“We are not getting a kitten. Not, not, not. You can look, but that’s all.”
That’s what I told my daughter as we walked towards the pet store. It was next to a restaurant we were going to eat lunch at and she was drawn to the huge “Kitten Adoption Event” banner.
We never got to eat our lunch because…we got a kitten.
This little guy wasn’t part of the adoption event, though. Someone happened to walk in with him while we were there. She had just found him in the middle of a busy highway and he needed a home. My daughter well in love instantly and I couldn’t say no. She named him Milo before we even got him to the car.
He was skin and fur; about half the size of the youngest kittens (nine weeks) at the adoption event. We brought him home and set him up on our screened patio to keep him separate from our two adult cats until we could get him to the vet the next day.
The vet estimated he was about four weeks old. Scrapes on his chin and nose indicated he had been tossed out of a car. He was infested with fleas and weighed less than two pounds.
The vet said he looked okay, all things considered, but he was too young and small for feline AIDS and leukemia testing and immunization. He also had parasites, but the vet didn’t have any medication in stock that was appropriate for his size.
This meant we mad to keep him separated from the other cats for two full weeks. We treated the fleas and moved him into my daughter’s room. He didn’t like being kept in a room by himself and cried often, though we visited him many times a day. We were all relieved when he got a clean bill of health and was allowed to roam the house!
Here are some tips we quickly learned about caring for an itty bitty stray kitten.
- Dawn dishwashing soap kills fleas. The vet said Milo was too young for flea treatment. We were skeptical when he suggested Dawn. The blue dishwashing liquid worked amazingly well! One bath with the stuff, followed by a thorough combing and he was free of fleas.
- Flea treatment can make adult cats feel yucky. Our cats are 100% indoor, so we’ve never needed to treat them for fleas. Since Milo was so severely infested, the vet suggested we treat the adult cats just in case any got in our home. He gave us the kind that you squeeze on the back of the neck. Both cats (one ten pounds and the other nearly twenty!) immediately become extremely lethargic, which lasted for several days. The larger cat also drooled profusely. We’re glad they won’t need to go through that again.
- Kittens who are separated from their mother too young try to suckle on any warm body. Milo attempts to nurse from the adult cats several times a day. They are not having it. He sucks on our clothes. He curls up next to us and sucks on our skin. He eats and drinks fine on his own. He’s just missing that warmth, security and closeness.
- Tiny kittens can have massively stinky gas and bowel movements. The vet says it is because his digestive system isn’t ready for solid food. The parasites also play a part! It’s getting better, but he could quickly clear a room!
- Kittens are FAST! Milo darted out of our daughter’s room nearly every time we went in, no matter how stealthy we tried to be. He runs across the house in seconds. It’s amazing the speed of something so small!
- Kittens are easy to step on. Milo seems to appear out of thin air directly under our feet. We’ve taken to shuffling in the night instead of picking up our feet to avoid stepping on him or tripping because of him.
- Keeping the new kitty in separate quarters for a while makes the transition easier for everyone. The adult cats were able to adjust to his smell slowly. They meowed at him under the door. It was no big deal when he was finally free to roam around.
- Kittens are adorable! Okay, so this is pretty common knowledge. So very cute!
Milo has been with us for about a month now. He weighs just over two pounds. He gets along great with our two adult cats. He sleeps on my pillow at night. I don’t regret going back on my decree of “absolutely no kitten” one little bit. I’m smitten with this kitten.