Sunday, August 30, 2009

"On the Road Again..."

The kittens traveled across the state with me this weekend to visit my parents... where they got a LOT of attention! All being well, my parents will be adopting one of the kittens when they are ready. Here's a good shot of Napoleon and Magnus in their traveling cage... the other two are behind them just out of sight. More updates tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Good Morning, Bella!

As the kittens waited in the bath tub for their breakfast (it's a lot easier to clean up if I feed them in the bathtub - they make SUCH a mess when they eat!) Bella came in to say hello...

Bella desperately wants to be friends with the kittens - she just doesn't understand how much bigger than them she is!

Good news on the weight front - Magnus is now weighing in at 13oz while the other three are weighing in at 11oz. That's a 9oz gain for Magnus and a 8oz gain for the other three in just over two weeks! They have each gained 3-4oz since last Thursday alone!

Let's remember, according to Alley Cat Allies...

- Four-five weeks: (8-16.75 oz) Running, playing, digging, and pouncing occur often. Kittens will start to wean and will be able to lap up formula, eat soft food, and use the litter box by themselves. Eyes have fully changed from blue to their adult color.

This is all true! While I would like to see them be at the upper end of the weight scale - everything else seems to be coming along nicely! Today we start LITTER BOX TRAINING! Wish me luck!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Feeding Frenzy!

Over the past four days, the kittens have essentially said "enough with that bottle already, mom!"

Since their introduction to solid food (wet cat food mixed with formula) last Thursday they have become harder and harder to bottle feed. Today I gave up the bottle altogether and here's how we did...

Looks civilized enough, right? Think again!!!

"I'm swimming in food!" -- Napoleon

"I eat like a lady" -- Tabitha

"I could get used to this" -- Magnus

"What do you mean there's something in my hair?" -- Tabitha

"I'm saving those bits on my head for later..." -- Spock

"Mom... I made a mess!" -- Tabitha

And while the transition to solid food is going great... with more solid food comes LESS solid STOOL. Um, yeah, you get the idea. LOVELY! Aaaah, the joys of being a kitten mama!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Looking GOOD!

I am absolutely thrilled to report that as of this morning - all four kittens weigh just about 8oz each! Some are a little under, around 7.5oz, but for the most part they are all there! I am just SO excited! Granted, I think they are still underweight for their age, but they have gained a lot of weight and look so much better than they did even a week ago! Yea!

With their added weight has come some notable developmental differences... particularly in their eyes. The pupils are pretty much completely formed and their eyes are changing from their bluish color to their adult color. They are really starting to look like little kittens now!

Every evening this week we've brought a kitten downstairs, one at a time, for about 15 minutes each, while we watch TV to sit with us. We're really trying to get them socialized as best we can and used to being held and petted. Travis has been awesome this week - he's been very involved in our evening kitten time. I think he has a soft spot for Magnus... : )

Tonight a "real" kitten foster is coming over to check in on the kittens and see how they are doing. I hope I get a good report!

Video update coming tomorrow! Happy Thursday!

Morning snuggles after breakfast...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cute Kitten Faces!

Hi! I'm Spock! I'm the tiniest of the litter, but what I lack in size I sure make up for in character! This isn't the best picture of me... I haven't quite grown into my huge eyes and ears yet, but I'm such a lover!

I'm Magnus, and I'm the biggest and strongest of the bunch! I'm ready to run and pounce and play, I'm just waiting for my brothers and sisters to catch up with me!

I don't have a name yet... but I'm awful cute! We just can't decide on the perfect name for me. I purr a lot, I was the first of my siblings to do so!

I'm Tabitha... but you can call me Tabs for short. I'm a little snuggler, and love to cuddle!

Gaining Weight!

The kittens are continuing to gain weight. Wahoo! It's a slow process, especially since I am overly sensitive to it and want to weigh them and check in on them all the time, but they are getting there.

Since I first posted about their weights a week ago Monday, they have all gained 3 to 4oz each! Magnus is the big guy (always has been!) who is weighing in at 7oz, while the other three babies are each coming in at 6oz each.

The website I've been referring to, lists the following information on how to determine age of a kitten, and their appropriate weights. I have highlighted in red all of the items I have observed in one, or multiple kittent thus far:

- Under one week: (3-8 oz) Eyes are shut, ears are folded down, and kittens are unable to walk. They can purr and make tiny noises. The umbilical cord may still be visible.

- One-two weeks: (8-11 oz) Eyes start to open (they are blue) and focus. Ears begin to open and movement is improved to crawling, snuggling, and kneading.

- Three weeks: (7.5-14.5 oz) Eyes fully open and ears are open and standing up. The kitten will start to respond to noises and movement. The first wobbly steps are taken and baby teeth start to come in.

- Four-five weeks: (8-16.75 oz) Running, playing, digging, and pouncing occur often. Kittens will start to wean and will be able to lap up formula, eat soft food, and use the litter box by themselves. Eyes have fully changed from blue to their adult color.

- Eight weeks: (2 lbs) Kittens look like little versions of full grown cats. This is the best age at which to begin the socialization process.

In the four-five week category, I have started to see beginnings of playing, wrestling, etc. I have also noticed several of the kittens using their tongues to lick, lap and clean themselves from time to time.

If you look at the weights listed for each category, they are a little confusing to me. According to the chart the kittens are quickly approaching the low end of the three-four-five week ranges. I can only assume this is good news!

Feeding is going really well. I've switched from a syringe to a kitten bottle (yes, they make such things!) and not only is it easier for me, but less messy for them. They got the hang of the bottle really quickly. I've upped the food to the amount listed on the formula container for their weight range - but they still seem ravenous all the time! I think I will increase a little more still over the next few days.

And you know what? I can't believe how much I have thought and worried about kitten poop over the past few weeks! Gross, yes, but necessary. In case you're wondering - pooping is going very well. Nice work, kitties!

More pictures and videos coming soon - thanks for checking in on the kittens!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Video Blog & Weight Update

I am VERY pleased to say that the kittens are putting on some serious weight! In just a few days of upped food they are fattening up nicely... : ) Magnus is now weighing in at 6oz while the other three babies are weighing in at 5oz each. That's a 1 to 2oz gain for everyone. Yeah!

Enjoy the latest video update - and check back next week for more kitty progress!

PS) Have you added as a follower yet? Please do! (Look to your right for a button!)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Weighing In

I'll preface this post with reiterating that I have NO IDEA what I'm doing when it comes to these kittens! I mean, really, I'm winging it!

Figuring out how much and how often to feed the kittens has been quite confusing to say the least. Everything I've read and everyone I've talked to has had slightly different ideas. I guess just like there's no handbook to raising a kid, there's no handbook to raising kittens either - and a lot of it seems like trial and error, and situational dependent on your kittens.

I was feeding them 2ml of kitten formula every three hours - but I was told to dilute the formula with one extra part water to help them digest and avoid constipation. All was going well (except for my nights sleep - of course!)

Yesterday we went out and purchased a cheap kitchen scale, since we didn't own one, because I wanted to get the weights of the little guys and gals. We came home and I got to weighing. Here's what we came in at:


SPOCK: 3oz

GIRL #1 (Pink? Chloe?): 4oz

GIRL #2: 3oz

I checked a weight chart I found online at Alley Cat Allies and was horrified to find them at about HALF the weight they should be for their age. Yikes!

Now, I have to take this with a grain of salt because I'm sure there are resources all over the web with different ideas of weight vs. age etc. but at the same time I had a mini panic attack. I looked at the recommended feedings on the formula container and according to that I am definitely not feeding them enough - especially since I'm diluting it further.

Soooo... I'm upping the food. I don't know if that is right or wrong but we're going to see how it goes. I'm doing 4ml - no extra dilute - every four hours. I'm also leaving them over night (feeding right before bed and first thing in the morning) since almost everything I've read says that kittens this age can start being fed 3-4 times a day and go for 8 hours overnight. I don't want to feed them TOO much because they are so little and have little bellies - but I want to make sure they are getting the nourishment to grow - you know?

We'll see how this goes, huh? I figure with this up in nourishment, if they can handle it, they should put on weight pretty quickly. I'll weigh them again later in the week.

The good news is that they are very active, and vocal, so I think other than being soooo little they are doing just fine.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Naming

"Come and gather in the meadow
In the meadow, in the sun
Come together everyone
Now the naming has begun

Leave your burrow, field, and furrow
For the meadow and the sun
Come and gather everyone
Now the naming has begun
The naming, the naming"

The Naming, from Children of Eden

I was super hesitant to name the kittens at first. Since they were so little and vulnerable, and expected not to live, I didn't want to get attached.

Although we're not 100% safe yet, I feel like these little guys and gals have made it through a challenging first two weeks of life, and deserve names of their own. At least for now! Once adopted, they'll get brand new names I'm sure (from what I hear there are name lists in progress in the Hillman household!) but at least for now I think they'd rather be called something other than "grey one" don't you think?

So here's where I need some help from you. I've got names for two of them, but not the others. I grabbed some photos of them all after bathtime today. Yes... I did say bathtime...

The pictures aren't the best - but they are SO hard to take photos of right now! They are so squirmy! : ) So, meet our little friends. And if you have a name idea for the two baby girls - leave a comment!



Meet GIRL #1

Meet GIRL #2

PS) If you look really closely... you can see their pupils starting to form. So exciting!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I decided that since there was just so much kitten-ness going on in my life right now, and so many people wanting almost daily updates, that I would begin a new blog dedicated just to them, rather than clog up my personal blog with nothing but kitty news.

So for those of you that have already been following the kitten story - thanks for hopping over here! And for those of you that are new - welcome, welcome! DO take a moment to add yourself as a follower on the right hand side of this page.

Let's start with a recap, shall we? To hear the story from the beginning, head back to this post.

And here, for your viewing pleasure, are the first three kitten video updates...

I plan on updating this blog every couple of days or so. So please, check back regularly to see how we're all doing!