Here's poor little "Popeye" with his eye matted shut again this morning. I'll continue to use warm water to wipe it several times a day. After I do that, his eye opens and looks fine until his next nap. He has a little bit of a nasal issue too, but he's as active as the other kittens and the vet thought he looked great. He just needs a bit of attention to his eyes and nose.
Shortly after I took the pictures, Spouse and I went into the "nursery" and he held the babies while I swabbed the eyes and noses of the ones who needed it. I administered eye drops to each kitten and they all cuddled up with Kelly for a little lunch.
Those sweet little balls of kitten fur are all tangled up in my heartstrings. I'm completely head-over-heels in love with those tiny rascals and I'm relaxing more and enjoying their antics. Today I feel as if I'm coming out of a fog. The last two or three weeks have been so stressful I hardly had time to think about anything except Mom being hospitalized, then released, having a stroke, then being re-admitted to the hospital and rehab....Spouse's dad having a light stroke and being back in the hospital for the umpteenth time this year....and Kelly's kittens. It seems as if there really is a light at the end of this tunnel though, and I can see it glimmering.
I'm glad I took Kelly and the kittens to the vet yesterday. They looked healthy and I knew their weepy, matted eyes were not life-threatening, but now I'm sure they're on the road to being sound adoptable kittens in a few weeks. I don't allow "my" kittens to be adopted until they're at least 8 to 10 weeks old. I made an exception one time many years ago and regretted it. Spouse and other family members badgered me to let one of a litter go when it was only 5 weeks old. He (Smokey) went to my mother-in-law and even though I know she loved and pampered him and I was able to visit him, I still wish I'd been strong enough to stand up to the pressure. I know how to do that now. We watched Smokey live to a ripe old age, but I'd still never let one that young go again. Kittens need to be with their mamas for longer than 5 weeks if at all possible. That's another of those life lessons I learned the hard way. I'm thankful Smokey thrived and had a loving human mama all his life.
My vet said she wished more people would adhere to the 8-10 week time frame for letting kittens be adopted. It's healthier for the kittens and gives the mama cat time more time to gradually wean them. Imagine having a whole litter of babies one day, and no kittens to love or feed the next. Cats may not have the same emotions as we do, but they do feel something. I want Kelly to be ready to let them go when it's time. I'm thinking about all this now so it won't be such a shock to me either, when it's time to send them to forever homes.
It's been my experience while fostering other litters that mama cats eventually spend less and less time with the kittens and begin to walk away when they try to nurse. That's often one of the first signals the mama is ready to be done with the whole mothering thing. I always begin to offer soft solid foot when the kittens reach the age of 3 weeks, and I supplement mama cat's milk with mother's replacement milk. The kittens get all the nourishment they need and mama cat gets a breather. During that time I also make sure the kittens are gently held every day and by different people. By the time they're fully weaned, they are well-adjusted, socialized, and ready for new homes. It's the way things are supposed to go.
Somebody please remind me of all that in about 6 weeks.....