On 11/24 our oldest cat, Molly, passed away from cancer. A sad time for us. Molly was a sweet, very special cat. She lived 15 years, most with us. She was an animal shelter kitty.
I was feeling down when I happened to see two tiny, adorable faces on Facebook. The Humane Society was looking for someone to foster the week-old orphaned kittens. I could not resist their complete cuteness.
Caring for week-old kittens is quite a commitment. They require feedings every three hours and need help to potty as they cannot urinate or defecate on their own. They must be kept warm and cuddled, a lot. As a licensed vet tech, I felt I had the right stuff to do the job. Plus I had some experience caring for young kittens in the past.
On 11/27 I went to the animal shelter to pick up the babies. When I arrived, the tech surprised me. She said a pregnant mother cat had adopted the kittens and was caring for them and nursing them. Would I take all of them home to foster?
Well, it didn’t sound like such a bad idea. With mama cat to help, maybe I could sleep through the night and just do day feedings to supplement the pregnant cat’s milk. I set the kitties up in our half-bath. They could be isolated there.
What followed was a couple days of feedings every 6-8 hours, checking kittens to be certain they were eliminating, weighing them daily to assure they were growing properly, feeding the mother cat, cleaning her litterpan and loving all the felines. The tiny babies (both boys) responded to me very quickly, rolling on their backs to have their bellies scratched and singing little rattly purrs. The mother cat is very loving, too.
I found ear mites and fleas on the mother cat and treated her. Also, I dewormed her with wormer safe for pregnant cats. She felt much better after the treatments, I could tell. The kittens were rubbing their ears and I spotted a flea on one when I was trying to get him to pee. So they also had ear mites and fleas.
Treating kittens two weeks old for fleas and ear mites is a challenge. I washed them both in plain warm water, submerging their bodies until the drowned fleas floated free. Two fleas came off each kitten. Then a drop of olive oil was administered in each ear to start the process of drowning the ear mites.
Oil is the only safe ear mite treatment for such young babies. The oil needs to be applied daily for a month. By then they will be old enough for a drug that will kill the mites for certain.
Today I had to separate the kittens from the mother cat. She began to get rough with them, trying to push them away violently when they wanted to nurse. She is probably getting ready to have her own kittens and that is nature’s way of protecting her litter.
So now I have two very needy babies to care for full time. They will stay beside my bed at night. I feed them every 4-6 hours. Then they must be burped, just like human babies. After that I use a moistened tissue to rub under their tails until they eliminate. They get a quick clean up and it’s playtime for a while.
The babies are about sixteen days old today. They are beginning to play, chewing on each other and wrestling. And they are starting to show affection by rubbing their tiny noses on me. I have first dibs on adopting the babies when they are old enough. I wonder how this story will end?