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Adopting Kittens Helped to Manage Stress and Improve Health

Updated on June 25, 2015
Hunter loves the Christmas tree.
Hunter loves the Christmas tree. | Source

Having a Pet Improves Health and Wellbeing

Having a pet, such as a cat or kitten, can reduce your stress level, improve your outlook on life, make you feel less lonely, and bring joy to your home and family.

I didn't intentionally set out to have a cat. In the fall of 2008, I was going through a particularly rough patch in life. My stress level was high, and my moral was low. It was at this time when the first orphaned kitten came into my life. He didn't have his eyes open yet, and only weighed a few ounces. My first thought was that I didn't need yet another responsibility in my life. I had enough stress already!

Kitten about a week old

Because newborn kittens are very tiny, keeping an orphaned kitten warm can be a challenge.
Because newborn kittens are very tiny, keeping an orphaned kitten warm can be a challenge. | Source

Should I Try to Help an Orphaned Kitten?

My second thought was that if I didn't at least try to help this little kitten, he would die. Of course, I knew what I had to do.

I took the tiny bundle into my home. Looking back, I believe it really was a miracle that he survived. I didn't know anything about how to raise a kitten. I was having financial problems and needed desperately to make more money. I couldn't afford to take him to a veterinarian. I thought about taking him to an animal rescue shelter, but the nearest one was over 70 miles away and I didn't have enough money to buy the extra gas.

So, the decision was made. I would rescue him myself. The first thing I did for my little kitten was to feed him. I poured some half-n-half into the lid of a cottage cheese container. Since he was so small, I placed both the kitten and the lid containing the half-n-half onto the kitchen counter. As soon as he smelled the food, he promptly inhaled it. It was then that I realized my first big mistake. Because he was so young, the kitten had not learned to lap the milk. Like any baby animal, his instinct was to suck at the liquid. When he did, he actually inhaled it!

Milk came out his nose and mouth, and suddenly he seemed to be drowning. What happened next personifies the expression, "Ignorance is Bliss." I quickly began performing kitten CPR. Working quickly, I began to massage his chest with upward strokes, tipping his head downward. More half-n-half came gushing out his nose and mouth. It was a heart-stopping, pulse-pounding minute or so, but finally he began breathing on his own.

I cleaned him with a warm washcloth, and searched my cupboards for a more appropriate food delivery system. I finally found an abandoned toy syringe, sterilized it with rubbing alcohol, and found that the kitten took to it like a duck takes to water.

With some food in his belly, he promptly went to sleep. Because he was so small, I knew he wouldn't be able to maintain his own body heat, and had to find a way to keep him warm. I worried that a heating pad might burn him, and so I warmed a kitchen towel in the microwave and wrapped him up like a baby.

Forever Friends: Cats in Laundry Basket

Cats cuddled up in a basket full of clean laundry. Snip looks away from me because he knew he shouldn't be there. Hunter is a kitty who seems content to let Snip take the blame!
Cats cuddled up in a basket full of clean laundry. Snip looks away from me because he knew he shouldn't be there. Hunter is a kitty who seems content to let Snip take the blame! | Source
Snip, three years later. Sacked out on his blanket under the Christmas tree, like the true gift he is.
Snip, three years later. Sacked out on his blanket under the Christmas tree, like the true gift he is. | Source

A 20-Pound Cat

Despite the misguided beginning, this little orphan kitten survived. I named him Snip, for the white mark on his nose, similar to the marking on a horse that is commonly called a snip. It seems incredible, but this tiny kitten now weighs in at a strapping, muscle-bound 20 pounds!

After about three weeks, when his eyes opened and I was sure he was going to survive, I began to see that he needed a friend to keep him company while I was at work. A neighbor, who lived on a farm, told me about a litter of kittens born to a feral cat who had died. And so it was that another orphan kitten came to live with Snip and I.

This orphan was a little older. Her eyes were already open, and when I first fed her, she demonstrated that she knew how to lap up food.

Snip welcomed Hunter with open paws. He showed her his best kitten tricks, jumping, running, stumbling and doing his sideways arch walk to impress her. It didn't take long for them to form an unusually close bond, which they have maintained for three years now.

Taking in these orphan kittens changed my life. Caring for them gave me something to focus on besides my stress level. Through this process I learned to manage stress differently by investing my energy into something that was productive. My own health improved as I worked to care for the orphan kittens.

Because they brought joy into my life, I found that I was in a more optimistic frame of mind. I began to have a more positive attitude toward life, and found that I worked more systematically at solving my financial problems. After all, I now had two little kitties depending on me.

While not everyone can take on the task of adopting orphaned kittens, the message I leave you with is this: caring for someone or something outside yourself is good medicine for managing stress, improving your health, and healing your soul.

Tune in next time, for more stories about life with Snip and Hunter, my little orphan kittens.


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  • epigramman profile image

    epigramman 3 years ago

    Yes I am sorry Nancy I really meant - congratulations on 100 followers , lol, I was momentarily distracted by my domestic terrorist Mister Gabriel who although is totally deaf - he still likes to knock things over and he just did again. lol

  • Nancy Owens profile image

    Nancy Owens 3 years ago from USA

    Thank you again, epigramman! Canadian hugs are the best:) Sad to say, though, the 100 was followers. I'm still at just 20 hubs, with 17 featured. The other 3 need work. I am currently working on a hub based around pictures I took of my garden during a recent rainy day, though. Hope to have it finished today or tomorrow. Maybe I will reach the 100 hub goal this summer. Hope so.

  • epigramman profile image

    epigramman 3 years ago

    Good morning Nancy - back to re-visit a classic by you and to once again share and link this amazing and most heartfelt story to my Facebook wall.

    Sending to you 3 big Canadian hugs from Colin, Little Miss Tiffy and Mister Gabriel and congratulations on 100 hubs too.

    lake erie time ontario canada 10:20am and Tiffy is still sleeping but Gabriel my big boy is my human alarm clock so he got fed and now is outside on our front deck. Have a happy, safe and productive day and I will see you again

  • Nancy Owens profile image

    Nancy Owens 4 years ago from USA

    I wasn't looking for a cat when they came into my life, but they have turned out to be great friends and companions! And they are always full of silly antics that make me smile.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

    Beautiful story! With the love of a cat, all's right with the world!

  • wordscribe43 profile image

    Elsie Nelson 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

    Amen! I'm pretty sure I'd be a basketcase without my pets. My newest addition is a rabbit that makes me all warm and fuzzy everyday. Voted for this in the hubnuggets contest- congrats on the nomination!

  • Rachel Richmond profile image

    Rachel Richmond 5 years ago from California

    Exciting. I'm glad that the kittens found you too. I love the lesson you learned. Voted..and congratz on your Hub Nugget nomination!

  • Night Magic profile image

    Night Magic 5 years ago from Canada

    I just love hearing stories like this. Those two little kittens were so lucky to have been found by you.

  • profile image

    Robin Kemp 5 years ago

    Very sweet. Thanks for sharing.

  • JKenny profile image

    James Kenny 5 years ago from Birmingham, England

    Wow, what a great heartwarming story. Really glad it had a happy ending. Congrats on the nomination. Best of luck.

  • Sherry Hewins profile image

    Sherry Hewins 5 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

    I'm so glad your kitten survived. You have a kind heart, it's not easy to raise a kitten so young. Congratulations on your nomination.

  • GoodLady profile image

    Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

    So cute.

    What a lovely story.

    And yes, curing kittens does wonders for our souls. Then loving them all our/their lives keeps the love fires burning. I have two beautiful I saved from God knows what (and who is called Storm because he's a tearaway) and one is my darling 17 year old Tinka (because she used to be a thief before she became my queen).

    I get it!

    Good luck with Hub Nuggets.

  • ripplemaker profile image

    Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

    Reading this hub reminded me of a friend who loves cat as much as you do! I enjoy listening to her stories and how happy she is with them in her life. You are absolutely right about the concept that you are happier if you share of yourself!

    NEWS FLASH: Congratulations on your Hubnuggets Nomination! See your hub in the Pets and Animals category, this way Now remember to read, vote and promote! Love and blessings in behalf of the Hubnuggets Team and ripplemaker (hubnuggets official cheerleader! Three Hurrays! Best of luck to you!

  • Nancy Owens profile image

    Nancy Owens 5 years ago from USA

    They are! Fortunately they tend to behave pretty well, too. Good thing as Snip has grown so large. He is all muscle. Hunter tends to be pretty dainty. Thank you for the kind words and for giving this hub a read.

  • tammyswallow profile image

    Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

    I love this hub. I am a big cat lover. I don't have any at the moment because I have a two year old.. but I have 4 stray kitties I feed every day. I have grown attached to them. Your kitties look fat, happy, and spoiled like a kitty should be!

  • Nancy Owens profile image

    Nancy Owens 5 years ago from USA

    Thank you for the great information, FloraBreenRobison. I hope this helps others, too.

  • FloraBreenRobison profile image

    FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

    I think you misunderstand me. I mean that when I adopt a cat I have to go to the shelter to find a cat and I can't stand the thought of going to the pound and leaving all the animals there.

    But yes, there are some places that won't allow pets. Cats are allowed in condos here, but not dogs unless they are working dogs (eg. seeing eye).

    as for no kill shelters, they are not available everywhere. But there are places which will care for animals and only euthenize them if they are terminally ill and in great pain. They have a certain amount of space and rely on donations and they raise the animals.

    In Chilliwack we have such a place. Here is their website to give you an idea of what they are like:

  • Nancy Owens profile image

    Nancy Owens 5 years ago from USA

    Hi FloraBreenRobinson! I agree that it can be difficult having pets in an apartment or condo. In my local area I haven't heard of any no kill shelters. Can you share more about them? Thanks.

  • FloraBreenRobison profile image

    FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

    My family used to adopt cats that simply came to us when we lived in a house. Since moving into a condo, a no kill shelter is the only option I consider.

  • Nancy Owens profile image

    Nancy Owens 5 years ago from USA

    Have fun on your walk, Epigramman and Mister Gabriel!

  • epigramman profile image

    epigramman 5 years ago

    Hi Nancy - well I guess you have a pretty good idea how I feel about cats - lol - the one in my photo is my mum's cat Little Miss Tiffy and she is the diva and my other cat Mister Gabriel is a big white male cat who is deaf and is about to go out on a walk with me along the lakeshore road on his leash - he loves his walks with me - and I will be posting this too on my Facebook page with a direct link back here - at lake erie time ontario canada 4:39pm

  • Nancy Owens profile image

    Nancy Owens 5 years ago from USA

    Thanks, iva dragostinova. Pets do add fullness to our lives.

  • iva dragostinova profile image

    iva dragostinova 5 years ago from Brighton, UK

    Awwww! I love cats, we have two. Really enjoyed reading :)

  • Nancy Owens profile image

    Nancy Owens 5 years ago from USA

    Thank you for the feedback, arthsabi. I made a lot of mistakes with those two kittens, but we all survived! I learned a lot in the process. It is amazing how caring for them enriched my life.

  • arthsabi profile image

    arthsabi 5 years ago from World

    Great hub, we love the cats and would love to adopt one :) Welcome to hubpages!

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