It began early last week with one kitten dying -- and then there were 4.
After that I really took a look at them and found that another kitten also seemed to be getting weaker. I began to supplement first making my own formula but then ran out to the pet store and picked up kitten formula but it wasn't long and it died -- and then there were 3.
I was determined not to loose anymore and as I looked at our little black kitten he seemed to also be getting skinnier and I began supplementing with formula using an eyedropper. I think we fed him for two days but he never perked up and while my friend was attempting to hand-feed him he died -- and then there were 2.
So, we were down to our little orange kitten and white kitten and they had been the strongest from the beginning always pushing their way in and getting to the food first. I thought they would be fine but the orange one developed a weepy eye and I began to wonder but gently washed it with warm water. Sure enough, the next day he began to stop nursing and seemed much weaker same as the others had. I again supplemented with formula but was getting really tired of trying to keep up with this and had no idea what we would do seeing as we were leaving the next day for a race. I know that people go either way on this and some say "whatever happens happens" which is the route that John would take but when I would go in the garage and hear them crying I couldn't stand it and felt like I needed to try something. We prayed for wisdom in this and the little orange kitten died the next morning and I was a little relieved to have one less worry -- and then there was 1.
Our neighbor agreed to come and check on our little white kitten while we were away and while I had my doubts of having a kitten when were returned I did hold out hope as he seemed strong and had been the only one with it's sweet little blue eyes open. She called while we were away and didn't think he would make it and that he was getting weaker. When we came home Sunday we found that he had indeed also died, and possibly soon before we arrived. The Mama cat didn't know what to do. She kept rearranging herself as if trying to figure a way to get the kitten to nurse. After I removed it from the box she kept looking around the garage trying to find him and was meowing like crazy. All evening long she would go back to check and still the next morning she lay outside of the box as if she still needed to protect them. So, that was kind of hard to see.
The kids have been fine with this. They didn't get too attached because it was too early for them to interact with the kittens and so they only had watched. Pete and Re-Pete did help me with the feedings while holding a kitten in a blanket so it was a good experience that way. I was probably the most emotionally-involved as I had given a lot of my time to them. And so our garage is quiet again and Jumper is out and about much more as nothing is holding her as close to home.
I had called the vet during that process and they thought the Mama passed something onto the kittens. Others had warned me that the first litter doesn't always make it and so I was prepared to loose a few but had hoped for at least one. I talked to a friend who wondered if they had worms and now in researching that think it probably was the case. I had not been able to de-worm Jumper early on as she got pregnant not long after she arrived. Anyway, it has been an experience and I learned so much. Not only about cats and how to care for them but about myself and realizing I can do things that I didn't think I ever would. Strange for a person who didn't like cats in the first place.
My favorite picture of the three kittens when they were thriving.
Hand-feeding one of the kittens.
Hand-feeding one of the kittens.