Calici

First of all, I’ve posted about our first day on the cruise ship. You can get to it by clicking here, or you can click on June 21st on the calendar on the right side of this page. We just got on the ship that day, so the excitement and scenery didn’t really start until the next day.

Also, I’ve finished 2 knitting projects – Clapotis and the socks I made while on the Hawai’i trip. I haven’t photographed Clapotis yet, but here are the socks:

finished Hawai'i socks

I had originally intended these to be knit with the 2-in-1 method, but I had to focus way too hard for a project that would largely be knit while I was on vacation and paying more attention to other things. I’ll try again soon.

As for the kittens, after a night to sleep on our decisions, Michael and I finalized our choices for their names. Sara was on the right track when she suggested that we were going with a Hawaiian theme. We actually expanded it a bit to include several Pacific Islands. I don’t have individual pictures yet (they squirm a bit when held), but soon I’ll connect the names and faces. The pure white kittens are Palau and Marquesas. You can tell them apart because Marquesas has 1 blue eye and 1 gold one, while Palau has 2 gold eyes. The littlest kitten we named Tonga – he’s mostly black on top with a white underside. The other black and white kitten is Molokai and the orange and white fellow is Samoa.

The kittens in this litter have been the victims of an unfortunate fact of shelter life. Since the shelter is a bit like kindergarten, full of others who have underdeveloped immune systems and an incomplete (at best) vaccination history, any kitten who spent any time at the shelter is likely to come down with some sort of disease. In this case, the babies and their mother have Calici (Kuh-LEE-see).

Calici is a viral form of an upper respiratory infection (URI) that causes ulcers on the inside of the mouth and more recently, on the nose and face. Cats who receive yearly vaccines (FVRCP) had been immune for a long time, but the virus has mutated into a vaccine resistant form. Wesley, Buttercup and Serra caught it one year, and they were miserable. Wesley growled at his food as he ate because it hurt to much. Serra drooled blood onto her pretty white fur. Buttercup’s nose was gory and bloody, and she lost a lot of weight from not eating. Only Serra avoided spending the night in the hospital.

It appears that these kittens and their mother are either handling their virus well, or they are just getting over it. They all eat well, but I can see sores on the roof of their mouths. I’ve circled the sores in yellow on the pictures below (click the pictures to see it in more detail):

calici in mouth calici on nose

Normally the nose sores turn up on the nose leather (the pink part on Tahiti’s nose) rather than on the bridge of the nose. I think that it has to be worse that way – their nose gets into their food, making it hurt worse – ugh. The only treatment for this disease is pain medication. Usually the vets give me Buprenorphine, a controlled substance (an opiate, more precisely), but this time the shelter is trying a more natural treatment – Green Tea. I can only guess it’s working because the kittens are eating and they don’t seem to be in pain. On the other hand, cats are notorious for hiding pain well.

On the bright side, I think the Island family will get over this obstacle pretty easily. They are all growing or at least maintaining their weight. They drink appropriate amounts of water, and they don’t seem to have contracted a secondary bacterial infection. The only concern I have is my Wesley – he catches that virus every time that it comes into the house. The girls have developed proper immunity to it, so they missed the second bout. It wasn’t so bad for Wesley the second year he caught it, but it has alerted me to a possible immune condition he may have. For now, all I can do is wash my hands between cats and be sure to put any used plates of kitten food in the dishwasher immediately (Wesley has a nasty habit of jumping on the counter and stealing food now that his food intake is restricted). Wish him luck.

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One thought on “Calici

  1. Poor kitties. I hope they feel better soon! I love the names you chose (and the theme!)

    I also love your socks! You are so talented. I sometimes wish I was good at knitting so I could makes socks. I can’t wait to see your Clapotis!

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