Sunday, July 16, 2006

Ailleanach- a birth story

My husband picked me up one night from work. I was doing the 3-11 shift at the time. That's when we still lived in southern Florida. We made a run through McD's drive through for dollar chicken sandwiches. On the way home he told me that he'd seen two kittens in the parking lot between our apartment and the gym. Did I want to see if they were still there? Okay.

"They were under that pile of ties. I left them some tuna fish and water."

No signs of any kitties and the food was untouched. I got out of the car and sat on the curb eating my sandwich. Then I heard the tiniest possible little "mew". I mewed back, trying to coax the little one out. Finally a little gray tabby came peeking out from under the tie. She wouldn't come close enough to touch though. I worried that the little one would starve. I kept mewing and moving toward the house. She answered and followed in the shadows. We had to take the long way around, providing shelter for the kitty all along the way. After an hour or two of mewing she was in the hedge beside the front door. She wouldn't come in for anything. I left milk out and went to bed.

The next morning I couldn't wait to check on the kitty. She was still beside the door, but she wasn't eating. I was afraid she'd starve. My husband and I took positions on each end of the hedge and moved in. After a long game of cat and mouse- with us playing the cat- I finally had her in my hands. She was so tiny I could hold her in my palms.

Then the process of trying to feed her really began. It soon became clear that she hadn't even been weaned. I drew up milk in a needleless syringe and dropped some on her tongue. This was rewarded by rapid lapping. After much milk drunk in this way, she graduated to milk mixed with wet food served on a spoon. Eventually she started to eat this out of a dish and was eating dry food the same day.

A name anything is always difficult. We called her Ailleanach- the Irish word for shy- because of the run around she gave us. Now she's two years old and we can't imagine life without her.

A glad day and our first baby.

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