Thursday, July 29, 2010
Our Furry Little One-Pound Patient
We have a mother cat with a litter of four kittens in our back yard. On Monday I went out to feed them. Usually, they turn and run when they see me, because they are feral cats. But one little black kitten just sat there looking at me. I slowly stepped closer to it, and still it didn't move. When I got close enough, I could see that one of its eyes was inflamed. "Poor little thing" I thought. Its good eye looked straight at me. It was bright blue. The other eye was watery and just didn't look right. I walked over to it and it let me pick it up! I was amazed! A little feral kitten let me pick it up. I was afraid it must be very sick. It lay very quietly in my arms and let me carry it. It was a tiny little thing, light as a feather. I took it over and showed it to my neighbors, two ladies who are fellow cat lovers. They also were amazed that she had let me pick her up and carry her around.
We put her in a carrier with some food, which she ate. I wiped her eye with a warm cotton ball and put in a drop of eye medicine that we had from another cat. The next day I took her to the vet. The vet techs and the vet all fell in love with her (they confirmed that she is a girl). They weighed her and she was only one pound. They tested her for the regular cat diseases and for worms, and she was found to be healthy. The vet gave her some food and she ate. She became very active, running around and exploring the exam room. We were given some medicine to give her three times a day and some eye ointment. The vet said she only had a cold, a form of rhinitis, but was healthy otherwise.
I brought her home, and we kept her in a crate with a litter box and some milk and food. She drank a lot of milk and ate some food. She meowed at us and made it clear she wanted to be held. When we let her out of the crate, she ran right over to us and climbed all the way up to our heads and over our backs. She purred like crazy. It was so cute watching her wobbly little run as she took off across the floor!
We medicated her for three days until her eye looked better. I was anxious to let her back out with her littermates and her mom before they forgot about her. The kittens aren't completely weaned yet; they are eating dry food but also still nursing. I was afraid they wouldn't recognize her after being with us and to the vet. I have had that experience with my own cats; when one comes home from the vet's office it doesn't smell the same to the other cats.
When I first put her outside, she kept running back into the house. I was worried she wouldn't want to stay back outside, but I thought it would be best for her to be with her family. Finally, I put her out in the carrier with the door unlatched, so she could get out if she wanted to. Soon, her mother and littermates were there, sniffing around the carrier. After a while, she came out. At first she hung around close to the house even when the others wandered away. Later, I looked out and saw her playing with her littermates.
This morning my husband went out to give them food. The little family was gathered around the food dish, but when he came out they all ran... except our little patient. She stayed right there, and even followed him halfway back into the house. So, now she is with her family, but she still comes to us. Such a sweet little cat. I am tempted to adopt her, but we have sworn to ourselves that our four indoor cats is our limit. If we keep adopting them, we will become "cat hoarders" that you hear about. I look out several times a day to see how she is getting along. So far, so good, knock wood! I've seen her romping around with her littermates. I think she is doing okay.