First Orion went downhill. We put him on a drip but he developed a blocked bowel. He couldn’t pass urine or poo. Neither conventional nor homeopathic medicine seemed to help. I kept him beside me at night and the other kittens came around to see how he was doing and give him a wee clean and some comfort. Towards the end of August, only a few weeks after we got him, Orion died. I couldn’t believe we couldn’t save him. Goliath had gone from strength to strength and it didn’t cross my mind that our care couldn’t save the others too. Orion was buried in Jenni’s back garden.
At the same time Titan was starting to slide. Nothing specific to treat, just a general malaise and lack of thriving. See him to the right beside Goliath, both the same age, now Titan is half the size. Again we tried conventional and homeopathic medicines, loving care, plain diet. I kept him beside me at night. By this time I was wondering if Goliath had thrived because he was surrounded by warm, caring bodies from day one (the rest of the family had been kept separate from the house) and was determined that Titan should recieve the same care. But he died in his sleep beside me at 5am one morning.
Both he and Orion had been playful, friendly wee things. It broke my heart we couldn’t save them. Didn’t even occur to me we couldn’t until the last days.
I still wonder if we were wrong to have put them in with Jupiter, flu and all. If we should have integrated them in with the other kittens straight away. If there was anything else we could have done. But, as Jenni says, both deaths were a direct result of the malnutrition and lack of care they encountered in their young kittenhood, and undoubtedly the malnutrition of their mother during and after pregnancy. If we had left them at the farm they would have had no chance at all. At least their last weeks were in a warm, healthy environment with plenty food, treatment and care for them.
So I buried Titan in my back garden. I’ve never buried an animal before and it was amazingly cathartic. I had a tiny basket made of recycled newspaper that he fit right in, put some toys and flowers beside him and surrounded him with willow twigs, some straw decorations, a pipe for flowers and a candle for remembrance. I’ll plant more willow this winter and it’ll grow thick and fast in the spring, allowing me to weave a memorial around him. And now there’s a tiny area of peace in my garden.
Maybe you’ll think I’m barking mad but Titan is the fourth kitten to die in my care this year and the grave, for me, serves as a memorial for all the animals mistreated and killed so needlessly by human carelessness and cruelty. Looking at the pictures above, the state of these kittens when they first arrived, I can’t believe anyone with a spark of humanity in their hearts can look on such vulnerable creatures and not help them. How they can walk past them every day and not do something? How they can say they care (as the Kingston farmer does!?!!)?