Kitten Update Day 9

Katie’s smallest Tiffanie kitten, ‘purple-toes’, is not very well and has to visit the vet.

Well, it’s been a bit of an eventful day in the life of the kittens!  We didn’t do an update last night, because we went to the cinema to see Sex and the City with my mum.  Besides which, a couple of the ‘gains’ were so pathetic that I preferred to wait until I could do another weigh-in before reporting.  In fact, blue-toes didn’t even bother with a gain: he went the other way and actually lost 3g!  Purple-toes at least went in the right direction, but by a measly 3g.  The other two gained 13g and 14g, taking them both up to 220g, compared to 202g for blue-toes and 182g for purple-toes.

By this morning (Thursday), purple-toes was up 7g to 189g, but blue-toes was down another 1g to 201g  If that wasn’t bad enough, purple-toes was breathing faster than her siblings, at a rate of two or three breaths to every one of theirs.  Kia and Dàrna were due to have blood tests today ready for going to stud next weekend, so I dropped them off at the vets just before 10am, and then went to work (thankfully my boss wasn’t in yet!).  Richard checked on them all between jobs at about 10:30, and reported that blue-toes was back up to Tuesday’s total of 205g, and that purple-toes was asleep and breathing more slowly.

When I went up for lunch, the first thing I did was check on the kittens (poor neuters all sat around complaining that I hadn’t fed them, which is what I usually do before anything else!).  Purple-toes was really looking quite laboured in her breathing, with her whole tummy and sides going in and out with every breath.  I had to go and collect the girls from the vet at 2:30pm (both clear for FIV and FeLV, as expected), so I videoed purple-toes on my phone before I went and showed the video to the vet nurse.

Purple-toes struggling to breathe

She agreed with me that it looked like a problem, so they managed to find me a gap in the schedule at 4pm.  We prepared a basket with a furry pad in the bottom, a blanket for her to snuggle into and a bottle of hot water wrapped in a towel to keep her warm.  When the kittens are safely in their pen with Katie, and toddling around their box, they don’t seem too vulnerable, but when they’re ‘lost’ in the middle of even our smallest cat basket, and going outside in the wind, they suddenly seem terribly small and fragile!

The vet, Ruby, took me into her room as soon as I arrived, so that I didn’t have to keep purple-toes away any longer than necessary.  One of the nurses had mentioned that I had a video of the problem, so she asked to see that.  Actually, by the time I collected purple-toes to take her up there, she was back to just breathing rapidly, rather than straining, as she had been at lunchtime.

Ruby checked the kitten over to make sure there were no anatomical defects evident, and checked in her mouth, which was clear of obstruction.  Purple-toes wasn’t for co-operating with our attempts to check this, though!  Ruby then listened to purple-toes’ chest, which was also clear, and her heart rate, which was pretty normal for a kitten of that size, at 180 bpm.  Her temperature was a little low at 98°F, but considering the fact that she had been taken out of her warm nest, and had now been sitting out on the vet’s table for a few minutes, that wasn’t particularly of concern.

Basically, we didn’t find anything specific that could account for the apparent difficulty breathing.  In the end, Ruby give her a (tiny, tiny) dose of antibiotics, and then sent us home with strict instructions to make sure she gets lots of feeds from Katie.

The prognosis for such a tiny kitten with any sort of infection is not good, so all we can do now is cross our fingers and pray.  Wish her luck!