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!
Welcome back Cat Corner-ians!!
It has only been a week, but the kittens have grown so much! In the past week, they have all started to stand up and from standing they have gone to toddling and from toddling to walking with confidence. Their confidence is still a facade at some points as they definitely still tumble over a fair amount, but they just look so darn sure of themselves!
The other exciting news is all of our kittens and Mom now have names!!! I had family over for Easter and we thought what a purfect thing to name everyone! So welcome to the Easter Candy Kittens!
So names and walking!!!!
On to a little bit of the growing pains...or laughs depending on how you look at it! On Tuesday of this week, I found a single flea on one of the kittens. Fleas especially to little little babies can very dangerous, they can cause anemia with a few bites, spread germs and can become life threatening in a day or so. Easter didn't have flea treatments when originally brought in, so I'm guessing she is the origin of the fleas. The fastest easiest and safest solution is to wash Momma and babies in warm water with dawn dish soap. That soap is made of miracles, helps saves animals from oils spills and baby kittens from fleas!
As I shared last time, Easter (Momma Cat) is not the friendliest, so the thought hmmm "I may not make it through this bath with all my limbs"....as I predicted it was not easy; however, happy to report Easter and I have all limbs! Unfortunately though no bath was had. Easter was in a nest box given to us when we picked up her and babies. A nest box is a nice sturdy hard plastic container with air holes and some plastic removable entrances than can lock if needed for animals (usually for wild ones). I brought her box to the bathroom all ready for her bath. She realized we weren't in her safe room and got too nervous and broke out of the crate, because I didn't lock it. She freaked out, jumped in the tub to hide and OH NO it was filled with water....a wet Easter climbed the shower curtain and at that point began to scared pee, while running around the bathroom. After realizing what was happening, I got Easter back in the nest box and to her safe room. She calmed after a moment or two, but what a mess!!! If you ever find yourself in such a bathroom mess, (I hope you don't) the best thing to do is to clean it ASAP! The longer kitty pee sits the more the ammonia in it can sink into porous surfaces like tile and wood so bleach and paper towels as soon as you can and the smell vanishes.
As for the kittens, those baths were easy as pie just warm water a towel and dawn soap in sink. After all of that we only found a single flea and almost no flea dirt. That helps ease my mind for now, but to be on the safe side I continue to change all the bedding often as well as comb the kittens daily to check for flea dirt, eggs or fleas. No signs of flea life yet.
In addition to fleas, we do have two kittens Cadbury and Robin who aren't feeling great. Seems like Robin has a cold and Cadbury has an eye infection. You can see Cadbury's eye in some of the pics from last week and this. I have been tending to them with warm compresses, humidifier, steamy shower sauna time and some antibiotics. Everyone in the kittens lives are on high alert though and it is possible we may have a vet visit Saturday.
Can't wait to see you all again in week three and see what new crazy things the kittens are up to!
Hello loyal Cat Corner-ians!
I'm a foster Momma for the cat corner and I thought it may be fun and possibly educational to take you through how fostering works down in the trenches. It can be a dirty business (lots of litter), but is very rewarding. You also learn all sorts of weird facts that could really help you win at trivia contests!!
I'll be updating you on our foster family every Thursday on our growing pains, triumphs, and struggles! Without further ado, let's meet our family:
This family of six started out as a single gray tabby female who was picked up on the streets of Newport News on 3/12/2016 low and behold this single female was packing...5 babies to be precise and they joined the world on 3/14/2016 at the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter; all healthy babies! On 3/16/2016 a single baby kitten was found out in the cold and was warmed and attempted to be introduced to the family! It was simply meant to be, cause the bonus baby was scooped right up by Mom Cat as one of her own!
According to shelter reps as well as anyone who attempts to pet Mom cat...she's not super cuddly...at all! While we aren't sure if she is semi feral or a stray on hard times, she makes her dislike of people known. I picked up the family on 3/18/2016 and my job is to try my best to get these kittens to be adoptable well adjusted kitty citizens and assess Mom Cat to see if she is semi feral or a stray and see if we can do any behavior modification to get her adoptable too!
So this is how our first week went....
In order to figure out which kitten is which I had to color code them. They are so little the only thing I could use as a collar is hair ties; however, the hair ties are still huge on the kittens and end up around bellies and legs. For now that's ok cause all they really do is nap and eat; but as they become more mobile it could restrict their movement so either the kittens get bigger or I have to get smarter.
We already have a biggest kitten it is the red banded kitten it is very chunky compared to the others. We have a tiny kitten too the pink kitten who is a little girl. Unfortunately with only a week under our belts we thought it best due to pink kitten being so dramatically smaller and not gaining weight as much as the others to go to a home with a single kitten being bottle fed so that kitten could have a sibling and so pink kitten could have some one on one TLC. In situations with more domesticated Mom cats this type of situation can be more controlled in a home environment and we may not have had to move pink kitten to another foster, but with Mom Cats anti people behavior we could not monitor pink kitties eating and move her directly to the milk bar and remove the bigger kittens from her way safely.
So we are now a family of five again! Everyone is doing amazing! Mom while disliking me touching babies and weighing them everyday has stopped pooping on the floor and learned or relearned to use a litter box. It only took her about a day to figure it out. Instead of cleaning up her accidents entirely I picked up her accident and put it in the box than moved the litter box directly over the location she went on the floor. She smelled her own potty time and figured it out very fast! I've used this tactic before when litter training animals of all ages never underestimate smell; sometimes dirty is better!
As for kitten development almost everyone's eyes are open now except for our kitten who was adopted into the family; he is a little behind just a day or so. Hopefully his eyes will be open soon! Can't wait to see what this next week brings! If there are specific areas you want me to talk about let me know!
For daily picture updates and video you can always check out Cat Corner Foster Momma (It's a page on facebook)
As a no-kill rescue, The Cat Corner relies on a strong foundation of volunteers and foster homes. Many of the cats and kittens that we take in need a little bit of extra TLC before they can be considered adoptable.
Bubba is one of those special cases. Originally a barn cat, Bubba is now in foster care and is learning to become an inside kitty. Change is not always easy, even for cats. Luckily Bubba has a patient foster family who is willing to give him the time he needs to adjust. They recently updated us on his progress!
Cats like Bubba would not be given a second chance if it wasn't for our dedicated fosters. Fostering with The Cat Corner is a rewarding experience and provides a priceless resource. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a foster please check out our information page and consider filling out a foster application.
This is cutie is Iota. Iota was born with a condition called Cerebellar hypoplasia (CH) or more commonly referred to by rescue organzations as 'wobbly kitten syndrom'. Though we do not know exactly what has caused Iota’s CH, it is normally caused by bacterial infections and viral infections caused by feline parvovirus (while in utero). The disease can also be caused by malnutrition, poisoning, injury or general accidents during development in the fetus. Cats with CH have uncoordinated movements and fall over often in severe cases they are unable to walk. Iota has a moderate CH case. He is able to walk and even run but falls over every time he stops or slows down.
the veterinarian told us not to get too attached to Iota because he could end up falling behind his siblings.
As fosters we were unsure of what we were getting into taking on a special needs kitten and his family, especially after they all had upper respiratory infections from being strays. In the first week and a half of taking care of them there were 3 or 4 vet visits and one emergency vet visit. On one of those visits the veterinarian told us not to get too attached to Iota because he could end up falling behind his siblings (worst case scenario), though it is normal for CH cats to fall behind Iota was determined to prove to everyone he could do everything a normal kitten could do, we too were determined to make sure he had the best chance possible!
The veterinarian told us that we might have to hand feed Iota because every time he’d get close to the food bowl he would get excited and fall into the food once he’d fallen in he was afraid to eat. So we had to come up with a way that made Iota feel confident he wouldn’t fall into his food, first we separated him from the frenzy of eating with 3 kitten siblings and his mom but he still wasn’t that interested in eating. We bought some chicken flavored baby food, Iota loved it, but we knew he needed kitten food so we slowly started mixing the kitten food in with the baby food and he kept eating it all up.
many CH cats and kittens are being euthenized because there is not a lot of awareness...