Friday, July 2, 2010

Turn the needle on myself...

I'm becoming a halfway house for wayward kittens. It's summer, so there are a bunch of kittens out there. They keep getting my name and number somehow.

So, I have litter number 3 of the summer (not too bad considering), one of which I lost to an unknown cause. The other 2 are thriving. On Wednesday night, a tiny little calico with goopy eyes (read: super contagious upper respiratory tract infection - probably herpesvirus or Calicivirus) was brought in. She was absolutely tiny - maybe 1/2 pound at the most. Her head was too big for her body. I really felt that I couldn't take another kitten (she had infectious disease - mainly), and no one else wanted to foster her. I made the decision to euthanize her.

When euthanizing kittens this tiny, I always anesthetize them first. Often they are so small, they require a cardiac injection, and this MUST be done under complete anesthesia, so that they feel nothing.

I set up the anesthesia machine, wrapped her in a comfy blanket, and put her under the big mask. I left to attend other stuff, giving her a full 20 minutes to go to sleep. When I came back, heavy-hearted, holding the pink solution in my hand, I felt sick. It's part of the job, I know that, but I hate it. I lifted the mask. Lo and behold, kitten was purring and looking around, completely alert. I glanced at the anesthesia mean and realized I had forgotten to turn on the oxygen - the CARRIER gas for the anesthesia. Sighing, I realized it was too late. It took all of my strength to put her in the mask the first time. I couldn't do it a second.

She is now residing in my bathtub, getting her antibiotic eye drops (the goo has cleared up), and eating her body weight in kitten food.

In my defense, when my husband first saw her, he said that if he'd been in my position, he would have had to turn the needle on himself rather than harm the tiny, bobble-headed kitten.

It's now taking me an hour before I can get into bed after work to care for the menagerie: I have to walk the dog, feed/water the dog, water the flowers, water the vegetables, check on the bird's food and water, stimulate/bathe the small kittens, feed the small kittens, check food on the housecats, check food on the back porch cat, start kitten laundry (twice a day!), and now put eyedrops in and feed the small, pathetic calico. *Sigh* I have a problem.

Happy 11th Anniversary to my wonderful, sweet, tender-hearted, kind, and absolutely one-of-a-kind husband!


elizabeth said...

Awwww, I can so relate. I got my fat cat from a very similar he's five and an integral, though sometimes terrifying, part of my life!

Kristen said...

That would have been so hard. I'm happy for the kitten that she found you (and that you forgot to turn on the O2!)
I wish I could help you out with a little relief dog-walking or something.

Mary said...

This story made me tear up. Good luck to you.

Will you ultimately try to place the kittens once they are old enough, or are they permanent additions?

The Homeless Parrot said...

Elizabeth: All of my cats are ones I have gotten from vets or as a I understand.

Kristen: I wonder if forgetting to turn on the O2 was a subliminal, deliberate mistake?

Mary: They are definitely fosters and only fosters. I place all the kittens I raise. If I can't find homes for them, they go to a local, private cat rescue. It's run by a wonderful woman. She keeps ALL of the cats until they find homes. No question. She doesn't have space or time for bottle babies, so I get them weaned, dewormed, etc, and she takes it from there. My last 2 litters have gone to her.

Elizabeth said...

I vote for deliberate mistake.. good one..

belovedparrot said...

No question in my mind that it wasn't a mistake.

andrea said...

aww happy anniversary - we just celebrated 20 years and my poor husband (who grew up with NO animals) has gotten very used to me having your kind of nights ...

you rock for taking that on though :)

I have always had the tough cats as permanent residents here but we were down to 2 this summer - so every freaking adorable handicapped kitten is finding us - deaf, 3 legged, neurological .. it's crazy.. MUST find them homes .. must find most of them homes.. must find some of them homes??