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Thursday, August 17, 2017

And then we wormed him.

Toby's digestive system was working a lot better, so we wormed him. We're back to diarrhea and dehydration. That sounds sinister, but he's still a busy enough kitten that we think he'll make it.
Duck football as you've never seen it before. Here, Toby sacks the duck. 
Dog in the background is farther away than she appears.

The Contemplation of the Shoelace.

Pouncing prep sequence initiated. Contact in 3...2...1...

So much for getting a picture with the lion to show you how big he is.

Sooner or later, he wears out.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Getting better all the time

And there was a time, a couple of weeks ago, when I could easily have sung "can't get no worse."

But not today.

Be sure you're not eating if you're squeamish.

Toby finally stopped bleeding while pooping, so we could give him probiotics. We started yesterday. The diarrhea has diminished considerably. He is eating more. He's sleeping a lot and putting on weight faster.

His favorite snuggle position: tucked under the human's chin. 
Cat must think he's a viola.
(Happy cat. Happy, very tired mama.)

He doesn't mind being held like a baby, either. 
Bonus Toby toe beans!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Toby's second bath

These are post-bath photos because bathing him is an exercise for Cat Four Hands and Sink.

Toby wants you to know it was just awful and he was a very sad kitty.

So sad he has to hug Mama's finger when he thinks about it.

But the blowdryer felt good to him, and being brushed feels good, and having a toy to beat up on is very helpful. He thinks he might be cheerful again after a nice long nap.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Day 29 playtime photos

Matt put his photojournalism skills to work this afternoon to chronicle the post-pee, post-poop, post-feeding playtime.
What? Oh, just eating Mama's hair. Nothing to see here. Move along, reporter.

Raaaaawr! I will eat the elephant!

Bunny kick! Bunny kick!

A bit out of focus, but you can see his tiny sharp teeth!

This is getting dull. Maybe I'll wash my paws instead.

If you brush me, I'll go to sleep holding my toy.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The wee hours are full of incident

Toby can now run full tilt and can also back up very quickly. It's a whole new ballgame.
In the last hour and a half, he has eaten a moderate amount, pooped some, run around a lot (including running very fast and backing up at considerable speed), climbed the back of the couch, climbed my shoulder and tried to find food in my ear (whuffa whuffa whuffa), refused food when it did not come from my ear, galloped across the living room to investigate Matt's shoes, investigated the interior of a paper bag, tried to eat an empty tissue box, refused food that was not an empty tissue box, attempted to climb my neck and do a swan dive onto a tile floor, wailed when swan dive was thwarted, pounced on and thoroughly defeated his blue bear, washed his paws, fallen over trying to wash his tail, and gone to sleep abruptly.

There are no pictures because I was too busy keeping him alive.

Images from the last couple of days

He sleeps in this position. How?

Identical pensive expressions.

Washing the front end is working well. Washing the back end makes him fall over.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The grim saga of Toby's bath and assorted post-bath photos and videos

When a kitten has multiple episodes of diarrhea while sleeping, a wet washcloth doesn't do everything. He's been stinky and tangled in the nether regions, but he was too little and frail to wash. Yesterday we got the go-ahead from Dr. Colleen.
First, I had to find baby shampoo. Our local grocery, Huffman's, had it, in bottles bigger than my baby. As I have allergies to all artificial fragrances, I bought the "New Natural Lavender and Chamomile" version, which is a fetching shade of purple. Once opened, it bore all the resemblance to natural smells that Toby's blue plush elephant bears to a real elephant. Apparently there's a whole lot of fake in with that "natural."
Then we checked him with the blow-dryer. It didn't faze him at all. The bath was a go.
We ran a sink of warm water and I soaped him up. He began screaming at the first touch of the shampoo. Maybe it was the smell, but more likely his irritated skin was hurting. I scrubbed him as quickly and gently as I could, rinsed him twice, and spent a few minutes doing scary detail work with a flea comb to get the big chunks out, then towel-dried him very gingerly and pulled out the dryer.
I made sure my hand was always in the path of the dryer so I wouldn't inadvertently burn him. He was still complaining, but less vociferously, and by the end of the drying period he seemed to like the feeling of the warm wind.
We left the bathroom. I set him down on the couch and got out the thread scissors, intending to trim some of the longer bits of fur near his anus so they wouldn't get cruddy again. (I had already had to trim some of it, and parts of his tail, while he was too sick to bathe.) He took one look at the scissors, gave me the nastiest glare a cute baby can give, walked off, and sat down hard on his little bum with his back to me. "No way, lady. Just take those sharp things AWAY." I gave up.
He's forgiven me for the whole episode and is doing well. These pictures are from blear o'clock this morning (around sunrise; I'd been up since 1:30 doing the graveyard shift.)
The blue elephant is his favorite--there are so many good spots to bite.
Time to fall asleep with my paws on Mama's shirt.
Or lean on her arm.

The laptop is a warm pillow.



Sunday, August 6, 2017

Three weeks old and conquering the heights

Friend Rebecca and I played for a wedding up in the Strawberry Mountains yesterday afternoon. Matt stayed home and took pictures of the intrepid Toby climbing Mt. Couchback.

Here we see him attempting the previously unscaled Doorblanket Couloir.

Near the top, he pauses for pictures taken by his faithful Domestic Geographic photographer.

The summit eludes him due to the need to descend before the next bottle feeding,
but the climb has still been a significant achievement.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Toby is three weeks old: Day 22

Morning Toby report: He now refuses to eat before he has had playtime, walking-around time, and a snuggle, as well as his elimination times. He eliminates on his own--we don't have to stimulate his orifices with a wet cloth. He still has bloody diarrhea every couple of hours, he cries when he eliminates because his skin is sore and he cries when we clean him and put Vaseline on his poor little self, but then he snuggles and sits up and says, "What's next?" He just took his meds an hour late because he wants his feedings farther apart now. All in all, I think he's improving. He is gaining weight.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Toby, day 21

Soon I'll post the long story of the last couple of days. For now, here are some pictures:

Toby vanquishing his archrival, Lellyfank the blue elephant.

Toby making short work of the Killer Rabbit.

(His bottom looks a bit ragged as we're not bathing him till he can regulate his temperature, and that means he gets wiped down with wet rags and then dried immediately. He's already had one bad chill.)

Toby spending time with his buddy Simba.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Toby, day 19

The one and only Toby is still playing Whack-A-Mole with health problems. We got his weight back up where it was before the dehydration/chill episode of Monday night to Tuesday afternoon, got metronidazole for his intestinal infection, got the diarrhea down to once every two hours instead of every hour, and then he stopped peeing. We went to the vet this morning to get him subcutaneous fluids for the continuing dehydration. He met the thermometer and the big needle with high-decibel screams of indignation, then returned to his usual cheery curiosity as soon as they were gone. He rode home quietly and proceeded to pee up a storm at his 12:30 feeding.

Dr. Colleen says he's doing beautifully aside from the dehydration. His weight is back where it was before Monday night's downward spiral. His heart and lungs sound great. His temp is right in the middle of normal range. He is responding well to the antibiotic. He's hitting his marks for cognition and motor skills, though he is now a bit behind on weight. Looks like we get to keep him.

That's great, because who could do without this little sleepy face? Here he is, home from his travels, relaxed and happy.


Task analysis for kitten feeding

Task analysis for kitten feeding:

Make formula if there is none left in the jar (measure, mix, strain for lumps)

Gather the following:
Small rags for washing bits of kitten, medium rags for swaddling kitten, large rags or towel to hold snuggle disk
Vaseline for tiny chapped behind

1. Wet several small rags. Nuke briefly to get them warm. Place on feeding table.
2. Mix 1 tsp canned kitten food with 1.5 tsp Pedialyte in small bowl
3. Pour formula into bottle.
4. Weigh bottle. Write down weight.
5. Nuke mug of water for 1 to 1.5 min. Place bottle in mug to warm up.
6. Nuke bowl of Pedialyte.
7.. Move food and rags to feeding table.
8. Wake Toby. Wipe him off if needed.
9. Test formula for proper temperature.
10. Start feeding bottle.
11. When he refuses bottle, start feeding Pedialyte (dip pinkie in mix, let him suck it off the finger; if he's really doing well, carefully spoon-feed).
12. At some point during the feeding he will need the following:
Wiping up after a poop
Stimulation for peeing
Wiping face with clean rags
13. When he finishes eating, weigh bottle and write down weight again. Calculate amount of formula consumed. Note whether wet food mix was consumed.
14. Weigh kitten. Write down his weight.
15. Wrap kitten in clean rags.
16. Remove snuggle disk from carrier. Clean and wrap in clean cloth. Nuke for 30-60 seconds. Replace in carrier. Tuck clean small rags around edges to provide a safe, even surface.
17. Put kitten in carrier. Put towels around carrier to prevent drafts.
18. Do dishes. Put used rags in washer.

Toby, very early day 19

Dr. Colleen gave Toby a prescription: metronidazole. After his first dose, he started eating a lot more and gaining weight again. I will admit to tears of joy when I weighed him after the 2 a.m. feeding. He has not yet regained all he lost, but he's heading in the right direction.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Toby, day 18

We almost lost Toby last night. We didn’t realize we had moved his feedings too far apart and he was getting dehydrated. Then, because the dehydration made him more vulnerable, he got chilled when I was wipa tinying him with a damp washcloth. He stopped eating and became lethargic. After a frantic call to the vet, we started feeding him pretty much constantly for 5 hours--he’d eat a tiny bit, fall asleep, wake up, we’d feed him another few drops. He got sicker until 3:30 a.m., when he rallied and began to be more alert and eat more. Now he is back to feedings every 2 hours and we will go to every 3 after he’s well back on the path of wellness and weight gain. We have not slept more than an hour each. Matt is having a nap so he can make lunch without burning the house down, and I get a nap when he gets up. I have 3 lessons to teach this afternoon.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Toby's growth today, day 16

Toby grew visibly between his 2 pm and 5 pm feedings. He was more alert. For the first time, he looked at his bottle on the table and mewed for it before his feeding. He can hold his head up  without having it bob around.

Matt vacuumed the hallway while I was holding Toby, who jumped when the vacuum went on. I reassured him and sang to him, and he calmed right down. His trust is such a gift.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Day 15, looking up

Everything is going in the right direction. He's hitting his weight and developmental milestones.

I put down the pinkish rag at the top of the picture after washing him, 
and he said, "Look, I can wash my own paws."

Mama! That tickles! Do it again!

Toby, day 15: his true species revealed

Surrendered to sleep.

That moment when you realize you thought you had a kitten but it's really a baby Wookiee

It has not been easy. Toby started off constipated and had to have an enema last Tuesday; our vet suggested we give him a little mineral oil twice a day. He was constipated for two more days, and then started having diarrhea. It's gradually leveling out now, but every feeding time now goes like this:
1. Pull Toby and all blankets/rags out of carrier, check for poop.
2. Clean him up.
3. Feed him (warm formula, make bottle, weigh bottle, work with him to get a latch, watch him break it, work to get another latch...).
4. Give him his sponge bath and help him eliminate again. Expect to lose another rag and possibly a change of clothing.
5. Feed him some more.
6. Minor mop-up (he likes to wash his paws with his milky tongue: look, Mom, I'm washing! Like all baby helping behavior, this makes him stickier) and weigh the bottle again to see how much he ate.
7. Walk around with him till he goes to sleep.
8. Put him carefully back in the carrier with a warmed-up snuggle disk and lots of clean rags.

This all takes half an hour to an hour. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Toby, day 12

Toby had his first wet food/formula mix this morning, at our vet's recommendation. He is still too little to lap out of a bowl or jar lid, but I put some of the mix on my pinkie and he slurped it from there. We didn't get pictures of that exciting process because food was flying and we were busy!

We did get a few after his feeding.

He's so big! This is at full stretch.

Happy boy, on the edge of a nap.

Yes, Toby's eyes are open! They open wider than this, but he was sleepy. 
His eyes are the strange silvery blue-gray of the new baby. 
Yesterday he opened them wide, and when I called his name he did the happy-cat blink and purred.

He still does a convincing otter imitation ,especially when he's napping. Here, he's giving a final wave to his fans before going back into his carrier for another rest. He'll be bigger when he wakes up.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Day 9: Luciano Tobias Pawvarotti (Toby)

It's a big day. Last night we revised the kitten's name. Luciano and Luke weren't really fitting him easily, and while I was cooing over his tiny toe beans, I looked at Matt and said, "Toby." It worked. We batted around some possibilities, and finally came up with Luciano Tobias Pawvarotti, Toby for short.

Yesterday was hard. He got constipated, worked his way out of it, then aspirated enough formula that I was alarmed, but the vet checked and his lungs are fine. She also said he was probably born last week.

He has doubled his birthweight as of noon today! (You celebrate. We'll nap.) That milestone is supposed to happen after a week, but he had a rough start due to being abandoned and then picked up by amateurs, so he missed it by a day. He'll catch up by the next milestone, I'm sure. He jumped at a sudden noise, so his ears are starting to work. Eyes will be next.

He has acquired not only his full and proper name, but his first song, a Beach Boys parody: "Slurper Boy."

Feeding. He is on his belly, NOT his back, and his forelegs are long enough that he can knead on my fingers. This makes feeding easier. So does experience. I can touch his mouth with my finger, wait till he opens it, and get the nipple right where it needs to go.

After a feeding, he snuggles up in my hand and goes to sleep. He used to fit into my hand. Now there is only room for his head and forequarters. The milky mouth and the purr are bigger, too.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Luciano, day 7

Day 7 saw further growth and, blessedly for us, longer sleep times between bigger feedings. As always Luciano makes the schedule.

His pattern now is still eat/eliminate/eat a lot more in multiple bursts of nursing before going back to sleep. He's adding new activities: after he's done eating he will climb around on us, roll over to have his belly stroked with every indication of enjoyment, suck on our fingers, and finally drop off to sleep while being held.

His ears are unfolding!

Postprandial finger gnawing with bonus tiny toes.

Belly rub bliss. Are we sure he's not a dog?

Bedtime rituals are complete, and he's asleep.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Luciano, day 6

Luciano ate an incredible amount of formula yesterday in 16 feedings, and he grew--144 grams yesterday morning, 150 last night, 160 now.  He has started sleeping on his snuggle disk instead of on us, which leaves us free to do other things. (Maybe we'll even sleep a bit.) He can roll over, crawl on his belly, and climb. He seems to be hearing a little, his ears are unfolding, and his eyelid crease is looking like it may start to open soon. 

After a feeding last night, he fell asleep on the warm touchpad. 
Who knows, maybe he wanted to write a blog post.

This morning. He's so big! 
He still looks more like an otter than baby otters do.

Daisy is too rough with him to leave them together, but she watches the carrier while he sleeps on his snuggle disk. She comes and gets us as soon as he starts to stir, so we can start making the formula for the next feeding. This was entirely her idea, and it's why I love herding dogs so much.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Around the yard this morning

Daisy got her training time and her play time!

Arwen is the picture of sophistication.

Eowyn basking.

Just over the fence in the neighbor's pasture, near where I found Luciano.