(Fuzzable was down for a week during June, so I didn’t get to publish my monthly blog. I didn’t feel like it was good enough to publish so I deleted it. July was extremely busy for me, meaning I didn’t get to write up a blog, so I dug this one up from the trash. It’s still trash, but it’s the best I have right now since my internet isn’t working and I’m going to Istanbul tomorrow. But hey, you’ll read about my trip to Istanbul next month!)
June. The oh-so-lovely month that practically screams summer. If you aren’t at university, that is. Here’s the tale of the three kittens and everything we’ve been through this month.
For me, June was always one of the best months, mainly because it symbolised the end of school and the start of the holiday season. It’s a time when my family and I would pack our bags and head for Turkey for a well deserved vacation. Well, not this year. This year, I’m at university and June just symbolises deadlines and exams and stress.
I had been feeling rather empty during the last weeks of May and the first weeks of June. I have no idea why, though. Guess that’s just life sometimes.
And then, these three little kittens wobbled their way into my life. They had been street cats, living in and around my building since they were born. I didn’t get a chance to meet them until they gathered enough courage to walk into my building, and that’s when I saw the first one. A tiny black kitten with white paws.
He was the only one that wasn’t really afraid of me, even though I must’ve looked like a giant in his eyes. No, this little kitten wasn’t afraid, unlike his brothers. I remember him though a mist. What I remember most about him was the fact that he was extremely weak and tinier in comparison to the rest of the litter. I fed him for a few days, hoping that he’d get better. When that didn’t happen, I decided to take him to a veterinarian. I was petting him in the building for a while when I made that decision, thinking that I’ll borrow a cage from my friend the next morning and take him then. One thing I remember extremely well was the moment I was about to leave- I was walking down the stairs when I heard him meow, and then he tried to come after me. Unfortunately, the stairs were too much for his weak and tiny legs to handle, so he plummeted down a few steps and landed on his head. My heart was torn in two in that split second, and I raced back up to check on him. Thankfully, he was okay. I should’ve seen it then. I should’ve seen the way he was reaching out to me, trying to get me to help him.
My friend, who had been rescuing animals for a long time, told me that I should probably just give him some mixture of water, milk, and egg yolk (100ml of water and milk, one mildly warm egg yolk). So I agreed. She claimed that she had had hundreds of cats that perked up after they drank that. I thought that I’d give that to him for a few days, and if he’s not feeling better I’d take him to the vet.
The next morning, June 6th, he was lying in front of my door. Dead.
My sister was the one who found him. She said: “Dang it, there’s a dead kitten in front of the door”, and without even checking, I knew it was him. My sister left after that, since she was late for her lectures, and I got out of bed, just to make sure it was him. The mere sight of him lying there absolutely broke my heart, and shredded it to pieces. I broke down, I cried for at least three hours, until it exhausted me and I fell asleep. By the time I woke up, one of my neighbours had already moved his corpse. And for a long time I wished that my sister hadn’t told me about him, since otherwise I would’ve just gone on with my day, knowing that I didn’t indirectly cause an innocent kitten to die. I felt horrible the whole day. Completely empty yet so filled with remorse. Wondering what if I had taken him to the vet that very day that I found him, wondering if he’d be alive right now. I can’t even write about all the things that went through my head that day. But the most haunting thing was guilt.
A few days after that, his siblings started to make an appearance. They were unfed, even though my neighbours and I made sure they had food and water available every second of every day.
Perhaps it was the guilt still following me from their brothers’ passing, but I was feeding them one day and talking to a neighbour, and it took a mere second for me to decide that I’d help these little guys out as much as I could. So, I took them to my apartment and started looking for the best vet in the city. After borrowing a box from my neighbour, I called a cab and we were off.
The vet checked on them, cleaned them of parasites, and told me what to do. She said I’d have to keep an eye on them, which meant that I’d have to keep them in my apartment. I was okay with that, but unfortunately my sister had a different opinion. Thankfully, she was out the whole day, so I had time to set up. I put them in a room that we don’t use, made sure to cover the whole place with newspapers and some spare regular paper I had lying around, and bought them some necessities like food and kitty litter. So when my sister came home, she couldn’t say no. She just told me that the kittens would under no circumstances leave that room and that she doesn’t want to know they even exist.
The next day, everything was as normal as it could be with two kittens in the house. I even made them a little place where they could stay with an old cardboard box I got from a store. Everything was good. Until it wasn’t.
I was about dinner time (iftar time, for all of you Muslims) and I was waiting for my dinner to be delivered when I decided to check up on the kittens. One of them was wandering around the room, as per usual, and I saw the other one in his box, faeces all around him. I picked him up to move him to the litter box, but he was very stiff. He couldn’t move. I immediately started to panic.
Looking back on it now, it all happened in less than ten minutes, but I feel like it lasted for hours. It was a Sunday night, and I was looking up the internet for an emergency veterinary ambulance. Turns out, there is no such thing as a vet on call here. I finally found a number, dialed it and made an appointment. Then I had to call a cab to get me and the little dying kitten to the place, which was far away from where we lived and in a dangerous place (for Muslims) in the city. My sister forbid me to go there, but I didn’t listen. I had to help this kitten, because I knew that if I did nothing, it would haunt me forever. Just like his brother.
Sadly, there wasn’t much that the vet could do. The kitten wasn’t moving, he was just barely breathing and showing minimal signs of life. The vet even suggested that we put him down, but for some reason he changed his mind at the last moment and gave him some medicine through an IV. He couldn’t find the vein on his paw, so he had to put the needle in his neck. And it worked. The kitten, although still visibly weak, perked up just a tiny bit. His heartbeats improved, and with that his circulation. The vet told me not to expect a miracle, and I assured myself that I wasn’t. But there’s always that tiny glimmer of hope we all have in the back of our mind. I was holding on that hope with every breath that I took.
We were given some additional medication (special food and an infusion) with instructions on how to make and use them. He told me to make it and give it to the kitten as soon as I got home, and to keep giving it to him every few hours. He told me to give the special food to his brother as well, and to keep him quarantined since this little guy most likely caught a virus. I literally gave my very last penny to the vet, and we were on our way home.
Sadly, the kitten died before I could give him any of the meds. He wasn’t showing many signs of life ever since we left the vet station, but his hear was beating, and he was breathing. Until it wasn’t. One second I checked his heart beats, and they were there. The next second, they were gone.
I never knew that a body could turn cold so fast.
I prayed for the little kitten. I send him the Al-Fatiha, which is a prayer I was taught was a prayer for the deceased, for God to guide them and have mercy on them. Can’t say for sure that it’s a prayer we’re allowed to send to animals, but I wasn’t thinking about that back then.
I didn’t break down then. I couldn’t afford to break down, since I had his brother to take care of. To make sure that at least this little kitten makes it through the battles that his brothers had lost.
The little cardboard box I made the kittens? I threw it away. A tiny reason for that was the symbolism, but the major reason was the fact that I couldn’t afford the other kitten to stay there, since that’s where his ill brother had been.
So I took care of the remaining kitten. I had to get up and give him medication every few hours, which wasn’t much of a challenge cause I couldn’t sleep that night anyway.
In all honesty, I can’t remember how I felt that week. On the one hand, I was broken after feeling like I caused the death of two kittens, but on the other hand the remaining kitten was doing so good that I couldn’t help but smile.
Now, fast forward a week later, and all is good. The remaining kitten is still with me, and in the meantime we gave him a name- Avdija (Aw-dee-ya). A quirky name for a quirky kitten.
Avdija is alive and well, so it seems. We went to the vet since he was having some troubles with his stool, but all that aside, he’s blossomed. He went from a tiny, thin, scared, confused kitten to a bigger and fuller kitten filled with confidence in his steps and curiosity in his head. He gained weight, became more active, and today he even played with us, something he never did before. My sister grew very fond of him, and in spite of not wanting to have anything to do with him at first, he warmed up to her. She was the first one to open her door to him (both metaphorically and literally), the first one that allowed him to sleep in her bed, and she never even got too angry at him after he made a few ‘incidents’ in her room. It would be funny if it weren’t so ironic.
We’re going for our final check up tomorrow (I swear the vets made a fortune off of me), and then we’ll see where the road takes us.
It’s June 18th as I write this, and I’ll update this blog as soon as we get the results from the vet.
(Btw Avdija is fine, completely healthy, and currently enjoys sprinting through my flat and running into the walls. Oh well. Here’s a pic my sister took when he fell asleep on my head)
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