Monday, May 10, 2010
We are ten days post Parvo and our six kittens are doing well. I, on the other hand have been so exhausted that I can barely keep up. So forgive the lack of posts...all is well. Five of the crew are fat as sausages, naughty as...well as kittens and I couldn't be happier! Our little Peege (Prince George, aka PG) seen here is recuperating from the very worst of the parvo infection. We have determined that Peege will be a special needs kitten as the parvo has left him with a neurological deficit called cerebellar hypoplasia. Basically it means he will always be a bit clumsy...his forelegs don't communicate very well with his back legs and his balance and coordination is terrible (what an indignity for a cat...but don't tell Peege.) He looks like a drunken sailor but this kitten has HEART! He can climb the stairs and find his people and he tries his best to play in the little reindeer games with his siblings. Our awesome veterinarian, Dr. Kenneth Ostroff, confirmed the diagnosis and offered a course of laser treatments. He used a cold laser, set to a frequency specific for central nervous system tissue and bathed our baby in the healing red light. So we are on the cutting edge here...the idea is that the laser stimulates the neurons to kick back into gear. We shall see, but in any event my sister, Nancy is committed to adopting Peege...she is a research nurse in neurology and my nephew, Nick, is studying physical therapy. Nick is already designing a PT regimen for our Peege! He will be fine in their household, and I will get to see him all the time.
The others won't sit still long enough for pictures so I have some video clips of the constant game of chase and hide!
Just for giggles, check out the picture of Uncle Gus...don't you hate it when the hot dog never fits the bun?
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Above: Uncle Leo keeping a watchful eye on a sleeping Wicomico.
We buried the kittens today and in a sad twist of fate, my sister Nancy's senior citizen cat, Sarah, at 17 years old breathed her last. So we included Sarah in the burial and all had a good rememberance and a few tears. Sarah was an old friend ans she will be missed.
Sarah had been needing nursing care for the past week and after helping me out with the kittens Nan would go home to treat her old friend. We knew that Sarah wasn't ready, but she would let Nancy know when it was time. That time came on Saturday morning. Nancy said she was going to try to adopt Peege and I think that would be a great idea, She has become a fairy godmother to this litter, so it is fitting that she take one of the kittens.
Above: Uncle Gus sharing the cat tree with Cecil.
Some one asked which kittens survive from which litter. We have four of the older litter, Peege, Talbot, Kent and Cecil. Frederick and Wicomico are from the second litter. The mamas have aways done double duty, nursing which ever kitten is wanting to, regardless of the litter of origin. Miss Maryland has been the more conscientious mama, but her mothering instict extends to both litters.
Left: Uncle Harry staking claim to the kitty playground.
Note that the pictures all show my staff cats interacting with the kittens and plotting to hog all their food. The video below shows a very hungry group of kittens eating, Peege is eating with the others and holding his own.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Its all good news...very good news. This morning Prince George (PG) "Peege" was hungry and lapped at my kitty milkshare concoction along with his siblings. In the picture you see Miss Maryland tending to the babies and there in the middle, the white kitten with the jaunty black cap is Peege, soaking up the love and comfort of his 5 siblings. We will continue the aggressive treatment of all kittens through this weekend and then will have quiet time (HA...who am I kidding?) as recuperation.
Those of you who have not experienced parvovirus are fortunate. It is nearly always fatal in kittens so we have beaten odds in ways most veterinarians will not believe. "This is the stuff that journal articles are written about," one vet told me. So these are super kittens for sure. I was so excited the other day talking to the vet, telling her that we had some guarded optimism that I had to pull over (I can't talk and drive in my crazy cat lady condition.) I finished the conversation and continued on my way to the grocery store when I looked down and realized that I had put my shorts on inside out! OK, no problem...except that these black yoga pants have that lovely white cotton crotch on the inside. YIKES!
A Fitting Memorial
Some of you have expressed a desire to participate in a tangible memorial to our awesome kitty angels. To that end I have asked for the Chip In goal to be increased (as we had nearly reached our previous goal.) The Chip In donations were designed to defray costs such as these...those of you with pets know how very costly any kind of veterinary care can be. Your donations will be appreciated by the organization for which I foster, Homeward Trails and, of course, by me as we work to pay off the medical care bills. Kittenpalooza will directly benefit from your kindness and Homeward Trails will make good use of the remainder funds to save other homeless pets. Another tangible memorial to our sweet kitty angels would be to make certain that all domestic pets in your care, in your communities, and in our greater shared community are vaccinated against the host of common, preventable diseases such as parvovirus that affected Kittenpalooza. Thanks...jane
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
As late as Tuesday noon, we had to consider the awful step of euthanizing the litter. We agonized over what to do. Many experts, in rescue, the veterinary consultants, neighbors and friends have given advice and comfort and unwavering support. Your kind comments to my sister, Nancy's post on Sunday meant more than you can imagine. In the end we decided to treat everyone aggressively with anti-nausea medicine, subcutaneous fluids, Karo syrup, and force feeding. Perhaps it was time for them to turn the corner anyway...but we got our miracle last night with all six babies and two mamas looking so very much better. Most are eating on their own and the uncontrollable poo (my nurse mother and sister insist I call it stool...but kittens make poo!) seems to be on the down swing. Even our sickest guy, Peege, dipped his head to the water bowl and ... yes... he is going to...yes! He drank some water on his own!!! We did the HAPPY DANCE.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
At home, Allie began to show signs of the same illness. Mommy Jane, Auntie Nancy (writing today's entry), and Nannie Alice set up a KICU (kitten intesive care unit) to care for our baby Allie. She was a real trooper to the end, but the virus was too much for her to conquer. She took her last kitty breaths cuddled in Mommy Jane's gentle, loving hands. We all cried as we wished Allie a safe trip home to join Annie and Somerset. Our baby, swaddled in pink tissue paper and wrapped in pink silk bows, was laid to rest in the garden. We cried some more.
Although their kitty lives were short, all three of these babies were loved and cherished. They brought joy and laughter to all who met them. We will remember Somerset for her boundless energy and robust stature as the biggest kitty in the Kittenpalooza litter. Annie was the fiesty one who liked to do EVERYTHING first. First to eat solid food, first to use the cat box, first to climb the stairs. You will all remember that it was Annie who had the shoulder abcess and was also the first of the kitties to visit the vet. Ms. Spunky could hold her own!! Allie (Alleghany) was the only long haired baby in the bunch. She always looked a little dishieveled, but knew what she wanted and got it too. Like her sister litter mates, Allie was a ball of energy, playful, and very mischievious. They all touched our hearts and we are grateful for the time they spent as part of our family.
Parvovirus is a very serious illness that can wipe out a litter very quickly. Populations of cats in parts of the world have been known to be wiped out by this virus too. Fortunately, all of the rest of the kitties were immediately vaccinated after Allie and Annie died. This was to be vaccination week for the entire litter. We are hopeful that the remaining kitties and their mommies will be okay. Your thoughts and prayers would be greatly appreciated as we keep a watchful and vigilant eye on the group. Please, please remember that it is vitally important that you vaccinate your own feline family against this potentially devastating virus. Distemper is preventable!! Vaccination is the key. Just so you know, the feline house staff (Sophie, Gus, Harry, and Leo) are all up to date on the vaccinations.
Allie, Annie, and Somerset: We love you. We miss you. We wish you a safe voyage home!!!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Right now I'd like to share the kitty taco with you. This is how we transport groups of kittens from the kitten room to the upstairs family room for some play time.
We will get back to posting the Kitten of the Day soon...we still have a number to go!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
It was very quick. She was very loved and I feel very sad, very, very sad. I am so sorry to have to share this sad news with our Kittenpalooza friends. Jane
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Let's catch up on milestones. Annie was our first baby to go up and down the stairs. Poor baby girl going down the stairs was kind of traumatic. She worried over the big drop, but true to form she just went for it...unfortuneately her backside had greater momentum than she bargained for and she sommersaulted down several steps. Once we both caught our breath, our intrepid Annie tried again...and this time she very carefully controlled her bottom half, and successfully managed the stairs. The next day Annie led a group of kitties up the stairs...that herding thing, one leads and the others all follow. The group did a few steps each, but our Annie made it all the way up the hill. She was just about to gloat, when little Howard (from the younger litter) joined her at the top! Go Howie!
Kitten of the Day!
Can you guess who this precious baby is? The right guess earns a contribution via Chip In!
Friday, April 16, 2010
We seem to have already gained some benefit from the tummy meds. It may be wishful thinking on my part, but I only did one load of laundry last night so things are looking up! And most importantly, I figured out a better dosing system...catch a kitten, give it the meds and put it in the bathtub. An empty bathtub is a kitten fortress right now. That way I get to control who has been dosed. Brilliant!KITTEN OF THE DAY
So we did not have a guess for yesterday's kitten of the day. Our tabby boy with a white face (muzzle really) is Kent. Kent is from the older litter. He is a super napper and an absolute expert at fending off the siblings when mama is nursing. That boy WILL get his share. As a consequence he was not interested in eating solid food at all until Wednesday when he marched into the center of the dish and growled at everyone who got in his way. We have to work on our table manners, Kent.
The kitten of the day today is featured in these photos (and in one of the video clips). Just look at that sweet little face. And aren't those whiskers just to die for? Submit your guess and I'll make a donation in your honor through the Chip In widget.
Please enjoy the video clips below. You get a sense of the kitten room from the clips from a kitten eye level. There are lots of places to hide and things to explore. Best of all there are many, many playmates to chase and tease and fight, then when its all over nothing beats a gang nap in one of the kitty cups!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Here is today's Kitten of the Day
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
We are having some soupy poop issues right now. While the kids had understood the purpose of the litter box was for pee and poo and not just digging and playing; diarrhea has meant for many misses. Laundry is even more frequent. Washing kittens butts (and legs, and tails) has become a regular part of the job description. Everyone is eating, but I am begining to worry that my little ones especially don't have enough reserve to handle the sick bellies. So we are going to get some meds onboard today...another part of the job description. No worries!
Kitten of the Day
Millicent guessed yesterday's entry correctly...Howard! He is nearly all black, with a white belly blaze and white toes all around. As his eyes are still kitten blue/black he has a Yoda like look to him. A gentle kitten, with a penchance for exploring.
Here is today's kitten. Can you guess? Again, I will make a donation in honor of the first correct entrant.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
These pictures were taken over a five minute period. One by one the kids put themselves to bed in the kitty cup. Isn't it delicious that they can do so with such abandon?
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Wicomico is three weeks old today. She is a hungry girl and in this picture and video is being introduced to chicken and KMR mush. Delicious...I know, I've tasted it (and worn quite a bit!) We are introducing each kitten separately to the mixture so that we can be sure they are getting some actual nutrition (as opposed to a chickeny facial.) I had not expected the younger litter to be ready for solid food...but they surprised me. So, the task this week is to get everyone eating from a DISH nevermind this spoon feeding 14 babies. That's my mom in the picture and thank goodness she is able to share the duty with me. It takes a village to raise some kittens.
SIDE NOTE: THere was some question about the Chip In widget...it does take a day or so for each contribution to be tracked on the widget, but we are indeed getting them. Your generosity makes this all possible. To each of you who have kindly contributed...Thanks!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
After Easter dinner with friends, I asked for some help doing a feeding. My guests were thankfully happy to help. I mixed up a bowl of kitten crack and gave everyone a demitasse spoon, a lap cloth and a kitten. Some of them are still not interested but Annie, Sommerset, Montgomery and Talbot are now champs at eating and will lap it up from a plate. I expect the others will show some interest soon.
The younger litter also showed some curiosity about the solid food, they get bottle fed as a supplement to mamas milk, but if they show interest I'm going to let them at it.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
News Flash! We had our first kitten poops and they were in the litter box! Happy Dancing here!
Friday, April 2, 2010
The staff cats need equal time...well at least an introduction. I am very fortunate to have a house staff of extremely accepting and tolerant cats. Their job is to teach the babies about cat socialization (particularly when we have kittens with no mamas.)
Our home pride of felines consists of the elder statescat, "Sophie" a Norwegian Forest Cat. Sophie is elegant, dainty and always a lady (except when she tries to escape out the front door and then I call her a hussy.) Next we have big Leo, a red tabby Maine Coon cat of considerable size and stature. Leo is a lover kitty but only on his own terms. He divides his time equally between the human residents of the household, sleeping one night with one and then switching the following night to ensure equal time. Then along came our big goofy Gus. Gus is also a Maine Coon of considerable size but he is the clumsiest cat I have ever known. He just doesn't understand that his legs are so long and the swish of his tail so deadly. He is a black smoke with white and the white marking on his muzzle makes it look like he has been drinking milk out of the pitcher (which he probably has been doing.) Finally there is Harry, our foster failure. Harry came into my home for an overnight and ended up part of the household staff. He, too, is a red head and has medium length hair but none of the size of the Maine Coon boys.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
The kitten scrumb now usually includes a couple of kittens laying on their backs with paws boxing and feet kicking. Sometime this becomes a group activity when it leads to some adorable play fights.
Note that even at this tender age the kittens have learned to groom themselves and their litter mates. I have seen one kitten fast asleep while sucking on his paw...no camera at that moment of course.
Everyone is healthy (knock wood) gaining weight steadily, no weepy eyes, or sniffles. I am struggling to keep the mamas at a healthy weight. They are getting kitten food (for lactating moms) and canned food with NutriCal added but Miss Caroline is always very hungry. She is lean to skinny and soemtimes is desperate for something. I tired cooked chicken breast yesterday which she loved but I haven't seen any difference in her hunger level. Suggestions anyone?
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
My sincere thanks to those of you who have made a donation to the Super Litter through Chip In. As you can imagine the expense of raising a healthy litter of this size is hefty. Food, litter, cleaning and laundry alone are budget busters. The biggest expense is the potential of veterinary bills. All Homeward Trails pets are vetted before being adopted out. These expenses are foreseeable but the onset of illness like upper respiratory illness and a variety of tummy upsets can come on quickly, go through a litter, and do much damage. Having the meds and the expertise to handle these things can become expensive. Your contributions are essential to allow us to continue to save pets like this AWESOME litter.
I understand that the Chip In widdget on the site may not be registering all of the contributioins that have been made. If you think you have made a contribution that has not registered on the Chip In widget, please let me know. If you have confirmation from Chip In and can forward that to me all the better. We will follow up and get it squared away. I have trust in Chip In and believe this to be an oversight, but one we'd like to get straight. I'll report what we find.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Miss Caroline's kittens are officially toddlers. Wow, they have gotten to this stage fast! You will see in the video clip all eight of the older litter toddling around on one side of the "kitty pool" while all six of the younger kittens slept in a pile on the other side. Their eyes are bright and they look intently at you with a curious gaze. Note towards the end of the video that everyone starts mewing in response to my call and toddles towards my voice. There are the first signs of play as well...chasing a sibling's tail or wrestling while maintaining a mouthful of sibling's ear are early attempts at play.
Miss Maryland's kids are also doing well, growing and meeting milestones, while competing with the big kids is a tough task for a six ounce kitten. The little guys do sleep much more and prefer the kitten scrum (everybody piled on top) for serious nap time. Inevitably there is at least one of the big kids mixed in and when it comes time for a mama meal, Montgomery is sure to be first in line...that kitten will not miss a meal. Miss Maryland's brood has begun to open their eyes and their locomotion is halfway between the kitten swim and the toddle. I expect that they will meet some of their milestones earlier than normal because they have to keep up with the big kids.
Our two mamas are very hungry as they are processing food to make milk for the super litter. I continue to look for ways to get additional calories into them both. Miss Caroline has begun to explore outside of the kitten room and last night she begged for (and stole) some chicken that I had been eating. She knows what she needs, my job is just to go with it.
I was in New Jersey this weekend at a scuba diving show and kitty nursery duty was under my sister Nancy's capable hands. Nancy was assisted by my mom, Alice and Nancy's friend Millicent, thanks are in order to them all!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Right Somerset (Female. Dark Calico)
Left Kent (Female. Brown Tabby, White Face)
Right Prince George (Male, White with Black Spots)
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Weights as of Sunday night:
Miss Caroline's Kids
Somerset (dark calico) F 7 1/4
Anne Arrundel (lt calico) F 6 1/4
Prince George (white, black spots) M 6 7/8
Montgomery (tabby, white) M 7 3/8
Talbot (golden brown tabby) F 8 1/8
Cecil (brown tabby) 7
Kent (brown tabby, white face) 7 1/4
Carroll (brown tabby, white feet) 7 3/4
Miss Maryland's Kids
Garrett (orange, white face) 3 7/8
Frederick (golden brown tabby) 3 1/4
Allegheny "Ally" (tortie) F 3 5/8
Howard (black, white tummy) M 3 7/8
Wicomico (orange tabby) F 3 3/4
Calvert "Cal" (orange tabby) M 4
Male or Female...it is just my "best guess as of today, don't hold me to it!
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Saturday chores mean litter box changes, bedding refreshed, floors washed and laundry done and folded. Yeah, pretty much the everyday stuff! It also meant lots of time to sit with a cup of tea and watch the super litter. Even watching them sleep is fun. Their little pink mouths suddenly erupt into a huge yawn, or they make a silent meow, or their little feet start paddling and then they hiss! Whoa...where did that come from? So let me share with you two video clips of our day...note that nursing is a full contact sport with these guys. There is a lot of pushing and shoving and kicking and scratching. And through it all the moms remain calm and serene.
We got our first opened eyes amoung Miss Caroline's babies last night...Anne Arrundel "Annie" opened one eye and glared at me as she got her dose of antibiotics. This morning most everyone in the older litter had one or other eyes opened, at least part way. We begin to see glimpses of personality...Montgomery sleeps laying on his back, mouth open; Somerset likes to burrow under her siblings to nurse on the bottom row, PG (yup, Prince George) prefers his aunt's milk to his mom's.
Overall, I am feeling more relaxed about everyone making it through this early stage. Clearly I am still on my guard...we have many hurdles yet to come, but my observation is that Miss Caroline and Miss Maryland have things well in hand...er, paw. They will let me know when they need my help and in the meantime, I'll keep weighing everyone and getting the laundry folded.
Friday, March 19, 2010
I am developing a routine as well. Evenings are for kitten care. In addition to feeding and litter box, I will sometimes wash the floor, usually change and launder the bedding, weigh and check each kitten and spend some time encouraging the moms. Both Miss Caroline and Miss Maryland enjoy following me around during these duties and they are happy to get to explore the laundry room which is directly off the kitten room. It is critical that we keep things as clean as possible, little kittens have very fragile immune systems. The kitten room is quarantined from my home team and the babies will be separated from the other adults for many weeks. Visitors must wash their hands, leave their shoes outside and remove or cover any clothing that has been exposed to other animals. Once I have everything neat and tidy, meds delivered and food freshened I just sit and watch this squirming mass of tiny little lives. I could watch them all night long.
Litter Update: Miss Caroline has one golden brown tabby, one black with white chest, one tortie, one orange with white chest and face, and two nearly identical all orange kittens! I tried to use colored yarn to distingish them but it didn't work. I guess I'll go back to food color. They will get names tonight.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The amazing thing was that Miss Caroline took charge of her sister's labor. A lot of licking goes on...and both mamas did their share. Caroline made sure that each baby was cleaned off and she helped to cut the chord and eat the placenta. Both mamas rested together in between kittens with the little ones nursing on whichever mama was available. This went on all night until at some point Miss Caroline's babies (they are a week old today) got hungry and called to their mama. She brought them into the nest box and they began nursing on whichever nipple was nearest. I worried about the newborns being able to compete for a spot at the soda fountain with their older cousins, but so far so good. This is truely a super litter...fourteen in all.
Note in the picture on the top, Miss Maryland is nursing her babies and her sister's in a kitten free for all. Weights will come tonight, but of the newborns I did weigh, all were over 3 ounces so well within normal limits.