Here is a guest post from my bottle-baby kitten, Jona.
Notes from Princess Jona, the WonderCat; or, How My Human Raised Me
How I was rescued at the age of three days
I have a fascinating history. I was found, along with my sister Lili, abandoned in a box on a Japanese high school grounds, when I was only three days old. I’m pretty sure that the humans who abandoned us figured that some kind high schooler would come to our rescue, and one did. She took us home to her family. Her mother wanted to keep both of us, but Grandpa said, “No! Only one kitten may stay in this house.” Grandpa, of course, being elderly and highly respected, had the final word. So the girl’s mother took me to a foreign family where she had been taking English and Bible lessons. That family was about to leave the country for six months. However, fortunately for me, their next door neighbor heard my cries (I am told that I was very loud) and came out to see what was going on. She immediately said she would love to have me. Of course, who could resist my golden beauty? (Although she says I looked like a golden hamster and the only way she was sure I was a cat is because I was making lots of cat noises.) She took me to show me to the reigning feline, Queen Cherry of the black and white, who sniffed me and then tried to bite my head off. I remember the human saying, “NO, Cherry, this is a friend, not food.” She made sure I was big enough to take care of myself before letting Cherry near me again. She named me Jona because I had been in danger for the first three days of my life, and Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days.
Bottle-feeding a Kitten
I was so young that she had to bottle-feed me. My, how I loved that bottle. There were two humans trying to get me to take the bottle the first time and it took two of them ten minutes to get me to latch on the first time. They finally discovered that if they stroked my head in the same way my cat mother would have licked it, I would latch on and suck. Once I figured it out, though, it was hard to get me to let go! I would fall asleep with the nipple in my mouth and when my human would take it slowly out, my tongue would stay in the same round shape!
Keeping kittens warm for the first three weeks
Of course being so little I had to be warmed all the time. Cats keep their kittens warm with their bodies until they are at least three weeks old. So my human mom carried me around under her shirt! She tucked the shirt in with me inside and then I would crawl around until I got to that flat place where her spine was and fall asleep there! Japanese babies travel on their mother’s back so maybe I figured since I was a Japanese cat I should do the same. When she was not carrying me around, she put me in a box that was sitting on top of a heating pad, and had a warm fuzzy microfiber blanket in it. I also had two Beanie Babies to sleep with. At first they were bigger than I was! If she had to carry the box around, she filled a 500 ml bottle with hot water and wrapped the blanket around it, and I learned to snuggle up to it.
You may think this is TMI, too much information, but I couldn’t go potty by myself for several weeks. If I had been left with my cat mother, she would have licked me and it would have happened. My human had to imitate this by wiping my bottom with a warm wet paper towel about once every two hours. I know that was kind of disgusting for her, but she did it because she knew I needed it. That is love!
I soon became big and strong enough to use the litter box and keep warm all by myself. I learned to eat kitten food and kibble. My human did not intend me to be an outdoor cat, but one day I managed to escape and learn about the Big Out. Everyone in the neighborhood loved me, so I decided the Big Out was more fun than the Big In. I am strong and healthy at age 12, and I enjoy sitting in front of the house collecting the admiration of all who pass by!
Picture credit: my own picture of my own kitten (now a large orange furball)