HOME ARCHIVE 2019

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Published September 3, 2019

 

Dogs abdicate power in our house as kittens take over

By John Toth / The Bulletin

When we arrived at our hideaway recently, we didn’t plan on taking care of two still-nursing kittens that we found hiding under one of our cars, but our plans changed quickly.

To continue with my last column, we took the kittens under our care after it became obvious that they were not going to make it if left in place. Momma cat was scared of us, and the kittens were left on their own.

It didn’t take long for them to feel right at home. Being fed four times a day, these kittens’ lives changed overnight. All they had to worry about was eating, sleeping and playing.

The feedings became routine after a couple of days. They became pretty good at adapting to a plastic syringe, and we became pretty good at cleaning up after them. We put them in the guest bathroom when we left the house to go somewhere. When we returned, the meowing started up right away, signaling that they were ready for another feeding.

It was time to bring them back home. Each weighing about a half pound, they fit spaciously into the small carrier we bought. We loaded them in the car and embarked on our return journey. They slept all the way. We were prepared to listen to complaining along the way, but they were silent, probably trying to figure out why their world was moving so much.

It didn’t take them long to get used to their new home. They took over the living room, office and dining room, running around like they owned the place. We were too busy trying to keep them from taking suicidal leaps off the top of the couch. We had no idea that little kittens can jump that far without getting hurt. We were not taking any chances.

Then the big day came when we took them to our veterinarian, who provided ear mite medicine, antibiotic drops and a bill, which made these kittens instantly costly. But by that time, we crossed the point of no return. So, I paid the bill and was told to bring them back in a couple of more weeks for a follow-up exam.

Drugged up, ears not itching and stomachs filled, these tiny little noise boxes brought little joy to our dogs, who had gotten used to being king and queen of the house. The kittens made them abdicate and claimed that title for themselves.

But even kings and queens have to do stuff they don’t want to. It was time. The bottle feedings stopped, and the soft kitten food feedings began. The girl kitten got the hang of it immediately, chowing down on the food, although she looked like she was taking a bath in it. The boy took a little longer to figure out the jaw movement thing, but in a few days, he also converted. The feedings now became less of a hassle, although the boy kitten remained a slow eater and the bullyish little girl moved in on his food after finishing hers.

The boy would never have survived if we hadn’t taken him in. We think that these two were the only survivors in feral momma cat’s litter. The girl would have had a chance, while the boy would have starved.

Of course, we had to share our kitty parenthood on Facebook. After all, isn’t what it’s really for – to post pet and vacation photos?

I restrained myself to posting one photo per day. It was really hard to choose from the hundreds we took. It was really tempting to post all of them.

“Look, they moved. Let’s take another picture. How cute.”

Thanks to Facebook friends who came up with name suggestions. We went with names from the Lion King movies. We named the girl Nala and the boy Simba, although he still has to grow into that princely name. He is a little slow to learn.

The plan was to foster them and find homes for them. But plans change. It looks like we have two kittens in the Toth house. After we started bottle feeding them, there was not much doubt.

We’re such suckers for that sweet little meow and those big blue eyes.

“Look, they’re playing in my shoe. Quick, let’s take a few dozen more pictures.”

(I look forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send me a note at john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)

john.bulletin@gmail.com.