Alaska came to stay. Of that I was already sure. Even my husband was enthralled watching the new-borns. Little squeaking balls of fur. The only one that didn´t look happy was Gizma. She looked the newcomers with a distrustful glare.
As soon as Alaska felt strong enough, she started going out for walks, but a couple of hours later, she came back to nurse the babies. But they were still less than a week old, when Alaska disappeared. We noticed because it was getting dark, the babies cried louder and louder for her mama and we didn’t know what to do. I´ve had cats with litters before, but never been a substitute mother for orphaned babies.
We were puzzled and felt angry about the disappeared mom. Everyone has ever heard of animal mothers that abandon their cubs if they feel in grave danger, menaced, if humans touch them and they don’t recognize them anymore. Even leaving the sick ones behind. But HER leaving five healthy new-borns who hadn´t even opened her eyes…
You can imagine us frantically googling how to take care of them. We found dozens of recipes for substitute milk, how and when to feed them. I didn’t know there were so many things to do in order to keep them alive!
If you had cats once, you can imagine the sleepless night before me. Trying to feed each one with some tiny syringe every two hours, cleaning them after that two ensure the vowels moved before they can´t even do potty by themselves, and checking they were warm, but not too much and didn’t fall out of the nest.
Exhausting morning and afternoon followed. As you have correctly guessed I asked for another day off. And then another day off. Yes I´m that crazy in love with cats. The babies weren’t eating as much as every cat lover site suggested, and I felt like a failure. We went to a couple of vets to buy cat formula I didn’t know it ever existed 24 hours before. Asking also with internet sites around the city for substitute mothers who could nurse the babies.
Again, it was getting dark and we went out searching for the hundredth time for her when I finally heard a feeble meowing under a car near our home . My heart just skipped a beat when I saw her lying there. We tried to bribe her with ham but didn’t move and we feared the worst.
It took us almost an hour to get her from under that car, but finally we had her with us. Alive.
Even if she seemed to be in great pain, she immediately looked to her babies, and she did great efforts but took tender care of her babies. We were almost crying. Correction. I cried. The babies had an opportunity to survive. One of them had already opened its eyes, now he could see its mother back.
The next morning, a Saturday, we took our Alaska to the vet. He had to put some anaesthesia for the examination, and we now searched for an animal hospital which made x-rays on Saturdays. The results weren’t very favourable, her hipbone was broken and she would have a definite limp. There was no way she could go into a surgery, the risks were higher than keeping her this way. The bones would heal, even if her hip would be lopsided; and because of the babies, no surgery was the best choice for all.
What had happened to her? We never knew, the vet said she could have been beaten by someone with a club. Or hit with a car who wasn’t very fast. We can´t tell which one scared us the most. We only could tell, it took her hours to come back to us, looking for her babies.
Day by day she recovered her health, even if she couldn’t move at first and I had to carry her along to the yard, to her food plates and back to her kids for several days.
Finally then came the day when she fully recovered her health and with it her spirit. She didn’t feel cowed of Gizma anymore and became the alfa of the pack.
As soon as the babies were old enough we spayed every one of them. The vet said if Alaska got pregnant again, this time she wouldn´t make it. After all we looked for adoptive homes for most of them, but we remained with three cats: Gizma, Alaska and Furrball, the white one and smallest of the litter.
Months later, Alaska finally left. She was feral after all and she made occasional visits home. One day she stopped coming.
One year later my asthma got worse and Gizma and Furrball went to adoptive homes. I still receive photos of them by the friends who take care of them.
One night I was sleeping when a soft movement in my bed woke me up. The feeblest purr could be felt as four little paws made their way from my feet to my face over the blankets. As soon as I opened my eyes I had a quick glimpse of a white cat, with a yellowish spot on her head and at the tip of her tail. One second later the image and the purr vanished out of thin air.
Alaska came to say goodbye.
I thank you for keeping reading till here, and if you read my first post and wondered about the lies I made, here are the answers:
1. Break the rules: I didn´t do it willingly, I was procrastinating vigorously as always and decided to participate at the last minute. And the site I use to blog wasn´t working the day before.
2. There´s no chocolate. I´m sorry about that, but I´m on diet and I haven´t bought any. Can you give me some? I´m hungry.
3. You can bribe me with marshmallows too, but never to wash the dishes.
4. I only have 2 teens. The smallest one is my nephew, but he sometimes stays with us.
5. I have asthma, and it was the main reason I had to look for adoptive homes for my foundlings.
Have you guessed them right? See you soon.