We found a ferrel kitten in the backyard about five weeks ago. Actually our dog did. She normally goes outside to take care of business and bark at the squirrels that run across the fence and the power lines. She came inside and seemed much more out of breath than usual. I looked out the back door to see what may have agitated her so, and there in the middle of the grass was a small animal moving quite slowly. My first thought was she caught one of the squirrels she loves to bark at and then mauled it. Watching for a moment, I didn't see a bushy squirrel tail. Hesistantly, I walked out to the grass to see what actually was there. I was in no mood to dispose of a partially dismembered animal. To my surprise, it was a kitten. It's eyes were not even open yet.
Stephen and his friend Meagan were inside on the computer. I knew I wouldn't have to expend any extra effort but tell them there was a kitten in the yard. As expected they both ran out back when I told them. Stephanie was out in the garage with a load of laundry. I told her in a "disappointed" tone that there was a kitten in the backyard. Knowing of course, that nothing good can come from finding a helpless, little tiny, furry, adorable kitten. She went to survey the scene as well.
We Google'd "kitten care" because it was obvious that this kitten was much too young to be away from her mother. After the reasearch was over it was determined that we had to feed this kitten every four hours with kitten replacement formula from a bottle, keep it warm with a heating pad, wipe it with a towel to make it pee and poo and tend to it's every need just like a human baby, yay!
We had the discussion of what the fate of kitty will be. Stephen said he would take care of it. That would nean feedings, clean up, etc. He said yes. We knew that if we took it to the pund they would more than likely euthanise it unless they could find a foster home. They don't have the resources to deal with newborn kittens so they rely on volunteers to foster kittens until they are old enough to be adopted out. I, of course, really wanted nothing to do with this kitten other than to keep it alive until we could give it up for adoption. We already had a thirteen year old cat that was the perfect pet. His only desire was to be in a horizontal position all day. Other than the litter box issue, you couldn't ask for a better pet.
We went to the pet store and picked up the bare minimum of supplies for care. Not knowing if the kitten would live through the next couple of days we didn't want to break the bank for naught.
Undoubtedly over the next several weeks we all became attached to this kitten since we all had to provide the most basic care for her. During this same period of time my daughter and her boyfriend moved in with us and we had to put the thirteen year old cat to sleep. This cat was my daughter's. She had adopted him from the pound and spent nine years with her. That was nearly half of her lifetime. The cats urinary tract had become blocked by crystals and he was unable to eliminate. His bladder had enlarged and was very painful for him. It got to the point where he couldn't even walk. The vet said it would cost about $1500 dollars to take care of the problem. However there was no guarantee that it would not occur again due to his age. He may also already have had a toxic buildup of potassium in his system from being unable to eliminate. We made the difficult decision to have him put down.
This led to a sense of renewal with the kitten. There was a reason the kitten arrived in our backyard, the timing with my daughter moving home. Now we felt it "necessary" to keep the kitten. We've had her for about five weeks now. She is completely converted from ferrel to family. She hops on your lap and gives kisses. She will curl up and go to sleep on your shoulder right against your neck. Here's some "portraits" of the cutie.
With her big sister, Misty, the dog.