Friday, August 10, 2012

Such a Very Tiny Kitty

On my birthday, I received a text from my mother, informing me that another one of her farm cats had just given birth to kittens.

I joked that the dark one would make an excellent birthday gift, because who doesn't love a teeny tiny kitty, right? Obviously she was far, far to young to be taken from her mother, but it was fun to tease my boyfriend about bringing another one home and giving Isis a little brother or sister.

Last week, we took a trip out to my mother's place to meet the little ones. There were probably other reasons, but let's face it: all you really need is teeny tiny kittens.

It soon became apparent that this little one was having some serious problems.

Poor little one. My mother has gone out of town for a few days, so I told her that we'd come by to check up on the little one, check the mail, raid the garden... but mostly check up on the little one.

We went out on Tuesday evening, and things got serious. I stepped out of the garage and looked down, and there was the little grey one, laying like she was asleep, but... well. The little dark one was still alive, somehow, even though her sister appeared to be the stronger, healthier one. However, the sister didn't get a few extra feedings of KMR formula, and this one did.

I let my mother know, and she mentioned that the kitten's mother had probably stopped producing milk. We made a fast decision, and brought her home with us. Since then, my boyfriend has been spending his days and nights trying to nurse the little one to health. We weighed her, and she was only 4 ounces. When I checked the wisdom of the internet the next day, I got quite the shock. A healthy three-week-old kitten should be closer to 10 ounces.

Getting her to eat was difficult. We (but mostly my boyfriend) spent a lot of time forcing KMR into her mouth, drop by drop, via a nursing bottle, or a syringe, or on the tips of our fingers. Anything we could think of to just get her weight up.

This was two nights ago. She's curled up in the palm of my hand, fitting so easily. This would be adorable, if I didn't have bizarrely small hands for an adult. Instead, all I could think of was how very sadly tiny she was.

And then she started walking normally.

That was yesterday morning, I believe. It was still a struggle to get her to eat, and her legs still had a tendency to lock in that awkward position, but we saw some improvement. I convinced my boyfriend to call the vet today, and he was able to get her in this afternoon. This is what we learned:

  • She's extremely dehydrated
  • Her body temperature was much lower than it should have been
  • She's underweight
He's loaned us an incubator to get her body temp up, and gave us some special canned food to mix with the KMR to feed her, as well as droppers to make feeding easier. She received two shots at the office to help with the dehydration, and we're now trying to feed her every 2 or 3 hours or so. 

This was just after I got home from work today. It was such a relief to see her going after the food like that. We fed her again just a few minutes ago, and it was kind of a struggle to get her to eat, but we're much, much more hopeful about her survival chances. We're taking her to the vet again tomorrow morning, but all through the night we're going to be feeding her in shifts. 

We've been trying to be cautious and realistic about her chances for survival. You may have noticed that we don't appear to have named her. I'm hoping that a week from now, I'll be able to post more photos, and more videos, of a much healthier kitten (named Freya, if I get my way). 

Isis, by the way, appears to have had mixed feelings about the whole matter. I'm trying to give her extra cuddles, and I ordered her a new toy from tonight. But she's still absolutely gorgeous, and a complete and total handful. 


Just got back from the vet visit. Her weight is up a little bit, and her body temp is normal now. We are still going to use the incubator, and she got more fluid injections, as well as some antibiotic ointment for a squinty left eye. But she's eating better, and with the other improvements, I hope she'll be out of the woods soon.
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  1. Great post. I learned a few things. :) Good luck.