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Foster Cat Journal: Snots R Us

It seems as though Polly has been sick for most of her short life. At about 13 weeks of age, she's been sick for a good 10 weeks. Her sister, Cara Melle and brother, Chester Cheesetoes have also been sickly, too. Their Mama, Mazie, has been mostly spared, but being an adult, her immune system is strong and fully developed. Her job is to hang out and keep the babies company, until I get her adopted. My job is to learn to ride the waves of fear and anxiety, wondering if these little guys are going to succumb to their illness or overcome it.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Mazie (is not mad!), Polly and Cara (Center).

It seemed as though homeopathy was going to make the big difference in getting the cats better, but in the blink of an eye-about 48 hours, really, Polly took a serious turn for the worse. I got her to Dr. larry and he did a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia and put her on antibiotics-again, will it really help? This is VIRAL! I had to go with it. It was the Holidays so I couldn't reach Dr. Hermans to ask what other things I could do for her from a homeopathic standpoint.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. A few days ago, Cara was doing fairly well.

Polly's left eye sealed shut AGAIN. That eye has been a problem for her since the beginning. I took her into the bathroom and ran the shower. She was VERY snotty and was very tired. In a day or so she perked back up, so I didn't have to do another Vet run.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Poor Polly. Snotty and feeling like crud. Getting a steamy shower treatment in the bathroom.

None of the kittens were resolving their URI. I took them to Dr. Hermans and we discussed treatments for them. She reminding me that their case is a complex one and that I couldn't have come up with a treatment for them on my own just yet. She made some suggestions and a plan for me while the kittens ran around her office, exploring every nook and cranny. She felt they were NOT in bad shape at all and that in time we should be able to get them to recover.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Chester is doing well and SO CUTE!

A few days later, I took Polly and her siblings to see Dr. Larry for a re-check. He thought they were doing OK, but clearly now Cara was doing worse! She was cold and her eyelids were swollen. Dr. Larry put them on stronger antibiotics and asked me to come back again in another 10 days.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Cara was so cold she didn't mind being bundled up at the Vet.

The next night Polly took another turn for the worse. This time it REALLY scared me. She was open-mouth breathing, with her left eye sealed shut and her head was VERY SNOTTY. I had just taken her to the Vet the day before and that was 3 vet trips in 3 days. I was wiped out and did NOT want another Vet bill on my hands! I got Polly back into the bathroom for a steam treatment. I ended up having to force feed her to make sure she wouldn't crash over the night. I got up at 4Am to check on her and her eyes were not sealed shut and she seemed comfortable. The space heater was running full blast and so was the humidifier.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Instead of sitting ON the space heater, I found Cara in front of it, so I put a little cat bed out for her.

The next morning I expected to have to take her to the Vet, but my fear was that taking her to the Vet-being exposed to the winter cold and a car ride, pushed her over the edge in the first place. There was a big snow storm coming, too and I had to decide if I was going to run her to the Vet or not. She was eating a little so I decided to wait.

Cara was so chilled that she kept sitting ON the space heater (since she couldn't sit on the cable box any more after she puked on it and shorted it out!). I realized I needed to get her warm, fast. I drove to Target just as the snow started to fall, to get an electric blanket for her and I got some more stinky cat food at the local pet shop. I made it back home just before it was too late to drive much longer. Instead of getting three to five inches of snow, we got thirteen! I-84 was just about shut down and I heard reports of it taking people FIVE HOURS to get home, instead of minutes...

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Cara loves the heated blanket, but she's still not feeling well.

I couldn't get home fast enough, both to avoid the weather and to get Cara and the others warming up. It took about five minutes for the kitties to realize the blanket was warm and later that afternoon, I found them all stretched out sleeping.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Polly returns to kicking butt, even though she's still snotty.

Polly seemed to be doing better. The high calorie food perked her up. Her sinuses were draining. I was watching the humidifier more carefully and I think it made a difference that it was always full of water.

Then it was Cara's turn to get really sick-again!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Oh dear! Back to the Vet, or keep her warm and stress-free? What's best?

Cara is a tiny little thing. She's over a pound lighter than her brother, Chester and she's about the size of a six week old kitten. Her paws are no thicker than my pinky. Last night her eyes were sealed closed. She wasn't as snotty as Polly had been and even being blind, she found her food and ate quite a good bit of it. Her belly is really BIG and I just de-wormed the cats two days before. I do not want to say things like FIP, so for now I won't. Cara has been vomiting, still, very small amounts and only every few days. Since the de-worming she hasn't vomited, but that could change.

I believe some of their illness had something to do with being de-wormed. That killing the parasites opened them up to being a bit more sick or perhaps it made them have a mucus build up reaction? I don't know if there is ANY correlation, but maybe some of you guys know about one?

So last night was spent in the bathroom, yet again. I took Cara and Polly (to keep her sister company). I washed Cara's face and got her eyes to open. She was very quiet, but gave me a little purr, then waddled around the bathroom after her sister, Polly. Polly was like a new kitten-running all over the bathroom, bouncing up and down, attacking Cara and having a great time-even though she's still fairly snotty, herself. I was texting Jennifer and Polly got too curious about the bathtub. As I put my iPhone down, I heard a splash! Polly fell into the tub! Fortunately she was only up to her belly in water. She didn't seem to mind at all! I got her dried off, but she went right back, almost falling into the tub a second time. Yes, time to DRAIN the water out of the tub, good idea.

©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Even though she's sick, Cara still played with her sister. A good sign.

It's been a few very late nights and very early mornings. With kittens, I can't be too careful. I monitor them like a hawk and when I see they're not doing well, I try not to freak out. I'm finding that I can be more gentle and relaxed now that I've been through this quite a few times. I don't know everything there is to know about kitten care, but I know that if I'm calmer, they can be calmer, too. No stress is very important for them and I've got to get them over this hump of getting better, then getting worse. I'm learning what may be setting them off and giving them every chance I can have what they need to get strong. Between a good diet, a warm, humid room and lots of lysine (and meds!) and love, it should do the trick.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. At least some of the cats are doing all right! Mazie is a handful. She's like a giant kitten, she's so playful and Chester is turning into a big love-bug.

Fortunately, Chester, though sick, too, is not in as bad shape as his far...though from what I've seen it can change at any moment, so I'm not taking anything for granted!


Maize is very pretty! Humidifiers do help - our Lynx Point Siamese adult still needs one from time to time.

Poor Babies. My Gus is the Snot King. His FHV went untreated before I got him. I got him over the URI. Unfortunately, he suffered permanent damage to his sinuses. He always has runny eyes and snotty nose, but I usually manage to keep the FHV flare ups to a minimum with lysine. Good thing I'm definitely NOT a clean freak so the fact he sneezes snot multiple times a day doesn't bother me. I just wipe it up when I see it and don't worry about what I don't see. :-)

I do love this boy so I think that God intervened and got him to the right human. Unlike my other two cats, Gus does not step a paw out the door even when he has the opportunity. He found my friend on a cold, rainy March day, and he was very sick.

Robin -
It sounds like you are giving them top-notch care! Warm beds, high-quality food, consistent vet care - and most importantly, lots of love. The fact that they're hanging on and fighting this stuff is a good sign. Perhaps it will just be more time. Keep hope! Thinking about you from this side of the world.
- Steph

Robin, You devote yourself wholeheartedly to care for these little angels. It looks like they reward you by showering you with unconditional love, which is quite addictive. :) Little Cara is so precious with her teensie little legs and paws. I hope they all improve steadily. Eventually you will help them to find forever homes.
It seems that all of what you do for them, good and bad days, is all a labor of love for you. You're doing wonderful work, Robin! ?

Lucky little babies!


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