Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Someday, I May Eventually Write Journal Entries That Aren't All About Kittens Anymore

Stardust finally ATE SOLID FOOD!!!!!! Earlier today I was feeding her tuna-water through an eyedropper because it didn't appear she'd eaten a thing for at least 36 hours, and although it's harder to tell whether the water level in her water dish went down while I was at work, she hadn't been drinking much if any water either, during the times I've been home for the past 24 hours. But then at a random moment while I was emptying the bathroom wastebasket, she followed me into the bathroom and suddenly buried her head in her food dish! It wasn't the dish of canned kitten food I'd carefully heated in an effort to make it easier for her to smell with her nose all stuffed up, and it wasn't the water dish full of tuna water either - no, she walked right past the canned kitten food and the tuna water and instead buried her head in the dish of plain dry kitten food that's been sitting there untouched for days, since way back before I gave up on it and offered her canned food, and back before she stopped eating the canned food as well. That dry kitten food has been sitting there in a dish right next to the others for the whole entire time. But today she suddenly fell upon it and started gobbling/inhaling it at top speed like - well, like she hadn't eaten anything in 36 hours, which indeed she hadn't. She didn't stop eating for the next 45 minutes, and I sat there frozen the whole time, petting her but afraid to leave the room or change position very much at all, for fear that any excessive movement might distract her from the food and she'd never go back to it.

Then a few hours later she ate some more of it - not as much this time, but still only the dry food, not the canned. She did have some water too, this time.

She has a vet appointment tomorrow. It's in the same veterinary office as her appointment last Friday, but with a different vet, because the first vet wasn't available as soon as the substitute vet.

I have to say that this experience has given me very mixed feelings about animal shelters. They did give me a whole lot of stuff, and some guidance with things I might otherwise have had to go to more trouble to figure out how to do (such as the fact that she came with a license already registered for her, and her initial vaccinations and spaying already administered), but they also gave her a disease. I have to say that it would have been much easier on Stardust herself if I'd just adopted her from whatever home she was born in, before they got around to giving her to the shelter. Sure, not all kittens from animal shelters turn out to be sick; my parents have adopted plenty of them that didn't - but they also once (when I was little) adopted one that did, and that ended up dying soon after we got her. And Stardust's disease is one that's mostly spread in overcrowded conditions such as at animal shelters.

Adopting a kitten and then having to immediately come to terms with the fact that it may not even survive its first week with you is really not so fun. And cat-care websites are inconsistent and scary! They all seem to agree that the symptoms she's exhibiting suggest extremely strongly that her particular virus is feline rhinotracheitis, but they disagree on how long that disease normally lasts, and more alarmingly, on what her prospects for recovering from it are. Most of the websites say that the majority of both adult cats and kittens survive it. But at least one website told me, "Kittens are more affected than adults, and up to 70% can die with severe infection." I'm not sure what exactly constitutes "severe infection"; Stardust's sure looks plenty severe to me, but she was vaccinated against this disease at the animal shelter before she developed it, and although vaccinations in kittens frequently do not prevent the disease, the vaccinations supposedly usually do prevent the disease from becoming "severe." However, I'm not so convinced that it even prevented that much in her case. If this kitten's disease isn't "severe," I sure don't want to see what a case that is "severe" looks like!

*long pause during which I play-fight Stardust for control of a piece of balsa wood*

Hmm, I do think she may be feeling just slightly better today. Her eyes are still red and irritated, but they're not quite as wet as they were yesterday - it doesn't look quite as much like she's crying - and she's exhibiting a few more signs of slight playfulness again. It's not much - she's not exactly running and jumping, by a long shot - but in combination with the fact that she finally ate something, I think the signs point toward a slightly less miserably sick kitten today than yesterday.
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