our kittens are over 3 weeks old now, and so, so fun. they want to explore and play with us and wrestle each other. we have always felt that gigi, their mommy, is the best little kitty cat in the entire world (she found lexi & i as a tiny ktten when we went for a walk last summer, and wanted to come home with us), and she has proved to be a wonderful mother ~ staying in her box and nursing her babies even when she was weak from hunger. we would bring food & water to her, and she would gobble it desperately, but she wouldn't leave her babies.
(first time out on the lawn)
on monday, the day after their 3 week birthday, a cute little neighbor boy brought us a tiny gray kitty he had found in their barn. they heard it crying on sunday, but couldn't find it. he finally searched until he found it in the rafters after school on monday. it was so tiny, about 1/4 to 1/3 the size of our kittens.
this little kitten confused us because he was so small, about the size of our kittens at birth, but he had his eyes open. our kitties didn't get their eyes completely open for over 2 weeks. then we noticed that he still had his cord. our kitties lost theirs within a week. lexi googled and discovered that kittens can open their eyes as early as 3 days, so we think he is less than a week old. this tiny guy is so sweet and affectionate. he purrs and cuddles, which our other kitteis wouldn't do for us, they just wanted their mommy at this age. we put him with our kittens hoping that gigi would feed him. she was unsure, but did allow him to stay. but he was so weak, and the other kittens so big and pushy, that he didn't have a chance at nursing....
so we force fed him some milk through a syringe, worried that he would get it into his airways, and decided it would take a miracle for him to make it through the night.
little mia is our animal lover and she put him in a doll sling and carried him around that evening. she lovingly and patiently cared for him and kept trying to feed him.
finally we put him with the other kitties for the night, hoping for the best. when we went to bed, we found two signs on our bedroom door:
"please check on buster (that's what she named him) every 30 minutes"
"did buster die?
at what time
we wrote that he was alive at midnight and went to bed.
in the morning he was alive and willing to be fed more milk from a syringe.
and now for the really interesting part of the story (at least we think so)....
mia took buster to gigi before she left for school, and had a long talk with her, telling her how important it was for her to feed him. gigi listened and then picked him up by the scruff of his neck...it took her a long time to accomplish it, because there isn't much scruff. it looked like she was eating him....and carried him to an empty cardboard box in the garage and let him nurse. then she carried him back to the box with the other kittens. she has repeated this over and over and will take him to his own box whenever we ask her to. now, wednesday afternoon, he can hold his own and feed with the other kittens.
i don't believe in coincidences, but do believe that most (if not all) things happen for a reason. i wondered if this little kitty may have been sent to us for a reason. i asked mia what she and buster (pronounced "bustard" by gracie, which inspires endless amusement) have in common. she noted that they were both small. i contributed that they both had birth mothers that couldn't take care of them for some reason. then i asked if we, or gigi, love him any less because he is a different color, or different size, or was born to a different mother. i saw the light go on in her eyes that i had hoped for. and that brings me joy. she struggles with these issues. i'm grateful for an orphaned kitten and a devoted kitty mother and what they can teach my precious little girl.