With the temperatures in Arizona regularly reaching 100 degrees, many stray/feral trappers work throughout the cool evening temperatures. It was around midnight on Saturday April 20th 2019, when Melinda Blain set out to assist a local team. They’d discovered some kittens during TNVR work so were heading out to feed them and asses the situation. What they found was heartbreaking. “Some kittens” ended up being 15 and ranged from only a day old to about a month old. There were also countless adult felines in the colony area. The littlest neonatal kittens were literally only about a day old and in need of desperate help. Surrounded by death, they wouldn’t be long for this world without a helping hand.
When found, the 3 neonatal kittens were surrounded by their 2 siblings; both deceased.
The team quickly scooped up the surviving kittens and rushed them to the vet. There were 2 little girls and a little boy. Sadly, the male had to be euthanized upon intake as he was clearly suffering and the decision had to be made. One of the females also fought bravely, but didn’t make it through the first night off the streets.
The sole surviving female held fast though.
She quickly realized where her meals were coming from and ate like a champ! Although she was suffering from “belly troubles”, most stray kittens will have issues that clear up.
Melinda named her Fleurette and was quickly won over by the sweet little babe.
However, the day old solo surviving kitten’s improvements were short lived.
By the next day, her appetite had declined and became very worrisome.
She’s not interested in eating on her own and is still having some tummy issues. I’ve started her on additional med to help get things headed in the right direction. She was 72 grams when I got her and is up to 85 grams now, but I would like to see her chub up very soon!
Melinda’s wish came true! Albeit after some serious bath time for the tiny soul.
It’s a struggle to keep her clean right now, but she got a nice bath this morning and then promptly pooped all over herself before the next feeding. I’m hoping she gets over this initial rough start once the meds start working their magic.
For the next weeks, baby Fleurette would spend the majority of her time in and out of the incubator while growing stronger. This would provide the perfectly controlled environment of humidity and temp for the fragile newborn to thrive.
By the start of May, the sole surviving neonatal kitten was improving, gaining weight like a champ and opened her saucer eyes, appearing to see into space!
This little baby is doing amazing now. She’s an awesome little eater, has a perfect set of eyeballs, and purrs up a storm after she eats. She had a rough first week here, but she’s come so far and is now thriving. It’s hard to believe she’ll be two weeks old tomorrow since she still has some catching up to do weight-wise, but she’s now chubby and healthy.
With her big adorable eyes, tiny Fleurette could see the numerous other foster felines in Melinda’s home. But now that she was a “singleton”, little Fleurette needed to learn how to be around other cats.
Weird to say right? But for singletons that aren’t socialized to other felines, they can become too aggressive, territorial and angry. No one wants that! So Melinda set up some play dates with Fleurette and other cats in the house. Happily for everyone, they ended adorably!
Little nugget Fleurette has some singleton spice, so she’s been getting extended cuddle times after meals and she’s been loving hanging out with my cat Coraline. She had a play date this morning which ended with Fleurette curling up in Coraline’s tail to take a nap.
Little by little, Fleurette tried to leave the incubator for good, but she formed quite an attachment to the life saving machine.
The face of someone who has been so fussy outside of the incubator that she is going to be spending a little longer “cooking” before I try to move her again. Fleurette had been out of the incubator for several days now, but she wasn’t happy about it. Girl has some loud pipes on her when she’s displeased with her accommodations!
There’s no reason for her to still be in the incubator except that she wants to be. I’ll be giving her a little while before she makes the big move again. She’s otherwise a healthy girl and is 1000 times happier back in the incubator. Some kittens bring toys with them when they graduate foster care. Fleurette put in a formal request to bring the incubator with her on adoption day.
She’s still underdeveloped and undersized for her age, but every kitten develops a bit differently and Fleurette is still 100% perfect!
Once out of the incubator life, little Fleurette soon happily settled into the foster home lifestyle.
There were plenty of other cute bottle babies for her to bond with. Melinda’s home provided the perfect atmosphere and attentiveness to help her flourish in life.
Fleurette loves hanging out with the big kids, but she needs a little encouragement from me to play with them.
Her comfort zone is to run back to me and jump up on my lap, but she’s slowly learning that playing is super fun. Luckily, she’s still young enough to work on socialization, but she’s the prime example of why it makes me so sad when people purposely take away orphaned single kittens from litters with no intention of ever introducing them to kittens around their own age.
It’s never in the best interest of the kitten to grow up without siblings when there’s a better option. People think that raising a single kitten is easier, but it is not at all. When Fleurette was younger, I was constantly trying to find enrichment for her and substitutes for siblings in order to help her socialization. I’m so happy that she now has buddies and won’t develop permanent behavioral or socialization issues. She’s making quick progress in decreasing her singleton spice and it’s amazing to see her friendships with Teddy and Jammie.
And one of those friendships became quite important to the kitten previously surrounded by death and loss at only a day old.
Little Teddy became a favorite playmate of Fleurette’s. By mid-June, Melinda knew it was time to make an important decision and announcement.
She began taking adoption applications for the two friends as a pair!
They’re the perfect little pair: Teddy is pure sugar and has helped Fleurette with her socialization while Fleurette showed Teddy how to work on his spunky side. They’ve become besties since being introduced to each other and they would love to live together forever.
And on the 4th of July, Melinda was happy to make an announcement.
I’m thrilled to announce that Fleurette and her buddy Teddy are officially pre-adopted and will be heading to their forever home in another month or so. They’re going to be New York babies and their forever mama is amazing. They will have two awesome older kitty siblings (one of her current babies is a 20 yr old senior!).
Melinda knows that with fostering, the goal is goodbye. Without people like her, these tiny kittens born into adversity would all perish. This solo surviving neonatal kitten rescued at only a day old, went from being surrounded by death to being loved by many.
Tiny mouse perfection. Fleurette is easily one of the most high-maintenance kittens I’ve ever raised, but she has morphed into a well-adjusted, healthy little girl.
She now loves playing with her buddy Teddy and ventures off of my lap with confidence. She’s such a special little gal.
Be sure to follow Melinda on social media @bottlebabyfosters for more little “mouse” kittens.
REMEMBER: SPAY/NEUTER, FOSTER, VOLUNTEER, TNR & AS ALWAYS, ADOPT, DON’T SHOP!
Related Story: Two Bonded Preemie Kittens Fought Just To Survive; Now The Adorable Pair Are Up For Adoption!Related Story: Loving Cat Refuses To Let Anything Stand In His Way To Help Foster Kittens! ~ Pokeypotpie’s Playschool for Wayward Kittens