It's with much sadness that I report our tiny tuxedo kitten with the funny moustache, Alabama, passed away in the early morning on Saturday, June 5th. She had nearly reached the one pound milestone and was less than a week away from her first vaccinations. She was very active, playful & seemingly healthy as recent as the Wednesday before. Then, she had a stuffy nose and stopped eating. Immediate treatment with antibiotics and nebulizing for the common kitty upper respiratory infection, and the stuffy nose cleared as quickly as it had arrived; however, the appetite did not improve and she was rapidly losing weight. I began force-feeding her again as I had done when she first came into foster care with me, every hour, because she would not eat on her own. Rather, she preferred the comfort of her heated kitten bed and just slept. I'd wake her to feed, and then she'd immediately retreat to her bed again.
But, I refused to give up. She received fluids, anti-nausea medication (in case nausea was causing the lack of appetite), and continued force-feeding. Sadly, Alabama's body was giving up. I held her, talked to her, stroked her face, and she died peacefully while cuddled her in her favorite spot beneath my chin.
While this has been a heartbreaking experience for me as her foster mom, I am finding comfort in knowing that in the 25 days I cared for her, I got to see her rebound from her first few days of being so emaciated and weak. I saw her play and chase. I saw her cuddle and wrestle with the other kitten family I fostered. She got to nap near the windows in the sunshine and walk across my laptop keyboard, as we all know felines love to do. She showed me her personality as a true lap kitten, a cuddler, one who followed me around & always wanted to be close & talk to me. She was such a lovely girl, and I feel extremely fortunate to have spent the time with her that I did.
This ending wasn't the "home" I had hoped she would find, but I'm glad I got to share mine with her for her short little life. We volunteer because we love companion animals. I foster kittens because they are highly entertaining and the experience incredibly rewarding. Their personalities come easily to the surface, and bottle babies especially respond with great affection to the hands that care for them. I'll see you at the Rainbow Bridge, 'Bama!
Nebulizers, antibiotics, and other medications, not to mention the foods and supplements we use for force-feeding, are critical to the care for animals with Austin Pets Alive! that are fighting illness. If you would like to make a financial donation towards the purchase of these types of supplies, please donate HERE. If you would like to purchase these items for donation, you can drop them off at our South Congress Bottle Baby Trailer at the corner of Gibson near the San Jose Hotel, 7 days a week from noon-7pm.