Yes, one more post on the topic of dinner.
If you are following the Sugar Babies' weight chart, you would have noticed that on Saturday most of the kittens weighed the same or less than they had the week before. The exception was Honey, who began to eat from a dish on Wednesday. When Sweetie offered her tummy for rubs, which she is doing more frequently, I noticed that her breasts are nearly flat. Not much milk left in there. So, D- and I had a conference, and decided that even though the kittens did not appear to be in distress, they could use more calories than they were getting.
By the weekend, Honey, Chip, and Taffy were doing a good job eating from the bowl, but the littlest kittens just weren't ready yet. So out came the syringe, and I became a surrogate mom. Wow! Those kittens were hungry. Take a look at Sugar, Candy, and Snap enjoying their dinner. And at us all wearing it.
I fed them as much as they wanted four times yesterday, until their little eyes closed and they keeled over sideways. And today Snap is holding steady and everybody else has gained an ounce or so, on average. They are eating less frantically, so we'll continue on the three meal-a-day plan. I don't think it will be very long until they are all eating from the dish.
Sweetie continues to nurse, though less often. Our new routine is I feed them, then they nurse. I think she's more like a big pacifier than a food source. She wasn't very pacific last night, though, when I heard yowls and growls and general caterwauling coming from the nursery. She had climbed in with the kittens, who were vigorously nursing a mere 20 minutes after I had stuffed them to the gills with formula. Though very gentle with the kittens, she was lying there screaming like she was in a cat fight, and did move a couple away from what seemed like a tender area mid belly. I watched for a few minutes, to make sure she wasn't about to go on a murderous rampage, and she just left with a pained expression on her face. She let me examine her belly, which was unremarkable except for mild tenderness of the middle pair of nipples. Nothing hot or swollen. This morning she let me do a pretty thorough abdominal exam. She has a little more milk swelling than she had yesterday, and again the middle nipples seem irritated but all are nice and pink, no redness, nothing hot.
I checked in with the shelter, and L- suggested she may be going into heat. Ah, the life of the unspayed puddy tat. I'll keep watching her for now.