Monday, November 24, 2014

Hanging In There

Hang in there, Baby

Thank you so much for all of the sweet and supportive words you sent. There certainly were lot of comments left on the blog,  Facebook and on all of our social media outlets!  You guys really are the absolute best, and I appreciate every single one of you and your huge, kind hearts.

We're still muddling through this. I'm feeling better about things, though it's mighty strange not having the babies around here. We sure do miss them.  

I don't know yet when we'll be able to receive kittens again, but most likely we'll be sitting out the winter months. For the health of future kittens, we need to play it safe. These motherless kittens we foster are more vulnerable, and we need to mindful of that and protect them.  We often take breaks in these months anyway, because there just aren't a lot of kittens in need of fostering, so it won't be too different from previous years.

During this kitten-less time,  I plan to work hard to keep things interesting on the blog. I've thought a lot this past weekend about changes I can make, and what I can do to keep you all entertained while we wait. I've got a few new ideas I'd like to try.

I  promise to do my very best to keep you coming back, and though we'll have no shiny kittens to share for a bit , we'll hopefully still be a bright spot in your day!

Thank you, dear friends. We love you.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Oh, What a Week It's Been

When the Lumpkins first moved in, the very tip of Wilma's tail had hair loss. Monica, who fostered the kittens for the first ten days, said they thought it might have been injured, or, perhaps one of her siblings had been nursing on it, which isn't all that uncommon when babies are pulled off mom at a young age. I wouldn't say I was worried about it, but I did keep an eye on it.

On Monday eve, I noticed the hair directly above Frieda's eyes was thinning, which gave me cause for concern, so I emailed the foster department to request an appointment with the doctor.  I brought them in for their appointment Tuesday, and by the then, the thin parts on Frieda were now bald and expanding. 

I left the kittens in vet treatment, and went down to the foster room to wait. Within a few minutes, the vet tech came into the room and said "It's not good, Doc will be here in a moment to talk to you."  

And it wasn't good. 

They have ringworm. Which isn't life-threating, but it's hard on wee kittens, and it's a monster to deal with.  It requires a long quarantine period that can mean anywhere from two to six months of confinement for the kittens during their treatment. It requires being very careful, and keeping things very clean - it's a fungus, and spores can travel. During the quarantine period you treat, test, re-treat and retest until there’s no sign of it. 

At this time, calls were being made, but we didn't have a plan in place for the kittens, so I brought them home and put them back in the basement. I ran to the store to get bleach, gloves, and a few other cleaning supplies. When I returned, I fed them, tucked them into their carrier,  stripped all the linens from the cage, then started a load blankets and towels in the washer. I scrubbed down their cage with bleach water, and wiped down all surrounding surfaces and the floor. Once the cage was dry, I added fresh blankets and returned them to their quarters. 

I wasn’t sure was what going to happen next, but as heart-crushing as it was,  I knew they couldn't remain here with us. I couldn’t risk exposing the girls, and we're not set up here with a space that can comfortably hold them for the length of time they would need to be quarantined. We don't have a room, we have a wire kennel in the corner of a big, open basement. And this kills me, you have no idea how much this kills me, but we had to find them a place outside of our home where they could be treated and recover.  Thankfully, there is a foster mom who has taken such kittens before, and currently has a pair she is treating, so she agreed to take in our Lumpkins.  I’m so, so very grateful she’s willing to do this. I know it’s not an easy task and it requires much work and huge dedication.  

Yesterday afternoon I packed up the Lumpkins and took back them to the shelter. Their new mom will be picking them up today.  

You put your heart at risk when fostering. I know this, and I’ve prepared for this.  Mine is strong enough to weather the usual goodbyes and gold medal ceremonies, but having to hand over these three wee beauties, before they’re done at our finishing school, is breaking my heart right now.  There have been many tears in the past 48 hours. I've cursed even more than I cried. I know this is what they need, this is what is best, and they'll be fine,  but I feel so horrible that I can't see them through this on my own. 

There is still much cleaning to do, and do again. Though the kittens were contained and we were careful, these spores could have wafted anywhere in our house, and we need to be thorough and be rid of this before we bring in any vulnerable kittens again. I'm not sure how long this will take.

 Ringworm is contagious, but the big cats haven't done any mingling with the kittens because the little ones were still in the quarantine stage. No common surfaces were shared, and we're always VERY careful about washing hands after handling kittens, so I'm not worried about Charlene and Wylla.  As for us humans, we can get it too, but we buy hand-sanitizer by the gallon and wash hands religiously. And if we happen to catch it, it's easily treated.

I’ve offered to provide help, or whatever the new foster mom might need for the babies while they’re in her care, and when they are fully treated and ready for adoption, I will help find them homes.  Any updates she shares, I will share with you, but I have no to plans to pressure her for any reports or photos.  Her hands are going to be really full, and I can’t ask any more of her.

 I'm sorry to have to share this news with you, you know how I hate to share sad things here, but of course I had to tell this story.  This week has been intense, but a plan is now now in place.  There are still bright futures ahead for these kittens, it's just going to take a little time and extra work to get them there.

I did take a couple of pictures of the Lumpkins before they left, but honestly, they’re hard to look at. The kittens don’t look good, and I would prefer that these aren’t the images that linger with us. So instead, here they are, ten days ago when they first moved in.

Please think good thoughts for the wee ones, and hope for their sake and their new caregiver's too, their recovery is quick.  





Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Whole Kitty City!

Wylla does spend a lot of time napping and hanging out in her Gingerbread House. It gets lots of use. The dangly snowflake ornament that once hung in the doorway is long gone, but I have plans to make another ornament or maybe a wreath to hang in its place once we're a little closer to Christmas.

Ever since I first posted a picture of Wylla, Charlene and the Gingerbread House, I've seen lots of photographs of similar homes popping up in Charlene's Facebook feed, and on Twitter and Instagram, too.  I thought it might be fun to compile them all and do a post on the blog showing this whole kitty city that has grown in the IBKC community.  So, if your cat has a Gingerbread House, please share a photo of kitty enjoying it.  You can email it to us HERE,  post it on our Facebook page, or post it on Twitter with the tag #GingerbreadCatHouse.  You've got through this weekend to submit one, and I'll share them next week.



PS The houses are available at Target in the holiday pet section. We're not sponsored by Target, we  just know that someone's going to ask where we got the house because it's dang cute.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Great Escape


I invested in a new kennel to contain the kittens. It's nearly twice the size of the one we were perviously using.  It's so large, a 5'4" human can fit inside. Don't ask my how I know this.

I set up the cage in the guest room, lined it with blankets, placed their bed, dishes, toys, and litter box inside, then added the kittens. They appeared to be quite happy to be in their new, expanded quarters.

Once they were settled, I left the room and got busy with some work stuff.  An hour or so later, I heard a few squeaks, so I went to investigate. I opened the door and found two kittens in the cage, heard a cry from below, and Wilma was at my feet. I scooped her up, and put her back inside with the others.

I thought for sure I had put them all in there earlier, but maybe she had slipped out as I closed the door?  As I stood there feeling perplexed,  that agile little monkey climbed the bars of the cage in record time, and popped right through the bars of the roof, which are a little further apart than the bars of the cage sides.  Looking at those bars, and looking at that kitten, you would never think she could pass through with such ease, but she did. And this cage is thirty-six inches tall! It's the XXL and built to contain a Grate Dane or Mastiff.  That tiny kitten, did a three-foot vertical sprint.

I put her back inside, and while I searched for a solution to prevent another escape from the zoo, she did it again, and even faster than before.

I threw a lap quilt over the top of the cage and watched another attempt. The weight of the quilt made it too difficult for her to wriggle out.  She hung there for a second, then dropped, landing on the audience below, who were in a puddle of blankets.  She untangled herself from her siblings, tried again, paused half way up the cage, then aborted the plan.

I added a piece of cardboard beneath the quilt.  I think that should prevent further escapes, but Wilma is one very determined little kitten, so who knows!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sad Stewart

Our little Lumpkins were starting to develop a pretty good layer of kitten crust.  They had poo on their shoes and soup on their bibs, so they all got a good bath yesterday. I do hate to do it, but without a mom to keep them clean, even with post-meal wipe-downs, they just get dirty during this stage of development.

I trid to explain to them that it's for their own good, but those faces tell me they don't understand.

HOW CAN YOU DO THIS TO US?  Baths make us very sad!


I'm sorry, Stewart, but it had to be done. Hopefully we'll never have to subject you to that again. But now that it's over, doesn't it feel good to be so clean?

And before I go this morning, I wanted to say thanks to all who pre-odered their cards sets yesterday. They were flying out the door! We've sold 2/3 of the sets, and if we sell out soon, I'll have time to order more.  SO, if you're thinking about picking up a set, it's so helpful if you do it soon!

 I offer quantity discounts, so if you're interested in ordering six sets or more, shoot me an email, and we'll work out a deal.

To check out the cards and other new IBKC products, please pop over to our shop. Thanks!


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