|I work as a Dairy Specialist for a major feed company. That means I spend a lot of time out on dairy farms help farmers solve nutrition and mangement related problems. I was in Minnesota visiting farms with a new sales rep, Dawn Welage, and had just mentioned that I hadn't seen any kittens yet this year (I usually see lots of kittens every spring), when we arrived at a farm with a whole passle of them. There were about 8 or nine kittens and three different mother cats. One fluffy little black one kept wandering away from the others and up to me. As we were talking to the father of the farmer, I mentioned that these where the first kittens I'd seen. He said, "We always have too many of them. Did you see the new one that just showed up this morning?" "No," both Dawn and I said. He pointed out the little black kitten who was obviously slightly older than the rest as his eyes were wide open and all the other kittens eyes were still closed. "I don't know where he came from," the farmer said. "He just showed up. Do you want him?" Both Dawn and I said he was cute but did not volunteer to take him. I was not going home that night and Dawn did think her husband would like it if she brought home yet another cat. Besides we both figured one of the three mother cats would adopt him. But something made me ask Dawn for directions on how to get back to the farm on my way home the next night. (And stop at a pet store and buy some KMR (kitten milk replacer) and a bottle).
I thought about it over night and decided to stop by the farm on my way home (it was a bit out the way). It was raining and late and I was tired but I stopped at the farm around 6 p.m. Everyone was inside eating dinner. I went in the barn and found all the kittens but one in a large pile. The odd man out was the little orphan. He was obviously dehydrated and very thin. I went to the farm house and banged on the door till the farmer came. I asked him if I could take the kitten. He said, "Sure." I went back in the barn, picked up the kitten and got in my van. The kitten didn't want to sit still until I put him inside my shirt. Then he settled down and slept during the two hour drive home. When we got home I mixed up some KMR and gave it to him. (Though at that point I wasn't 100% certain it was a him). He attacked the bottle ravenously.
The next day I took him to the vet who confirmed he was a he and about 4 to 5 old. She gave him some deworming medicine and said to keep him separate from the other cats for a week until he was a little bigger and we could test him for Fe-Leuk. He weighed 1 pound 3 ounces and his eyes were still blue and filled with a creamy discharge.
Because he was so small, I fashioned a sling so I could carry him with me and feed him every four hours or so. He went everywhere with me. He went to my performance evaluation, hung in his sling around my neck. He made his opinion of the procedure known by peeing on me in the middle of it. Fortunately, The sling absorbed the liquid and my boss didn't notice, small kitten pee having almost no color or odor. He went with me to Green Bay for a training session and behaved himself extremely well. He went to Madison with me and stayed in the car while I visited a large farm. The other cats were jealous of the little intruder who was getting all my attention, Cody the most.
The kitten quickly acquired a name, Bear, because to me, he bears a strong resemblance to a small black bear. Bear loves to grab my face in his tiny paws and lick or nibble on my face. He loves to attack my fingers ferociously but does not bite hard unless he's hungry and wants to be fed. He's still a tad wobbly but scoots around the room making little churring noises when he's playing. He doesn't meow unless he's mad or indignant. He has the same sort of watery purr that Vlad had. He likes to chew/suck on one paw - that's when he really looks like a little bear. He's all black except for a small white patch between his back legs on his tummy. He is very fuzzy and will probably have long hair when he grows up. His eyes are still an indeterminate color, sort of a lavender/green/brown. At this point, it is impossible to tell what color they eventually will be but geen is a strong contender. He is absolutely adorable and I am completely besotted.
The discharge from his eyes quickly stopped and his second vet visit gave him a clean bill of health and revealed that all that bottle feeding resulted in a 6 ounces of gain. Pretty respectable for one week. He came home and got to meet the other cats. He and my siamese kitten, Killan, hit it off right away and they played until the were exhausted. As I type this, they are curled up together next to me on the couch, profoundly asleep. I can tell that Bear is going to be a _very_ special cat.