I picked up Bella and her sister Zoey (below), Wednesday, June 25. They were tiny, less than two weeks old and about five ounces, but they were eating wet food. But by Thursday evening, I was concerned they weren't eating enough, so I picked up some kitten formula and bottles from the shelter Friday morning, hopeful that three days of bottle feeding would get them over the hump. They both seemed to be doing well. I took this photo of Bella that Saturday. But Monday morning when I went downstairs to feed them, tiny Bella was curled up in a tiny little ball at the very back of their crate. I cuddled her and tried to get her to eat, but she wouldn't eat. Olivia came downstairs and had tears in her eyes the moment she saw her.
I'm on the screening committee for a Cabinet level position at the College and had a full day of interviews ahead of me, so I emailed our Vice President to tell her I had an emergency at home and would be late for the interviews. Yes, I called in sick for a baby kitten. What else could I do? I got us all ready for the day, got everyone in the car, including Bella, and took the girls to camp. My next stop was the shelter vet. Unfortunately, tiny Bella died before I could get her to Dr. G. My heart broke. I made it to the interviews on time, but I was wiping away tears all the way there.
Bella wasn't our first foster kitten who died. Our very first fosters, Bobby and Teddy, both died of a URI after we took them back to the shelter. But Bella was the first kitten who died on our watch. You might wonder what my girls and I learn from having our hearts broken like this. But you do learn. You learn to love fully and give your heart completely, regardless of the sadness you know you'll feel when those babies (kittens or children) are ready to leave your nest. You learn to try your level best to help no matter how small your chances of succeeding might be. You learn that life does go on, and you learn to never give up because someone else will always need you. Tiny Zoey still needed us.