The IBKC blog follows the lives of our foster kittens and permanent resident cats, Charlene Butterbean and Wylla Stout. In the past 7.5 years, we've hosted and placed nearly 200 kittens. In addition to our fostering, we raise money for cats and kittens.
Though it's been almost 3 years since Wylla got better and started living her life like a normal cat, not a day passes that I don't think about how grateful I am that she is healthy and here. Our girl turns a whopping five years old today. FIVE! A wonderful milestone -- she's had more healthy years than not.
It's funny to think back to when we first met our Wee Wylla -- that adorable odity, the stoutest of all the Stouts, the cutest thing ever.
When we first saw this little face we had no idea what was to come -- we did not know then that she would soon be ours.
And thank goodness she did join our family -- I can't imagine our world without Wylla in it.
She brings levity to each day with her bright trills and well-timed dramatic flops. She offers great companionship and provides comfort and good cuddles. She's such a dear friend to Bean and spares her from boredom.
Our life is better with the sweet presence that is Wylla.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Wylla Francis Stout! We're so happy to have this day to celebrate! We wish you many happy, heathy years to come!
Here she is: One month, one year, two years, three years, four years, and today! (click on the pic to take a closer look)
Last Thanksgiving Day, the kittens that belong to these paws, Marigold and Poe Starling, met their future fathers, David and Shawn, at our Holiday Feast.
David and Shawn will be joining us this year, along with a houseful of friends and family to share another meal. We're looking forward it and are scurrying around today to get everything prepared for the event. There's shopping to do, pies to bake, cleaning, crafting -- the list goes on and on!
And while we're checking things off of the list, in the back of my mind, I'm thinking about all that we have to be thankful for this Season.
You all are at the top this list. Thank you for being patient and supportive while we've been wading through all that happened this year. Your kindness and love helped us tremendously. We appreciate you so much.
Have a lovely Thanksgiving, dear ones. We hope you're spending tomorrow with a table full of good food and love. We hope you're happy, healthy, and feeling peace. We wish the same for your critters and loved ones, too.
We always joke that you can set your watch to Charlene's daily drop in the box but about two weeks ago, things changed, and she's been experiencing a stretch diarrhea. We took her to the vet, and we put her on Metronidazole, hoping that would clear things up. It hasn't yet, so we've started another round of it. She also got a B-12 shot, and she's on a probiotic, too. Doc found bacteria in her fecal sample, and we're hoping that's what causing diarrhea and the antibiotics will clear it up soon. Her blood work looked really good.
You can tell she isn't feeling great. Bean's hyperesthesia kicks in when she's uncomfortable at all, and I think the irritation caused by 12 days of diarrhea is making her twitchy and anxious. She's been over-grooming and will wake from a deep nap to spontaneously clean herself. We've temporarily boosted her Gabapentin which helps with her hyperesthesia and plugged in an extra Feliway to calm her. Without kittens to care for, I'm able to dedicate a lot of time to her comfort and well-being, so I do what I can to ease her when she's having an episode.
Though she's not feeling her best, she does have happy moments. She's been enjoying the sunshine, the furnace, and all the entertainment that fall brings -- like bustling squirrels and falling leaves.
I hope things return to normal soon -- I hate seeing Charlene stressed out and experiencing discomfort. Please feel better, Bean!
When they first moved in with us, nothing seemed out of the ordinary with Annabel, Rosalita, and Chip. They came to us with a touch of diarrhea -- but that's completely typical for kittens transitioning from liquids to solids. Things are always a little rocky during this stage of kittenhood.
Every time I entered their room, they raced to the cage door, climbed the bars, and screamed their baby cries.
"HOORAY! IT'S YOU! We've been waiting for YOU!" they sang until I opened the door, plucked them off, and put them in my arms. It was always a warm welcome with this crew -- they were very good at making you feel loved.
Each meal they were served a plate of "kitten gruel" -- a mix of KMR (Kitten Milk Replacement) and wet food. They would eat a little on their own but didn't take in enough by themselves to fill their bellies, so they required a little hand-feeding by syringe to top things off. They weren't gaining weight, but they weren't losing weight, which was good.
Their activity level was great -- they scampered and chased each other like kittens of that age should. They played with furry mice and mylar balls. They discovered the joy of scratching cardboard. They made biscuits on their fuzzy blankets and each other. They were a little wobbly at times, but I don't think that was due to weakness, rather, the absence of tails.
For those first few days, everything felt completely fine. There were no worries -- we were just enjoying getting to know these three delights.
But come Monday, things started to shift. Their diarrhea got much worse. Their interest in food became noticeably less -- they would investigate what was served, but only took a bite or two, if that. I began feeding them all of their meals by syringe, but what was going in, just raced through their bodies and none of the calories seemed to be sticking.
I made an appointment with the Foster Department for the next morning and gave everyone a round of Sub-Q fluids that night.
Annabel provided a fresh fecal sample on the blanket in the carrier once we arrived at the shelter Tuesday morning, which tested negative for parasites. We returned with probiotics, more fluids, a nutritional supplement, and a prescription food for GI issues.
We continued with the hand-feeding and fluids, but come Wednesday, everyone was dropping weight, losing energy, feeling frail, and sleeping much more than normal, so we made another appointment and returned to the shelter early Thursday. We came home with a new prescription food, a broad-spectrum dewormer, antibiotics, and instructions to continue with all of the supportive care we've been giving them.
So, we did all of that and worried and waited and hoped for things to get better, but they didn't. Annabel started slipping severely that afternoon. Her breathing was labored, her tiny 8-oz body was limp, so we raced to the shelter before Doc left for the day. There was nothing to be done to save her, so we said our goodbyes.
Because of the symptoms, their age, and the rapid rate of her decline, it was suspected that Panleukopenia might have been the cause of her death, so she was tested for the virus, and an hour later I got a call confirming that she did have it.
Of course, we had been through all of this once before with Wylla's brother, so we knew what our course of action was: clean like crazy and hope the others don't have the virus too.
We put Chip and Rosalita into a carrier while we bleached their cage, removed their linens, toys, dishes, and litter box and replaced them with fresh ones. Once everything was clean, we returned them to their cage, then bleached the floor of the room and all surrounding surfaces.
We fed them, gave them their meds and fluids, then called it a night, though technically, I think it was already morning.
Come Friday, Lita was much weaker, and it was clear by the speed of her decline that the virus had its grip on her. That afternoon we took her to the shelter and said goodbye.
Chip actually seemed to have a little more energy on Friday, and things were looking up for him. With Panleuk, there usually are no ups and downs, just downs and downs, so any sign that things were going up could mean that he didn't have the virus, so I was feeling a little hopeful for him.
I watched him closely. Mostly he slept and would wake up on occasion to toddle over to the litter box, return to bed, then sit, blink a few times, then nap again. He ate his lunch under protest and with clenched jaws, but I did manage to get some food in. But as the day progressed he became weaker, struggled more, and my hope faded.
Around 5:00 PM, I wrapped my favorite kitten blanket around him -- a pale yellow flannel from my own childhood with a print of white, bright-eyed kittens with bows covering it. We had a little conversation and I let him know how special he was, how much he was loved, and how grateful I was to have met him and his sisters. When I was done talking, he let out the few dry sounds that sounded like weak "I'm hungry" cries, so I unwrapped him, set him down, and ran to get a can of kitten food. I offered him a plate of gravy and he ate it on his own --- something I hadn't seen since Monday. When he was through he walked, though a little wobbly, to the cage door, over the edge, up my arm, and onto my shoulder. In his weakened state, I could hardly believe he could manage such a feat.
I called to Craig, and together we marveled at this recent rally. I spent the evening cuddling Chip, then fed him again, gave him fluids, warmed his bed, changed the linens in his cage, scooped the box, and tucked him in at 1:00 AM.
We went to bed feeling hope-filled and had a peaceful night's sleep --- the best sleep I had all week.
I got up at 6:00 AM, opened the door to the kitten room and called his name, fully expecting to hear a bright kitten rustling, then racing to the cage door.
I walked over to the cage, pulled back the sheet I had wrapping the sides, and saw that dear little Chip had left us. His cage was undisturbed -- not a grain of litter moved in the box, no signs he got up in the night. Everything was as tidy as it was when I put him to bed. I think he just went to sleep then drifted away peacefully.
As crushing as it was to find him gone, I am so grateful he gave me that last night. My last memories of him on Earth are good ones.
Here's a video I took during his little "rally" at the end. The photo above was taken right after I put him to bed on his last night.
Chip's Rally - YouTube
We've spent the last week doing some very deep cleaning. The kitten room has been scoured, and we bagged up and took a load of contaminated kittten gear to the dump. Though the kittens were in quarantine, traces of the virus could have been tracked out, so all floors have been scrubbed and bleached in our house.
We're not worried about the girls' -- they are fully vaccinated and healthy. Panleuk gets the vulnerable ones, like our Waddells, who were no longer receiving antibodies from mom's milk and too tiny for their first round of vaccines.
All of this has been a lot to process. It happened very fast -- we lost three kittens in less than 36 hours. It had been a hard week leading up to that too, so I was feeling pretty raw, stressed, and sleep-deprived --- which isn't the best state to start wading through something like this.
Craig has been amazingly understanding and sweet. The girls, though I don't think they understand what happened, know something is askew and have been extra-loving and are always close by.
I'm still sorting through a lot of stuff in my head and figuring out what's to come, so I'm not holding myself to any blogging or social media schedule right now. My plan, for now, is to just post when I feel like sharing.
I know this blog is normally a bright spot and escape for you. I'm sorry, especially during these really hard times that our country is going through, that I can't offer that place for you right now.
I appreciate your understanding and patience during this time. I also appreciate your love, support, sweet notes, many comments, and kind words.
I know this is your loss too and we all have some grieving to do. We'll get through this.
Please say hello to little Rosalita Waddell. She prefers that you call her Lita. (Lee-tah Wah-dell) She's just a Lita bitty thing -- none of our Waddells even weigh a pound yet.
She's the only Waddell with much of a tail. It's just a hair shorter than average, and there's a little kink in it. I supposed if it were completely straight, it might be of normal length. This post was supposed to be just HER post, but Chip had other ideas. WE LOOK SO CUTE TOGETHER, Don't We? Lita, let's pose together??
Well, he's right. They do. Good god, the cute!
This completes our introductions -- you've met the entire Waddell family. Are they your favorites? It does seem there's a bit of a buzz about this crew!
It's crazy to think that we've been doing this for ten years now! I started this all on a whim and never expected it would grow to what it is today.
We wouldn't be still doing this without you -- you keep us going. Thank you for all of the love and support, the sweet words and comments, the kind emails, the donations to our fundraiser, the follows, the shares, the likes, and just for showing up here each day.
Most of all, thank you for keeping this place safe, positive, snark-free and feel-good. You are the nicest people on the internet. Seriously, you are.
Ten years is a mighty long time, and I'm proud that we're still here. In this time we've hosted 229 kittens -- that's 57 litters total. We've found homes for kittens 222, sadly, lost three babies, sent three to a rescue to treat their ringworm, and kept one.
We've shared 3,746 blog posts, taken over 500,000 photos, used 4.75 tons (yes tons) of kitty litter, had 15 million visits to our blog, and raised $895,366.17 for homeless cats and kittens.
To celebrate our ten-year blogiversasry, I thought it might be fun to share a picture of every single litter we've hosted, so here they are, in the order that we met them. I do get a little teary seeing all of these babies on one page. I struggle to remember the names of each, but all still hold a place in my heart.
How lucky we are having spent a little time with each of these fabulous creatures.
The Orignal IBKC.
The VonTrouts / The Hopps
The Mayfields (Bernadette not pictured)
The Livermore Four
The Labath Ladies
The Darling Darlings
The Fortunato Five
The Finch Brothers
The Suprenant Sisters The Furman Five
The Lively Bunch
The McGillicuddy Girls
The Trimble Tabby Trio
Effie Brisker and Hazel Swift
The Von Tussles
The Hollis Girls
The Patmore Four
The Framboise Family
The Starlings (and Wylla!)
The Fishkin Twins
The Five Fellows
Thank you for a remarkle ten years. Thank you for being here.
Kenneth is a friend of one of my dearest friends, Katy. He had mentioned to her that he was looking to find a friend for Precious, his two-year-old kitty, and Katy immediately directed him my way.
His visit overlapped with Nick's adoption appointment and while I was going through the paperwork with Esther, Nick's mom, Kenneth sat down on the couch with the kittens. He quickly went from "How can I ever pick one?" to "I'm in love with Fancy." It really happened in a matter of seconds.
That sweet little face.
How could he not fall in love with that sweet little face?
Fancy and her siblings had been fixed earlier in the week. She was healing nicely and ready to go, so I sat down with Kenneth, and we did the adoption.
We said our goodbyes, Fancy got tucked into her kitty carrier, and off they went.
OH, and get this: Kenneth had prepared a playlist on Spotify just for their car ride home together -- that's the kind of thoughtful cat dad he is. He wanted his kitten to have the perfect soundtrack for the ride home.
We're so lucky this steady stream of amazing cat adopters keeps flowing our way!
Thank you, Kenneth, for adopting our dear Fancy. We are so happy for you both!