Thursday, March 28, 2013

Uber cuteness

The babies are loving the armchair in the office. I often go in to find the five of them all curled up together. It looks like Serenity is still offering comfort nursing, at least.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Serenity recovers and kittens get cuter

I can't believe it's been a week since I posted last! Serenity has improved dramatically since her surgery.

Last Sunday I reunited Serenity and the kittens. Within a few minutes of returning her to the room, the kittens were snuggled up and latched on to her. She seemed pretty relaxed, and spent most of her time in the nest with them. She really disliked getting her meds, but they seemed to help in her recovery. Amazingly, she has been eating up a STORM!! I have been feeding her as often as her bowl is empty, and it is not uncommon for her to eat 2 or 3 cans of cat food each day! She had a couple of bouts of diarrhea, but seems to have gotten over that as well. There have also been a couple of times where she has hissed at me when I come in, but seems to get over whatever she is reacting to pretty quickly.

The kittens are still growing well. They are all over a pound now, and love to scamper around the room chasing each other. Inara, our littlest, is the most timid, but she still gets into the playfighting. Zoe has started to climb, but seems to not quite know how to get back down from the stool or the chair once she gets up.

Pictures for your enjoyment!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Serenity's saga continues

So the kittens have (mostly) successfully switched over to bottle-feeding, and come running when I open the door. Gray prefers the slurry to the bottle. Since we brought them back from the SHS, the girls all have collars with their official numbers on them. I've been able to track their weights more effectively and we have FINALLY named them. So, in the spirit of Firefly, the four girls are Inara, River, Kaylee and Zoe. Inara is now the smallest because she really doesn't like the bottle yet, and she will only take about a teaspoon at a time. River is the one with the heart murmer, but she is growing much better now she is on the bottle. She is quite the little snuggler. Kaylee is the most adventurous, and has managed to get out of the room before I shut the door! Zoe is our biggest kitten - she is 14.65 oz to her siblings range of 12.5 to 13.6.

Serenity continued to refuse food for about 24 hours after I brought her back. She took her first dose of subcutaneous fluids OK, but when we tried to give her a second dose the next night, she fought us and got away. Between her not eating and me feeling inept at getting her the fluids she needed, I made the decision to email Juli. She said we needed to proceed with the surgery. We got it set for Saturday, and I kept trying to tempt her with various food options.

Interestingly, once the kittens started taking the bottle, Serenity seemed to regain some of her appetite. She ate some of the dry cat food and two cans of the fancy feast I gave her. Unfortunately, she was still completely refusing the high calorie slurry - even if her kittens seemed to like it.

I took her in to the SHS this morning, and went back to get her this afternoon. Juli reported that all but her canine teeth were removed, and that they spayed her at the same time. Serenity was very woozy, and needed to be kept separate from the kittens until the morning. When I got her home, I set her up in our master bathroom. She got out of the carrier and paced groggily around the bathroom. She wouldn't let me near her. I was kind of worried, but hoped it was just the drugs in her system. Sure enough, when I visited her an hour later, she came out and wanted to be petted and cuddled. She still seemed to pace the room quite a bit. I'm wondering if she may be looking for her kittens. I'm looking forward to reuniting them tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

More challenges

This has not been the easiest fostering experience! I was worried that Serenity was not responding well to the Clavamox for the URI, as she seemed to have some gastrointestinal upset, and she didn't seem to be eating much.Then on Saturday when I weighed the kittens I found that that they had lost a small amount of weight. . So I was worried that her milk might be drying up. I contacted Juli at the Humane Society. Keep up the Clavamox and try supplementing the kittens with a bottle. I tried getting food into them with very little success. They are not fond of the bottle compared to mama.

But by the next day the kittens had gained a small amount. On the other hand, Serenity seemed dehydrated when I tried a skin pinch test. I called the SHS and was told to bring them in on Monday morning.

Upshot of the vet visit: Dr. B. got to finally look at Serenity's teeth, and discovered that our poor mama is probably 8, not 2-3 as originally estimated! And ALL her teeth need to come out. So our sweet girl is probably having a painful time trying to eat (exactly as I suspected). Plus, Dr. B. said that yes, she was dehydrated and yes, her milk is probably drying up. So...I get to keep trying to bottle feed, give Serenity high calorie slurried, see if the kittens will take to the slurrie, AND give Serenity sub-cutaneous fluids plus continue Clavamox. WHEW! Lots of work ahead.

I got everyone back home and the kittens are slowly getting the idea how to bottle feed. They still want to nurse on Serenity and I am pretty sure they're getting something, as they are continuing to gain some weight. They also will lick slurrie off my hand.

On the other hand, Serenity is refusing the slurrie completely. I tried it warmed, in a dish with sides and in a wide flat dish. But, like Sam-I-Am, she will not, will not eat it. Strangely enough, she is continuing to eat the dry food. And I tried the fancy feast with gravy, which she ate some of. She was not happy about the sub-q fluids, but I know how important they are to her wellbeing.

I will be so happy to have this set successfully weaned!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Baby pics!

Checking out the edge of the blanket
Little Gray sitting pretty

What is this shiny brown stuff?

It feels funny on my paws!

Playing with the Daddy-man
Iz gonna stick close to the big guy. He keeps me safe!

No, seriously! We CAN walk on it. It just feels funny!
Why you leave me all alone?
See, I tolz you she tastes good. And she's warm!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Healthy again

It's been a while since I have posted! Serenity and the kittens are doing well. The gummed eyes got a bit worse, so my husband took the brood in to see the Vet at the SHS. Early stage URI, so meds for mama and eye drops for the kittens. That was Wednesday. I went in to see them this morning and already the eye gunk seems to have cleared up - YAY! Serenity is the easiest cat I have ever had for giving meds to. When I grab her by the scruff of the neck, she almost goes limp. But boy is she reproachful afterwards. She'll make herself small in a corner, and when I go to pet her, she seems to cringe. Of course, within a few minutes, she is back to wanting snuggles and pets.
The kittens are getting more and more adventurous. They love to be taken out and put on someone's lap or on the blanket so they can roll around and play with each other. They are getting steadier on their feet too, so they are more likely to crawl over each other or whichever human is cuddling with them.
They can hear quite well now, so when I come into the room they will hear me and start squeaking. I am pleased that if any one of them seems upset, being picked up and snuggled seems to calm them right down.
All of the kittens are now over the 10 oz. mark. There is about an ounce difference in weight between the smallest and the largest kitten.

I will take and post more pictures over the weekend.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Crouching mama, hidden kittens

Exploring under Mama's watchful eye
Serenity and the kittens continue to grow as a family. The kittens have started rolling around and batting at each other clumsily. They still don't have any real teeth, so the baby nips are more gumming each other.

A couple of the kitttens, including Gray, have some eye gunk. I have been diligently wiping down their eyes with a warm cloth every time one of them can't open their eye. They aren't very happy with the process, but I want to make sure they can see properly.

On Friday afternoon I went in to the office with my cousin so show off Serenity and the kittens, but when I looked into the dog carrier - everyone was gone! It looked as though Serenity had gotten sick as the blanket had some diarrhea on it. But where were Serenity and the kittens? I could hear some squeaking under my desk behind my shredder, so I crawled under. Serenity was there with two kittens. I pulled them out and started searching for the other three. My cousin kept saying, "Are you sure they're not under there? I can hear them" After a moment, we thought perhaps they were next to the book case. Nope. Then my cousin started pulling out the magazine files I have on the bottom shelf of my bookcase. There, stuck in one magazine file were the other three kittens. You can see from the picture that it was not easy to get the kittens in there - and I have NO idea how she would have gotten them back out.

The kittens were crusty, Serenity's back end was still covered with poop, and she was not going near the kittens. I was more than a little worried. But I grabbed a warm washcloth and proceeded to clean off the kittens, then I started to clean her off. She was pretty patient about the whole thing - not that she liked being washed, but I got the sense she knew I was helping. I pulled out the soiled blanket, got a new one, remade the nest, heated the kitten warmer, plopped them back in to the nest, and went out of the room. I was hoping that if I left a cleaned up Serenity alone, she would go back to being the amazing mama she can be. I was right! Within a few minutes, she was back in the nest.

When I went back in to the office to visit her, she seemed to be OK. I petted her and as I was pulling away to get up she reached out her paw and grabbed my hand as if to say, "Don't go!" It was really sweet. Since then, every time I go in to visit, Serenity gets up and wants love and attention. It is amazing how quickly my fosters recognize that I am there to care for them. When people ask me why I foster, I always am reminded that I make a difference in the lives of these cats.
Strike a pose!
When I talked to Juli later that night, I told her I had given Serenity the high calorie wet cat food. Turns out many cats have a tough time digesting the prescription diet and they get the runs from it. So no more A/D wet cat food!

What did I do to deserve this?

Happy family