A brief excursion today ended with a detour I hadn't expected. I needed some diversion and wanted to get out of the house so I meandered to the local thrift store to see what was new. I also stopped at the dollar store before heading back home. The traffic was heavy so I decided to not try to make a lefthand turn. Instead, I turned right and took the long way home. It's not actually that much longer, but it surely is easier.
I slowed down when approaching the four-way stop near the elementary school and as I stopped, I noticed what appeared to be a little kitten lawn ornament. I thought it was really cute, but then it moved. It wasn't an ornament, but a tiny live kitten under a bush. I circled the block, parked, and got out of the car to take a closer look. Since the kitten was so tiny, I thought his mama and litter mates might also be in the area, but found no other cats or kittens.
As I followed the kitten around the corner, I saw him run up to a house and duck under its porch. I knocked on the door and asked about the kitten. The man who answered was not too concerned about it, but said he'd seen it in the area for "a couple days". He said he thought it was starving and I asked if he'd offered it any food. The answer was a predictable, "no". This sort of thing never ceases to amaze me. I did notice a padded pillowcase-like item under the porch and some empty cat food cans near the stairs. I surmised the kitten must have eaten from the cans of food and taken shelter inside the padded bag. We've recently had some very cold nights here and I don't think the little one could have survived otherwise.
The man said he owned a "big blue cat" that often slept in the padded sack, but he hadn't seen any other cats around his house. He seemed to think the kitten had been abandoned near the alley. How he knew that, I had no idea. At any rate, I wasn't about to leave the little furry one there to fend for itself. I feel sure he wouldn't have survived much longer. I told the man I'd be responsible for the kitten and he thanked me for caring. I wish he had also cared a little more.
I tucked the kitten inside my shirt and headed to my vet's office where I picked up some kitten milk, a flea comb, and a vitamin/enzyme supplement. The vet said the kitten was too tiny to test for leukemia, but added, if he had a good appetite and I kept him warm, he might do ok.
As of this evening, Tucker, as Spouse named him, is eating heartily and lapping up the kitten milk. I've been using a warm washcloth to soothe him after meals - I'm trying to imitate what his mama might have done for him. He seems weary and could really use a bath, but he's doing well for now. It's often touch and go with tiny kittens, especially those who have been out in the elements without benefit of a mama cat or litter mates, but I'll do the best I can with him, feed him about every two to three hours for the first 24, and hope it's enough to pull him through. What if I hadn't decided to take the long way home? Tucker could use a few kitten prayers please.