Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Kitten Ball

Kate’s daddy is an animal doctor, a veterinarian.

He helps animals stay well, and he helps sick animals get well.

Sometimes, animals get hurt, and Dr. Baker helps them get better. Animals don’t always know they are being helped, and some don’t like being poked and stuck with needles. Kate sometimes helps with the animals.

Sometimes, strange things happen and people call Dr. Baker to find out what happened, and how it happened and what to do.

Late one night, an old friend called Dr. Baker on the telephone.

“Hello,” she said, “This is Marion. I have some very strange kittens.”

“They must be VERY strange,” said Dr. Baker, “Because you have seen a LOT of kittens!”

And it was true, Marion was the lady to whom everyone brought orphan kittens. Marion had seen lots of different kinds of kittens. Marion knew things about kittens that even Dr. Baker didn’t know.

“They are just born,” said Marion, “but their mother is gone away. And they are tangled in a ball. A ball of kittens.”

“That IS very strange,” said Dr. Baker. He was writing things down so he could remember what Marion had said.

“I think it might be ONE kitten with six heads and many, many paws,” said Marion.

“I don’t think the Mama Kitty could give birth to a kitten so big,” said Dr. Baker. He was thinking. “It must be six kittens.”

“Then they are all stuck together,” said Marion. “I don’t know how that could be.”

“Let me come over and see,” said Dr. Baker. “I will bring Kate as my nurse, and we can take some pictures. Maybe we can help.”

Dr. Baker went to Marion’s house with his special veterinarian’s bag, his little girl Kate and a camera. There were cats everywhere in Marion’s house. Some of them hissed at Dr. Baker, but none of them hissed at Kate.

“Kate has a way with animals,” said Marion.

“I call her ‘Kate, the Jungle Queen’” said Dr. Baker.

The kittens were wrapped in a green towel on the table. They were wiggling and mewing little kitten mews. They were mostly grey with black stripes, and were so new that their eyes were not open yet. There was a neat pile of folded smaller towels beside the kittens.

“They are VERY cute,” said Kate. “But they are rolling around like a big ball. All the kittens together, like a big ball.”

Kate patted the kittens on their tiny heads and they stopped rolling around. Some of the kittens sucked on Kate’s fingers a little bit.

“The kittens are hungry!” said Dr. Baker. He took some pictures of the kittens while Kate patted them.

“Someone found them under a bush in the park,” said Marion. “The Mama Kitty must have gotten sick. I don’t think she has fed any of the kittens, and she has gone away, now.”

“Hold the kittens to keep them from wiggling so much,” said Dr. Baker. Kate and Marion each held onto some kittens. Dr. Baker took another picture. Then he poked very carefully at one kitten’s tummy.

“They are all tangled together in each other’s umbilical cords!” said Dr. Baker. He was very surprised.

“Is the umbilical cord how the kitten was fed inside the Mama Kitty?” said Kate.

“Yes,” smiled Dr. Baker. He put on a special light that fit on his head The light would shine on wherever Dr. Baker was looking. “The umbilical cord goes where the belly-button would be on a person. The other end goes to something called a placenta inside the Mama Kitty.”

“I’ve never seen a belly-button on a cat,” said Marion. “Why is that? I have looked at a lot of cats.”

“I think it is because the Mama Kitty usually bites through the cord when the kitten is born, so the kitten doesn’t stay stuck to the Mama Kitty,” said Dr. Baker. With the light on his head, Dr. Baker looked closely at each kitten. “But she didn’t do it for these kittens, and they got tangled together.”

Dr. Baker got out a bottle of disinfectant, a bottle of brown soap, a shiny pair of scissors and some sticks with cotton on the end. Then he put on some rubber gloves. Kate poured some disinfectant on Dr. Baker’s rubber gloves and he spread the disinfectant all over his hands. He picked up the sticks with the cotton and Kate poured some brown soap on the cotton tips.

Kate held the kitten ball while Dr. Baker spread brown soap onto the places where kittens would have belly-buttons. Soon each kitten had a big brown spot on its tummy. The soap stung a little, and the kittens started to push with their feet and mew loudly.

Marion helped Kate hold onto the squirmy kitten ball while Dr. Baker carefully snipped off each umbilical cord where it attached to the kitten. One by one, Kate wrapped the kittens in little kitten-sized towels and put them one-by-one in a basket Marion had brought for them.

Soon there were six kittens crawling around in the basket, NOT tangled together.

“Shall we feed them, Kate?” asked Marion. She was smiling at Kate. Kate was smiling at the kittens.

Kate picked the first kitten up while Marion put some special kitten milk in a tiny bottle. Kate peeked under the kitten’s tail.

“I think it’s a girl,” said Kate. The kitten mewed a big mew, and Marion put the nipple of the bottle into its mouth. The kitten sucked milk from the tiny bottle. “A hungry girl, too,” said Kate.

1 comment:

  1. I am intending to publish this as a children's story for grade 3-4 level. There are some big words, but I am hoping to stimulate the reader to look things up.