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Monday, June 15, 2009

Kitten Rescue

"Halloween" cat didn't come back. After two days we had to assume the tri-color striped female wouldn't be back. She left a litter of four kittens, eyes just squinting open. My husband and I have been kitten foster parents for over a week.

This was labor intensive at first. Kittens don't drink cow milk; the next best available choice was goat milk. No milking goats here, just a cranky mini buck goat. Off to the store for condensed goat-milk-in-a-can. The vet box we keep here at the farm had one pet nursing bottle which would do until Monday. Milk appeared every two hours, as the babies made up for missed feedings.

Then there were bugs - fleas and lice crawling through the babies' dirty coats. At the hottest part of the day I shampooed them with the baby shampoo. The shampoo Art went back to the store to get. After they were clean, we had to wipe on flea spray to kill the unwanted livestock. Fleas and lice weaken infant critters.

Monday (6/8) Art leaped into the truck went to the vet for KMR (kitten milk replacer) and an extra bottle. The goat's milk wasn't working out, digestively speaking.

Kitten bottoms must be wiped after each feeding until their elimination systems become automatic. Four bottoms every two hours. I'm so tired.

Wednesday was Writers Group, and the babies needed a sitter. Fortunately our son lives nearby and agreed to kitten sit. We packed bottles, KMR formula, paper towels, terry towels to wrap them in while feeding, and smaller towels for their nether regions. It brought me back to safaris to the sitter when Matt was a baby. Good thing he doesn't charge. Going to Writers involves a 120 mi. round trip, so we packed in as many errands as we could, then picked up the babies at midnight and drove home for the next feeding.

The runt died Friday. He felt so still, small, and cold as I stroked him, then wrapped him in the pink towel he nursed in. Death is not unexpected on the farm, but it still affects me.

The three"tiddens", as we call them, put themselves on a five to six hour schedule now. Screams and shreiks of delight echo on the porch when the bottles are presented. They purr and wriggle as they suck and smack on the nipple. Their tiny arms wave in the air, and their fuzzy ears pump as they nurse. It feels good to see them thriving.


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