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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.

Luciano day 5: Two videos and a still

From today's fifth feeding. (It's 7 a.m.)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Feeding time

They are supposed to be on their bellies, but he stands up to eat no matter what we do.

Luciano day 3 photos

Day 3. Eating and gaining steadily even after his first really big poop. Laptop camera is all we can fuss with right now.

He's so much bigger than he was two days ago!

Daisy really wants to help, but he's too tiny.
He's sound asleep in this one.
Getting weighed. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Luciano, day 2, morning

6 a.m. He's still alive. Not sure about me. He's gained a gram and is at 108, slightly more than a skein of sock yarn. Feedings at 11:30, 2, 4, and 5. We spent the night on the couch.

Random Luciano notes:

It is possible to have an outsized personality when you fit easily into a human hand and weigh about the same as a skein of yarn. He is intense and determined. He's even busy when he sleeps.

Contrary to everything I have heard from the excellent rescuers at Hope4Paws and our splendid vet and all I read on the Net in my first frantic Google binge, his feeding pattern is:

1. Wake up, yell for food, and bang his head on my chest.
2. Eat a little.
3. Eliminate. (Surely he didn't eat that much?)
4. Refuse to settle, yell much louder and try to suckle on anything within reach.
5. Eat a lot.

I have no doubt the normal pattern is eat, eliminate, sleep, but this little one is not interested in the normal pattern.

When he's done eating, he turns his head away and thrashes with all his paws. When he's done eliminating, he clamps his tail under his belly. These are extremely effective strategies.

Being weighed is misery for Luke. His shrieks bring Daisy running to try and protect him from the evil ape. He writhes in the tray. He manages to look remarkably like Gollum for a few moments, instead of being the cutest baby ever. The whole tantrum stops as soon as he's back on my chest. It seems baby mammals need to be worn.

He is gaining strength: he has learned to climb from the pouch I wear on my chest to my neck. He wiggles a lot. He is far stronger than he looks.

He looks far more like a river otter than a cat; he has the fat, shortish tail, the stubby legs, the high-domed skull, and the elongated body shape. If there were otters around here, I'd be suspicious.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Introducing Luciano, the foster kitten

This morning, I had no idea this would happen...
When we got home from farmers’ market this afternoon and started unloading the car, hot and tired, I heard tiny cries from the field next door. Matt thought it was a bird. I knew it was a kitten. We waited awhile to see whether the mother would come back. No cats in the field. The wailing continued.
I went over. The kitten was in grass, barely sheltered from the sun. It was no more than a few days old, with the umbilical cord still attached.
I could have left it there, or put it in the nearby barn, as our neighbor suggested. But there was a skunk in the barn, and raccoons go there, too. The skunk left. Our neighbor couldn’t find any cats in the barn. Usually there are cats all over that barn. No mama cat anywhere.
We drove to the rescue in John Day and learned how to feed him (they think it’s a him). His name is Luciano for his very loud voice, Luke for short.
For the first three feedings, when Luciano turned his face away from the pipette every time I tried to get it near him, I improvised desperately. I waited for him to cry and dropped kitten milk replacer in his mouth. He tried to suck on the webbing between my thumb and first finger: I dropped KMR there with the pipette, and he slurped it off. It got everywhere. Neither of us cared. I wiped him down afterward, then dried him. Then I rubbed a tissue on his tiny bottom and watched him pee on it. Then I grabbed two more tissues. For someone the size of a large vole, he’s got quite a bladder. But he never got more than a milliliter--not enough, even though he was eating every hour. (I know the schedule said every 2 hours, but I didn’t know how long he had gone hungry before we found him, and if he woke and screamed, I fed him.)
Finally, six and a half long hours after I found him, we got things synchronized. He grabbed the pipette in his mouth and drank mightily, kneading his tiny, transparent, impressively sharp claws on my finger. He got more than two milliliters. 

He just might make it. He hasn’t had diarrhea again. The vet says if he’s peeing, he’s not dehydrated. He’s eating. He’s sleeping on me, so he won’t get cold.
He screams whenever he can’t feel my heartbeat, so I tried to sew a pouch out of an old washcloth and a strip of old t-shirt so I can wear him. I broke the sewing machine needle, couldn’t get the new one threaded, swore, and fastened the second end of the t-shirt strip with a safety pin. This is about how sewing works for me at the best of times, and with a screaming kitten in the next room, I took the easy way out.