Fenya's Kitten Diary Spring 2017
This reads from the bottom up. New entries are added at the top so its easy to follow as they grow.
The music used on this page is Let Them Be Little by Billy Dean 
These kittens are the progeny of our sire Polo and dam Fenya 
It is with sadness that we close this diary with the loss of the litter and Fenya's breeding career.
One more important addition: A breeder friend of mine who is a doctor sent me an email after I told her about Neo's death. She had seen the video and knew Neo was in acute respiratory distress. Almost certainly pneumonia. As we all did she hoped but knew. She wrote and I quote: "Neo would have needed to be on oxygen nebulizer treatments in a closed incubator & probably antibiotics given into the peritoneal cavity. It would have taken a very gusty cat specialist to try & been a very long shot, even then." I know she is right, I really appreciate receiving this email from her and I think this is important information for any breeder reading this to know. When something like this happens, all we can do is support and love them during the time we have them.

Wee hours addition

Neo left us. She died. Momma took her body from the nest she was using and placed in into the bed in the corner cabinet away from the "family bed". This is survival instinct. 

Neo still weighed 3.9 ounces. She hadn't lost weight but I think she couldn't breathe. Her pattern of illness mimicked what we experienced with Maeve's fall 2006 septic milk litter and the pneumonia they developed from it. Perhaps she traded weight for fluid in her lungs.

PM addition 

We got the KMR this afternoon. It hasn't made a difference in Neo's meals. Momma will drink it and she wouldn't drink the other kitten milk. Tonight  I noticed Neo was crackling when she would breathe. I really do believe she is infected. The clavamox given to Fen wasn't going through her milk and Fen's milk dried up. Her lips look purple. The doctor told me it was her point color but if you look at any of the week old photos in any of our other diaries you will see babies lips stay pink for a long time. Mask color doesn't come into the lips this early.

 All mother cats will remove a sick kitten. We kept finding neo outside the bed. At first we thought she was crawling out but tonight night it became obvious she was in places she couldn't get to on her own close to the nest but outside the radius. 

I had asked my vet about giving her antibiotics earlier and she said absolutely not. I am beside myself. I remember from Maeve we did give the kittens clavamox but only the ones with no symptoms survived. With hindsight I wish I had saved Fen's last dose and used it for Neo. 

Dr. Williams (also a cat breeder) told me that nothing is known about treating sick neonates because no one does. No one fights for them. She used to be a professor of pathology at Tufts and moved out of state just after Maeve's last litter. 

This really sucks to be going through this again and not to be able to do a thing about it. 

February 17th- one week old

Morning  weigh in...... 

Neo is 3.9 ounces = 110 grams - up 3.5  grams

Tom said she ate this morning slowly by lapping the milk. He didn't see the labored breathing. I'm seeing it now through. Its making me wonder if its this formula. We have never used this brand before. We usually use KMR but the pet store didn't have it.. I don't know. I think we need to go find a can of KMR just to be sure. I'm feeding at four hour intervals today. At lunch she seems hungry her tongue was wanting to suck but as soon at it hit the milk she stopped. She lapped half heartedly. I've weighed her and she gained a little.  Momma cleaned and snuggled her after.

February 16th- six days old -

Morning  weigh in...... 

Neo is 3.75 ounces = 106 grams - up 10.7  grams

Neo ate well this morning but after her feeding I noticed she was breathing hard. Big deep breaths. I wanted to convince myself it was because she had to hold her breath to eat. The treatment doesn't seem to have worked for Fen's milk production. She really has no milk. I put Neo onto each nipple and she latches on then gets frustrated. I feed her after she tries to nurse. After feeding I put her back on her favorite nipple and she suckles for comfort. She crawls around a lot. Each time I visit she is out of the bed on the rug sleeping. We all went back for a recheck with the Vet at 2pm today. She confirmed Fen is not making milk and we gave it a try. Now we feed Neo. She got the good colostrum that so important, for antibody and gut  micro biome development, the first three days. The doctor held her and looked her over said the inside of her mouth is nice and pink, she is fine. Just keep feeding her. The next two weeks will be the important ones to get past. 

Feeding is not going as well tonight. Neo really doesn't want to eat. Are we feeding her too often? They nurse every one to two hours but mothers milk is different that formula. Maybe she is staying full longer. We will try every 4 hours and see if she is any hungrier at feeding time.

Nope, feeding is not going well at all. Neo laps up drops of milk slowly. Her breathing is deep all the time now. It has me wondering if she will make it through the night. Momma cleans and loves on her. Snuggles her close with her front paws. 

I emailed this video to my vet at 1:45am asking if we could have missed something. This just doesn't seem right to me.


February 15th - five days old

Morning  weigh in...... 

Neo is 3.4 ounces = 96 grams - down 7.1  grams

I was pretty frightened last night and this morning for Neo. 

With Maeve's last litter she became septic from infection after surgery and passed it thru her milk to the kittens. The kittens were gaining nicely until the fourth day, Then they declined rapidly and died of sepsis. 

Neo started losing weight on day four. I fed him twice last night and he still lost more weigh. I fed him twice this morning and for my own peace of mind I needed to get him checked to make sure he was not sick. Its frustrating because a kitten whose point color is coming in has lips that look dusky just like those sick kittens. We went to see my Vet. She checked Neo over and said he is fine. He's not getting enough milk. 

Fenya has been through all the stress factors that cause low milk production, stress, uterine inertia,  not enough nursing kittens, surgery, antibiotics. We are going to see if we can get her milk production to go up. We are trying sub-q oxytocin and metoclopramide. Then allowing the kitten to nurse when milk comes in. Hopefully we can get this working for her. I will also supplement after neo is done nursing.

Fen and Neo at the vets.

February 14th - Happy Valentines Day! -four days old

Evening entry: When I checked Neo this evening weight was down more. I began offering kitten milk. Neo lapped up several droppers  of milk and burped for me. I did a second feeding two hours later. Just a couple droppers eaten again. Neo is thin and too bony so I will continue to help out a bit but not replace totally momma milk. Just supplement a few extra calories. Neo was down to 3 -1/2 ounces. I hope we see that go up tomorrow.

Morning  weigh in...... 

Neo is 3.6 ounces = 103 grams - down 7.1  grams

Neo lost weight. There could be a number of factors here the surgery experience being the major one. Momma's body may also be adjusting to only one kitten. A small demand compared to a full litter. I will weigh again this evening and monitor the weight. I don't want to interfere too soon as her body needs to feel Neo's demand for milk so it will increase. But I won't allow Neo to keep losing. I will add in a supplement of kitten milk replacer if necessary. We are keeping the room at over 80 degrees and will do that longer than normal because Neo doesn't have litter mates to snuggle with for warmth when momma is out of nest.

Neo is getting color into her nose leather and ear edges now.


A reminder, my saying him or her is not a confirmation of sex. Its too early to be certain on sex.

February 13th - three days old - Since I have to give Fenya an antibiotic in the morning I've decided to weigh Neo in the mornings to get all the possible upset all taken care of so Momma can relax with Neo.

Morning  weigh in...... 

Neo is 3.9 ounces = 110 grams - up  10.7  grams

Neo is nursing well and searches for a nipple when ever I see her awake.

* I've edited the past diary entry to remove the name of the name of the emergency hospital. With all considered I do not wish to promote them. We chose to go there this time because we were told the risk of infection would be lower at a small facility. What we experienced was lack of training and professionalism and came home with Fen on an antibiotic for infection anyway. Given that she did not go into surgery until after 3pm, with hindsight, we should have just gone to Tufts. Its closer to our home. We have never experienced a surgical infection from our Vet at Apple Country Animal Hospital. We love them. But in an emergency when our Vet is not available we have to go to other facilities.

February 10th - Birth Day - We awoke to find Fenya had been leaving spots of blood all over the room. Her towels in the birthing box were also spotted. Today is labor day, lol.  Fenya continued to spot small puddles of blood all day. We closed the curtains to darken the room, its a sunny day. The room is nice and warm. Grainne is nesting with her. We decided to check her once an hour as she is not having any contractions. Giving her complete quiet. She likes to have her kittens at night.

At 8:00pm she had one contraction after 20 minutes of observation. At 8:56pm we found momma with a newly born kitten. Its a nice sized kitten weighing 3 1/8 ounces.

 Now we will sit with her and not leave. We've sent Grainne out of the room. Kitten two presents with a tail not in a sack. Fenya is having trouble with this one. With sterile gloves we add k-y to help lubricate and ease. Back feet are out but this kitten is not delivering as expected. We are required to assist. Its clearly difficult for Fen but she is not distressed or indicating a serious block. We begin assisting delivery with each contraction. Its not going well. You have to be gentle so you don't tear the mom. Kitten two was finally delivered at 9:45 is was unresponsive and huge. It was twice the size of an average kitten for us. A kitten fetus will grow to fill the space available. You want a nice sized litter to control the size of each kitten so they don't get too big to deliver. I'm guessing this kitten was in one horn of the uterus with no other kittens. The placenta was torn and small and tight against the sack surrounding the kitten. I guessing that the placenta tore loose and that was the bloody discharge we were seeing. The first kitten was in line to be born first so this one had to wait., lessening the chances it would have survived. The trauma of this delivery has stopped all labor. Momma is resting. 

Kitten one is still not latching on to nurse. I concentrate on assisting the kitten. We make a simple sugar water mix and wet the nipple with it. That gets the kitten smacking. It finally latches on at 11:00 pm. Big sigh from me, lol

I've rubbed Fen's belly. I can't feel any obvious kittens. We look at the x-rays again trying to assess if there could be more kittens or is this it? I never seen more than two skulls. At about 1:30am she had a couple small shudders but labor did not begin again. She continues to spot blood. in little puddles. It makes me wonder if the rest of the placenta is in there still.  

The Stats at birth  

#1  before 8:56 pm  Neo 88.9 grams ( 3.125 ounces)

 #2  9.45 pm  difficult protracted delivery - still born 

February 11th -

#3  surgical delivery - still born 

February 11th -

At 9 am we call into the Vet. Fen has made no progress we need an x-ray to see if there are any more kittens. We're told to bring her in at 10:30 am to see the available doctor. I've never met Dr. Cosman, I like him. He's very nice and knowledgeable. He doesn't feel a kitten but if there is only one you often can't feel it. He does feel that her uterus is very swollen and he is concerned that she may have a tear in the uterus. She could be bleeding internally. An x-ray will determine if there is a kitten or and blood accumulating.

Fen is being such a good girl through all this poking and prodding. The x-ray shows no blood, whew, and one kitten remains. Its in a terrible position and its unlikely to deliver normally. The doctor advises against even trying oxytocin. He recommends we go to the ER. The closest ER.

You can see the remaining kitten curled and not in a good position for a head first or rear first delivery.

The ER doctors assessment is that the kitten is no longer viable. They can't find a fetal heart beat. Its placenta probably detached during earlier labor. They will do blood work to make sure everything is in balance. They also doubt this kitten will deliver naturally given the position. It could change if the uterus moves enough but its unlikely. The consensus is she will end up in surgery. My feeling is if there is any possibility this kitten could have a chance (slim as it is) we should skip waiting for labor and go in and get it with a c-section. Fenya at 7 years is at the end of her career. Queens should retire between five to seven years of age. We will do spay surgery at the same time to avoid putting her through two major surgeries. They want to keep her and the kitten until tomorrow. They will call us when she is in recovery.

I took this time to deep clean and use germicidal bleach in her kitten room. All fresh bedding , rugs, etc. All new litter box and new litter. I don't want any risks of any type infection.

At 4:22 pm the doctor called and said Fen was in recovery and kitten one was in an incubator sleeping. All went well for Fen. The retained kitten was not able to be resuscitated. I ask about Fen's incision. How big is it, how is it closed? sutures, staples etc? She didn't know and had to go ask. Thankfully she has internal dissolving sutures with skin glue. So nothing for the kitten or momma to lick or pull on.

At 7:42 the doctor from the ER Hospital called again to say Fen was fully recovered and doing well. I'm worried that she will not allow the kitten to nurse. I know Fen and how she hates being at the Vet. The doctor assures me she is relaxed, has eaten, and  the kitten has nursed. They still want to keep her over night. 

February 12th - two days old

At 8:53am a doctor from the ER calls to say things are not going well. She said Fen has been too upset to eat. She hasn't eaten anything at all since being admitted. She is now running a temperature and they have put her on clavamox. *sigh* I'm not happy.  We've been through septic moms after surgery twice and lost kittens with our first experience when the infection when through the milk. Maeve was on clavamox when she became septic with infection after surgery. 

We picked Fen up and she is wired from pain meds, blown pupils and can't stay still. She growls at the food bowl. Both her backs legs, bottom and tail are soaked in urine. :(. Tom says she was brought out to him like this. She smells so bad. The kitten is not wet at all and has no urine on it.  I put her kitten in the bed and she joins in but is so disturbed. I start washing her with wet facecloths trying to get the urine washed off. Poor Momma. 

I weight the kitten it has gained a little so that is good. Each time I can get Fen to recline I try to get the kitten attached to a nipple. It does but as soon as it does Fen wants up. She just can't sit still. I believe its the pain med. We see this in kittens we have altered all the time. She wants to move the kitten all the time. I set up three beds she can move between. One under the desk in the knee hole, one in the corner cabinet and she likes the covered cat bed. She can fit in that with only one kitten. 

We have not tried to reintroduce Grainne yet. Fen needs this drug to wear down a bit.

Fen has both front legs shaved for iv sites. They must have had trouble getting a vein. Her right one is bruised for the tries. Her incision is the longest I've ever seen and looks terrible. 

Fen seems to be winding down from the medication. I've decide to hold Grainne and let Fen out. She's scratching at her door. Fen is still a bit anxious and I'm concerned about how Grainne will react to her smell. It will be days before she smells normal again. I hold Grainne down near her and there is no negative reaction so I set her down. All goes well. I think the urine smell covers up the hospital disinfectant smell, lol. How sad is that. Fen walked around a bit and I got the treats out to distract Grainne with. Fen ate a few of them from my hand. Glad to see she is eating something. She's still refusing food, special canned food, and yogurt. If she's not eating soon I'll try the kitten milk trick. She is peeing a lot they must have pumped her full of fluids. She has settled down now in the bed under the desk with the kitten. Grainne is asleep on top of the desk in her bed. They will get peace and quite the rest of the evening. I think Fen has a very sore throat from the tube, she can barely make any noise at all when she calls me.

We will be watching kitten activity level and weight very closely for the next week of so.


Afternoon  weigh in...... 

Neo is 3.5 ounces = 99 grams - up  10.7  grams

We chose Neo for the diary name because of the whole Neo, The One thing from the movie the Matrix.

February 3rd - Fenya went in for her kitten count. How many do you think you see? This one is tough for me. I can go two ways with this x-ray. I see two heads. So two could be the number but she is so big and my Vet says four maybe five. If I look at spines and other bones I can convince myself there are five, lol, But I don't really think so. Two or more?

January 6, 2017 - Fen is looking like she could be pregnant. We are hopeful.
December 3rd - Fenya is in estrus again. Her breeding didn't take. We are breeding her again with Polo.

September 24, 2016 - We began breeding Fenya to Polo today.



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