Thursday, June 14, 2012
A tiny, but huge, loss
Shortly after midnight last night, this baby died in my hands. We hadn't even decided on a name for him (or her.) I still didn't know if this kitten was a girl or a boy.
An enlisted man found this kitten in New Orleans and drove back the entire way with this sweetheart in the front seat. He contacted PetSmart, and PetSmart contacted me. The shelter was closed. Where else was there for this baby to go? I couldn't say no.
I carried this baby around with me -- he came to the shop and slept by my desk. After a few good days, the kitten stopped sucking at the bottle and rejected all attempts I made to keep him warm. I'd put it on a heating pad, and the kitten would scoot away. I'd lay warm wash cloths on top of it, and the kitten would squirm out. We kept a gentle heater in front of the kitten's bed, but he would try to get away. By last night, the kitten was cold no matter what I did. I was dripping warm formula into his mouth, but the kitten would spit it all out.
Last night, I realized there was something really wrong. It's difficult for kittens this young to survive without their mothers. And I'm just not a momma cat. (No matter how much I try.) I laid in bed with the kitten, holding him close to my body last night, wrapping it in warm (dry) towels. The last time the kitten urinated, the urine was not only not warm...it was cold.
He wheezed a little, and peeped now and then. And at 12:30, he kind of let out one larger sigh and then was quiet and still. "Steve," I said, "I think he just died."
"No," Steve said.
And I handed him the kitten, and Steve gently touched it, and turned it over, trying to find any kind of response. There was none. "Oh," Steve said. And we were just quiet while he held the tiny, still kitten in his hand.
I laid the kitten in some toweling in a little red and green Christmas box, and we will be burying him this afternoon in our backyard. We only knew him a few days, and while he had a good chance, his time on this earth was very short.
And so, I think I'll name him "Little Angel."