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Sola Survivor

Sunday
2/3/2013

Thanks again to all who sent us supportive thoughts and comments last week. For those who didnít follow the tweets or comments, we ended up losing all four of Nolaís kittens one by one.

We actually felt fairly optimistic on Tuesday morning when everyone had gained some weight after we started tube feeding. But it was clear by the next day that our optimism was misplaced. Surprisingly, it was Bud, the smallest and weakest, who lasted the longest.

On Wednesday night, after Bud had outlived Raven, Niner, and Dorito, we quit feeding him because we realized we were just prolonging the inevitable. He was having trouble breathing and wasting away slowly. We held and stroked him during his last hour and he didnít appear to be in distress, but we knew he was close to the end. Nola appeared to give up on them before we did. She would sleep in the nest, but she pretty much ignored her kittens the last few days.

After it was all over, I commented to Ted that I felt like this was less stressful than other losses weíve had. I decided it was because the tube feeding assured us that they were at least getting nutrients, and this feeding method was much less stressful for the kittens than trying to get them to take a bottle or syringe-feeding them. By tube feeding, we at least knew that they had a chance.

Ted had tried tube-feeding before, when I was in Africa, and I canít imagine how he managed to do it by himself. Itís definitely a two person job, and it didnít take long before we had a good technique going to do it as quickly and efficiently as possible. However, it is like trying to push a piece of cooked spaghetti down the throat of a squirmy kitten – not for the faint of heart. Fortunately, I only work a mile from home, so Ted would pick me up during the day a couple of times and take me back to work after we finished, so we could keep to our 3-hour feeding schedule. And fortunately, we will feel confident about doing it again in the future, and maybe weíll have a better outcome.

Meanwhile, Nola has almost overcome her URI and has completely regained her appetite. Doodle Bean asked about mastitis, and we had the same concern, but she didnít appear to have any problems at all. Itís possible that her own illness caused her milk to start drying up.

Iíve never seen an adult cat who wants to be in our laps so much. She climbs right up as soon as we sit down. Sheíll spend time with me, then head over to Tedís lap.

After a while, sheíll end up in the bed between us on the futon – purring and chirping as we pet her. She does like to play-bite and grab our hands with her paws, but she allowed us to trim her claws without any problem, so her playful hand grabs arenít painful any more. She is still sneezy and snuffly, but much better than she was. Sheíll probably be back to normal in a few days.

So, a long sad week, but as always when we have these experiences, we felt like we learned something that will help us in the future when we have sick tiny kittens.

filed by: ME

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