This is Christie again. Juvy gave me permission to post because she is sick! She has a nasty case of mastitis (infection of the mammary gland), and she can't do anything. She has barely moved all day. I just noticed this morning that she was lethargic and not eating or drinking, even with the freshest food and water. Then I picked her up to check her out, and she cried. She is an almost silent cat who usually barely even meows. When I put her down, she flopped down on her side and looked sad. I felt around, and one of her teats was really extra super swollen (one of the ones that doesn't have a normal nipple), and she cried again. It made me want to cry that she was in that much pain!
I called the vet and made an appointment and took her in at 2:30 PM. She was very dehydrated, so they gave her subcutaneous (under the skin with a needle) fluids. They gave her a big shot of antibiotics (that will continue working for two whole weeks) and some "Crisis" wet food that I'm supposed to feed her with a syringe until she starts eating it herself. I'm supposed to hold warm compresses on her abdomen three times per day, and I take her back to the vet on Wednesday morning to check on improvement. This is apparently a very serious illness. The vet said that the kittens can't nurse AT ALL anymore, and that we should in fact keep them separate from Juvy not only to prevent Juvy from getting worse, but to prevent the kittens from drinking infected milk.
Juvy has barely moved since we got home from the vet. I installed her in the master bedroom on the bed on a soft fuzzy blankie and I've been giving her water (she'll drink that by herself if I take it over and pet and encourage her) and syringes of food every once in a while. We're just going to let her stay right there as long as she wants to. We love to sleep with a cat on our bed!
We also found out recently that Juvy has FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus), which is a NON-LETHAL virus. It means that she may have more difficulty recovering from infections. The antibody to this virus will show up in the kittens' blood for a while (2-4 months), but the virus itself is not usually transmitted from mother to kitten in milk. It is only transmitted through saliva-to-blood interactions (very deep puncture bites), which are rare in households with spayed and neutered cats (Greg & I have had spayed and neutered cats for 15 years, and even in a household which had five non-related cats at one point, there has NEVER been a bite wound.) It does NOT travel from cat to cat via food or cleaning each other or sharing litter boxes. The research shows that the virus does not shorten the life of a cat, and it is not transmittable to any other species (dogs, humans, or any other animal can NOT get it). Here are some more links to tell you a little more if you want to know. There has been a lot of misinformation spread about FIV, and even some vets are misinformed that it's more serious than it is. The main take-home message is that if a cat has it, she may need a little extra time or medicine to recover from an infection if she gets one.
Here are some links about FIV:
Back to the kittens: I have been providing dry food to the kittens (because that's what Juvy has been eating) for about a week, and all of them except the Bear have been eating it successfully. He just didn't show much interest (silly boy!) Today I spent more time with the kittens after Juvy was set up in the master bedroom, and they are doing very well. I bought a bunch of wet kitten food in order to make sure that everyone had enough food even though there will be no more nursing at all. They all love the wet food, but they went back and forth between the wet and dry.
Most of them appear to be using the litter box, or at least mostly using the litter box. Good news that I did not yet post in the midst of this medical crisis was that the Skunk has used the litter box independently twice while I was watching! The Bear started to pee on the puppy pad next to the litter box, but I picked him up and put him in the litter, where he finished the job. There have been a couple of accidents, but only on the puppy pads, which means the kittens get the idea at least that the area near the litter box is the place to go. I am proud of them!
What all of this means is that the kittens are ready to go to their new homes! They may be moving in with their forever families THIS WEEK!
Today was very busy with the vet visit and getting Juvy set up in the master bedroom and making sure all the kittens are eating and drinking okay and making sure our other three cats have appropriate attention so that they aren't overly stressed by the changes. I did not get my exercise in (boo!) . . .
Look at the Otter's little tongue sticking out!!!
I think this is the Otter again, but the angle makes it difficult to tell. Two days ago, she got in the box and dug around and sniffed the litter, but didn't do anything. When she came out, she had a piece of litter stuck to her nose!
This picture is a little blurry (the kittens are non-stop motion machines!), but it's adorable, so I had to post it. The Skunk has a pixie-like, sweet little earnest face!
I love them all. If God brings it to your mind, please pray that the antibiotics will take effect quickly (I think the swelling has already gone down), that Juvy will want to eat and drink soon, and that she'll be completely well extra super fast! Thank you!
Here are some additional pictures. Two kittens eating hard food, Bear watching, unsure he believes that hard stuff is really good for him.
Here's the wet food we picked up for the kittens to make sure everyone's eating enough now that there's no more nursing:
Here's Juvy's "Crisis" food and the little syringe:
And here is sweet Juvy with her warm compress on. She's enjoying the comfy bed and the extra attention.
Her purr is getting louder and she's not crying as much. Yay! Keep healing, Juvy!