Farewell to B-B & Other News

B-B sadly had to be put to sleep due to a sudden illness last month, but his siblings are still doing well. We had a good day out at the Scottish show, and are starting to make plans for this year’s litters.

Farewell to B-B

Beautiful B-B
Beautiful B-B aged 15 weeks

The latter part of January was pretty horrendous, with B-B being very ill.  Initially the vets thought he had FIP, so couldn’t give him any treatment.  Then we had tests done, which came back negative, so they thought it must have been some sort of bacterial vasculitis, and began treatment.  Unfortunately, by the time we started this, the vasculitis had already damaged his kidneys, so we had to have him put to sleep after they failed suddenly.

B-B aged 1 day
B-B aged 1 day

B-B aged 10 days
B-B aged 10 days

B-B aged 2 weeks
B-B aged 2 weeks

B-B aged 4 weeks
B-B aged 4 weeks

We were obviously still nervous about FIP, so have had the lab in Edinburgh conduct a necropsy on him.  At present, we are still waiting for the results of the histopathology tests, but the internal examination found none of the granulomatous legions that characterise FIP, making it unlikely that this is what killed him.  We should get the rest of the results next week.

B-B aged 4 weeks
B-B aged 4 weeks

B-B aged 6 weeks
B-B aged 6 weeks

B-B aged 8 weeks
B-B aged 8 weeks

B-B aged 9 weeks
B-B aged 9 weeks

I am absolutely devastated, and can’t believe our beautiful B-B is gone.  He was the first of Dàrna’s partial-breach kittens, so I had to literally pull him into this world, and I stroked his little head as he left it again.  He was an early favourite of ours, both because he was so stunning, and because he was the first of the litter to really have a definite personality.  We named him weeks before any of the others, because he suited his name so well – he always was a little imp, right to the end.  He used to sit on top of us at night, and purred constantly.

B-B at Christmas aged 10 weeks
B-B at Christmas aged 10 weeks

B-B at Christmas aged 10 weeks
B-B at Christmas aged 10 weeks

B-B aged 3 months
B-B aged 3 months

B-B aged 3 months
B-B aged 3 months

RIP wee man.  We miss you.

The boys aged 3 months
The boys aged 3 months (B-B on the right)

The litter aged 3 months
The litter aged 3 months (B-B at the back)

B-B aged 15 weeks
B-B aged 15 weeks

B-B with three siblings aged 15 weeks
B-B with three siblings aged 15 weeks

Scottish Show

We entered the Scottish show a couple of months ago, and I was booked to steward for John Trotter.  Added to that, Lona had entered Tabh (who is now well settled in his new home), and Fiona had entered Alek in the pedigree pet section.  A few weeks ago, we thought that we wouldn’t be able to attend the show due to B-B’s illness, but with B-B gone, we realised that there was no point moping around the house missing him.  I was hoped that John wouldn’t have lots of chocolate Burmese, though, because that would have been too much.

We had Fiona in the kitten class, Xaria going for her 5th (and final) Imperial, and Ali entered in the regional final of the Royal Canin Stakes.  The judges were again impressed with Fiona, saying that she was very Burmese in type, and she won Best of Breed.  She then topped her day off by receiving a nomination for Best in Show – since each judge was only allowed to nominate one cat from the section, that’s pretty good going!

Fiona relaxing in her pen at the Scottish show 2011
Fiona relaxing in her pen with her Best of Breed and 1st rosettes

Fiona playing with her Best in Show nomination card
Fiona playing with her Best In Show nomination card

Xaria did us proud by winning the Imperial, making her now officially Imperial Grand Premier!

Xaria examining her Imperial certificate at the Scottish show 2011
Xaria examining her Imperial certificate

Xaria sitting with her rosettes and certificate
Xaria looking beautiful with her rosettes and certificate

Ali was third in the Royal Canin final,winning us £20, and also won the heat to qualify for next year’s final, giving us another £16, so he has once again more than paid for his own show entry.  The moggies are good at that!

Ali's rosette-covered pen
Ali's rosette-covered pen

Ali in his pen with some of his rosettes
Ali in his pen

Tabh was his usual adorable self, taking the whole experience in his stride once again.  As before, the judges said that he is an attractive boy, though not the best Tiffanie, type-wise, but has a fantastic temperament.  The was Alek’s first show, and he was a bit nervous initially, and spent most of the day scowling grumpily.  He did well, though, and looked absolutely gorgeous!

Alek lying in his show pen
Alek scowling in his pen, and looking beautiful

I had a good day stewarding for John, with some lovely cats to handle, including having Fiona and Tabh in one of the side classes.  My favourite (apart from those two, of course!), was a lilac Burmese kitten, who had the lovely impish face and beautiful eye set – her ears are still a bit big at the moment, but hopefully she will grow into those as she gets older, in which case she’ll be a stunning adult.  John was very pleasant, and at the end of the day, he signed my first official stewarding certificate – I have finally joined the stewarding scheme, after months of people saying I should!

Other News

Anita took Keela to a Felis Brittanica (FIFé) show at the end of January, and she won Best in Show!  Not a bad show start for Dàrna’s first litter, to have two of the girls win Best in Show at their first outings.  Wouldn’t it be lovely if that continued?!

Keela being judged at the FB show
Keela being judged at the FB show

Keela with her FB awards
Keela with her rosettes and cup

Katie and Kia are both calling almost constantly now, so I’m hoping to take the two of them to stud early next month, which would give us kittens around the middle of May.  Hopefully we will finally get a chance to just enjoy a litter grow up and leave us without problems!  Since we’ve had an issue with B-B being ill, I’m waiting for a couple of test results back on the girls first, before we take them, just to make sure there are no lurking problems that we could pass on to the studs.

Wish us luck!

Kitten Update Day 37

Katie has mastitis and two of the kittens suffer from a bacterial infection. Meanwhile, my Grandpa takes ill and dies in hospital.

Well, it’s been 10 stressful days since my last update.  I hope by the end of this post you will understand why there hasn’t been one for so long!  Incidentally, ‘red-toes’ has now been booked, and her future owner has named her Lainni, which means ‘Sparkling’.

Blue-toes lost 36g on Wednesday last week, and a further 18g on Thursday, which made us rather nervous, although he was behaving normally.  We started giving him supplementary bottle feeds on Thursday evening, which put him back to a slight gain from Thursday to Friday, but he did seem slightly quieter than his siblings that day.

Around lunchtime on Friday I had to rush into hospital to see my Grandpa. He has been in the hospital since the spring but had ‘taken a turn’ and was not expected to survive. There followed a tense few hours as family arrived from all over. Of particular concern was the fact that my parents and brother were on a boating holiday up the West coast when we got the call, and had no way to get back. We all heaved a huge sigh of relief when they finally managed to get to the bedside by means of a bus, a hire car, and what I suspect was probably a pretty hairy drive down!

As it happens, Grandpa decided he wasn’t ready to go yet, and by late Friday evening had settled down enough that the nurses sent us home, saying that nothing was likely to happen that night. When I got home at about midnight, the kittens were all squealing, which they shouldn’t be doing. When I weighed them, all three had lost weight, so I knew something was definitely wrong.

I put my hands under Katie to pick her up and was alarmed to feel hard pads there. Two of her mammary glands were quite swollen, which reminded me of something I had read about in one of my books on breeding. I had one of my books up in the kitten room, but couldn’t remember what I had done with the other one. Richard eventually found it, and sure enough, when I re-read the section on mastitis (mammary infection), I was convinced that’s what she had.

The babies were obviously hungry, which was why they were squealing, so we gave them a bottle-feed. I wasn’t sure what the effect would be on the kittens if they managed to get milk out of one of the infected teats. To prevent this, I cut up an old pair of tights to make a tube with leg holes, and put it on Katie while she cuddled her babies and got them cleaned up after their feed. I didn’t think we would be likely to be able to keep the stocking on her overnight, so we shut the babies in the pen and Katie outside it until we could get her to the vet.

Tiffanie wearing a 'body stocking'
Katie cuddling her kittens wearing her 'body stocking'

Dad texted me just after 7am on Saturday to say that Grandpa had survived the night and was quite bright.  That day was his 83rd birthday, so they opened some of his cards and presents with him. Before we could even think about going in to the hospital, we had to give the babies another bottle, then at 9am I phoned the vet and got an appointment to take Katie in at 10:20am.

The vet confirmed my suspicions that she had mastitis in two of her mammary glands, and gave her an injection of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory. He recommended continuing with the feeds of Cimicat (kitten milk formula), but trying to get the kittens weaned in the next few days.  He gave the three kittens a check-up and identified that blue-toes was quieter than the others.  We were told to pay particular attention to blue-toes and ensure that he got plenty of Cimicat, but the other two seemed fine.  The kittens were to be kept apart from Katie until that evening and then put back in with her.

After getting back from the vets, Richard and I headed into the hospital where the whole family had gathered to cut a cake for Grandpa’s birthday.  We headed home at about 9pm to get the kittens fed.  Katie was looking a lot better, with a good amount of the swelling having gone down.  She was thrilled to be let back in with her babies, and we were pretty glad to let her in, since they had trashed their pen while shut in alone!  They had walked through their food dishes and smeared it all over the pen.  There was food in the water dish, water in the food dishes, litter in both food and water dishes and litter and food all over their bedding!

On Sunday morning, Dad had texted me to say that Grandpa was still doing okay.  I got up at about 9:30am, intending to have a leisurely breakfast and a shower and then head back into the hospital.  When I looked into the kitten pen, the boys were both drinking from Katie, and Lainni was lying beside her.  This is extremely unusual, because Lainni is normally the first to drink from Katie whenever she lies down.

I reached in to stroke Lainni, and as soon as I touched her, she jumped up and ran across her pen in a zig-zag manner before crashing into the side and falling to the floor.  I wasn’t sure what I’d just seen, so I tried to turn her around, and she set off in the opposite direction, crashed into the water bowl, stood up again, fell into the litter tray and lay there unmoving.  I picked her up, and she stretched out and started twitching as if she was having a fit.  Her eyes were glazed and unseeing, as well.

I was terrified, and immediately phoned the vet hospital in Stirling (they provide ‘999 emergency’ out-of-hours cover for our vets).  They asked me to bring Lainni through, but leave her mum and brothers behind.  When we got to the vet hospital, they worried that it might be meningitis, and started her on antibiotics.  They asked me to phone at 2pm to see how she was responding, and I headed off to return to the hospital to see Grandpa.

Grandpa was doing really quite well, and was bright and talking to us all.  I phoned the vet hospital at 2pm and they said that they were optimistic, because Lainni was now able to focus on them, and her episodes of random running seemed to be abating.  They suggested that I might be able to collect her around 9pm, so I said I would call back about 7pm.

At 4pm my mobile rang, and the vet hospital’s number showed up.  I dashed out of Grandpa’s room to answer the call, expecting the worst.  Instead, the nurse was saying that Lainni had responded really well.  They had been able to get 4ml of water and 2ml of Cimicat into her, and she was now playing on the nurse’s desk!  They said that I would definitely be able to collect her that evening, and suggested going in between 6:30 and 7pm.

When we got her home, she was really hyper and running around, obviously fed up having been shut in a small cage most of the day.

Lainni running around after returning from the vet hospital

Katie was really glad to see her back, and spent the first few minutes chasing around virtually attached to Lainni’s tail, and not letting her out of sight for a minute.  Eventually she calmed down a bit, and sat off to one side, but she was still entirely focussed on Lainni’s every move.

Katie watching Lainni intently

We were to take Lainni to our own vets on Monday to get her a repeat antibiotic injection.  Blue-toes was still too quiet, so I asked to be able to bring him as well, and they agreed, and gave me an appointment at 11am.  I spent a couple of hours at work, and then took the babies to the vet.  Blue-toes temperature was over 40°C, which is far too hot, so he was also given an antibiotic injection.  I then spent the rest of the day at the hospital again, only popping back to the house briefly to give the kittens a solid food meal as a start to the weaning process.

Katie was to return to the vets on Tuesday to have her mastitis checked, and the vet had asked to see all three kittens at that point.  Lainni was doing really well, and her temperature was completely normal, as was Orange-toes.  Blue-toes had brightened up on Monday after having his antibiotics, but had quietened again on Tuesday and by the time of the vet appointment his temperature was back to 40°C again.

This time I was sent away with a liquid antibiotic preparation that needs to be dropped into their mouths.  Since even orange-toes was still having erratic weight results, the vet and I felt that all three should be given the antibiotics to be on the safe side.  In theory, the antibiotics are ‘palatable’ (and Katie does appear to want them), but the kittens obviously haven’t read the label and clearly don’t think so!

Frothy kittens objecting to their antibiotic drops

On Wednesday morning, we let the kittens out for a run around, and all three were clearly brighter than before.  After giving them another solid feed (unbelievably messy process, by the way!), I collected my aunt and we went back into the hospital to see Grandpa again.  Grandpa fought bravely throughout the day, and said his goodbyes to all of us before finally passing away at about 5:30pm.

When we returned from the hospital, blue-toes was running around the kitten room, having jumped out of the pen.  When we lifted his siblings out, the three of them all ran around the room, pouncing on eachother, so they all appeared to be back to normal.  When we brought up their solid food to give them their evening meal, both orange-toes and Lainni lapped the food from the dish without us having to force the food into them.  Blue-toes is quite determined that Mum’s milk is better!

I had the Devons in the vet today for their annual vaccinations, so I took the kittens back in at the same time.  This time, all three kittens were bright and their temperatures were normal, including blue-toes.  The vet feels that since their recovery has been so quick, their illness is unlikely to have been caused by any of the nasty possibilities that we had been considering.  In reality, it has probably just been a bad case of bacterial infection, most likely set off by the kittens’ immune systems being reduced due to the lower milk quality as a result of the mastitis.  Even Lainni’s ‘neurological symptoms’ were probably nothing more than the result of a high fever!

It’s been a pretty horrendous few days, but at least the babies have come through it safe and well.  Surely it can only get better from here?!

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!