On Friday, I was at work when my phone rang. My phone rings so rarely, and when it does it’s usually “credit card services” letting me know “there’s nothing wrong with my account” but that I can get a “zero-interest-rate” deal if I press 1.
They seem immune to me telling them to go away. They must work for the same organization that has brought me my unfortunate new neck.
But it wasn’t credit card services. It was the shelter. They had one, just one, little boy kitten who was still being bottle-fed, and could I take him in even though I don’t foster anymore?
The last time I fostered didn’t end well for me. It was at my old house, with that concrete floor that was perfect for kittening. Last July, after I’d officially sold my house, the shelter asked me to take three newborn kittens whose mother had been hit by a car. (Isn’t that just awful?) The kittens were maybe two weeks old. I had to get up in the night and bottle-feed them, and rush home at lunch and bottle-feed them some more. I had to stimulate them to pee and poop.
It was a lot, and it was intensified by the fact that I was about to move. My moving date was September 14, and, you know, I got them in July. Since they were so young, I knew I’d have them at least five weeks. I figured I’d just get them raised right under the wire.
As moving day grew closer, my house was in greater disarray. And, I mean, I was filling out endless papers and getting loans and giving money that was earnest and Bert, and finding this old document and that one, and packing my life, and meanwhile I’m bottle-feeding three kittens 46 times a day at about an hour at a time.
Usually when I foster, what happens is one of the times I take them back for booster shots, they weigh enough that they take the kittens from me, because they’re ready to be spayed or neutered. They have to weigh 2 pounds to be fixed–although some places say 1.5 pounds is enough.
That last weekend, ONE WEEK BEFORE MOVING DAY, they were all about 1.8 pounds, 1.9 pounds. I took them to the shelter for boosters. And? They BROUGHT THEM BACK OUT TO ME.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Well, they aren’t quite 2 pounds yet.”
Every other time I’d fostered kittens, they’d taken them back once they hovered near 2 pounds, but this week they were going to be persnickety.
“I’m moving,” I told the woman there. “I’ve avoided packing the room they’re in, but I absolutely have to get that room done this week. I can’t keep them any longer. I thought for sure you’d take them back this time.”
THEY WERE SO HOSTILE ABOUT IT. They took the kittens back without a word. Nothing. Six weeks I’d gotten up at 3 a.m. for feedings, I’d bought can after can of really expensive formula. I’d peed them and pooped them and burped them and cleaned up after them. And the shelter didn’t even say thank you.
I was so broken-hearted it’d ended that way, and I’d gotten, as you can imagine, very attached to the three of them. They of course spayed and neutered them anyway, and the good news is, a friend at work, Frapdorp, took the yellow one and the tuxedo, and that beautiful calico was adopted immediately, as well.
Still. I had mixed feelings about the shelter after that. But then they called Friday, and my mind was all,
and I forgot I was mad.
As soon as work ended on Friday, I screamed down there. And when I walked in, one of the nice women who works there right away said, “June!” And then I wasn’t irked anymore. I didn’t see Wordless Woman of Thankless Hostility anywhere, so maybe a rabid dog ate her.
Anyway, they brought me this.
Old Marty Feldman eyes is around four weeks old and as you can see, is still drinking from a bottle. Quite neatly.
I’d of course thrown away the baby bottles I had on hand, because I thought I was done fostering forever, and plus also too I was moving. So when I got the kitten, I made them give me formula there at the shelter, but had to buy some bottles. And?
Oh! And the pen mark on my pajams reminded me. Because of course there has to be chaos all the time, I’d told the company I’m freelancing for that I’d get their work done this weekend. So whenever the kitten slept, I worked on that, and I did, in fact, get it done.
Whenever I felt overwhelmed, I remembered what it was like to try to move to a different house while caring for three kittens and I got over it.
I have not introduced him to the cats, because you aren’t supposed to. He’s too young to have vaccines and so on. However, I did let him meet one special someone.
(You’re welcome for the Smashing Pumpkins lyrics.)
Eds is thrilled to have a new charge, and the kitten is delighted with his flapping tail. Meanwhile, I did no housework or laundry all weekend and the only thing I ate was pizza, but hey.