They’re tiny, fluffy and adorable. Who doesn’t love kittens? Unfortunately, this time of year, there are just too dang many of them around and most of them wind up at a shelter like the SPCA Tampa Bay. We’re officially in the midst of kitten season and the call is going out for foster parents to take care of them until they’re old enough to be adopted. Think of it this way: you get all the fun of playing with and taking care of the little fur balls without the long-term commitment. Plus, you can’t beat that heartwarming feeling of knowing you helped make sure a young kitten survived long enough to be put up for adoption so they can find a loving, forever home! For more information about becoming a foster parent, visit http://bit.ly/spcatampabay after you finish today’s blog. You’ll love it, I promise!
I know a thing or two myself about taking care of itty, bitty kitties. I mentioned last week that the first cat of my own came into my life when I was in college. It was a belated birthday present from my boyfriend and if I didn’t impress upon you before how not especially bright that boyfriend was, let me do so now. Besides thinking it was a good idea to give up law school for an acting career, (in his late 20’s no less,) he also thought it was smart to take a five-week old kitten away from its mother as a way of making up for forgetting my birthday. This happened while he was delivering pizza by the way, not acting.
Anyway, Rhett obviously hadn’t been weaned and was so tiny he easily fit into the palm of my hand. I had been raised with all kinds of cats, but never one this young so I wasn’t quite sure what to do or what to feed him. Though I’m loathe to admit it, the internet had yet to be invented, so I had to do some investigating to figure that out. After talking to my vet and doing some reading I got some kitten milk replacer and dry kitten food at the pet store and took turns bottle feeding him the milk replacer and feeding him moistened kitten food. Holding him in my hand and watching him suck at that bottle was about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen to this day. His litter box literally was just the top of a shoe box turned upside down with some clay litter thrown inside it. I took the other, bigger part of the box and turned it into his bed. Or, at least I tried to. Rhett had *other *ideas when it came to bedtime.
Remember when I mentioned that he hadn’t been weaned yet? Guess who turned into momma cat? It would take him a solid 20 minutes but every single night, Rhett would climb out of his little box next to my bed, then painstakingly use his little kitten claws to climb my bedspread. Once on the bed he would then snuggle up between my ear and my shoulder and contentedly start sucking on my t-shirt. Talk about a great way to be lulled to sleep, especially after a long, stressful night of cramming for exams. That nightly ritual continued for a couple of months and I admit, when it eventually stopped, there may have been a tear or two shed by yours truly. They grow up so fast don’t they?
Actually, Rhett kind of had to grow up fast. I shared an apartment with another girl and it being college and all, it wasn’t the quietest place in the world. Or the most organized. Or the most sober. Rhett definitely got three square meals a day, but at times, dinner would be served at 2 a.m. And if my roommate’s boyfriend had anything to do with it, it would include some beer. He also had to deal with parties and the many strangers invading his space that those included, along with the exact opposite: long stretches of solitude when my roommate and I would spontaneously decide to stay somewhere else or take a last-minute road trip. (Ah, college. Those were the days, huh?) But I’ll tell you, all that made Rhett the cat he is today. He’s a tough guy, the unequivocal leader of the house, the cool cat, the one everyone is afraid of and looks up to and who always gets his way with both the animals and the humans in the house. At 18 years old, he’s seen me through some of the best and worst times of the my life and I couldn’t love or respect him more than I do. He’s my ‘first born’ and they always hold a special place in your heart, ya know?
So what about your ‘first borns?” I’d love to hear about how they came into your lives and how they’ve changed your world. Head over to the Adopt-a-human Facebook page http://bit.ly/adoptahumanfacebook. Once there, leave your stories in the comment section so everyone can enjoy them. Remember, the more people who interact and spread the cat love on our Facebook page, the more shelter cats whose lives are saved!