Why I killed three out of ten kittens this week
This has been a tough week for young felines in my parts. Litters of unwanteds stray into the oncoming traffic, or fare poorly against backyard dogs. Their eyes drip mucoid tears as they hunch with backs against one another awaiting their next handout.
At work we received ten this week: One sweet-as-sugar seven month-old with a litter in her belly. A three week-old litter of three healthy fat ones of various bright colors. Then three pairs of ten to twelve-weekers from different litters––all six sick, semi-long-haired and feral.
Except for the first female, all were destined for the shelter or the freezer, per their finders. The first female was set to get let back out soon after her low-cost abortion. But the others were either too small or too sick to credibly survive in “the wild.”
Somehow, fate intervened and older kitten #1 met her forever home while stationed in her cage in the corner. The ear tip, hanging mammaries and scraped-up nose didn’t deter the older gentleman who fell for her. Sometimes love knows no aesthetic bounds.
The three tiny kittens learned to eat on their own and proved perfectly adoptable...in time we figure we’ll get these orangey-tricoloreds their perfect placements. They’re easy keepers, anyway.
But the sick ones? Not so much. All six were wild at first. We medicated them for a couple of days and hoped for the best. One pair distinguished itself for their comely coats...and for coming around to our ministrations––especially with respect to their temperament. We were able to finagle a foster home after lots of calling around. Truth be told, their salvation was mostly the result of their prettiness.
Three of the other four remained wild as can be..and snorkely and feverish and sickly. Though #4 was all black and still sick, he had the distinction of being temperamentally workable...and male. After euthanizing his [especially aggressive] sister and the other wild pair, we treated him to an early neuter and a chance at life. A medicated bath, earmite meds, Revolution for his lice (might work), more antibiotics and lots of fluids.
This truly is the world of the haves and the have-nots. Three die, while seven are granted a fast-track to domestic bliss. The attractive, the strong and the sweet are given chances that the others are not. Arbitrary and unfair. That's life.
So how could I kill the three? Not easily, I assure you. But it’s not as downright depressing as you might think. Perhaps that’s because I’m too busy being angry. Whenever I kill like this, I’m incensed that humanity created conditions that conspired to force MY hand to do the dirty work.
The shelter? Please. It’s passing the buck. And, if nothing else, these three got a thoughtful trial and a soft hand at the end. Not that my staff agrees. Still, they didn't volunteer to take them home, either.