Maeve's Murphy Litter

........as in Murphy's Law (If anything can go wrong, it will) 
Maeve's Kitten Diary Fall 2006

The music used on this page is Let Them Be Little by Billy Dean 
These kittens are the progeny of our sire Kian and dam Maeve.
~ This diary is a true story. It is an example of how difficult, heartbreaking, and expensive being a breeder can be. ~
Comments in Blue have been added with hindsight a month or more after the birth.
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On occasion in response to the cost of our kittens I hear from a prospective owner a comment along the lines of  Very nice little business you have going here, great profits  and the look I get says What a scam. Breeding is not low cost or profitable for a small breeder. We are not mass producing widgets. I have included this diary on our web as an example of what can and does go wrong. The longer one is a breeder the higher the likely hood of encountering expenses and losses. Please be warned this story will break your heart. If you are reading this at work you will want to cry. This is an emotional tale told with the hope that new breeders will read it and learn from it. We have learned some very costly (not in dollars) lessons. I want Conch's and Whelk's  legacy to be that other kittens lives can be saved by telling their and Maeve's story. 

Kian is our new boy brought in for Keva. He is also an outcross to Maeve. He came to us at seven months old. When talking to his breeder I learned he had shown no interest in the girls he was living with and the breeder felt Kian was not yet mature. Balor our other stud came to us as a kitten and he did not mate with Maeve until he was well over a year old. I had to help him with positioning Maeve. He took a little time to learn what he was supposed to do and we had to practice through two estrus cycles before Maeve conceived. So I wasn't surprised Kian was still a kitten. Once the vet cleared his health to interact with our cats, I figured I had a week or two for him to get to know our cat family. He was totally non aggressive and wanted to be friends and play. I supervised his visits and after three days I was convinced they would all be friends. The morning I allowed him to roam the house unsupervised it took him less the 15 minutes to mate Maeve. I heard her distinct completion call from upstairs. I took the stairs two at a time and saw her run from my daughters room down the stairs and go into her roll. Cats are induced ovulators. This means the act of mating itself is what causes the female cat to release eggs for fertilization. Queens roll after mating to release needed hormones. Kian then sauntered out of the room too, looking very pleased with himself. I had made a basic breeding error and misjudged my new boy. My opinion- No unaltered male kitten should be trusted with an unaltered female after 5 months of age. 
We had a family vacation coming up. Airline tickets already purchased and had planned not to have any kittens until our return. Giving Maeve time to just rest and have fun. It's hard work being a momma cat. The time between litters in this instance was five months. She looked good so I wasn't worried but I did hope this first one time encounter would not take.....as luck would have it, it did. I calculated the days and the kittens would be three weeks old by the time we were to go away. Extra expenses start here.

Saturday 7-8 - This morning Maeve is restless and calls out from time to time. She is in her birthing box and seems to want someone with her at all times. Emma her usual birthing coach is not as keen to spend the whole day administering to Maeves desires.... having her face licked all the time..... Maeve is much calmer when Emma is with her.

This evening while Emma was off duty Maeve became very agitated. She wanted Keva with her and tried several times to pick her up by the scruff as she did when Keva was little. Keep in mind Keva is as big as Maeve now. Keva didn't mind joining her mom in the birthing box but she wanted to wrestle and rough house with Maeve and I was not allowing that to happen. Keva was whisked off to the sanctuary of the boys rooms. My teen boys not the male cats ;). It took some time for Maeve to settle down. I sat with her petting her for hours.

It is now 1:30am. Maeve's labor has not progressed so I am heading to bed. I'm allowing Maeve out of the kitten room (my office)


Sunday 7-9 (morning) - At around 7:15am Maeve curled up on my legs in bed and called out to me. I put my hand on her to comfort her and with the next call I felt her contraction. I was up in a flash and Maeve followed me to her birthing box. She began nesting and her contractions were steady and almost constant. 

Kitten number one was born head first at 7:36 am. Once her cord was cut by Maeve and she was cleaned a bit I marked her orange and placed her in the basket to weighed her. She is 2.75 ounces. Siamese kitten are born all white so we use non toxic colors to mark each kitten so we can tell them apart. We keep a careful account of weight and activity levels. 

Kitten two was born tail first with no trouble at 7:51 am. She was marked with blue and weighed in at 3.50 oz. 
Kitten three was breech and difficult. The tail was out first with the sack already broken. I removed the first two kittens and placed them in the warming nest.  I allowed Maeve time to see if she could manage. Maeve is famous for delivering breech but this one was not coming on its own. Wearing sterile gloves and with the aid of KY jelly I attempted to digitally coax the kittens hind legs out. Breech kittens get stuck because of the position of the legs. If the legs can be brought into position they deliver much easier. It just wasn't going our way. Knowing that time was not on our side I wrapped a bit of cotton towel around the kittens tail and with the next few contractions applied a gentle pulling of the tail. This must be done with just the right amount of pressure and only during a contraction when the queen is pushing. Working together we delivered kitten three at 9:10 am. I cleared three's face and rubbed to stimulate blood flow.  Three was breathing huge deep breaths sucking the abdomen up into the ribs with each breath. Maeve was busy with the next kitten so after she had chewed the cord clear of blood I snipped it with my scissor. I use a mustache scissor for this because of its nice rounded ends. Kittens squirm quite a bit and this helps me not poke their delicate skin when they kick a leg into the end. She was marked with green and weighed in at 3.125 oz. I was very worried and was watching her closely. I gave her to Maeve to clean.
I picked up kitten four who arrived at 9:15 am head first. Four was marked with red and weighed in at 3.375oz. I placed this kitten back with Maeve and brought the two from the warming nest back to her also. 
Maeve got them all cleaned up and fluffy and began to deliver kitten number five. Five was born head first at 9:40am. I removed the sack from its head and wiped it's face to be sure it was breathing. The placenta did not deliver with the kitten. Each kitten has its own sack and placenta. I am very careful about making sure each placenta is expelled.  The cord was cut and the kitten cleaned and marked with purple. Five weighs in at 3.375 oz. We continue to watch Maeve hoping she will expel the placenta sometime today. She has stopped having contractions and when I palpate I feel no other kittens to come. I have allowed Maeve to eat two of the placentas as they are rich in things her body needs but no more then three as they have a laxative effect.  I don't want her getting sick. Two were kept from her and placed in a zip bag for proper disposal.  Having only had normal healthy deliveries I was unsure of how much of an emergency this was. Did I need to rush her in now on Sunday morning? My reference books say 2 to 7 days is the infection time. I also turned to the internet to consult with other breeders as to how soon Maeve needed to be seen. The consensus was to give Maeve a day to expel it on her own, if not then see the vet. Note: If you find yourself in this situation do not wait. 
Our vigil begins. We have to watch Maeve at all times. After resting a bit Maeve left the box and went for a walk. While she got a drink and checked the house I removed all the soiled towels from the birthing box and put  fresh ones in. Then placed the nest in with the kittens in it. When Maeve returned she was again agitated and kept growling. She checked the kittens and left again. We came to the realization she wanted Keva. We let Keva come down and Maeve again tried to grab her by the scruff. Keva came into the kitten room and Maeve returned to the birthing box and curled up with the kittens. She was half up half down trying to watch Keva so I brought Keva over and sat on the floor in front of the nest holding her. Maeve relaxed. Keva looked at the kittens and wanted to go. I let her walk around and Maeve was craning her neck to see her. Keva curled up on the base of the cat tree where Maeve could see her and took a nap. Maeve finally relaxed with the kittens. I was happy to note that kitten three has been doing well and latched on to suckle with vigor. She shows no ill effects from her stressful delivery. After her nap Keva came back to the nest to see what Mom was up to. She sat quietly and observed. Perhaps mental notes for her future. She shows no desire to crawl into the nest for which I am grateful :)

 

 

Sunday 7-9- (evening) -  We are still watching and hoping for the last placenta. For the purpose of this diary we give the kittens each names so you can follow along as they grow. These are not the kittens real names each kittens owner will chose its name when they go home. Being that it is summer I decided to stray from my usual color names and designate theses kittens with seashell names. 

The Stats at birth

#1 7:36am  orange - female –Coquina – 78.3 grams (2.75 ounces)

#2 7:51am  blue - female   – Murex – 99.7 grams (3.5 ounces)

#3 9:10am  green - female – Olive – 88.9 grams (3.1 ounces)

#4 9:15am  red - male – Conch – 96 grams (3.375 ounces)

#5 9:40am  purple - male – Whelk – 96 grams (3.375  ounces)


Monday 7-10- Day One - I set up an appointment for Maeve with The Cat Hospital of Auburn. I told the lady there I needed an appointment to take care of a retained placenta and that the kittens were born Sunday morning. I was told to bring her in at 4:00pm.
  This should have been an emergency visit. I should have insisted she consult with the doctor on the length of wait time. I made the assumption the person answering the phone knew about this type of situation. Note: assume they know nothing and question everything.

Coquina at one day old

Murex at one day old

Olive at one day old

Conch at one day old

Whelk at one day old

Morning weigh in......

Coquina is 3.25oz. (92.5 grams) up 14.2 grams

Murex is 3.875oz. (110.3 grams) up 10.7 grams

Olive is 3.625oz. (103.2 grams) up 14.2 grams

 Conch is 3.75oz. (106.7 grams) up 10.6 grams

Whelk is 3.625oz. (103.2 grams) up 7.12 grams

All the kittens gained weight on their first day. I'm very happy they are all doing well. They are already scraping with each other and complaining loudly when prevented from finding their nipple. :) This is the strongest and best suckling litter I have ever had.
I ran out and bought a new larger carrier that opens on the top and a new nest that fits the carrier. So I can transport Maeve and the kittens easily. Babies should not be separated from their mom if at all possible.

Originally this contained the doctor's names I edited them out when I learned more. I have chosen to use Dr. "E" to represent experienced.

Dr. "Y" for young and inexperienced

Maeve traveled to The Cat Hospital with her kittens. When I arrived Dr. was already behind schedule from an emergency surgery and we were about to make her schedule even worse. I am very sorry for causing so many nice people to have to wait for their scheduled exams. I appreciate their patients and kindness.
When Dr. E  palpated Maeve she thought she felt a kitten in her pelvis. My heart fell, This was my first inkling of how my decisions can have devastating consequences. This physical exam was made difficult by Maeve's over powering desire to stay with her babies and shield them from the unknown. It was quickly decided that an ultrasound was the next step. The ultrasound showed no kitten, thank goodness. She said the placenta appeared to be large and somewhat low in the uterine horn. A cats uterus is shaped like a Y with two horns. Each kitten comes in its own sack with its own placenta. The next step was a shot of Oxytocin (Pitocin). Hopefully the intense contractions from the Pitocin would expel the placenta. Maeve's uterine inertia was not cooperating. She was having contractions but not strong enough. Surgery was the next step. Dr. E hoped she could manually assist the placenta out without cutting into the uterus. Think of frosting in a pastry bag. Unfortunately the placenta was not low but all the way up at the top of the horn and firmly attached. Dr. E performed a hysterotomy (think c-section). Through a small incision in the uterus she was able to remove the placenta. We waited with the kittens while Maeve had her surgery. We were able to bring her home with us and she is now resting with her babies. We are giving her Clavamox (antibiotic) two times a day
We later learned from the ultrasound specialist at Tufts University Veterinary ER that a placenta cannot be distinguished from normal uterine tissue during an ultrasound.
Dr. E assured us that the medications Maeve has been given will not effect the kittens. Only the tiniest amount would end up in her milk. Maeve normally eats plain yogurt when she is pregnant and nursing for the calcium. She will get a few extra snacks to help balance a side effect of the Pitocin. She also gets KMR while nursing. (kitten milk replacer is like baby formula for kittens) 
I asked Dr. E if I had the Pitocin on hand and had given Maeve the shot could I have prevented this surgery? It was her opinion in this case it would not have made a difference.

Tuesday 7-11 -  Day Two

Morning weigh in......

Coquina is 3.25oz. (92.5 grams) up 0 grams

Murex is 4oz. (114 grams) up 3.5 grams

Olive is 3.75oz. (106.7 grams) up 3.5 grams

Conch is 3.87oz. (110.3 grams) up 3.5 grams

Whelk is 4oz. (113.8 grams) up 10.6 grams

None of the kittens lost weight a very good thing under the circumstances. I prefer not to supplement as it is very important for the kittens to get their mothers colostrum.
Maeve is drinking some water (wetting her tongue) and walks around a bit to use the litter box. She is refusing all food. I have tried hand feeding her favorite moist food, plain yogurt, and KMR (kitten milk replacer). She normally loves all of these. She is a very fastidious mother when it comes to keeping her nest and babies clean.  I tried  putting some yogurt on one of the babies so she would lick it off, she did not. The kittens are nursing and sleeping. Maeve stares off into space like the lights are on but nobody is home. She is very good about snuggling the kittens and allowing them to nurse.

I called into Dr. E with my concern for Maeve not eating. Maeve has a temperature of 103. Normal temperature in an adult cat is 101-102.5. Dr. E was not overly concerned with Maeve's temperature since she had just had kittens and she is currently on an antibiotic. We will continue to monitor her temperature. I ran to the office to pick up medications Dr. E prescribed. An appetite stimulant to help Maeve get eating again and also a second antibiotic just in case. If Maeve's temperature should go up we will switch to the second antibiotic.

We sat with Maeve for about an hour and were able to get her to drink about one forth of a cup of water by offering it to her in the nest. Once she licked a few drops she would stop and we would tap her chin and she would lap a couple times more. Maeve is still not eating.
I did a random check of a few kittens weights to be sure they were not losing weight. The three I checked were up from this morning.

Wednesday 7-12 - Day Three - Some of the kittens are starting to show some darkening of their noses and ear tips.

Coquina

Murex

Olive

Conch

Whelk

Morning weigh in......

Coquina is 3.62oz. (103.2 grams) up 10.6 grams

Murex is 4.12oz. (117.4 grams) up 3.5 grams

Olive is 4oz. (113.8 grams) up 7.1 grams

 Conch is 4.12oz. (117.4 grams) up 7.1 grams

Whelk is 4.25oz. (121 grams) up 7.1 grams

All the kittens gained a bit, very good.

Maeve is looking a bit dehydrated despite the water she has had and this morning, showed no interest in the kittens. I ran over to the Vet again and brought home a Lactated Ringers drip setup to give her subcutaneous fluids. While I was gone my son sat with her. He said the whole time I was gone she sat outside the nest staring into space. He warmed up the room by turning on the gas fireplace so the kittens would not be chilled without Maeve's body heat. 

 

When I returned we started the fluids right away. This is done in the scruff where they have very few nerve endings. She did not indicate feeling this at all. My daughter helped me by holding the bag and applying a little squeeze to help it go in faster, after I had inserted the needle. We gave her 150 and when it was all in she looked like she was wearing a fur stole about her shoulders. I should have taken some photos but I've been so worried about her that photos were the last thing on my mind.

I then took up the job of kitten care. Kittens this young need their mother to lick their bottoms to stimulate elimination. With Maeve not doing it I needed to take over. I used a terry cloth that was dampened with warm water. My best simulation of a rough warm cat tongue. :) They all kindly peed for me. A little over an hour after we gave her the sub-q fluids I saw her licking the bottom of a kitten. When she finished I double checked her work. I cleaned the ear off of a sibling and finished cleaning the kitten she licked. This time it wasn't pee ;) This was a very good sign. As Maeve assimilated the fluids she came back to us more. She is still not eating any food though. This morning I gave her the half pill (appetite stimulant) first, thinking it would be better to get the worst one done first. It went very well....too well in fact. She had hid the pill in her cheek and when I tried to give her the liquid antibiotic she tried to spit the pill out. I held her mouth shut but after all that time in her mouth it dissolved and she was foaming at the mouth and salivating like crazy.

Maeve ate a bit of gravy and a couple of chunks at dinner time. Not much really but its a start in the right direction. This evening I decided to give her the antibiotic first. She fought me but I think she got some of it down. Then I tried to pill her and it was a disaster. I never got it to stay in her mouth. My son tried to help me and we tried to cocoon her but she was really fighting and its hard to hold her but not hold too tight because we don't want to hurt her incisions. I ended up giving up and washing what was left on my fingers down the sink. I wanted to try again but she went and hid under my bed. The kittens are all alone and Magi is curled up in front of the nest watching over them. I'm not sure when she will come back. I don't think there will be any way for me to check her temperature. I gave her a bit of time to regroup then told my daughter to take a kitten into my room and see if she would come out to it's cries. Maeve did and followed the kitten back to the nest. 

I tried a second pill and again failed. I coated it with butter hoping it wouldn't dissolve as fast. She still got enough to look rabid. We have been sitting here trying to feed the kittens but the kittens made it clear they are not interested in our kitten milk replacer. They want Mom's milk or nothing.

We also tried to get Maeve to take some KMR, nope but when we dropped a drop on the kitten she licked it off. So we did that a few times. While doing this I was eating my dinner a yogurt...the only thing I have had time for. I offered her some even though it is cherry and sweetened. She likes cherry but I don't like her to have all that sugar. Anyway she licked a little bit of it. Then we tried to put a soft food chunk on one of the kittens. She cleaned all around it but was not going to lick it or eat the food.  Then we put a dry kibble bit on one of the kittens heads like a hat. lol it was cute. Well she ate it and I handed her a second one and she ate that. I couldn't hand them to her fast enough. A light went on and she was eating like she was ravenous. I think she ate about 2 tablespoons. :) She looked exhausted and closed her eyes. 
I have been changing out the nest two times a day due to some draining discharge from Maeve. I have a foam nest with a removable cover that I can wash and a second stuffed nest that the whole nest can be washed. I usually toss it into wash with some towels. When I opened the washer tonight to put the nest into the dryer my washer was full of stuffing. What a mess! The side opened on the bolster of the nest. We had to pick stuffing off of all the towels and stuff it back into the bolster. Then I had to sew it closed before it could go into the dryer. Life sure does seem to have hilly roads sometimes. :) The nest is dry and changed out so everyone can snuggle down in a clean bed for the night. We hand fed Maeve, one at a time, a few more pieces of kibble.
The difficulty of changing the foam nest cover has prompted me to run out and buy a second nest like the one I bought to fit the carrier. The ease of washing these makes them wonderful to someone who has had little to no sleep for several days.

The next two days are the awful and may be difficult to read.

Please be aware this contains my opinions and emotional impressions to the events.


Thursday 7-13 - Day Four - When I came in this morning and weighed the kittens I could immediately feel the difference in Conch. He felt cooler in my hand and was not as responsive. He also felt thinner then the other kittens. I wrapped him in a towel and began rubbing him, flipped on the fireplace to warm him up. I sent my daughter to warm a towel in the dryer. I tried a little formula and he licked at it but not eagerly. I called the Vet and rushed over to the cat  hospital. Dr. E was not in, I saw Dr.Y a vet I do not know. She said he was very sick and it didn't look good for him. She also said Maeve knew he was sick and had created an abrasion on his back. Hadn't I seen it? I asked her to please show me. We went into an exam room and she showed me his identification color mark. There was no abrasion. Maeve had not hurt him. There was just the red ink put there by me. She then said she tried some sub-q fluids and oxygen. Based on her experience she said we should let him go it was just a matter of  two or three hours and he would be gone on his own. I've never lost a kitten before. I've been told it is just a matter of time for any breeder but I wasn't satisfied with him fading so fast. I needed to know more, something more definitive about what was happening to him. He now had is head up and his mouth open to breathe. I couldn't euthanize him without knowing why. He had been so strong and healthy. She pointed out his coloring was darkening from lack of oxygen. I picked up Whelk and held him next to Conch and said but their points are starting to color it makes them look darker. Whelk does not look that much different the Conch? I could see that the membranes of Conch's mouth inside were less pink then Whelk's. To appease me Dr. Y  took an x-ray. She said the x-ray showed his heart was enlarged and pressing on his trachea. His lungs had fluid in them. His system was failing. I'm familiar with orthodontic x-rays but I've never see kitten x-rays and Conch's x-ray was hard for me to see anything in. I asked Dr. Y  if she had a normal kitten x-ray I could compare it too. She said with what I felt was a bit of sarcasm.....No I don't have a (laughing here) normal kitten x-ray. I'm not sure if she was laughing because she thought I was an idiot or because she was offended and it was a nervous laugh. Dr. Y said they see this often and especially with litters where the queen has had trouble during delivery and that I could take him to an ER if I wanted to see what they could do. She then said I could bring him home and allow him to fade away with his mom. Faced with the facts she presented to me I was compelled to make a decision that was in Conch's best interest. I couldn't let him suffer with his heart crushing his trachea. Dr. Y euthanized him while I stroked his head.

Within an hour of getting home from the cat hospital Whelk was fading in the same manner. I realize now that his color looked so much like Conch's because he was sick already when I was with the vet.  He was crawling up into Maeve's neck and she was snuggling him. He had stopped eating and was having trouble breathing. He was dusky from a lack of oxygen. Based on what Dr. Y said I decided to let him be snuggled by mom and fade away....What she said made sense at the time as these two kittens were the two that were born after the stuck kitten......but he didn't fade. I've agonized about the choice I made, now it is night and the cat hospital is closed. Whelk continues to snuggle in Maeve's neck.

This afternoon Maeve's incision began weeping. I immediately switched her to the second antibiotic, Cefadroxil one time a day.


Friday 7-14 - Day Five

Kian (sire) visits his babies.

These two photo's are of Coquina. I was trying to get a good photo of her eyes. She has her right eye open.

Coquina

Coquina at 5 days

Murex at 5 days

Olive at 5 days

I do not have a photo of Whelk as he is in the hospital.

This morning Whelk was still in the same condition. I felt horrible for letting him suffer and called my vet. Whelk went to see Dr. E. On the trip there I knew I was going to end his life.  She knew immediately that he was septic (bacterial infection)....and that Maeve was septic too. Maeve was passing the infection on to the kitten's through her milk. If untreated all the kittens would succumb. When Dr. E came out to the waiting room where I was waiting with Maeve and the kittens and told me they would do everything to try to beat the infection my heart tore in two. I had ended Conch's life when he could have been treated. I told Dr. Williams of my visit the day before and how I had left Whelk to fade with his mother because of what I had been told. He had been fighting for his life since yesterday. She left to check on him and took Maeve and the kittens with her.

I asked one of the receptionists if it was possible for me to only see Dr. E from now on? Could it be noted in my files? She said yes but that Dr. E  was only there every other week. That was okay I just didn't want to ever see Dr. Y again. There were other doctors in the practice if something came up when Dr. E  was not available. Dr. E came out again and had me come back with her. She had a visiting Vet giving Whelk oxygen and he was pinking up. I told her about the x-ray and how Dr. Y  told me his heart was pressing on the windpipe and his lungs were full. She got Whelk's x-ray and the one from Conch and we looked at them together. She said the x-ray of Conch was to underdeveloped to diagnose anything from. It didn't even show the heart. Could this get any worse? I explained how I had asked to see a normal kitten x-ray and how she responded to me and how I had held Whelk next to Conch to show her how much their color was the same. I had not wanted to put him down. 

Whelk has pneumonia. His lungs were being hampered by fluid. This is also what was wrong with Conch. The vet yesterday had missed the diagnosis of sepsis from Maeve. She had never even looked at the rest of the kittens. I responded to all this news by saying what is done is done I have learned from this and hopefully she will too, (meaning Dr. Y) Dr. E said we now needed to concentrate on saving the kittens we could. The three girl kittens will start receiving 2 drops of Clavamox two times a day.  I watched Dr. E insert a needle and drain the fluid from Whelk's lungs. She gave him sub-q fluids, an injection of antibiotics and a gastric nasal tube feeding. She told me that it had been a long time since she had seen a healthy x-ray of a kitten. They usually see them with broken bones or other problems. She didn't have a problem admitting to it. Then she said she wanted to x-ray one of the healthy kittens so we could both see and compare. We chose Murex because she has been the biggest and strongest of the kittens. Dr. E went out of her way to help me. She had planned for Whelk to come home with me after the aggressive treatment but while I was in the waiting room getting ready to pay he began to get dusky again. He needed to be in oxygen. Having had only healthy kittens in the past I do not own an oxygen set up so Whelk stayed with Dr. E so he can be in an oxygen box.( think preemie incubator here) Dr. E ordered an O2 setup for me. No breeder should be without it. It can be a great boost for newborns as well as the queen and is an essential for sick newborns.

I had so many thoughts going through my head when I learned all I had today. A gut reaction was why did Dr. E tell me that Dr. Y was wrong. Why put me through the pain of knowing I had made the decision to end Conch's life based on misinformation? I couldn't turn back time and what was done was done. This was me trying to spare myself some of the pain. The logical part of me knows that I would not want a doctor that would cover for a fellow doctor. As painful as it was I  want a straight forward doctor who tells it like it is. I know she can help me to become a better breeder and to take care of my cats the best way possible.

Dr. E called and Whelk is vastly improved. He has sucked some from a bottle but is also being tube fed. He is also receiving sub-q fluids and two antibiotics. He is not out of the woods yet but vastly improved from where he stood at deaths door this morning. 
I just picked Whelk up from the hospital. Dr. E  has lent me her own personal (human) O2 setup so I can make Whelk a oxygenated incubator. I used my smallest carrier and put the small heating pad from a nest in it with a small nest on top. I have covered the holes in the carrier with plastic and have the O2 hose going in from the top. I asked  Dr. E  if I should cancel the scheduled check Maeve had on Monday to allow the new antibiotic some time to work, she agreed and the appointment was cancelled.. At home I put Whelk with Maeve to see if he would nurse. He wanted to but Maeve was too unsettled. She wanted to move him to the nest with the other kittens. Maeve could hear him meowing and was upset by it so I now have him in my bathroom. I will give him sub-q fluids, inject an antibiotic sub-q and  n.g.-tube feed him tonight and if he makes it through the night we will try with Maeve again tomorrow. The oxygen is helping him stay pink. Unfortunately I can see he is getting a little worse with each hour that passes.

Saturday 7-15- Day Six - Whelk died at 12:30am. I was with him holding him when he gave up his fight. The infection was stronger then the help we could give him. Dr. E called me this morning to see how Whelk was doing. She told me how sorry she was and that very little is known about feline neonate illness. Most breeders do not fight for sick kittens this young. They put them under the umbrella of "fading kitten syndrome". Dr. E told me many of them will put a sick kitten into the freezer where it will fall asleep and pass away. I was responsible for bringing this kitten into the world and felt it my responsibility to care for him. Having had a daughter who was 14 weeks premature, I know the miracles medicine can do. She would not have survived on her own without the doctors, specialized care, medications, and the neonatal intensive care unit. Going through this has been very painful for me and my family. There are so many "what ifs" and "should I haves" It will take some time for me to sort out what I have learned and how I will apply it to future litters. Dr. E told me she will not be in town this week. She said if I need anything she can be reached and the staff can call her and/or fax her information.

We are watching Maeve, Coquina, Murex and Olive closely to assure they continue to be strong and healthy.

Morning weigh in......these gains are since yesterday morning
Coquina is 5.75oz. (164 grams) up 17.8 grams
Murex is 6.25oz. (178 grams) up 25 grams
Olive is 6oz. (170 grams) up 21 grams

Maeve will not eat any of her yogurt so I am mixing KMR and feeding it too her with an eye dropper. She likes to lick the dropper when she is in the nest. I think the psychology of this is to prevent me from feeding it to the kittens. :) I am also hand feeding her kitten food in the nest. She is back to keeping her nest spotless and will eat the bits I hand her and any I place into the nest. She has been fighting me with taking her antibiotic liquid. After a difficult time yesterday I tried mixing it with the KMR. First I let her lick a couple droppers of KMR. Then I sucked up the antibiotic in the dropper and sucked up KMR. Tipped it up and mixed it in the bulb. Then fed it to her. She ate it but looked at me like "your up to something, aren't you?" LOL.

Olive shed her cord today. She has been laying in the nest on her back. I think she may be showing off her new belly button and smooth tummy.

Sunday 7-16 - One week old 

Morning weigh in......*mystic* they all gained exactly the same amount.

Coquina is 6.125oz. (174 grams) up 10.6 grams

Murex is 6.63oz. (188 grams) up 10.6 grams

Olive is 6.37oz. (181 grams) up 10.6 grams

Kitten weights should double in the first week we are right in there for weight :)

Coquina

Coquina eyes are opening more. She also shed her umbilical cord this morning and Murex shed hers tonight.

(L-R) Olive, Murex, & Coquina

I decided to see how Maeve will do without sub-q fluids today. The kittens are so cute and healthy. They show no signs of  septicemia. :) I took some cute photos to share. By evening Maeve's incision looks yucky and her scruff  is not snapping back as I would like so we decided to continue with the sub-q. If nothing else it may help flush her system and help her fight the infection. The lower end of her incision is pulling open. You can also see the shine of the seeping fluid.  This is common in an infection.

 

Sisters make wonderful pillows.

Awe soooo cute Murex

 

Coquina, Hello! I'm coming out to see you......but....I'm....getting.....tired....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

This silly fellow is Murex. You can see that her nose it lighter then her two sisters. Its too early to tell her true point color but I can eliminate seal point.


I want to add here that Dr. E is not a run of the mill veterinarian. She has years of experience that includes breeding and showing cats. She has also been active in trap-neuter-release programs for feral cats.


Monday 7-17 - Day Eight

Morning weigh in......

Coquina is 6.75oz. (174 grams) up 17.7 grams

Murex is 7.4oz. (210 grams) up 21 grams

Olive is 7.12oz. (203 grams) up 21 grams

Maeve is behaving normally and has a normal temperature of 102.5. Her incision is beginning to pull open between the stitches. I know this is not a life and death emergency but given what we have been through this past week I want to be sure she is okay and the  antibiotic is working.  I just want a doctor to take a quick look at her. I called in to the cat hospital and the only doctor in today and tomorrow is the one that misdiagnosed Conch and didn't catch the sepsis in Maeve. I told the receptionist of my discomfort and that I didn't know if this was really an emergency or not. I decided to hold off making an appointment.  I decided to call Dr. E and get her advice. She said I should take Maeve into the cat hospital and have the incision cleaned and re-sewn. I called back over to the office.  The receptionist had read the notation in my file (the one I requested) and said she would have to check with Dr. Y.  Today is the day we originally had an appointment scheduled to check Maeve.
Dr. Y  refused to see Maeve. I accepted the Dr. did not want to see us ( under normal circumstances I would want to avoid her too!) After the receptionist  told me Maeve would not be seen I said I understood and thank you. She would not let me off the phone she wanted me to hear the entire message from Dr. Y.  She said Dr. Y said  it's not the cat. Maeve is a lovely girl. (she meant this was about me) She then said the office didn't have Maeve's file because Dr. E took it with her. She also said Dr. Y  was sure Maeve would need 24 hour intensive emergency care (adding more insult, Maeve just needed her incision checked)  I should take her to Tufts ER. This receptionist wanted to make sure I understood the message between the lines and enjoyed rubbing it in. This receptionist was not one I normally talk to, in my opinion she was a nasty piece of work.  Dr. E is out of State and the other Dr. with this practice will not be in until Wednesday. 
I called Dr. E back to let her know Maeve would not be receiving treatment at the cat hospital. Dr. E was not happy. I told her about my conversation with the office. She confirmed she did not have Maeve's file and was not happy with what I was told. She said it was unprofessional and  ridiculous. She also said a monkey could do the procedure Maeve needed. I tried to explain that I understood. Dr.Y knew I had lost confidence in her. She said let me call you back. In the mean time she said to use warm compresses on the incision.  I waited all day for the call back but it never came.

This photo was taken Monday night at 10:00

During this time my husband has been out of town on business. My children have been my constant aids. At this point in time my daughter began having symptoms of stress overload.

Tuesday 7-18 - Day Nine

 This morning Maeve's incision was fully open. There were no stitches. I made several calls and found a Vet nearby that would see her. (at an emergency fee of course...at this point I don't really care about cost) Dr. X could only see us in between his other doggy patients. He asked me three times if Maeve was altered now. Each time I told him no she is my breeding queen. Perhaps this was an indication of his opinion on breeders.  He told me there were two options for treating Maeve. One was to clean the incision and close it.  Two was to do surgery and remove the old tissue and give the skin a fresh incision to heal. With cleaning and closing  it would take longer to heal and there could be pockets of infection that form. If this happened we would need to do the surgery also. Or we could just do option two from the beginning. He was pushing for the surgery. He believed it was the best option. He was asking me for a decision I did not feel qualified to make. So many of my decisions have gone wrong with this litter. I asked him to clean and close it because this was what Dr. E had said needed to be done. He left the room and I had second thoughts. What if I was making the wrong decision again. Dr. E was gone all week. Was I going to put Maeve back into an serious infectious state? I had my cell phone with me. I decided to call her again. When I spoke to her she said the surgery would be what she would do if she were here. Then she asked if she could talk to the doctor. I saw no problem with this. This Vet knew I was here as an emergency and that my Vet was out of town. He knew I belonged to another practice and was charging me a premium to see me. He walked into the room and I said to him that Dr. E wanted to speak with him. Dr. X lost his cool and yelled at me that he was trying to fit me in and I was putting him in a bad position. He said he would not talk on a cell phone and would call her on a land line and left the room slamming the door behind him. I started crying. I had already shed many tears for Conch and Whelk so it didn't take much to make them flow. With all that I have been through I was barely holding my composure together. This outburst directed at me was one too many things for me to handle. Because of this outburst I cannot in good conscious recommend this Veterinarian, so his name is not used. If he was concerned about the time it would take to talk to a colleague about a patient he was about to treat, all he had to do was tell me he charges $50 or $100, or what ever amount he wanted,  for a phone consult. He was already going to charge me an arm and a leg for this visit and the surgery. His outburst was totally unprofessional. 

Dr. X came back after his phone call and said he would clean the incision and stapled it shut. We would need to wait until he can find the time between patients. While waiting I decided to call Dr. E one more time. Sitting here in tears I am wondering if I should bring Maeve back to one of her Vets for the surgery? In this conversation she told me that if she still owned the cat hospital she would take care of this situation, but she sold the practice. She is now there as the practice manager. I learned there was no one in the practice that could do Maeve surgery. Dr. A left because of problems with Dr. Y and the other Dr. does not do surgery. That meant Dr. Y was the only Vet available and she was refusing to see Maeve.  I was told my situation with Dr. Y is not the first. I asked Dr. E if I needed to find a new Veterinary. She said no that she had a scheduled meeting with the owners and also had an excellent Vet lined up to join the practice. She was very sorry she was not in town to take care of Maeve. Dr. Y had never returned Dr. E's call so in turn her call to me was never made.

Once Maeve's procedure was completed (our total time for this visit including waiting room time = 3 hours) Dr. X told us he was sorry for how stressful this situation was for me. He never apologized for his outburst.  He said Maeve was a wonderful patient. She was very "stoic" during the procedure. He was very impressed with her. He wants her to be checked in the morning and at that time he will assess her need for more surgery. He will set aside time if we decide to have the surgery. He thinks she needs to have the area around the incision down to the abdominal wall removed and re-stitched together. He wants her to wear an e-collar when she is not being observed. How can a mommy care for her kittens in an e-collar? I've decided to observe her all the time. I know an e-collar will torment her. My cats have never liked them. They refuse to eat and continually back up trying to get out of it. I'm afraid she would inadvertently hurt the kittens.

Afternoon weigh in......sorry this was delayed by the emergency trip to a local vet.

Coquina is 7oz. (199 grams) up 7 grams

Murex is 8.25oz. (235 grams) up 25 grams

Olive is 7.85oz. (224 grams) up 21 grams

I'm worried about Coquina. She did not gain weight like I would have liked her to.

My daughter came with me to today's vet visit. She has been with me at every visit so far, by her choice. She has an interest in science and medicine (surgery) and has had thoughts of becoming a Vet. Seeing me in tears put her in tears too. I wish she had not come along.  My daughter is now scared and is having a feeling of weight on her chest. She described it as "trouble breathing" but she can breath deeply without trouble when asked. I know this heavy feeling is stress, anxiety, and loss. She asked me tonight if she could get the infection that Conch and Whelk died of. We think of our children as mature. My daughter is 5'9"and looks older then she is. It takes a conversation like this to remind us that they really are just children. I'm going to distance her from this and ask my sons when I need help. She needs some time to de-stress and deal with the loss of two babies..


Wednesday 7-19 - Day Ten

Morning weigh in......

Coquina is 7.625 oz. (217 grams) up 17.8 grams

Murex is 8.5oz. (242 grams) up 3.5 grams

Olive is 8 oz. (228 grams) up 7.1 grams

Coquina did well this morning for her weight. Remember this morning weigh-in follows an afternoon one. There are normal fluctuations in weight gain depending on when the last meal was. Sometimes a kitten that has a huge weight gain the day before will take the next day off and not gain as much. It's the long term gains that are important. At this point I am paranoid about every little thing that could be an indicator. I stopped giving Maeve the sub-q fluids two days ago and with being at the vets so long yesterday its understandable that gains would be down. When I looked at the gains as a whole these kittens are doing well. I'll be watching for some better gains in the next few days.
Maeve went in to be checked this morning. Dr. X said we could leave things as they were and see what developed and do the surgery later if she got worse. Or he had the time blocked off if I wanted to go ahead and do it now. If he did it today she would be healed in 10 days and this would be behind us. I decided I did not want to gamble and end up in another emergency situation. It was in Maeve's best interest to get this corrected and properly healed. He said  this was a simple laceration surgery that would take him less then 15 min. This simple next day surgery cost me almost twice what Maeve's emergency hysterotomy cost.....the procedure that created this incision. We left Maeve and the kittens with Dr. X. so she could stay with them before and after the surgery. No opiates would be used so she wouldn't be lost afterward like the first surgery.
Maeve came home around 2:00 pm and has a drainage tube. We were instructed to put her e-collar on and keep it on her for 10 days. Yah Right You already know how I feel about this. She was hyper and had a bad case of the munchies. I tried to keep her as settled as possible and hand fed her kitten kibble. She licked and licked the kittens until I thought she would lick their fur off.  I think this hyper licking was an after effect of the medication. Once she settled down and relaxed she was easier to watch. When she would start licking  I would put my hand in front of the incision and drain and tell her no. I think she understands but still tries from time to time. When I say no she gives me a look that seems to say... I know, I can't help it. The tube will come out Friday if everything is going well. The stitches can be removed in ten days. Dr. X has me giving Maeve the Cefadroxil (Cefa-Drops) in a smaller dose two times a day. I am using my KMR technique and she is taking it nicely.
At this point I really miss my Vets back home in the Midwest, they have people skills that seem to be missing here.

Blue bandage on IV site

Coquina in front of Olive

Oh what a silly face that is!

I continue switching the nests frequently to wash them. The boys and I are taking turns for night watch. 

Thursday 7-20 -Day Eleven

Morning weigh in......

Coquina is 8 oz. (227 grams) up 10.7 grams

Murex is 9.25oz. (263 grams) up 21.3 grams

Olive is 8.75 oz. (249 grams) up 21.3 grams

Coquina 11 days old

Murex 11 days old

Olive 11 days old

In watching the kittens I have noticed that Coquina is not as aggressive as Murex or even Olive. Coquina will be hungry and begin nursing when the sound of her sucking wakes Murex she plows her way in and takes over Coquina's nipple. I have seen Olive push her off too. We will have to keep an eye out for Coquina and see if we can even up the milk distribution. :)
Despite watching Maeve like a hawk yesterday she lost one stitch. We found it in the nest last night.  She has lots of them close together so hopefully this will not become an issue. Last night we took shifts. Eldest son got up at 1:00 am and Middle son at 4:00 am. We set sofa cushions on the floor in front of the nesting box and we are making sure she leaves her stitches and tube alone. Maeve's incision looks good this morning. We will continue with watching her through the day. She is never left unobserved. We do the same night shift.

Friday 7-21 -Day Twelve 

Morning weigh in......ooh another equal weigh in

Coquina is 8.38 oz. (238 grams) up 10.7 grams

Murex is 9.62oz. (274 grams) up 10.7 grams

Olive is 9.12 oz. (260 grams) up 10.7 grams

The kittens are doing great and so is Maeve. She knows she is not supposed to lick her incision but its her duty to keep her belly clean for the babies to nurse. She is being really good about stopping when I tell her no. The drain came out today and it looks so much better with it not sticking out. :) There is an open hole where it was. We are continuing to observe Maeve at all times.
Murex is such a cutie with her floppy ears. They are just a tiny bit bigger then her sisters and right now they are soft so they flop over. She is such a good girl with people. We have taken her out a couple of times and placed her on our chests. She doesn't cry and likes to be petted. Coquina likes to have her face stroked in the nest. She comes to the front and looks up & out the front. She's not real keen on being taken out of the nest yet. Olive is in between the two. She's okay with being handled but not for very long.
Maeve is healing nicely. My husband is home from his business trip and will help out tonight so I can get some much needed rest.

Saturday 7-22 - Day Thirteen
Coquina Murex olive

Morning weigh in....

Coquina is 9.25 oz. (263 grams) up 25 grams

Murex is 10oz. (289 grams) up 15 grams

Olive is 9.5 oz. (270 grams) up 10.5 grams

Olive and Coquina

Murex climbing - wow I'm up high!

(L-R) Murex, Olive, & Coquina with momma Maeve


Sunday 7-23 - Two weeks old 

Morning weigh in....

Coquina is 9.4 oz. (267 grams) up 3.5 grams

Murex is 10.6oz. (302 grams) up 13 grams

Olive is 9.7 oz. (278 grams) up 7.1 grams

Kittens should triple their birth weight at two weeks. The weights from today don't look very strong but if we look at weight gain for the past two weeks we see that they are doing great.

Coquina's over all gains are 266.906. (266.906 ÷ 3 = 88.969) Her birth weight was 78.293. 10.73 grams over the goal. 

Murex's over all gains are 302.494. (302.494 ÷ 3 = 100.832) His birth weight was 99.645. 1.186 grams over the goal. 

Olive's over all gains are 266.906. (277.583 ÷ 3 = 92.528) Her birth weight was 88.969. 3.559 grams over the goal. 

Although Coquina looks and feels like she is the smallest kitten she has had the best overall weight gain. 

Maeve continues to improve. I'm starting to worry less about her incision. When I typed the kittens were two weeks old today I was surprised. It feels like it was at least a month ago or more that they were born. It's been an intense and busy two weeks for us.


Monday 7-24-

Morning weigh in....

Coquina is 9.6 oz. (274 grams) up 7.1 grams

Murex is 11oz. (313 grams) up 10.6 grams

Olive is 10.1 oz. (278 grams) up 10.6 grams

The kittens are working on strengthening their muscles for walking. They're doing the shimmy shake. They all hurry to the front of the nest when they hear a visitor. They hold their heads up with their faces tilted up to see who has come. They all enjoy being stroked on the head and face. When the room is sunny I can just barely see some definition coming into the eyes. A bit of the pupil.


Tuesday 7-25 -

Morning weigh in....

Coquina is 10 oz. (285 grams) up 10.7 grams

Murex is 11.5oz. (327 grams) up 14.2 grams

Olive is 10.5 oz. (290 grams) up 10.7 grams


Wednesday 7-26 -

Morning weigh in....

Coquina is 10.13 oz. (288 grams) up 3.5 grams

Murex is 12 oz. (342 grams) up 14.2 grams

Olive is 10.63 oz. (302 grams) up 3.5 grams

The kittens are attempting to do some self grooming. The other night Coquina had her back foot up and was licking her toes :) You can see the skin on my hand shows how sharp their tiny claws are.

Coquina (left), Murex (top right), and Olive (bottom right) Love that curve in the tip of her ear today.

Coquina doing a push up, note that like Michael Jordan she has her tongue out as she pushes up.


Thursday 7-27 - 

Morning weigh in....

Coquina is 10.38 oz. (295 grams) up 7.1 grams

Murex is 12.6 oz. (359 grams) up 17.8 grams

Olive is 11 oz. (313 grams) up 10.7 grams


Friday 7-28-

Morning weigh in....

Coquina is 10.75 oz. (306 grams) up 10.6 grams

Murex is 12.9 oz. (365 grams) up 7.1 grams

Olive is 11.25 oz. (320 grams) up 7.1 grams

Maeve and the kittens were in to see Dr. E today so Maeve could have her stitches removed. She has healed nicely and the doctor feels she will be able to have kittens again. Maeve will be taking one year off.  The pessimist in me says I should keep a kitten just in case anything goes wrong. I don't want to lose Maeve's line and the ability to breed with Balor.  That means only two kittens will go to homes from this litter. They will be placed with the family that has been waiting the longest on our kitten list.


Saturday 7-29- 

Morning weigh in....

Coquina is 11.4 oz. (324 grams) up 17.8 grams

Murex is 13.4 oz. (381 grams) up 14.2 grams

Olive is 11.75 oz. (334.5 grams) up 14.2 grams


Sunday 7-30- - Three weeks old 

Morning weigh in....

Coquina is 11.6 oz. (331 grams) up 7.1 grams

Murex is 13.6 oz. (388 grams) up 7.1 grams

Olive is 12 oz. (341.6 grams) up 7.1 grams

We can start to see a hint of blue in their eyes when we don't get red eye reflecting back.

(L-R) Olive, Coquina, & Murex

(L-R) Olive, Coquina, & Murex

(front to back) Olive, Murex, & Coquina 

(L-R) Murex with her foot in the air, Olive, & Coquina


Monday 7-31-  

Morning weigh in....

Coquina is 12.13 oz. (345 grams) up 14 grams

Murex is 14.38 oz. (409 grams) up 21.4 grams

Olive is 12.38 oz. (359 grams) up 10.7 grams


8-1 -  

Morning weigh in....

Coquina is 12.5 oz. (356 grams) up 10.7 grams

Murex is 15.1 oz. (431 grams) up 21.4 grams

Olive is 12.6 oz. (359 grams) up 7.1 grams

Coquina forward, Olive back, and Murex with her back to us and showing her blue mark.

(L-R) Murex, Coquina, and Olive's back end...showing its green mark.


8-2 -  

Morning weigh in....

Coquina is 13 oz. (370 grams) up 14.2 grams

Murex is 15.6 oz. (445 grams) up 14.2 grams

Olive is 13 oz. (370 grams) up 10.7 grams


8-3 -  

Morning weigh in....

Coquina is 13.75 oz. (391 grams) up 21.3 grams

Murex is 1 lb. 0.375 oz. (466 grams) up 21.3 grams

Olive is 13.5 oz. (384 grams) up 14.2 grams

 


8-4 -  

Morning weigh in....

Coquina is 14.13 oz. (402 grams) up 10.7 grams

Murex is 1 lb. 0.375 oz. (466 grams) up 0 grams

Olive is 14 oz. (399 grams) up 14.2 grams

 


8-5 -  

Morning weigh in....

Coquina is 14.6 oz. (416 grams) up 14 grams

Murex is 1 lb. 1.6 oz. (502 grams) up 35.5 grams

Olive is 14.13 oz. (402 grams) up 3.5 grams

Coquina

Murex

Olive

We put up the run for kitten safety and to keep them enclosed until they learn to use the litter box. The kittens are out and about and the nesting box was removed tonight. Once they master walking about they are introduced to the litter box and a training bowl of baby cat food. Coquina took to eating it straight away. She ate and ate and ate. I guess she really liked it. :) Murex showed off how she can climb up the cat tree to the first level.

Murex climbs the cat tree.

Coquina eats baby cat kibble

Coquina eats and eats baby cat kibble...Olive watches

oooooh it feels good!

The kittens all show off how well they learned to use the scratching post.


8-6 -  Four weeks old  

We no longer need the orange, blue and green coloring to tell these girls apart. They each have a distinctive look.

Snack time

 

(L-R) Olive, Murex, & Coquina sleeping.

Morning weigh in....

Coquina is 15.25 oz. (434 grams) up 17.8 grams

Murex is 1 lb. 2.25 oz. (520 grams) up 17.8 grams

Olive is 14.38 oz. (409 grams) up 7.1 grams

Murex

Coquina 4 weeks old

 

Murex four weeks old

Olive four weeks old

Coquina in the pyramid house getting ready to nap


8-7 -  The kittens are scratching in the litter and eating a bit, yuck. They seem to be squatting but so far no discernable deposits. They scamper with bursts of speed and their coordination is excellent. Keva comes in to watch them but I am not allowing her to be together with them yet. She wants to play but I am unsure of how gentle she will be. She pokes her paw through the run and touches anyone who comes close to her.

Murex

Murex sleeping

Olive has the cutest little trill meow. I'll have to see if I can catch it on a video clip. She does it when she is running about and playing. Its her happy sound.

Olive

Olive

 


8-8 - I have a video clip of Olive playing and if you listen carefully you can hear her trill. Click here to view This is a 3,580KB file and may take some time to load. Make sure you have your volume up so you can hear her. :)

Today I saw Coquina use the litter pan for the first time. They all happily run about trilling. They seem to know no limits. They crawl from their training litter box into Moms big box and out again. Murex was drinking out of the big bowl. They all have mastered climbing the cat tree to the first level. Murex and Coquina have made it to the second level. Olive decided she is queen of the pyramid and climbs up and sits on the top. She also likes to climb the outside of the wicker house. They all enjoy playing with toys.

Murex and Olive

Hi Keva, Want to play with me?

Sure! Lets paw

Can I play too?

Olive to Keva " Hey can you bust us out of here?"

Hey guys I think we can escape if we go up.

Tonight there were multiple wet spots in the litter. :) These kittens are fast learners.

8-9 -

Bi-weekly weigh in....

Coquina is 1 lb. 1.25 oz. (491 grams) up 57 grams

Murex is 1 lb. 4.5 oz. (584 grams) up 64 grams

Olive is 15.75 oz. (448 grams) up 39 grams


8-11 -


8-13 - Five weeks old 

Olive - I got you and you can't get me!

Bi-weekly weigh in....

Coquina is 1 lb. 3.13 oz. (545 grams) up 53 grams

Murex is 1 lb. 6.75 oz. (648 grams) up 64 grams

Olive is 1 lb. 1.5 oz. (489 grams) up 50 grams

Coquina continues to show her sisters the ropes of being a proper kitten. She is eating well and uses both the training litter box as well as Moms litter box with no accidents. Murex and Olive are in watching mode. We are going to try adding some KMR to the food and see if we can entice them into trying some kibble.

They all demonstrate wonderful coordination running about chasing and fighting with each other. They climb both the bark and sisal uprights on the cat tree. Last night Murex showed me she has very sharp teeth when she chomped down on my toe, lol. This is a very important developmental time. They fight with each other and their mom to learn what proper limits of interaction are.

Keva- Murex when I told you to find the mouse...I didn't mean to set a trap for it. This is a keyboard.... ......over here is the mouse. That's a big mouse. I thought it would have more fur and be scared of cats.

8-14 - I made a small bowl of KMR and baby cat kibble. The kittens all liked it very much and licked up the milk. I had to keep hold of Maeve so she wouldn't eat it all before they had a chance. She has been wanting to bring the kittens out of the run so today we had an out play time. Coquina is doing some growing and now her head is looking wider then Olives.

 

Coquina back and Olive front with da bird

Murex (left) & Olive (right)

Murex and Magi

 

I think these two photo's above are both of Coquina

Momma, She's up there again watching us sleep.....(L-R) Coquina, Murex, & Olive


8-16 -

Bi-weekly weigh in....

Coquina is 1 lb. 7.25 oz. (662 grams) up 117 grams

Murex is 1 lb. 8.75 oz. (705 grams) up 57 grams

Olive is 1 lb. 3.5 oz. (555 grams) up 57 grams

 

 The KMR and kibble has been a great hit with Maeve. She drinks all the milk and leaves the soggy kibble. The kittens have wanted nothing to do with any of it after their first bowl. At meal times I always set them right at the bowl. They sniff and walk away. Murex will walk over to the big bowl of water and get a drink. Tonight I filled the bowl with fresh dry kibble and set Olive and Murex in front of it. A little light must have gone on in Olive's brain, lol. She began eating, and eating, and eating. Wow she ate for the longest time. About half way in Maeve began talking to her rather insistently. Olive kept eating and started talking back with her mouth full. If you have ever heard a cat talk while eating you will know the funny way it sounds. When she finished eating she had a round tight belly and happily washed her face. Magi came by for a stolen nibble of baby cat kibble and Murex watched her eat.  Then Murex walked over and got a drink of water. Maybe her little brain will make the connection to food soon too.

 

I let Keva come in and play for a short time tonight while I observed. I think she was thrilled to have some playmates. She was the beast in the hole and even with all three attacking her she looked like she was enjoying every minute. 


8-18 -

Murex 

Olive

Coquina

Olive and Murex

Olive

Olive

Coquina, Olive and Murex

Coquina

Coquina

Coquina

 

Coquina


8-18-

Keva and Coquina

Keva and Coquina

Paparazzi go away! I'm trying to get my beauty sleep.


8-20 - Six weeks old 

Bi-weekly weigh in....

Coquina is 1 lb. 9.63 oz. (730 grams) up 68 grams

Murex is 1 lb. 11.63 oz. (786 grams) up 82 grams

Olive is 1 lb. 6.63 oz. (644 grams) up 89 grams

Murex started eating baby cat kibble Saturday morning. All the kittens are using the litter box. Hopefully with the baby cat things will firm up a bit. Litter training has been a bit of a mess with these girls. They are very enthusiastic about covering their deposits which has lent itself  to a bit of abstract art on my wall o_0. The run has been removed and we are beginning  to let the kittens explore. We will continue to work with them so they remember to return to the litter box when needed. Keva thinks they are great fun. She has missed her brother and sisters. We have also been working on proper use of claws. No climbing drapes or sofa backs.

 

Whoa, What's that?

Uh it's coming near me...not afraid, not afraid, not afraid......

.....too close! 

A quick take down and I come out on top!

How come I have to be Mamma'a pillow tonight?


8-23 -

Bi-weekly weigh in....

Coquina is 1 lb. 11 oz. (772 grams) up 43 grams

Murex is 1 lb. 14 oz. (851 grams) up 64 grams

Olive is 1 lb. 9.5 oz. (726 grams) up 82 grams

I gots my own crinkle ball.

I'm a big bad kitty and I wants that crinkle ball!

Aawh sweet hugs......

Blaw you put your foot in my mouth....pfft

Come on Kiva play with me.

Aaaahhhh...everybodys gittin me!


8-27 - Seven weeks old 

Bi-weekly weigh in....

Coquina is 1 lb. 14 oz. (871 grams) up 99 grams

Murex is 2 lb. 2 oz. (875 grams) up 124 grams

Olive is 1 lb. 12 oz. (790 grams) up 64 gram

(L-R) Murex, Olive and Coquina

Olive

Olive in the background and Murex sleeping with Maeve.


8-28 - 

Coquina

Coquina

The kittens are finding their way about the house. They are able to climb the stairs. They are now starting to come and find us and talk to us. They seem to be saying where are my sisters? I want to play.  :)


8-30 -

Bi-weekly weigh in.... with the close of this month this will be our last weigh in. At 2 pounds the kittens generally will not cooperate with sitting in the basket. There is just too much playing to be done. :)

Coquina is 2 lb. 

Murex is 2 lb. 2 oz.

Olive is 1 lb. 14 oz.


9- 01 - 

 

When the kittens were two weeks old I made the comment that Coquina was smaller and lighter and might grow to look more like her mother. She now has the roundest head of the three and looks more like her father, lol.  Olive now looks more like Mum. Its funny to go back and look at the photos from two weeks. Little Olive had such a big round head. It's hard to believe she is the same kitten.

Coquina (left) & Olive (right) Murex Olive

9- 03 - Eight weeks old 

Now where is that black and white mouse with the pink ears and red feather tail?

 

 

Where is my favorite mouse..........(Coquina)

Keva decides to tutor Murex in the art of birding..........
You'll notice she has no bird ......Keva is not as skilled as her Mum in birding but she does some awe inspiring aerial moves.

 

Murex giving it a go with a back twisting flip......

 

and she is airborne in this photo. If only the sun were shining in we could say she was Walking on Sunshine. 


9- 07 -

On the left is Coquina. On the shoulder is Olive and on the lap is Murex.

(L-R) Coquina, Murex, and in the back Olive

 

Murex - ummm sun

Coquina

Coquina

 

These three photos, taken by my daughter, are of the same kitten. Looking at the first one on the left, I would say this is Coquina. Looking at the one on the right, I would say it's Olive. She was no longer in the nest so I don't know who this is, lol but she sure is pretty :) My daughter thinks its Coquina.

9-10 - Nine weeks old

 

9- 12 -

Coquina

Coquina

Olive

Olive

Murex

Murex

 

 

front to back L-R...Coquina, Murex, Olive

front to back L-R...Coquina, Murex, Olive


9-16 - The kittens are really into being little rascals, especially when it comes to biting each other. They need this stage to learn  the proper limits of play but it seems like its taking longer with this litter. In fact I have noticed that my two litters of three kittens go through stages slower then the larger litters. I guess with more siblings there is more opportunity for learning. There is always someone ready to lead or be an example.

 

Coquina looks most like her father Kian and is the leader in this litter. She likes to play fight and wrestle. Murex is the model. She is the most people oriented of the three and likes to pose and look at us. Olive is the chaser. She is most often flying through the house chasing that elusive snitch. She looks like her Mum.

One of the kids always has their eyes closed in a family portrait but all three?


9-17- 10 weeks old

9-18 -

We had a fun weekend. On Saturday evening Maeve came by when we were finishing dinner. Her breeder used to feed her cooked chicken so she always comes to see if we have any bits for her. My husband gave her a couple bits of pork and she walked away calling to her kittens. I didn't think anything of it until they all came back into the kitchen. The kittens were playing with a toy I didn't recognize. I looked closer and it was a chunk of pork, lol. Maeve had taken it into her kittens. I took it from them and cut it into three pieces. They each got a piece. Olive was always more concerned with what the others had then what she had so she never ate any. Her piece was gobbled up. I tried several times to give her another piece but she always was more interested in what everyone else had and let her piece be eaten. 

 

Sunday morning Sean was first up and he told me when he entered the kitchen all the kittens ran to him and were talking to him. He sat down on the floor to see what they wanted and they crawled onto his lap and promptly fell asleep, lol.

Sunday night they all decided they wanted to sleep with me. Picture this the four big girls all around my feet and between them. The babies come in and jump up on the bed. I hear a few grumbles and hisses. Grumpy Magi saying not near me you aren't. The kittens settle for the right and left spaces next to my hips and one on top. :) I felt like a mummy all wrapped up.

 

In the mornings they like to come into the dining room and play in the sun. I took a camera full of photos hoping to get some good ones with the sun showing their eyes. Not an eye in even one of them. A couple of tongues during bath time but every photo either has eyes closed or the back of the head. They don't stay still when they are awake. :) So here is another sleeping photo....We have lots of nests but only one pink one. What is it about girls and pink?


9-21 -

That's Olive in front and Coquina behind. Murex yawning.... Good Morning.

The girls had their first core immunizations this morning. The Doctor said they were all strong and healthy and the staff and people in the waiting room deemed them oh so beautiful and precious. :) I am biased but I agree! It's always interesting to see how kittens react in an unfamiliar situation like a vet visit. I have observed them here in our home and see Coquina as the leader in rough play. Alpha cat tendencies, the most outgoing within the feline family. A bit reserved with people but beginning to come out of her shell....no pun intended :).  Murex is the lead socialite with people and holds back a bit with kitten play. She loves to run and jump but is not so keen on play fighting. Olive is the middle child. A bit reserved but opening up. She gets along well with everyone. Well today they showed me a totally different side to themselves. Murex turned into a quivering mass of jello. She was hiding under the nest in the carrier. During her exam the doctor even had to chuckle at her. She seemed like she was set on vibrate. I've never had a cat buzz quite so much. Poor lil' baby. Coquina also was quivering a little. She was curious about this new human. She kept turning her head to look at him and his stethoscope. Olive was completely calm. The doctor said if he were to choose based on their heart rates he would say Olive was the alpha cat of the bunch. With Coquina being the middle child and Murex being the follower. It will be interesting to learn how they develop as the mature.

The doctor also asked about their seashell names so I decided to add links to their shells. Thank you to Sanibel's  The  Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum for their wonderful online seashell guide.

Coquina  and a better photo here

Murex  Murex is a group of shells. Since these are old style Siamese, sometimes called apple heads. I chose the Apple Murex for the photo :)

Olive

Olive posed just in the right window light. I'm working on getting a nice pose from Murex and Coquina.

Olive


9-23- Coquina and Murex's new family came to visit today. The kittens acted all shy and cautious of these people they had never seen before. Seemed the more we wanted them to socialize the less they wanted to. Tonight we had friends over that the kittens have never seen also. We were standing in the living room talking and all the kittens gathered at our feet. No hint of shyness or caution. They looked up at us as if to say....Why aren't we the center of your attention? lol

9-24 - 11 weeks old

Murex on the left and Coquina on the right.

Murex on the left and Coquina on the right.

 

Hey Murex, How about you pose for me?

 

(Murex) Here's a pose! Ah hahahaha

Okay that was funny, now sit nice and look over here.

 (Murex) Okay I'll look oveeeerrr....here!

*crinkle crinkle* look here Murex. (Murex) I'm  lookinnngg.....here!


10-1 - 12 weeks old  .........I guess Murex thought her sisters were a bit to lumpy to sleep on without a cushion?


10-2 - This morning Coquina and Murex had their appointment with Dr. E to be spayed. I was told their surgeries went very well and the girls did fine. I picked them up a 6pm. Coquina walked out of her carrier and immediately tried to lick her shaved belly. She rolled over backwards in the attempt. This is a common reaction and they look so silly falling backward.  She has been very good tonight and has stayed quite. Happy to sit in an available lap. Maeve came up and sat with her a couple of times and Coquinas purr went into high mode. I could hear her across the sofa. Murex came home in overdrive. I think the anesthetic must have made her hyperactive. I have never had a kitten react with such energy after surgery. She walked out of her carrier and headed into the kitchen. When she thought she was safely away from anyone who might stop her she attempted to lick her belly too. She didn't roll backwards but forward onto her face. She was so intent on her shaved tummy that she didn't even try to catch herself  with her paws. She was not in the least bothered by the ungraceful position. She just rolled on her side and kept at her tummy. I had to pick her up to protect her stitches. I was not able to keep her resting in my lap so I played with her with a toy in her nest. She was happy to sit in the nest and paw at the toy. The girls both had a good dinner before settling down to sleep tonight.

 

This weekend as I collected toys from under furniture I found one of Maeve's favorite little sparkle balls. She was so happy she played like a kitten. I noticed when throwing it for her she would encourage the kittens to play with it but would not allow Keva, Magi or Emma to get near it. Maeve is one of those Siamese who play fetch. Some kittens will do this naturally, Pinky (Jeetah) from our first litter was one.  I throw the toy she brings it back to me to throw again. As a kitten Maeve would play this for as long as I would keep tossing the toy. Once she became a Mum she was much more serious and didn't retrieve as much. This is the first time I have observed her playing this way with her kittens. I believe she was trying to teach them to retrieve. I got the camera so I could show you a video clip of it but once I turned the camera on she stopped. I have five little clips of Maeve and the kittens just standing still, lol. 

Here are some fun photos from yesterday....these were taken before their surgery
     
     

10-3 - My morning started with an emergency trip to the cat hospital. When I awoke this morning I went straight to Murex to check her because I figured she was the biggest risk with how active she was after her surgery. She was fine. In fact she has been quietly sleeping all day. :) A sweet angel with no sign of the little devil she was last night. However when I checked Coquina her abdomen was bulging out. Coquina's incision herniated. It's not a common occurance. I called the cat hospital and was told to bring her over to be checked. I wasn't even dressed so I brushed my hair into a ponytail and tossed on some clothes and off we went.

Coquina's herniated abdomen

Dr. E confirmed she had herniated and kept her at the hospital so she could repair it. There are two sets of sutures with abdominal surgery. There is a set that closes the abdominal muscle wall. This is what supports all the organs inside. Then there are the sutures that close the skin. The sutures in the abdominal wall had come loose. Coquina was scheduled for repair surgery at 2:00pm. The wait helps to assure any food she might have eaten is digested so there is no risk of her inhaling it. I picked her up at 5:00pm and she was very happy to see me. She talked to me quite a bit on the way home. Once out of the carrier she rubbed and rubbed me. I like to think it was out of affection but I suspect she was trying to rub the hospital smell off, lol. Whenever a cat comes home from the hospital none of the other cats like the smell. They hiss and growl at the poor patient. As if it weren't bad enough to have to go there. Even when this photo was taken Mum was growling under her breath. Coquina wanted to suckle but mom was not allowing it. 

Coquina is watching the other cats thru the glass office doors.

Tonight we had half a chicken breast left over so I cut it into small pieces and all the kittens had a special treat. They are realizing people are good at reciprocating affection. I am starting to see that their father has passed on his loving  personality. As Martha would say....It's a very good thing. :)

10-4 - I've kept Coquina  in my office all day so I can be sure she is being quiet and resting. This morning when I looked at Coquina's abdomen it looked a bit puffy. I was feeling a bit uncertain about it. As the day wore on the less certain I became. It was clearly not as big as the photo above but there was a solid lump under her incision. For my own peace of mind I took her back in to the cat hospital. They checked her and said the stitches were all still intact. She was pretty swollen. I need to use warm compresses on it two times a day and Dr. E wants her to have an antibiotic two times a day for a week. She is being such a sweetie through this. I have allowed Maeve to come and go from my office. When Coquina was sleeping I had the door open and Murex came in calling to me. She hopped up on my lap and was very happy to curl and be petted, purring like crazy. 

Coquina decided she would help me with some work................

 

 

which resulted in a reading lesson for her....

She is very gentle with my flat screen and this was really just a photo joke. She does like to follow the cursor. :)


10-5 - Murex looks great. She is healing well. I am keeping Coquina separate for another day.

Murex with Keva's tail. lol

Murex with Magi.

Olive and Magi.


10-10 - The girls are healing nicely and are back to running through the house and catching balls, mice, crumpled reject homework, just about anything that moves or makes crinkle noises.

Coquina 13 weeks of age

Olive 13 weeks of age

Olive 13 weeks of age

Murex 13 weeks of age

The best seat in the house.


10-12 - Coquina was paying attention to her mother's lessons. For the past two nights she has brought a sparkle ball to me to play fetch with. She is still learning but I think with repetition she will become an avid retriever.

 

Murex is an undercover cat. She likes to get in bed and snuggle with us then work her way under the covers. If one of the big girls asks to go under she is quick to duck under with them.

 

The girls have decided the foam bed is much more fun if it is upside down. At first I thought the nest was turned over by accident during some rough play and I kept turning it back and tucking the cover back in place. Well it has happened too much to be an accident. I believe they are flipping it on purpose. They like the way they sink in and can hide under the edge of the cover. 

Coquina

Coquina

Maeve front, Murex middle, then Olive in the back

Coquina was first to hide in the nest then Murex took over.


 

Coquina and Murex have moved to their new home. Coquina is now Coco and Murex is Cinnamon. I am very happy that the girls were able to go together. Reports from their new family have been positive and they are being true to the personalities they showed me. Cinnamon is very much her father's girl. She has the same "love me, love me, love me," loving way Kian has. Her new Meowmy says she will fall at your feet if she doesn't get enough attention....just like Kian. She learned early if she sits on the alarm button her family stays home later in the morning, lol. Coco is now in charge and when the two of them get to playing there is quite the commotion. I picture that cat commercial with the kitty party..... Coco would be the one with the lampshade on her head. I'm told she likes lamp shades. :) Look for future follow up photos on our Where Are They Now? page.

 

Olive is staying with us and I am thrilled to have her. We have named her Finola "finn + ula". She is a wonderful mix of Maeve's pixie qualities and Kian's loving personality. Her tail seems to have a life of its own. It does mystical dances when she is happy. My original thought is too keep her until I see how Maeve's next litter goes. We will see how she develops and if she steals everyone's heart.


In looking back on this I have tried to see if I was unfair to Dr.Y.  Yes, Conch was very sick. The call to euthanize him may have been the right one for how sick he was. I can accept that. What I can't get past is that she never considered a root cause. She never took the time to look at the other kittens or to consider that Maeve had retained a placenta and had invasive surgery.  If Dr.E had not had the foresight to give me the second antibiotic "just in case" and if she had not been in the Friday I took Whelk in, I would have lost this entire litter and even Maeve. Had she correctly diagnosed Conch I believe we could have saved Whelk. We will never really know because that time was lost. Dr. Y's unprofessional response to me when Maeve needed to be checked on Monday is beyond me. That day would have been the perfect opportunity to see us and to re-establish herself as a trained professional.  A small explanation of how swamped she was as the only Dr. there and how sorry she was would have been enough.....To simply say I am human, I missed it and I am going to learn from this and never let it happen again. Instead she chose to react in a way that was designed to be nasty. Lies told and phrases carefully chosen to get even.....what was she getting even for? Was this because I discussed the diagnosis she gave me for Conch? My kittens were the ones who suffered and  Maeve was hung out to dry. 

She is a young Vet. Had she stepped up and been professional I would have said she has the potential to be a great Vet, with more experience. On my last appointment at practice Dr. Y was still there. I understand there is a shortage of Veterinarians in Massachusetts and that many no longer accept new patients. Given the way I was treated I think the silent owners of this practice need to carefully consider what type of Veterinarians they want on staff. 

I tried to overlook what happened and stayed with this practice for a year more. With each visit that I saw another doctor I became less satisfied. The receptionist would not allow me to schedule with the doctor of my choice.  Each time I asked a breeding related question the doctor would tell me "I don't know" and never looked into finding an answer for me. When I would inquire about a recommendation Dr. E had made to me it was countered by the doctor I was seeing. This type of inconsistency in clinical practice guidelines and patient care policy created too much anxiety for me. I began dreading my well care trips to this practice. 

On my last trip there I asked about getting the Pitocin Dr. E told me to pick up before my next litter. The Dr. I saw refused. I asked at reception about Dr. E and was told she was still practicing with them but off this week. Three weeks later, I lost a kitten in my next litter due to delayed labor. I can't help but wonder if having the Pitocin would have saved this kittens life. I learned Dr. E  is no longer with this practice and neither are we.

These kitten angels they are perfect little markers in the garden where the kittens are buried.


Coquina and Murex (now Coco and Cinnamon) 

Olive (now Finola)

You will never really know how good your vet is until the two of you have faced an emergency.


I am now using the highly recommended Apple Country Animal Hospital in Stow, MA. 

I am very happy my cats are in the care of Dr. Cynthia Schaefer. She is very friendly and I can see in her hands during examinations that she truly loves each cat as if they were her own. Dr Schaefer has the experience that time brings and is also up to date on the latest studies. Dr, Schaefer now owns two of our kittens.

  Our queen Finola, Olive in this diary, also needed a c-section. It was performed at Tuft's ER. She too developed a post surgical serious infection, both gram positive and gram negative bacteria.  Having been through this before we were able to apply what we had learned from this litter. We hand fed the kittens until culture and sensitivity tests could confirm that the bacteria's were covered by the antibiotic we were using. No kittens became sick. We recently learned that Maeve and Finola both ended up with an opening in their muscle wall where their incisions didn't heal properly. If you are a breeder and encounter an infection following abdominal surgery. Please have your vet check the muscle wall incision carefully. We discovered Maeve's during an ultra sound and that led us to double check Finola. Having a muscle wall hole can cause a serious hernia of the intestine or bowel during a pregnancy. You could lose your queen. Finola's infection litter diary
April 2008 -  After the required waiting period needed for her to heal from this surgery mess she had an overgrowth of endometrial tissue due to the constant cycling of her hormones. This then led to a pyometra infection. We treated the pyometra with the hope of her continuing her breeding career. Maeve was never able to conceive again and has retired.

 Maeve's Pyometra Treatment Page.


 

                


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