Comings and goings

Cupcake was the healthiest kitten I’ve ever had. When the others caught a URI, she was unfazed. The other kittens caught ringworm, and she never even got a smidgen of hair-loss. She was healthy, fun-loving and affectionate. So it comes as a surprise that, as of a few days ago, she is dead.

The shelter I volunteer for is the city shelter. They have had a partnership with another privately funded shelter in the city for many years now. This partnership allows the city shelter to transfer its overflow so it doesn’t have to euthanize for space. Cupcake was sent to the other shelter because Biscotti had eye boogers, marking him as a possible URI case. Since the others who were with him were exposed, they had to be moved to the private shelter as well. The city shelter really can’t afford to treat sick kittens, so this has worked out in general.

I have a much harder time tracking my kittens when they go over to the other shelter. I used to volunteer there, which would have made it easy, but I no longer go for reasons I would not like to discuss here (although the following story does illustrate one of my reasons). I have my friends look out for my babies in my place. I am glad I have these people because I would never have known otherwise. Apparently, Cupcake’s belly started to fill with fluid and she developed a fever. It came on pretty quickly, so the other shelter ran some tests. You see, they expected she had FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitus). I know that the other shelter has a few misunderstandings about FIP. They think that if one kitten in a litter gets it, all will get it (we’ve almost never had more than one kitten in a litter develop FIP at the city shelter). If the kittens are genetically related, the other shelter will kill them all. I had to get the city shelter to make the private (and might I add, very wealthy) shelter promise to return the other kittens in the litter or at least wait and see if they, too, develop FIP before killing them. They gave us a line about genetically related kittens being nearly guaranteed to catch it. We had to prove that the 3 kittens in that group were not genetically related and we told them our postition on the matter. The other shelter was ready to just make a few assumptions and kill them all, but my friend and I saved Biscotti’s and Milkshake’s lives that day. Why so quick with the killing, I wonder?

Back at home, I had more kittens to deal with. Wisteria learned that the bottle is her friend, and now she asks for it a little more often. She’s still pretty quiet, though. She was constipated for about 4 days. I gave her 0.1mL of vegetable oil, and a few hours later she passed a really hard (like dried pasta) poop. I gave her one more dose that night, and she passed a few more. It’s a good thing, because constipation can be just as deadly to a kitten as diarrhea. I figured she needed more bulk in her diet (she just sprouted teeth, too), so I’ve started adding a tiny bit of wet food to her bottle. I also gave her some KMR 2nd step (it’s like rice cereal for kittens) via a syringe. It seems to help her bowels keep moving. Most kittens are like a poop vending machine – put in a little milk, tickle their tummies, and out pops a turd. Wisteria is more difficult than that. Some kittens just are, I guess.

I had some overnight guests this weekend. These little boys were about 24 hours old when I got them. You can see in the picture of the brown kitten that he still has his umbilical cord attached. A mother cat left a few kittens in some construction machinery, so one of the construction workers brought them home so he and his wife could raise them. It didn’t take long before they realized that these kittens were way too much work for them to handle (they cried for food every 2 & 1/2 hours, which is more than any other kittens who lived with me needed), so they contacted our rescue group. After the way the Stars turned out, I decided I didn’t want to take kittens that small again. It just takes a lot of resources and the chances of their survival are slim – I’m thinking less than 5%. Fortunately, there was a cat at the shelter who was due to give birth any day now. I cared for them in hopes that they could be added to the litter, but I had to pass these kittens to another foster parent because we had a few unexpected things come up this weekend.

Lani and Kai are still here as well. Lani is getting friendlier by the day, and Kai has learned to at least tolerate us – it’s progress. They are growing like weeds. This is a welcome change from the last kittens. Some of them really held out there.

I started my spinning class this weekend. I am enthralled, to put it mildly. I got to take an Ashford Wheel kind of like this one home. I’ll include a picture tomorrow. I had to cover the thing up because as soon as I got it home, Serra figured she should make friends with it. It isn’t mine, so I have to be extra careful that she doesn’t hurt it. My homework assignment is to practice treadling. We didn’t get to spin this week because the teacher thought that learning to use the treadle and draft yarn was a lot to do all at once. She is ok if we try to spin this week, but she didn’t show us how, exactly.

I learned a lot yesterday. The teacher showed us new tools and the rawest of materials for spinning. She had a fleece that she divided up for us to take home and wash. It’s kind of easy, but I think I felted the grey one a little. I’m not sure how – they were all in at the same time. I should have gotten a picture of them before I washed, but maybe I can get a shot next week at class (I forgot my camera this time- crud).

We all were given a few pieces of skirted (washed) fleece to practice carding and making rolags (pronounced roll-logs). The bright pink stuff at the bottom is something she gave us to blend with the white stuff so we could practice blending. I’ll get some pictures of the process when the fleece I washed at home dries.

I was pretty proficient at carding. I made rolags like they were going out of style – the teacher decided that I needed more fleece to take home so that I wouldn’t get bored before our next class. I truly love this whole process. I think I was born in the wrong era. Oh, well.

I daresay I am a natural with this fiber making jazz. I showed the teacher the ball of yarn I made recently with the drop spindle, and she was genuinely impressed. I like that I have found a hobby that I have some natural talent for. Now I just need to buy a stinking house so I have room for a wheel. Sigh.


2 thoughts on “Comings and goings

  1. My heart aches for all the cute kittens you keep on posting here – they’re lucky to have someone who cares so much about their wellbeing!

    I just stopped by to say thank you for your comment about my slime dish cloth, but ended up reading weeks worth of entries. It’s the kittens! I have 3 cats myself, and love them all dearly, despite pee in our bed, poop on the floor and stepping in puke first time in the morning. At least now we have 2 litter boxes for them to share, hoping it will solve the problem 🙂 The puking is simply because one of them is too greedy – he eats too fast. Good think it doesn’t happen often.

  2. I’ve had 3 cats for almost a year now. The oldest one has been with us for 4 years. They’re all special, since one was the weakest of 3 cats before we got him, so he was used to being picked on. The second one was taken from her mom too early, which makes her desperate for attention all the time (not kidding, there’s not a minute passing by without her begging for me to pet her). The third one is actually quite normal 🙂
    They all get along well. We recently got another litterbox, so now they have 2 to share. It seems to have solved the problem. We don’t have room for more than the 2, so I really hope it will last. Some day we’ll have a house with a fenced-in garden, then they can poop all they want :p

    I think it’s the oldest one who pees and poops outside of the box. He’s always been the asshole of the bunch, and yet he’s such a sweetheart at the same time. I think we’re doing ok for now – new litter, an extra box, and being better at scooping – it all helps. We’re so lucky that all the cats get along well.

    I’d love to be able to take care of kittens like you do, but I simply do not have the resources or the space. The only shelter nearby is one of those where they kill cats after a certain amount of time – it breaks my heart, I wish I could save them all. I admire you for the job you do. So many people see cats as expendable, without realizing that kittens too deserve a good life, as much as anyone else.

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