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BOTTLE BABIES!!

Thursday
5/22/2008

Except for Otter's refusal to give up suckling, it's been relatively tranquil and low-stress at 50K for a few weeks now. Benny, Blue, Ham, JJ and Otter are all looking and feeling good. We're ticking down the days in our last week with these guys, and (fingers crossed) all five should be heading back to the shelter on Mon for spay/neuter on Tues. When they go up for adoption on Weds, they should fly off the shelves. That's how great this group is.

But our countdown toward their last day of school was interrupted by a phone call from the shelter yesterday, asking if we could take four bottle babies that had just come in. We knew we couldn't put them in the bunkhouse with our big kits, but we have a downstairs bathroom ("the 50K nursery") that we've used twice to handle second litters. It's less convenient for us (and closer to our critter-hungry canines), but at least it's close to the kitchen, where we store the bottles and formula. We said "sure, we'll take 'emů how old are they?"

"They're pretty young. Their eyes haven't opened yet. And they still have their umbilical cords."

Yikes! These guys are tiny! They can't be more than a few days old. When we got Hobie, he weighed 5.4 oz. These guys weigh 4.0. And they're all competely black, and impossible to tell apart. The shelter put tabs of masking tape on their tails, and numbered them 1, 2, 3, and 4. Until we get further along, those are their names.

Given our experiences with Hobie and Cousteau, we expect newborn kittens deprived of their mother's colostrum to vomit, have diarrhea, and be prone to dehydration or rapid decline. So far, we haven't seen that. After five feedings (every 3.5 hrs!), all kits are getting "locked in" on the bottle and feeding well. No diarrhea (practically no poop at all) and no vomit. We really hope that continues.

Lots of juggling and sleep deprivation in the days ahead. Let's hope we have a much happier June than we did last year.

filed by: TS

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