The kitten died.
When I found him outside, he was weak, smaller than his littermates, and a bit lethargic. I could feel his ribs and hip bones through his fur. And he was the cutest thing I'd ever seen. I tried to help him; now that he's gone I can only think of other things I might have done; might a different approach have saved his life? In the end, the vet had to inject him with fluids, feed him sugars, trying anything just to give him a chance to live. The little guy was probably comfortable. We brought him in away from the mosquitos that were eating him alive when I found him, and he rested indoors on soft cushions with blankets. He ate milk and butter and eventually kitten formula, but it didn't help. Before he died, he'd learned to use a litter-box. After the trip to the vet, he lay in a small cushiony den I made for him for about 3-4 hours. He seemed content. Every now and then he'd look at me, roll over, and go back to sleep. Finally, he stopped breathing. We buried him by the fence.
Why am I in tears over a kitten I knew for 2 days? Why did I so want the little guy to live? Why did I try so hard to stop the weeding-out that nature deemed necessary? He was too small and weak. He just couldn't survive. But I thought with human intervention, maybe...
And I was wrong. And I don't know what I'm supposed to forgive myself for, or when. And I don't want to live the rest of my life terrified of kittens.