Dis be da story ob whatz happenz almostz 5 yearz agoz jist affer I iz bornz, OK?
Perhaps now would be an appropriate time to share the story of the most traumatic (for both Alex and me) event of his kittenhood. I purchased Alex from a pet store on Preston Highway in Louisville, not too far from my mother's home. He was one of four kittens that the store had for sale and, as people who have seen him or photographs of him have noted, Alex has very unique markings. The black coloring on his white coat above his left eye, his black right nostril, and his "ring tailed" tail are not all of them. He also had black ovals on his hind legs, which I have never been able to photograph because Alex is such a ham that he always wants to face my camera. Without a doubt, Alex was the cutest of the four siblings in the store.
The clerk at the pet store sold me all that he said was needed for a happy and well-cared-for kitten: a cat carrier (then much too big for the little fellow, but which he has since out grown), a litter box, cat litter, food and drink bowls, and, most importantly, a large bag of dry kitten food that the clerk said was what Alex had been normally eating.
It was on a Wednesday in January when I purchased the kitten who would become the cat who owns me. After we arrived home, I telephoned the vet who had so well tended my dog, Muffin (another story I've yet to share), and made an appointment to have her look at Alex the following Monday. During the next few days, Alex seemed to adjust well to life in my house. He explored and climbed (just a bit) and was held and cuttled (quite a bit). He developed his since refined habit of climbing up (he now leaps up from the floor) the comforter of my bed and then crawls beneath it to snuggle with me at night.
Each day when I came home from the church I was pastoring, I'd find Alex sitting in the living room awaiting my arrival. It felt great to be welcomed home by the little fellow. It felt great to share my house with another warm blooded creature.
That Sunday I left for the church at 7:00 a.m. to prepare for the morning worship service. When I returned home, Alex wasn't snuggled on the living room couch as he had been the previous days. I wasn't concerned; I thought that he might be in the kitchen, dining. But Alex wasn't in the kitchen. I found him sprawled on the hardwood floor of my library. He couldn't move, he couldn't stand. He looked up at me with frightened eyes as I lifted him into my arms.
I didn't hesitate. Since I knew that my vet was closed on Sundays, I wrapped Alex in a blanket and drove him to a vet I knew had a practice a few blocks from my house. There I found that the only person in the clinic was a woman who came in on Sundays to feed the animals. She told me that the only vet she knew who was open was at a 24-hour-emergency animal clinic in Middletown, Kentucky, about fifteen miles away. I drove there and carried Alex wrapped in his blanket into the clinic.
An assistant took my kitten from me and disappeared through a door. I waited. I waited for what seemed to be a very long time before I was it invited to speak with one of the vetinarians on duty. He told me that Alex was very ill and he did not know if my kitten would live. The vet estimated Alex to be only about four weeks old and much too young to be separated from his mommy. He also told me that Alex should not have been sold, especially by a pet shop, who should have know better. Alex was much too young to eat and digest the dry kitten food that the store clerk had said was his normal diet. He should have still been drinking his mommy's milk.
The vet's diagnosis was that Alex was suffering from hypothermia, caused by the cold January floor and his inability to generate body heat because he couldn't digest the kitten food, anemia, and hypoglycemia. His prognosis was poor. He allowed me to visit my little fellow and what I saw was heart-rending: Alex had two IVs going into him and was just lying there.
Alex remained hospitalized for four days (and $800.00). I visited him each day. On the third day the vet told me that my kitten would "make it" and I was over overjoyed. It was on that day that I was able to hold and cuddle the little fellow again. The next afternoon, when Alex was released from the animal hospital, the vet gave me a whole list of actions to take, including (1) if I was to continue feeding him dry kitten food, I was to moisten it in warm water for a few minutes until the food was soft before giving it to him; (2) when I left the house, I was to place Alex in his cat carrier and place the carrier well above the cold floor; and (3) the vet suggested that I report the pet store to the humane society for selling a kitten too young to be weaned. I did all three and more.
So dats how it be when I waz jist a bery little kitty kat. OK? And MY hoomin bean he be MY mommy kat for a bery long time,. OK? And so I helps MY hoomin bean makes Mudders Day card for hiz hoomin mommy.
See, dis be day frontz:
And diz be whatz onz da insidez::
Aint dat nice?
HAPPY MUDDERS DAY, EBERBODIES!
(MY HOOMIN BEAN, TOO)