On February 15, I ended up with two orphaned, two-day-old kittens.
I have seen kittens being born before. I have seen neonates. I have never, ever seen kittens this small. They should be 80-100g at birth and gain an average of 10g a day; when I got them at two days old, Gus weighed 57g and Shawn 70g.
This isn’t a thing I do, normally–yes, I rescue adoptable cats and kittens as part of TNR work, but I don’t foster babies this tiny. I’d intended to only keep them for a few days until a larger recuse could be found…
But they were so, so tiny. Gus struggled to latch and eat, and I didn’t like the idea of forcing another schedule change on them. Plus there’s the reality that shelters often euthanize kittens this young–which is understandable, since they will starve and suffer if specialized fosters aren’t available for them. Without being strong enough to endure travel, there seemed just one option: I had to keep them.
I did not think I could do this. I still do not think I can do this. There are so many odds stacked against them, every day that passes and they’re okay is another miracle as far as I’m concerned. Now that I have three hours between feedings, I’ve had a bit more sleep, thankfully–being sleep-deprived made me very susceptible to panic attacks, which is not good for anyone.
Today is their two-week birthday. There have been ups and downs as they struggle to put on weight, have mild colds, and deal with all the challenges low birth weight, orphaned neonates encounter. These creatures are essentially Screamapillars. I am in a constant state of anxiety that I’m going to open their carrier to feed them and someone will be dead even though I record their weight every twelve hours and log every meal in mL so I’d likely notice a downward decline before we reached that point.
They are getting bigger, slowly–you can see a difference in the just short of two weeks that I’ve had them.
Twenty seconds of kitten wiggling before feeding time! pic.twitter.com/5gUXEWO6Dp— Skyla Dawn Cameron (@skyladawn) February 16, 2019
They are named Shawn and Gus, from Psych, which I guess is obscure enough now that very few people get my references.
They have a hashtag on Twitter now if you’d like to follow along with #ThePsychKittens. Any day now they should open their eyes–they’re a little behind in that regard, but developing well in others.
I really do sing them their song several times a day:
In honor of #ThePsychKittens birthday, here is our post-meal cuddle ritual. With limited hearing, I think the vibrations must be like their mother’s purr bc now they MUST have their song. After every single feeding. pic.twitter.com/A8ytAyh8Za— Skyla Dawn Cameron (@skyladawn) February 27, 2019
Due to tremendous generosity from both local and international people, their care is pretty well covered right now–they have their Snuggle Puppy that mimics momma’s heartbeat, a playpen for when they’re big enough to litter train, Miracle Nipples for nursing, cash and gift cards, Kitten Milk Replacement. If you’d like to support the work we do at CCI, we have an Amazon wishlist for various items, as well as PayPal. Our mailing address is 50 Bridge St E / PO Box 27 / Campbellford ON / K0L 1L0, and thus far they’ve been to English Line Vet if you prefer to put money directly down for their care (account name is Cat Care Initiative).
Many of the items on the wishlist would also be useful to your local shelter, and I encourage folks to donate locally if possible in honor of the other little guys out there.
Saving these guys is not easy work but it can be done. Whether you intend to foster or not, just in case you run into babies needing bottle-feeding, I recommend you take a crash course in rescue at Kitten Lady’s site and learn crucial things like how to feed, what to feed, and tips that will help you give them their best chance at survival. I wouldn’t’ve been able to do any of this without round-the-clock support from BeeBee’s House Kitten Rescue. Whether rescue is successful or not, I believe in throwing oneself behind babies like this 100% and taking it personally.
And I’m not gonna lie–this has been pretty rough on me. I’m a single-income household with bills to pay and work I’ve had to triage because I don’t want to fuck people’s projects up if I rush and am too sleep-deprived. Livi 5 is on hold for a few weeks while I live with a three-hour-feeding schedule.
If you’d like to buy me a coffee (which I’m drinking a lot of), that’d be great.
No matter what, it is all worth it to see these little guys grow a little every day, and I’m grateful social media has let me share their journey with so many folks.