More on Our Sweet Guest

This weekend was stressful. On Friday Cute W arrived home, hoarse and exhausted from his business meeting. We had been talking all week about how I was Deeply In Love with our little kitty, and we were fully prepared to cave in and keep her. I just hadn’t talked to the girls about it yet because J was the one who was super-attached, and I wanted her to talk with Cute W about it, because neither of them have fully recovered from the loss of our longtime cat. They are sensitive souls.

But then, before we got a chance to have that talk, J announced that her friend, a girl whose parents had said no to a pet many times, was going to be allowed to adopt the kitten. This was wonderful. And heartbreaking. J was excited. And then she wasn’t. As reality set in, the thought of giving up the kitten, even to a good home, was too sad. Plus, she realized by our reaction that we had been prepared to cave. This sweet little kitty could break down anyone’s defenses.

On Saturday, J and I went and bought a goody bag of treats so that she could bring them to her friend and break the news to her in person. Both girls were heartbroken and both of them were trying so hard to be kind and mindful of each other. It was lovely to see. We also picked up a different food because the kitty didn’t seem to like the special kitten food that was dropped off for her. We got a different variety of the same brand in time for dinner, and she ate it.

And then she threw up. And then she threw up again.

By Sunday morning I was calling for help. By Sunday afternoon we had driven over to Troy where a very experienced, kind, and sweet foster mom gave her IV fluids and coached us. By Sunday night Lily had died.

I am making this story a quick one. Obviously, it was all slower and more torturous in real time. I don’t know exactly what was wrong, but I am realizing, too late, that this was the likely outcome all along. One small kitten separated from its mama is vulnerable in so many ways, and we were just woefully ignorant about that. I thought that the hard part was over once we’d trapped her and taught her to use the litter box and gotten rid of the possum, but it turns out that I was wrong. We thought that food and water and the right medicine and warmth and so much instant, overwhelming love would be enough for her. But it wasn’t.

We did our best. Without us, she would have died outside and alone. That’s what we are telling ourselves. Maybe eventually it will help.


  1. Carol Jones

    Same thing happened to Emily and her family with their sweet Penny whom they found in their bushes. The vet said it was lock jaw. They had her for several months but she failed to flourish and finally couldn’t eat. So sad for your family.

  2. Jo Anne Assini

    You and Josie made that kitten’s short life a happy one. I often think of Chrissy’s little dog dying alone. I don’t know how she recovered. To die with love all around is a great gift. You gave that to little Lily.

  3. Thank you, all. Yes, I’m glad she wasn’t alone. I think it was distemper — apparently it’s the season for it and the incubation period is two weeks, so it’s likely she arrived already infected.
    @Carol. Oh, my goodness, months! That’s so much worse. At least it was relatively quick.

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