I'm new here, but here goes...
When Hurricane Gustav hit Baton Rouge this year (2008), it was a pretty hectic time. During a break during the storm, me, my girlfriend, Laura, my two roommates Austin and Eddie, and their girlfriends, Meagan and Emily (respectively) decided to go out and see what was going on.
We drove by my girlfriend's apartment to see if she was getting water in her apartment. she wasn't so we decided to head out. As we were driving through the parking lot, Eddie shouted out for us to stop. We had been collecting fallen signs and there was a sign in the area so we thought he was going to get a sign. The girls had stopped in their Jeep behind us and when Eddie ran over to this puddle, they jumped out. Austin and I were still in his truck and were wondering what the hell all the commotion was about. We jumped out and walked over there and what we saw was a baby kitten in a puddle. The parking lot was pretty flooded, so it was amazing that this area was relatively dry and this poor cat was just in a small puddle. Only his head was out of the water and he was still breathing. Emily immediately burst into tears (already being a cat owner) and Laura ran into her apartment to get a large towel to dry him off and warm him up.
We ended up going back to me, Austin and Eddie's apartment (where every body was staying for the storm) and kept the cat, who we had just named Gustav, or Gus for short. We tried to give him some mushed up dry food after we soggied it up with some water. He didn't like it, but we are new cat owners and had no idea what he would or wouldn't like.
That next day, we called up the LSU Vet School to see if they were open, even if only on an emergency basis. They were so we took Gus in immediately to see if he was OK. They said he was fine, about 2 weeks old, and just had an ear infection and gave us some medicine, some KMR, and a PetAg bottle with some nipples to feed him. We started to feed Gus a lot and pay him a lot of attention. About a day later or so, he started to have diarrhea with some blood in it
We immediately took him back to the LSU Vet and they kept him for 3 days to monitor him. He wasn't really eating when we were feeding him and he wouldn't eat for them either so they were tube feeding him. Not the best way, but it was the only way he would "eat". They taught us how to tube feed him and sent us on our way.
Gus is now probably close to 4.5-5 weeks old, if that. He is growing faster every day and becoming increasingly more playful every day, too. he is eating some Iams wet cat food (gourmet chicken flavor) on a daily and normal basis along with some KMR for some extra fluids just to make sure he is hydrated enough. My girlfriend and I take it day by day and week by week to keep this little fighter alive and healthy.
Throughout this whole ordeal, Gus has brought me a lot of happiness and joy. As a guy, I thought I would NEVER own a cat, let alone a kitten. On top of that, I NEVER thought I would raise a baby kitten from nearly 10 days old (his eyes were closed when we rescued him) to possibly death. I absolutely love this little dude and love playing with him, even when he scratches my face, legs, arms, hands, feet, and anything else he can get his claws on. At the same time, Gus is a handful. My girlfriend and I have to coordinate between classes (we are both students at LSU) to feed him about every 5 hours and make sure he gets his social time. We have to get him to poop and pee by stimulating him, we have to train him how to eat food from a bowl, drink water from a bowl (still haven't perfected this
), use a litter box (just started training tonight...he doesn't get it
), clean up pee when he pees on the carpet or towels, etc...
If I had to do it all over again, I would. No doubt about it. It is, BY FAR, easier to adopt a cat that is already 8 weeks old or so, litter trained, and everything else, than raise a cat from near infancy, without a mother, to adulthood (this is not to say that it isn't hard, either, though). The rewards that my girlfriend and I have experienced in just a few short weeks are countless and I wouldn't trade them for anything. Gus is a blessing to us and we love this little furball