When I first posted about becoming the caregiver for an orphaned kitten four weeks ago, some of you expressed an interest in periodic updates. So today I want to let you how the kittens are doing.
There’s plenty to tell. Most of it is good. Some is not so good.
How the Kittens are Doing
The original three kittens are getting along famously. They’re all now too big to weigh on my husband’s triple-beam balance. They’re eating solid food on their own, and wandering pretty much all over the house (and work desk.)
Translation: Kitten 2 says hello!
Since that post, two more kittens were rescued from the tree where the mother cats were keeping them. Both had eye infections and flea infestations, so both got warm baths first of all, then warm food and warm beds.
Kittens 1, 3, and 4 are litter mates. Their mother started having them under the hedge in front of our house late in the afternoon of May 4. Fortunately, she allowed us to move her to safer quarters before kittens arrived, and she let me check them over and towel them if necessary as they were born.
That’s probably why she brought them to the front door when they fell ill. She had five in all. I have three of them, and she is caring for the fourth (the only surviving female.)
The other two kittens were born to the sister of the first mother cat about a week later. The only ones I’ve seen of that litter are Kittens 2 & 5 (now in my care,) and one kitten I found deceased.
Almost All is Well Health-wise
All of the kittens have been to the vet for initial checks, and four of them spent time on antibiotics for respiratory infections of one degree or another. One or two were worse than the others, but none were life-threatening. All have recovered.
They all had eye infections, too. That seems to have been the status quo with this group. We wonder if the mothers’ washing didn’t pass that along from one kitten to the next, especially since both mothers took care of both litters from the start.
The One Less than Ideal Situation
Kitten 5 was in the worst condition when he was rescued. Both eyes were infected and he had dirt and tree debris stuck to the left eye. The vet wasn’t sure if the kitten had been born with a defect or had been injured. The only thing that was clear was that the kitten couldn’t see.
After two weeks of twice daily treatments with Terramycin, the right eye is doing much better. It’s still not normal, but Kitten 5 can see.
The left eye, however, has sealed over. We still don’t know whether the problem was a deformity, injury or infection, but things appear to be settling down and healing in a way that hopefully will not cause further problems.
Kitten 5 runs and plays with the others, is just as fierce in play, and is eating well. The only thing he’s not as confident about is jumping down from heights. Climbing is okay. Getting down? Not so much.
Other Than That….
Three of the past four weeks have passed in a cycle of 3 to 6-hour feedings around the clock.
In the last week, the older kittens (six weeks old this past Friday) began eating solid food. The younger kittens (five weeks old this past weekend) also began eating solid food. Most of them still drink formula sometimes, but in decreasing quantities. So Foster Mother Cat (me) has fewer duties and can now sleep through the night.
They’re all using a litter box (hooray!) and they’re all more than just a little active. We’re having to watch where we step now, and Max, my last raised-by-hand project, isn’t quite sure whether to play with them or avoid them like the plaque. For the time being, he’s opting for avoidance.
(Although I have seen him watching them from the back of the couch or across the room. He wants to play, but doesn’t want to “get involved.”)
Naming Five Kittens Hasn’t Been So Easy
The fact of the matter is, I decided early on not to name them. Sooner or later, I thought, names would come to mind. And it was—and still is—my hope to find homes for these guys before they outgrow their cute.
So the kittens are Kitten 1, Kitten 2, Kitten 3, Kitten 4, and Kitten 5. Named in order of entrance into the household. That’s even how their files are labeled at the vet clinic!
Kitten 2 explores and wanders more than the others, so I sometimes call him Admiral Perry. An interesting name that seems to fit him, but it hasn’t stuck so far.
Kitten 5 is sometimes Fiver.
All of them are sometimes Hey You or You Guys.
So much for imagination!
That’s how the kittens are doing as of this weekend. If all continues to go well, they’ll be getting their first shots as soon as all of them are old enough, and then I’ll start the process of finding adoptive homes.