Monday, September 13, 2010

Baby's First Bath

Life with little Napoleon Maximilian continues with progress. Some progress, like the purring and the loving, is leaps and bounds. Other progress, like the lack of playing, is slow going.

Yesterday morning I entered the Kitten Hatchery to discover little Max curled up in the sink with my toothbrush holder. I've never seen him jump that high, but clearly he can or he'd not have been in the sink. I took this as a sign of his being ready for a bath. He was sitting up and watching my every movement as I prepared (I wanted to clean everything off of the countertop so as to protect it) but not as wary as he might have been.

He submitted to the bath with, if not grace then at least without anger. His wee little paws kept scrabbling at the faucet as if to grab on and pull himself away from me. But he never scratched or bit, and didn't even hiss, howl or growl. Instead, he just meowed in a forlorn kind of way. We turned two basins full of water dirty, and still I couldn't get his paws quite white. Then we sat down, little Max bundled up in a towel, and cuddled for a while. He seemed to like this part-- he was purring up a storm. Eventually he even ventured so far as to start bathing himself-- so far the only time I've seen him do this. He let me trim his claws, too. And all this before his breakfast!

Speaking of which, he's still eating quite well, both dry and wet food. And he noms down the vitamin gel I bought for him like it's -- frankly, I don't know how to describe how much he loves this vitamin gel. He eats it straight from the tube! Kittens are supposed to gain weight fairly rapidly and little Max certainly is. I don't have a feel yet for how big he'll be at full size-- I need the vet's estimate on his age first-- but he'll be a sizeable cat. (All the male cats from our colony tend to be pretty big, it seems.) He's got the bat ears and oversized paws, after all.

He still hisses when you go towards him the first time you enter the room, but the instant you touch him he purrs. And he has a loud, deep purr. I was washing my face this morning (after all, the Kitten Hatchery must do double duty as my bathroom) and I realized I could hear him all the way down on the floor and a few feet away. Notice that at this point I was not (obviously) touching him, but he was still purring. A good sign, I think.

I'm a little worried about his health, but I hope his ailments are simply the usual outdoor kitten ones. His fur is thin and coarse, but I think good food will help that. His ears are scratched up on the outside, and missing fur, and I assume that's due to scratching due to ear mites. (He let me clean out his hears no problem with kitten-ear-cleaner and a cotton ball, but I'll ask a vet to do a more thorough clean out, and of course there'll be drops and such if there are mites.) As I mentioned before, he has the roundest belly of all time, so there'll be deworming. Eeww. He also seemed to be running rather hot last night, although much less so this morning. Fever? I don't know. But this may well explain why he isn't playing, if he's not feeling up to it.

The good news, though, is that thanks to the incredible generosity of Project-Cat donors, little Max has enough funds for at least his first vet visit, and probably his second as well. (Okay, so this assumes that there's nothing majorly wrong with him... Fingers crossed.) So thank you thank you thank you, donors. You are Teh Awesome.
I've mentioned the vet several times in this entry. We are heading to see said vet this evening (5pm AZ time). The Animal Hospital I go to has a lot of vets in it, but we are seeing one that I've gone to once before (with one of the kittens-- which one I am not sure... Malcolm and Zoe the first time maybe?) and so that is good. There'll be an update tonight or tomorrow about how the vet visit goes, I'm sure.

I'm always terrified when taking one of these kittens to the vet for the first time. The diagnoses... So 'til then cross your fingers that it goes boringly frankly. Boring in this kind of thing is good. Boring is healthy!

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