The Chronicles of Mingo

Bottle-Feeding A Kitten, Woe

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.

Mary Holland

Mary Holland writes alternative-world fantasy for grown-ups. Her books include Matcher Rules, The Bone Road, and The Dog of Pel. She lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains with three cats and an ever-changing assortment of wildlife.

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