Kittens and Parvo and Snakebite, Oh My!

Two days ago a woman who feeds a colony of feral cats here in my little town called me.  She had just picked up 4 kittens that appeared at her colony, and they appeared to be about 6 weeks old.  She asked me, “What’s the best thing to do with them?” 

Like I know something.

I told her that I’d come by and look at them at lunchtime, and in the meantime, I’d give it some thought. 

What to do with them depends on their age, size, and condition.  If their health is compromised, they perhaps need more care than I can provide, like the two kittens from the old house where the man committed suicide.  If they are weak, or underdeveloped, and cannot eat by themselves, they need to be bottle fed.  I knew that I couldn’t keep them inside the RV with me because of Alice, the feline-leukemia-positive cat – they would end up with the disease and would be unadoptable, especially in this part of the country where cats are commonplace – why adopt a compromised cat when you can adopt a healthy one.  At any rate, I knew I’d figure something out.

I had lunch with Sugar and then we went to the kittenhouse.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Four angry little hissing, spitting machines were in the crate.  I took them, and called the shelter to see if they were full of kittens because, after all, it is kitten season.  They said they would take them.  I said that I wanted to know if they were full, because these kittens needed handling to bring them around.  They said they would take them.  I said if they put them in quarantine and no one handles them, the kittens’s disposition will not improve.  They said they would take them. 

Here’s my issue:  if they take them, because they have to since they were picked up in this county, the kittens have to go to quarantine, then be tested for feline leukemia.  If they test positive, they are euthanized.  While they are in quarantine, it is quite likely that they will not get the handling they need for socialization to humans. 

So I’ll keep them in an enormous guinea pig enclosure in the shed.  Every day I’ll take two in a crate with me to work, and I’ll handle them throughout the day.  They’ll have food and water, they’ll hear everyday noises, and they’ll be accustomed to people. 

Sugar had the next day off, and we went to lunch again, and sat at the outdoor seating at the Mexican restaurant.  The kittens went with us.

So young that their eyes have not turned yet. The blue eyes are not permanent.


At home in the guinea pig cage in the shed. The cage is enormous, big enough for a litter box, a bed, and several bowls.Three girls and one boy.

Today we had a report of a parvo case coming in.  The owners were asked to leave the puppy in the vehicle.  Parvo is so contagious that a person can carry the virus in on the soles of their shoes, so just imagine what a puppy emitting bloody diarrhea could transmit.  Any time we get a dog or puppy on the table in the exam room, and it turns out to be parvo, we have to use bleach everywhere in the entire office.  This particular puppy, a young Rottweiler, lay near lifeless on the tailgate of the truck.  The dog had been sick for 4 days, and the owners were actually from a neighboring county, where they reported that one vet they went to there said that he sees about 3 parvo cases every day.  Parvo is running rampant in that county.  The owner said he was an EMT and had been giving intravenous fluids, but he didn’t know how the puppy had gotten parvo because he had a new house, and that parvo could only live for one year.  I disagreed with his statement about only living for one year in the environment, but, at that point, it hardly mattered how the dog had gotten it.  We’ll know more in two days if he makes it.  (Edited on 5/12/11:  the pup died 30 minutes after they got him home.  If your pup is not eating, don’t wait – seek medical help!)

Then, the snakebite case arrived, and they brought the dead snake with them.  That was a first.

I fished Mr. Copperhead out of the trashcan for this visual record. The floor tiles are the 12" kind, so he looks to be about 18" long.

My grandmother Packett declared that the only good snake was a dead snake. Any snake in her yard was fair game for her hoe. I could almost feel sorry for any snake facing a serious little formerly-red-haired hoe-wielding Irish woman. Almost.


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One Response to “Kittens and Parvo and Snakebite, Oh My!”

  1. Becky Says:

    How about some catnip with your chips and salsa? 🙂


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