Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Checking in with Fleurp

For regular followers of this blog, you might be wondering how Fleurp is doing. Fleurp is my little mystery in that every spring she becomes very anemic. She drops a ton of weight and her gums get very pale and she starts licking very inappropriate things (cement, mirrors, and she'll eat dirt if she can get to it)

She has seen a number of different vets over the year and none of them can give me a reason for it, but since she responds very well to prednisolone I have a vial of pills that I am keeping on hand for when this happens.

Fleurp normally weighs 12 lbs.  When she starts having issues her weight starts to drop, so I weigh her on a regular basis. She has come to understand the routine and she sits patiently while the scale zeros out and is ready and when I give her the signal she climbs up and waits for her treat.

I start the pred when she reaches 11 lbs 3 oz. When she drops under 11 lbs 8 oz I will comb her and remove more loose fur and give her a can of food with some liqui-tinic, which gets some iron and amino acids in her system to help her rebuild red blood cells... so right after this photo she was furminated and when she had enough I got out a can of food and gave her a treat. (she is sitting next to a ball of her fur in the photo below, that is not her tail)

If you remember, earlier this season I took Fleurp to be groomed to try to remove excess fur from her because I have it in my head that the amount of fur she sheds is the problem. That seemed to help this year because so far we haven't had to put her on steroids. Since we are officially into Summer, I think we are past the worst of it and I'll just need to check her weight a few more times as she loses the last of her mane.

As this year went so well, I have plans to take her in to get a lion cut next year. Unfortunately, she reacts very badly to grooming and is more than willing to nip at you when she has had enough so to get a full lion cut she will have to be sedated. She's is just about 10 at this point and she has never needed a dental but maybe we'll get one of those too - cause if you are going to sedate a cat, you might as well get it all taken care of at the same time. We'll see when we get to that point and see what the vet recommends. Hopefully, we'll have found a local one by that point.

Monday, June 25, 2018

The kittens are now five weeks old

My my how time flies.

Mom is still going through a ton of food and the kittens have all given it a go, so I have a feeling that my use of consumables is going to through the roof here in a few days. What goes in must come out.. If anyone wants to contribute to their food bill, my Amazon wishlist is on the sidebar as well as my address. 

The kittens have all taken to napping on Happy Bear which is super adorable. The use of the litterbox has started and other than a few puddles things are right on track. The kittens all have use for me these days, running to me when I walk in the door, but I have yet to hear them purr. I'm sure that is coming right along too.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The kittens have left the nest

Since we already had one escapee, I knew it wouldn't be long before I would have to remove the basket from the kitten room. Yesterday I went to check on Michaela and found her and two of the kittens in the cage nursing while the other two were still in the basket. Since I know she has no idea how to put them back this wasn't fair.

I had ulterior motives though.. seems that the kittens were happy to pee on their bedding. I tried to remedy this by putting a pee pad down, but they simply burrowed under the pee pad and peed on the basket. So now they have a few litter pans around the room, and none of them have used them. I just hope they aren't using the towel in the cage.. because I am not a fan of doing excessive laundry.

They are starting to become aware of object play. Toys are catching their attention but they lack the strength and coordination to make the toys very interesting so they don't care all that much about them. That will be coming soon though.. I imagine by this weekend there will be no stopping them.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The first escapee

Well, I called it last week, that Tuesday would be the first day of kittens leaving the nest. When I walked into the kitten room yesterday morning I saw a kitten tumbling out of the basket. By the time I got my camera running, this is what I caught

Any guesses who it was? I won't make you wait to figure it out, but I am going to hide the image so I don't spoil it for anyone who wants to guess.. it was (click here)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Brutus is out standing

or more accurately in-standing.. as he is all alone in the nest because his sisters were all out climbing all over the Catman. Already he is in love and talking about keeping this one or that one.. he is so fickle. People think I had eight cats because I am weak and couldn't return many of them.. and while this is true, they weren't all my fault. - just sayin.

So far, no one has made an attempt to get over the nest wall. They stand up and look over, but that is it. I was so sure I would have escapees by now. Still very glad I don't cause the longer they stay there, the less I have to scoop the litter box.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The kittens are now four weeks old and right on schedule

Michaela would like you to know that her babies are growing fast and they are almost ready to play with. She can not wait and neither can I.







Speaking of milestones, Zena and the others all are starting to like me and become interested in my petting them. They have yet to purr for me, but I have heard suspicious rumblings, so I am hopeful that is coming soon. They are all very interested in getting out of the basket but are not yet sure that getting out is a good thing. I had Brutus out the other day and showed him how to climb back in and he did it with very little prompting, so I am sure they know how to get out, they just lack the motivation to do so at this point. I suspect tomorrow they will be out, but who knows. Personally, I'd be happy if they stayed in there another week.

Speaking of milestones.. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Naming of the kittens

Now that the kittens are starting to distinguish themselves and aren't just blobs of fur names are in order.

And in no particular order.. we have:





Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Are you watching the kittens?

In case you weren't aware, I wanted to point out that you can check on the kittens any time you want to via the webcam. You can find the feed up above here on the navigation bar where it says webcam. I also have a link on my fb page for you to watch there if you want.

I bought a month of cloud recording so I have been able to make a couple of time-lapse videos. The first is from last night and the other is from a few days ago.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Should you feed kittens goat milk?

When you spend any time with a group of people who rescue orphaned kittens, you inevitably run into the question "What is the best milk for feeding kittens?"

Everyone has their own opinions. In the US there is KMR, Breeders Edge, and PetLac for commercial options and "kitten glop" and plain goat milk for homemade options.

I started using goat milk a few years ago when my friend asked me what I was using and told me how wonderful goat milk was. She had been using it a while and had great success with it. I was so reluctant to try it prior to this because while I heard it provided everything a kitten needed, I could find nothing on the internet or in any literature I could put my hands on that could confirm this. Having someone I trust tell me that it worked was enough for me. The next time I had a litter of kittens that needed to nurse I went out and bought some goat milk and tried it.

I kept the commercial stuff on hand on the off chance that it didn't work for me, but the kittens immediately started to thrive. I initially started with refrigerated Meyenberg goat milk because that was easiest to obtain. Having gone dairy free for a few months prior to this time I knew that it was available at my local grocery store and my local mega-mart. Once I was done with that I bought fresh raw goat milk at my local health food store, preferring that to the ultrapasteurized product. I will use either product. I have talked to many in rescue who have used both the canned and the powdered goat milk that is available in the cooking section of most grocery and mega-mart stores and they have had great success with those as well.

So I share my experiences with goat milk and how kittens grow fat and happy and have very good stool (provided they don't have parasites - which most kittens have) and inevitably someone comes along and tells me I am killing my kittens by feeding them goat milk or that I am doing severe long-term damage by feeding goat milk to kittens. They believe that goat milk does not contain taurine, an essential amino acid necessary for cats because they can not produce it themselves.

So, does goat milk have taurine? Yes. It does. Loads of it. What I had a very hard time proving is that goat milk provided enough taurine for kittens. I could not find a single source that told me exactly how much taurine is generally in goat milk, nor could I find how much taurine was in the commercial kitten replacers.

Wanting to have hard facts to share with people who won't take my word for it (and I am completely okay with that, I want people doing their own research) I decided to go directly to the source. I emailed PetAG and asked them directly how much taurine is in KMR. I received an email reply that said the taurine content in powdered KMR is 40 mg/100 grams (or 11.34 mg per ounce)

Now, how to determine how much taurine is in goat milk. Since the FDA doesn't require labeling of taurine content in food, I reached out to the popular goat milk provider in the US, Meyenberger, and the reply I received said there are approximately .075 milligrams of Taurine per ounce of the goat milk. I contacted Answers Pet Food who also sell goat milk and they say that goat milk has 2mg per ounce. So per 100 grams 0.2625 and 7mg respectively. A study in Italy of goat milk says there is 6.55mg per 100g. Another study puts it at 6.90 mg/100 g

So goat milk does provide less taurine than KMR, but how much do kittens need?

In 1982 I. H. Burger and K. C. Barnett determined that the requirement for taurine was 10 mg/kg bodyweight/day. So a four-ounce kitten (a newborn) would need 0.11kg*10mg=1.1mg per day.

So, if you are feeding the kitten approximately 48 mls (1 ounce =30 ml), which is the midline recommendation for newborn kittens, then the kitten is getting 1.2 milligrams of taurine. (0.075 mg of taurine per ounce *1.6 ounces) on the low end and 3.2 mg on the high. (2mg of taurine per ounce*1.6 ounces) both are well above the 1.1mg per day requirement as stated.

Is more taurine better? yes and no. Taurine is very important for so many different aspects of the body so having enough is very important but taurine is water soluble so if you feed more they simply urinate it out.

If you are concerned and want to err on the side of caution you can easily add in powdered taurine which is available at most health food stores or vitamin stores, as well as many online retailers.

I am happy to entertain any additional studies or information you have if you want to dispute my belief that goat milk is a complete and nutritious substitution for kitten milk for a kitten who does not have a mother to nurse off of or as a supplemental feeding if she is having a hard time keeping up with their demands. Personally, I prefer a source of raw (minimally processed) goat milk as I believe that the nutrients are higher and are better absorbed, but in reality, even ultra-pasteurized goat milk makes very fat happy healthy kittens.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Three week old kittens need names

The kittens turned three weeks on Saturday and they are starting to sit upright and at this point, we are getting to the point that not having names is being a hindrance. So, what do you think we should name them?

Name? what's a name?? Momma, do you have a name? 
#1 girl Big splash of red on head - look at her whiskers! 
#2 I've been calling her Zelda because of the Z on her face.
She has a kiss of red on head
#3 boy - He has the nickname of Brutus because of FB
#4 girl

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