Tuesday, July 21, 2009

May I Keep This Elephant?

My grandmother used to always say that she hoped that there were no stray elephants in the neighborhood – the mother would surely bring them home. I've inherited that gene to some degree.

But the mother is like the Pied Piper and Dr. Doolittle wrapped into a single body. She’s always had an overly-sensitive soft-spot for creatures of all varieties and at no time has our home ever been void of them whether they be dogs, cats, birds, mice, turtles or rabbits. She has restored to health or comforted in death more animals than most people will ever SEE.

We took Toby in just over three years ago with the express intent of finding him a forever home, and we did – ours! And now it would seem that the Kitten Fairy (a term I’m borrowing from JeanMartha at Renovation Therapy) has shown up once again to bang me in the head with her wand.

One of my neighbors first heard and then saw a kitten that had crawled into the exhaust matrix under his truck on Friday morning. Did we want it? The mother gave an emphatic no. I got this story – and a glimpse of said kitten – when I got home from work that evening. It had taken up camp between the neighbor’s garage and a pile of junk that runs the length of the garage. You couldn’t get in there to it without chasing it out one end or the other or else removing a whole stack of junk.

On Saturday, I periodically heard its anguished screaming. The mother had tried to approach it but it ran away. It repeated this performance for me. Late Saturday night, I left a bit of tuna at one end of the junk maze. It was gone on Sunday morning and the anguished cries continued. They were loud, continuous, and gut-wrenching.

At dusk Sunday, the cries got really loud. I went to see where the little critter had holed up but as I drew closer, the cries would cease. I had to stand in place until they started again. I thought the kitten had gone under the neighbor’s van. There I was, on all fours peering under the van, when I looked up to see the kitten, camouflaged by the wheel well, perched atop a rear tire. Oh. My. God. This thing was TINY!

I continued to speak softly to it. I mewed at it. While it answered me back, I could see that it was moving to make good its escape. In a single move, I brought myself up from the ground and swiped it off the tire with my right hand. Just as promptly, it sank its tiny, razor-sharp teeth into the index finger of my left hand. It did this again, only this time, clenching my finger even tighter both top and bottom. OUCH!

Thankfully, the second I set it on the deck, it released my finger. I summoned the mother who retrieved our carrier where I put it inside. We took the carrier down into the laundry room so as not to jeopardize – or antagonize – either the kitten or our fur fiends. We gave it some water – which it clumsily lapped while also walking in a shallow dish – and a little boiled chicken smashed up. It gulped hungrily and then began to crawl on me immediately seeking equipment where it would be on its mother. This baby is not even fully weaned!

For the rest of the evening, things got progressively more cordial. Each time I would go to remove it from the cage, it would hiss. Something that cracked me up because for all its yowling, its hiss was barely more than a breath. Too funny! Just hissing. No more biting.

By yesterday, the hissing had stopped. And after the mother spent the day with it yesterday, it’s hard to say whether it will go anywhere or not. (We already know that one shelter is full. The other one – which is not a no-kill shelter – I’ve yet to check.)

Last night, I got a bottle and some bitch’s milk and the baby ate ferociously, chewing half the nipple off of the tiny bottle. Yikes! So for right now, it will be a combo of bottle and soft food. Maybe by the weekend we’ll try some milked over kitten chow. (I’m guessing this tiny blob of gray fur is between 5 and 6 weeks old, based on blue/gray eyes, teeth and motor skills.)

And for right now he/she (hard to tell right now) is ours. Seriously, could YOU ignore this?


13 comments:

Gene said...

How could you not keep that little face? Way too cute.

starsimplified said...

Uh oh, I predict you've just acquired another family member! Honestly, I've never seen eyes quite that color before...how can you send this little one away? I think you won't! :)

Debbie said...

Omg, what a cute little kitten! I don't think this little kitty is going anywhere. lol

Vicki said...

Heartstrings! They're being tugged!...

But, I've got a complaint to lodge. I just read through too many posts because of my inability to keep up with the times and NOT A SINGLE PICTURE OF THE PROGRESS except for a door and some beadboard...Good reading, all of it, but I'm ready for some eye candy ;)

jagolbec said...

"for now" my eye! That cat is *totally* yours forever. Plus, this seems like a sign. Sadly, you lost one pet family member and now a new one comes in to your life. Got to take care of things like that when they happen.

Why S? said...

What a beautiful face! Have you picked out a name yet? ('cause you know you're keeping it. Who do you think you're fooling?)

I have to tell you, I laughed out loud at "bitch's milk." I have never heard that term before. So when you wrote "we got some bitch's milk" I thought "well which bitch did you get it from?" Sorry. Just me. Tired. Stupid.

Karen Anne said...

Wow, what a beautiful kitten. I think she is not going anywhere :-)

Randie said...

That kitten is just too cute!

Ty'sMommy said...

I knew it!!!! When you mentioned the kittens in a recent post, I just had a feeling it was going to end up in your possession! lol...what a softy.

Mama Martha said...

He/she is beautiful and hopefully will make a good addition to the family.

Mustang Sally said...

Oh my goodness, what a beautiful face. Nope, if it was me I couldn't ignore it either. You and the mother have the same disease as me and my husband. He drives for a living (right now) and I can't tell you how many times he's walked in the door carrying some ball of fur (canine or feline, doesn't matter). Some we've been able to return to their rightful owners, some we've found homes for, and a couple have been permanent residents at our house. I don't know how anyone could *not* help an animal. Keep us posted on whether he/she does end up staying. It wouldn't be very hard to fall in love with that little puff ball, that's for sure.

BPOTW said...

Awww! Such a cutie! I can't blame you at all!

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