Saturday, October 26, 2013

Breaking My Own Rule

When we built the house at this little place here, we made a rule.

No Animals In The House. 

This rule was made because DS2 had many allergies, and cats and dogs were among them. It wouldn't be so bad if those allergies just manifested as sneezing, itchy eyes and runny nose.  But no, he has asthma, and when he was young his asthma attacks could be sudden and extremely severe.  So, with this brand new house we didn't want to introduce any animal dander or allergens to the structure.

We told our children that all animals, pets or otherwise, had to live outdoors.  And, through the years, we've stuck to that rule.  Pretty much.  DH would break it now and then, to bring the dogs into the basement when winter weather turned severely cold.  But only for a night or two.  No animal could live indoors.  And no animals could come on the main floor where us people spent a lot of our time when home.

Until this week.  On Tuesday I discovered that the mama cat out in the barn had, apparently, abandoned her kittens.  We'd seen her near them, but not with them, just about every time we'd been in the barn in the several days prior.  Then Tuesday morning I went to the barn to hear piteous crying, no mama cat in sight, and two kittens all ready dead.  The three living ones were very skinny and weak; one looked in really bad shape (I expected it to die soon), the other two could at least pick their own heads up.

Being tender hearted, I scooped up the three struggling kittens, put them inside my coat (oh my goodness, their little bodies were so cold!), and brought them into the house.  In the house, I fixed them up with a box, some rags, and two hot water bottles.  Then I set to soaking some cat food in hot water until it was mush, and syringe feeding them.  It was all I had, and I just had to try.

By that afternoon, the smallest weakest one could hold his head up.  I nicknamed him "Tiny Tim". The other two could stand on their feet.  Things looked favorable for successful kitten rescue.

I read up on care of three week old orphaned kittens.  Some sites said to give them KMR, kitten milk replacer, but I didn't have any of that.  All sites said not to give cows milk, that it would cause diarrhea and dehydration. So I kept making them warm cat food mush and syringe feeding them.

Wednesday morning, Tiny Tim ate well, and could even stand up.  I began to think he would pull through, even though he'd been much weaker and closer to death than the two larger kittens when I had discovered them 24 hours previous.

On Wednesday evening, Tiny Tim relapsed.  He had been peeing and pooping, as had the other two kittens, when stimulated to do so.  He had been eating, although not much.  His eyes, up until mid-afternoon on Wednesday, had been wide and bright.  By Thursday noon, Tim was gone.  I cried.  It was just so unfair.  Poor little guy.  He had wanted to make it.  He had looked so good, so normal, on Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, the other two, which as of yet do not have names, continue to hang in there.  They eat, sometimes heartily, sometimes not so well.  They turned four weeks old on Thursday, and have started to pee and poop on their own.  They meow when they want attention, or food, or need their water bottles refreshed with hot water.  They try to climb out of the box sometimes, and when I take them out, they walk around on legs getting ever stronger.  They started purring yesterday, and seem to like to climb up to my shoulder, burrow under my hair, and sit there, purring.

They are still little skeletons, weighing just five ounces and six ounces, but I think they will make it.  I hope they make it. They are starting to figure out how to bite and eat the soft, squishy food instead of having to be fed slowly by a syringe. We are all putting in a lot of effort (and a grocery trip for special kitten food) to tip the scales in their favor.

And in two weeks, when they are solidly into the whole eating and pooping and self-care thing that six week old kittens normally are, they will need a new home.  Because I definitely can't put them back out into the barn to be barn cats.  Not in November, not in the cold with no mother to make sure they stay warm at night.  And I can't let them become house cats here.  Because we have a rule about animals in the house.  Even though DS2 no longer lives here, I still don't want animal dander becoming a fixture in the furniture and nooks and crannies of the house.  It will still affect him on the occasion that he does come for a visit.


they found me!

how could I not break the rule for a 5 ounce cat?

learning how to eat is a full contact sport

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