It breaks my heart to write this, but Little B is no longer with us. We began weighing the kittens Tuesday morning and although he weighed the least of the trio it was only by a few grams. He was active and vocal and moving around a lot so we just thought we'd keep our eye on him. As Cali only had three kittens they were also fairly big compared to other newborns from larger litters. On Wednesday he had lost 3g. Nothing too drastic but kittens are delicate and in their first week should gain on average about 10g daily. The other two were well surpassing that. We took it to mean he was the runt of the litter and began giving him time alone with Cali to feed so the other two couldn't push him away. I did notice however that he seemed to be having a hard time latching on.
On Thursday he stayed the same in weight so we began bottle feeding him a supplement. It's hard because Hubby and I both work full-time but we were determined to help Little B out. Of course the other two continued to gain weight and get stronger and bigger. By Friday he was noticeably smaller. Even with us bottle feeding him continually and trying to give him the time he needed with Cali he dropped 8g over Thursday evening. My heart sank when I weighed him Friday morning but he was still moving around and crying so I mixed up fresh formula and fed him twice before I left. Hubby was working the afternoon shift and fed him twice before he went to work as well.
When I came home from work Friday evening Little B had passed away. I held him in my arms and cried, frustrated that we couldn't help him. I was angry. Angry that Cali had been left to wander the neighbourhood unfixed and angry that for at least 4 weeks before she came in to our lives she had gone hungry and pregnant. I had felt all of this had been meant to be so why had we lost one of those precious kittens? And after the anger came the What Ifs. What if I hadn't brought Cali inside that first night? What if I had started feeding him the minute I noticed his weight wasn't increasing? It's hard to not let the anger and the What Ifs overcome you.
In the end I try to push these thoughts from my head and instead believe it was for the best. Something had been wrong with him and it was best that he didn't suffer any longer than he had to. I know animals have multiple babies because of this and so the chance of their species' survival is higher but it doesn't make the pain I feel in my heart any less profound. And I try to remind myself that Cali and her two kittens are strong, healthy and still need our love and support to keep them that way.
Before taking Little B from Cali I let her sniff him. She made a little meow and nuzzled his cheek and then I wrapped him in a blanket and took him away. When Hubby came home from work he brought a box he had made to put Little B in. He had even made a nice label on it that said L'il B on it (the box wasn't that big so he'd shortened the name to make it fit). Then we said our goodbyes and laid him to rest down the side of our house. And cried.