I killed a kitten.

Well, I didn’t mean to do it. I would have done anything in the world to avoid it. It just happened.

This is the story………………………………………………………………….

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that a couple of neighborhood thug alley cats had broken into my home during the night. I found them in my house in the morning, but the damage had already been done. Alice was pregnant.

Five weeks ago, Alice gave birth to four kittens, two light orange kitties and two all grey little guys.

I had prepared a box and a blanket in my closet for Alice and she gave birth, ironically, while I was in my office writing a column for this blog. At first all was well. Alice was a good Mama Cat and she took good care of her little ones. I put a bowl of water and a dish of food in the closet with her and she and her offspring were doing quite well.

I didn’t notice that anything was amiss until a week ago this past Wednesday, when I found one of the little grey ones dead. I was shocked and confused, because I thought everything was okay, and the little ones were progressing quite nicely.

Alice is a tiny cat, often mistaken for being a kitten herself. I hadn’t noticed that she, herself, was getting skinny, postpartum.

And I didn’t notice the fleas.

All summer, I have been battling fleas. The damp spring and warm days recently have made it prime season for fleas. The dogs have been treated four times for fleas, but the cats, who live inside, seemed to be immune from the menace.

Abruptly, I had a fight on my hands – anemic kittens and a mother cat that was suffering. I bought Advantage kitty flea medicine for the kittens and adult cat medicine for the cats. I also purchased “kitty milk” to help the kittens with nutrition, since Mama was unable to give enough to them.

Thursday and Friday were a struggle to give the “milk” to the kittens. The two orange ones did well, but the little grey guy fought it. He wouldn’t nurse and seemed to want to be alone. His mother, however, still cared for him as best she could.

First thing Saturday morning, I tried again to feed him the “kitty milk.” He fought for a moment, then went into convulsions, cried and then died as I was holding him.

My heart was broken.

There is no point to this column – just a sad story. There is nothing that I can say, nothing that I can do to give that little guy another chance at life. His tiny cries as his short life ended will be with me forever. One day, he and I will meet again, across that Rainbow Bridge.

I hope that he can forgive me. I hope he knows that I loved him.

Our little creatures look to us to give them love and care, and sometimes all we can give them is love.

William Stephenson Clark

Postscript: On Friday, I took the two remaining orange kitties out of their “home” to let them move around and play. To my horror, one of the kittens was not walking on her hind legs, rather, she was dragging them behind her. I do not know if she has been injured or if this is a congenital defect. She will be going to the Vet shortly, but I don’t know how she is going to be able to survive. More than likely, she will have to be put down.


Filed under Pets

10 responses to “I killed a kitten.

  1. wicked

    I’m so sorry about your kitties, Will. It’s so hard to see those little ones having problems. God only knows how many kitties we had on the farm, and the kids were always running in to tell me one was sick or had died. One was found strangled in the spokes of a bicycle wheel. When the next to youngest was about three, she put the baby kitties in a cooler on the front porch and placed a stack of newspapers on top so they couldn’t escape…and then forgot about them. 😦

    We’ve been battling fleas this summer, too. We triple bombed, have covered the floors with Borax twice, and use the spray on carpet and furniture. The older cat goes bonkers and will hide for days when treated in any way. Putting a collar on her is like a fight to the death. If you’re lucky enough to actually get one on her, it’s off within an hour.

    I’ll be spending special prayers for your furry friends that their passage over that rainbow bridge is an easy one.

  2. indypendent

    It is always so sad to deal with a pet’s illness/death.

    I wish more people were like our pets – wanting only to give and receive love. Never judgmental to the point where there is nothing left but hatred.

  3. So sorry for you, WS!

    Our furry family members bring us both joy and pain. Ever since my husband and I combined households, we have had a house full of animals. Cats and dogs have come and gone.

    We had one dog that was very attached to our kids, was loyal and was just at a stage where the training was kicking in. The kids accidentally let her out when they were walking to the pool one day and she got hit by a car following them across the street. We had to put another very good and loving dog to sleep because he was blind and going senile. Ditto my favorite cat who developed diabetes and started going senile too. He was the only man in my house for quite a few years and used to keep me warm in the winter and always sat with me when I cried. We had a gorgeous and funny Maine Coon that was mauled by the neighbor’s Rottweiler. Over a thousand dollars and a couple of months later, we had to have him put to sleep too because they just couldn’t repair some the injuries he sustained. And, most recently, we had to unexpectedly put my little Siamese kitty down because we found out she had kidney problems and her kidneys were shutting down. We found out too late to do anything about it.

    We wouldn’t give up a minute of the time we had to spend with these furry characters. Each one brought something unique to our lives that we otherwise would have missed. But it is hard to say goodbye and their stays all seem so short, even when they live a supposedly long life. It makes you wonder sometimes why we keep bringing more animals into our home.

    Currently we are at two dogs and two cats. My son just finished a volunteer stint at the local humane society and is fiercely lobbying to bring home a third cat. And we are considering it.

    And it makes me wonder…

  4. itolduso


    So sorry to hear your tale of woe. However, it doesn’t seem to me that you did anything wrong. Sometimes, nature just takes it’s course. Sometimes, no matter what we do.

    Take care, mourn your little kitty, but nature is a harsh mistress, and sometimes, well, just sucks.

    • WSClark

      Thank you, I Told You. Sometimes you feel so helpless dealing with these issues.

      This morning, Alice was moving the two remaining kittens from their closet and into the living room. I have no idea why. Animal instincts are hard to figure out.

      A day or two before we lost the two little grey guys, Alice would bring them into my bed during the night. I was told that this was so she could “show them off to me.”

      She was bringing them to me, hoping that I could save them.

      Thank you again, for your empathy.

  5. WSClark

    A bit of an update on Orange Kitty. She has been nicknamed “Gimp” and she is already spoken for – a friend has claimed her and she will have a home.

    She is NOT paralyzed. She has feeling and movement in her hind legs and has an ability to move them.

    And she knows how to use her claws on her rear legs – I know – I found out the hard way.

    This morning, she was pulling one of her rear legs into a “walking position” but wasn’t’ really walking, just yet.

    There is hope. She and her sister are sweet little kitties.

    Thank God!

  6. Lisa

    I’m so sorry for that 😦 you have to realize it’s not your fault. This is so sad…I hope you get better

  7. yeah its not your fault… Can I share a link to this post in my FB Fan Page?

    • WSClark

      Yes, please do.

      Quick update – the little Orange Kittie has nearly and miraculously recovered from whatever caused her to be unable to walk.

  8. Yay! Little Orange Kittie pulled through! My Himalayan cat was suddenly paralyzed at 5 weeks old. He recovered 100%. He’s 14 this year!

    Tip for the de-fleaing. Be sure the bombs or flea spray you buy says it has “insect growth regulator” in it — IGR — or else it won’t stop the cocoons from hatching. And whenever you deflea everything, repeat the process two weeks later for any new fleas that have hatched in their 2-week hatching cycle.

    Good luck with the kitty growing and the flea killing!