Content Note: Happy Ending
Late last week, the kittens all took sick. This means they had diarrhea and vomit incidents throughout the bathroom, mostly in the tub (thank goodness.) It was Friday when things took that dark turn so we updated the foster group (Pittsburgh C.A.T.) and hoped it was just a small thing.
Saturday morning, digestive systems continued to run amok so the Pgh CAT folx asked us to bring the kittens to their Tarentum location where their medical staff was holding a spay and neuter clinic. So we bundled them into a carrier and headed out.
As of Saturday, they seemed relatively okay – no one was dehydrated or other concerning matters, so we were sent home with two new meds. The kittens received an injection to settle their stomachs so we were simply going to watch them for 24 hours.
Things quieted down a bit on Saturday as they seemed to mostly sleep off the injection effects. But Sunday, we could notice definite down turn in their exuberance for anything. And we had 4 active vomiters so by the evening, we had to bundle everyone back up and out to Tarentum again where the vet folks were doing other clinical work. They gave another round of injections and determined that Muriel and Furiosa, the two smallest kits, were both dehydrated. Fluids were administered to everyone. Our med instructions were updated and we were sent home with an IV drip to administer ourselves if necessary
Between Saturday afternoon and early Sunday evening, two of the kittens whom each weigh about 2 pounds 3 ounces became dehydrated, Living in a house with plenty of fresh clean water, food, and monitoring with a nanny came. Again, I say that kittens who are left to be homeless would die. And a terrible death, too.
The rest of Sunday evening was worrisome, but uneventful. Monday morning, the vomit/diarrhea issues were lower but still in evidence. Luckily, a friend is a vet tech and she came over the admin the fluids for us Monday evening. She told us the kits were still a bit dehydrated.
By Tuesday, the two oral meds they received to fight the nasty parasitic infection were started to kick in. No more vomiting. And their poops became more and more typical as the days passed. Artemis who was our original sickie seemed to rebound the fastest. Galileo took awhile and then Sun Volt had another moment of concern, but overall everyone seems much better tonight (Thursday.)
As we were driving to Tarentum Sunday evening, I shared this on Facebook
It’s horrifying that these kittens and the other hundreds in the care of this cat rescue group have access to better healthcare than migrant children in the care of our government.
Don’t get me wrong – this medical outreach to homeless cats is both mammoth in size and completely overwhelmed by the needs – there are hundreds of new kittens every week. Not enough medical resources, not enough foster homes, not enough resources.
But standing in a room filled with sick kittens in cages, I wept to think about the migrant children experiencing siilar conditions and not because it was best for them. And I weep because there are some who are more concerned for the cats than the children.
That is not me. I will never be someone who says “it is all about the cats” to rationalize things like teaming up with rightwing extremists on pet legislation, etc. Caring for homeless cats is important work, but it is imperative to put that work in context of all of the things, especially our environmental and wildlife policies. And absolutely how we treat human beings. If you are a person who thinks a homeless cat is more deserving of your sympathy than a migrant family, please stop reading and go away because I don’t really see any common ground between us.
Running around in this week of sickness has me pinging between big systemic thoughts and small everyday moments of grounding. There are many moments of sitting amidst five kittens that require my entire attention and focus. I have to see who is eating, who is drinking and how they are pooping. I can’t let my mind wander very far away from that moment. I take a lot of photos both to chronicle the crazy and to track the details – I can see who eats what food and if everyone was at the water bowl, etc.
I think it is important that we do the every day tasks, the small things that we can – care for kittens, recycle, make good choices about where we shop, don’t waste water, donate our stuff, etc. I also think we are obliged to always go a step further and connect our small things to the big picture, to think about the consequences of our choices. (Please remember to donate a bit of cat food to help the feral cat colonies if you can.)
The kittens are doing good this week. They need a few extra weeks to continue gaining weight and working on their socialization before they move to the next phase of vaccinations and scheduling their spay/neuter procedures.