Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Kittens everywhere...and more on the way!

Our four itty bitties are all doing well, with the exception of some sneezing by Reuben. He seems Ok enough, but he sneezes really loud, and it almost sounds like a woman sneezing.

The food change seems to be helping with the poop problem. I haven't cleaned poop off of the floor in 2 days now. They love the chicken and rice too, but it is a bit of a pain nuking the frozen chicken breast, and putting it in the food processor daily. They go though a whole chicken breast every day. I better get something prepared for Susan!

Tonight Bentley got to come in and play for a while. It is so cute to see Robyn with him. She adores him! She will follow him around, and let him lick her, and mouth all over her. Then when he moves, she gets up and follows him. The others are not quite as sure of him as she is. Natalie runs from him, and Sully bats at him when he is not looking. (Check him out in the background, getting ready to swat him!) Reuben just watches.

Busy day tomorrow as I am getting ready to head out of town. I have a ton to do, and that includes writing down all the instructions (again) for Susan for my own cats, and the itty bitties.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Raw diet?

I started the kittens on a new diet last night. I didn't go with the raw diet, because there seem to be too many ways that can cause problems. I decided to go with a chicken and rice diet. I microwaved some frozen chicken, and cooked some rice. I cut up the chicken, and put it in the food processor. My mistake was I put the rice in the food processor too. What a big hunk of goo. I brought it up to try it out on the itty bitties, and to say the liked it would be the understatement of the century. They all 4 went nuts! I thought they would choke, because it was so thick, and they were eating so fast! I quickly picked up the bowls, rethought the whole thing, and added water to the mix, so at least they could swallow it. That made some difference, and they gobbled it all down.

I decided I needed more chicken, less rice, so I cooked another piece, and put that through the food processor. Much better! I decided to add the new chicken to the rest of the mixture I had made earlier, to thin down the gelatinous glob of rice. I thought a little more, and decided they may not be getting enough vitamins with chicken and rice, so I added some more water, and a hand full of the dry kitten food. This was at about 10:30 last night.

I went to bed shortly after that, and of course I was paranoid that one of them might have choked when I left the room. I don't think I slept well.

I got up, showered and went downstairs to warm up the food. I nuked it just enough to take the chill off, and ventured back upstairs to see what was what.

I opened the door, and all 4 came tumbling out. Whew. All accounted for. Of Course Robyn was screaming at me by the food bowls when I stepped into the room. The others soon came back in to eat, with the exception of Sully who now thinks it's cool to run downstairs. He did come back up before I had to go get him though, and I only had to go out into the hall to fetch him.

The first thing I noticed was nothing. No nasty poop smell! It was amazing. There was still some poop on the floor, and it was still loose, but it was a light color, not the dark and smelly poop of the past. Maybe I am on to something here.

I put the fresh batch of food down for them, and they all jumped right in. I have to say, I enjoy watching them eat. The interaction is pretty amusing. Robyn is always first. She usually ends up at a bowl with Natalie. Sully and Reuben get the other. I watch them for a few minutes, then I have to pull Robyn away, and try to distract her for a minute. When I let her go, she runs to the closest bowl. If that happens to be Sully and Reuben's bowl, then it gets interesting.

Both of the boys are a little food aggressive. Robyn will literally slink up to the bowl, and both Sully and Reuben will growl, and slap a paw on top of her head to hold her back! It's actually helpful to keep her at bay. She always manages to get past them, and she would push them out of the way if I didn't intervene.

I am hoping the new food will make a difference over time, and I will be able to wean them back onto the regular food.

Monday, July 28, 2008


I was away for the weekend, so I didn't get to post. Sorry. My friend Susan was here to take care of my babies, and my own cats. She was approved to cat sit last year. I never want to bring them back to the shelter, where they may catch something else, so if I can keep them here, I will.

I always worry when I am away, because of course, I know my babies better than anyone. I see and sit with them at least 3 times a day, so I can tell when something is "off". I also get text messages from Susan when she is here tending to the itty bitties. She probably thinks I am nuts. Maybe so.

The remaining 4 seem to be doing well. All are gaining, although I am still hearing some sneezing from Sully. Doesn't seem to be serious. Still cleaning loose poop up off the floor, and I am pretty sure it's Robyn. I think I will start a raw diet with her, and see if it makes a difference. Can't hurt. Maybe if she didn't stick her head and feet in the bowl, and suck as much food in as she can get, as fast as she can, she wouldn't have these issues! This photo is about 4 weeks old, but she still eats like this! She is part sow. We are still being careful how much food she consumes at one time. Seems to be helping.

Friday, July 25, 2008

And then there were 4...

It's a sad day here today. We lost Noah yesterday.
I took him to the vet, as he was very lethargic, and not eating, and he was anemic.
He never came back home with me.

This is the hard part of fostering. Yeah, I have been up in the middle of the night, bottle feeding babies, sitting in a steamy bathroom, trying to help clear up extremely congested itty bitty kitty heads, and I have scrubbed poop off of floors. None of that is hard compared to losing one of my little charges.

I will continue to foster kittens anyway. Why? Because there are still 4 kittens here that need the help. And there will me more waiting to come here when these guys go back and get adopted. I always try to look at the positive aspect of this "job." I have fostered over 80 kittens in the last 3 and a half years, and all of them were adopted except for the 12 that never made it that far, one that was mysteriously stricken with some illness, and was lost after she was put on view, and one that had a heart defect, and died at one year old.

These are their photos.

More photos in rememberance

Of course the first kitten here is Noah.

The adult cat and the little orange kitten are the same. LT was adopted by my friend Deb, and he ended up having a heart problem. He died at a year old.

The black and white kitten is Bernie Mac. (AKA Gizmo) He was already spoken for, and was ready to go back the very next day when he started having balance problems, and his eyes were vibrating. He had some neurological problem. He never made it back home either.

In the photos on the previous post, we have Sloth, and Mole. They were the last of the kittens of Shanna. She had 5, but one never even made it here. The other two, I am looking for photos, were only here for a day or 2 before they were so sick, they had to be put to sleep. Mole and Sloth went a few days later. Shanna, their mother, made it, and was a wonderful cat.

The puddle of tabby cats were Sandy's babies. I can't tell who is who, but 3 of these kittens didn't make it. Sandy didn't either.

The last little black kitten belonged to Ossie. She was the most shy of the litter, and she was on view for adoption when the morning staff came in and noticed she was lethargic, and not well. They tried to help her, but she was put to sleep that evening.

These are the babies we lost. Hopefully, this list won't grow any more.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

spoke too soon...

I don't know why I ever say all is well. This evening, Noah is very lethargic., not eating. Looks dehydrated. Gums are white. I gave him 9ML of subq fluids, and he did make a small effort to pick at some food. There was two very loose cow in a bed, and one on the floor. What do you bet they were Noah?

I hope the fluids make a difference, and he is doing better tomorrow morning. I will give him more fluids in the AM, and hope it helps. Man, I hate having sick kitties. Hopefully, I caught this soon enough.

the finish line!

Well, as of this morning, Sully has made weight! He is over 2 and a half pounds. I was shocked to see that my little piglet Robyn is over 2 lbs! She is such a little porker. At least the pooping has subsided. No more drippage!

We are all still on an antibiotic, but it is doing it's job, and everyone seems pretty healthy. When they are healthy, the elephants do frolic.

I will add some photos later tonight.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Well, there was a lot of rompin' this morning in the kitty room. Robyn is better, but mainly I think because I have really reduced the amount of food she consumes at one time. She is not pleased about it either. Her belly is so bloated most of the time, I can't see how she can get one more morsel in! I even posted a side shot of her here, (photo #2) so you can see that belly!

The first photo is of Reuben. He is quite the bundle of energy when he is ramped up. He loves to mix it up with his playmates. When he is ready to sleep though, he instantly purrs when you touch him. He is a sweet little guy.

The bottom photo is Noah. He is getting ready to take a bath here. He always looks to me like he has a jacket on half way, because one of his front legs is gray, and the other is white, like he hasn't gotten that arm in the sleeve quite yet.

I will get some more photos of Sullivan and Natalie this afternoon.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Itty bitties

This is a photo of Yoshi. He was from my last litter. I was very tempted to adopt him. He was so sweet, and full of personality. I made a rule, no more than 3 cats could live here permanently, ever. We already have 3, so we just couldn't adopt Yoshi. We did the next best thing. We talked Joy's sister into adopting him! She had to put her dog to sleep last year, and she adored him. We both knew how much she missed him, and we knew she would be better suited with a cat than a dog. She had actually house sat for us a few times, and had been around these guys. Once she decided on Yoshi, she thought that she should get 2, so they would keep each other company. Good idea!

All seems to be well in the land of itty bitties. Robyn got yet another bath, and some ointment on her backside. I cut way back on her food, too, which seems to have helped with the leaky poop issue. Everyone got their meds, and all seem to be acting very kitten like this evening.

Robyn was very cute this afternoon when she got her bath. She was not pleased about it, but once she was clean, I took her out to the deck, with a thick towel to dry her off, where it was nice and warm. Once she had started to dry off, she was quite happy to be out in the warm sunshine. (I was sweating profusely.) She rolled around one her back, and was really enjoying herself. I let her hang out for about 15 minutes or so before I took her back inside. I put a little cream on her back side. She was much less happy about that, but it does seem to help. She is still leaking a little, but the cream seems to protect her from the sore bottom she has had.

I guess tomorrow I will do a little cleaning of the room. It is a little ripe in there.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Not again...

At the risk of this blog turning into the "Robyn Files", I am going to talk about Robyn again, and post more pix of her.

She is a mess. She has some serious poop issues, and has it all over herself, from the middle back. Belly, tail, legs, butt. I gave her a bath at 3:30, and when I got home at 7:30, she was all poopie again. I feel so bad for her. I know her little rear is sore. She screams when I try to clean her up, but I have to try. She has some diaper rash starting. I am going to try to get her a vet appointment in the morning. I put some ointment on her, but I am worried she will just lick it off, and it is really not for ingesting! She seemed to settle down finally after about half an hour. I hope there is enough on her to give her some relief. I did see her poop, and it was way more formed than it has been, so that's good. I found a jar of probiotics in my car, so I added that to the food. Maybe that's helping. I hope something does.

The good news is, everyone is gaining weight, even Robyn. Sully and Reuben were playing hard tonight, taking turns playing catzilla, standing up on their hind legs, front paws up in the air, pouncing on each other. They looked like a bad japanese movie. Natalie was getting into it too,but the boys were pretty focused on themselves to include her.

I am heading to bed now, and I am gonna keep my fingers crossed that Robyn is better in the morning.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The day after

Well, everyone seems to be back on track. Everyone has gained weight, everyone is eating, no more eye goop. I am still a little concerned about Robyn. She eats like there is no tomorrow, and doesn't play like the rest of them. Of course, how can she, with that belly! I weighed her while she was eating, and she was at 1.11 7/8 lb. After she finished eating and drinking, she climbed up on the scale on her own, and she was at 1.12 3/4! Holy smokes!

They are on antibiotics for 8 more days, and panacur, a dewormer, for 3 more days. They hate it. They squirm and fight to get away when they know what's coming. At least they forget quickly. As long as I pick 'em up again and give them some love, all is forgiven.

I promise to take more photos tomorrow!


Well, everyone still seems to be doing better today. I will check weights tonight, see if we are gaining again.

On the other hand, Bentley had to take a trip to the vet today. It seems he ate a piece of my CPAP...Again. This time it caused some problems. He did eventually "pass" it, but again, we were cleaning poop up off the floor! It never seems to end! I am happy to report that he is fine now. He is eating and drinking, and we will see later tonight or tomorrow if everything is passing.

Speaking of Bentley and kittens, he is so interested in them he can hardly stand it. He walks in the room, and his tail is waggin' like crazy. He is very tentative, and very sweet with them. Robyn follows him around, and rubs on his legs, which he doesn't know what to do about. He keeps picking up his feet as she rubs on him. None of them are afraid of him. It's

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Vet Trip

Well, when I went to get Noah to take him to the vet, I had 4 more goopy eyed or sneezing kittens! I ended up taking them all in. Poor vet. She was a little overwhelmed, but she was very good at getting them all looked at. They all got antibiotics, and will all be wormed again, since most have very loose stools, and someone has been vomiting. Hopefully that will take care of it! Especially poor Robyn. On a happy note, after 1 dose of antibiotics, the elephants are romping again. It obviously has started working already!

Trip to the vet for Noah

Noah is still lethargic this morning, so I made him a vet appointment at 3:00 this afternoon. Everyone else seems to be OK, although Sully has some buggery goop in his eyes. I have some antibiotic ointment for his eyes if that continues. Still some soft stool in there. Some of it was even in the litter box. I think I need to add a box. They don't like to use it unless it's "fresh" and I can't just sit there with the scooper in hand all day, waiting to clean up after each use!

It's funny to see the kittens reaction to Bentley. Bentley is about a year and a half, and he wants to play with the itty bitties so bad. He will lay on his side at the door, and lick the gap under the doorway. The kittens are no longer afraid of him. He sticks his head in very tentatively at first, and when the hissing stops, he will walk right in, and they will walk right up to him and check him out. It's good they are not afraid, because if they run, he will chase.

If we don't pull the door to the kitty room tight, it won't latch. Bishop is always trying to get in the kitty room, and one time we left the house, and the door was evidentially not latched. I think Bishop broke 'em out. (The photo is Bishop playing mommy to Mimi and Minnie.) We have a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs, so Bentley was not able to go up stairs. Of course, it doesn't keep the babies from going down stairs. I came home and everything seemed fine...then I saw a small pile of poop in the dining room floor. I was puzzled, as our cats are very well trained to the litter boxes. Then I heard a sneeze. I looked up about that time, and here comes a kitten out from under the sofa! Well, I grabbed him up, along with the others, and took 'em back to their room. I was a little freaked out, but now I am less worried that Bentley would cause them any harm.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Itty Bitties

This is my current group of itty bitties. Only 2 are related. That would be Noah and Natalie. Of course there is Robyn. Robyn has had some poop issues. Poor little thing had a butt like a faucet with a steady drip. She is better now, but still the loose stools, and she is not the only one now. I spoke too soon about this group being healthy. They seemed to be until today. Everyone but Sullivan is losing weight. Noah seemed lethargic, and had a little fever. I gave him some subQ fluids. Another thing you learn with babies...they get sick fast, but they also get better fast. I learned to give fluids because the faster you catch a dehydrated kitten, the better chance you have to get him well. He hardly notice I stuck him. Usually kittens scream like you are killing them when you do it, but Noah was good. Natalie treated me with a loose stinky plopper while I was in there getting weights. Sullivan climbed all over me like I am a kitty condo, and Reuben was attacking everyone. That's what he does.

June and July

These guys are my just past, and current group. The just past group are all either adopted, or still on view at the shelter. They would be as follows: Mary Lou, Floyd, Spats, Yoshi, Missy and Robyn. Current group is Robyn again, (yes, same kitten) Sullivan, Reuben, Natalie and Noah. I believe the photos are in order.

Looks like I can only load 5 at a time, so the next post will have the current group. Anyway, Missy was older than the others, and Robyn younger. Obviously not all from the same litter. They did pretty well together, and were gentle with Robyn.

Missy was much less socialized, and was quite scared. I called her "Hissy, Pissy, Missy. She would hiss at me whenever I picked her up. She never tried to bite or scratch, but would kinda roll up in a ball, like an isopod, or pill bug, rolly-polly...whatever you called then as a kid. I would scratch behind her ears, and under her chin. She tolerated it, but I can't say she was happy about it. She liked to look out the window. She would uncurl, stretch out her neck, and look around. Finally one day I had a break through. I had set her on my lap, and was just stroking her...and a miracle happened! She purred! I felt like I should have kept her for another week or so, but I had to go out of town on an emergency, and she was past due to go back.

Mary Lou and Floyd I named after my mom's cousin and his wife. Floyd came to me with that name, and I could not help myself. The only other Floyd I knew was Floyd the barber from the Andy Griffith Show. Just didn't fit. He was a real sweet boy. Loved to sit on my lap. Come to think of it, they all did.

Spats is a beautiful cat. She and Mary Lou are Manx cats. They were born with no tail at all. Spats got her name from Joy, because of her 4 white feet that look like shoes. Yoshi is sort of a Manx. He has about a quarter tail. He was undoubtedly the cat in this group with the most personality. Then Floyd. Floyd looks a lot like Mary Lou, but he has a tail.

Joy's sister adopted Yoshi and Spats. Last I heard is they just can't get enough lap time. How perfect is that?

and the rest...

I guess there is no way to talk about every single kitten I have fostered in the last 3+ years, so I will sporadically ad stories of our past litters.

Of all the kittens I have fostered, I have only adopted one of them. That would be Buck. Buck's photo is on my profile page. His charms were just too much for us to resist. (My friend Deb adopted his two sisters)

So, now you know the story of Ripley, and Buck, but we have another permanent resident. Bishop. (For you movie buffs, you may recognize the names Ripley and Bishop. Think Alien) Bishop was adopted from the shelter, but he wasn't my foster. This is a picture of Bishop.

Ripley was only 4 months old, and she was crazy! She had no one to play with, and she was driving us nuts. She scratched us no end when we came home from work, so we knew we needed to get her a playmate. We were asked by another foster provider to please consider her kitten, who had been on view for a few days, and had not been adopted. We checked him out, along with another kitten that looked a lot like Ripley. That kitten had an application, but we put one on him anyway. Bishop was our second choice.

Needless to say, The first application on our first choice went through, so we took Bishop. His name was actually Yoda when we got him. I guess it was meant to be. My cat of 19 years we lost that February was also Yoda.

To make a long story short, they got along great. The very next day when i got home from work, I picked up Ripley and instead of a spastic scratching, biting ball of fur, I got a calm, purring bundle of sweetness.

Monday, July 14, 2008

on and on and on...

I don't even remember who was next. It seems like the never ending stream of kittens just has been going on forever. This little guy and his 2 siblings were too young for solids. Affectionately known as "bottle babies," these guys came to work with me. This was when I still had my shop on Wilson Blvd. This is Petey. I was trying to upload his brothers, but it keeps crashing, so Petey it is. This group was Petey, Bear and ....crap. Again, long time ago!

Right around this litter, I was at the vet for something with the little guys, and I met a woman that does wildlife rescue. We chatted about the babies, and she told me she was writing a children's book, and was going to need some color copies. Being a printer, I of course said I could help her and gave her my card.

A few weeks later she did show up an we made some copies for her...then, a few weeks after that, I got a call from her. She said, "I know you do foster care for kittens, and my friend found a kitten all by itself at a construction site in Georgetown. Will you take it?" Well, sucker that I am, I said sure. I planned to take it to the shelter, and get it into the foster program, but there were so many cats there already, and since she was a single, I decided to keep her. That would be Ripley. She is still here, a permanant resident.

Round 2

Our second litter came in at the heels of the first, which is good. It helped to get over the "loss" of those little guys. This litter was a mom, and 7 babies. The babies are seen here. I will try to remember their names, but they were a little older when we got them, and didn't stay as long. Mama is Lillian, named by my friend Kim, who did eventually adopt her. The kitten that looks like her is Emily, there was Gabby and Maddie, Merlin...Ugh. I waited too long to get this down. I can't remember the other names! Oh well...There have been so many. Maybe they will come to me at a later date.

These guys were nuts. OK, Lillian was nuts. She still is, and I do see her every now and again.

We had a Great Dane at that time, Molly, who really didn't even acknowledge any of our cats. We also had Shatzi, who was a pretty ill tempered old girl when it came to other cats. Of course, we were also told that we needed to keep the fosters separate from our own animals, to prevent spreading of anything either way. Well, that proved to be a difficult proposition with this group. Lillian had just about had enough of this kitten thing, so she would do her best to escape as soon as we tried to get in the door! Of course, then all 7 babies would follow. Finally, we took one of Molly's big foam dog beds, and we would bow it out, and set it in the doorway before we could open it. Of course, Lillian would fly overtop, and run into another room to get a break from all those babies. Can't say I blame her.

All those babies got adopted right away, and of course, so did Lillian.

In the beginning...

My first post! First, I guess I should provide a little background. In May of 2005, we received our first litter of foster kittens. As you can see from the photo I took with my cell phone when I picked them up, they were 6 orange tabbies, almost identical. We named them Dakota, Jack, LT (Little Tony) Latte, Sadie and Lilly. At the time I thought they were a handful, but looking back now, I know how easy that litter was. They were all eating solids, they were healthy, and perfect.

Of course, we fell in love with them all, and considered adopting one of them! The organization we provide this service to has a rule. No foster provider can adopt until they have been fostering for 90 days. This may sound harsh, but it is truly a good rule. It takes 90 days for you to realize you will fall in love with all of them, and you can't keep them all. It was hard, but now we have a lot more will power.

So, 3 years and over 80 cats later, we still enjoy it. Last year was difficult, as there were more sick kittens, and we lost some. It is heartbreaking, but you do as much as you can. For a while it seemed like every litter we got ended up sick. We lost all 5 kittens of one litter, the mom and 3 of 5 kittens from another. The 2 surviving kittens from the last litter from last year were so sick, I was not sure I wouldn't lose them too, but we struggled, and fought, and they made it. We also had those two for almost 6 months! That was Mimi, and Minnie. (Or Mini Mimi). They both finally got adopted, although Minnie had such a bad eye infection when she was tiny that they had to remove it. Not that it slowed her down any. Both of these girls were delightful, once they felt better, and were as playful as any we had fostered.

This year we are now on litter #3. We have Robyn, who is back for round 2. She was also with our second litter, but much smaller than they were, so she is back with 4 other kittens. Noah, Natalie, Reuben and Sullivan. More on theses guys after work.