Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Georgie turns 2

I can't believe that Georgie is 2 today.  He was just 2.5 weeks old when my wonderful stepmom heard him squeaking in her front yard under Daddy's old john boat.  He was the 3rd kitten this cat mama had abandoned in their front yard.  My parents have the two older ones, but with 4 cats and 2 dogs, they just couldn't handle a 5th cat, much less one that was so incredibly young and dependent.  Lisa waited about 24 hours after she heard him squeaking to make sure that mama cat wasn't just out scrounging around for food before she texted me "do you want another cat? I found a little teeny orange baby."

Harper was not quite a year old and Sniper was just 18 months old and I had a full time job plus a teenage boy.  I wasn't sure if I was able to take care of such a young kitten, but I went over to their house to see "her".  We were convinced that Georgie was a girl at the time and her name was to be Claire.

This is the day I brought Georgie home
I fell in love with this feisty, tiny, squeaky little orange baby.  He was so young that his ears didn't stand up all the way yet and his eyes had only been only for about 6 days.  He had already lost his umbilical cord, but he was unable to eat on his own or even pee or poop on his own.  My stepmom showed me how to make kitten formula and how to feed the kitten with the bottle.  She also told me that I had to burp the kitten about halfway through the bottle, just like I did for "H" when he was a baby.  She also informed me that I had to wipe his little butt to make him go potty after he was done with the bottle.  Oh dear lord, what have I gotten myself into????

I brought him home in the baby kitten carrier talking to him the whole time.  He didn't seem too impressed with my words or with my singing abilities.  He got bored and went to sleep.  After I got home, Sniper and Harper both knew something was up and there was some sort of creature in the carrier.  Harper stuck her little black nose in the air and went straight to my room and curled up on the bed.  Sniper was interested, but he just meowed and wrapped himself around my legs so I would fill up his food dish.
holding the bottle and winking

As soon as I got home, the kitten started squealing again to be fed.  I warmed up a bottle and got him out of the carrier.  Harper hissed and ran.  Sniper ignored both of us.  As I fed the kitten, his little ears wiggled back and forth after he finally figured out that the bottle was a good thing and not something to be fought or attacked.

I quickly figured out that the kitten did NOT like laying on his tummy to take a bottle.  He preferred to be held with his back against my chest so he could hold (or attack, depending on your point of view) the bottle.  After he ate and burped stinky kitten milk burps and peed and pooped, he wouldn't settle down unless I wrapped him up like a kitten burrito.  I could then gently (!) sway him back and forth and he would go to sleep for 2-4 hours.  This went on for 7.5 LONG weeks until he was weaned at 9 weeks old.

he really loved his burrito

I had never known a kitten that loved being swaddled almost like a human baby.  My own human baby hated it!!  This little guy went everywhere except work with me.  He had to be fed every 3 hours with a longer stretch of 6 hours at night.  He didn't know how to walk so watching him learn to walk was hysterical.  The first time he ran, he actually ran backwards.  Harper was terrified of him until he was about 12 weeks old.  Sniper still isn't quite sure that he likes him, but I think he's accepted that he isn't going anywhere.

I took him to the vet 4 days after I brought him home.  The vet assured me that the kitten I thought was a little girl was actually a very healthy, 9 ounce little boy kitten.  His name was changed from Claire (and other names that I thought of but didn't stick) to Georgie.  He is a total rascal and as my sister says, "Jeez, your cat is BAD!"  He got put in time out more than H did.

Georgie, age 2
That 9 ounce, helpless kitten is now 2 years old and weighs about 13 pounds.  He loves his Mama and his feline sister.  He wants to love his feline brother, but he's not real sure about his human brother.  He is bitey, but the vet says that's common with bottle fed kittens. He sleeps with me every night curled up in a Georgie-ball at the foot of my bed.  He's been on every surface in the apartment.  He's terrified of outside and the vacuum cleaner but doesn't mind water.  He sits on the edge of the tub to keep me from getting lonely in the shower.  He is still super playful and I have to remind him daily that the phrase "climbing the walls" isn't to be taken literally.  He doesn't know many tricks (unlike the other 2), but he does know his name and knows I mean business when I yell "I'm DONE - GET OUT OF MY ROOM!"

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Happy birthday Granny!

Today would have been my Granny's 95th birthday.  She was my mom's mama.  I have such fantastic memories of Granny.  I spent 4 summers with her growing up.  She used to "sneak" us coffee-milk when she thought Mom wouldn't know.  Coffee-milk is milk with enough black coffee in it to make it turn colors.  We would have toast and coffee-milk for breakfast every morning and have devotion.  There was something so comforting about listening to Granny read from the tiny devotional book and the Bible every morning.  She was the best Christian I've ever known, but she had the most wicked sense of humor.  I like to think I got my sense of humor from her.  When we would get in her way when she was cleaning on Saturday mornings (she wouldn't let us help), she would put the bar chairs in the living room and turn on either cartoons, wrestling, Grizzly Adams or Tarzan to keep us out of her hair until she was done. 

Granny had 2 gardens in the summers.  I miss shucking corn on the front porch and snapping beans in front of Guiding Light.  I miss listening to her singing to babies while she rocked them to sleep.  I miss the gentle way she woke all of us up with a quiet voice and a gentle back rub until we were awake.... Her Sloppy Chocolate Cake and her fried chicken and sweet tea.... The way she would cut her beautiful green eyes at someone who had irritated her.... Going to church or to Angier or to Belk's in Fuquay....  The way she would get frustrated if she forgot her grocery list ("Well, I can't go to the grocery store if I don't have my memorandum"  The memorandum was always written on the back of an envelope)....  The way she would ooh and aah over every single gift that was given to her and would show it off to everyone in the room like it was the one thing she had always wanted but had never gotten.....  The way she called credit cards "charge plates" and didn't quite understand why she couldn't write a check at McDonald's....  How she sang "Sal Jones" with such heart and feeling as if it were the most popular song in the world even though nobody but the family knows the song and there are only 2 words in the song.  Most of all, I miss her voice and the way she hugged us and the devoted, unabashed and unconditional way she loved us all. 

H and Granny - H was 2 days old

Granny died at home on August 15, 2002.  I was with her when she died along with most of my immediate family.  H was almost 4.  He doesn't really remember her.  I think his "memories" are just the stories that she told us that we are now passing down to the next generation.  It breaks my heart that he doesn't remember the woman that went by Kit, Miss Kate, Granny, Mama, Mother and GG.

Happy 95th birthday Helen Kate Dove Smith!  I love you!!!!