Emotional roller coaster ride. If there is anything that did not go wrong it our attempts to rescue a cat family, I can not think what it could be.

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CatJ

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Pushed out the litter drawer? Knocked off the water bottle and out through there?
We have a winner!

Around the cage we can some of the stuff they knocked down during their hours of freedom. We put heavy bags of cat food in front of the drawer and that has worked.
 

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fionasmom

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It is not just your cats, although I have to give them credit for problem solving. I have had several cat who easily slid pocket doors open, necessitating hook and eye latches on them.
 
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CatJ

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It is not just your cats, although I have to give them credit for problem solving. I have had several cat who easily slid pocket doors open, necessitating hook and eye latches on them.
Wild, or in our case, semi wild animals are smart. They have to be. Still, it would be something to see them do it.

This reminds me. There is an animal program on TV that features cats getting into food drawers, closets, escaping etc. The TV crew set up multiple cameras to catch the action and then a solution is suggested. Fun show, a bit scary at the same time though. “You mean to tell me that my lovable little fur ball can do THAT!”. Pet cages, though, we would hope have been tested.

Anyway, made for an interesting morning.
 
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MANGE? A long road ahead.

The past week has been yet another roller coaster, though the low points no where near as low as the have been. The night of my wife’s friends who were interested in the cats visit, my son’s temperature shot up. He ended up missing his last two days of the semester due to his fever and diarrhea, which he passed on to me. So I cut, ground and mixed pills into their food, gave eye drops and fed the kittens and their mother while dealing with a high fever and all that brings, a cough and G/I troubles, getting to bed way too late and getting up way too early.

Sano has been getting more and more aggressive and placing herself between the cage door and her kittens, hissing growling, swiping and lunging at me as I try to take her kittens out for their medicine. I ordered animal handling gloves on,one and they are to arrive Saturday, yeah! Wearing leather gloves over other leather gloves has so far provided enough protection against her but my arms have been exposed. These new gloves protect the whole arm.

Friday afternoon my wife got an email form her co worker. Not only will she take Kuno, but Sano too, for herself, and Hano to find her a home. Hana spent the longest way from her family and was reunited with them just a week before, so this is a welcomed development. She needs some more time with her mother. When? She would like to have them Saturday afternoon! That soon? Was not expecting to say goodbye so soon, but kittens do not remain kittens long and they’re have been a handful. My son will be very sad.

We immediately starts a list of what we need to bring with. Our vet was kind enough to provide medication histories for all three. We could have gotten the actual charts, but they charge ¥2000 per chart. I was surprised that they would provide the info for free. Checking in on them during the afternoon, I notice a bald spot on Hoki’s left front leg and point it out to my wife. She knew of it, said it was most likely from playing with his sisters. I didn’t think it looked like an injury but thought it could have happened if fur got caught in the cage as he fell while climbing.

When my son got home form daycare, I told him we have big news, we found homes for all three of the cats we were not keeping. His eyes begin filling with tears. I ask if he wants to play with them, of course he wants to. “Which one?” “The one who is leaving first?” He answers as he begins to cry. “They are all going together.” He stands, staring at me, crying. I do not recall if he asked “When?” or if , after a long pause, I just told him, either way I said “Tomorrow.” Which sent him bawling to his mother’s arms. He got control of himself and choose one to play with and said that he wanted to cancel all his normal Saturday activities so that he could play with them one last time. We agreed.

Saturday he holds and plays with Kuno and Hano and I take pictures. Hano has been very well behaved in the other room, so I thought she would be in the living room. She had been in it before when we left the door open so that’s they could come inside to eat. As soon as she is placed on the floor she takes off like a rocket and hides in a corner. Kuno, despite being extremely mellow when handled went absolutely berserk when we gave her this freedom. She puffed out her tail, darted around the place and tried jumping on to everything. Left my son laughing. While putting her back in the cage, he calls out “Dad”. Hoki has another injury!” The day before, he had one bald spot, he now had 4! The only cause I could think of is Mange.

From my early childhood, I remember that mange was something we were taught to be on the lookout for and never pet any animal that might have it. The image I had was that it was untreatable and deadly. Relief is found online. It looks like he does in fact have the mange, the type cause by bugs commonly found on cats skin but usually are harmless unless the cat is malnourished, which Hoki certainly was and still is. To my surprise, this disease is treatable. Can’t do anything about it now, we have to deliver the other 3 to their new home. Of course, we tell the new “owner” of this new development. My son handles himself extraordinarily well at they new home, helping put together their huge new cage. We get back home too late to bring Hoki to the vet. He has at least 2 more bald spots.

Not the mange, though I think that perhaps that would be preferable. He has a fungal infection of his skin. The vet said that this will take 2 to 3 months to clear up. Our hopes of letting him run free for a while each day out of his are dashed. We, I, have to apply topical fungicide twice daily, disinfect his cage daily and going 1/2 a tablet a day to mix with his food and bathed with treated shampoo weekly to get rid of this. Not surprising, really, given that he spent several days trapped in the sewers with his sibling’s dead body and who knows what else.

We are currently working out ways to allow he and my son to play without spreading this to ourselves and our other cats. In addition to keeping our other cats out of the room he is in, my wife as several aprons that we are now using to put over our clothes when we give him medicine and play with him. I took down the tarps off the furniture but we will continue using them on the floor.

While he still putting on weight, he has lost his earlier healthy appearance. He rebounded quickly on the high calorie diet we first put him on, so we continued with that food only when mixing medication in, giving them all the dry food that put out for them before we trapped them. First his coat lost its healthy look, then he started feeling bony again. His siblings have not suffered this set back. So I started taking him out of the cage twice daily to allow him to eat his fill of the canned food he gets with his medicine. Looking better again but nat as good as he did. He being the only cat using the litter box, we can now provide the long asked for stool sample. I will bring it in to the vet once they reopen after their lunch break today. It has long bee suspected that they still have worms but we had not been able to get samples.

Hoki is sleeping now. Was going crazy with his toy and blanket earlier.

The new owner took them in to her vet Sunday. They all still have worms and Sano is not pregnant. Apart from the worms, they are all healthy.

My wife has completely recovered from Sano’s attack. The doctor said she did not need the second IV administered antibiotic treatment. Now, if we can just get this little guy healthy again.
 

fionasmom

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Thank you for the update! You have gone so far above and beyond for these kittens and mom! It is so good that you were able to find a home for them. Will the new owner give you updates from time to time? The animal handling gloves are a very good idea. The hand size can be awkward and stiff, but this depends on where and what kind you have, and can take a little getting used to. But it is very important that you and your wife not have any more cat injuries. Please keep us posted as to how this all turns out.
 
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Yes, we have received several updates already and she said should would send photos. I do want to see how they look all grown up.
The gloves worked great the one time I was able to use them. Just knowing my arms are protected was an immensely important factor. Don’t really need them now that Sano, the mother has left.

Hoki requires two daily applications of anti fungal cream on his sores. It really works as the wounds have not increased in size nor number after the initial 3 days. The scabs are mostly gone. We have to completely disinfect his cage and change and wash his hammock, towel and toys daily. Still have many weeks of treatment before he can roam freely out of the cage and mingle with the other cats.

The video turns out to far too big to post. Will see if I can edit it.
 
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Hoki

Of the four kittens, the white kitten was the only one that would stop and look at me instead of making a mad dash for safety whenever one of the other three saw me. Even when seen through the window and they in the neighbor’s yard, separated by the wall of the house and the fence between the yards, one would sound the alarm upon seeing me and they would all flee with our even looking back, except Hoki, as he is now named. He would first make eye contact with me and then follow his siblings to safety after they were all in.

It turns out that it was he who I grabbed with my bare hand and who bit me, hard…twice, when I did so late the night of the last I would see them all together. Is was he whom I fished out of the ditch with my son’s butterfly net. He was just 600 grams when rescued on July 4th. 3 days later he weighed in over 900 gram and 1.2 KG 11 days after rescue. The vet was shocked he lived long enough to be seen 3 days after I first brought him in. She would reemphasize her surprise when I brought him in 11 days after rescued. She was actually giddy with joy at his survival. Today’s visit to the vet recorded his weight as 1.6 kg! He has gained a full kilogram in weight in 2 days shy of a month! He has survived thus far, but remains a sick kitty.

I am glad my son is the one who choose which kitten to keep. I being the one that actually caught or trapped each one, and the one who was bitten by two of them, the one who washed and medicated them, I am too close to them all to choose just one. I am happy that he choose this little guy.

Kuno, his sister, the first kitten we caught, was the first to start hissing. Hoki took up his sister’s habit followed by their mother, Sano. When Sano hisses, she looks like a snake. The woman who adopted her says she looks like a cobra when she hisses. Hano, the gray kitten I chanced upon when bringing the others to the vet, hissed and growled even as I had her in the net. Hoki kept this habit for the first few days after his family left for their new home. He would hiss when we enter the room, mew as we approached the cage and start purring as we opened the cage. It seemed that he though hissing was a greeting, a friendly greeting. He has stopped hissing.

He is an affectionate kitten, purring widely when pet. He just wants to be held and played with. It is heart breaking that we can not easily do so due to his fungal infection. The medicine he takes has checked the advance of the fungus but has not yet removed any ground, hair actually, lost. We were given the same oral medicine and cream though we can now apply only a thin layer of it rather than gooping it on as before. We are now to wash him with medicated shampoo twice a week instead of the once a week before. We, I, have to apply his anti fungal cream 2 times a day and disinfect his cage and wash his hammock and towel daily. Luckily we have air filters as it was recommended that we place a filter near the cage to catch fungal spores. We rotate aprons daily as those need to be washed daily too lest we spread it to our other cats or ourselves.

My son wants to play with him out of the cage so much, but the vet says it will take 2 to 3 months to rid Hoki of the fungus. He really won’t be a kitten anymore by that then. We play with him with various toys through the bars of the cage and he has a toy he likes to play with in the cage and a scratch pad.

This is not a complaint. The friend that suggested I post our story here thought it was important that others learn just what they are getting themselves into when they embark on trying to rescue cats. Therefore I share this with you. If 100% succeeds is what you require to be happy, do not attempt what we have. The happiness we share at our success is tempered by the loss of the brown kitten and the sorrow we have for poor Hoki in his cage and for our son who desperately wants to play with his new kitten. Perhaps it is in in large part due to the fact that with him turning 9 in a month, he has thus far had 1/3 of his childhood stolen from him by the covid mitigation protocols, but it is almost too much to bear to see his hopes repeatedly destroyed each time we take his kitten to the vet.
 

fionasmom

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We greatly appreciate the fact that you have consistently kept up this account. Many member, future members, will profit from it and often new members will seek out older threads and ask if there has been a conclusion.

I keep saying it....you have done a stupendous job with all of these cats!

Hoki is luckier than a lot of kittens who have skin conditions. He is being treated and will get better. Keep interacting with him through the bars, sit and talk to him. He understands that you are offering him companionship.

I do feel sorry for your son. Like so many kids his age, his childhood has not been normal. He chose Hoki, though, so it must give him some comfort to know that he is cared for and will be well eventually.
 
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CatJ

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Yesterday, my wife sent a video of Hoki mewing, with sound to the person who adopted the other kittens. Kuno and Hano got very excited and started looking around for and calling out for their brother. Funny yet a bit sad too.

Hoki’s skin problems are, at least were, the least of his problems. As suspected but not proved earlier, he in fact has worms. Got treated for those yesterday. If his stool sample next week is clear, then he should be too. He was so tiny, literally a bag of bones, a month ago. I forgot to ask if his fur is likely to grow back once the fungus is defeated.

My son has no regrets that he choose Hoki, just sad he can’t easily take him out to play with. Hoki is taken out several times a day, but when we do, we have to wear aprons and make sure we wash our hands well and spray and wipe everything he touches. We put down a tarp (Blue sheet for our friends in Japan) which makes it easier. Yesterday, my son wanted to give Hoki his bath. I told him could watch me this time and wash him next time. While washing I suggested that I continue washing Hoki and my son dry him. Hoki does not like baths but now must get two a week. He enjoys getting dried off. Drying seems to be a good bonding activity for the two, while getting washed, at best, would counter it. As much as I like the littles guy and would hate for him to grow frightened of me, I’d rather he associate bathing with me than my son.

My son had a summer activity he signed up for this morning that we just got back from. We are late on cleaning Hoki’s cage and applying his anti fungal cream. Now that we are cooled down, VERY hot today and the bike ride was exhausting, we get to work.
 

fionasmom

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As I said, Hoki is very lucky and you are making the baths a bonding experience for him and your son. This will end eventually and he will be free to live his life as a pet in your family.

You sound as if you are a very good dad!
 
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