a stepping-stone to adoption for abandoned furballs





about 50K

BB Boys


In the villa, the Eves are romping around and packing on the ounces. Hailey and Boxer have crossed our 2.5-lb adoption weight target, and Callie and Daphne might get there by midweek. They’re all healthy, look great, and are ready to find homes. And I’m sure Autumn is ready for a change of scenery too.

But we don’t have any pix of the Eves today for the same reason that we didn’t find time to post an entry over the weekend; the big story at 50K is playing out upstairs in the bunkhouse.

On Friday morning we received three semi-feral male kittens that a Homeward Trails volunteer had rescued from a property owned by a dog and cat hoarder in Goochland County. Aside from the fact that the kittens appeared healthy and had briefly been checked by a vet, we had no more information on them. Presumably they had a mom who was also trapped and removed from the property.

We heard they’d eaten two small cans of food on the 3-hour drive to the DC area. When we opened their carrier in the bunkhouse, we were greeted by a volley of hisses, but no growling, flattened ears, or swatting. No big deal.

Pulled out of their carrier and placed in the nest, they quickly hopped out to try to hide behind the toilet. And kept on hissing. What’s unusual about these boys is that they often follow a hiss with something that sounds like “puh-toouhhh!” – exactly as if they’re spitting at us with contempt. But they’re not spitting, it’s just part of their act.

We weighed them (from 12.5 to 17.5 ounces), bathed them (they felt dirty and had cruddy butts), and offered them canned and dry food. They grazed a little on Friday afternoon. We found some soft dark poop in the box and some in the nest with a little greenish tinge, so we put them on metronidazole and albon. The poop situation improved, and we stopped worrying about diarrhea. But on Saturday they essentially stopped eating on their own.

Martha tweeted a request for names, and Chanter offered three from Harry Potter that we liked. So we named the orange tabby Seamus (the biggest), the buff tabby Neville (the second biggest), and the gray and white kitten Dean (easily the smallest.)

Sunday morning we woke up to find a large puddle of vomit on the floor, and a quick weigh-in showed that Neville and Dean were flat but Seamus had lost 2.5 ounces overnight. We syringe-fed him and gave him subcutaneous fluids, but two hours later he’d vomited again and lost another ounce. He was alert but weak, and we worried he might not survive the day.

Our HT coordinator suggested we give him a shot of Cerenia, which was what we’d been thinking also. Luckily we had a vial on hand. We syringe fed him more slurry and Nutrical and injected more fluids and the dose of Cerenia. Then we drove to Baltimore for a long-planned social engagement. We were away for five hours and nervous about what we’d find when we got home.

Opening the bunkhouse door we saw Seamus stretched out in the nest on the heating desk, and at first we thought he was dead. But he stirred as we entered, and we didn’t find any additional vomit. After he was fully awake, we fed him Nutrical and slurry, and he ate pretty well.

And a day later, he seems to have stabilized – still not eating unless we hand-feed him, but no longer vomiting or losing weight. He may be starting a gradual recovery. The only red flag is that he’s starting to resist being syringe-fed slurry. But he doesn’t fight when I give him Nutrical, so let’s hope it’s just a menu complaint rather than a rapidly progressing upper respiratory infection.

All three kittens have a little bit of eye crud, but otherwise don’t look like URI sufferers. Dean only resists being syringe-fed a little bit, and Neville doesn’t resist at all. And one or both of them actually ate a little canned food from the bowl overnight, though not enough to avoid losing a little weight.

Based on a suggestion from blog-reader Sarah, we’re calling this group the Breaking Bad Boys. As Martha noted, “we need to break their bad.” Right now, the main threat to the BB Boys is some kind of asymptomatic URI that prevents them from eating and eventually makes them hard or impossible to feed. We saw that with the gorgeous and apparently healthy Hellions kittens, all of whom were much bigger than the BB Boys but eventually succumbed to pneumonia.

We’re hoping that the BB Boys follow a much more common path and start eating on their own, after fighting off a virus over the course of a few days. Then we can continue trying to convert these hissers and spitters into the Breaking Good Boys.

filed by: TS



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