Dear Mother Catresa fans,
I suppose I knew, deep down, that this day would eventually come. But that doesn't make it any easier, and I never could be prepared.
On Wednesday, one of my five newborn kittens died.
The tiny, all-black, female baby was barely a week old when I came home from work, and found her lying, frozen and lifeless, in a corner of the nursery. She had seemed fine before that; in fact, she seemed to want to break away from the litter and step out of the nursery (an extra-large cat carrier) and explore the big world waiting for her. This seems like the feline version of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
I've been told that this happens all the time, and that newborn kittens - particularly those from unhealthy backgrounds - are just so fragile and vulnerable, and some just don't make it.
Surely, I know, in this line of work I do, the occasional death of a baby I foster is inevitable. This was the first time it has happened to me in my two years of fostering - and, with many years ahead of me, I'm sure it won't be the last.
Still, I feel so awful about it, wondering what more I could have done to save her. I am so saddened to see this tiny little kitten, barely beginning her life, gone so very soon.
When I found her dead, I lovingly wrapped her in an old washcloth, and held her close as I cried. I then gently placed her and the cloth into a shoebox. This morning, I wept hard when I brought her in and left her at the shelter, where they will have the body cremated.
"I'm so sorry, baby," I whispered, tears streaming down my cheeks, as I petted her furry, soft head one last time.
Then, as I turned around and limped away on my sprained ankle, I prayed that, someday, this sweet little feline who lost her earthly life will be there to greet me in that otherworldly "Sweet Bye and Bye."
As always, I am,
Patron Saint of Homeless Felines
(and the "smitten kitten")