I took this photo after we lost the orange baby. Now the light tan
one under Kelly's leg is fading and we have no answers for it.
My heart is heavy as I type this. I had been so optomistic about these kittens. We lost one this afternoon (the largest orange one) and another kitten seems to be fading fast (one of the very light tan ones). I'm heartbroken, frustrated, and second-guessing myself, all at the same time. I called the vet and was ready to rush the mama and babies to the clinic, but my vet said it sounded like Fading Kitten Syndrome and there wasn't one thing she could do if that was the case. I was crying and praying as I wrapped the orange kitten in a soft cloth and held her under a warming light for an hour and a half, until she passed. I truly don't think she suffered, but she literally faded away before my eyes. I was gently rubbing her to stimulate circulation, bottle feeding her drops of milk, and doing everything I knew to do. I even sang to her, as if that was going to help. Her little nose and paws remained pink until the very end and her breathing wasn't labored so I know she was getting oxygen.
FKS seems to be similar to SIDS in human infants, in that there are/were no outward signs that anything is/was wrong. The little ones turn for the worse so swiftly that by the time one knows something is amiss, they are already beyond help. The kittens were literally fine one moment and dying the next - at least it appeared so to us.
I asked the vet if I should expect to lose them all....and as gently as she could, she said I should prepare myself. My vet is very kind and compassionate and I trust her completely. She expressed sincere sadness, but said there are so many variables that are completely out of our control with kittens. She indicated there might have been something internal that was under-developed or this might have been due to a virus, which would mean that all have been exposed. She said it was nothing I did or didn't do and nothing that mama kitty Kelly did or did not do. She said if it's viral, it was not something brought in to the kittens by us but rather something Kelly might have had inside her and passed to them through her milk. Even though blood tests had ruled out Feline Leukemia and FIV, we have no idea if Kelly has ever been vaccinated and vaccines couldn't be given while she was pregnant. If she hasn't been vaccinated, the kittens do not receive any immmunity from her milk. That, I can understand.
So..... I realize there might be some who would say this is for the best, I won't have to find homes for more babies, Kelly won't have to feed as many kittens, etc. Those things aren't what I want to hear. I was, and still am, devoted to caring for ALL of these sweet creatures of God's creation. They were sent here for a reason and the only thing I'm thinking now, is that there will be fewer kittens to love.
Please pray for my little mama cat and her babies....