I want to contribute

I want to adopt a kitten!

If you are interested in one of these kittens or other cats and dogs please go to http://www.homewardtrails.org/ and complete the application process. Once your application is approved and you have met your future buddy you will be required to have a home visit. All adopted pets must be spayed or neutered by the age of 6 months and we have a strict NO DECLAW policy. Kittens must be adopted in pairs.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Getting Back to Normal - Crazy Cat Lady!

What can I say? I have become the crazy cat lady that I always giggled about. Perhaps its lack of sleep, anxiety or the natural progression of the cat foster. But folks, I am having some questionable moments. I nearly put a kitten in the fridge yesterday morning. OK, I was stressed, did not have enough time and I had to administer two injections and two oral meds to six kittens and confirm that each of the six were eating. Rushing to leave the house, cleaning up the KICU and putting the meds back in the fridge...poor Freddie nearly ended up in the egg container.




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

In memorium...in celebration...

It has been an awful week. As you know from previous posts the amazing Kittenpalooza super litter has been decimated with feline distemper, panleukopenia...also referred to as parvo. Sommerset was the first to succumb, followed on Sunday by our dear sweet Annie (Anne Arrundel) and Ally (Allegheny). At that point we knew that we were dealing with parvo, we threw a Hail Mary pass and vaccinated everyone on the off chance that it would give some immunity. Monday was just horrid...we lost four more kittens. Tuesday morning the eighth kitten died. I thought my heart would simply cease to function with each passing. The most I could do was to hold the dying babies, sing to them, coo at them and encourage them to go. I have given tummy kisses to each little one on both sides of their crossing. I have bathed them with my tears.
Kittenpalooza is a super litter, but now it numbers six. Six who are, at this moment, survivors and while each has been sick to greater and lesser degrees...they all seem to have turned a corner. The super litter is now Prince George (Peege), Frederick (Freddie), Wicomico, Talbot, Cecil and Kent. Both mamas, Miss Maryland and Miss Caroline, are fighting it off as well. We think we may have our miracle and this may be the most super thing about this litter...nearly all kittens with this disease die.
Survivors

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.


There are probably some hurdles left to cross, some tears left to shed, lessons yet to learn and certainly more stories to tell you all. For now, I wanted to catch you up...share the sad news and look forward, with you, to the future of these six little survivors. I am so sad to have lost so many precious babies; but, I was honored to be the human representative in the lives of Sommerset, Anne Arrundel, Allegheny, Calvert, Montgomery, Carroll, Garrett and Howard. I hope that all rescued animals will know that there are many humans waiting to be their forever friends, for as long as that forever shall be.





Sunday, April 25, 2010

Allie and Annie have been called home with Somerset

It has been a very sad day today in Kittenpalooza Land. Our fiesty Annie and her "Ewok" sidekick Allie joined their sister Somerset in Kitty Heaven. Annie was the first to show signs of illness, and was rushed to the Emergency Vet for immediate care. The vet and their staff lovingly tried to save her, but there was nothing they could do. Annie tested positive for the Parvovirus also known as "Kitty Distemper." She passed peacefully away in the early afternoon.

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

Kitty Taco

First of all, to all of Kittenpalooza's kind followers...my sincere thanks for your notes of encouragement. Yesterday's loss was very tough. I had just been thinking we had made it through the vulnerable period unscathed. I was dreading having to tell you all about losing Sommerset, I thought I had failed at raising the super litter. But this is so NOT about me. What I do is about the amazing little kitten lives that we save to become life long furry companions and friends. In any event, your kind understanding made my fears totally unwarranted. Sommerset was, indeed, a sweet baby girl. Feisty, and independent and very smart. All the characteristics of calico cats...but her agenda in this life was short. I have a great video clip of Sommer wrestling with one of her siblings...I'll post it soon.

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.
videoWe will get back to posting the Kitten of the Day soon...we still have a number to go!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's a Sad, Sad Day

We lost our sweet Sommerset today. When I found her this morning she was limp and lethargic. Fearing something infectious I isolated her, got some water into her and asked mom to keep an eye on her. By mid-day I knew we needed a visit to the vet. She was hypothermic and hypoglycemic...we thought we revivied her at the vet. They called me about an hour later to say she had respiratory arrest.

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

Hey, Who's the New Kid?

Annie wants to know who the new kid is and how did he get in here. No one else seems to care. I don't mind he doesn't eat much.
Michigoose guessed Friday's kitten of the day correctly. It was our Garrett, a gorgeous deep red tabby with white boy. Garrett is one of the younger kittens and loves to cuddle in my neck.

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

HAPPY KITTIES!

Our super litter is one big bunch of happy, joyous kitties. They have the entire kitten room to explore, a cat tree to conquer and lots of kitty cups (comfy beds) to curl up into. It is pretty typical to see a group playing, some eating, somebody concentrating on toileting skills and one loney kitten catching up on a nap. Individualism may be the milestone for this week.




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!






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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Medicating Kittens and Kitten of the Day

Everyone got an initial dose of Albon last night. We are trying to beat the tummy upsets and soupy poopy syndrome before my washing machine goes on the fritz. Now that means 16 cats getting treatment every day for the next 10 days and this is a logistical nightmare. Here's how it works: bring all the kittens into the family room and 1) put them in the kitty condo, 2) measure out a dose of Albon, 3) extract a kitten, 4) with my mom holding the kitten, squirt the liquid into its mouth, 5) place kitten back into the condo and repeat...13 times. All the while the babies are hollering to get out of the condo, escaping and wandering the family room and the frantic mamas are trying to drag them back to the kitten room. I'm hurrying, I'm frazzled but...I'm an idiot! I know them all well and can tell everyone by sight, but in all the excitement even I got confused. Especially with the tabbies (see Kitten of the Day below). I had to check their mouths and whiskers to detect telltale signs of medicine so I could determine if that kitten had already been dosed. We will figure out a better system tonight.

Here is today's Kitten of the Day

SpinKitty got yesterday's kitten of the day correct. That was our Allegheny, I call her Ally. She is a tiny girl from the younger litter. Ally is a tortie and has the prettiest markings on her face. Additionally, Ally seems to have longer hair than the others. Poor girl, she always looks a bit disheveled as she hasn't got the grooming down to a science yet. She looks like a litte Ewok baby!

The kitten of the day today wasn't very happy about having its picture taken, but we managed. Now as a hint, remember we have several tabby kittens and each has a subtle distinction. Check back to an early post and you will find a kitten description. I will always make the distinctions visible...so have at it! Here is another look.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Kitty Pool is Kaput!



The super litter has officially abandoned the kitty pool. We had so many escapees and those that couldn't escape mewed so pitifully (and continuously) that mamas hauled them over the rim into the kitten room. I conceeded defeat and took it away. Our lives will never be the same. In the video below you can see three of the brood making a mountain out of me.



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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

Here is Your Clue!

5




9
10

12



14

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?


I've been asked for close-up photos. Let's make it a kitten puzzle. Kitten descriptions are included in this blog early on...and I will make a donation on behalf of the first person to get the "Kitten of the Day" correct. Ready, set...GO!

This kitten kind of looks like Yoda. Can you guess who it is?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

How Many Kittens?


How many kittens can you find in this pile of napping kitties? Extra points if you can name them! And just to help you out below is some video of the nap...I could spend hours watching sleeping kittens. The kittens' godmother (OK fairy godmother) Stephanie, and her mom, Catherine, spent a good visit watching them with me on Sunday. The kids are eating from a plate/bowl so no more spoon feeding! They are playing with toys and very ready to be out of the kitty pool. I am reluctant but they have already figured out ways to climb out so the day is coming soon.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Nom, Nom, Nom...It takes a village.




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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

Sunday Weights

  • Garrett 8.75
  • Frederick 8.13
  • Allegheny 8.13
  • Howard 8.13
  • Wicomico 7.75
  • Calvert 8.00
  • Sommerset 12.75
  • Anne Arrundel 10.5
  • Price George 10.63
  • Montgomery 11.25
  • Talbot 13.75
  • Cecil 11.75
  • Kent 11.75
  • Carroll 12.38

Eating!

Some of the older litter are now eating solid food (well actually mushy food.) The feeding process requires a load of laundry, a baby wipe bath for kittens and a shower for me. I started with the introduction of food on Friday. It is a mixture of baby food (Gerber's) and KMR. I think it was 50 Kittens that described baby food as crack for kittens...I second that! They don't take to it right away though...the method of delivery (e.g., not from a nipple) takes some training. I offered it from a spoon but soon found that they prefer my fingers and once they get the hang of it will suck the slurry off my fingers with gusto. Annie, in the photo above, was the first kitten to get it and I could barely keep up with her demand! She is such a spunky little thing (Annie is very small for the older kittens, but holds her own!) When I thought she was done I put her down and tried someone else...and the others licked food off Annie's messy face and then started to lick my legs, which were dangling in the kitty pool. So I smeared food on my bare legs (hence the necessity for a shower) and let them lick it off...sounds nuts I know, but it got them to taste food voluntarily.

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

Can we play?

Yes, we can play! The super litter has accomplished more milestones today. They play! This is without a doubt activity just for fun. Play attack mama's tail, rumble with a few of your siblings and king of the hill using my folded legs as the hill. Take a look and enjoy. Tommorrow I will share pictures of their first time eating food. I need help for that one...I already have Gerber's Baby Food Chicken smeared all over my iPhone.


videoNews Flash! We had our first kitten poops and they were in the litter box! Happy Dancing here!

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Friday, April 2, 2010

The Staff Cats

















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.
Harry, as the house diplomat, is the first to meet the newcomers. As soon as we have passed some quarantine time for the babies Harry is busy breaking into the kitten room trying to scarf up the good food that the mama cats have (it’s a grass is greener thing...he gets the same stuff.) He is careful not to stick his head into the nest as he knows from experience that "Mama don't play that." But his constant presence eventually gains familiarity and soon the mamas are willing to have him babysit. Remember that big awkward 13 year old cousin at family reunions who would rather play with the little kids than the kids his own age, “Come on, I’ll show you how to climb the cat tree…like this see…” That’s our Cousin Harry. Uncle Gus and Uncle Leo are all about the naps. Their long silky fur is irresistible to the babies who will cuddle into them and root around looking for a handy nipple. Oops! Better try Cousin Harry, he doesn’t mind. Sophie has little or no contact with the babies but she has befriended the moms and as long as no one takes her favorite sleeping spot (a shoebox on my dresser) she is happy to share her home with an endless loop of kittens. I couldn’t do this kitten thing without a house full of obliging cats…thanks guys, extra head butts all around.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Playtime and Tummy Rubs

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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.

videoNote 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?