My heart breaks quietly

I’ll start with the good stuff:

The babies opened their eyes a few days ago. Alcor was first, followed by the other two about two days later.

I hoped that I was out of the woods at that point. They have a slim chance of survival when their eyes are not yet open, so I believed I was home free. Alas, that was not true.

Alcor was cold when I found him this morning, about 8:30. The others were screaming and going about their usual demanding ways, but little Al was just groaning. I heated up a heat disk, gave him sub-q fluids and syringed simple syrup into his mouth. He wasn’t warming up, and he got quieter with every passing moment. I started to feel overwhelmed, so I called a few of my fellow foster parents. Linda, the sweetest woman in the world, came over to my house to help me through my ordeal. She rubbed him, put the sugar water in his mouth, kept him warm…

But it was no use. Poor Alcor died on the way to the hospital, at about 10:00 this morning. I wrapped him up in a washcloth and took him in. The vet tech put her stethescope to his chest, but could hear nothing. His heart had given up.

This is a bit of a shock because, just last night, we had friends over to meet all the kittens. They helped bottle feed them and fell in love. I think they might even become foster parents in the future! Alcor was demanding last night, just like normal, but he was having a little trouble accepting the bottle. I wasn’t worried – that happens a lot.

This morning, though, there was a ton of diarrhea in the cage. They have all had diarrhea for about a week now. Merak got over his, and Mizar is at least firming up, but Alcor was getting worse. Diarrhea can kill kittens pretty quickly. They get dehydrated easily, and when that happens, you have a ticking clock counting down the days (or sometimes hours or minutes) until they die or you save them.

This is all pretty fresh to me. It’s been an hour since it ended for Alcor. My heart is wounded… broken. Sweet little Al died with two people loving him, keeping him warm. I got to kiss him good-bye, which is a huge deal for me. When my lips touched his cold head, I knew he had left his body. <groan>

But now, I have to buck up. I have Al’s two brothers to feed and keep alive. I have to deal with the other kittens who have ringworm (I need to get them into a new home for treatment). This is not the first time I have dealt with kitten mortality, and it certainly won’t be the last. But at least I gave the baby a chance.

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2 thoughts on “My heart breaks quietly

  1. I’ll remember those little kittens (Alcor and now Mizar) and feel very lucky to have held them, if only briefly.

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