Monday, April 1, 2013

April surprise

Jörn and Lukas drove to the skip at Makenzy Beach this afternoon to dispose of an old broken armchair we had. (Is "skip" understandable in American English? If not, well, it's a huge metal container that can be carried on a truck and is used for garbage of all sorts, and there are actually four of these things there, Jörn just informed me. Oh, I think they might be called dumpsters? Something like that, anyway...) Not many people call our home phone, so when the phone rang, I wasn't surprised that it was Jörn, and since Jörn and Lukas were there at a huge rubbish heap (garbage pile...), I wasn't surprised in any case that they were calling, and wondered what they wanted to bring home THIS time. I was at least glad that they were asking, for a change.

They brought home a kitten.

She was on a pile of stuff, underneath what might have been the rack from an oven. Another man there saw the kitten first and moved the rack and picked the kitten up, and asked Jörn and Lukas if they wanted a kitten. Jörn at least didn't say no, and he's the one who called me to ask what I thought. Okay, so maybe I wasn't thrilled, but I HAVE been toying with the idea of getting a cat for awhile, and there was no way I could tell them to just leave the kitten there!

I don't know how old she is, of course, but I'm guessing three or four weeks. Her eyes are well open and she's quite alert, and she can walk fairly well, although she wobbles a bit. She's totally not afraid of people or of loud noises (and all the people in this house are generators of loud noises), and is cuddly and friendly, so I don't think she could possibly be a feral cat, but she's also definitely too young to be voluntarily away from her mother, and wasn't close enough to any buildings to have possibly walked there herself. It seems impossible to believe that somebody just dumped her there, but I don't know how else she could have gotten there.

While I was on the phone with a friend asking for advice, Jörn and Lukas tried to give her some water from a saucer. Lukas said she lapped some, but Jörn didn't see it, and she certainly didn't seem to know how to lap milk later on.
Joan said she should probably have kitten formula, but of course, today is a public holiday (Cyprus Independence Day), so everything is closed. I Googled "homemade kitten formula" and found an amazing number of recipes, most of which called for all sorts of things that I didn't have in the house and couldn't buy with closed shops and wouldn't know if I could buy even with open shops. However, one recipe was doable: 1 cup of milk, 2 egg yolks, and 1 teaspoon of salad oil. We even had milk, which we don't usually have, because I was going to make hot chocolate for breakfast yesterday, but didn't end up doing so, which is another topic and was going to be what I was going to post, but the kitten is more interesting. To me, anyway.

So I mixed this up (actually only half, since that was already a lot more than the kitten could possibly eat), and attempted to feed it to the kitten. I didn't have an eye dropper, exactly, but the syringe-ish sort of thing that comes with children's Nurofen (which we don't have any of, and that was going to be the topic of another blogpost, but kittens are still more interesting) sort of worked. It doesn't have a tapered tip, though, and the kitten was having a hard time dealing with the wide, flat tip, from which she couldn't suck. While I was doing this, one friend responded to me on gmail chat and another to me on Facebook, saying that condensed milk (or evaporated milk, and now I don't remember which one is which language--Germans call it coffee milk, and what it IS is evaporated milk: no sugar or anything else added, just water taken out) would work for a couple of days. We even have some, but oh well, I'd already mixed up this other formula. Despite some of my children trying to convince me to express some of MY milk, but I informed them that there was no reason to think that human milk would be any more appropriate for a baby cat than cow milk would be, and nope, that wasn't happening.

No photos of feeding the kitten, since Jörn had taken the camera with him when he took Helen to Antidote (drama class, and that would be another cool blogpost topic!), but here's a nice one of a happy kitty with about 15 milliliters of formula in her tummy.
Lukas, by the way, is still claiming that this is HIS kitten, but I'm not happy with that. No matter whose we call it, she's going to be mainly my responsibility, and I'd rather just take care of her than remind Lukas a million times to do so.

When Katie cuddled her, she went right to sleep, but just as I was about to take a photo, some little sister came running in and shouted, which made the kitten slightly wiggle and open her eyes just as I took the photo.

She went right back to sleep, though.

She also very much liked sleeping on Marie.

And here she's sleeping on Marie's lap, covering her eyes.

Last photo for today, and not a great one: we put her in a box, with a towel underneath and and old t-shirt, and a black cat cuddly toy, of which the kitten approves. She sniffed all over, then curled up half under the toy cat.
And the biggest miracle: we all agreed on a name without too much trouble! Nobody except Lukas liked a single one of Lukas's suggestions (Buckbeak is the only one I remember, but the others weren't any better), nobody except Marie liked Marie's suggestion (Minerva), nobody including myself liked any of mine, not that I remember what they were, until I suggested Makenzy, after the place where she was found. We thought about M.B. for Makenzy Beach, thinking about the fact that my mother has a dog named K.B. after King's Beach, but we stuck with just plain Makenzy. We might change the spelling, though--not even the various signs around town and on maps and in ads agree on the spelling.
So we have a cat. And now I'm going to have to go warm up some formula and try to feed her before I go to bed. Our friend Sue sent over a kitten feeding bottle, which works a little better than what I was using, but most successful is letting her suck the milk off of my fingers. I hope I don't have to do that in the night...I'm not at all good at actually standing up and being coherent before I'm ready to get up. Watch this space...

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