foster kittens, the sad moments

When fostering kittens of this age, it s very important to not get emotionally attached.  It is very difficult to replicate what a kitten of a few days age needs, and is impossible to replicated a mother cat.  The commercial kitten formula is good, but there are enzymes, antibodies, and who knows what else in mothers milk that helps the kitten immune system grow to fend off the badies they come in contact with.

I made the mistake of getting attached…  Sunday night, one died after having issues eating during the day.  Last night, I fed the four at 6.  All ate like champs, and were very active.  At 9, one was very slow, but ate, but at a less then normal amount.  And one was not eating at all, would not move and was having issues breathing.  At 12 that one was dead…  The other three ate okay, but were very lethargic.  At 3am, two more had passed, and the last one was eating okay.  At 6, it was still eating, and had more energy.  Again at 9 it ate, and seems to be holding on very well.  We will see…

This just reiterates the need to have a true mother for the rearing of the kittens.  We have no way to tell what happened, just that we can do the best we can, and hope for the best.  It is very rare for kittens of this age to survive without a mother to care for them, and the mothers milk.  There are exceptions though, and our very own Steel is one of them, but the foster kitten fostered with him did not make it.

This also brings up the point of the cat problem this country has.  The feral and stray cat population explodes this time of year, mainly due to the lack of spay and neuter programs for strays.  It has been done in many communities, and worked very well.  But it comes down to funding, and sadly the public does not see the need.  Also, keeping your pet cat indoors and fixed will tremendously help the situation.  female cats can go into heat every other month, and will continue most of her life, and male cats are mature enough to breed at a very young age of 9 weeks.  On average a mother has 6-7 kittens.  This also causes issues with other diseases, some zoonotic including rabies, which studies show is on the rise in many parts of the country.  But that is another issue.

On a better note, the two juvenile fosters are doing great.  The URI symptoms are starting to subside, and they are feeling better.  Its amazing what a little rest, fresh air, and clavamox can do.  This has been a bad year for URI, as many of the commonly used antibiotics are not working as the current strain is becoming resilient.  There is also the issue that UIR symptoms that are seen are the same symptoms of a rare strain of herpes.  Our very own Jezebel has this, and is as healthy as can be, minus the little bit of constant eye infection, common sneezing, and gastro issues.  This form of herpes is totally immune to antibiotic treatment, but luckily, is non transferable.  Anyways, these two are doing great, and should be able to go up for adoption a few weeks, maybe sooner.  Just a round of dewormer and I think they should be good to go.

So the point is…  It has been a sad morning, but you need to find the plus.  The plus is we have done out best, what we can, and it reiterates the need to find a resolution to the cat population issue.  Yes, reiteration is a plus, as we can all get complacent.  Especially when we are surrounded around day after day.  It becomes routine, and that routine makes us desensitized to the matter at hand.  And the other plus is the two that are doing great.  Two lives saved is better then none.

Steel, a fostering success


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