Mud Season

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Levi was playing outside while I was doing chores. Suddenly I heard: “AUNT KEEN!” “AUNT KEEN! HELP!” I look out the window to see this. “What do you need help with?” “I’m stuck! If I try to take a step I’ll lose my boots!” Laughing my ass off I slogged through the mud to the rescue, working hard to not lose my own boots. So relieved to hear there is more rain coming in this week’s weather forecast. Would hate to see our mud become dehydrated.

 

Good Bye My Little Buddy

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Little Buddy showed up today. I don’t know where she has been for the last two days, but she came home to die. Found her laying on the barn floor, low body temp., barely responsive, signs of a massive uterine infection. I knew it was too late to do anything for her at this point, but I tried anyway. Gave her a high-dose shot of penicillin and a shot of banamine for the pain and inflammation. The treatment might have worked if I could have given it to her two days ago, but she was too far gone. Made her as comfortable as I could, and she slipped away. I hate to think what she must have suffered these past 48 hours. Hate to see any animal suffering.

I took this photo last week. She is on the left in the foreground. You can see her aunt and cousins behind her. As you can see, I have other barn cats. But Little Buddy was a real pain in the ass, always sticking her nose into whatever I was doing, getting in the way, trying to wrestle my hand when I wanted to pet her, demanding attention when I was busiest. I am going to miss her so much.

Morsel

One of my kitties, Little Buddy, has been ready to pop for a couple of weeks now. She showed up at feeding time yesterday with a kitten half-way out of her vagina. The kitten was breech and the portion of its body outside its mama was already dry. Little Buddy acted as if she wasn’t even aware she was in labor. She just wanted her food. I extracted the kitten. Not surprisingly, it was dead. Little Buddy seemed so surprised to see the kitten. She started cleaning it off, even though it was dead. She picked it up and carried it to the communal cat bed, where she seemed to be progressing with her labor. I left for work, assuming there would be no further issues.

When I got to the barn this morning Little Buddy was MIA. This little guy was in the cat bed, chilled, with its dead litter-mate. There was also a small puddle of cloudy, greyish-pink amniotic fluid. I have a feeling something has gone badly wrong with Little Buddy. First things first, I put the kitten in my shirt pocket to warm it. Started looking for Little Buddy. I did not find her. I think she probably went somewhere to die.

I kept the kitten in my pocket while I did chores, hoping its mama would turn up. She did not. I have another mama cat, Trouble, with 6 week old kittens. Tried, unsuccessfully, to convince Trouble to adopt the newborn.

Many years ago I raised a batch of kittens whose mother was hit by a car. Fed them with an eye dropper, kept them in a box with a heating pad next to my bed, wiped their little butts with tissues so they could defecate and urinate. They were a week old when they were orphaned. Three of six of the litter survived to adulthood. And they were never healthy their whole lives. Kittens that young need their mothers.

I considered trying to raise this little guy. I thought about it long and hard. He just didn’t stand a chance. Less than 24 hours old, not even sure if her got any colostrum from his mama before she disappeared. Every time he moved inside my pocket, I could feel his little warmth against my breast, I thought I should at least try. Then I remembered the three kittens who didn’t make it. How long it took for their little lives to ebb away and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do to help. I remembered the 3 who lived and how they were always sick with one thing after another.

He just wouldn’t make it. Hard as it is, there was just no chance for him. I could just put him back in the cat bed and “let nature take its course”, meaning let him die of starvation and hypothermia. I could try keeping him alive with milk replacer until he died a lingering death. Or the third option, which I chose. I filled a bucket with warm water and drowned him. He went quickly and peacefully. No lingering, no suffering. Like going back to the womb. Still, I cried while I did it. It was the best thing, the right thing, but still not an easy thing. I named him Morsel because he was such a tiny little morsel in my pocket all day.