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.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ten Days Post Parvo - All is Well! w/ VIDEO

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

The KICU is Closed

Everyone is doing so well that it made sense to close the KICU and move everyone back to the kitten room. Even our little Peege was hungrily sucking up a wet mixture of food. He was such a mess that Talbot licked him clean as a way of getting more food. The kids were all happy to get back to familiar territory and went about exploring every nook and cranny as though their salary depended on it.

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

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.

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.
We 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