Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day 9: a-MEW-sing

Today the kittens are still doing well, altho Trouble has a little bit of runny stool. I am slightly concerned because the vet said diarhea could kill a kitten in two days. However, the reason for the loose stool is that we had to change kitten replacer brands. We have been using Hartz which is very thick like condensed milk, but Wal-Mart was out and we had to get KMR from the vet and it is think like milk. I am hoping tomorrow Wally World will be restocked and I can get them back on Hartz. Also he is only having the stool after he eats when he gets stimulated, not on a constant basis. Sooo I am hoping this is nothing serious.

The kittens are adorable as always. Today after a feeding the little black on was sucking his thumb (well a digit on it's fromt paw, not sure they actually have thumbs)

Another cute kitty thing today was my 3 yr old son Lil Bit. I was feeding the one with the tail and he said "That's my kitten, that's the one I'm keeping." I asked him what his kitten's name was and he said "I don't know" I told him he would have to give his kitty a name and he said "I don't know who he is yet"...well I guess that makes sense lol.

Just now I heard a kitten mewing from the bedroom and the little black on was out of the nest and mewing around the box. I picked him up and he seemed to be hungry, even tho he just ate an hour ago. I fed him another two droppers full. Since a couple of the other kittens have done this, I am suspecting that perhaps like human babies they are having growth spurts and when they do, they get hungrier.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 8: Midnight Snack

Early this morning, I gave the kittens their 1am feeding and tucked them away until their 4am feeding...or so I thought.

I settled myself into bed to get a couple hours of sleep when I heard the sound of a kitten meowing angrily from the box. I checked on them and found the one with a tail on top of the cover towel, not tucked away in the nest beneath it curled into a ball of fur with his siblings. I tucked him back into said nest of fur, and got back into my own cozy bed. Only to hear the same distinct kitten mew from the box yet again.

I got up and there again is the one with the tail, on the top of the cover towel. So I picked him up and thought maybe he just wanted to crawl around a bit. I put him in the bed abd he began to sniff around and try to suck the covers. Dewayne said "He acts hungry". I had already given him two droppers full of formula, but he did act hungry, so I heated another dropper of formula and he sucked it all down and then I put him back into his bed and he settled down to sleep until the next feeding.

This afternoon at the 1pm feding it was Trouble that decided he had not had enough to eat and had to be given an exta dropper full. So I have upped their foumula to a bigger syringe.

Also the race is on to see who will be the first to open their eyes. Right now it looks like either Trouble or the one with the tail wil be first.

Oh and the little black one lost his umbilical cord, so only the one with the tail has a cord left.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 7: Discord

I didn't post an update yesterday because I was at the hospital with my 4 yr old daughter Allison. She had a bad stomach bug and had to be hospitalized with dehydration and a blood sugar of 47.

So Dewayne had kitten duty. He took over and did an awesome job! (Also thanks to Amber for stepping up and taking a feeding when Dewayne came to the hospital)

Yesterday, Trouble and the timid gray one lost their umbilical cords (or as my son Hunter called it their uterus cords lol)

We have upped them to two dropper fulls of formula and speaced the feedings rom every two hours to every three hours. They seem to be tolerating the changes well.

Their eyes are beginning to look less sealed, so I expect them to opn sometime this week. I still cannot tell the sex. But if I had to guess I'd say the thre gray ones are boys and the black one is a girl. Altho they might all be boys. Or girls. The black one is the only one that looks a little different. Tho honestly it looks the same only smaller...oh well time will tell what they are and then they can get real names.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 5 (pt 2) Meet the Kittens

Hot of the press pictures of the kittens...Daniel is a great photographer. Here are some pix he just took of the kittens.

The bottom picture is "Trouble" (amber's kitten). This is the one we suspect was the one who kicked so hard before he was born. Poor Avalon would lay on her side while this kitten would kick and roll. On the way home from the vet, right after they were born, I had to pull over because this one was trying to crawl out of the box.

Next up from the botom is "The timid gray one". I call this kitten that because it is the most docile. It almost never tries to crawl out of the box and is the quietest.

Next up from the bottom is the little black one.(Dawn's Kitten) It's obvious why he is called that. S/he is as black as a raven's wing with not a speck of white. He is always wanting to crawl out of the box and is quite vocal.

Last but not least, at the top is the one with the tail. The only one of the litter with a tail, yet the one who looks most like Avalon. If this kitten didn't have a tail, it would be Avalon's twin. This one is the most vocal. It is also the fastest. When put on the bed, this outcrawls all the rest.

Day 5: Some things just suck

Another day and the kittens are all doing great!! Last night we had them on the bed so they could crawl around a bit as I fed them. Dewayne was laying on his side so he could corral anyone who wandered too far away. The little black one nuzzled up against him and then went for gold (white gold that is). Let's just say Dewayne will never lay down with the kitens without a shirt on again lmao!! (poor kitty knew a nipple was what he needed,he just found the wrong one)

While that was going on, I held the timid gray one in the palm of my hand cleaning it's bum when it grabbed it's bottom foot with it's front paws and put it's back foot in it's mouth and begin to suck. It was just like a baby grabbing it's foot and sucking it's toes lol. I wish I had had my camera close enough to get a picture of that.

What sucks for the poor kittens (pun intended) is that they have the same sucking reflex and infant have and they don't get to satisfy that. Too bad they don't make itty bitty kitty binkies. When they are grown these guys will probably lick people like a dog.

I am so happy that they are doing as well as they are, and growing and hopefully on the road to becoming awesome adult cats.

I have gotten used ot have my life revolve around "Time to feed the kittens" every two hours. About the time I get to the point where it is second nature, they will be big enough to eat on their own....well I suppose that's what any mother does..she does her job so well that eventually she is out of a job because she has raised independant, well adjusted individuals :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 4: Thinking outside the box

The kittens are still doing well. So well in fact that they have been crawling out of their box. The small box we used to hold them in while we feed them was their first escape trick. In fact last night, Amber was here and had to catch escapees. As I was feeding one kitten, the other scale the sides of the box.

They were also crawling out of their main box. So we had to fix both boxes so the sides were higher. Now we have the flaps taped up on the feeding box and we had to put the sleeping box right side up instead of on it's side.

If these guys are already escaping at 4 days old, what asre they going to be like at 4 week or 6 weeks??

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day 3: Getting into the routine

We are all getting into a routine. The kittens need to be fed every 2 to 3 hours. I am feeding them every 2 hours during the dayand every 3 hours at night.

I start by warming their formula by placing the kitten bottle in a coffe cup of HOT water. After the formula is warm, I bring the box of kittens to my chair. I feed the two gray bob-tail ones first so I don't accidently feed one twice and one not at all. Then I feed the gray one with a tail, then the black one. (the black one does not like the arrangement and frequently crawls out of the box when the others are being fed)

Since they are so small the vet gave me some little droppers to feed them with saying that the bottle nursers make it too easy to over feed or aspirate them. It's very easy to aspirate a small kitten and drown them or cause them to get pnuemonia.

The best thing about these droppers is that the bul is about the same size as the kittens stomachs.So one dropper full is all they need per feeding.

After I feed a kitten, I dip a coton ball into the cup of warm water, check that it isn't too hot, and rub their bottoms. This stimulates them to eliminate. Sometimes they barely go, other times they go so much I get soaked lol.

When a kitten has been fed and wiped it goes back into the box and the next one is taken out and gets his turn. At this time I am calling them all him since I cannot tell who is male or female. At this time, no one has a name. Amber and Dawn need to name their kittens, and I am waiting until I know if ours are male or female. So for now we have "Trouble" (Amber's kitten); "The Black one" (Dawn's Kitten); "The one with the tail" and "The timid gray one" (both ours)

After everyone has been fed and cleaned up, they are all taken back to the bedroom where I have a bigger box for them with an electric blanket to help them keep their body temerature. They cannot keep their own body temp, and they MUST be kept warm. If they get cold they cannot digest their food, and or keep their internal organs warm and they will die.

When the babies are settled, I clean up. From start o finnish, a feding takes between 20 and 30 minutes, depending on how long it takes them to latch on and eat, and how many times I have to stop and put one (usually the black one) back in the box.

The kittens are doing well so far. They are strong and active and are eating and eliminating well. Things can go downhill fast with such small kittens and we will not be out of the woods for a few weeks, but we are hoping for the best.

The kittens are getting used to eating out of the dropper and Dewayne and I are getting used to feeding them every two hours. I will be glad when they are old enough to go all night without a feeding lol.

A cat named Avalon (Days 1 and 2)

This blog is about the progress of Avalon's litter, but before we get to the litter, I must share Avalon's story.

Last year, a friend of mine asked me if I wanted a bob-tailed kitten. Her neighbor had a litter and she was trying to find homes for them. We didn't have a cat at the time, and since I am a cat lover, I talked my husband, Dewayne into bringing a new kitten into our home.

A friend and I went to look at the kittens and we both got one. I chose a pretty little girl who was silvery gray. I didn't have a name in mind and on the way home, my 9 yr old son Hunter, suggested the name Avalon. We often listen to a song that talks about the Isle of Avalon.

And so Avalon had a name. To thank Hunter for naming her she promptly got car sick all over him. We didn't have anything to clean him up with so Hunter got to ride home wearing kitty barf!!

Avalon was a good kitten and we enjoyed playing with her. She was a great mouser and was forever leaving us a gift of a mousey butt on the front pourch.

We discussed having Avalon spayed, but honestly life happened and we put it on the back burner. We had several traumatic things go on in our world, and it seemed the least of our concerns. Had I known then, what I know now, getting Avalon spayed would have been a top priority.

In March we heard the distinct sounds of kitty mating and we said "Well crap, she is probably pregnant". We figured, we would let her have a litter then get her spayed. Again, if we knew then.....

When Avalon's pregnany became obvious, she was confined to the house. She did NOT like this and we were contantly having to make sure she didn't find an escape route. We even had to put a baby gate into the window so we could open the window for fresh air. However, she was a perfect inside cat. She never tried to jump onto the table or counters. She never clawed at the furniture. She always used the litter box.

Avalon was the family cat, but she chose Dewayne to be her person. She followed him around like a puppy dog. When he would go take a bath, she would meow at the door until he let her in. She would lay down on the bathmat until he was done with his bath.

Soon Avalon begin to show signs of labor. She was restless and would yowl, She lost her mucus plug. We waited for the blessed event. We had excited friends who came over to watch the kittens be born. But no kitens. She would appear to go in and out of early labor.

Finally on Saturday May 14 at atound 11 pm, she went into hard labor. I was away at a retreat but our friend who Dewayne had called to come over, texted me and I assumed that when I returned on Sunday afternoon, we would have kittens. I waited up for news of kittens. But that news never came.

I returned home Sunday afternoon around 3pm and I could tell things were not good. She was still laboring and was unable to walk. I started calling vets. Most of them refered me to an emergency hospital over an hour away. When I called them, the vet on duty told me he figured she probably had a kitten turned sideways in the birth canal and would need a c-section. He would do one if I had $500. Since I did not have that, he said that I should get her to a vet first hing in the morning. He suggested I give her Kayro syrup mixed with water to keep her blood sugar up.

I reached one vet who agreed with the turned kitten theory. She would come in after hours and preform a c-section for $400 cash up front. Again, I did not have this much money. She said that it would be much cheaper to get a c section done during business hours and she told me to give her condensed milk to keep her strength up til morning. And so I did.

As 8 am on Monday morning, I called our local vet and he was out of town. I called the vet in the next town and was told to bring her in. We loaded up the 4 kids and drove 20 miles to the vet.

As soon as she looked at Avalon she asked if she was a natural bob-tail. We said she was and she told us that bob-tailed females often have a pelvic deformity and were often times not able to give birth naturally.

We were told that the kittens were probably dead and that we might lose Avalon as well. We told the vet that we could still feel the kittens moving and after feeling Avalon's belly, she agreed that there were live kittens. She warned us that the kittens may not survive the c section and that Avalon was weak and may not live thru the surgery either.

The vet then told us it would cost $400 and she would do it if we had $200 down. We had $100 to give up front and I told her I would borrow the money or sell my wii if I had to. I even asked if she would hold the title to our boat. She said if we were sure we could get the money by 3pm she would take the $100 and preform the c-section.

We gave her the go ahead. I called a dear friend and asked something I've never asked a friend before. I asked to borrow the $100. After conferring with her husband she called right back and said it was no problem to lend us the money. We will be forever grateful to these friends for helping out in this time of need.

So we left Avalon, and went home to wait for word. It was the longest morning of my life. Around noon we got a call from the vet. Avalon had 4 healthy kittens. Three were bob-tailed and one had a tail!! We had 3 gray and white kittens and a black one. Avalon had made it thru surgery, and I could come pick them all up at 3 pm.

So the kids and I went and picked up our girl and her babies. She was groggy, but we were told that was normal and that she would be more herself in the morning.

At home we set mama and kittens up in a quiet corner of the living room so I could watch her. She began to come around about 10 pm. She showed a little interest in the babies, and even picked up the black one and tried to move it, but she was too weak to walk very far.

That night Dewayne and I took the little kitty family into out room and the next morning everyone seemed to be fine. Then around 10 am, Avalon started acting like she was in pain. I called the vet and was told to bring her in. Before I got ready to go to the vet, Avalon had a bad seizure.

When we arrived at the office, another vet was on duty. He told us it didn't look good, but he would try. She was given meds and IV fluids. The Dr told us to come in around 3 pm and see how she was doing.

Dewayne and I went to get her and we were called back into the back room where the animals kennels are. Avalon lay in a kennel, panting and looking worse than when I dropped her off. We were told she had had several more seizures. We could take her home and bring her back the next day for IV fluids and meds or we could give them to her at home.

Dewayne picked her up and we went into the lobby to wait for the nurse to bring out the supplies and show us how to give her the IV fluids and meds. But then Avalon had another bad seizure. She was in obvious pain. Her eyes were fixed in a distant stare, she was panting and seemed to not even know we were there.

Dewayne and I wondered if it were time to let her go. We asked the nurse and she took us back to the Dr. The Dr said that she had been thru so much and he was not optimistic. We decided to let her go.

The doctor was very compassionate. We were with her when she crossed the rainbow bridge. The Doctor hugged Dewayne and I, gave us a tissue. He told us he was sorry and he felt like he had failed Avalon. He wrapped her in a towel, found a box, put her in it and taped it up for us so we could bring her home.

With tears in our eyes we brought her home,and explained as best we could to the kids. Dewayne and 11 yr old Daniel, dug her grave and then Hunter and the litle ones and I came out. We laid her to rest, put flowers in on top of her and then as Dewayne began to cover her, 4 yr old Allison went to get her toy rake and helped. Three year old Lil Bit, took the rake and he and Allison took turns helping send Avalon into the next life.

And so now we have a hole in our hearts. It's been a sad night and day for us. However, Avalon left behind four kittens. We are determined to raise them so she didn't die in vain. We are feding them every two hours. All of the kittens have homes waiting when they are ready. Two of them will be staying with us, one will go to the friend who loaned us the money to save them, and the other will go to the friends who spent several nights with us awaiting their birth.

This blog will follow the kittens as they grow. I don't know what will happen. Kittens that do not get to be with their mom for at least 72 hours are very prone to infections. I hope this blog has a happy ending and it will document the kittens growing up and going on to their new homes. However it could end with us losing all of them.