While other homeschooling families thrive in following a strict schedule or routine, our experience is different. Having had three babies come one after the other, each day is unique and we just rely on God’s grace every single day.
However, for the past few weeks, we had been attempting to try following a more detailed plan and daily schedule in our homeschooling — something we were definitely not used to. But then, the Lord sent us something that disrupted all that and led us back to “our family’s normal” — the spontaneous, “full of surprises,” relying-on-God-everyday kind of routine. Indeed, every time we try to plan to be more “organized,” the Lord often reminds us that, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)
Also, as parents, we were also reminded about what is the point of teaching and talking about compassion or any other virtue when if when we see creatures in need, we would choose to look away? And so this is what happened to us this week…
DAY 1: A tiny black kitten followed us home last Saturday night. We thought she was alone and she looked so helpless so we took her in. We gave her a bath and researched on what we could feed her. The kids named her, “Midnight.” Moments later, we heard meowing from outside and found three more kittens. So, we eventually decided to leave them all outside because we weren’t sure if they were really abandoned or if their mom was just out hunting for food.
DAY 2: The next day, we went out to give them emergency milk. We had our dad buy kitten food (Royal Canin Kitten Kibble) as well and fed them again that night. They looked so thin and quite dirty but we really weren’t sure what to do with them — we had zero experience taking care of cats, let alone stray young kittens. We left them again that night outside for the meantime.
DAY 3: The next morning, when we went out to feed them, only two kittens were to be found. We saw no signs of their mother and the two left behind looked even skinnier and dirtier than last night. We feared that the other two had died sometime during the night, so we decided to bring the remaining kittens inside our home and try to take care of them.
We bathed them and introduced them to our dog. We went back out a few more times hoping to find their siblings, but to no avail. The kids named the grey one, “Rocky” and the black one, “Toothless.” Mom and Dad brought them to the vet that night. They were given deworming tablets and we were advised to get baby kitten food (Royal Canin Mother and Baby Kibble).
DAY 4: Our morning “circle time” has been replaced by “kitten care time.” We had to feed them as soon as we woke up. We figured they were about 4 weeks old based on our research. We fed them every few hours. We made them a litter box and DIY kitty litter from shredded paper. The kids took turns keeping their tiny bodies warm. We joined Facebook groups to help us get tips on what we should do with them. It was a time of learning as we were doing.
DAY 5: We weighed them and noticed that Rocky did not gain any weight at all while Toothless gained a bit. Rocky barely ate but he did drink water often. We added boiled chicken and mashed their kibble to make it even easier for them to eat. We also asked our dad to buy cat milk so we could try it for Rocky. We started giving Rocky a mix of mashed food and milk by syringe, hoping it would help him get stronger.
DAY 6: We’ve been sleeping later and yet waking up much earlier now to take care of the kittens. We gave Toothless food and continued syringe-feeding Rocky. We realized they seemed to be constipated, so we tried adding a bit of coconut oil to their meal as well. Rocky seemed to get weaker and slept most of the time — we were keeping him warm as much as we can and giving him small meals by syringe every few hours. But by night he seemed worse. We researched and realized he might be experiencing what is called, “fading kitten syndrome.” We tried giving him honey and Pedialite; we tried to keep him warm as best as we could. Sadly, even with our best efforts, Rocky crossed over to the rainbow bridge around midnight.
It was heartbreaking for us. We knew we made mistakes; but we were figuring things out as they happened. However, we also knew we tried our best with the limited time and experience we had. We said goodbye to Rocky and buried him that night.
DAY 7: We’re now focusing all our energies on Toothless. We’re doing our best to make sure he’s always warm, that he’s well-fed and well-hydrated. It’s a joy to finally see him playing a bit with the kids too. We lift him up to the Lord and pray we can take care of this wee little creature the way God would have us do. As we discussed during our devotion, “The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.” (Proverbs 12:10).