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Flying Colors

Sunday
9/19/2010

On Saturday afternoon, Martha flew out to St. Louis to visit her sister Fran in the house they both grew up in… and took Margo with her! Fran has been interested in Margo for a while, but until recently she wasn't able to adopt a cat. Now she is, and we're thrilled since Margo and Fran are a great fit. The only "fit" question we had related to air travel; would a soft-sided carrier big enough for Margo fit under the airplane seat? And how would she react to an extended confinement? What if we had to put her in a hard carrier and send her as cargo?

Fortunately, Saturday afternoon is a low-intensity travel time, and Martha had a bank of seats to herself. The flight was smooth and arrived early, and Margo handled the entire trip with aplomb. Aside from a few hours of thunder and lightning last night which sent her under the bed, Margo is adapting beautifully to her new, more expansive territory. Even though Martha will be visiting for several days, Margo hopped onto Fran's bed a few times last night. Sounds like the start of a great relationship!

Meanwhile the Campers have been flying around the villa, albeit at a much lower altitude. Last week the three boys stalled out for a few days on the weight gain front. They got back in gear as Savannah and Scout started to spin their wheels. Now everyone feels fat and spring-loaded again. And thanks to the turning season, I found canned pumpkin on the shelf at Safeway for the first time in months. I'm mixing it into their wet food with the hope that it will end the sloppy poop era for good. We're getting closer, but full tubularity in the litter box still hasn't arrived yet.

In the nursery, the Divers are eating canned food on their own schedule. I deliver three meals a day, and they're doing a good job of polishing them off. They're still getting Azithromycin and Viralys gel, but their breathing sounds normal now – even though Oggi wanders around making exaggerated sniffing sounds as he tries to smell objects he was never able to smell before.

The principal remaining symptoms of the Divers' horrible feline herpes virus infection are weepy eyes and clouded corneas. Idoxuridine (which has worked wonders for us against brutal-looking eyes in the past) has ended the inflammation, crustiness, and gunk, but Oggi and to a lesser extent Gigi both have one cornea that looks whitish and must be difficult or impossible to see through. Corneal involvement isn't unusual with feline herpes, so we're crossing our fingers that the eye meds will clear it up. If it doesn't improve soon, I'll take them to a vet.

Their eyes aren't slowing them down; they spend more and more time wandering around the reconfigured nursery. From outside the room I hear ping-pong balls rolling around. When I entered last night, I saw Gigi swatting at Oggi's tail. Today she chirped at me from the floor while I was administering Oggi's eye meds. And they're gaining weight at a pace we've only seen a few times before – with kittens that (due to illness or environment) were previously starving.

We still do have one fosterling who isn’t thriving, and he's the biggest kitten in the house. I moved Brett up to the bunkhouse yesterday after Margo left. Now that we have him out from under the villa futon, I've been able to verify a few things. First, he's practically feral. When placed in the open, he shrinks, flattens his ears, hisses, and tries to hide. But he doesn’t resist being picked up, and if you put him in your lap and stroke him, he starts purring within a minute.

Second, he isn't eating. I suspected as much, but we couldn't be sure when he shared the villa with the Campers. So I'm back in the syringe-feeding game. Fortunately his breathing isn't impaired, so he accepts the syringe readily, and it only takes a few minutes to get 20cc of slurry and a few cc of Nutrical into him. But he's much older than our other fosterlings – probably 4-5 months – so he should be eating much more than we've been feeding the Divers.

Aside from anxiety and/or depression, I don't think Brett has any significant health issues, but it's too early to say that with confidence. He was shivering as I fed him, even though it's about 75 degrees in the bunkhouse. I brought up a space heater for him and tucked him into a circular bed with a shrunken wool sweater for a pillow. Hopefully he'll relax and start eating on his own soon.

filed by: TS

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