RIP, Little Kitty

My heart is broken. Despite everything I tried, my little fighter kitty died this morning.

He did great on Saturday, sucking down 2-3 dropperfuls at a feeding. I went and bought a bottle so I wouldn’t have to keep refilling and reheating the dropper, but he wasn’t strong enough to drink from it (the nipple was too hard for him to suck) so I went back to the dropper, which he could suck the milk out of. Cindi called me Saturday afternoon to say her kitten from the same litter died and she was so upset it was something she did. I told her that hers wasn’t very strong or active compared to mine, when I saw it with the litter on Friday, trying to reassure her. We both hoped my little guy would make it.

Saturday night he was the hit of the party.

Sunday he didn’t eat as much, but he started crawling out of his box, and when I set him on one end of a sofa cushion, he crawled to another. He was strong and a fighter.

I was worried about what to do with him Monday, but Mom volunteered, and they picked him up Monday morning. I had to get everything ready just like for a baby. I even typed out instructions. When I went to pick him up after school, he was starting to fuss (again, like a baby) and so I sat and fed him and visited with Mom and Joe and drank a non-alcoholic mango margarita and fed the baby, who fascinated their giant dog. The kitten couldn’t quite settle down to eat, and maybe I overfed him, I don’t know. But he didn’t stop crying all night. Even when he was asleep, he was whimpering. I tried rubbing his tummy, thinking it might be colic. I got him to poop a bit and pee a lot, but not stop crying.

At three AM, after giving him most of a dropperful, I put him back in his box and went back to bed. The plan was to give Mom a check so she could drop him at the vet. Just as I was drifting off to sleep I remembered we’d just changed his formula from liquid to powder.

When I woke up, he was asleep, and quiet. I ran to HEB to get the liquid formula he’d been on, but when I picked him up to feed him, he was very lethargic. The little guy who was crawling on my shirt last night to cry in my ear wasn’t even making an effort to swallow. I knew it was too late. I held him against my chest until I had to leave for work (breakfast duty and testing today, no way I could be late.) I kissed him goodbye and Fred held him and tried to perk him up by sitting by the heater.

I cried all the way to school. Even if I’d had time to put on make-up, it would have washed off. I had to lock up my phone because of testing rules, so as soon as my student was done with his test and I turned in materials and could take a restroom break, I ran to the office to call Fred from the school phone. He confirmed that the kitty had died, and he’d buried him.  (See why I’ve been married 25 years? And why I write romance?) I started crying all over again, and have been, off and on, all day.

I know, it’s ridiculous to love something I only had 4 days so much, but I did. I miss him. The house feels weird without him next to me.

But I’ll never do the bottle-feeding kitty thing again. I can’t stop thinking, “If only.”



9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gina Black
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 16:43:06

    Awww Mary, I’m so sorry. And I understand. Truly I do. My daughter fostered baby kitties for a while and they are very fragile but they capture our hearts and then our hearts break when they don’t make it. That happened to her with one of them and me with another. We will always remember Meatball and Jane even though they graced us with their presence for such a short amount of time. HUGS!!!


  2. Tori Scott
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 16:44:35

    I went through the same thing with a calf one time. Animals who aren’t with their mothers during those first critical two weeks don’t get the colostrum they need to survive. Some can make it anyway, but many can’t. Sending hugs, because I know how easy it is to become attached to something you’re trying so hard to save.


  3. Leslie P Garcia
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 17:11:56

    Mary, I’m so sorry. Since my family grew up with so many animals, we bottle fed puppies, kittens, and a foal. Some we saved, some we couldn’t–but no matter how little time they’re ours, I think they’re struggle to live, their absolute innocence and dependence, all touch us enormously. Hugs on your loss.


  4. Gayle Cochrane (@GayleCochrane)
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 17:25:45

    I am so sorry about kitty. I was really hoping for a happy ending. I bottle fed a kitty that someone found in a park, and your kitty reminded me of her. Very sorry to read this.


  5. Charity
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 19:10:14

    Oh, so sorry. Your little kitty captured my heart too and I have tears as I type this. Sending hugs your way.


  6. Lucy Francis
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 19:23:29

    Awww, Mary. This breaks my heart. Just don’t go second-guessing yourself. You did everything you could. Big hugs to you, and to Fred for taking care of the little guy.


  7. marycurry
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 21:01:10

    Mary, I’m crying reading this. You try so hard with all the kitties. At least you made his short time a loving one. Hugs.


  8. barbaraphinney
    Apr 25, 2012 @ 05:22:25

    I am so sorry to hear about your kitty. I have lost a few over the years, and it never gets easy. Kittens are fighters, and my word, they just capture our hearts, don’t they?


  9. mjfredrick
    Apr 25, 2012 @ 06:11:14

    Thanks so much, everyone. You make me feel like I’m not crazy for being so sad 🙂 Gina, Meatball and Jane, LOL! Tori, yes, he sure did miss having that initial boost from his mom. And he was so upset that last night. Poor little guy just ran out of fight. Leslie, I’m crying all over again. You have it just right. Gayle, he sure looked like he was doing fine over the weekend. I thought he might make it. Mom and I were even looking at kitty pictures saying, “This is what he’ll look like by the weekend, and this is what he’ll look like in 10 days.” Thanks so much, Charity and Lucy. Mary, there’s a reason my brother gave me a mug that says “Crazy Cat Lady,” lol! Barbara, exactly. I miss the little guy crawling on my shirt!


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