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Divers and Thrivers

Monday
9/13/2010

When Ted posted the last 50K entry featuring the Divers, I was shocked at how good their photos looked. Believe me...the Divers did not look this good at all. They looked totally pathetic, with glued-shut and swollen eyes, matted fur from dribbled formula, and just a generally sad, sick look to them.

Their eyes still don’t look great, but otherwise, they are much improved. We’ve literally been running a kitten ICU with multiple cocktails of oral, injected, and inhaled meds (via a nebulizer) and syringe feedings every four hours.

And it appears to have paid off. For example, their mouths and paw pads are back to being pink instead of white. The Divers are far from being out of danger, but we are cautiously optimistic – enough so that we gave them names. As Ted said, it takes a psychic toll when you’ve got critically ill kittens, and although we need to call them something to communicate with each other, we never really named the kittens in Les Miz litter, for example. Because we had been calling these guys Orange Guy and Gray Girl, we kind of went with the theme and named them Oggi (pronounced "oh gee", which happens to be “today” in Italian) for Orange Guy and Gigi for Gray Girl.

We thought we’d pretty much gotten the fleas off of them, but yesterday, when we gave them hard-core, in-up-to-their necks baths, we could see over a dozen fleas on Oggi when his skin was revealed through wet fur. It was horrifying. Eggs that we hadn’t gotten must have hatched. We drowned as many as we could, then gave the kits a half tab of Capstar. We’d wanted to avoid a systemic flea control measure, but we felt we needed to take more aggressive action. Today, we gave them full-on immersion baths again and we only found some dead stragglers. We hope we’ve gotten them all and any eggs, but we’ll keep combing them to monitor. Ugh!

Their breathing is better – especially Oggi’s. We’ve added pediatric nose drops (for humans) to the med cocktail and I think it may have helped. Let me tell you, it ain’t easy dripping drops into a kitten’s nostrils! I immobilize them in a towel and put them face up like a burrito in my lap. Oggi doesn’t mind at all, but Gigi doesn’t like it one bit.

The most difficult part of the regimen is syringe-feeding. Now that they’re strong enough, they tend to fight us all the way – who wants to have slurry shot into their throats? Especially when they feel like they can’t breathe very well as it is. We don’t blame them, but it sure makes for a tough, messy job. Not too pleasant at any hour, but especially at 3am!

However, in the past few meals, Oggi has quit fighting us as much – I think because he is breathing better. Gigi still squirms and bucks and puts out what we call the “paw of denial”...trying to push away the syringe.But of course, she can’t fight us, even with the paw of denial, and we manage to get it all down. We’re up to about 18ccs of slurry and 3ccs of Nutrical per meal. Ted’s technique is to do it 1cc at a time (we draw from the bottle). I have a 3-cc syringe that I like. It’s slow either way, because you have to give them so much time to swallow and recover.

They’ve gained a little weight the last couple of days, but they still have a ways to go to catch up to where they should be for their size. You can see their little spines and ribs when we bathe them. Compare them to what the Campers look like, who are probably about the same age.

Which transitions me to the Campers!

They are great – they run from wherever they are to swarm us when the door opens.

They are completely full of beans – racing around to chase each other or to jump all over us.

They are at that super cute and fun stage that people find irresistible.

They haven’t had any visitors yet, but we have no worries about that. It’ll still be a couple of weeks before they’re up to adoption weight.

filed by: ME

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