Saturday, September 30, 2006

Morning play time

Gp 1 Day 13
It seems like they got big overnight. Tempest, Lotus, and of course Precious are at or over 2 lbs today. And Angus shot up to 28 oz. He was the first to finish his breakfast portion. I think he knows he has some catching up to do. While all have a little sneezing still, appetites and energy have returned in full force.

The big event for the day was a mass exodus from the office. No, events. They got out at least twice. I swear that Tempest can fly 16 feet across the floor before I can close the door on the way out. They had a little fun checking out most of the house and meeting Madeleine briefly before I rounded them up. We also had the mystery exit from the Nursery to the office after nap time. How did they open that door?

Thought you would enjoy some clips of morning play time.

Friday, September 29, 2006

John visits the Nursery

Gp 1 Day 12
Two routine days. This is great. It's like having a house full of toddlers with colds. No fevers, and no one is really sick, but lots of snotty noses and sneezes everywhere, appetites are a little pickier, and everyone needs a little more rest and gets cranky near nap time. All are hovering around that 2 lb mark except tiny Angus, who is at least holding steady now at 25 oz. He's my lap kitty this morning, while the others are playing.

John paid a visit to the nursery this morning. He's been wanting in for a few minutes each day, but I'm on to him now. He doesn't want to visit the kittens, he wants to snack on their kitten kibble. (!!!) Kitten behavior is much different from the first meeting, with it's puffs and hisses. They run up to him to sniff noses, rub against him, and follow him around. But he can take that for only a few minutes, then he's outta here.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Morning Exodus

Gp 1 Day 11
I think everyone's feeling a little better this morning. They were lined up at the Nursery door waiting to blast out again. Take a look.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

New toy

While shopping for those Premium cat foods, I also looked for new toys. I needed something in plastic, that could be washed between kitten groups. They love the mice, but those are impossible to clean, and especially after kittens with URI have played with them are doomed to become trash rather than entertain the next group. Ran across these nifty little springs. Light enough to fly across the floor with a pat from little paws, but big enough to resist ingestion. And even better, $.29 apiece. Best yet, they love them. And lest you think I am ignoring my big cats, so did they. Here are John and Tempest to demonstrate.


Gp 1 Day 10
Friskies for breakfast, but Lotus didn't want any. She's 2+ sneezing, but has plenty of energy and is eating kibble. Her weight's down an ounce, but she doesn't seem dehydrated. Sounds like her cold is just a little worse. The others were happy to clean up the extra portion. I'm going to have to increase Precious to a quarter can. BTW, my big cats were relieved to see the Friskies this morning. I've been trying a few "Premium" brands, and they haven't been very popular. Kittens have liked them, though.

Nicknames for today: Lotus is Sneezy, Angus is Snort. Poor little guy has to clear that nose vigorously, but his sneezing is down to 3+ from 4+ yesterday, and he isn't hot to the touch any more. He had a good game of Untie the Shoelaces this morning.

Thought you would enjoy seeing how these kittens can eat when they have an appetite. This is breakfast on Day 3, just kibble. It's the morning after they all went in for hydration, and everyone was pretty perky. They are still wearing their red "refugee collars," as D calls them. Can you hear Angus growling?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

All's well that ends well

Gp 1 Day 9
Another rough day. Here is the report I sent in this morning:
My four kittens have received 7 (of 10) days of doxycycline. Precious(6) sneezes rarely and Lotus(3) sneezes occasionally, both are eating well, slowly gaining weight, and playing vigorously. I posted a table of their weights here (on this blog.)

The boys aren't doing as well. I brought both of them in on Sunday afternoon for another fluid bolus. We increased the canned food meals from once to twice daily, and the tech (I still don't know her name ) gave me 2 cans of Hill's k/d.

Tempest(4), who had lost 2.5 oz., had regained most of it yesterday, and a little more today. However, he sneezes frequently, has d/c in both eyes (still clear) and this morning started coughing. He was reluctant to eat breakfast, but ate ~2 tsp of canned food with coaxing. His temp was 100.2F this am, and he has mild tenting at the shoulders. While mostly sleeping or sitting in the sun, he has short play sessions.

Angus(5) is down 1.5 oz today. Since yesterday he has very frequent sneezing, sometimes in fits with every breath. Last night he refused dinner, and his temp was 103.5F. I gave him 2 cc of a slurry of moist food (k/d) with warm water by syringe after his doxy dose. He was hungry this morning, also ate ~2 tsp of canned food for breakfast, and has been grazing at the kibble between sneezes. His temp is 102.9F, and he also has mild tenting of his skin. He occasionally tries to play, but it just starts another sneezing fit, so he has been mostly sleeping, preferably on a lap.

I was thinking I might get some Pedialyte and see if the boys would drink it. What else can I do? Would you like to see them?

So yes, we took yet another trip to the shelter. The boys are to stay on doxycycline another 10 days, and got another fluid bolus. They ate enough of the food they were offered to satisfy B, the tech, but Precious and Lotus got most of it for their lunch. However, fluid does seem to increase their appetite and thirst, which helps them keep up on their own, and after a long nap this afternoon they were ravenous for dinner, are sneezing less and playing more. This is Tempest demonstrating the new skill he learned yesterday: jumping up onto the windowsill (about 16 in.) And the new game he discovered he could play there.

Unfortunately, now Lotus is the punky one. She threw up most of that lunch several hours later, after turning up her nose at dinner. Lucky me, it was on the tiles by the door. Several minutes later she threw up again, but this time she ran for the litterbox. Is this a good cat, or what? For now, I'm watching.

Excuse me, Lotus just joined Angus in my lap, with something wet and stinky all over her feet. Wonder where she found that? Gotta go clean a kitten.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Gp 1 Weights

You may remember reading at the beginning of this saga that my goal with these fosters is to care for them until the littlest weighs more than 2 lbs. I weigh them every day in a kitchen scale that D loaned to me until either a) I get my own or b) she gets another litter herself. If done carefully, I would guess it is accurate to about+/- o.5 oz, and works great if the kitten will sit still for a few seconds. I quickly learned that a good time to do this is after breakfast, after morning play time, and just before morning nap time.

This is how we are doing so far:
Datex3Fx4Mx5M x6F
Lotus TempestAngusPrecious
T 9/1923272331
W 9/2025282431.5
Th 9/2126.5282432
F 9/222728.52533
Sa 9/2328.530.52634
Su 9/2429.52825.533
M 9/2531302634
T 9/2631.530.524.534.5
W 9/2730.5312534.5
Th 9/28313224.534
F 9/293132.52534
Sa 9/3032332837
Su 10/134352836.5
M 10/235.5363038
T 10/336.5373137.5
W 10/436.53731.538.5
F 10/63939.53440.5
Sa 10/7414034.541

(Yes, the dates in this table go beyond the posted date. I'm editing it with new results so I have them all in one place.)

Morning report

Gp 1 Day 8
This morning I was greeted by a veritable chorus of sneezes, but a pretty high energy level. Only little Angus is still dragging. He quickly made his way to my lap, and I later moved him to a new bed. The polartec blanket on this wooden arm chair is a favorite spot for my big cats to hang out while I am at the computer. Was also delighted to find formed stools in the litterbox, undoubtedly due to this new k/d moist food that we brought home from the shelter yesterday. Cleanup went much quicker today - far less hardened kitty poo on the tub and walls in the Nursery.

Tempest is back in form. He had two quick visits to the outside world again this morning. Gotta keep a spare hand free to nab him on the way in, or he is out. Said hello to John again. Much less exciting today: no growls, hisses, or puffs; just quiet sniffing.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Gp 1 Day 7
We definitely overdid it yesterday. The sneezes blossomed again this morning. The exit from the Nursery was a dignified procession, in contrast to yesterday's explosion. Morning play time lasted only an hour, then everyone went quiet and snuggly. Notice the dropouts on the play video. And all four wanted lap time, no mean feat given my relatively small lap.

I was especially concerned about Tempest, who was down over two ounces since yesterday and acting like his name should have been Calm. His stools were also completely liquid, not just soft like the others. That is probably just a result of the antibiotic, but it might make it more of a challenge for him to keep hydrated. (It certainly made more work for me, since neither he nor Angus can quite cover their mess in the litterbox without stepping in it yet. Boys!)

Anyway, I called in to the shelter again, and made a trip up with Tempest and Angus to get another little fluid bolus. While I was there (20 minutes?) there were 4 cats being signed over for a variety of reasons (found a stray, kids have allergies, etc.) The intake person said that they average 60-70 animals a day. Can you imagine?

So, I have learned that kittens are like toddlers. They need enforced rest time. Something else good came out of it for them, though. The tech suggested that they get 2 meals a day of moist food while they are recovering from their URI. They'll like that.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


It was a strenuous morning. I checked on the kittens after a quiet hour or two. Everyone woke up sneezing, and was clearly more interested in lap time than play time. So I put them back down for a longer rest. That gives me time for another catch up post.

Gp 1 Day 2
I had noticed that Kitten x6F had a little eye discharge on the evening of Day 1, and by Day 2 it was green, and so much had collected that when she went in the litterbox she came out with a concrete eye patch. Kitten x4M also had a clear eye discharge and was sneezing. So I reported my findings to L, the foster coordinator at the shelter. And back we went to the shelter to see the vet.

All four kittens seemed mildly dehydrated, so everyone got some SQ fluid. Kittens often get their fluids subcutaneously (SQ), with the needle inserted under the loose skin over the shoulders, instead of intravenously (IV) into their little veins. And I got a bottle of "Doxy", doxycycline, with instructions to give everybody 0.4 cc once-a-day for 10 days. Oops, they didn't get their first dose there. I would have to do that later.

The kittens seemed happy to see me again, and slept in the kennel on the drive home. Then the fun. The tech warned me that they wouldn't like the Doxy. I didn't find the thick gooey brown solution very appetizing, either. Fortunately, John's foster mom D had previously taught me how to do a good kitten wrap to administer meds. Here is Lotus demonstrating...

The bigger world

Gp 1 Day 6
This morning I was greeted by an explosion of kittens out of the Nursery door. They're getting big and energetic, and obviously feeling well. The bathroom that is the nursery was originally designed to serve the master bedroom, but we are using that as the office. With the office door closed, it's a nice, contained space, BUT not exactly kitten proof. I think I did a reasonable job of eliminating the worst of the hazards, but this is not a place I'd leave them unsupervised.

We had the expected - distracting them from the computer cords - and the unexpected - they can fit behind the bookcases. (I quickly blocked that access with a rolled up blanket and table runner, but not before Angus demonstrated how it could be done.) Bulldog clips are a favorite toy, and as I type I am surrounded by thundering herds making the most of Chase in the bigger room. And they've learned to play Feet under the door.

Then the inevitable. These kittens are very clear that the function of doors is to keep them away from somewhere they want to be. First the Nursery door, then the Office door. I thought I'd caught all of them when I came back in (and they ran out) but a loud growl in the hallway outside alerted me to the fact that I had missed one. And it was NOT a big cat growling. It was little Tempest, who had met John.

So, John was curious, and the kittens are healthy, and we all had a supervised meeting in the office. The kittens demonstrated how big they can look when they puff themselves up, and John was as sweet and gentle as I had expected him to be. Only Lotus needed a little calming afterward - she was stuck in puff position.

Sounds like things are slowing down. Lotus is learning how computer time works - curled up in my lap purring as I type. I had better go clean the Nursery. I believe it will be naptime soon.

Friday, September 22, 2006

There's something interesting behind here. John at the Nursery door.
Group 1 Day 1
Let's start to get caught up. In the beginning...
Before I could start fostering I had to attend an orientation class. There we covered all of the diseases and disorders commonly seen in unwanted and found kittens, which could be transferred to humans (zoonoses), which could be caught by the "resident pets" (I have 3 cats, remember), and what some of the care ramifications would be, depending on who had what. Of course, the shelter can't take financial responsibility for treating you or your pets, so you have to be willing to sign up for that risk.

Then there's the bit about scope of responsibility. If the kittens do get sick, I tell them immediately. They go back to the shelter for treatment, not to my own vet. And ultimately, the kittens must go back. That was very important! I care for them until the littlest of the litter reaches 32 ounces in weight (2 lbs.). Then they go back, get a final check for parasites (e.g. worms) and get spayed or neutered. After a short recovery they are ready to go out to the adoption floor, and hopefully will find just the right person or people to adopt them permanently.

The downside to this plan is that if you bond with your kittens (I will, I can't help it) it's hard to give them back. The upside is that once you release your lovingly cared for and socialized kittens to find good homes, you can start all over again with another needy bunch of little ones. More kittens! So I'm giving it a try.

This is the gang shortly after we arrived in the Nursery. Their serial numbers starting with the gray kitten on left and proceeding clockwise are x3F, x6F, x4M, and x5M. There is a red tape collar with the serial number and gender around each little neck. The tub has a soft bed on one side, food and water bowls in the middle, and the litter box on the far side. The shelter (and kind donors) provided the litter box, litter, bowls, food, a few play mice, and the cute little polartec beds. All I needed to add was love.

I should have seen this coming. It's not his fault... the others scattered when I walked in. Note to self: don't put toilet paper in the "Nursery."
Quick morning visit before kitten chores (I'll tell you about those later.) Lotus immediately heads for my lap, followed by Angus and finally (!) Precious. I think that's a first for her. Of course, that's Angus speaking up today. Listen to those purrs!

Group 1 Day 5
It's a gray, rainy morning, but there is a skylight in the bathroom so the merest crack of dawn is sufficient to wake the kittens. Everyone can climb out of the tub now, even Lotus, so they were all playing on the floor when I went in. Everyone made a mad rush for the door, but regrouped as I deftly blocked their exit with a foot and they realized I was staying inside. There was still a little dry food, but the water was gone as usual and, though grateful for a drink, they seemed more interested in cuddles.

Lotus has a new behavior this morning. She has learned the head butt to ask for attention whenever my hand is near and she wants a pet, or against my chin when she has climbed up on my shoulder.

Angus, I see as he is getting bigger, is not actually black, but a black on chocolate tabby. Very pretty. He evidently enjoyed last night's pre-bedtime snuggle with the three smaller kittens purring on my lap, because he wanted more laptime. Today he is talking, little meows to get attention. I got one every time he partially awoke from his lap snooze, just to remind me that he was still there and still wanted hugs.

Tempest is mellowing as he gets bigger. I see him sitting at my feet in a tiny bundle, tail wrapped over over his feet and staring solemnly at me to let me know it is his turn for attention. As the biggest brother, he also spends a fair amount of time wrestling with big Precious.

Precious plays well with the others, but is the most independent. She likes to be pet, but prefers not to be picked up, though she will graciously submit to being rolled onto her back. She's not a selfish big sister at all, but seems happy to let the little ones have a turn at the toys while she watches. When she is frightened she runs and hides behind the nearest large object, but is found sitting quietly and peering out to see what's up. And she is the official greeter for the bunch when any of the big cats pokes a nose in out of curiosity.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. You don't really know who these guys are yet. Next time.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Where to begin? I'm too old, and have done too many things in my life to start at the beginning. So here we are in the middle, and right now I just want to talk about my most recent news.

I love cats, and especially kittens. The first litter of my acquaintance was born in my crib. I spent a few years of my adolescence living with a grandmother who did not allow us to have a pet, but otherwise I've always had at least one cat. So I view one of the biggest problems of being a responsible pet owner is never having kittens. I have three lovely, and neutered, adult cats. Their names are Madeleine, Cricket, and John.

John was the most recent addition, and as a result of the search I became friends with his foster mom. She takes in a new litter of kittens about every month or so, which led me to think about fostering. I have a spare bathroom, and some spare time since I've retired, so...

On Monday I brought home my first foster litter from our local Animal Society. I know I'm a few days behind already, but we'll start there, and I'll catch you up as I can.