Three weeks ago, Mum totally upended our lives.
We were living the good life. We were the babies! Every morning, Mum would feed us and love on us, and call us handsome and sweet and rotten. Sing to us, even – ‘Maximus Imperius, your name is Maximus Imperius, and there’s a million things you haven’t done . . .” or “Dear Tiny Baby, what to say to you, you have my eyes, you have your mother’s name . . .”* Every night, she’d kiss us goodnight at bedtime. We Ruled.
Now? Now, it’s all over. Gone. Evaporated. Demolished completely by a tiny tabby Caligula named – of all things – Hamilton. Hamilton!? How dare she? He gets the kisses. He gets to curl up on her lap and go to sleep. He has no rules. He gets to turn our world upside down. And all because he came home with stitches . . .
I admit it. Over the past few weeks, all of my cats have issued a statement along these lines. They vary, of course. Maximus and Tiny, being my Baby Fiends, have always been the babies, ever since they were born almost five years ago. To them, having a kitten in the house is a disruption on a scale approaching the eruption of Pompeii. For the older cats, who have seen kittens come and grow up and stay, I was on the receiving end of eye rolls and long-suffering sighs.
However, after nearly a month, things seem to be settling somewhat.
So . . . meet Hamilton. AKA, Hammie, Ham Baby, the Ham-meister, Itty Bitty Baby Hammie.
All my cats come to me in unusual ways. Beth and Angel were rescues from a former friend. Rascal was chased into my barn by a skunk (I saw this tiny ball of fluff zoom straight at me and skid to a stop behind my legs, the skunk in hot pursuit!). Maximus and Tiny were abandoned at birth by their mother. Sassy was dropped off by aliens. You know. But Hammie may have the most unusual story. This is Ham about four hours after I first heard him crying:
Yes, that’s barbed wire. I heard him crying on my walk one morning, and spent three hours searching before I found him behind my neighbor’s house. I thought he was lost in their hayfield, so I knocked on the door and asked if I could go search. They said yes, so I took off. After a few minutes, I found this tiny tabby clinging to a wooden fence post, and quickly realized that he’d somehow become impaled on the barbed wire fence. Thankfully, my neighbor came to find me a little bit later and was even more gracious when she let me cut the fence to get him out – that took an hour; nota bene, barbed wire is double-strand woven and TOUGH. Ham had surgery to remove the wire that afternoon.
A week later, he developed infection in the site, and had to have a second surgery. He was hurt; he was frustrated; he was scared. The stitches made the leg stiff, and he sort of ‘doodle-bugged’ around in circles on it for a day or two before he was able to start walking on it properly. Terrified that the other cats would think he was a legit target, I only let him out on supervised outings at first. I was overjoyed when he finally started to PLAY!!! Although, as you can see, Maximus Imperius was not overjoyed. At all.
We aren’t out of the woods yet; last weekend he hit bottom with a massive infection and had an emergency vet run. He’s still on two different antibiotics, but he’s continuing to grow – at approximately 10 weeks, he’s already over 3lbs! – and hopefully we will get him healed up soon.
Since I know a few questions may be running through your mind right now, I’ll try to answer them (nope, I’m not psychic; these are the questions I’ve been asked repeatedly over the past few weeks!):
How did he become impaled on the barbed wire? Good question. Having known him for a while now, I believe he was trying to imitate Nik Wallenda by walking on it. The wound was on the back leg and stomach area – God only knows how he survived – so I think he was either doing a tight-rope act, or was trying to jump off the fence post. Either way, seriously, if you ever want to cut barbed wire, bring the sharpest pair of wire cutters, and the guy with the biggest hands, you can find. Seriously.
How is he doing now? Much better. He sits on my lap and falls asleep. When I get home, he gives me his little Hammie kisses – puts a paw on my nose, and then touches his nose to my face. He is slowly making himself at home. Everyone is coming to accept him more and more – the other night, Tiny even let him sleep close to him. Maximus kind of plays with him. Beth ignores him. Rascal is the disciplinarian – the other night, I heard Hammie yowling, and it turned out that he’d been attacking Rascal, who wasn’t having it, and Rascal was just holding him down on the ground with his paws.
Did I want a new kitten? NO, actually. A week before Hammie arrived, I found another kitten – I was’t supposed to be on that particular street, but I couldn’t make my usual turn. So I was there when a tiny ginger ball of fluff barreled across all four lanes of traffic, somehow made it to the other side, and kept going. I slammed on my brakes and went in search. He was fine – not a scratch on him – and I rushed him to my vet, who instantly fell in love. I could have brought that one home, but I knew how much it would upset everyone if I did. They had a status quo, and frankly, so did I. I was happy with that status quo. So Hammie has turned my world upside down, too.
But really – look at that face Look at those eyes. What choice did I have? 🙂
* My apologies to Lin-Manuel Miranda and his genius lyrics.