Meet Zella, our completely unintentional cat. Last week Meg, my friend and neighbor, called to ask my advice about a very young kitten she spotted on the sidewalk. When I walked up with her to take a look I was shocked at how small the kitten was. Clearly too young to be away from her mother she appeared to be around four weeks old. After searching to no avail and waiting for her mom to return I decided to take her with me. I knew if we left her there she would more than likely not make it. Our Downtown Macon neighborhood is filled with feral cats and kittens and many don't survive long in the urban environment.
I am completely comfortable with dogs, puppies and full grown cats but this was uncharted territory. I've never bottle fed a kitten before but I was willing to try. Fortunately another neighbor who looked after many of the feral cats brought me a bottle and some spare kitten milk that got us through the first night. I bathed her in an attempt to remove the flea infestation. The kitten was eating, but barely and seemed to lack energy. After a couple days I made the decision to take her to the vet.
Zella, named after my grandmother, ended up getting subcutaneous fluids, a kitten safe flea treatment, and a little acupuncture. She weighed in at a whopping nine ounces. When I picked her up later in the day she had a little more energy but she was still not out of the woods and struggled to eat. By this time I was attached and really hoped she would make it. I sought the advice of friends online and they offered great suggestions for caring for her, namely feeding her something really stinky. That seemed to do the trick.
Well I am happy to report that she is now eating a combination of jarred baby food meat, tuna and a gel specially formulated to provide kittens with extra calories. She uses the litter box like a champ and our Shih Tzu Cooper has become quite attached to her. It looks like she will be staying with us for good. I forgot how much fun a kitten can be!