Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Mourning

We have more cats than we need. We really do. Still, losing that kitten hurt a lot.

I have never seen a cat hang on for so long and not get better. Generally, animals will get sick for a day or two, then either die or get better.

I found him laying around maybe a week ago. His litter mates and mother were outside, so I put him with them, figuring that nursing on his mother would help (even though they are pretty much weaned). A little later, Mary brought him in and washed him up. For the last several days, she has been keeping this baby clean and feeding him with a syringe. He was brought back from the brink two or three times.

This morning, it really looked like he was almost gone. Mary gave him some milk and wrapped him in a towel and set him in the box that we have for him in front of the pellet stove. The milk seemed to revive him a bit.

We took our last two fertile females to the vet to get fixed (his mother and grandmother). When we came back, he was still alive, but not looking very good. After a few hours, he was dead.

We have lost kittens before. We lost some adult cats, too, but they just kind of disappeared. They were either shot by the neighbor or eaten by coyotes.

It's different, though, when you invest so much care and emotion into helping this little thing, only to see him die. This time, I have a little furry body to bury.


When you raise animals, you see the entire life cycle. Life and death are just part of the game. I buried a small buck goat just a little over a week ago. Paul and Mary were sad about it because they had taken care of this goat, and had plans to teach him to pull a cart. I hadn't gotten close to the animal, so it didn't bother me much. It's just a part of living on a farm. Animals are born, and animals die.

I wrote an essay about it last year, and I'll post it later if anyone wants to see it.

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