Yesterday I handled Washington quite a bit and got some purring, licking, and love bites. I did a little research about orphan, wild kittens, and I am feeding him kitten formula along with his other kitten chow. I also gave him a little bath and "stimulated" his butt with a washcloth. I don't think this was actually necessary; he seems to be pooping on his own. (The stimulation is apparently vital for very young kitten survival, as it gets the bowels moving.) But although he might not have needed it, he sure did love it. By the time that was all over, I was mom.
In order to get to that point, I had to fetch Washington from behind the refrigerator, which meant I had to move the refrigerator. He usually hides either there or behind Jeff's Lego containers under his desk. Once the fridge was moved, I had to put on gloves and fight to get the cat out from under the fridge. He is a hisser and a scratcher. He thinks he's fighting for his life, after all.
But in the end he turned out to be a total pushover. I guess we are getting him at the crucial time, 4-6 weeks old, when it is actually possible to tame a kitten. Also, he is weaned, which really ups his chances for survival. I'm giving him the formula only to fatten him up, since he's so teeny--only half a pound. In the days since I found him, I have found two of his siblings dead in the same place on that off ramp. Washington was the only lucky one who had the good fortune to get seen by someone who would stop. This, combined with his ideal developmental stage, means he is a lucky little dude.
Yesterday, I got tired of seeing dead cats in the road and actually went on foot for a little exploration of the off ramp area. It was a dismal scene. I pass by there every day, but in a car, I never noticed how full of trash the place is. Also, under the 10 freeway overpass, there seems to be a colony of homeless activity--lots of shopping carts and old clothes. I didn't venture under there. There was a discarded infant car seat behind the sticker bushes I pulled Washington out of. I don't even want to know about that one. It became clear very quickly that finding any more kittens would be impossible. There were too many hiding places, and I can barely find Washington in our apartment. This morning I braced myself on the way to work, and sure enough, I saw a bigger cat dead in the exact same place. Maybe that was the mom. So it brings to mind a sick joke: why did a whole family of cats cross the road? No idea, but it didn't work out for most of them, that's for sure.
Since we are going out of town for the big family reunion on Cape Cod (yay!!!!), I am looking for a temporary foster home for the kitten while we're away. I put in a request to this teacher at my school who fosters tons of cats and has six of her own. I'm hoping she can continue to hand train Washington while we're gone so we don't lose any momentum on taming him.
I'm not thrilled to have a cat right now, to be honest. I don't think a kitten and a toddler are exactly well matched. But it was either this or certain doom for the kitten, so if we can get him tamed, maybe we can adopt him out when he's eight weeks old. If not, we'll keep him. Jeff has never had a kitten, and if this one does become a tame, playful little guy, we are in for some serious hilarity over the next few months. Having a kitten around is one of life's greatest, funniest, most fleeting experiences.