Still growing!

Eva is up to 4.75 oz now, and it takes almost 5 cc each meal (8 meals a day) to satisfy her so that she’ll go to sleep when we put her back to bed.

She had a very large bowel movement this morning, which was good to see. Normal consistency, normal colour. I was getting a little concerned, because she just wasn’t passing enough feces despite the stimulation, but it looks like she’s okay. With any luck, she’ll be a bit more regular now.

Her fur is getting thicker and longer every time I look at her, I swear. It’s soft plush down, and stripes are becoming clearer on her limbs, tail, and face, and faintly on her body. She’s going to be a lovely long-haired orange tabby!

She’s getting more active, trying to walk instead of crawling, even though her legs can’t entirely take her weight yet, and her head is too heavy for her to hold up. But she’s trying! Her eyes are developing, as well — she reacted to the camera flash tonight for the first time (it wasn’t directed at her face, we avoid that). Soon they’ll start to open and she’ll get her first look at the world she’s clearly decided she wants to be a part of!

Sean went to a medical supply and pharmacy today, to get more gauze squares (they’re so much easier and more effective than a facecloth for stimulating her to pass waste) and look into syringes, since reusing is fine but you can only really get them clean for so long. The folks there were wonderfully helpful when Sean explained what he needed, and even gave him a few 5 cc syringes (we’ve been using 3 cc) to try, at the cost they pay for them, to see if they’d work. It’s really a great place for getting medical and first aid supplies – for Kingstonians, we’re talking about Medical Arts on Princess St.

I offered to do Sean’s daytime feedings as well as my night ones for Saturday and Sunday, since I’m not in class. He told me that was okay and I didn’t need to. When I insisted it was no trouble and he’s been doing a lot, he told me flat out that I was NOT allowed to steal his turn at cuddling and feeding Eva. LOL :D Who can argue with that?

We tried using a bottle tonight, as you’ll see in the videos, because swapping syringes partway through makes her unhappy. The problem is… she doesn’t get the milk fast enough from the bottle, even if we squeeze it to keep pressure on it, to keep her happy! When she’s getting milk at the rate she wants, she latches on and nurses quite contentedly; if it’s coming too slow, she keeps letting go and crying and looking around for an alternate source! It looks like the 5 cc syringes are going to be our best choice at the moment.

So, here are this evening’s pics (Sean fed her tonight, wearing one of my scrub tops *grin*, and I was the photographer), and we’ll get the videos up just as soon as Sean gets them uploaded to YouTube. Possibly tonight, possibly in the morning.

Thanks for all the great comments and support and compliments, everyone! Maybe she feels the love from all over the world, who knows?

Bonus pics:

Eva’s house (a medium animal crate, large enough for two adult cats; she’s about the size of one of the plushies inside; the pink shape is a ticking clock wrapped in a towel; there’s a hollow in the centre, like a nest, with a heating pad on low under one half of it):

The supervisors, Loki and Trick (please ignore the mess, somehow there’s always something more important to do than housework, and Sean says to add that the camera added to his weight noticeably, which it did):

Double bill – pics and video, Day 5!

Eva gained another quarter of an ounce, up to 4.25 oz (4.3 oz after she ate!). By my math, that’s the equivalent of a 100 pound person gaining 6.25 pounds in 24 hours. :cool:

We’re very gradually increasing the amount of milk she gets at each feeding, and after yelling briefly when the milk is gone, she settles right down to sleep when she’s back in her bed. I’d be happier with a little more by way of bowel movements, but she’s urinating at every feeding, her abdomen doesn’t feel distended (except right after a meal! :D ) and she shows no sign of discomfort, so the little bit she’s doing is apparently sufficient at the moment.

It’s amazing to watch her, day to day, and see her not only growing in size, but developing. She’s getting stronger and more coordinated, her purr is stronger and steadier, and she’s very energetic and responsive. Her fur is filling out beautifully, with stripes beginning to show especially on her face and legs and tail, and I predict she’s going to be a longhair fluffball.

Our adult cats, as you’ll see in one of the videos, are beginning to tolerate her presence better. Angel has typically supervised from a corner of the bed or her bookshelf top all along, but last night, all three were laying around watching, and Trick was certainly not in a defensive posture! They’re coming up during her feedings to sniff at her, not quite making contact, and then walking casually away with no hissing or ear flattening or the rest.

We’re going to look at the budget and see if we can arrange to get a better camera for video, since using our digital camera is resulting in some odd lighting issues and not always the best quality.

I’m told that multiple people are finding their cats reacting strongly to Eva’s voice on the videos, males and mother cats and females without kittens. Must be something instinctive about reacting to a kitten’s cry!

I spoke to the foster coordinator when I went in to pick up more KMR (milk powder for kittens). Eva will have her first vaccinations at 6 weeks, then stay with us for a further 3 until her booster shots. Then she’ll be ready for adoption. I hope she goes to the pet food store we generally buy food from — they foster kittens so they can be adopted, and have a wonderful success rate. The products are all high-end and the regular customers tend to be very devoted to their pets.

So, here are the videos. Click on “Read more »” at the bottom to see pictures.

This one, unfortunately, came out very dark due to lighting problems, andthe first bit is essentially audio-only. It does improve by the end, sorry.

This one is longer, and begins with our feline audience, before focusing on Eva.

Bonus pics:

The adult cats getting in a bit of extra time with me, right after feeding: Trick under the light, Loki against my chest, and Angel behind my legs. (I know the camera is supposed to add an extra ten pounds… I’m certain it added at least that to me, but not to them!)

2 Eva videos!

Have fun watching the little cutie, and please try to ignore the less-cute human (me) in the background. LOL

Oh, and feel free to leave comments or vote on YouTube too, if you like. Maybe Eva will get seen by even more people — and the more who see her, the better her chances of getting an awesome forever home! (Maybe people out of Eva’s reach might even decide to foster, or to adopt from a shelter? Who knows?) Click on the videos to go to the pages of the individual videos on YouTube.

Technical Problems

Thursday night, we had a severe technical glitch somewhere that literally deleted all blog contents. Luckily, I still had a window open with the blog to that point, and I’ve reconstructed it as best I can from that.

However, comments and user registrations have been lost. We’re very sorry, and wish we knew what happened. We’ve switched blog software, since my experience with this one has been that it’s very stable, and with any luck there won’t be any more problems!

The most frustrating thing was that the glitch occurred while Sean was posting his own reactions and thoughts about hand-raising our tiny orphan, given that he’d never had much contact even with adult cats until meeting me five years ago. I’m hoping he’ll be willing and able to re-write it to whatever extent he can!

Hungry Eva!

Eva’s growing! She weighed in today at 4 oz even. Not surprising, given how insatiable her appetite is!

I forgot to mention this morning: last night, just after I showered, it was time to feed Eva. Even though I was dry, Eva refused to have anything at all to do with me – would not eat, would not stop crying. Sean had to feed her. It certainly wasn’t that she wasn’t hungry, so I assume it was a scent thing. She was fine at her next meal, ate for me with no problem — maybe I smelled more like me again by then! It certainly says something about the importance of scent in her world. She can’t see, I’m unsure how much she can hear. Her entire world is what she can feel and what she can smell.

The three-hour schedule seems to be working out well for everyone. Eva is more satisfied with her meals and sleeps more quickly afterwards, Sean and I are less exhausted and have time to get a bit more done around her meals, and the adult cats get more time with Sean and I without being interrupted by Eva’s meals.

We’ll have video to post tomorrow, Sean is resizing it to make it a bit easier to see online. Here’s the latest batch of pics. Enjoy!

More Eva Pics!

We’ve made a slight shift to Eva’s schedule. Feedings every two hours meant that she wasn’t getting enough milk to satisfy her each time, and we were having to wake her up after less than 90 minutes of sleep at a time. We’ve gone to every three hours. She gets the same total amount of milk per day, but she gets enough that she settles down to sleep with her plushies pretty quickly instead of yelling for a few minutes first. Each feeding takes longer, so she still gets lots of cuddle time. It also means I can get a little more sleep, and Sean gets a little more time to take care of other things.

The older cats are all convinced that Eva is some sort of small alien of uncertain intentions, I think. ;)

Otherwise, all’s well. Sean or I will post her weight later on, since we’ll be weighing her daily at about the same time. Meanwhile, here are a few pics from Sean feeding Eva last night.

Thank you to everyone who comments here and elsewhere and has sent love and hugs and energy! I’m sorry we just don’t have the time and energy to reply, but we’re reading every one of them, and it feels wonderful to share this — good and sad — with all of you!

Sad news and good news

The sad news is… the little boy, who was the smaller and weaker of the two, died sometime between 5 and 7 am this morning. He was curled up next to his sister, in their cozy heated nest. Other than needing to be coaxed into eating, and being more inclined to sleep, he showed no signs of distress or discomfort. It looks like he simply fell asleep and that was it. Not even 72 hours in this world. Yes, I cried… of course I did, even though he was only in our care for about half his tiny life. I wondered for a while if I did something, or didn’t do something, that was responsible, but realistically, he was so small, so young, so weak, and without his momcat, his odds weren’t so good. Even with her, he might have died. A quick painless death now is better than some other possibilities, but it wasn’t the possibility I wanted for him.

My wonderful friends, online and in school, are amazing and sympathetic, and I’m very grateful for it — and for Sean, who’s fighting this battle with me, and for my three adult furballs, who are unimpressed but still taking time for cuddles and love. Loki even donated some of his cheek pheromones on a small plushie tiger to put in with our little girl. ;)

The good news is, the little girl is doing great! And she now has a name: Eva, which means “life” — something she is very full of! She’s 3.7 oz (I picked up a good scale tonight on the way home from school). She has amazingly healthy lungs, a huge appetite, and can squirm around astonishingly well for such a young baby! She’s getting about 2.5 cc (mL) of kitten formula per feeding, for a total of about 30 cc per day. To hear her tell it, we’re starving her to death! But over-feeding her would be dangerous. So we’re now measuring out the amount she gets in a 3 cc syringe and attaching a nipple instead of a needle. Once she gets ahold of that nipple, she goes blissful. We try to lean back and let her be on the chest of whoever’s feeding her while she nurses, she seems to like the heat and heartbeat. And she yowls when the milk runs out!

We’ve found that a 3×3 square of gauze works great for stimulating her to pass waste. She urinates at least a little at every feeding. Tonight, she did a lovely bowel movement for us, I think she probably feels a lot better now. Wow, you would not believe how pungent a tiny little kitten poop can be!

Eva is settled warm and cozy in the larger cat carrier. Under her, with a doubled towel and a doubled layer of soft fleece, there’s a heating pad on low. A ticking clock, wrapped in another towel, is against the back wall — simulated heartbeat, it seems to calm her. Two very small plushie tigers are in there with her. Loki tolerantly allowed me to rub one all over his cheeks to get his scent on it, and Angel rather nervously let me get a bit of her scent on the other. Trick, I might add, hissed and ran at the very idea. I think I’m going to leave a facecloth in each cat bed, to let them get well-scented.

Finally, here’s the video from last night. As I said, we aren’t using the bottle any more. We’ll do more pics and video as often as we can.

Keep the love and good wishes coming!

Say hi to the orange twins!

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!