When she was about three weeks old, I picked her up and brought her home to meet my husband. My husband was hesitant. We already had two cats, Milo Kitty-sixteen years old and Patches-eighteen months old, and a Yorkshire terrier, Alex-eight years old. He kept asking me why we needed another cat. I held her out to him and she curled up in my husband’s beard. "Can’t I have her please? She’s so sweet.” He shook his head. I took the kitten back to her momma, knowing I had a couple of weeks to win my husband over.
A couple of days later, my neighbor called me in tears. The momma cat had been hit by a car. She was dead and my neighbor didn’t know what to do with kittens that small. She told me she was going to take the three orphans to the Humane Society the next day because they could care for them. Well, I rushed over and picked up the sweet little one, I fell in love with and brought her home.
When I told my husband what happened to the kitten’s momma, the old softie agreed we could keep her. I left her curled up in his beard and went to the store for an animal baby bottle and kitten formula. I christened her Itzy Bitzy Little Bit, because she was so small she fit in the palm of my hand.
Later that night, my daughter was babysitting my neighbor’s year old son. She heard a hissing noise and went out to investigate. She found my neighbor’s dogs had jumped the fence and were playing tug-of-war in the front yard. She took a step closer and stepped on something soft and squishy, and then she realized what the dogs were playing with…a kitten. The squishy thing she had stepped on was the dead body of Little Bit’s brother and the dogs had her sister in their jaws ripping the small body apart. My neighbor’s husband came home and killed his dogs. My daughter and my neighbor buried the kittens. Now, Little Bit was truly an orphan. My daughter came home in tears and picked up Little Bit looking into those big turquoise eyes and told her how lucky she was to be in our home.
Now, it’s been a long time since I’ve gotten up for 3AM feedings, but I was back in the habit after the first day. Eventually, Little Bit warmed to the nipple on the bottle. After five days, she was suckling with gusto. Earlier concerns that she might not survive vanished.
One evening she was so aggressive with the bottle that she bit off the tip of the nipple. It got caught in her windpipe. Her eyes bulged, her paws steadily rubbed the sides of her face, froth appeared at the corners or her mouth, and she couldn’t breath. I turned her upside down and shook her, and she went limp. Now, I knew this little kitten was going to die. I had tears running down my face and my husband was asking me what we should do. By the time we could get her to the vet, the kitten would surely be dead. My mind raced and I grabbed her around the middle just under her rib cage and did a quick abdominal thrust upwards. The nipple popped out and she started breathing again.
I’m not sure how many lives a cat has, but surely this kitten has used a few. Our new addition may be small, but she’s making her mark in our home and our lives. When she wants to explore the house, Milo Kitty leads the way.