Debugging Norton

Long story short: we have 6 new kittens and one of them had a botfly.  A what? A botfly.  A nasty bug that lives under some mammals’ skin.  It’s gross. It’s repulsive.  It’s disgusting.

One of the kittens we got two weeks ago, at two weeks of age, started having some blood around its neck. I thought it was from its collar, so I removed the collar.  The wound did not disappear.  After a closer look, I saw a hole in the skin.  An absolutely round hole.  Strange. Whatever.  A couple of days later, the hole is still a perfect circle.  I google “hole in kitten skin”.  As it happens often when you google stuff, you find the worst.  And the worst it was: a thing living under the skin in my baby’s neck. 

Off to the shelter we go. They look at it, confirm it’s a botfly, but reassure me that they looked and it’s not there anymore.  Gone.  Matured and went away.  We just need to keep it clean.

Home we go.  And wait.  And wait a few more days.  And clean the hole.  And the hole is still there, still round, and growing.  Stuff is oozing out of it.  Kitten doesn’t want to eat.  One day. Two days.  I go back on google and get the flashlight out (the mega flashlight). And right there, the bug is staring me in the face.  I swear. That thing had two beady eyes and looked at me, and rolled onto itself back into the hole.  But the vet staff at the clinic told me it is gone.  I am seeing things.  I don’t know what I am talking about.  Yet I have this nagging feeling that there’s a monster in my kitten’s neck.

Off to our vet we go. The one we pay for!  The one who’s super awesome.  Of course we arrive not long before they close, because emergencies (or what my nerves convinced me by then was an emergency) never happen at convenient times. 

You gonna put that thing where?

And I was right. There was a bug there.  Dr. Karen Burlone, veterinarian extraordinaire, got the monster out.  After removing it, she came into the room and asked us, with a glitter of pride and disgust at the same time “wanna see it? It’s huge!”.  She brought the thing back into a little cup.  The nastiest thing you have ever seen.  A black bug, about the size of a normal olive, still wriggling in the formaldehyde.  With two little beady eyes at one end of it.  Yuck.  Yuck. Yucky.

The monster. The botfly. GROSSSSSSS.

My baby is saved.  And he (we now believe it’s a male kitten) fell asleep on my shoulder.

Back to home we go. And like a champ he ate.  We call him Norton.  Because he got debugged!


Deworming nightmare

Deworming is a must.  But it comes with side effects that we were not prepared for.  We took our babies to the shelter for their preventative care, and the vet (overwhelmed after having performed 50 surgeries that morning without her full staff on board) casually mentioned the kittens may have diarrhea and be tired.

What we didn’t know is that “tired” would mean Rocky would suffer temporary paralysis of his front paws for about 24 hours.  It was scary.  It was heartbreaking.  He was trying to get up, but his body would fall forward.  And of course we realized what was going on in the middle of the night, on a weekend.  He was alert, bright eyed and ate well if you brought the food right under his chin.  He would roll on his back and play with Henry.  If I pinched his paws (not hard), he would yelp a bit.  Googling the symptoms was actually reassuring since we figured out the probable cause, but we couldn’t find how long it would last.  He spent all that time cuddling up next to us, nestled in the bed blankets.

All is fine now.  But be warned in case this happens to your kittens. 

Doesn’t he look like the most happiest kitten in the whole wide world?

Soft Rocky, Little Ball of Purr

Meet Henry

Rocky needed a playmate.  He loves playing with Kodi but I, a human who is fairly new to orphan kitten behavior, decided he could benefit from having a buddy his age to wrestle with.  Kittens are aplenty in the shelters, and after a few days of placing the request, I got a photo of a tuxedo cat.  And off to the shelter I go.  But not without first asking my big guy if he agrees.  He does of course.

They handed me a wild little thing!  It screeched all the way back home, trying to claw its way out of the carrier.  Not a happy camper! 

I let him roam around a bit in the bathroom before giving it a bath.  Have you ever given a cat a bath?  That in itself should be its own reality show.  Cats do NOT like water.  And cats have claws, which explains why I now sport all kinds of injuries on my wrists!  But I think I got 90% of the fleas out. 

It’s a rather big kitten, bigger than Rocky, yet its teeth are less developed.  It’s a boy. And he hisses and screams like a feral cat when he’s not happy.  But over the course of one evening, he became a very loving, happy, free kitten.  

His name is Henry, to be pronounced with a stiff upper lip.  He’s black and white.   My relative Henry was colorblind.  Hence Henry.  More specifically, Henry Of the Poisonous Claws.  Yes, we think that’s funny!



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.