Flexibility

We haven’t had the kittens (the babies) for two full weeks yet, but they have changed so much. I have been trying to get new pictures of them, but they are so active now, and the light in the cat house isn’t fabulous, so all of my photos have been awful. As a consequence I’ll include some from the “day five” shoot that didn’t make the first cut.

The kittens no longer have that deer-in-the-headlights look. They are wrestling like crazy with each other, having a blast. Their eyes are no longer quite blue, and are working their way to their permanent eye colors. They are starting to eat kibble smashed into small pieces with a rolling pin, along with the wet kitten food. They are rapidly outgrowing the need for the kitten milk replacer. But they still do a pretty good job of wearing almost as much food as they eat.

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The had their first vet appointment and they are all girls…most usual. We call the older kittens (going off to the adoption programs this coming week, the Fab Four) so this group has been named the Spice Girls. The little black girl was the smallest of the group, so we’ve focused on making sure she gets enough to eat. She defers to the others too often. She weighed only .9 ounces, and her sibling all weighed between .11-.14.

But the biggest change is that they have gone from fearing us, to practically begging to be held each time we appear. From fear to adoration (of a sort) in less than two weeks. I want to be that flexible when I grow up. They used to huddle at the back of their crate in one big, fearful ball, and now they wander to the front the moment they see us and start meowing to be held (and fed). They are curious, clever, and oodles of fun.

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They are masterful purring machines all of them, and I’m pretty sure they know that they’ve got us the moment they start. You’re basically in their grip when you’re holding one to your chest and she starts purring and rubbing against you. We are helpless in their less-than-one-pound clutches.

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They won’t be old enough to have their surgeries and go off to home until mid-November. I have a feeling it is going to be very hard to let them go by that time. We’re all in love already.

 

Working on Getting Better

The last month has been a really long one from a health perspective. Allergies kicked into really high gear for me  and not much has helped except some serious cough meds so I can at least sleep sometimes. But the harder thing, in many ways, has been watching one of our cats, Thomas, struggle. Trying to figure out what’s wrong with a geriatric cat who can’t tell you what’s happening…well, not on my top ten list of enjoyable activities.

Over the last month we have been to the vet’s office, and the emergency vet office, several times. Thomas was drooling lakes at some points, sneezing, and had a funny rash over his eye at another. Nothing really helped him. Antihistamines, steroids to reduce inflammation, meds to reduce nausea, all had little effect.  Knocked the poor guy out for x-rays of his head, for some dental work, to flush his sinuses…no answers, and he wasn’t feeling any better or drooling any less. No one has ever accused me of being excessively neat or even worried about it, but watching drool slide down the sides of cabinets where Thomas was resting did get a bit old.

Mostly, I have felt so sorry for the poor guy, and worried since we didn’t seem to have an answer that helped.

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(Thomas is the grey cat being groomed. I’ll give you photos of him before all this started…he wouldn’t like photos of his face at the moment.)

Finally this week we have a diagnosis. A combination of partial facial paralysis and FOPS, feline orofacial pain syndrome. His nerves are misfiring on one side of his face. So one pupil is often half the size of the other. He swats at his face, probably because the nerves hurt. Eating and drinking have been challenging because his mouth isn’t working quite right, and it may hurt too, so food hangs on his face and around his mouth at times. His fur looks poorly because he isn’t grooming at all. Poor guy.

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But at least now we have a diagnosis. Cause? Who knows. Might be idiopathic. Maybe a brain tumor. In either case, there isn’t anything to do but manage symptoms so we’re not going to put him through tons of medical workups. The vet gave him a much larger dose of steroids for now, and Gabapentin, an anticonvulsant which helped to calm the nerves down. And thankfully, it seems to be helping. Thomas isn’t drooling today, and he looks less stressed…or maybe I’m just less stressed since we know what we’re working with finally. He has been, and continues to be, very needy and wants to be close to me a lot right now…follows me around like a dog. I’m guessing he needs lots of comfort for now.

We’ll have to see if the meds help manage this enough to keep a decent quality of life going for Thomas. There is no cure…just management. Paws crossed we can help him feel well enough to go back to some of his favorite spots and activities.

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And more kitten pics…

Here are some better pictures of the babies. One tortie, two calicos, 1 black, 1 tuxedo, and one tiger. They are getting acclimated to their new reality little by little, and enjoying the room service. One of the calicos thinks it is best to stand in the food dish while eating. That way, if others get too much of the food, she still has plenty to lick off her legs and belly. They are utter slobs, wearing as much of their food as they eat, which is typical of kittens this age.

One of the little calicos (hanging back in all these photos) isn’t eating as well as the others, and she got some syringe feedings today to be sure she was getting food. This afternoon I discovered that she loves the canned kitten food mixed with KMR. I put some on my hand and held it out to her. All maybe 1/2 lb of her hissed at me as big as she could – which wasn’t all that impressive (but don’t tell her…she was trying) – and then demanded the food. We went through this ritual several times, and it was good to see her eat. She will have to learn one of our house rules, however: the more you hiss, the more you get pet and picked up and cuddled. At the rate she’s going, she’s going to be cuddled at least twice as much as everyone else.

They have their first vet appointment next Tuesday to get weighed, checked out, and hopefully their first distemper and deworming meds. In the meantime, lots of handling and TLC. Their mama hasn’t been seen in about four days, and that’s not a good sign. And makes it all the better that they are safe with us.

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(Notice that the paws, which have already been through the food dish, have an ample supply of food on them in case the dish runs out. Good planning.)

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(There are four kittens in this picture, even though you can only see three heads!)

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More kittens

Guess what our trapper extraordinaire caught tonight? If you’re guessing kittens, you’re right!  Six of them, many calico and tortie so female. Probably about a month old, blue eyes still, but eating and moving around comfortably. Here’s a terrible pic taken with my phone. It was too late to go home and get my camera, and we wanted them to relax and settle, eat and sleep, which they will do more of with us gone. They are soaking their faces and bodies in KMR (kitten milk replacer) and some food slurry. Stay tuned for better pics and stories.

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