November 25, 2009

A kitten's fight against the laws of nature.

Can sheer will and determination help a tiny kitten survive?  I've tried before.  Most recently with Sabrina.  When Amazon CARES first started I remember nursing a tiny puppy with a syringe of puppy milk substitute.  She had been abandoned at two weeks of age.  She did not survive.

Animal rescue is more than tending to the abused and ill.  There are certain natural laws that, no matter how hard we try, can't be broken.  In this case, the mother cat could not deliver her litter.  Her owner brought her to us and we had to deliver her babies by C-section.  The cat, already traumatized, is suffering greatly from the pain of the surgery, and, one wonders, from the emotional aftermath of the surgery.  One kitten was stillborn.  Two survived.  The mother (still under the effects of anesthesia and pain medicine), fell asleep on top of one kitten.  Another sad outcome, and one kitten remains, struggling, yet surviving.  (S)he is seeking affection and milk from a mother cat than is unable to provide it at this time.  The cat has no milk.  The cat is in recovery, barely able to stand up and open her eyes.

We have been feeding the kitten a substitute milk with a tiny syringe.  Luckily, the kitten drinks it.  Last night I stayed up all night with the kitten.  The plan was to set my alarm at two hour intervals, but the alarm didn't work, and I remained so uptight that I couldn't sleep.  Still bearing the guilt of Sabrina's death, I imagined that this little kitten would not die without a fight.  I am happy to say the kitten is still alive.  (S)he drinks the milk, eagerly at times, and then nestles up to his/her mother seeking warmth. 

I checked on the cat and kitten throughout the night.  This morning the mother cat was recovering a bit, and more aware of her baby.  If we can make it another week or two, I will feel a lot better.

Ironically, when I was a child I was afflicted with an illness that prevented me from eating.  I eventually ended up in the hospital, but my parents did not want that to happen.  I'll never forget my father waking me up every few minutes to feed me a teaspoon of sugar water.  He stayed by my side throughout the night.  My Mom stayed in the kitchen, supporting my Dad, and bringing little teaspoons of glucose for me.  How lucky I am to have had devotion and will of both parents on my side.  I'm no cat, nor am I a parent, but I'm doing my best to share their devotion that I so fondly remember from my childhood.

Thanks Mom and Dad.

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