Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Kitten Project: Day 3

A few days ago I took on a new project. I'm fostering an abandoned kitten.

One of the feral cats in my neighborhood was pregnant, a real pretty Siamese mix, and we've been watching her to see where she was going to have her babies. Two weeks ago, May 6th, I came home to suspicious noises under my trailer. I'm still convinced that that was the big day.

There were cat noises, and soft mews for a few days, and then silence. By the end of that week, my neighbor reported the kittens were on her porch--or as she put it, she won the kitten lottery! My guess is that the mother cat moved the kittens because of the strange animal that visits my yard at night. I'm not sure what it is -- in the past I've seen racoons but this is more the size of a dog with the look of a cat, so perhaps either the bobcat or cougar that have been reported in the area. (I only see it's shadowy figure in the dark, because it runs away before I can get the back lights plugged in, which is why I'm not sure.)

Anyway, the kittens stayed on the neighbors porch for about a week, then momma cat moved them under the porch. Moved two of them, that is, leaving kitten #3 alone on the porch. We watched, and listened to kitten #3 cry, for two days before we gave up on momma rescuing it. In the heat, we were afraid we had left it almost too late. Once rescued, and a test to see if the mother cat would take it back, we (my neighbor and I) became foster parents.

I have custody because even though I work, it's still easier for me to take in the baby kitten. My neighbor has two small children of her own, four cats (I only have one), a husband who is allergic to cats (which is why he's always trying to give the four cats to me along with the cup of milk I've come over to borrow), and a doctorate study to finish submitting and final exams to grade -- so I won custody of the kitten. I tried to talk her into giving me the children and then she could keep the kitten, but that just didn't work out.

The first day was overwhelming. I packed up the kitten in a box and kept it at work with me. We had a little difficulty getting the kitten to drink his kitten formula from a bottle, but eventually hunger and ingenuity won out. The kitten managed to eat, and then sleep for long enough periods that I could get my work done with minimal interruptions. If there were night feedings, I missed them. (I should feel guilty about that, but the kitten survived and my cat didn't take action against the kitten or me so since it worked out I feel no real guilt.)

The second day was fun. The kitten and I figured out the bottle situation, so life was suddenly good again. Our schedule was eat, cuddle on demand, and sleep when I had work to do. I had to skip Knit Night because I didn't think a kitten (even a tiny adorable one in a box) would be welcome at Starbucks, and at home my cat was very demanding of her share of cuddle time, so I didn't manage to do any knitting or spinning for the second day in a row. But the kitten was fun, my cat was even more adorable than usual, so it was a great day.

Then there is today. Yeah. The honeymoon is over. I heard the kitten during the night and there would have been guilt if I ignored it. As a result, I overslept. And of course today is a communion morning, which means I needed to be in much earlier than normal. The only way I could manage was to skip my shower, ignore my makeup (or rather, lack thereof), and go to work looking like the frazzled new mom that I apparently am. 

The kitten must be getting enough to eat, because he's starting to be more active. There was much less time spent napping, and a lot more spent meowing in a loud, high-pitched voice that can literally be heard from one end of the church to the other. I know because first I tried hiding his box (with him in it) behind the altar and then I tried putting it way out in the fellowship hall in order to have a few minutes of quiet time to work. My boss was not happy. (He did refrain from complaining once I mentioned that I could call and ask his children to "kitten-sit.")

The only thing that seems to help the kitten settle down, other than a warm bottle, is for me to sing "Senor Don Gato." It was the only song about a cat that I knew all the words. I feel somewhat ridiculous singing lullabies to a kitten, but my theory is that it translates to purring in the kitten's hearing. Ever since I started singing, the kitten has begun to purr himself.

Once he's fed and quiet and purring, it's hard not to love this adorable face!


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