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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Introducing Luciano, the foster kitten

This morning, I had no idea this would happen...
When we got home from farmers’ market this afternoon and started unloading the car, hot and tired, I heard tiny cries from the field next door. Matt thought it was a bird. I knew it was a kitten. We waited awhile to see whether the mother would come back. No cats in the field. The wailing continued.
I went over. The kitten was in grass, barely sheltered from the sun. It was no more than a few days old, with the umbilical cord still attached.
I could have left it there, or put it in the nearby barn, as our neighbor suggested. But there was a skunk in the barn, and raccoons go there, too. The skunk left. Our neighbor couldn’t find any cats in the barn. Usually there are cats all over that barn. No mama cat anywhere.
We drove to the rescue in John Day and learned how to feed him (they think it’s a him). His name is Luciano for his very loud voice, Luke for short.
For the first three feedings, when Luciano turned his face away from the pipette every time I tried to get it near him, I improvised desperately. I waited for him to cry and dropped kitten milk replacer in his mouth. He tried to suck on the webbing between my thumb and first finger: I dropped KMR there with the pipette, and he slurped it off. It got everywhere. Neither of us cared. I wiped him down afterward, then dried him. Then I rubbed a tissue on his tiny bottom and watched him pee on it. Then I grabbed two more tissues. For someone the size of a large vole, he’s got quite a bladder. But he never got more than a milliliter--not enough, even though he was eating every hour. (I know the schedule said every 2 hours, but I didn’t know how long he had gone hungry before we found him, and if he woke and screamed, I fed him.)
Finally, six and a half long hours after I found him, we got things synchronized. He grabbed the pipette in his mouth and drank mightily, kneading his tiny, transparent, impressively sharp claws on my finger. He got more than two milliliters. 

He just might make it. He hasn’t had diarrhea again. The vet says if he’s peeing, he’s not dehydrated. He’s eating. He’s sleeping on me, so he won’t get cold.
He screams whenever he can’t feel my heartbeat, so I tried to sew a pouch out of an old washcloth and a strip of old t-shirt so I can wear him. I broke the sewing machine needle, couldn’t get the new one threaded, swore, and fastened the second end of the t-shirt strip with a safety pin. This is about how sewing works for me at the best of times, and with a screaming kitten in the next room, I took the easy way out.

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