Chaos to Cosmos
The path from chaos to cosmos was discovered by telling one's life story

Monday, 3 May 2021

World's Smallest Kitten

The very spot where we found the three tiny kittens 20 years ago

On May 3, 2001, at 7 p.m., the dog and I were walking up the road, no more than 50 yards from the house, when we both heard a faint little squeak. Often lizards make this sound, so we didn't think too much of it at first and carried on walking. But on hearing the second squeak, Holly dog cocked her head and we must have both thought the same thing at the same time, "That ain't no lizard!

We turned to see what we thought was the World's Smallest Kitten crawl out from the undergrowth to the side of a clump of canes, close to the water trough and onto the side of the road. It was the ball of fluff, later named Balu because at that time he was just a light brown with no black markings or stripes, resembling a little teddy bear. He quickly dashed back up into the undergrowth, where he huddled with two better qualified entrants for the smallest kitten record. 

Holly was down the ditch and up the bank in a shot to "rescue" them, unprompted. Needing three more cats like I needed a hole in the head, but being unable to leave them there alone to get eaten by wild dogs or squished by passing cars, I went home and got a box then rounded them up with very little resistance. All three of them fitted in a shoe box with two-thirds of the space spare.

Noting the difference in size between these kittens - Balu was the largest and measured 4½ inches from nose to bum (he fitted in the palm of my hand) and my vet estimated them to be between two and three weeks old - and the 50 lb. mutt, I first put the box on the table, out of her reach. That was not the right answer, because she paced and howled and yowled and cried. So I put the box on the floor and supervised closely as Holly stuck her snout into this clawing mass, fished out little Balu, laid him on the floor and began to wash his underparts. 

For the next three nights and days, the dog never left the side of the box and continued watching her new "adopted children". 

Three kittens in a basket and this was when they were already half grown!

While I fed baby milk in one end every couple of hours for the next few weeks, Holly took charge of cleaning the other ends, in a production line system. 

Balu was "the baby who would not be put down" and screamed his little head off if I tried to do so, so mostly I didn't. Thus, he spent most of his first few weeks sleeping in a makeshift hammock inside my t-shirt as I worked, took the dog for walks, etc. And, as soon as he was big enough to crawl up, he would crawl up the front of me, plonk a paw either side of my neck and reach up to "kiss" me on the lips. And he still did this almost every day of the 15 years of his life. 

As the kittens began to grow up, I could open the front door, in full knowledge that this big dog would carefully pick up stragglers and carry them back indoors again. Six years later and both Balu and his sister, Kitty (sadly, we lost the other brother, Khan, in November 2006), still came in to hide whenever "mummy" barked. And as soon as they were old enough, they would come for walks with the dog and I, like a line of little ducklings and it was so funny, when they started trying to bury "mummy's" poo pile that was almost as big as themselves! 

The day after we found the kittens, I learned that my friend Natalia (whose cats may have been their ancestors), had died at precisely 7 p.m. on May 3rd, 2001.

Nothing to see here, just a dog and her "adopted offspring" out on a walk.

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