So. Monday March 16, I’m in class at the local Humane Society, and a partner and I are giving a big gentle teddybear of a black cat (recently no-longer-a-tomcat). And one of the staff come in, with two tiny, and I mean TINY, orange bodies cupped in her hands on a facecloth. Orphaned babies, she tells us, only a little over 24 hours old, and they desperately need a foster home to have any chance of survival. Well, my classmates all came over to see, but no one looked like they really thought they could. Being me… I offered to take them, if I could clear it with Sean, so I gave him a quick call on my cell and he agreed.
The Humane Society is going to supply formula and everything. A wonderful classmate gave me a ride back to the college to get my books, then gave me a ride home — I usually hop the bus a lot.
So… home I came with two tiny orange kittens. One boy, one girl. They were born to a stray or feral, who moved her litter, but for some reason didn’t come back for these two. When I saw them, they were about 28 hours old, best guess.
They’re so small, both fit easily in one hand. Their eyes are closed, and they show no awareness of sound, but they’re acutely aware of warmth and of vibration — when restless, they quiet immediately if pressed against my (or Sean’s) upper chest, especially if I talk to them.
They’re a little confused by the bottle-feeding and formula, but they’re getting the idea. The little girl especially has a wonderful appetite, she latches right on and suckles with total intensity, her tiny little forepaws kneading at anything in reach, or air if nothing else. The little boy needs a bit more coaxing, but he’s getting better and eating more now.
At this age, they can’t pass waste alone. Momcat would stimulate it by licking; failing at that, we use a warm wet soft cloth, or a finger dipped in warm water. They’re pretty good about peeing every two hours at feeding time, but haven’t done much pooping yet. The exception is the little girl; the first time, she passed some very dark wet stuff I think was probably the meconium, the first feces.
Our older cats are not very thrilled, but they ARE fascinated by them. Trick hisses; Loki sniffs and walks away. Angel, I think, really badly wants to have them to care for, but since we don’t know their momcat or what she could have had, I don’t dare let her. When the kittens cry, she’s right there, and she watches me feed them. (Not sure if she does it to Sean too.)
It’s worrying, that they were separated from momcat so early. There’s no way to know how much colostrum, the early milk with antibodies in it, they got from her, but probably not enough, so we’ll have to be very careful with those undeveloped little immune systems.
They want to live. They’re trying hard. They’re so tiny and fragile and the world is such a very big place, but they’re doing their best to live. When they have full tummies and they’re warm and sleepy, they do a tiny little kitten purr that just makes me melt.
I’ll post updates here as often as I can. It’s going to be hard to find time, since I have classes, plus I’m up every two hours overnight to feed the babies. Sean’s taking the day shift while I’m at school. But we’ll take as many pictures as we can, and keep you updated! Send them love and good wishes, they need all the help they can get!