Well Monday marked the six week mark in the lives of our little family! I'm happy to report a relatively uneventful week for the kittens.
At six weeks old they are all really starting to develop and show off their personalities. They also have hit a mark where they have all of their teeth. Once kittens have all their teeth they are more inclined to have dry food. They can certainly have it before six weeks but they may find it takes a long time to chew and not be as interested. Now since they have all their teeth it is easier to chew and more satisfying.
They also are more into toys and wrestling. They love to wrestle anywhere anytime! They are super playful little ones and love me to join in their games as a jungle gym apparatus. Climbing is a favorite too, but once they get up they are hesitant to get down, I think with time they'll get braver.
We have noticed though especially the girls the older they get they more similar they look. I can still tell them apart without issue, but as we get closer to them being adoptable applications may come in and we potential adopters need to tell them apart. The easiest thing to do is to put a collar on but with them being still small the collar would be kind of heavy. I have explored various options because the hair ties are too small and could be dangerous, the collar would be too heavy so I ordered whelping collars online we'll see how those work (generally those are Velcro and light weight as well as adjustable).
Updated Kitten Pictures
In terms of Mom, Easter is getting a little warmer. Stress on the little!!! She certainly doesn't want to be touched or anything, but instead of hiding in one corner all the time she does go to different places in the foster room. I don't see her do it but I know she moves cause any time I pop in she's camped in a different hide hole so she is finally moving about more!
We did have a hiccup this week with her. She ate some food that seemed to have something wrong with it and got sick till it was out of her system. Than I walked in the foster room after work one day to see blood on the wall, I didn't know if it was her incision, if it was a UTI or something else. After a long night at the ER vet we found her ear tip from being spayed was reopening and had a hematoma in it that will for lack of any better word "spurt" blood. We got her all fixed up and back home, this is not common at all during ear tipping so no one even the ER vet even thought about it. Hematoma's are a buildup of blood similar to a blister except it is blood filled, they can be dangerous because they can indicate internal bleeding. In Easter's case it was just a small vessel in the ear that caused it so nothing life threatening, but uncomfortable.
Easter and I are still not best friends, but darn have we been through it all! Looking forward to more growth this week!! My hope is by week 8 every kitten is 2lbs which is the average for that age and it seems everyone is right on track.
OWelcome Back Cat Corner-ians,
It is week five and everyone is at least a pound now!!! These chubby fluff balls loves to run and prance and jump and play and wrestle and love love love to pull the cuffs of my pants. Any time I come into the foster room all the kittens run around my feet and pull at the cuffs of my pants with their teeth until I sit or lay on the floor so they can play with their favorite toy...the ME jungle gym.
In terms of weaning it's going really well!! At first they just wanted to make messes. They didn't have much interest in food beyond playing. Then I realized hmm maybe they didn't like the taste as much so we switched flavors and BAM kittens eating! Even though on paper they may have had a "rough" beginning I keep forgetting that these babies are SPOILED!!! They were born in a shelter so a safe warm place, they've never known cold or hunger like many others animals we unfortunately encounter at the shelter. They even have had a healthy mom every day from their beginning so when it came to moving from the milk bar to wet food it better be darn yummy or it's not worth their time! After the flavor switch slowly like dominoes one by one they became interested.
That isn't to say they are completely off the milk bar though...UGH!! On Monday night of this week the Milk Bar (Momma Cat Easter) was rudely taken away by me to go to Cat Corner for the night to be Spayed the next day. The babies should be moving on from the milk bar and do not NEED it anymore and Easter really does NEED to have a reduction in hormone surges. So Tuesday was the magic spay day.
If you are familiar with our little foster family you know Easter isn't the friendliest, so getting her in a crate for the spay date was fun. She is the tinkle queen when she gets nervous and there was pee pee everywhere! Once we got to cat corner though she settled.
Post Spay Image (Drugs Still In System)
One of the Cat Corner board members went to pick up Easter after her Spay while I was at work and she was still very loopy and apparently when she gets a little loopy she's very affectionate! So even though I still haven't gotten to touch her at least someone has accomplished the white whale tasked and pet and loved on Easter besides her babies! Rumor has it she's super soft.
As for the babies they were less than pleased with Mom's absence she was gone for less than 24 hours approx 20 hours to be exact but they through a huge fit! They love Mom dearly and it was life altering that she was away so we did our best to push through.
The night I brought Easter to Cat Corner (Monday) prior to the Spay the babies had to be without her for a night. The always sleep with her at night, be it for warmth or comfort. In preparation for her being away I took an old cat bed opened it and put a heating pad inside. I figured that would be enough...I was wrong. All of us slept on the couch with the bed on my lap, the kittens didn't just want the warm they wanted a bigger creature I had to substitute. You'll see they eventually fell asleep but I had an awful neck pain from the odd sleep. Remember told you they are spoiled!
The next day I put the bed int he foster room with them to play. Usually during the day they are the least needy in terms of Mom or me. They run and play and sleep wherever they plop down. I have even walked in after work and found a kitten with a paw in the food dish head on the carpet. Wherever they drop is where they stay during the day. It was clear though they missed Momma though because I walked in after work and found Cadbury all by himself on the bed snuggled up as he does with Mom.
I picked up Easter and she was very groggy and for her safety I put her in the crate with the door closed Tuesday night. The kittens would be able to see Mom but no touching. I know even though they don't NEED the milk bar anymore they often will still nurse. On a freshly cut open tummy that's not what Mom needed, so I made sure Easter had all the essentials and the kittens would leave her be. She was very groggy but by the time I got her home an in her place she was back to her hissing way so no snuggles for me...I missed my window.
That night I was woken at around 2:30 AM by a terrible screeching cry. Worried Easter pulled a stitch or something terrible had happened to a kitten I bolted out of bed to run into the room. Paas had attempted to break in to the crate to see Mom and climbed on top of the crate to do so...she fell and got stuck between the wall and the crate. She may have been there for a while before she called for help. She looked so pathetic, but I explained to her NO MILK BAR!!! I freed her and got her snuggled for bed. The next morning I found her crying at the door again.
After 24 hours of post surgery recovery I finally let the kittens see Mom. From my observations it seemed that they missed her a lot more than she missed them, but they are a lot of work so she probably welcomed the break even if it meant taking out her bits. As soon as I opened the door all the kittens ran in and began to groom her and snuggled against her and napped. They have been very affectionate with her and she has been grooming them a lot too.
As for any changes there was a brief hope that maybe Easter without surging hormones would be easier to work with and possibly easier to determine if she is Semi feral or has just been a stray for a long time. She shows characteristics of each of those titles so it's so hard to say. It's only been a few days but her growling has significantly decreased! I'm cautiously optimistic that's a good sign, but also since it's only been a few days that could be recovery not permanent change. See you next week!
Post 24 hour Recovery Mom Snuggles
Hello Cat Corner-ians,
The Easter Candy Kittens are now a month old!! Also little Cadbury's Eye looks AMAZING! Take a peak below
After a month of growing and learning, it's finally time to take the next step of being independent kittens! Unfortunately it is my LEAST favorite thing in terms of fostering. Kittening can be a messy ordeal and for someone who likes things clean this always can be a bit of a shock, but nothing is as messy as teaching kittens to eat real food!
The process of getting off Mother's milk and onto real food is called weaning and similar to human babies you can't just go from milk to solids there is the fun mush phase...which is MESSY! As a foster I'm much more familiar with weaning in terms of motherless kittens and bottle babies, having a Mom in the mix is ruining my weaning flow so far. When you are bottle feeding, you are completely in control of nutrition so you can wait with the bottle until they nibble on the wet food a bit and put some in their mouth so they have hungry bellies when wet food appears. With a Momma Cat the babies look at the wet food and go umm excuse me the milk bar is open I don't want that! We've definitely tried wet food though it's only day 4 of weaning.
Cadbury is fine to taste the food if I make him...but will ignore it if on his own.
Peep actually seems interested in the food and will eat it if I put her right in front of it to show her I put it down, but won't seek it on her own.
Paas will lick food off a spoon, but will not eat it off the plate, she's still too fancy for that.
Russ was breaking my heart, would spit out everything I put in his mouth and walk directly to the milk bar. I went to go clean in the foster room and saw him with a mouth full of kibble...that little sneak has been weaning himself on solids not wet food mush! He prefers the nursing Momma/baby kitten food I guess but at least he is doing the process some how.
Weaning can take up to 20 days to complete so 4 days in and this kind of progress is great.
In Momma news Easter was trusting enough to take a short nap with me in the foster room the other day, she was still in her little favorite corner of the room in the crate. I know she moves and does plenty while I'm not there but whenever I'm in the room corner it is. Hissing and clawing has been a little less and the nap was a huge step letting me know she trusts me enough to relax.
I tried to play with her with a feather toy today and she was not interested at all. I'm hoping maybe after she is fixed maybe it'll be easier to work with her.
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!