Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cat Scratch Fever!

Yes, I said cat scratch fever. It's the only explanation I can think of to account for the decision we've made.

That being - to keep all of the cats. Yes, Mom Lily, and all four of her babies.

"We'll be known as the crazy cat people,"I told Brent.

"So?" he said, shrugging.

We'd gone over and over the subject. At any given moment you could find us firmly determined to keep one, two, four, none ... it had gone back and forth and around and around. In the end, it was Thragg who decided things for us.

Thragg is the firstborn, a black male with a tiny white tuft at his throat and a single white hair protruding from the middle of his back. He'd also become the runt of the litter after growing at a normal rate for the first five weeks. As he fell behind, the others tended to crowd him out -- he clearly wasn't getting his share of milk, and then Mommy decided that it was time to begin weaning.

To top that off, Thragg took sick, not once but a couple of times. By week six and in spite of our interventions, he was thin and fragile, while the others bounded about, their chubby bodies landing on him as they played. He headed for cover, seeking us out, wanting to be held and protected. And all the while, he got thinner and thinner. His eyes lost expression, his walk became a listless stagger.

It was quite apparent to us that we were losing the little guy. A milk substitute, complete with a pet nurser didn't tempt him. Private sessions we'd been orchestrating with Mommy were no longer working -- she refused to oblige. For several days we rose each morning suffused in dread. Each time, he made his way weakly along and sat at our feet in the most pathetic manner.

As our worry grew, we decided to take him to the local SPCA (from whence Lily had come) for a prognosis. Dreading the worst, Brent could hardly believe his ears when Cindy checked him over and declared, "Nothing wrong with this kitten! He's just a runt." She offered instructions on making gruel for him and showed us how to use the pet nurser more effectively.

It was a turning point. He began to pick up right away, and now, as he nears eight weeks, the tiny creature is rounding out and making gains steadily. Still less than half the size of two of his siblings (as you can see in the photo) the spark is back in his eyes and he's even engaging in a little play.

You'd almost think this would be reason to keep him - maybe only him - but not the others. You'd be wrong. Believing we were losing Thragg showed us how precious each of these tiny creatures really are to us. We love each and every one of them.

And this is why they're staying.

That, and cat scratch fever.


Hélène B said...

Hi Valerie,

Oh my!

So that's the massive weather system I can see over New Brunswick. It's just a giant furball :-)

Lucky kittens.

Fronde said...

People should read this.