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25
TulsaPets
March/April 2014
its mouth. If you are lucky, they will
respond by licking. These did not.
The watch began. For 48 hours, I
got little sleep (cat naps) as I tried
repeatedly to feed them. We must
realize that mama cat is normally
always available so that kittens can
nurse at will as they wake up and
then quickly fall back asleep. Sadly,
the first two kittens did not respond
and died within a few hours.
Step four: feed and monitor care-
fully. As the kittens respond to
feeding, they must also be stimulated
to defecate and urinate. Mama cat
does this with her tongue; we use a
soft tissue or wet cloth. At the age of
one week, the dirty white one was
responding well, while his tuxedo
sister was struggling.
However, he was the ugliest kitten
I had ever seen! He was the color of
a dirty sweat sock with no distinctive
markings—like a dapple gray horse,
only he was a “dapple tan” kitten...
or maybe a dirty little mouse.
Two weeks later: eyes began to
open. The ugly kitten's eyes did
open, but his sister's eyes did not.
In spite of additional expert care
and supplemental nutrition from a
veterinarian, the female kitten died.
Unfortunately, this is the disap-
pointing reality of neonatal care, but
it hurts nonetheless, and we cry with
each loss.
But how we relish success!
Although I was still losing sleep,
and feeding him every three hours,
the ugly duckling was thriving. He
was a survivor! And he now had
a name. My husband began to call
him “Dirty Dingus,” after a movie
character from many years ago
named Dirty Dingus Magee played by
Frank Sinatra. Dingus slept happily.
By the age of three weeks, Dingus
was “out of the woods,” but at this
time we had a previously plan-
ned vacation, and he still needed
special care. Fortunately, my
fellow rescuer Gail graciously
helped. She was fostering orphan
squirrels, so a kitten would just add
to her menagerie.
And of course, Gail spoiled Dingus,
giving him a new Teddy Pug to cuddle
with. She sent me pictures through-
out the week, as he began
to develop color. At first, the
ears and tail were darker.
Was he a Siamese? By the
age of one month, Dingus
was a most unusual taupe
color, and stripes began to
appear. Was he a Tabby?
As the weeks passed, he
became more beautiful. He
developed not only stripes,
but also swirls on his sides like a
Bulls-Eye Tabby. He retained the blue
eyes of a Siamese, and in some light
appears gray, while in other light is
definitely taupe. True to the
children's story, Dingus is
an ugly duckling no more,
but a beautiful swan.
And now at 4 months
old, a cover boy for
TulsaPets!