Fuzzy Friday, everyone! I’m getting to this entry rather late, as there were family goings-on after work tonight, but here we are.
To recap, this is the fourth in the series. In Part 1, I found an abandoned newborn kitten and brought him home. In Part 2, I agreed to be his Foster Mommy until he was old enough to be adopted out. In Part 3, I named him Iggy because he was a little monster and I’m a dork.
Anyway. In the first part of the second week after I found Iggy, he opened his eyes, and I’ll tell you what happened then: he became cuter. Of course in his first week and a half he was the most perfectly adorable baby kitty that ever snuggled a water bottle, but with his eyes open, he looked more like a baby feline and less like a furry space alien. He also became, unsurprisingly, more aware of his surroundings and more demanding of my time. The series of pictures with my hand were taken before he opened his eyes, but after he decided that my hand was his mama’s tummy.
Since I didn’t have a bottle designed for a newborn kitten’s mouth (I once went to a veterinary supply shop and tried to find one. Didn’t work.), I was syringe-feeding him, and since he was a clueless fidgety thing, I had to hold his head in place with his back to my lap to get the syringe aimed properly into his mouth. Needless to say, the feeding took two hands and I was accordingly unable to take any pictures, which is a shame because it was funny to watch.
Once the syringe was in there, he was quite enthusiastic in sucking the formula down like it was oxygen, but he couldn’t just slurp down a full stomach’s worth of the stuff like a nice cooperative critter. No, he would take a syringe or two, then he’d refuse any more, so I’d have to let go of him so that he could exercise his Baby Animal With Paws instincts. He would break free of my grip, get his little face and front paws on my palm, and knead me. He did the making-bread dance on my palm, and then he’d get his mouth on the pads of my fingertips and suck them. Did this turn your blogger into a ridiculous, baby-talking pile of goo? Why, yes. Yes it did. Anyway, I guess it was too much to ask a wee kitty that probably hadn’t seen his feline mother since the day he was born to be content with a hard plastic syringe shooting cow juice down his gullet, so he had to get the sensations of the “soft living stuff under my paws and tongue” dance to know that it was a legitimate feeding and not some weird kinky shit that large, giggling primates do for entertainment.
Anyway, once he was satisfied that I was a gibbering mess from the oxytocin rush, he calmed down and I was able to feed him some more. He performed other amusing tricks during feedings; as he grew bigger, he would, upon securing the syringe in his mouth, poke his front paws between my fingers, stretch his legs to their fullest extent (his hind legs were unrestricted), and stretch out his paw pads and claws while going all Vampire Kitty on the syringe nozzle. I’m so sorry I couldn’t get a picture of him doing this, because it had to be seen to be believed; I tell you, he was doing Jazz Hands.
The point is that before Iggy opened his eyes, he might not have really known what I was, or at least didn’t know where I ended and the box began, but he knew to associate the smell of my hands with food and other nice things that baby animals require. Before he opened his eyes, though, the care ritual was very efficient: I would take him out of the box, make him go pee in the sink (and I’ll get to that later) while heating up some formula through a small glass placed in a larger cup of hot water, then feed him syringe-fuls of my lovingly mixed formula until he refused to take any more, massage him between my hands until he burped (yeah, you read that right), put fresh hot water in his bottle, and stick him back in the box. He’d mew at first when I left him alone, but then he mewed all through feedings, so that only meant he was awake. After a few minutes alone in the nice warm covered-up box and without stimulation, he would either snuggle with the water bottle and purr like thunder or he’d just go back to sleep.
On the day that he opened his eyes, I tried doing the usual pee-feed-bottle-sleep ritual with him in the late evening, as I was readying myself for bed as well. When I put him back in the box, Iggy started mewing more than usual. I guess I should say, he started shrieking like a little demon. He was extremely unhappy about being unceremoniously stuffed back into his cardboard prison, and he wasn’t going to take it anymore. I don’t exactly remember now whether I tried feeding him some more, or tried making him go pee in the sink (it would depend on what I’d already tried before putting him to bed), but whatever it was, it only made him angrier, and eventually I brought him onto the sofa bed with me and sort of sat him on my chest. With that, he stopped behaving like Demon Kitty and dug his little paws into my pajamas. He still yelled at me a little while doing the I-Knead-You dance on my sternum, but after a few minutes he chilled the fuck out, and once I finished exhaling out all my tension, I was able to put him back in his box with a minimum of protest so that I would be rested for another day of trying to teach English to uncooperative teenagers.
I may have been a clueless Foster Mommy, but I did not make that mistake again. For the rest of the time Iggy spent in my care, I never, ever tried putting him to bed without giving him some snuggle time first. This meant I spent more time caring for my kitten and less time doing grown-up human stuff like reading books from the volunteer library, but since he wanted to spend that time kneading and purring, it didn’t bother me so much.