Without giving a lot of detail about “who”, here is how we have ended up with nine sick kittens, and unaltered adults still to figure out about. Older Daughter went to “hang out” with a friend she had virtually lost contact with over the last three years. Older Daughter pictured herself and the friend going to the mall and maybe to dinner, looking at cute guys and doing some shopping. What happened instead was that she stepped directly into a nightmare.
I won’t give the details of the living arrangements. I will let you use your imagination as to what the property was like. What I WILL tell you is that when my daughter arrived at the property, she was shocked at how her friend was living. There were sick cats and kittens everywhere. She said she started having that swimmy feeling as she quit hearing what was being said to her and her eyes locked onto kitten after kitten. She discovered that the kittens had hundreds and hundreds of fleas. Some couldn’t see because their eyes were sealed shut. She picked up one kitten after another and most were absolute skeletons. There were two female adult cats indoors that were too skinny to have properly fed their litters. Older Daughter asked about the total number of adults and was told there were three females inside and three males outside. Obviously, they regularly mixed. My daughter asked if any had been spayed or neutered. No.
The clear goal became how to get out of there with the kittens. Her heart was racing and she was overwhelmed. She texted her sister so as not to have an “outloud” conversation with one of us. Younger Daughter began to relay messages to me through her texts from her sister. Older Daughter texted that the shelter might be able to take some of the kittens, but would NOT be able to take any of the adults. (She wasn’t even sure they could take any of the kittens.) She would try to talk her friend into letting her take the sickest ones. The friend agreed, but Older Daughter started feeling panicky about leaving ANY of them behind. At some point, the friend’s boyfriend arrived and met my daughter. Because she was talking about the kittens, he said - The yellow -&-white one died. My daughter’s friend said - Oh, no. When? He said - Oh, earlier today. That was it. My daughter wasn’t leaving without ALL of the kittens. She was secretly texting to Younger Daughter all the while. Younger Daughter and I got busy. We cleaned and prepared a cage. Before long, Older Daughter called. I’m on my way - she said. I have ALL of the kittens. But what do we do about the adults left behind? In a matter of weeks, this very situation will be re-running.
Everything got blurry around the edges for a while. Younger Daughter and I were flying around, preparing for a huge load of kittens, wondering how sick they were and how many would fall to the yellow-&-white one’s fate. Older Daughter was making her way home with two cardboard boxes of flea-infested kittens. Un-altered adults were left behind. Older Daughter had been in touch with the shelter. They are overloaded with kittens right now, but might be able to take some if they get some placed. The adults they simply could not take - ever. They are severely over their maximum numbers because of all of the flood victim kitties that recently came in. Adult cats simply do not get adopted. They could not help us with those.
When she got home, Younger Daughter ran out to meet her. We got the two boxes unloaded into a cage. The kittens couldn’t stop scratching because they were crawling with fleas. Yet three of them barely moved they were so weak. We decided to try baths, but the first kitten we bathed was so frightened (and the fleas were too numerous), so we abandoned that idea. They were too young for anything but Capstar, so I started weighing them and the girls started giving the proper dose to each. Then the girls started bathing eyes to gentle open them. Antibiotic drops in the worst of the eyes was next. While the girls worked on eyes, I started fixing food and warming kitten formula (which I always keep on hand). We thought the kittens were old enough to eat dry kitten food. I put out the superior-quality food that Virginia had recently sent to me. Some of the kittens raced to the bowls, growling and trying to push others away.
The kittens are of so many different sizes that it appears these are kittens from four or five litters. The friend told Older Daughter that there were three litters. But we have one kitten that is twice as big as the others - she looks to be about two months old. There are a couple of kittens that are next in size - maybe six weeks old (but oh so skinny). Then there are four kittens that are all about the same size, maybe only a week or so behind the two. A little gray-&-white, the only one of that color, is so small I would guess four weeks. And the last one is so tiny that it is just impossible to believe that it is walking around. It is the tiniest kitten I have ever seen - bone thin and in the worst shape of all. I know it surely has to be at least four weeks old, but there must be something wrong. Even if it was the runt, it is SO much smaller than all of the others that you can hardly wrap your mind around it. This one’s eyes re-seal after every round of drops and almost immediately after bathing them open. And it doesn’t eat so I am feeding it with an eye dropper.
The condition of some of these kittens is as bad as I’ve seen (and I’ve seen some pretty bad things). The most shocking thing is their weight. They had access to momma cats, so all I can think is that the moms were not producing enough milk. I have been formula-feeding the tiniest one (now named Dearest), but I discovered last night that two others are not eating. They are bigger than Dearest, but for some reason won’t eat. So I have started formula with them, too. The flea situation is now under control. The Capstar got rid of the masses of fleas. Because of the massive infestation, all of the kittens are anemic. The only one we couldn’t use Capstar on was Dearest. She is so tiny, there isn’t even a dosage for her size. And she is so weak that we didn’t dare stress her with a bath. So we are picking fleas off of her.
Yesterday, I said I might need you, CB. And I got comments on the blog and many emails - all with the same message - “How can we help?” You all have been so good to us here that I told a friend in an email that I didn’t want to ask for help. Here is what she said in return -
I realize that the CB has already helped you and you are hesitant about asking for more help, but as a member of the CB I can tell you that this type of situation and the fact that you're there to help is exactly the type of situation the CB is there to help with. I can't speak for the other members, but we're all in this particular group because we love animals, and obviously these animals need our help too. You're on the front lines fighting for the lives of souls that we all hope we can save, so I don't think you should fight alone. Those of us who are not directly involved in a rescue group but wish we could help, can help by donating to or adopting from you and people just like you.
As she said - she can’t speak for the CB, but she sure did make me feel better with her words and that sentiment. In comments and emails, people are asking me how they can help. So I’m just gonna say it. We’re on our own with this one. The shelter where my daughter is employed is in the middle of a funding crisis and way over their numbers on animals. To do this right, we need to get the six adults from that property or there will be three more litters and then three more and then three more . . . . We have nine kittens. I am hoping beyond hope that the shelter will be able to take the kittens (or at least some of them) when we get them healthy again. The shelter is currently over-run with kittens and will have to get lots of those adopted out first. My daughter said that her friend’s boyfriend said they want to get down to ONE cat. I’m worried about what that means in terms of the fate of the six adults there. Some of you suggested spay/neuter and release. That is definitely an option as we cannot move FIFTEEN cats into our cathouse even with the addition of Winnie’s Room. But if these people are going to take any of these cats off to be dumped somewhere, then I will have no choice but to take them. Not speaking to the needs of the kittens at all, the cost to spay & neuter the six adults will run right at $600. I will set up a chip-in just in case any of you can help financially. I will only do this because so many of you have told me I should. The other thing is homes. I was going to do a big push this coming week on the blog to try to get some of our remaining cathouse gang into homes so we could make lots of room for the inevitable. But the inevitable got here sooner than I had planned and in numbers I never could have predicted. So if any of you can find a spot in your home for an additional cat or kitten, that would be the greatest gift of all. If you know of a home other than your own that would adopt a new kitty member, just please remember that we want ONLY amazing homes - indoor homes where kitties are family members, not just pets. I thank you in advance for any effort you are willing to put into this endeavor. And please keep the prayers and positive energy coming for the health of the kittens. At least three of them are struggling. Dearest is hanging in the balance. I want this group to follow in Gabriel’s footsteps and not follow the path of Elfius. Thank you.
Thursday night. The first picture is Dearest. (Does she remind you of anybody?)