The Orange Brothers Kittens

The Orange Brothers, kittens from our most recent TNR week, are still with me, and will be a bit longer. One got over the diarrhea pretty quickly, and the second one has had more trouble. He graduated to a vet visit today, and we’re moving from the natural solutions (added fiber, etc.) to meds. Hopefully he will be better in a few days.

In the meantime, since he has to hang out with me for awhile longer, we moved his brother to a dog crate as well, and put them side by side. They would prefer to be in the same crate, but I need to see who is pooping what and how much and how often, so side by side crates is the best we can do for now. But it seems to be good enough. These two are in heaven now that they can touch each other again. They are definitely deeply bonded siblings, and perhaps having his brother within paw grabbing distance will help the sicker one feel better sooner.

The healthier one definitely likes the camera and is quite photogenic.

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He also loved his first toy, a little ball with a bell. I actually gave him two toys, but he drowned the other in no time, so we’ll stick with the ball for now.

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His brother is less enamored of the camera. Maybe it’s because he’s still not feeling up to par. I suspect what he’s thinking in this next photo is: “I’m grooming. Do you mind?”

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And then: “Now I’m eating…are we done with the photo session yet?”

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What the boys enjoy most, however, is reaching out and touching each other. You can feel how comforting it is for each, and they deserve a little (or probably a lot) of comfort after the tough week they’ve had. Hopefully the next days will be a lot easier for them.

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(Terrible photo, but had to try to show you how they are touching through their crates.)

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Is anyone there???

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I’m here…just down a bit, under the shelf.

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The Orange Brothers fell asleep this evening on their shelves, laying as close as they could get, with paws reaching through the crates, each touching the other. It does not get sweeter than that.

Night, night, brothers. Sleep well.

The ups and downs of TNR

We’re finishing up our most recent TNR (trap/neuter/return) week, and it has been a bit of a roller coaster. It looked like smooth sailing for a while, but then two of the kittens developed diarrhea. I don’t mean just a little bit of it, either. It was hard to believe that two little three-pound kittens could actually hold and excrete as much as they did over a couple days.

I’ve taken to calling them the Orange Brothers. Two siblings who hate being apart, and apparently share body ailments as well. I spent most a of day changing the newspaper in their traps hourly or more often, and we finally moved the one who was having the most trouble to a dog crate so he wouldn’t have to sleep in his poop.

They are both recovering nicely. Luckily they continued to be hungry throughout their ordeal. At three pounds they don’t have a lot of body fat or anything else to spare, so eating is critical, even if they have the runs. I added a little Pedialyte to their water to help with electrolytes and a little generic fiber to their food to help firm up the stools, and they are both finally doing better.

But one of the two brothers was covered in feces from his ordeal. (Skip over this photo if you have a sensitive stomach!)

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So last night he got his first (and he hopes, only) bath. A friend who helped me with this calls it the dunk and swish method. We filled a dishpan with warm water, scruffed the little guy and dunked his butt in the water, swished him around, and (with gloves on!) applied liberal amounts of pet shampoo and got all the poop off him. He was drenched by the time we were done with him, so a nice long towel session was in order. Because it was actually chilly last night, he also won a night in the house so he could finish drying off in a warm place. We moved his dog crate to the spare bedroom, which seems to be feral cat care central these days. Our nursing area.

The poor guy was a little stressed being away from his brother, but he finally settled down and had a good night. We gave him a clean dry towel to curl up in, and he took advantage of his good fortune for the night.

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Little things in life make you happy in this kind of rescue work. Both brothers had formed stools last night. That’s enough to cause happy dances around here. I guess we’re easy to please. A couple more days of rehab and these two should be ready to go home. And we’ll start getting the space ready for the next group, who will, no doubt, have a challenge or two to lay down for us.

Annie’s Annual

Annie’s annual with the vet is coming up next week. That’s not normally a problem with our critters. They don’t much care for their vet visits, but I can get the rest of them there with a minimum of difficulty. Annie, however, is going to be a challenge. I have no idea how I am going to capture her.

For those of you new to the blog, I captured Annie, part of a community cat colony, last November when she was on death’s door. She had been TNR’d by our group some months before and was doing fine, and then took a bad turn. She was so sick that even though she was a nearly six-month-old feral, she let me just pick her up and put her in a carrier.

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Annie at her worst, days before capture

 

She was being eaten from the inside out by hookworms, as it turned out,  and we weren’t sure her colon would ever fully recover. But several months of care and heaps of meds restored her to full health. By that time, however, she had been away from her colony too long to return her, so she is a permanent member of our household now.

When I was nursing Annie she liked me just fine. She was contained in our upstairs cat room, and she would sit on my lap to eat, and purr when I pet her.She loved playing with me, especially when play involved feathers.

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Once she was healthy and had the run of the house she was far more interested in our other cats, and her feral sense of fear about people returned. She lets me pet her ever so briefly when I put food down – mostly because I won’t give her food unless she lets me touch her – and she comes to look at me often, at a distance. Maybe she remembers that I was her nurse…not sure. But come in her direction and she’s off and running.

So getting her into a carrier next week should be very interesting. I’m sure food bribes will be required, but I’m not sure that will be enough. I really want to get her to the vet, however, not only because her vaccinations are due. I want to show off the really beautiful cat she’s become, after the sickly kitten she used to be. The vet hasn’t seen her in probably six months, and she’s not going to believe the difference.  If we make it to the vet’s office. Stay tuned…

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Annie on the left, with Thomas

 

I get paid for this?

Some days, as a pet sitter I think: “It is a really good thing I get paid for this.” Like this morning, when I got up in the dark to get to three diabetics in a row.

There are other days when I think: “I get paid for this? Really?” There is little that is more fun than playing with a three month-old kitten, aka perpetual motion machine.

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