Eenie Meenie Mineymoe

We are up to 8 cats in the house. That’s a lot of cats. Three residents, two fosters and now three temporarily Buckaroos.

Three mini cats were brought to the shelter today. I don’t know their story. They are about a month old though I have not looked at their teeth carefully. All are black. Their eyes are still blue. If we were to keep them, we would learn to differentiate them by we only are fosters until Sunday. One has white fuzz on its tummy, one is a shade more brown, and one is very tiny. For now, for us, they are indistinguishably Eenie, Meenie, and Mineymoe. Gender unknown!

I was told they can feed themselves. Big lie! That’s a bait and switch! I was promised carefree kittens but was given little piggies who step in their saucer of milk and leave little sticky paw prints all over my bathroom floor. They’re adorable!!! They will spend the next two days in my bathroom, with a heating pad, a stuffed bear with a beating heart, a saucer of kitten milk and one of wet food, and a litter box. I doubt they will know what to do with the latter, and expect to find litter everywhere tomorrow, as well as poo everywhere except in that box. I feed them with a bottle. Since I have no clue who’s who, once they’re fed, hop, I toss them in the bathtub.

Who’s not getting much sleep tonight?!!

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Kodi got a manicure

And it was of the best decision ever. 

I sleep with cats.  I didn’t used to, I even thought it was gross.  But people evolve, for better and for worse and in this case, it is for better!

For 6 years now I have fallen asleep with our little girl at my feet, and woken up with our big girl on my head (literally).  But since Kodi became a forever resident, the dynamics have changed.

Kodi is adorable, but stubborn.  I hear it’s a common characteristics of bottle babies.  Whatever the cause, he won’t take no for an answer.  He wants your pillow?  He gets it.  He wants your spot on the couch?  He gets it.   He wants the crust of your pizza?  He steals it.  He wants to fall asleep while clawing your neck to death?  He does it.  And you bleed.  In your sleep.

He had become a little clawing vampire, a purring excavator: the deeper the claws dug into the flesh, and the more blood he extracted, the calmer he became.  No. No more.

The simple solution is to keep the cat out of the bedroom.  Easy enough.  Except that the old-time residents would have none of this “pick your room for the entire night” gig.  They like to come and go as they please.  And they did.  For several months, they tore the (brand new) carpet apart around the bedroom door when they wanted in, and tore the (brand new) carpet apart around the bedroom door when they wanted out.  This has resulted in a big hole in the twice above-mentioned carpet, and the lady of the house quite frustrated with her interrupted sleep, and the situation as a whole. 

Declawing is not an option.  But I still have quite a problem on my hands. My big girl doesn’t like me anymore since she’s lost most of her cuddle time, and I can’t sleep. 

Soft Paws to the rescue.  They are little plastic sheets that you glue over the cat’s nails.  The cat can still do whatever it is that cats do, but they won’t pierce your skin (or destroy furniture, but in our house, furniture is much lower on the priority scale than cats – much lower) with their spiky daggers of death.  Soft Paws come in all kinds of colors and if you do an internet search, you’ll find that people are becoming quite creative with their cats’ look.  We chose black. Sleek and elegant. You can glue them on yourself, but for the first time, I wanted it done correctly and took our house panther to the groomer. They last about 4 weeks, then they fall off when the cat’s claw naturally sheds its layers.

Two days later and he’s already broken the tip off of one of them!

Rocky the Rock Star

Meet Rocky, our little RockaPoo, RockaDoddle, RockaRama and many others.

As can be expected, we love our new baby.  He’s been through a lot (and so have we).  He’s a fighter, a mighty cat, a survivor.  Hence his name: Rocky.  Because you know, the Survivor song, theme of the movie Rocky.

He’s a bit small for 5 weeks old, but has a ton of oomph in him.  He has never learned to suck on a bottle, preferring instead to chew on the nipple to get the milk to come.  Lately, he’s simply chewed the nipples off.  So, he’s pretty much off the bottle now.  It’s a bit early but he’s lapping the milk out of a bowl, which, in turn, is a bit early for a kitten to do.  He also uses his litter box and eats wet food out of the can.  He’s a big boy. He rocks.

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He doesn’t have a litter mate obviously, but Kodi is a great big brother.  Whenever we take Rocky out of the playpen, Kodi comes running, and proceeds to annoy him.  He knocks him down, paws at him, bites him, wrestles with him, and then gives him a tongue bath…  We were a tad concerned when we heard some pitiful meows, but then saw the tiny one attacking his brother’s tail, so it can’t be too bad!  We now let Rocky loose in the house for an hour or so, and if we lose sight of him (he’s so fast and tiny and climbs into crevices), all we have to do is look for Kodi, who, inevitably will be staring at that mini fur ball.

He’s the best.  He’s simply the best.  Better than all the rest…

Losing Linus

Little Linus died on Saturday, a day after his brother, Boo.  We took him to the vet again, even though he had seen one on Friday and got some treatment then.  But his life was to be short.  An hour after leaving the clinic, he too died in my hands.  

No one really knows what happened, what killed my kittens.  It was comforting to look at the vet going through a mental list of, not only what could be making the kitten sick, but more importantly, which of these diseases or conditions could be cured.  It could be a bacteria, a virus, something they got from their Mom.  We won’t know.  She mentioned something about an IV in the baby’s bones.  We said no.

We did everything we could.  I swear, we did everything we could.  

Bye Bye Boo

Boo died today, at 12:35pm.  He spent the morning on my chest while I was reading, making little noises, crawling back towards my neck before falling asleep.  At noon, I got out of bed (don’t judge me until you feed bottle kittens around the clock) to get ready to take the whole crew to the vet.  When I picked him up, he died in my hands, just like that.  

Boo is the only one we had really named.  He came with nasty flea bites on his tail.  He had booboos on his tail, hence Boo.

He was the biggest of the three, strong and always hungry, the first to learn to latch on the nipple.  Yesterday, he started being finicky, and had diarrhea.  At midnight, my husband woke me up because Boo was refusing food.  We got some Pedialyte to rehydrate him.  We planned on being at the clinic when they opened at 1:00pm.  Boo didn’t make it.

It was none of the common parasites.  Kittens are fragile creatures and can take a turn for the worse in a matter of hours.  I don’t even have a picture of him with his eyes open.

We are naming the other ones The Boos.  You are gone Baby Boo, but you will not be forgotten.

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Saving Momma

It’s been a rough night.  Momma Cat doesn’t eat, doesn’t drink and doesn’t use her litter box.  She clings to her kittens with all her might.

We put a bowl of dry food, of wet food, and of tuna fish in her playpen.  And a camera for good measure, to track her whereabouts!  I tried to feed her by hand but she wouldn’t touch the food.  She’s the complete opposite of aggressive.  Last night before we went to bed, she looked so so sad it broke my heart.

We gave her privacy by not going into her room for about 12 hours, from midnight until noon.  I checked the camera feed several times, and she didn’t move an inch, except around 5 am when she came to sniff, not the food, but the camera!  But she didn’t even go close to the food bowls.

This morning we go into crisis mode.  We have to save her, make her eat or she’ll stop producing milk and then the kittens won’t make it either.

I went to Petco to buy high calorie food but you need a vet prescription.  The manager suggested kitten milk at a higher concentration. 

I tried to feed her with the kitten syringe and a kitten size nipple we have available.  And she drank the milk, without a fight.  Yipee!!!  But she ate the nipple too, chewed it up, and the last thing she needs is to have to poop little pieces of plastic!  We bought a much bigger syringe at Walgreens and tried to feed her again.

Here’s the progress.

Step one: feeding milk through a syringe.

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Step two: feeding wet food on a spoon.

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Step three: feeding her directly from the bowl.  You can see the whole set up of the playpen in the room, and the cardboard “home” where she stays with her babies.

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She still won’t walk to the bowl, but that’s immense progress.  We are thrilled.  She makes a mess on the towel but that is not a problem now.  As long as she eats, she can soil the towel, I don’t care! She even let me clean up her wound under her tail.  

She will surviiiiii-iiii-iiii-ve!

Up to 9

The foster coordinator from MCAS called me this morning.  “How are you? Exhausted of course!  I have a solution.  We found the Momma.  Can you take her?”.

We drove to the shelter with the 5 kittens in a carrier.  The staff brought in Momma and we watched all excited to see if she would take to them.  Bingo! Lots of Oooohs and Aaaahs and she curled up next to her kittens.

She’s a beautiful cat.  White and tan and so sweet.  One would think that she could be upset at humans after her kittens being kidnapped, but she’s so chill, so calm.  She got her basic shots, was checked by a vet (she has an infection due to birth), but is ok.

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We have had to rearrange quite a bit in the guest room.  I want her separated from our two big girls, since they already feel left out because of Kodi.  We set up the big playpen (60 inches wide) with food, water and a litter box, lowered the carrier with the full family in it and closed the door.  Three hours later (after a wonderful uninterrupted nap for me!), she hadn’t moved an inch.  I think she is afraid that if she steps even a foot away, she runs the risk of her kids being stolen again. We slowly took the kittens out one by one, and gently grabbed her out. (I had read last week a book by Jackson Galaxy about the blinking technique for establishing trust, and she blinked right back at me several times). We fed her her medicine which she took like a big girl. We placed her in the playpen, showed her the food bowl and let her take over. She curled up in the back of the box and the babies wiggled back next to her. All good.

So, we are now up to 9 cats in the house. 180 paws!

P.S.:. Obviously Momma wasn’t killed as I had thought. 1- I will not spread rumors anymore; 2- my previous statement about animal laws still stands.

160 claws

My niece pointed out last night that we now have 8 cats in the house.

8 cats x 4 paws x 5 claws = 160 claws!!!

Because we have acquired 5 bottle babies yesterday evening.  Plus our two girls, and Kodi.

As can be expected, they are super cute.  They look like hamsters.  They are about twice the size of the Floofs when we got them, and not much older but way more fluffy. Their eyes are closed, the umbilical cord still attached.  Their mom was killed*.

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The feeding schedule is very unpleasant of course, but I knew what I was getting myself into (did I?).

So, meet the … 

We don’t really have a name for them yet.  The Moops?  The Moopits?  The Moonpies?  None of them sticks yet.  And they don’t have individual name either, we refer them by color: light one, dark one, orange one, grey one and calico. 

Once again: bye bye sleep!

* There really should be enforceable laws against people who voluntarily kill an animal without “good” reason.

 

 

Staying aliiiive

We almost lost Madame LaFloof on Saturday. She had been a finicky eater for a day and then went limp. She had no muscle tone. She was breathing and opening her little mouth to cry but no sound came out. It was heartbreaking. Since it happened around midnight, I went online and diagnosed her (wrongly) as being a “failing kitten”. Prognostic: very bad. The Montgomery County Animal Shelter doesn’t have a 24-hour clinic, so I tried to locate a private facility where I could take her. Thanks to Hurricane Harvey, the Humble clinic is closed, they were flooded. The closest is in the Woodlands, 45 minutes away. That was very bad news, because, in all honesty, I was so tired, so dang tired, and in a panic, that I was not capable of driving there. I wasn’t going to put everybody in jeopardy. Minimize the risks. The next best option is to wait, give her a reiki massage, and go to the shelter the next morning at 9.

Wouldn’t you know, that little Floof proved me wrong, and I love her for that. We brought her to the shelter in a shoe box and she was lifting her head. The vet listened to me and figured out it was hypoglycemia. Little Floof got a shot of something or other, a prescription for Karo syrup (not a paper prescription though!) and off we went. But not before showing the staff that we are capable of raising healthy kittens, by showing off the other two Floofs we had brought along in the carrier (they came because I wasn’t sure how long the visit would take and didn’t want them to miss a feeding).

Yeah for White Floof!

I know I am only her caregiver, not her mommy, not her forever family. She’s not mine to keep. She will go to a good home in a few weeks. But for a few hours, I was heartbroken. I was acting half on crisis mode (what are the immediate needs and solutions) and half on emotions. I was planning her little burial, deciding what to wrap her in. My husband and I agreed that if the worse happened at the vet, we were bringing her home.

Two days later, she’s adorable, a feisty little bundle of wiggles, who already has lost one of her nine lives!