Raising Noah : a story for cat lovers
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
This blog is dedicated to Michelle who I have long suspected is my friend because she fell in love with Noah.
During the final episode of Alli McBeal my phone rings. Reluctantly I answer, and am greeted by a woman who is clearly in crisis. She starts off by saying that she got my phone number from someone who has my phone number from someone--people in animal rescue know the drill and cringe when a conversation begins like this. It is never good and I start to prepare myself for the inevitable. So, she begins...
She explains to me that she had heard some strange mewing sounds coming from her garden and had gone out in the rain to investigate. What she found, she wasn't quite sure but believed it to be a newborn kitten. I sigh. This is clearly not going well. Next she tells me that she has heard I rescue cats and since she works full- time and this kitten clearly needs 24 hour round the clock care, she will have to put it to sleep if I don't take it. I silently complement her on her delivery. The possible kitten is now mine. And so Noah arrives not only wrapped in an insole of a shoe but is actually in a shoebox. When I check him out he is really quite something. His tiny ears are pinned down, his eyes are locked closed and his tail is longer then his whole body. I look at his tiny square orange face that resembles a minuscule tiger and I fall in love. Casey, my male dog has also apparently fallen in love and is hysterical to get closer to Noah. I put the shoe box down, and he takes a quick look inside to confirm his suspicions and we go to sleep with Casey guarding Noah and his shoebox. The next morning I go about creating Noah's incubator. I place a heater in the bathroom full blast and fill a
box with layers and layers of soft liners. Noah is now upgraded from a shoe box to a UPS box, and Casey is frantic. I then stock up on mamalac amid warnings not to get too attached to Noah as he is too young to survive without his mother. I try my best not to glare at these well-intentioned people and return to my baby determined that he will make it. I wake up every 3 hours to feed him without an alarm and I rub his bum to simulate a mother's cat tongue. I bring him to the couch where he falls asleep under my chin, and then pass out for a few hours only to begin the cycle again. Seven days later, Noah's eyes open and he looks straight at me. I can see that he is not impressed. I quickly try to assure him that he takes after his father and not to panic. He is still not impressed.
By three weeks, Noah wants out of the box. He lunges at the wall of the box, pulls himself up to the rim and then topples onto the tiles. The first time I think it is a fluke, the second time I know I am in trouble. This minuscule orange kitten has decided that he wants out and there is no box that is going to be big enough to contain him. So Noah begins to walk, with Casey on top of him like a portable roof. My life has gone from the mundane to the absurd.
Next I take him to the vet for his weekly check-up and am told that Noah is underweight. I return home with Casey and baby Noah and a few cans of wet food. Noah loves the food and start scoffing it down. I watch, alarmed but fascinated until he starts to wobble. I think I am imagining this due to sleep deprivation when he hits the floor unconscious. I rush baby Noah to the vet who gives him three adrenalin shots and nothing. My vet begins to panic which is never good and I am told to rush Noah to an animal hospital, and do I think I can drive? It was a good question as given the choice I would have preferred to pass out. So, I am in the car, shaking as I drive my unconscious pediatric kitten to the hospital. As I pull into the parking area, he wakes up. Noah is completely alert and immensely pleased with himself. I am muttering under my breathe as I cross the threshold of the hospital at $175.00. A vet comes to examine him and is fascinated with his little patient. I am less amused. He suggests that Noah should stay for observation. I suggest that Noah is a piglet. Noah stays. At 4:00 am the vet calls me with an update. Noah has now been under observation for hours and has not stopped eating the whole time. He suggests that Noah is indeed a piglet. A few hundred dollars later, I take my baby piglet home.
The next time I see Noah's vet, he tells me it is now time for me to teach Noah how to use the cat litter. I honestly think he is kidding. The vet is not kidding. On the way home I decide to let the cats raise Noah from now on for both our sakes.
Today, Noah is a very strange cat. He does not run properly, making circles with his back legs as he gains speed. He looks absolutely ridiculous and like all moms, I feel responsible. Noah giggles, sulks, and he tells me off on a regular basis.
At night, he loves to run over my body in the dark which makes me crazy much to his delight and in the morning he asks for food with the soft sounds he made as a baby. There are now younger cats living with us but Noah has maintained his status as babycat of the family. Now that Casey is gone, Noah is attempting to make friends with my neighbor's huge dog. I often ask him, where is Casey and Noah will pretend to look for him. I know better. Typical kid, he's just not telling.