On memories and kittens

This weekend, or more so Saturday, was not a particularly good day for me. It really brought back a lot of painful memories for me that I would rather not think about.

I went to visit my mom on Saturday and when I arrived, my nephew excitedly called me as he wanted to show me something.

My brother’s cat had had kittens and he couldn’t wait to show me the kittens. By then, two of the five kittens had already died. When I came into the room, a third kitten had died (and silly I loudly called to my mom telling her the kitten was dead). This left Aidan responding that the kitten was not dead but sleeping. The other two kittens were quite weak and it was clear that their mother was not feeding them.

I rushed off to the vet to get a bottle and some special formula for the kittens. I explained to the vet that the mother was quite a young cat and it seems as if the kittens were premature and also that the mother was not feeding them. She explained to me how to go about feeding them and to see whether the mother in fact has milk.

On my arrival home, the one kitten drank from the bottle and the other one refused. When I squeezed the mother’s nipples (as explained by the vet) there was some milk coming out and the kitten that did not want to drink from the bottle started drinking from the mother. The other one was too weak to drink from the mother.

I fed them a few times on Saturday whilst by my mom, and at one stage both were drinking from the bottle, but just before I left, the one kitten died. The mother carried on feeding the other kitten until yesterday afternoon and she seemed fine. My mother let me know that later yesterday afternoon, the mother had stopped feeding her and again seemed like she wanted nothing to do with the kitten. My mother then fed her with the bottle but my mom let me know this morning that she didn’t make it.

Now you are most likely wondering what this all has to do with bad memories, so here goes.

The night that my father was admitted to hospital, I found a baby kitten just over a week old dumped outside the hospital. The kitten’s eyes were not even open yet. We were not sure if it had been dumped by its mom or somebody else.

Needless to say, I couldn’t leave the kitten there and the kitten went home with me. I fed the kitten almost every hour for the next two weeks and the kitten went everywhere with me. In fact, the kitten even went with to my dad’s funeral.

The first week I was on Varsity holiday so it was relatively easy to look after the kitten. It kept my mind off the fact that my dad was very sick in hospital and I knew he wasn’t going to make it. The following week, I was off from Varsity as my dad had passed away and I was then also able to take care of the kitten.

I think that the kitten was a God send; I think that God knew that I would have a difficult time absorbing my father’s death, the first real loss that I had suffered. The kitten kept me occupied and I didn’t have to focus on the real issues at hand. Don’t get me wrong, I knew I had to be strong for my mom and brothers but I think that God knew I just needed that something else.

I became very concerned as the two weeks were nearing its end as I knew that I had to go back to Varsity and that there would be no-one to look after my kitten. God answered yet another concern. Our other cat was pregnant and initially she wanted nothing to do with the kitten. That Sunday after the funeral however all she wanted was the kitten. She gave birth to her litter of kittens a while later and accepted my kitten as her own. She let her drink with the rest of her kittens.

All the kittens however died a few short weeks later, including the one that I had tried to save. I was absolutely shattered. That kitten had been my life – line and I needed her to live.

This weekend having to feed the other kittens, willing them to live, I felt all those memories coming back to me and having to deal with the reality of loss yet again.


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