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Rally Ho

Thursday
4/28/2011

After posting yesterday's entry, I gave Mica another injection of subcutaneous fluids and syringe-fed him more Nutrical. He didn't seem to be getting better and his lack of leg-drive had spread to all four limbs. When I stood him up, he settled into a slouch without taking any steps. I took his temperature again and it was still 105.3, so I called a nearby vet clinic and they were able to squeeze in a 5pm appointment.

Based on the symptoms, the vet had suspected calicivirus, but Mica's mouth lacked the sores associated with that infection. He watched Mica attempt to walk and agreed that it seemed like a neurological issue. Toxoplasmosis was a possibility.

He prescribed Clindamycin (which is a little more effective at penetrating the blood-brain barrier than other meds) and told me we should syringe-feed him slurry and inject fluids as needed. There was no point in doing a blood-test or spinal tap, since it was clear we'd find elevated white-cell counts. And it didnít make sense to try to reduce his fever or take his temperature more than once a day – we could tell he was feverish, and the fever was his body's attempt to kill the infection. The doctor said he might be able to recover fully, but the odds were hard to assess.

When I got home, I gave him the Clindamycin. Martha was home from work so she syringe-fed him. So far he has no trouble swallowing and is eating reasonably well. Because he can't easily get to the litter box (though he does manage to crawl around the villa a bit), we stimmed him and he had a little diarrhea after peeing. Not surprising, given that his intestines may not be working correctly.

This morning I found him deep under the futon with Dazzle, and his weight was up a bit, so he'd clearly managed to nurse a little. Still feverish at 105.1, so I injected more fluids. He's alert, and seems to be treading water rather than declining, so we're still hopeful for him.

In the "when it rains" department: we got e-mail from the rescue group that gave us Georgia Ann and the Bottle Caps. Someone had dropped a nursing mom-cat with twelve tiny kittens at one of the rural shelters they work with. Obviously an orphaned litter had been combined with this mom's own litter, and she couldn't possibly nurse twelve, so they were desperate to find nursing moms that might be able to handle a few more kittens. We offered to put a few of the kittens in the bunkhouse with GA and Tamara and see what happened.

Last night, our contact dropped off four little furballs, the smallest of which weighed only 7.9oz. We guessed they're about two weeks old. They look healthy, with clear eyes and noses, and they can definitely squawk, which they did as soon as we put them in the bunkhouse nest.

Tamara was like "WTF is this?" and headed into the shower to play soccer with her ping-pong ball. Georgia Ann milled around curiously. After a few minutes we turned off the light and left the bunkhouse. A half-hour later Martha peeked inÖ and Georgia Ann was nursing the little guys in the nest! Woohoo!

Since then we've seen GA both in and out of the nest. The kittens definitely want her to be their mom, and when they cry she pays attention to them. We've seen her groom these guys (who we're calling the Rally Caps) more in a few hours than she groomed the Bottle Caps during the days they survived. And we've seen her roll onto her side to provide nursing nipples a few times, though we've also found the kittens hungry when we offered them a supplemental bottle.

So it seems like GA's maternal instincts are alive and well, and now that her horrific congestion and fever have receded, she finally feels well enough to exercise them. We may be imagining it, but she seems to be enjoying the responsibility, rather than being stressed by it. Maybe this second chance to raise four healthy kittens will be cathartic for her. If so, the Rally Caps can be her tribute to her own lost kittens.

filed by: TS

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