I was preparing to write about the conference I attended yesterday regarding the law changes for transporting animals into Connecticut. I was going to talk about what it may mean for my ability to rescue cats from the south, but all that is a blur now.
Last night I was sitting on my bed, playing with Doodlebug. It was 10:20pm. My phone rang. It was Maria. Oh no. She normally would not call me so late at night.
Maria's voice was low, emotionless, she was having trouble saying the words. I knew something was wrong. I wanted her to tell me what happened, but it was taking her too much time to get the words out and my anxiety was building with every second. I'm sure she was just trying to talk and not cry.
“One of the kittens just passed.”
It took a second for the news to sink in. My heart sank and I tried not to cry, too. What happened?! Maria felt he was just too little and underdeveloped-the runt of the litter.
Maria weighed the kittens earlier that night. Three were about 4.5-5 oz and three were around 3 oz. Maria had been feeling that something wasn't quite right about the smaller kittens, but she saw them being fed and she also gave them some milk replacer. Mama had gained almost ONE POUND in a few DAYS. Her diarrhea is resolving and she is clearly getting stronger, but it was too late for the little runt. We weren't even sure if it was a boy or girl who passed. I asked Maria to name the baby so she chose the name, Sammy.
I asked her if she thought the others would be all right and she said she was worried about the other two small ones. I asked her to make sure they were nice and warm-yes, heating pads were going...were they dehydrated? Did they need more milk? I didn't know what to tell her. I'm 1000 miles away and I could only try to think of who lived close by that could help. Should she take the kittens to the vet? If they had fading kitten syndrome there was nothing we could do. Putting them in the car would be further stress on them.
I started to regret referring to the kittens as Bob's Angels. Now it was coming true. Less than an hour later a second kitten died. Maria named him, Red.
I don't know what I'm supposed to say. I know that this happens. You can say it's nature. This is how it goes. The mother is barely a kitten herself. She was grossly malnourished. It's doubtful she was producing enough milk from each mammary gland. She is sick, herself, with diarrhea and is exhausted. There are many reasons why these two babies died, but I had been dreaming of having six orange babies running around my house one day. It was a comfort to having lost my own cat, Bob just two weeks ago. Now that dream was lost and utter grief was taking its place.
There was one kitten left that Maria was worried about. She named him Rocky because he was a fighter. She kept feeding him. Kept him close to her all night. Our friend, Izzy called her and gave her suggestions as to what to do, since she had just bottle fed the little white Angel babies (who are big enough to come here in a few days). Maria and I talked about taking the rest of the family to the emergency vet, but again-the fear of the stress on them just didn't make sense.
Brokenhearted, Maria fought hard for Rocky and urged him to stay strong, but early this morning, Rocky died, too. In his last moments, she held him in her hands and kissed him goodbye. She told him, as she did with his siblings who passed earlier in the night, that she love him.
Three of our kittens have died. The world can stop spinning now. Time has to stand still and take notice of these poor beautiful creatures who never even were old enough to open their eyes and see the world-who will never know the joy of playtime with their siblings-who will never grow into lovely orange adult cats. To say Maria is in pain right now is an understatement. To say I am not right there with her, is one, too. My heart is broken. I am terrified we will lose them all.
I feel like I jinxed the babies. I'm not going to call them Bob's Angels any more. They are “Bob's Pumpkin Patch.” They are going to make it. We are going to fight hard for them. They must survive. They are bigger and their eyes are opening. Let them not see the loss of their brothers and sister, let them see a beautiful world full of love. That's all we wanted for all our kittens, but like any rescue group, we will lose some along the way. These are the first kittens lost to us and we hope will be the last.
We need to fill our fundraiser for the kittens. They are going to have to have more vet care and monitoring and we want to make sure we have funds to cover all their needs. If you can help out with a donation, we would appreciate it a lot. If you already helped them, then thank you so much!
This family deserves names and I was remiss in waiting so long to give them ones. An animal communicator told me that she never met an orange cat who didn't have a human name, so I'm keeping that in mind now.
Mama is Bobette. Means “bright fame.”
Three remaining kittens are: Teddy Boo, Jake O'Lantern & Mikey D. Cider.
LATE BREAKING UPDATE: IT IS VERY POSSIBLE THE KITTENS WERE BORN ON 9|11, not much earlier. Shelter thinks they were born the day after their mama arrived at Henry Co., not days prior. Waiting on confirmation, but this puts them at SIX DAYS OLD as of last night.