Wednesday, 10 August 2011
Well, it's been a rough day all right. A rough few, actually.
I've been so worried about stupid things and not so stupid things lately that my sleep has been broken every night. This leaves me tired, crabby and generally pretty miserable. Last night those worries were added to.
Tia has always been a great producer of milk. If a kitten so much as thinks about suckling, she goes off like a fountain. now that they're weaning, however, this is causing a problem. They still suckle, which means that she is making oodles of milk. However, because they don't suckle that often, the milk she creates has nowhere to go. Yesterday afternoon I noticed that one of her glands was very swolen. There was a lot of milk there just waiting to be guzzled. I didn't worry. Normally it goes down when she feeds kittens. The problem was though that no matter how much I tried, I couldn't get any kitten to feed from that particular nipple. I went to bed with it on my mind, and woke up this morning to find that the gland was now massive. I couldn't express any milk from it, so I called the vet and took her up there.
My calling it was just right, for poor Tia apparently has mastitis. In typical me fashion though, it's not straightforward. While the gland is swolen, it's not hot to the touch which is typical of mastitis. Usually this stops milk flow, but they were able to express some of Tia's milk, so again, that's a bit strange. however, it could have been to do with the hot compresses I'd put on her before leaving the house. They put her on antibiotics as she had a slightly raised temperature too, and she's not allowed to suckle the kittens at all. Milk is produced on demand, so no demand should help it go away more quickly.
I've also drastically cut her food and water intake today as I'm told that can help to dry up the milk too. So far I haven't seen a reduction in the swelling though, but perhaps I'm looking at it too often and not noticing the changes. She's been as miserable as sin all day though, and it's really upsetting to see. She'll come begging for food, howling her little heart out, following me to the kitchen, to the kitten pen, climbing on my knee and crying, crying, crying. I've tried to spend most of the day out of the house. I'm too soft, and I hate to see any of my animals upset. I knew it was time to get out and do something when I caught myself getting teary as she went to her food bowl, licked the empty bottom, then came back and pawed at my leg. I'm useless! I'm not sure it's working though, so may give in tomorrow and let her eat as normal. I've asked some other breeders for advice, so we'll see what comes of that.
Of course, because kittens aren't allowed to suckle and she's not allowed any of their food, they've had to be kept mostly separate. They scream for her about three times a day which doesn't sound like a lot, but believe me, it's terrible. They are almost inconsolable during these periods, no matter what I do. They all climb the bars towards her and she cries at them from the other side. That set me off today too! I've had them out and running around in the living room so that they can have a cuddle with her, but the only problem is that when they do, their overwhelming urge is to feed. It's security for them, and it's terrible to have to pull them off and force separation again when they do it. I really wish that one of them would get so desperate that they would drain this full gland for me. I'd let them suckle if they'd only do that. They're too young to be stopped completely, but what else can I do!
They got their pedigree names yesterday, as I registered them with the GCCF. The Baby is now Moonspun Isn't She Lovely, Porker is Moonspun Mercutio (he's going to someone who studied English lit at university and Mercutio is my favourite Shakespeare character so I thought it appropriate on many levels), and Hamster is Moonspun Red Hot Gossip as he's a red point kitten. I quite like the names myself!
Perhaps unsurprisingly, pictures haven't been taken today. Nobody was in the mood. The kittens were even subdued during their last play session of the evening, and it's not like them! Hopefully people will be happier tomorrow. until then. Oh, and if any of you have any advice on mastitis, I'd love to hear it.