There’s one thing that just might give us all grey hair before our time at Tabby’s Place.
Kittens who won’t eat.
Where we last left her story, Solgar was just such a kitten. There is something that can be done in this case – namely, tube-feeding – but it’s far from ideal. Any time you stick a tube into a hamster-sized kitten’s stomach, you run the risk of hurting that tiny windpipe or other internal bits. Even worse, you could all-too-easily land the tube in a little lung rather than the stomach, which would suffocate the little one. Danielle, Denise, Karina, and most of the staff at Tabby’s Place are quite experienced and gifted in tube-feeding – but, still, it’s not anyone’s first choice.
Except, apparently, Solgar’s.
I don’t recall exactly who had The Brilliant Idea, but it was…well, brilliant: Bunny’s still lactating, but her kittens are weaned. Why not see if she’ll accept Sol?
Oh yes – Bunny. Mother of the Year. Heck, Mother of the Millennium (MotM). Bunny. Yes! I reckon that the combined mommitude of Marge Simpson, Marmee March and Clair Huxtable can’t hold a candle to Bunny.
You may recall that, when orphans Macaroon and Snickerdoodle needed a mum, Bunny immediately, whole-heartedly took them into her own brood. (You may also recall that, due to a medical scare with the cookie kittens, we had to whisk them away – but that wasn’t MotM’s fault. BTW, all kittens are now thriving and fine. Yes! indeed.) You may also recall that Bunny was arguably the loveliest and lovingest mama ever to adore her own infants. Chipmunk, Mouse and Squirrel weren’t simply loved, they were looooooved – and today they are the secure, affectionate, bouncy toddlers that Bunny’s love nurtured.
Mouse, Squirrel and Chipmunk are now also weaned – but that doesn’t mean Bunny’s done mothering. Matter of fact, she made it clear – cutely but bizarrely clear – that she’d rather not be done nursing, either. Each morning, when we went into Hospital to clean Bunny’s holding area, she would press her whole underside up against the crate bars, all but requesting a nursing infant of her own.
Ask and ye shall receive.
As you can see in these two videos, shot by Danielle, it took Bunny a long time to accept Solgar. It may have been tens of seconds before she embraced our resident kittamin as her beloved child. For her part, Sol was happy to call Bunny “Mum.” The bond was almost instantaneous, and Bunny’s generosity flowed.
It would have been all Norman Rockwelly if not for one small snag. In a matter of hours, something else wasn’t quite flowing.
Lactating kitty-mamas will apparently continue to produce milk as long as they have kittens nursing. But it seems Bunny had been kitten-deprived for too long by the time she adopted Solgar, and her supply was already starting to run dry. By the weekend, it was clear that although Bunny was loving Solgar, and Sol was trying her darndest to nurse, the little one wasn’t getting the nutrients she needed. Not even that other Solgar would help now.
So it was back to the human mama for Sol…and back to an empty nest for Bunny.
Don’t feel too badly for these wonder-cats, though. It seems that Solgar’s brief, sweet stint with Bunny helped her ditch her bottle-aversion. Those tube-feeding days are over, and Sol will now happily suckle from a bottle. Really, everything Solgar does is aptly described as happening “happily.” She makes happy muffins in laps. She squeaks happy squeaks and chirps happy chirps. Just wait ’til her eyes open – there’s a whole beautiful world about which to be happy.
As for MotM Bunny? All’s well for the hardest-working matriarch in Ringoes. Kitten-free for the first time since we’ve known her, Bunny is now lapping up human love and letting herself be adored. This is no small feat; some of the most generous, loving people and cats I know are precisely the ones who have trouble receiving love. It can ironically be easier to give. But, as the ultimate mama, Bunny can give and receive in equal measure, and this is her season to be cherished. Her little ones may be adopted first – but I do believe Bun is on a fast-track to adoption herself.
It’s only right for a cat with this much soul.