Growing Pains

The kitten grows as I type these very words. The trip to the vet two days ago showed his growth rate as what I thought to be impossible. The first time we weighed him, he was 220 grams. The second time, only six days later, he was 330 grams!
His eye is getting a lot better. The goopy stuff leaking from the burst eyeball cleared up as a result of daily eye washing, medicated eye drops, and the antibiotics course we feed him. Sight will never be restored to that eye as it is too damaged, but some of the coloring has been restored – it was previously just a protruding white blob.
He has gotten a lot more vocal and mewls when he wants attention, food, or both (pretty much all the time). We trimmed his nails because they get needlelike fairly quickly, and bought him some scratching posts. The posts came with some powdered catnip and I was curious as to the efficacy of “cat cocaine” on a kitten, so I dabbed a teeny bit on his nose. Pow! He went into hyperspeed for about 1.5 seconds, streaking across the room, banging his head on my computer, then rebounding and racing back to us. So, catnip does work on kittens, but not for very long. I’ll save the rest for when he gets older, maybe craft a little freebase pipe for him out of glass tubing as a post-op recovery present.
We’re going up to Nagoya to see the Sumo tournament tomorrow, but I’ll find some time to post some more pics of him soon. Damn. Never woulda thought I’d be catblogging. I’m a dog person, if anything.

Kitten Update: I need your advice

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The cat is permanently blind in one eye. The eyedrops received at the first trip to the vet worked for his right eye, which is now normal, but the left eyeball has burst like a rotting grape. Eeew. Poor Yoda (now his official name since we are very unlikely to find a home for him with someone else) is in pain when his eye needs to get flushed with sodium wash. We have to hold his little kitty paws as he mews in pain. Absolutely heartbreaking I tell you. At this point I have stopped hating society as a whole for abandoning this little baby (the vet says he was a month old when we found him), and have merely become indifferent. I was so intent on hating, it was probably giving me an ulcer. Which I found kind of self-defeating. Even though this latest Osaka pervert bullshit with my sister drove me to the edge again. Man, fuck civilization. Whatever, I just need to let it go. Like it says in the song Nada Cambia, it’s like hating necrophiliacs for fucking the dead. Indeed. If I ever find the pervert lurking around my sister’s place, I’ll pummel him into bloody meat and feed his eyes to the kitten. But I’ll be indifferent about it (think of a kung-fu movie showdown scene set to Debussy).
Well, I have to concentrate my thinking on the kitten now. What do I do with him? I really do not have the time to keep him, because he needs to go to the vet all the time. We can’t give him away in this condition… Today I spoke to the vet, and we discussed euthanasia as an option… But the cat is doing so much better than when we found him! The problem is, the eye infection could spread to his brain at any time, which the vet did not discuss in great detail, but I suspect will end much like Alzheimer’s. I guess I am in a moral paradox between putting Yoda out of his misery quickly, or letting him live a possibly painful existence. Shit. Well, for the meantime we will be thinking about this… No reason to rush at this point. The vet says that if the busted eyeball seals itself and stops leaking vitreous humor, the cat will have a better chance of survival. Shit, even if he suevives I’m gonna have to leave him in Japan when I leave in a year or so… I’ll have saved him only to abandon him again. Maybe at that time somebody will take him, though. Goddamn what am I thinking? I’m not even supposed to have him in my house now… BOY, LIFE REALLY SUCKS!
I hold the life of a kitten in my hands. Ultimately, it is my decision. But I would appreciate any guidance or feedback you have for me in the comments below. Is it better to put him down humanely, or give him a chance at life, however painful it may be?

He lives!

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Kevin reminded me in the comments that I left everybody hanging. Well, the kitten made it through the night. Sorry for the crappy photo, I’m not used to the new phone’s focus. But you can see that he looks a lot better, right? And I have dubbed him, alternatively, Yoda, Gollum, and Kurozuke, or kuro-chan for short. Why did I give him horrible names? Well, he’s completely adorable until you look him in the face. His eyes are rolled up and outward, with a protective pink sheath still covering the lower hemisphere of his eyeballs. The effect this creates is hard to describe, but let’s just say this cat could be a movie star if I taught him how to say, “my preeeeecioooouus…” I have no idea why his eyes are messed up like that; the night we found him I thought it was because the raging waters had blinded him. Later, after drying him, his eyes opened a little bit but were covered with this mucousy eye-milk (I’m pretty sure that’s the technical term for eye-crap), which I wiped off.
I hope his eyes heal. If it’s just a minor injury or temporary affliction (could he be so young that his eyes haven’t fully opened?), I think there might be a chance for his eyes to heal, because kuro-chan is a scrapper. Remember how I said he might die on the night we rescued him? He was basically in a coma all night interrupted periodically by little coughing fits. When he woke, we fed him and made him nurse water from a dish towel, and within an hour he was stretching his legs and walking around – clumsily, but with surprising vigor. His unsure footing made me realize, again, that this kitten is probably less than a month old, and some living piece of shit threw him in a storm drain… But even thinking about that just gets to me, so I’ll switch gears.
I ended up calling him kuro-chan (English equivalent: Blackie?) because he’s black and small and… Black. Go figure. Actually, I don’t have the official naming rights. After much thinking about what to do with him, my sister decided care for him until she goes back to the states in August. We were worried about what to do with him after that, but it turns out that another teacher who lives near my sister might take him for us.
Finding this little creature has spurred a lot of thinking about what is right in the context of being a foreigner with a different set of values. For instance, if Japan were a land where cats were raised on farms as livestock, delivered to slaughterhouses in cages, and ultimately, their flesh sliced neatly and eaten raw over slabs of vinegared rice, would it be any less wrong to throw an unwanted kitten in the storm drain?
Hey, I didn’t say it was coherent thinking, did I?
It was pretty goddamn sad to remember for the hundredth time that there is really nowhere to take abandoned pets in Japan. I know. I’ve asked policemen, animal shelter workers, and many many pet owners about this problem. They say there is usually no solution in the short-run if you find abandoned pets (which I do alost every year), but they almost all have one common observation: People need to be educated much better than they are now. When I went off on my “spay and neuter” rant the other day it was partially because I have talked with many pet owners in Japan who don’t know what these terms mean; the concept of de-sexing is totally strange to them. I find this sad because it’s a glaring fault in a society that is so modern and decent in many ways. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that people don’t kill unwanted pets in other coutries. I’m just saying that I don’t see so much evidence of it every year in densely populated and relatively affluent areas of any other countries I’ve gone.
It seems I can’t write about the kitten without getting worked up. I’m putting myself on time out. In the meantime, I ask that you pray to your god for the kitten’s eyes to heal. Quickly. I feel guilty for being a human every time I look at his face.

Nary a Chance

I am sitting in the dark well aware that I have brought this upon myself and yet cursing fate for having been put in this position again. I haven’t slept because someone is keeping me awake:
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Let’s not kid anybody, this is one of the un-cutest kittens I have ever seen. Skanky, weak, and noisy. My sister and I fished him out of a rain gutter last night, where he nearly drowned in the torrent of rainwater flowing down the hill. He was shivering and weak with exhaustion. I wish I could be more positive but I don’t know if he’s old enough to make it without his mother, and he mewls when I let him go… So if he dies tonight, he will die in my arms and he will not die alone.
I made a joke about stir-frying a kitten the other day because it was a make believe kitten and anybody who knows me knows I really love animals and say that shit without meaning it. But I still feel guilty for writing those words now that I hold this sick ball of fur against my chest.
So now I am sitting in the dark fantasizing about somehow finding out who threw this kitten in the gutter and doing painful things to them. And I can honestly say, after having seen this kitten half-drowned, that I would enjoy it to some extent.
The way that Japanese treat their pets, overall, is fucking wrong. Knowledge is pitifully low, yet the numbers of pet owners seems to be ever-increasing. YO. ASSHOLES. IT IS FUCKING WRONG TO THROW UNWANTED PETS IN THE GUTTERS. SPAY AND NEUTER, SPAY AND NEUTER, WORDS TO LIVE BY, SPAY AND NEUTER.