Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to the great little Gatsby. A parody of a great classic, you say? No, not at all – the Gatsby I am talking about is a tiny little kitten, whose life had such a rocky start that he ended up at my door at the age of four weeks, with little fur on his body and nearly starving.
You see, Gatsby’s mother – a stray cat – was killed by a car, and she left behind five kittens that were barely three and a half weeks old. They were rescued by a kind lady, who was able to find homes for three and was left with two of the babies.
The first of those two babies, Karma, made her way to my house after my daughter’s friend brought her home and was told she couldn’t keep her. When she brought her to me, I had no idea how to take care of a cat so young, but a trip to Petsmart set me straight – I got back with cans of kitten milk, some kitten food, a litter box, and a bottle of Dawn dishwashing soap. Why the dishwashing soap, inquiring minds might wonder? Well, flea drops can only be used on cats eight weeks and older, but Dawn can be used at any age to give kittens a bath.
Giving Karma a bath was the beginning of the adventure….as soon as we got her wet, the poor little soul looked like a frightened sea monkey – all eyes and ears. Next came the feeding part, and alas, it wasn’t any easier. Karma was too small to eat cat food, so I went back to the grocery store and got some turkey and beef baby food. The baby food worked, and within a few days, Karma was ready to find a home. I started a Facebook campaign, and I’m pretty sure people on my friends list cringed each time I posted a new request, since I posted so many. Finally, Karma found a home with my son’s friend, whose mother instantly fell in love the moment she saw the kitten. A day or two after she went to her new home, I called to check on her, and the new mom told me the “baby” was already getting spoiled rotten…that same day, this wonderful lady bought fresh shrimp, boiled them, and minced them in tiny pieces for Karma to eat. Needless to say, I asked if she was also willing to adopt a 40-year-old daughter. She said no, so I’m still here fixing my own dinners.
The day after Karma left, my daughter’s friend called me and told me the lady who still had the last baby didn’t know what to do with him; he wasn’t eating and he was getting weaker by the day. Of course, I told her to bring him to my house. I didn’t know what I was going to do with him, but I had to give him a chance.
The little guy arrived, wrapped into a blue blanket and nearly furless. He was dirty and ridden with fleas, so I gave him a bath; actually two, since he still had fleas after the first one. At this point I had a clean kitten, but he was so weak, he could not even stand up or play. His eyes wouldn’t focus, and he barely meowed. When my vet came and weighed him, the next day, he was only eleven ounces! The vet was pretty sure that this kitten hadn’t eaten anything since his mother died, a week before. We started a round-the-clock regimen of baby food and kitten milk, and after a few days, he started coming around.
I found him a home, but three weeks later, the lady who adopted him developed allergies, and asked me to help her find a new place for him, so I got back on Facebook pleading, once again, to find this little guy a home. This time my campaign was short, and a family from St. Louis agreed to adopt him. The lady of the house happened to be visiting family in NC, so we arranged to meet to finalize the adoption. She chose the name Gatsby for him, and I think it fits him perfectly! His final destination will be St. Louis, so he has a few miles to burn before he can make it to his forever home, but one thing is for sure: Once he gets there, he will have the home of a cat’s dreams. With two loving adults and two happy children around, who will undoubtedly play with him all the time, what’s there not to love?
So, this is the story of the great little Gatsby, a kitten who started on low gear but is going to go far, all thanks to the love of wonderful humans who took one look at his little Yoda face and instantly made him a part of their family. Thank you.
And to my friends on Facebook who read the many posts, and were kind enough not to send me a box of chocolates laced with arsenic, I really appreciate you. Now that you know Gatsby’s story, I am sure you understand why I had to do it.