Sarita hadn’t even realized how lonely she was. She had chosen to live alone since her husband’s death two years earlier. She spent the afternoons sitting on the porch, watching the roses and hydrangeas bloom. Her mind wandered constantly, reliving old times.
She had never been a cat person, never thought about feeding orphaned kittens. But there they were, five of them, dirty and crying, piled one on top of the other under the mulberry tree when she went out to pick up the morning newspaper. They were hungry. What was she to do?
Carrying them into the house, she asked herself what she was going to do. She knew nothing about cats. These had to be very young kittens. They were so tiny she could hold all of them on her flattened palms.
She put out a bowl of milk and carried it over to them and set it down. Then she brought her chair nearer and sat and watched, fascinated. They didn’t seem to know what to do with the milk. One of them stepped into it and sat down.
Should she try to bottle-feed them? Where would she find a bottle small enough to drip milk into their little mouths?
She called a friend who had a cat and asked for advice. The friend advised feeding a supplement formula, but of course Sarita didn’t have any on hand. So her friend came over and brought the makings of a formula, and showed Sarita how to hold the kittens and feed them with an eyedropper, and then how to “burp” them and rub their hind ends with a tissue to stimulate defecation.
Sarita realized that afternoon that for the first time since Sam had passed, she hadn’t felt lonely all day. Feeding orphaned kittens was the best therapy she had found. She spent the rest of the day watching them sleep, feeding at intervals as her friend had advised.
Have orphaned kittens shown up at your home? Here is a recipe for an excellent formula you can make at home:
Kitten Supplement Formula
Emergency Food for Newborn Kittens and Convalescent Cats
By Franny Syufy, About.com Guide
Popularly known as “Kitty Glop” among breeders, it is packed with nutrition for orphaned kittens, nursing mother cats and their babies, cats recuperating from illness, and older cats who need nutritional supplementing or who have difficulty eating because of dental or gum problems.
Some recipes call for canned goats milk; if you have it readily available it’s fine, otherwise canned ¹evaporated cows’ milk works well. The recipe sets up to a gelatin-like consistency in the refrigerator, and can be stored there for up to two weeks. It can also be frozen in an ice tray for convenience in serving. To serve, warm to room temperature. Do not pour back unused portions into the mix.
• 12oz of water
• 1 envelope Knox Gelatin
• 1 12oz can of whole evaporated milk (not skim)
• 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
• 2 tablespoons plain yogurt, not nonfat
Boil the water, add the gelatin – stir well. Add the following ingredients in order, mixing well after each addition:
• 1/2 of the canned milk
• mayonnaise and yogurt
• the rest of the milk
Variations include the addition of kitty vitamins, acidophalus, and/or pureed baby food meat such as lamb, chicken, or beef. I have seen variations with two egg yolks added, but I would caution against this, due to the risk of salmonella with raw eggs. For very easy mixing, you can use a blender at low speed, but I also like a bowl with a wire whisk.
¹Many older cats have difficulty digesting cows’ milk. The acidophalus may help with this, but you might want to try mixing a very small amount to test on your older kitty first.
This recipe and feeding advice were originally published on: http://cats.about.com/cs/kittencare/a/kittyglop.htm
Taking care of someone smaller and weaker than you gives a feeling of satisfaction that has healed many a broken heart and returned lost souls to the world. This was the effect that caring for those kittens had on Sarita’s life. She kept all three kittens for two months, then found homes for two of them. One of them still lives with her, and she credits it with giving her her life back.
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Chiwah Carol Slater
The Pet Story Passionista
Word Weaver Chiwah
Founder, PetWrites.com, WordWeaver4U.com
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