Wednesday, June 07, 2006

T.C.S.S #4 ā€“ Silent passing of another kitten

It was a sad afternoon for me today. I received news that another motherless neonatal kitten had succumbed despite its own desperate attempts to survive and the valiant efforts of a kind Samaritan and his spouse.

I was surfing the Clubsnap forum late Sunday night when I saw a plea for help. The kind souls, ie, David and his spouse, had rescued a 4-day old kitten after seeing another cat killed its sibling and the mother cat not in sight. With no experience in raising neonatal kittens, he had sent an online plea for help.

Deep in my heart, I knew the kitten would have a fierce battle ahead just to keep alive. Without its natural mother, its chances had dropped dramatically even with the best human intervention and support. Somehow, we just cannot replace the mother cat.

The little one was a survivor and showed signs of recovery after a trip to the vet. But those who had brought up motherless neonatal kittens would know that sometimes for no reason, they will just start to fade. And it started to fade today before it breathed its last at around 5pm today.

To tell you that I was not affected would be a lie. Although I do not know David or his wife or the fact that I have not seen the kitten physically, I felt very sad at its passing.

It reminded me of Duan Duan who had passed on at 2am under our watch. I remember my wife crying while holding its lifeless body, still warm and soon stiff from rigor mortis. She told me she had been singing to her and asking her to release herself from the pain while she took her last breath. I remember creating a small paper box to hold her body while her sibling, Chang Chang, was crying loudly in his box. Iā€™m not sure if he knew his sister had made a move first and if he was already pinning for her. Maybe it was because she knew that we were greenhorns then and that 2 kittens would be too many for us to handle and had thus sacrificed her life to ensure that her little brother will survive with 100% attention from us.

I am not sure what the reason is but I choose to believe that she knew what she was doing and had made the right choice. Little boy Chang Chang had grown up well and I am sure she would like it that way too.

The Wife and I were discussing this issue yesterday and she said that if we find another neonatal kitten/s again, she will make sure that she will work harder and not let another one pass on under our watch.

Throughout this episode, it made me realize how important it is for us to be prepared. I was fumbling to locate useful online information I had made use of when we had Chang Chang and Duan Duan. So here are these useful links again from Jeri Dopp and here.

And to David and his wife, thank you for giving this kitten badly needed love, care and attention during its short life on Earth. The kitten thanks you.

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Blogger auntie p said...

There is a thing called "fading kitten syndrome" which I'd read in a cat book. It's still not known why some kittens just fade away.

9:55 AM, June 08, 2006  
Anonymous Moglee said...

kittens...they are so fragile and delicate. When they don;t make it, you feel such a failure. I have advised some kind souls who found kittens who are days old only that their survival chances are slim. If they do not make it, it is not what they have not done. By preparing them mentally, I hope it will not deter them to help any kitten in future.

9:33 AM, June 09, 2006  
Blogger =^..^= said...

When I first became a foster, the first thing I was told was... "Steel yourself".

I am very thankful I have not had to go through the pain of losing one on my watch... but my heart goes out to everyone who has had to endure such sadness and never really knowing why it had to happen.

~5-Cat Style

6:16 PM, June 10, 2006  
Blogger CatDonna & Cats said...

I've fostered several very young kittens and still, it never gets easier when a young one passes on.

I've had quite a few survive and thrive, but quite a few never make it too, and for no clear reason as auntie p mentions.

Oh, the heartache. But the survivors more than make up for the pain. I guess that drives me on.

I deal with it by "steeling myself" as 5CS says. One very good way, I've found, is to consciously refrain from naming them or playing favourites until they're 6 to 8 weeks old.

I hope David and spouse don't give up on cat fostering too soon... so many kitties out there need such kind-hearted souls to care for them.

And sometimes it's the deaths that make you do your best for the living... speaking from painful experience here. :)

1:26 AM, June 12, 2006  
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