Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Okay, which one of you ordered the ornj kitten??

Hedy says you can't have your order right now.

(no kittens were harmed in these shenanigans. She didn't even get to carry the kitten back to the nest because I took care of that)

Monday, April 29, 2019

Welcome to the Internet, Kittens

I got some photos of the kittens this morning and I will share them in a moment. The kittens are doing very well, they are all nice and plump and are growing. Not a whole lot to report - for the most part..

Hedy is eating well, pooping obnoxiously well, and is caring for the kittens like a good mom should. She gets annoyed with me when they mew when she goes to eat, but there isn't much I can do about that. Sometimes I take a few minutes and let her eat her meal in the nest so the kittens don't miss her so much. She is still stress-shedding something fierce. I groomed her the other day and ended up causing a few bald spots (and no, it wasn't because I screwed up) and still, there were additional hairballs in the nest the next morning.  I'm just hoping we are almost done and her fur is starting to grow back even as I type this..

Well, I know you came here to see the kittens, so without further ado:

Yes, at barely over two days old this kitten's eye is opening. Yup, I have had it happen before so I'm not worried.. it did freak me out a bit when I saw it but it looks good so I am not worried

The one that I thought was dark and silver frosted turned out to be solid gray.

The gray tabby often looks like there is cream/red/tan in there, but then in photos like the one above doesn't. So *shrug* I will only know for sure in a few weeks when they grow into their colorings.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Birth day for Hedy

I had a feeling that Hedy would be giving birth this weekend.

She was never a fan of my manipulating her belly to feel for movement or any problems so I just had to keep trying and see what I could feel. About two weeks ago I felt a good bit of movement which generally indicates that you have about two weeks. I was expecting Saturday, but I wasn't ruling out Friday.

We had to run to the store and I went to check on her before we left and she seemed just fine, not in labor, happy to eat, no problems. We got back several hours later at 10:30ish and I went to check on her again. She brought me to her food bowl and I offered her a little food. She ate some of it and laid down and I stuck my hand on her belly just hoping to catch a bit of movement and felt a contraction.

I tried to get Hedy into the birthing basket and she said: "No thank you, I will be doing this on your brand new couch, thankyouverymuch!"

So I pulled out the waterproof backed pee pad (see the bright pad with lots of circles above) and got her on it and ended up rounding up the sides a little hoping to catch all of the mess (and surprisingly I did)

She had contractions, she started panting, she was uncomfortable and I'm pretty sure she blamed me for the whole hands on her belly thing. I assured her the first one was the hardest, and twenty minutes later or so we had a kitten. A little tiger.  A few minutes after that she delivered a solid black kitten.

Hedy is young, not even a year old, and considering what happened after she gave birth initially, I am quite certain if I hadn't been sitting there we would have lost a couple of these kittens.

Two different ultrasounds of her abdomen said we were looking at three kittens, so I knew we weren't done with two. Like a real trooper, she popped them out.

Number three was orange, number four initially looked black and I started wondering how I would tell the two apart but it turned out to be a dark silvery color. The longer I am around them the more I am inclined to believe the kitty is just gray. I thought we might be done at four, but when I felt her belly I felt movement and a skull. Hedy was tired and she took her time delivering the fifth, a little gray tabby kitty.

I felt again and thought I felt another nugget in there but there was no movement. Hedy relaxed and tended the kittens. It was three AM at this point so I decided to take a little nap on the other couch, thinking I would check on her in about an hour and see what was going on.  When I woke up she was still relaxed and still not acting like there was anything left to do (I have been fooled before) so I thought I was safe to go to bed. I tried to put her in the basket and she was having none of it.

I put the kittens in. She looked over the edge of the couch and then back at me as if to say "PUT THEM BACK!" I put her back in the basket again, and again she jumped back on the couch, on to the wet cold mess that she created and wanted them back up there with her. The third time was the charm and she settled down and let them nurse. I removed the pad and covered the couch with another towel just in case and went off to bed. I checked the webcam (see link at the top of the page if you want to watch them) a couple of times to make sure she was still with them and all seemed okay so I went to sleep.

At this point, they aren't even 24 hours old and they are doing well. They are hefty for their size and are all nursing well. I don't think I'll feel comfortable for a few days praying every few minutes they don't come down with URI. 

I have determined their gender, but it was a super quick peek because Hedy is still not completely comfortable with what is going on. Her instincts are kicking in, which is helpful.

Now if you remember, I gave away naming rights to my next set of kittens so names will be coming when I get them. (I've lost your email though- so if you could reach out to me I can let you know what you need to know)

Monday, April 22, 2019

April's Kittens: Autumn, Tajiri, Azizi 4/10/19-4/21/19

After losing Fletcher, the rest of the kittens seemed to be going downhill. I was not strong enough to watch them die one by one so I contacted the rescue and asked that they take them. It was several hours before they left and the kittens once again rallied and I started second guessing letting them go, wondering more than once if they didn't have their best chance here.

But I know that Fletcher rallied a couple of times, and each time it got harder and harder to come back from the back slide. I knew how hard it was on me to watch him die. I hated to pass that burden on to someone else, but I was getting emotional over looking at products at the grocery store, so I also knew that it needed to be done.

I know many people think "oh, fading kitten syndrome" but I want you to know that there isn't an actual thing called FKS. That is a catch all term for several health issues that kittens routinely face that can cause death. It might be as simple as being chilled or missing a meal and having low blood glucose to as complicated as an infection or even birth defects like a liver shunt.

It is my belief that the URI that they were exposed to from April or even something at the emergency clinic (absolutely no blame there) caused an infection that caused their organs to fail. At the end their stomachs were not emptying well and they were quite fussy. I hoped against hope that it was just gas or something else that was fixable, but looking back I am going to say that it was never fixable. All there was available to these kittens was the few short days of life.

When I lose kittens I try very hard not to focus on what was lost but on what they had when they were here. None of us is promised a long life, and if that life is three days or three decades we are never ready for them to go. All we can do is give them our best, love them and make them happy. April's kittens had that to the best of my ability..

My only regret is not having a photo of April standing up on the cage meowing at me to give her back her kitten when I was tube feeding it. When I initially started caring for her kittens she tried very hard to take them back from me. Over the days, I think she realized that I was helping and was okay with it as long as they weren't screaming. Sometimes I had to make them scream (inserting a needle for fluids) and she would jump up and demand I either make it stop or give them back. If I didn't stop the kitten from screaming she would run to the toilet in an attempt to get to the top of the cage where I was working (toilet to sink to cage) but I would assure her that the kitten was fine and she would get him back shortly, and she would stand next to me, looking up with her sleek black head and her big wide eyes and her mouth slightly open so the little peaks of her snow white teeth peeked out. It was so adorable..

Anyway. My goal was to name the kittens after giraffes in the wild and to highlight conservation efforts of giraffe while they were with me (and introduce you to Raffe 2.0) but that is not meant to be. I might do that at some point, but now it only seems fitting to give them names of the famous giraffe April's offspring:
Autumn (female, b. 2013) Green Collar
Tajiri (male, b. 2017)  Blue collar
Azizi (male, b. 2019) Red collar.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Fletcher 4/10/19-4/19/19

Last night, the littlest kitten slipped quietly away while I was warming up a face cloth to try to clean off his face and attempt to alleviate some of his congestion.

(a photo from a few days ago)

While this little kitten started off being feisty and a bit of a mischief maker, sadly his exposure to April's cold and the lack of care from her at the very beginning was too much for him to overcome.

He was a climber, he was not content to stay where I put him even though there was a source of heat there while he waited for his siblings to be fed. He would only stop climbing once they were all in that basket with him. He was not a fan of either collar he had. The eclinic gave him a yellow collar made of vet wrap initially and he got that off pretty quick. I had paper collars that I was afraid to close too tightly for fear of growth. While his siblings were just fine with theirs, This little boy got his foot caught in his so many times that I finally took it off altogether. I laughed at his determination, I admired his spirit. I thought if any of them had a chance to overcome what life had thrown at him, it was this little boy.

Life became harder and harder for this one. I reviewed all of my data, everything I knew. I used every trick at my disposal. I had to hand feed him from almost the beginning and when he could no longer do that I tube fed him. Each feeding, no matter how warm I made the milk, led to him being chilled and he would take longer and longer to warm up. His mouth was gummy so I gave him fluids to combat dehydration, and it made little difference. Two days ago I wondered if it wouldn't be kinder to let him go instead of putting him through this. That morning he made a nice turnaround, put on weight, was looking plumper and was more responsive, didn't chill as easily.. I thought that the antibiotics were making a difference and that with time he had hope. Last night changed that. Despite being full of belly and warm of body, and loved fiercely by myself and April.

Before April, actually, even before Hedy, I was feeling a little underused. I have had a lot of experience with bottle babies and sick babies and I wondered if I was ever going to use that experience again. Being in New England, there isn't the overwhelming crush of homeless cats that there used to be so a lot of my fosters over the past few years have been healthy. I couldn't tell you the last time I bottle fed a litter of kittens (although I'm sure I could search the blog to find it - which is one reason I'm keeping this blog). I wasn't really complaining. I knew full well the pain both of those conditions brings to kittens and to the soul who only wants to save them all. But that thought was fresh in my mind a few days ago when this little one took a turn for the worse. I remembered that day back in 1988 when I was watching the soap opera I became hooked on because my mother watched it: "Guiding Light"  One of my favorite characters "Fletcher" was finally happy. He had a wife he loved, she loved him, there was no one trying to break them up.. things were going well. Mauve, his wife, came to him in one scene and talked about flying off for work for a few days and gushed at him how happy she was and how wonderful life was. My response to this outpouring of affection in my adolescent mind was "well, she is going to die" and low and behold she did. Ever since I have jokingly referred to too much of a good thing as "Soap Opera Syndrome" where if everything is going all too well, you just start expecting things to go bad. I don't do it as a pessimistic thing, only as a "well, you should probably keep an eye out for trouble" sort of thing. No wearing rose-colored glasses if you will.

And this is why I have chosen to name this little one Fletcher.

The other three were doing pretty well until last night. The one that was originally sporting the blue-collar needed a little extra help nursing (supplement feeding) and was sneezing regularly. His eyes opened .. um.. a while ago? (I have so lost track of time) (heck, I am missing a lot of milestones here being so involved with keeping them alive) which seems like a good thing. The one in the red collar, the strongest, has also started sneezing.. I am hoping this is the last of the bad news.. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Thankful Thursday

Hail, Hail the gangs all here.  I have been very worried about the littlest one and last night I wondered if it wasn't kinder to let him go. He has been struggling and I can only imagine what he has gone through in his short life. This morning he seems a tiny bit better, so despite not being able to sleep I will work with him to keep going.

April is doing well. She is a little picky when it comes to food, which makes things a little difficult, but she is starting to feel like she is filling out a bit.. or maybe I'm projecting because I want it to happen.

I am also thankful to all of you for your support. Sometimes when you are knee deep in chaos you can feel like you are all alone, but you have all made it easy to remember that I'm not. Those of you that have reached out to me, those of you who have just sent things along, to everyone who donated to the cause. I thank you from the bottom of my exhausted heart.  Thank you!!!

And a big thank you to the CatMan. He brought these flowers home from an event and brought them right down to the kitten room for me to enjoy.

He has put up my addled brain, my need for additional support, has learned that when I wave my hand in some random direction what I mean, and he has made sure I have been eating vegetables.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Sick cats make sick kittens and for little sleep

How has it been four days? In some respects if feels like four weeks, in others four hours. Nursing newborn kittens every hour or two takes a great deal of work and requires that you get very little sleep. Doing contamination procedures after every time I visit them, to prevent spread of illness, means my hands are chapped and I have a piles of clothing throughout the house.

When I last left you April was going to stay somewhere else for care while I got some sleep. She came back to me before I was ready, but you do what you have to. When I got her back I was extremely concerned that things were very grave. I consulted with the rescue and took her back to the emergency clinic. There I ran into a vet who said her condition was guarded. Despite knowing that she was not an owned cat and the rescue would be footing the bill, the vet insisted on gold care standard and would not proceed with even giving her fluids without an x-ray and blood work. I will admit that this is what I would do for my own cat, spending rescue funds on one cat means that others will not be able to be saved.

When we realized they wouldn't do anything for her without being able to do everything for her we had to give the okay. I did let the rescue know that I was okay with financial euthanasia if it came to that - I didn't want to be the reason they went too far - but then I left it their hands. It was decided to do what was necessary to save her. The cost for this visit alone was nearly $2,000. Not to mention the first emergency visit for the birth and the three days of vet care. Apparently April has the distinction of being the most expensive cat they have ever cared for. She has drained their coffers..

Anyway, after a couple more sleepless nights of caring for kittens (and my own cats, and Hedy, and working, etc) she came home and seemed better. After a few days of the medications they recommended she is becoming alert and active and protective of her kittens.

Sadly, despite her feeling better, two of her kittens have started sneezing. One in particular is doing poorly and can not breathe through his nose so I have taken to tube feeding him and giving him fluids to compensate. Despite taking precautions, I am causing him to chill  and I have to spend quite a bit of time warming him back up and making sure he is okay. Each time it gets worse, he chills faster and is longer to recover.  I would do nothing but that would mean no food for him and he would die.  I am fortunate the other three are still nursing and are able to suck milk when I supplement feed them. If another stops (and that is a possibility)... well I don't want to go there.

Hedy is becoming an issue for April. Hedy just wants to help, to get to the screaming kittens, but April is all "Oh! Heck! NOPE!" with a ridge back and a floofed tail and big saucer eyes.. I had to put the baby gate up to assure April that she is safe. Hedy is on the other side of a door to the bathroom and won't be let in, but April has no idea. Hopefully, in time, she'll realize it is okay.

Hedy is also becoming an issue for me as well. She is being extremely picky over which foods she will eat and now she is starting to sneeze again. I still think she is at least a week away from delivery, if not more, which I am completely okay with that. I just hope I can stumble upon another food she will eat well because the last one I found she's m'eh about now.

Once I know the kittens are out of the woods, I will have naming day for them. I know that many of you would probably rather have names to think good thoughts about them, but right now I'm just not ready for that. The littlest boy was originally wearing a yellow collar (and now does not have one at all). I am calling him little one or Yellow.. I keep telling him that he will get a name when he gets strong.. Hopefully, we'll be able to do that.

If you are so inclined to want to help:

Friday, April 12, 2019

April's story, part two and three

Let me start off with some good news. The kittens are doing well, eating well, gaining weight and so far we have good news on their front.

And from here it is a bit of a roller coaster ride, so if you want to skip out, I can respect that.

So, I left the story off at heading into the eclinic at 11:30pm. April had been having contractions for over an hour and while part of a placenta was visible it wasn't coming out.  We packed her up and off we went, yes, in a snowstorm.

When we got there, the staff at the clinic grabbed her and rushed her into the back.  When they came back out I was told that she had actually been productive on the road and there were two kittens in the carrier with her. Unfortunately, one was not alive. As sad as that was, it verified that going to the eclinic was the right move.

Exams had to be made, a plan had to be formulated, decisions had to be made. It was floated that we do a spay and take the kittens and hope for the best. Since she was being productive it was also thought that she could just be left alone and she could finish this on her own. They talked about sending us home with her to finish delivery, but I was very uncomfortable with that since April was having such a hard time, not only with labor but with breathing in general. With the ride being half an hour long one way, with the snow, with it being 1:30am and our being exhausted, I really didn't like that idea.

They offered to set us up in a quiet corner of the clinic so we could watch her, but the hubby had to work in the morning, and I was so exhausted that I feared I'd fall asleep, so we opted to put April into her care for an additional $300 and headed home.

Sleep did not come easy, and 7am arrived far too early. I received an update from the clinic at 7:20 saying that April was still in labor with what they thought was the last kitten and I was free to come down and pick them up. I got there at 9am to the sad news that the last kitten did not survive either. While sad, it also confirmed my decision to leave them there. So she had six kittens in total, four survived. Three boys and a girl.

I was left to name April, which if you remember Hedy's story I was going to call her. I thought about it, and it seemed weird to use the name, but then I remembered that I had gone to a talk in my local community about the giraffe in Africa. When they study them they give them names. I thought it would be fun to name kittens after giraffe, and then it dawned on me that April is one of the most famous giraffe mothers.. so April it was. Baby names will wait until April is eating.

***Part Three***

My first look at the new family was when we got home. They kept April out back while they talked to me about how things were going, then they packed her up and carried out to my car.

When I got home I tried setting April up in the cage where she originally chose to sit when I first brought her home. She was basically non-responsive, like she was beyond exhausted. She was "home" (you know the saying the lights are on but no one is home) but she wouldn't move after I pulled her from the carrier and put her down.

This photo above is actually from the next day, but this was pretty much how she was. Breathing was an issue, she was croupy sounding, lethargic, hitting every button for being under a vet's care. I was a little annoyed with the eclinic for not recommending additional care, but I do think they honestly believed she would come out of it with a little rest.

Because of her hydration levels, I wanted her to get some fluids. She went off to the local vet who put her on an iv. I ran back and forth to bottle feed the kittens because they were short staffed. At the end of the day, they sent her home with her catheter wrapped up in that blue bandage and we hoped for the best.

The kittens were gaining weight, so that was good, but only because we were supplementing them. April had not eaten or used the litter box. In the morning I took her back for another day of fluids. Thankfully, her milk started coming in but only enough to sustain the kittens not to help them gain.  By the end of Thursday she still hadn't eaten nor had anyone seen her use the litter box. When I got her home I realized she had gone pee, so I cleaned her up and set her up with the kittens and decided to wait four hours before nursing to see just how long I could go (because getting up every two hours after a night of almost no sleep was very painful) and they could go four hours between supplement feeding. They might have been able to go a little longer, but I was not risking it.

Friday morning she went back to the vet. They didn't supplement the kittens at all, and thankfully they gained weight over the day. This is very good news. April is still not eating. She did voluntarily move on Friday morning, only to move away from the kittens and hide in the corner.

I am so exhausted, and I am so worried about April, that I took the rescue up on their offer of taking over for a while so I can get some rest. I have plans to go to bed early tonight and sleep tomorrow. After that, she will come back to me and I can only hope she is eating at that point. Everything else is manageable from my perspective.

Self-care, it is important.. and with some help of some goodies friends have made me in the past (I really love my freezer), hopefully, I'll have a nice easy (wait.. no, stop.. I still have a pregnant cat in the basement.. let's not jinx this... )

Hopefully, I'll have a good night's sleep.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

An April update

I am going to save the rest of the story for a time when I am a little more awake. Since I have had several people contact me asking if April was okay, I wanted to share with you a small update.

April is still with us. She has been very lethargic and has not eaten or pooped or peed since I have had her. I am very worried about her. She is not producing milk or if she is it is minimal. I am bottle feeding the kittens every two hours and running on no sleep and a LOT of adrenaline.. It is not much fun, and I'm not making a lot of sense right now.. :) fortunately, the kittens are nursing well and are gaining weight.

April is allowing the kittens to suckle on her and snuggle close for warmth, which is a huge comfort to them and a bit of a relief for me as I do not have to worry about them being chilled - a huge risk factor in kittens.

She spent yesterday and today getting rehydrated at the vet clinic. I will know more this evening when I pick her up.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

April's child is full of woe

Bet you weren't expecting this one.. I know I certainly wasn't.

Meet April. 

And if you haven't guessed from the title of the post and the photo just presented, this was one heck of a ride these past 24 hours.

So, you know I have Hedy (and if you don't, say hello to her here). I've been jonesing for kittens and the rescue follows my Facebook and Instagram pages and let me know they were transporting two pregnant cats up to NH and asked if I would like one.  One. Okay, I figure she has other foster homes wanting kittens, so I said yes and I was scheduled to take Hedy when she came off quarantine.

I waited a polite amount of time (I hope) before I asked if they had a foster lined up for the second one. They did, so I was resigned to my one pregnant cat.. (like that isn't a lot anyway, and with her illness what was I thinking???)

So Hedy came, and Hedy went right downhill and I was very concerned as were the vets, but after a thankfully short amount of time, she bounced back. She's still sneezing somewhat, but the discharge is minimal and she is eating well, so I figured I lucked out on this one.

Then I was offered another pregnant cat from the same location. Um.. well yeah, cause.. well, frankly, kitten fever does really stupid things to your judgment.

So, the new kitty was transported up on Saturday. I didn't hear another thing about her until Tuesday when I was asked if I would be home that evening to accept a cat. I said I was and we scheduled a time to do the hand-off. 6PM was to start the kitty cyclone of events.

She was dropped off and I was told that she had some litter box issues (that she didn't make it to the box on time) and that she seemed restless so she could be starting labor.  I heard her sneeze, so my priority was to get her out of the main house where my cats are and get her into isolation. (My foster room is downstairs and my cats are currently not allowed to go downstairs so there is a three-door isolation option for me.)

Well, she was sneezing, she was open mouth breathing, her eyes were goopy, she came with medication and eye ointment so I went about getting everything ready to medicate her and get her settled in. I probably sat down with her around seven and proceeded to give her a saline flush to help get the congestion out of her nose.

She sneezed up some mucus, so I tended to her, and soothed her, and listened to her cough a horribly raspy cough. She was not interested in food (with possible impending labor I wasn't shocked about this, but with what happened to Hedy I was concerned). I checked her hydration level and it was pretty poor, so I set about getting fluids warmed up and ready to give her.

Fluids went very well, but just as I was finishing up she went into active labor.  I didn't want her giving birth on me, so I put her in a box, and she just lay there. She didn't really move, she seemed really disconnected from what was going on. It was not good. What was also concerning was the fluids were leaking right out of her. Despite pinching off where the needle went in four or five times, it would not stop.

I let my contact at the rescue, K, know that we were in active labor and what was going on. About an hour into it I was getting concerned and googling just how long in active labor I should start worrying. It was about an hour.

So I chatted with K and told her more about what was going on. About an hour and a half in I realized this was not going to end well. We chatted about going to the emergency clinic and at 11pm I set off.

There is far more to this story, but I am so exhausted at the moment I don't have time to tell it and this post is getting kinda long.

I will tell you that it ends with four beautiful baby kittens, all black like mom. Some have some white spots already, but frankly, I am too tired to tell you who is who. I do know we have three boys and a girl.

Pay no attention to the dust. I didn't see it on them when I took the photo, so I'm not sure what that is all about.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Hedy complains about the service

"Yo, Lady! There is a door here and I can't go through it!"
"Hey, Lady! That food is the same thing I got yesterday? What is this, prison?"
"Hey, Lady! Stop thinking you can pet my belleh any time you want to, that's what we call personal space!"

She's a Torbie all right.. All kinds of attitude and sass.. She has definite opinions on things, and is totally not a fan of getting eye drops - but then again who is.

I'm not feeling kitten movement so this might take a while..

Saturday, April 6, 2019

So, if it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck..

Does this mean that this blog is now going to be known as Tails from the Foster Ducks?

Nooo.. it means that I have a sick kitty in my care. I brought her home in March and I had this awesome April Fools post all set in my head, and then I realized she was not doing well.

She was sneezing and it sounded a bit like she had some post nasal drip going on as well so she horks a bit like a duck would. And yes, she is pregnant, so she waddles a bit..


When she arrived she wasn't eating and it took two days and a lot of subq fluids to get her to start again. Because she is pregnant, we are limited in what we can do for her. I am doing my best to get her to eat and while she does eat, it isn't nearly as much as I would like.

She is incredibly affectionate and she has her requirements. She is not afraid to give me a warning nip if I am not patting her enough or if I am patting in the wrong place. It is gentle though, so I can't fault her that. We are working on a better way of communicating as not everyone is cool with a cat using their teeth to ask for more love.

She has an interesting thing going on with her tail as well:

This is not the first kitty I have fostered that walks around with a bottle brush tail. I have no idea why she is doing it, she generally appears happy when it goes all floofy *shrug* guess it is just a weird dialect of cat language she learned to speak.

When I first took her I was told it could be a while before we have kittens. There were some conflicting opinions when I had her into the vet for not eating so we might have kittens in a couple of days or a couple of weeks. As much as I want them yesterday, I'm okay with it being later because I'd rather that she be over her cold before the kittens show up.

So, who is she? Well, she came with the name Hedy and I wasn't originally thrilled with that name. I was going to name her April because of the whole original theme I had going on, but the more I dealt with Hedy and remembering Hedy Lamarr, I'll think I'll stick with that.

so it is official..

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