Kitten Woes and Nursing Successes with Pets

The newest member to our family, Cosmo, has had a really rough road. When we picked him up at the vet on Thursday, the vet confided that he didn’t think the was going to make it overnight, but he had.

He also told us that the kitten had a serious concussion and that he had about a 50/50 chance of not making it past the next day. The left side of his head was a mess. He had a ripped ear, a busted nose, a cut lip to go with his concussion. He couldn’t stand up for more than a second before falling over and later on Thursday, he gave up trying to stand at all.

The vet told us that he didn’t think he had been hit, he had probably been tossed out a window and had landed on his head. He said if he had been hit, more than likely he would have died instantly. I told him I would prefer to think it was an accident, thank you very much, and that if people did stuff like that, I’d prefer not to know about it. He laughed at me and shook his head.

Personally, I hope there’s a special place in hell for anyone who would be so cruel to an animal.

The vet wormed him and told us that if he made it, we could bring him in for shots in a week or two. He told us that most important was keeping his body temperature up. Second on our list was getting some fluids, preferably some with electrolytes, in him regularly and later, some food if possible. He wasn’t interested in eating or drinking for the vet.

The vet also suggested that we name him “Abby” because he would probably always be “abby-normal.” We decided to hope for better and named him Cosmo instead. 🙂

So we took him and I planned to take him with us to the farm for the weekend… The little guy was so tiny that he easily slipped inside a shirt or in the pocket of a hoodie without being obvious. We went to WalMart to get the supplies we needed. I got some generic “pedialyte” mixture, a baby bottle nurser for kittens, a medicine dropper with a hard plastic tip, a tiny litter box and some litter, some kitten “formula” and a small packet of soft kitten food.

On our way back from the store, Cosmo was in my hoodie pocket. He hadn’t moved since I put him in there prior to our shopping. So I reached in and lifted his leg. It stuck in place. He felt cold. I lifted his tail and it stayed too. I started to panic. I felt for breathing and couldn’t feel anything. I asked Wayne to pull over. Alex was in the back and I didn’t want to freak her out, but the little guy was cold and stiff.

Wayne pulled over and I fished him out of my pocket. He came out stiff as a proverbial board. Then, he moved his head ever so slightly and I saw shallow breathing. He was so stiff, so sore, and so sick that he really had me convinced he was dead. I’ve never seen an animal stiffen up like that and NOT be dead. It was weird, but thankfully, he was still breathing.

The kids were on fall break, and we had planned on spending a few days on the farm. Every time I was ready to go, something would come up — and I kept working until Thursday afternoon (when we went to pick up the kitten). So, I only managed to take a few hours off on Thursday and took Friday off completely. (You would think when you are self-employed that the boss would let you take a vacation… but you would be wrong).

At the farm, we are still roughing it — and we tried out our heating system (a couple space heaters and a kerosene one). Although it got down to 33 degrees that first night, we were toasty. Actually, at a couple points we were sweaty and had to turn the heaters off!

Wayne came by the next morning (after his all-night shift at work) to make sure we were all ok. I think he was surprised how warm it was.

The first night was rough with the kitten. I force-fed him water using the medicine dropper. I also forced some of the kitten formula down him. He swallowed fine, which was good. He was too weak to really fight my attempts — although I did get bitten twice and once was pretty impressive and deep.

He stayed stiff, and unable to move for a full day. I though he had died a second time when he wouldn’t open his one good eye at all and he didn’t move his head position, leg position or tail position when I picked him up and placed him on his other side. I had to move his head manually (for him) once I was sure he was still breathing. I think the little guy was more sore and in more pain than I can imagine.

The second day showed some improvement. He got little bursts of energy that lasted for about 10 or 15 seconds — just long enough for him to stretch one limb and attempt to stand before falling over and sleeping again. He also used the kitty pan — although I had to hold him up while he did. Seeing that the inside was functioning somewhat was a great relief, despite the blood in his stool and… well,… lets just say I’m REALLY glad the vet wormed him. Ewwww! *shiver*

We also discovered he had fleas that day. Since he’d been bundled in soft cloths and had been in my sleeping bag to stay warm — I wasn’t particularly thrilled with that discovery, but he was making real progress so I let him stay and kept him warm.

It was a long weekend. I was feeding and watering him every hour or two and there was alot of napping for us all, without much solid sleep, but that’s ok. Today… he’s up and moving around. Today he’s eating on his own. Today he can use the potty by himself and both eyes are opened. The cuts are healing and he doesn’t cry in pain when I pick him up.

He also has been flea-treated (thanks to another visit to the vet). I was afraid to self-medicate with him still so fragile. The vet says he looks great. And, other than a horrid crunching when he eats (either a broken jaw or a tooth that’s been knocked out of kilter) he seems perfectly normal.

I’ve started wearing sweatshirts to work so he can sleep in my pocket during the day. He likes to be close and I kinda like it myself. I didn’t really want another pet — but the kids want to keep the kitten and sell the sugar gliders. And, I must say, nursing another living thing back from the brink makes me pretty attached too.

So, I guess we will be placing the sugar gliders for sale soon. At least the male (Nimitz) and the female (Sheena) along with their joey (Olivia). Later, once Trinity’s two babies are out of the pouch, we will offer them for sale too. That will probably be closer to Christmas. I like the gliders, they are alot of fun, but they aren’t very cuddly for the kids — especially Alex — and if they don’t get enough attention, they become less tame. I want to find them good homes with adults before ours go wild. I don’t have enough time to play with all of them myself for a couple hours every day.