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Spies Feast, ZZs Famine


Day by day Mata Hari has been getting more comfortable with us and more enamored of her dry food. But for whatever reason, this trajectory seems to be making her less productive on the milk front. Or maybe her kittens have just gotten too big for her to keep all seven of them moving forward.

So we’ve had to step up the supplemental bottle-feeding.

We’ve been feeding April Dancer and Ninety-Nine for almost two weeks now, so they’re used to it – to the point where they both squawk loudly and toddle toward the villa door when they hear us coming.

Larrabee and Galore hadn’t shown much interest in the bottle until recently. Galore’s three-day stall on the weight front probably convinced her to give it a try. And when Larrabee finally “locked on” to the bottle today, he was so excited his whole body shook from side to side while he drank.

Orange guys Bond, Ilya, and Smiley are the mama’s boys of this litter. Until this morning (when they seemed eager to try the bottle), they’d squeal like stuck pigs when I lifted them out of the nest.

Probably because they seem to get a little more attention from Mata than their tabby sibs do.

But eating habits are in flux in the villa, as April Dancer demonstrated yesterday when she bellied up to the wet-food dish alongside her mom and took a few licks. Pretty soon her tabby sibs (and even Bond) realized she was on to something.

Even though they’re much smaller than orphaned kittens typically are at weaning age, the Spies may get there by the end of the week. Dazzle and Diamond’s Gem kittens from last spring were tiny weaners also. It makes us wonder if kittens with a mom grow more slowly but mature faster.

For now, we’re not too worried about Mata Hari and the Spies.

And that means we can worry about the Z Cats instead.

They checked in last night, and we stashed them in the bunkhouse. Mom-cat Zola (another patchy tabby) and her four kittens with names that begin with Z (we don’t even know what the names are) came from another HT foster home, where one of the male kittens had gotten sick over the last few days. Neither we nor the HT coordinator who brought them to us knew much about them, except that they were eight weeks old and had been healthy until recently.

When we let them out of their carrier in the bunkhouse, we found two males (both buff) and two females (a patchy tabby and a brown tabby). The legs and back of the bigger buff kitten were covered in vomit, so we quickly identified the smaller buff kitten as our vomiter.

Sure enough, while the tabbies and the bigger buff played with toys we’d set out, the little buff guy hunkered down in the nest. We gave him Cerenia (an injectable anti-nausea drug), subcutaneous fluids, and Nutrical by syringe.

After getting a good look at Zola, we gave her Nutrical by syringe too. She makes skinny Mata Hari in the villa look like Xena the Warrior Princess.

Before we went to bed, we saw little buff (aka Z2) eat some wet food, so that made us feel better. But all five Z Cats consumed less than two ounces total overnight, and we found more vomit on the floor this morning.

So the good news in the bunkhouse is that the big biff (Z1) and brown tabby (Z4) still seem active, playful, and well-fed, though I’m not sure where they’re getting their food, since Zola appears to have no milk.

Little buff (Z2) is nibbling food, but is lethargic, has diarrhea, and is probably still vomiting (we can’t be positive today’s vomit is his.)

Patchy tabby (Z3) seems less active today than she was yesterday. She’s also much smaller than her healthy sibs, so we need to keep an eye on her.

And finally, Zola is not only severely underweight, she’s also quite dehydrated. As soon as I realized the latter, I gave her fluids and Cerenia, since she may be the main vomiter now. At least we found one decent-looking mom-cat poop in the box. But since Zola's barely eating, I also gave her slurry and Nutrical by syringe.

Luckily, the Z Cat kittens aren’t tiny, so they’re not likely to collapse and keel over. And so far this illness doesn’t seem as threatening as Groundhog’s panleukopenia was. But we still don’t know how serious an ailment we’re dealing with, or which direction the pendulum is swinging. Let’s hope the Z Cats are already passing the low point.

filed by: TS



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