhausted
Mingo is living in the bathroom, in a cat carrier lined with a heating pad set on low and towels. He also has a lovey, a soft stuffed animal donated by the vet, to snuggle up to. Every 3 hours, or 4 at night, I collect a warm pan of water, 4 or 5 cotton shop towels left over from my husband’s man cave, cotton pads, a syringe, and a warm-ish bottle of formula. He knows exactly what it means when the light goes on and starts squeaking. For the first day or so I had to pull him out of the carrier, but now he toddles to the carrier door and tries to get out. I flip him upside down (gravity assist) and slowly squirt the syringe into his mouth.
We (me and the vet) considered using a tiny baby bottle with a soft nipple but Ming is a biter and that might be risky, so I’m using the hard syringe.
After he’s full, about 3 syringes worth or 3-4 mil, I rub his tummy until he pees and poops. Tiny kitten poop is just as smelly as adult cat poop, I am here to tell you. And I’ve had to get a special cream to rub on his butt, because I’m not a mother cat licking his butt. (Mother cats are woefully unappreciated, in my opinion.) I pop him back in his carrier and clean up.
Generally, sitting on the bathroom floor at 3 a.m., I have time to contemplate my unutterable stupidity in trying save a cat I don’t want or need. But he’s trying so hard to live, he’s so tiny, and while I know it’s instinct, I can’t help but see it as bravery.
Kitten Update: I’ve named him Mingo. (Firefly fans, please note) Here’s a picture of his first bath at the vets, and a somewhat blurry picture of Ming during a feeding. He’s very wiggly. I am indeed feeding him via syringe every two hours. The vet has kindly informed me I can go as long as four hours between night feedings. Gee, I can’t wait. I’m still pulling fleas off him. The maggots, mercifully, are gone. He’s not out of the woods. He’s in quarantine in the bathroom because he has no red blood cells to speak of. The fleas got all of those. And we can’t test him for kitty leukemia until we can get a blood sample. And he may have internal parasites…the list goes on. My adult cats are pretending there is nothing squeaking in the bathroom, because perhaps it will go away. Anyway, it’s day 2 and he’s still with us. Go Ming!
So today I was giving IV fluid therapy to my 17 year old Siamese and someone rings the front bell. I yell “Come in!” and nothing happens. I disconnect cat from needle (cat extremely pissed off) and go to the door. No one there. I step outside, because my yard gate is open.
Something goes “mew”.
I look down. Someone has left a tiny tiny kitten in a basket on the doorstep. WTF?
I’m disentangling kitten from basket and my sometime yard person sticks her head around the gate. She’s laughing, big joke. “Oh this kitten was crying all night and today we went into the bushes by my front door and found it. (never mind why the FUCK they didn’t investigate last night)
So I say “Kitten has to go to vet NOW!”
“Why?” she says. (*headdesk*)
Yard person is nice but knows nothing about cats and jack shit about baby kittens. “Because,” I say, calling the vet, “this cat barely has its eyes open, it is too young to be weaned, and it needs special food.”
While waiting for vet appointment I get some warm milk and water syringed down the kitten’s throat. It is obviously starving and dehydrated. I haul ass to the vet.
Vet says kitten is male, about 2 weeks old, weighs .58 lb (that’s POINT 58), has about a bazillion fleas which are eating it to the point of severe anemia, and has maggots from uncleaned poop on its butt. We wash kitten. We remove about half the fleas. Vet cannot do blood tests for kitty leukemia because kitten is so anemic drawing blood would kill him. Lovely. Kitten is spending the night at the vets and he may not survive.
Everyone is so happy here because “see, we knew you were the right person to adopt the kitten.”
If this kitten survives the night I will end up feeding it every 1-2 hours, rubbing its tummy to make it pee and poop, cleaning it, and giving it regular baths because fleas. Plus keeping it away from the other cats because diseases.
Thanks a bunch, everyone.
Update: Kitten survived the night and is flourishing. SIGH So I’ll stop by and pick it up later today. WTF karma.