Kitten Adventures (some sad, some fun)
  • JUX -gunz- [984073]-gunz- [984073]
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    Thread created on 19:58:46 - 01/10/18 (3 months ago)
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    Last replied 21:29:55 - 04/01/19 (19 days ago)

    So, yeah, TLDR: We found ourselves thrust into adopting three kittens that were somewhere around 1 week old.  This is kinda of a "therapy-with-gunz" post so... yeah.

    The whole story has had so much happy mixed with so much sad, I almost don't want to post about it and reopen or re-yank those stretched thin heart strings.  Anyway... it's a wonder/miracle/amazing coincidence that I even found the poor babies.  We were working on some home improvements so I had the big shed door open.  We have a smaller less secure, less clean shed that was open too, but mama cat chose a pretty good place... except for one small thing.  Half the time I forget and leave the stupid shed doors open until my wife notices and reminds me.  This time... I was on my game and shut them when we finished @ ~4pm.

    Fast forward... ~8pm I walked our also (unwillingly) adopted dog (he's my son and his friend's dogie that we're "babysitting).  NORMALLY when it's that late I don't even bother waling him back by the sheds because he's easily spooked and there are so many critters around our house that it's not worth the drama of pupperz freaking out, tangling the leash, choking himself, etc...

    But, for some reason, we headed back that way.  Maybe he heard something, maybe I heard something, I dunno... But, passing the big shed I heard meowing.  I thought "great, one of the stray/roaming cats got stuck in there" so I open the door... and no, it's KITTENS meowing!

    So, yeah, my mind is already whirling... we always had cats growing up.  Mom even raised a few pre-weaned kittens and it was very tedious so I already know that route isn't the best option.  A quick google search confirms that mama cat is their best option.  Trouble is... mama cat has been locked out of the shed for AT LEAST 4 hours, and who knows how long she was gone before that?!?

    My first thought: I have to leave the door open somehow so that mama cat can get back in there.

    Problems:

    • It’s night. It’s cold… temps were in the high 50s which is WAY too cold for lil kittens that should be kept in the 80-90F range.
    • All the stray/passerby kitties I’ve encountered at our place are VERY skittish. So, if mama cat was around, me walking around with pupperz probably scared her off for a while
    • We have quite the menagerie of critters around our place… a very mature possum makes it’s rounds at night… 3-4 stray or possibly indoor/outdoor neighborhood cats that pass through, a FAMILY of 6-7 raccoons
    • Once my wife, mother-in-law, and daughter found out, I couldn’t get them to stay in the house. xD I was waiting in my truck (so mama cat wouldn’t see/hear/smell me) with the shed light on to see if mama cat would come back.  I swear, every 10 min one of them would come outside to “check on the babies”

    So, we decided to take them in.  Our daughter went and got some kitten formula and a lil kitten bed for them and we started reading up on all the instructions on how to bottle feed and care for them.  We set up a lil space heater to keep them warm, and wore gloves to minimize our scent just in case mama cat came back looking for them.  We also kept any towels/napkins near the door so she might smell them and show some interest.

    When we first found them of course they were super shaky, unstable, and restless… we got them into a feeding routine and all three showed immediate signs of improvement.  There was one big guy (who we’re beginning to believe may be a girl, lol) who was probably just normal sized.  And then there were two runts we nicknamed “runty” and “middle one”.

    We ended up naming the big “guy” Fezzik because of this line:

       Fezzik We face each other as God intended. Sportsmanlike. No tricks, no weapons, skill against skill alone.

       Man in Black You mean, you'll put down your rock and I'll put down my sword, and we'll try and kill each other like civilized people?

       Fezzik I could kill you now.

       Man in Black Frankly, I think the odds are slightly in your favor at hand fighting.

       Fezzik It's not my fault being the biggest and the strongest. I don't even exercise.

       https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093779/characters/nm0000764

    Well, the first sad part is that middle runt didn’t last very long.  We found them on Sep 9th, and my wife discovered the middle one not moving on Wed the 12th.  It was SUPER frustrating because, like I mentioned, they were all showing signs of improving.  Of course the two smaller ones didn’t eat as much as Fezzik, but they were all eating and showing signs of moving and growing stronger.

    I most upset because I couldn’t tell what had happened.  For a brief minute I was concerned that big guy had accidentally smothered the little one, but after watching him/her and lil runty it seemed like even at half his size, runty had the strength to wiggle out from under even when the big guy did park on top of her.  Then, later on when I read more about Fading Kitten Syndrome (similar to how Sudden Infant Death Syndrom… just unexplainable, otherwise healthy babies pass away) I kinda look back and see they were just too weak.

    I was able to console myself by know we at least made them more comfortable than that cold dark shed.  We had pretty much given up on being able to reunite them with mama cat so we gave them all plenty of holding, petting, warmth, love, etc…

    Oh, yeah… kinda messed up a wall I was so frustrated :|

    So, a couple more days passed, we started referring to runty as Buttercup (to go with Fezzik) and got too attached.  It’s hard not to get attached when holding something so tiny, helpless, and precious… but it made it all that much harder to deal with when Buttercup passed on three days later.  It was even more heartbreaking because it happened to my daughter.  I fed them before I had to head out to my all day Saturday class.  She made some weird noises and a weird yawn that almost looked like a silent scream (or roar face in the cat world) when I picked her up, but she ate her normal few swallows and then went back to resting.  I kind assumed it was just some milk/drool stuck on her mouth because she stopped acting odd after eating.  Fast forward a few hours and my daughter fed them again.  She fed lil Buttercup first because she was the easiest to fill her tummy and go back to resting.  While she was feeding and tending to Fez’ she heard Buttercup meowing, but didn’t think much of it because they often do that (they want more food so they meow).  When she came back to tend to Buttercup she wasn’t moving or responding.

    So, yeah, heartbreaking on so many levels.  Soooo many questions, most of them pointless and can’t do any good, but still…

    • Should we have tried harder to reunite them with mom?
      • Many animals abandon or outright kill runts of the litter, so this may have done no good for the runts.
      • It’s not like outside of our house is “safe” anyway with all the critters and cold evenings.
    • Should we have tried to feed them more often?
      • I beat myself up a lot on this one because:
        • I heard some meowing on the evening when the first runt passed away.
        • I had formed a pretty strong theory that because the runts are so tiny, they can only hold and/or process a tiny amount of food and we probably should have been feeding them more often. Like I mentioned… we were seeing progress and increasing strength so it seemed to be working.
      • Could we have… ___ or ___ or ___??? Not gonna list all these because there’s no way to know. Even the expert articles don’t agree on feeding frequency, best formula, or pretty much ANY aspect of caring for a 1wk litter because there’re just too many variables :(

     <3

    I'll probably come back and clean this up later.  I have pics if anyone would like to see (one of the two lil ones cuddling is already in my profile pics).

    Here's a pic of the two runties cuddling together... I believe this one may have been the very first or second night.  They were so content.

    Last edited by -gunz- on 21:27:51 - 04/01/19
  • SPCR Judge_Doom [2140277]Judge_Doom [2140277]
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    Posted on 21:30:24 - 01/10/18 (3 months ago)
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    I would have probably left them in the building.  Made a warmer bed for them if it was really cold with the door open.   Get a cardboard box and put an old towel or blanket in.  I say mama cat was just out of eye site and waiting for the coast to be clear to return.  

         My wife found a very young kitten in some heavy machinery where she works.  We thought it was fine seeing as it would come to you wanting attention, purr and eat.  We took it to the vet the next day and it had inoperable internal injuries so they had to put it down.  That's the catch 22 with cute cuddly kittens/doggies.  Sooner or later you're going to get your feels all shit on because well...it's just how life goes.  

  • IBB2 Magic [2129458]Magic [2129458]
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    Posted on 06:58:49 - 02/10/18 (3 months ago)
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    I would absolutely love to see pics! :)

  • JUX -gunz- [984073]-gunz- [984073]
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    Posted on 21:55:21 - 02/10/18 (3 months ago)
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    Judge_Doom [2140277]

    I would have probably left them in the building.  Made a warmer bed for them if it was really cold with the door open.   Get a cardboard box and put an old towel or blanket in.  I say mama cat was just out of eye site and waiting for the coast to be clear to return.  

         My wife found a very young kitten in some heavy machinery where she works.  We thought it was fine seeing as it would come to you wanting attention, purr and eat.  We took it to the vet the next day and it had inoperable internal injuries so they had to put it down.  That's the catch 22 with cute cuddly kittens/doggies.  Sooner or later you're going to get your feels all shit on because well...it's just how life goes.  

    If it wasn't for the raccoons I probably would have just made them a pallet with a few packing blankets I have in the shed (no human smells on them) and maybe put a space heater out there.  I wouldn't expect the possum to harass the kittens, and the other strays/wandering cats all seem to mind their own business.

    But with them already having been away from mom for > 4hrs and being at borderline hypothermia levels (shaking, cold to touch, etc...) the window for mama to show up was suuuper small :(

    The first runt to pass was easier to dismiss since we had barely had time to get attached.  The second one was made even harder because my grandmother also passed during the week the kitten was something to cling to and hope for.  Made it a little more complicated to deal with :/

  • JUX -gunz- [984073]-gunz- [984073]
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    Posted on 23:07:27 - 02/10/18 (3 months ago)
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    Magic [2129458]

    I would absolutely love to see pics! :)

    Pics to see the size difference:

    Buttercup:

    Fez'

    Both together:

    Last pic of Buttercup... little bit of a milk mustache (she was juuust starting to open her eyes and would respond/look in my direction when she heard my voice... something Fez took a little longer to start doing):

    And then a little collateral damage when my wife let me know the first one had passed (eh, add it to the list >_< ):

    Last edited by -gunz- on 23:12:06 - 02/10/18
  • DC EzPz [1985070]EzPz [1985070]
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    Posted on 03:01:10 - 17/10/18 (3 months ago)
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    How are the baby's coming along 

  • JUX -gunz- [984073]-gunz- [984073]
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    Posted on 17:24:41 - 17/10/18 (3 months ago)
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    Fez is doin' great.

    The lil stinker is in the "I must ATTACK EVERYTHING!" mode.  He's very close to big enough to escape the big container we keep him in for nap time, and almost big enough to jump from the bed we let him romp on.  So... gonna have to try and kitten proof some bigger areas really soon.

  • JUX -gunz- [984073]-gunz- [984073]
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    Posted on 22:27:24 - 13/12/18 (1 month ago)
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    More recent pics:

    I few weeks (over a month?!?) ago:

    Leap Fez

    Bag Fez 1

    Bag Fez 2

    And then most recently (last week?):

    Sleepy Fez

    Lonnnnng Fez

    We named him well... he's been way high on the growth chat on each vet visit 

  • JUX -gunz- [984073]-gunz- [984073]
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    Posted on 21:29:55 - 04/01/19 (19 days ago)
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    Tried to see if I could dress Fez up with xmas-y stuff... he was not very fond of that idea...

    Fez wrapping