Monday, October 5, 2009

The Kitten In The Basement

My house has an earthen basement. It's accessible by opening two large doors, a normal outside entrance and several windows. It's possible for things to get in there that don't belong by crawling under one of the big doors or going through a broken window. I don't go down there very often; it's kinda creepy.

Last weekend I heard the unmistakable cries of baby kittens coming from the basement. They were very loud and wouldn't stop meowing so I went to investigate. It was only one kitten and he was very small. He barely had his eyes open but when he saw me he started toward me without any hesitation. This was trouble and I knew it.

Without going into long detail which I have done in the past I can tell you that there are feral cats in my neighborhood. My neighbor lady that died recently was the main caretaker for these cats. She fed them regularly and they would only come to my house when she was out of town.

I've shown pictures of my cat and he is an inside cat. We do like to sit on the porch and he will take a walk around the property sometimes, usually to pee in the woods, but he is never unattended. And he never gets close to any of the wild cats because I don't want him to catch anything. He had a girlfriend but she died in 2005, he's been the top cat since then.

Periodically, over the next two days I would go back to the basement to check on the kitten. I never saw his mother. I had picked him up and he would crawl all over me; he was trying to nurse. One night he crawled out of the basement and up three steps. I heard him crying and took him back to the basement. Still no sign of a mother cat.

It's a very difficult decision whether to bring a new life into your household. The cat and I have our routine and we are pretty much stuck in our ways, but there was something about this baby, this kitten in the basement.

The next morning I went to check on Little Max as I had begun to call him and he wasn't in very good shape. In fact, I thought he had died. I picked him up and he moved just a little. Over the next several hours I fed him through an eyedropper and decided that I would bring him into the house and would keep him separated from the cat. He made a remarkable turnaround and I continued to feed him every three hours over the next two days.

My cat was becoming accustomed to all the noise that Little Max was making and had even stopped growling whenever I went into the other room where I was keeping them apart. He was becoming curious and wanted to sniff every part of me whenever I came back into the room after a visit with Max. There's something about being around a new life that just seems to make you happy; it did me anyway.

I had to go away for several hours and when I got home I went straight in to check on Max. He wasn't doing very well. I was surprised. I was mad. I was pissed. How could this be happening? I started crying and begging for the life of this little kitten. This little baby that was trying to work his way into my calm and boring life. My tears and prayers didn't work. Little Max died right there, right in my hands.

Could it have been prevented? Did I not feed him enough? Could the Vet have saved him? Did he have something wrong with him from birth and that's why his mom abandoned him? Why are you so upset, you only had him for two days? These are some of the questions that I have been asking myself for the last few days. I don't know the answer to any of them and probably never will...'s been three days, shouldn't I be able to stop crying by now?


Jen said...

I am so sorry to hear about Little Max. I too would have probably formed a bond with a critter that young. At least you had the heart and made an effort to help this little guy. He might've just been really sick. You did good in this, just remember that. ~jen

The Peach Tart said...

Oh honey, so sorry to hear about Little Max. You did the right thing by feeding him and trying to nurse him back to health. He obviously had something wrong from birth. Sorry you are hurting. Big hugs.

Rae said...

Sometimes all our efforts are in vain, but we have to try anyway. I'm sorry you lost Max.
This post showed a side of you I've rarely seen. Vulnerable, sensitive and serious. I cried with you.

Chris said...

Such a sad story. I wonder too if the mother cat knew something was wrong with the kitten. We had a similar story abut 3 years ago with our kitty Fritz. His mother abandoned him, we took him in and he revived and became quite strong. He was the only one of his litter to survive as the mother cat was sickly. But at 1 1/2 years old, he developed a blood clot (Saddle Thrombis disease) and died in March 2008. It is a genetic disease for which there is little to no hope of surviving, and we're convinced he was probably never meant to survive. But it's still very painful to deal with the loss - you open your heart to the little ones and then they're gone. I'm so sorry for what you're feeling and I totally understand.

A Lil Enchanted said...

I'm so sorry about Lil Max... I've been though this heart breaking experience several times... trying to save the lil abandoned babies... sometimes they make it and sometimes they don't.... they are just so fragile when they are that small and can go from great to pitiful very quickly. You did a great thing trying to save him.

A Lil Enchanted,

bemused26 said...

hey, I am so sorry that you had to go through that. I have been coming by here recently because I find your posts quite amusing- wasn't expecting this today! I hope you start to feel better soon, I'm sure you couldn't have done much more.

ReformingGeek said...

I'm sorry but yes, he was probably already ill. We had that happen to a kitten we found.

You should go get a kitten from the Humane Society! You can do it!

Lidian said...

Oh, I am so sorry! You did everything right and he was inside and being looked after, not out and alone. We tried to raise 2 feral kittens once and they got too much for us when they got big, I don't want to say the rest I still get upset after 18 years and I still miss them, too. And still feel guilty.

So I understand how sad this can make someone. Feel better, soon..

xx Lidian



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