Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Littlest Kitten. Will They Do Him?

The littlest kitten I trapped last night, of three, is under two pounds, but not by very much. I don't know if they will do him or not. I pleaded with them to neuter him, since it is difficult to trap a solitary cat again, in a colony.

All three kittens might be boys, which is consistent with a starvation colony. I call it a starvation colony because the cats are all starved. Simple enough. Whether they are starved because they don't get enough food or because they are severely worm infested can be harder to tell. But in this case, both factors are in play.

The kittens are wild, two of them anyway, and the only food is fed on a porch in the morning, when there is human activity. Therefore the wilder kittens and cats get almost nothing. When there is very little food to be had, the kittens fare worse and girl kittens fare much worse.

Why? Because little girls are the same in every species it seems. They worry about others more than themselves while the boys care most about their own needs. If food is scarce, they push out anyone they can to eat, including the worried about their brothers little girls.

The girl kittens are far more complicated creatures. They have to be paranoid and alert. Their lives will be spent in complicated difficult undertakings: caring for kittens. This takes nurture, skill at hunting and multi tasking, and paranoia, to watch out for all sorts of dangers, while pregnant and when raising the kittens. The boys will engage in sex and fighting for dominance.

But, the internal programs that run a girl kittens brain sometimes prove lethal, as in attentiveness to the needs of others. Later, this would help her raise kittens. But when young, this trait can lead to her getting less food, when food is scarce.

I tell the males in the car, when taking them to be neutered, that their real life begins now. I like to see it as freeing them from a life ruled by hormones, pursuit of sex and fighting rivals. They become far more interesting and interested in far more afterwards, in my opinion. When male kittens are neutered, they go on to lead carefree lives, unengaged in the warfare and mating of the big toms. It's beautiful. What if we humans could live so care free simply by disengaging our hormonal drives for sex and aggression?

The girls I don't have to explain anything to. I swear some run into my traps, wanting free of the responsibilities that come with hormonally active lives. Spay me! Some have had ten or more litters already. Maybe this is just my view from the outside. Some females, all they have in life is to look forward to caring for kittens.

Before someone complains I am engaging in anthropomorphism, I will say, I reject the idea of that word. Ascribing human emotions to animals is normal. It isn't a sin. It would be if humans were not animals. But we are. I believe animals share many of the same traits, including emotions. I reject the notion that anthropomorphism is a viable concept.

I have seen awful things out there. I have watched a teen female, surrounded by ten or twelve toms, trying to get away. I have seen a pregnant teen wade into a deep mud puddle to try to escape five or six scroungy big toms, who want to rape her. The female cats have no choice, and once pregnant, a stray or feral female is in big trouble, out there, on her own, often abandoned pregnant, like it's some sin and fault of her own.

I've heard caregivers call female cats whores and sluts and it is hard not to punch such asshole humans in the face, and grab the little girl and run.

The littlest kitten was heavily flea infested, but that will be remedied also today. I flea treat all the cats I take in. I have to at this clinic, or they'll charge me and do it themselves. They want fleas and flea eggs all over their clinic.

So it costs me, every cat I take in, crawling in fleas and most are. The most basic cat care treatments, even for the tame cats, are usually not done, by the people I run into with unfixed cats. It's kind of sad.

Fleas promote tapeworms, when a cat swallows an infected flea. Most house cats and kittens I take in have also never been round wormed. Their ears might be impacted with ear mite debris. What is wrong with people? They don't notice?

So I hand out my "Four Most Common Cat Parasites" sheet. The sheet includes descriptions of tape and roundworms, fleas and ear mites and how to treat them including a spiel on the importance of getting a cat vaccinated and check ups with a vet who can get them on a vaccination schedule and check for signs of these parasites.

I hope they neuter the littlest kitten today. Then I'm done with that colony.

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