laturner: (kitten mews)
Here are a few videos of the kittens!

This one is just cute, the kittens in the tote wanting to be fed. This video is a week old, when their little ears were just nubbins.

This video is Gesthen demonstrating equipment needed to ensure milk is the proper temperature to feed kittens.

How to make a kitten pee!

How to make a kitten poo!

How to wrap a kitten in order to do the previous two undignified things to its bottom!
laturner: (kitten mews)
The orphan kittens are three weeks old now (and maybe a few days older). They are a lot sturdier on their legs and are starting to play and fight with each other! Orlando even had "midnight crazies" for the first time, I think he was trying to chase his shadow. So cute!

We have started mixing some canned kitten food into milk and feeding it to them through a nipple that has been basically cut mostly right off so the canned food bits will go through. We start each kitten on that, they're so hungry that by the time they realize it tastes funny they've eaten some of it. Then we finish them off on milk. Soon we'll be trying to get them to drink milk from a saucer, then adding canned kitten food to that.

The room in the basement is almost ready. Gesthen has cleaned out the cage formerly used for rabbits and mopped the floor. We found a set of "pet steps" that will work nicely as a way for the kittens to get in and out of the cage. They won't be ready to do that on their own for a few days yet, but they do need to be in a space where they can have a litter box and some dry food and water available.

They grow so fast! Pictures are behind the cut! )
laturner: (kitten mews)
Kittens love to snuggle into fake fur and suck on it as they go to sleep. We discovered this when we put a cat bed in their plastic tote that had fake fur on it. Makes sense, it would be like their mom.

But what to do when that one piece of fake fur gets peed on and is in the wash?

Use a plush stingray, of course. It isn't quite like that one, I got it from the Mandalay Bay aquarium gift shop. It's nice and flat with lots of suckling surface. The kittens love it.

And someday someone will ask why I have a plush stingray, and I'll say "For the kittens to suck on, of course."
laturner: (kitten mews)
The kittens are doing very well, gaining anywhere from 5g to 30g each day. Today we clipped their claws for the second time. When they're really small the claws are just too darn small to safely clip, so you do have to put up with scratches. I find that using hand cream helps, because dry skin will scratch very easily.

It's getting harder to hold the little squirmers when we pee and poo them. I wrap a fuzzy washcloth around them so that I can hold them tight without having to actually try and grab their little arms. Scruffing them doesn't work because their reflex is to tuck up their legs and tail, effectively blocking access to the area. Sigh! And oh the mewing. First they seem to realize they feel better, and they stretch their legs and stay quiet. When the pressure starts getting relieved, they start to mew indignantly. Should a poo come along, then it's OMG ALIENZ ARE IN MAH BUTT and they start MEWING so loud that it actually can make your ears "cut out" like any loud noise. You'd swear we were killing them.

They are starting to lift themselves off the ground and actually walk! Opal even jumped for the top edge of the plastic tote! Of course she didn't make it, but it was so cool to see. Orlando managed to get his back legs working but his front legs weren't organized yet. He would jump in a direction but the landing... not so elegant.

Oliver was getting too much milk (runny poo) so we reduced his feedings a bit and it's much better now, and he's still gaining weight. We have to watch Oreo carefully as she would eat until she burst if she was allowed. Reminds me so much of Dancer from our D litter, who ate until he threw up and then had to be taken to the emergency vet because he was in an insulin coma. He survived, which was amazing.

I often wonder what our kittens are like now. Did they find good homes? What did they look like when they grew up? DId we do a good job socializing them? Unfortunately we haven't heard from anyone who has adopted a kitten from us. We even gave a DVD of kitten pictures and a "thank you for adopting" card (containing contact info and a request for updates) with each kitten from our F litter, in hopes that the families would contact us once the kittens were grown. Nothing. It's just a bit disappointing.

If you've adopted a pet from a shelter, please email them with your "Success story" of how your new family member is doing. I guarantee you'll make someone's day.
laturner: (kitten mews)
The kittens are starting to be able to see things now. When we're burping them they will sometimes sit up and look at our faces intently, trying to figure out what the heck we are. So cute!

So here's the daily routine, repeated at 8am, 2pm and 9pm. It takes about an hour and a half each time. So many kittens!

- mix up milk from powder, or take leftover milk from fridge to reheat
- put down towels on table, get washcloth for kitten wrangling
- have log sheet nearby so we do all the kittens in order and don't forget any.
- check bedding and make sure none of the kittens have peed on it. Very occasionally they will pee from the stimulation as they crawl around.
- first, one person wraps the kitten's upper half in the washcloth, securing the shoulders but not putting pressure on the belly. We call this the "purrito". The other person grabs baby wipes and starts rubbing the kitten's bottom. Kitten usually stays still at first, but as the immediate need to pee goes away, the kitten remembers it's hungry and starts squirming and mewing LOUDLY. If there is a poo, double the loudness of the mewing by ten. Such little lungs, SO LOUD! They're sure we're killing them! You have to be firm though, because they need to get the pee and poo out.
- write down on the log sheet if they've pooed
- weigh kitten on kitchen scale, write weight in log, compare to yesterday's weight. This may be the same for a few days, but should go up by anywhere from 5g to 25g per day. If it goes down, keep an eye on that kitten and make sure it's eating enough.
- once all seven have been peed and pooed, then it's time to feed them.
- make sure milk is between 38 and 41 degrees C. Use baby bottle warmer if necessary. [livejournal.com profile] gesthen rocks at knowing how long to leave the bottles in there to reach the perfect temperature.
- feed kittens in order they are listed on log sheet so you don't miss any. Not that you could miss any, since they are all screaming for milk by this point, and if you miss one it will protest until you remember it.
- watch the bottle closely to make sure there are bubbles rising through the milk. If the bubbles stop, the kitten is sucking in air and will have a very uncomfortable tummy, and may throw up.
- burp each kitten by holding it and patting or stroking its back and tummy until it has burped "enough". If it drank a little, one burp is probably enough, if it drank a lot, it may need three or four burps.
- once the seventh kitten has had its first round of milk, check the temperature of the milk in the bottles and heat if necessary.
- second round of feeding: much as the first, feed and burp each kitten.
- third round: pee and poo each kitten, write any poo in the log, and then give each kitten one final turn at the bottle, watching its tummy to ensure that it's round but not getting too, too full. Most kittens will stop when they're full, but you may get one that will stuff itself until it throws up, and that one you need to watch.
- by this time all the kittens should be falling asleep. We're keeping them in a large plastic tote with a towel over a heating pad in the bottom. We put the lid on it sideways so there is airflow, then put them in a dark spare bedroom where they can sleep. They may still be mewing, but after they are left alone for a few minutes they will all be asleep.
- wash up bottles and put away leftover milk in fridge. (Only keep liquid milk for 24 hours max. This is not a problem because with seven kittens, we are going through enough milk to keep it fresh.)
- plan errands and life so that we can be back home for the next feeding.

I hope that helps anyone else thinking about feeding foster kittens! Most of the time you won't have seven kittens and this will take a much shorter time. If you do have fewer kittens, make sure to wait about 10 minutes between rounds of feeding so that they will eat enough to last them until the next one.
laturner: (kitten sleeping)
It's almost time for the last feeding of the day! This afternoon I got some better pictures of the growing kittens, I finally got a good flash for my camera. It really made a difference! The kittens are about two weeks old now.

I've put the pictures in a gallery on my website, so you don't have to worry about a flood of huge pictures if you click the link, but you can view a slideshow of them if you like in the gallery.

See the pictures!
laturner: (kitten sleeping)
The kittens are all growing and eating well. It is taking longer each time to feed and clean them, right now we're at about an hour and a half each time, or nearly five hours a day. There is no way we could be doing this if we were working. We have managed to do it for four kittens in the past, but seven is just insane! We're glad things worked out for the kittens with the timing, but we honestly are disappointed that our vacation plans were scrapped. Holding a purring, contented, sleepy kitten does make up for a lot of that though. :)

Adding to the fun is the fact that I managed to trip and fall on a perfectly fine sidewalk, landing on my side and whacking my rib cage a good one. I'm going to the doctor today to have it checked out, but it means that bending and moving in certain ways is not a happy thing for me, so [livejournal.com profile] gesthen has to do even more. I appreciate it so much, but I also feel guilty. Thank goodness I didn't injure anything that keeps me from feeding and cleaning kittens.

Today Oreo drank a bit much and when we went to pee and poo her after feeding, even though she'd burped, she burped up milk into her mouth. I immediately brought her upright and patted her back, then to make sure she wouldn't breathe the milk in, I took a firm grip on her and swung her down toward the ground, head-first, a couple of times. That uses centripetal force to get any milk out of her lungs. It worked well and she did sneeze a little, but seems fine. We're going to have to make sure she doesn't overeat.

Busy Day

Jun. 1st, 2009 12:11 am
laturner: (bear-cute)
We were up at 8am to feed kittens, and we also had some friends coming over to finally take the playground set out of our backyard. It's a big wooden thing and takes up a lot of room, especially considering we have no kids. :P Rather, took up a lot of room, because it's gone!

Originally our friends were going to disassemble and reassemble it at their place. Unfortunately once it started coming apart, it became clear that it was older than we thought it was. There was a lot of rotten wood and rusted bolts. At the end our friends decided to just take most of it to the dump and keep the slide and a few boards.

We felt bad because it was supposed to be a fair trade. So, we took our friends out for a really nice supper tonight. They worked their butts off.

The kittens are all doing well. It was a bit frustrating tonight because we ran out of one brand of kitten milk and the kittens could tell the milk had changed. They didn't take to the bottles quite as well, and one kitten even wrinkled its little nose when it started to drink. Smells the same to me, but apparently not to them. The good news is that they eventually drank it anyway. Plus which, today a few had a poo, which made us feel good that they weren't binding up or something silly like that. And by "had a poo", you have to imagine this squirming kitten mewing and twisting up and down while I hold its tail and [livejournal.com profile] gesthen furiously rubs at its butt, trying not to get poo all over. Meanwhile the kitten is doing contortions and seems to have the goal of using its tail as a poo paintbrush.

But it's all worth it when they are a happy sleeping kitten pile again. :P
laturner: (kitten sleeping)
It's just about time to feed them all again. In the meantime, here's some more cute pictures! )
laturner: (kitten sleeping)
We were driving home to meet my niece and her boyfriend, and I suddenly gasped "Oh no... seven Oh Names!"

It took [livejournal.com profile] gesthen a few seconds to realize what I meant.

This is our "O" litter, which means all the names have to start with O. Seven of them.

At least it wasn't Q. :P

We already have a few ideas. The kitten that is black and quite a bit of white can be Oreo. The light orange one, of course, is OJ. We like Olive, Oscar, Ono (Ono, get away from there!), Owen, and Orlando.

When we were trying to get them all weighed and looked at, they were mewing up a storm. Our cat Molly was absolutely fascinated by them. She started meowing and obviously wanted to go into the box with them. We carefully watched her and let her go to see what she'd do. She carefully positioned a kitten by pushing it with her nose, then picked it up in her mouth to head off with it. It was totally "You monkeys obviously aren't doing anything, so I'm going to take care of this myself!" Molly's eyes were HUGE. We had to put her in her room and close the door so she wouldn't keep trying to "help" the kittens. Poor murr.

Kittens!

May. 29th, 2009 10:17 pm
laturner: (kitten sleeping)
My niece called in a panic today. She lives in a small town about an hour's drive away, and she is a supervisor at a recycling depot. They brought in a trailer full of cardboard boxes this morning and as they started unloading it, they heard plaintive mewing.

Someone had stuffed seven kittens in a small box, closed it up, and left it with the recycling.

That makes me so angry. I leave it to karma to deal with them... but I'd still like a few minutes in a room with whoever left the kittens there. I get a baseball bat and one swing for each kitten. But I digress. At least the kittens were rescued before the baler.

Anyway, my niece was desperate for someone to take care of the kittens.

So of course [livejournal.com profile] gesthen and I offered to take them. It was serendipity at its finest. We were celebrating my last day of work before we're both taking six weeks off... so we have plenty of time for the three feedings per day these guys will need. We had planned to go on a road trip, but like [livejournal.com profile] gesthen says, seven furry little lives trump a road trip any time.

When my niece and her boyfriend brought them to us, the kittens were all mewing loudly and crawling around. We mixed up three bottles of kitten milk replacer and started feeding, burping, and of course rubbing their bums to make them pee and poo. My shirt is covered in splashes of kitten milk replacer, but the kittens are warm, content, and sleeping now. I'm so happy. :)

My niece took some pictures of them today, I'll have more soon I'm sure. ;)

Pictures under the cut! )

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May. 5th, 2009 09:10 am
laturner: (Default)
I decided I'd better get an account here in case all my LJ friends move here. :)
laturner: (snoopy writes)
My favorite show these days is BSG, and I can't help speculating on what happened to one of the main characters. Please let me know what you think of this. I could find spoilers about the season finale if I wanted to, but I wanted to write this before knowing what really happens. I think it would be cool if it happened this way. :) SPOILERS here up to and including the episode where Lee is assigned to guarding Baltar's lawyer. This takes place after that episode. Not that it will matter because it is only a possiblity until the finale airs, but hey. :)

I've let my writing muscles atrophy for too long.  I hope you enjoy this and that it isn't too painful to read. ;)

What May Be... )
laturner: (laugh bear)
This journal is friends only. This is what people do if they don't want everyone in the world to read their online journal. Simple, isn't it?
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