It was just another Saturday night at the clinic. I tend to go down there later then the other technician. I'm a little OCD about certain things. I don't want the boarders to have to wait longer than 12 hours to eat or go out. I always try to do 9am and 9pm. The other tech will go at 9am and 5:30pm. Being 9pm it was very dark outside. I was letting the dogs that were boarding for the weekend out, checking on the cats, feeding and medicating everyone. I always have my dogs with me when I go to the kennel. They really enjoy going for the ride and visiting with the other pets. They love the fenced in yard too. The main reason I take them with me is because the my veterinary clinic is in a kinda sketchy part of town. We have special alarm codes to alert police if needed as well as a panic button. I also always carry pepper spray and my two large 60 lb shepherd mixes. Sometimes I have a knife, depending, because I don't want to get in trouble for a concealed weapon.
As I was finished for the night I set the alarm, the dogs and I walked outside, and then locked the door behind me. They are sniffing the bushes and plants near the clinics door and suddenly I heard the cry of a kitten.
Dammit. DAMMIT. I thought to myself. I called the dogs over (who for some reason didn't seem to notice the noise) and put Wynnie in the car. She's great with other animals but she is more excitable and I didn't know what exactly I would be dealing with. I couldn't really tell from the cry what age it was and I have in the past had to capture a feral kitten. Not the most fun thing to do. Leaving Wynnie in the car, I put River on a leash and told her to heel. I wanted to bring the dog with me to look around because the noise wasn't coming from the bushes right next to us it was coming from the other side of the driveway, bordering the neighboring business's property. And I didn't want to be abducted off the side of the road.
River and I begin walking towards the mews. I used my phone as a light because in my panic that there was a little kitten outside I didn't remember I had a flashlight in the car somewhere. The clinic is right off of a major road so the panic was justified. I would be completely devastated if the little kitten ran out into the road. I was able to see movement in the bushes and the little guy kept crying out to me. I tried to grab him but the bushes were thick and he wiggled out of my hand. I felt how small his tail was and the adrenaline kicked in. I. WILL. GET. THIS. KITTEN. I realize that it may be afraid of the dog so I made River lay down and stay. I starting talking to the kitten hoping it would come to my voice. He kept mewing to me when I talked. Once River was a few feet away he realized that the dog wasn't going to get him and he was more concerned with crying out for help. He crawled into a clear part of the bushes so I was able to reach my arm down inside the brush and lift him out. I had no idea how big he was until I had him in my arms.
I pull him from the bushes and immediately hug him to my chest not caring if he is dirty or full of fleas (which he was...YUCK!). It wasn't that cold outside but he was tiny. As soon as I held him against me I felt him nuzzle into me, poor baby. So he doesn't seem feral, the last kitten I found outside was feral and not friendly (she's good now with people she knows, we ended up keeping her, its hard to find them homes when they aren't friendly and sweet).
Leaving the dogs in the car, I took him inside and treated him for fleas, grabbed some canned food from the back and a cat carrier. I weighed him and assessed his health and age. A little dirty but looks pretty good over than the fleas. Small but eyes are open and he has teeth. Weighed in at 1 lb 1oz. He's probably about 5 weeks old.
He's a lucky kitten! At this age and as a stray if he were taken to a county shelter he may have been euthanized for being too young. Certainly if he were any younger, they don't even give them a chance. Also, the other tech and I were thinking about switching weekends and since she comes a lot earlier he may never have been rescued. I didn't hear him crying when I got there. Who knows...
Well I've had him now for a week. So he's about 6 weeks old. Definitely a little boy and such a monkey! In a week or two he will be ready to be adopted. I've already dewormed him and treated for fleas. He's had a bath and ear cleaning. I may have to pay for his first set of vaccines myself but we'll see. The hardest part is finding a good home. I'm very particular who adopts my foster pets. It has to be someone who trusts their vet, understands that pets require time and money, and doesn't see him at "just a cat". Pets are worth every bit of time, effort, and money but you have to understand sometimes you have to do a lot and spend a lot. There are also ways of doing things a little inexpensively.
If anyone is looking to adopt a kitty and understands that he will need vaccines every 3 weeks until he's 16 weeks old. Also needs monthly flea/Heartworm prevention as well as a good balanced high quality cat food and yearly check ups at the veterinarian. I love this little guy already and it's only been a week but that's how I do my job. I love each and every patient. That's why I'm so good at what I do, I put my heart and soul into it.
PS-Dude! I was SOOO happy to find out that the little guy was past bottle age. That is some serious shit! Feeding every 2 hours...glad I don't have to do that again!
Edit: I found him three weeks ago today, and he is now 8 weeks old. My friend in gainesville, FL may be adopting him!! Yay!