Hello Cat Corner-ians,
Week three has been full of trials tribulations but has ended on a real up swing. I'm sorry for the depressing start of this post but as with all things there is a circular nature to animals as well as life and sometimes it happens.
As I finished last weeks post I updated everyone that poor little Cadbury had some odd eye things happening and little Robin had a cold. Well on Saturday we went to the vet nice and early I did my best to be there when the doors opened. Easter (Momma Cat) was not helping things trying to keep all the babies close being her normal morning grouch so the only way I could get the two away was with BBQ tongs.
When we got to the vet they stained Cadbury's eye and let us know it was mis-formed and that is was more severe than what I had suspected (infection) there was something physically wrong with the eye and referred us to a specialist.
Next was little since I had posted his congestion had gotten worse and you could hear he was congested in his lungs and he had gotten really lethargic and stopped wanting to eat. They did an X-Ray and than I got a real shock and not the good kind. Robin had only one lung with about 25% free space the rest was all fluid. The poor little dude had a terrible case of pneumonia whither it was from a virus, bacteria or from birth or even in utero or any combination is unknown. Robin is the surrogate kitten that was brought to our little family so we honestly knew nothing about him except he needed a family and we had one for him. With the amount of fluid in Robin's lungs I made the heart wrenching choice to put him to sleep. There is treatment for pneumonia but in a kitten around 16-18 days old with that much fluid the chance of survival was minimal and if he did survive the amount of scarring on his lungs would cause life long pain while breathing. It was not a hard choice but it was at the same time, I couldn't allow him to be in pain but I didn't want to loose him. Robin passed away on Saturday 4/2/16 around 8am and before he passed I held him close and he purred for the very first time letting me know he was ready to go. Even as I write this I'm teary eyed.
Loosing a foster kitten is a unique experience. Whenever I take in a foster I say to myself "you're their best chance, it's you're job to speak for them". That has meant a lot in the past, it's meant turning away adopters who weren't the right fit, it's meant being a nudge at the vet that you know there is something more going on, and it's meant making the decision to let little Robin breathe easy. With young kittens life is so fragile and no day is a guarantee, every calorie counts, every bathroom time a godsend! Sometimes though nature let's us know people weren't meant to intervene. Often when Mother cats leave kittens behind it can mean more than they were scared and didn't get to come back, it can mean the kitten is sick, disabled or Mom senses something is "off". She protects the needs of the many over the needs of the one and moves her brood leaving that one. It is very possible that's what happened in Robin's case and no amount of foster intervention could have helped. It's also possible he caught something from one of his surrogate siblings we will never know. I do know though he is at peace and while it hurt and my heart is still tender I can only move forward and help the needs of the many...
Rest in Peace Sweet Robin
That being said as we settled into life with now only four kittens Mom had extra milk to spare so everyone has gotten...well pleasantly fluffy...chubby...kittentastic? They are in the 90th percentile for their weight at this age which is great because as previously mentioned every calorie counts so heavens to goodness anyone does get a cold we have a tiny bit of weight extra to help.
Peep and Paas (The Girls) modeling their "fluff"
As for Cadbury's eye we got to see the specialist and as it turns out he has an ocular herpes infection. It is very common for cats to have herpetic infections; it's not common though for such little kittens to have herpetic infections. So Easter (Momma Cat) must have it and had an active infection when delivering the kittens having each of them born with an active infection. As the kittens nursed and started up an immune system it went into remission...except for Cadbury...poor thing. His infection wasn't noticeable because kittens eyes don't open for about 10 days after birth so it ran rampant. At the specialist there were three open ulcers in Cadbury's cornea and lots of goo from the active infection. We have started treatment and the specialist cleaned the eye with special tools and it looks soo much better and it is clear Cadbury is much more comfortable.
As for the rest of the kittens because we know that everyone was born with an active herpes infection we need to watch all of them very carefully till about 6 weeks of age. They are very susceptible to secondary infections with respiratory issues or colds and can be in a bad way quickly. They will have feline herpes for their whole lives which isn't uncommon and can cause runny eyes and some sneeze but won't need any life long care or anything like that just something that happens.
Except for Cadbury due to his early introduction and the issues he's had he will keep the left eye but will have some decrease vision in that eye; since he isn't going to be a literary major in college it won't be a huge problem. Also, due to the huge amount of antibiotics and the type and doses he's been on so early the left ear will probably loose a great deal of hearing. So we expect to compensate he will probably have an adorable little head tilt!