Pet Tips 'n' Tales©

Courtney's Sugar

Courtesy Photo©
Courtney's family was not expecting a new baby! That is, until Sugar materialized, trapped between the floor boards, in a friend's garage!  Courtney, 16 years old, dedicated her summer holiday learning how to save Sugar's life.

TALES
 
Courtney's summer holiday took an unexpected turn when her friend, Chuck, discovered a starving kitten under his parent's garage floor boards.  Chuck heard kittens mewing so he pulled up the boards and retrieved Sugar. The mother cat and the other kittens had somehow left, and never returned.

The events in our lives truly show who and what we are made of - they also teach us new things.

Courtney took on the challenge of learning to feed the dehydrated kitten and phoned a rescue group for directions on how to save the starving kitten.

The kitten was much too young to be separated from its mother's milk and her body's warmth.  Kittens dehydrate quickly and this was a concern.  He did not have his baby teeth and was wobbly when he attempted to walk.

"I took the kitten to a pet store," said Courtney, "and bought him kitten formula and a bottle. They said he was a week-and-a-half old.    

That is when the work started.  I had to feed Sugar every two hours for two weeks.  I was exhausted from lack of sleep!  Mom helped the kitten evacuate its bowels so it did not die from constipation."

"Mother cats and dogs lick their babys' bottoms to stimulate urine and fecal movements.  Human  'foster mothers' can accomplish the same by moistening a cotton ball or kleenex with warm water and rubbing the baby's bottom.   Do this after each feeding.  When baby is about 3 weeks old, provide a tiny litter pan, and it won't be long until it is using it ," advises Janetta Overholser, president of The Humane Society of Cottage Grove. "Also, a syringe (minus the needle) works well to feed newborns."

"Thankfully, a week later," continues Courtney, "after Sugar watched my twelve year old cat C.C. (Courtney's cat) use the litter box, he began using the litter box too.  We used a small lid, off a box, so he could easily step into the litter.

When Sugar's sharp baby teeth came in, instead of sucking on the bottle's rubber nipples, he chewed right through them!  So we put his milk formula in a bowl and it sure made life easier!

I carefully clip his sharp claws with nail clippers.  Just like us, cats and dogs have flesh leading up to the nail.  I always clip his claws under a bright light, or use a pen light, so I can see his pink blood vessels and stay away from the nerves in his claws.  This way he does not snag his claws on the rugs and furniture and inadvertently pull them out.  Sugar is 5 weeks old now and beginning to eat canned food in addition to his formula.

I named Sugar "Sugar" for a reason that you might not think.  Yes, he is sweet, but he is like the Energizer Bunny and runs nonstop, like an over-stimulated human high on way too much sugar," laughs Courtney. "He is very adventurous and loves to run and play."

"We have a 90 pound Golden Retriever, Porsha, and Sugar enjoys hitting Porsha on the nose and attacking her feathery tail," said Courtney.
 
"Porsha is very tolerant and just lies there watching the free kitten show. Besides using Porsha as his jungle-gym, Sugar loves little balls that jingle.

Having a pet is a big responsibility, and if you can't take care of an animal, you shouldn't have one.  Sugar nearly died in the garage because my friend's parents were on vacation at the time he discovered him.  What became of his mother and siblings is probably not a good ending.  My mother is taking Sugar in to be neutered at 4 months so that he does not create any more unwanted kittens.

Sugar helped me pass the summer vacation.  When my friends were at work or busy, I had Sugar to care for and cuddle while watching TV."
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TIPS
 
Sugar must be a popular pet name! Tips n Tales reader Shari Rose in Lacey, Washington writes, "When our cat, Sugar, went in for surgery, I took along my flannel pillow case. I placed the pillow case in her 'hospital-cage-room' to comfort her.  You can put a worn T-shirt, or nightwear in your pet's cage.  Pets respond to smell, and your clothes help calm them as it smells like home.  As expected, Sugar immediately calmed down and began purring.  Music
to my heart," writes Shari Rose.

"The vet felt that Sugar's healing would begin faster, because she would smell me once she returned from surgery.  They believe she will be groggy but her "sniffer" will believe mommy is with her.  

I left them a spare pillow case in case the first one becomes soiled.  There is nothing like love to help healing."
 
"Today, because of the vast amounts of pets needing homes, most humane societies now euthanize newborns. There is a great need for foster homes for orphaned newborn kittens and puppies. It is difficult to find people willing to hand-feed newborns every two hours, 24 hours a day! Contact the Humane Society if you are capable of helping. Neutering and spaying our pets helps avoid pet suffering," said Janetta Overholser, HSCG.
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