Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Luchito's Life So Far

Luchito's story begins with his Mama.  That would be Kitty Baby who arrived at our house about a year ago when she was just a tiny kitten herself.  I had been out on the island for the week with a team and when I came home she had claimed our home as her own.  Unfortunately, Kitty Baby gave new meaning to the term "Scaredy Cat" as she wouldn't let anyone near her for many months.  She didn't want to be near us but she didn't want to leave us either.   Even to this day, she will just barely let us pet her...but always on her terms.

Last Fall Kitty Baby started looking she was pregnant, but I wasn't sure.  I went away for a few days in October and when I got home she didn't look fat anymore so I thought it had just been my imagination.  Not too long after that we started to notice that Kitty Baby would climb up and into the roof of our next door neighbors.  It was a funny sight to see her squeeze herself into the hole between the roof tiles until all we could see were her little hind legs kicking until she finally slipped all the way in.  We still didn't think much of it since she has always been a loner, we just figured she had a new hang-out.  Until one day we got a call from our neighbor telling us he could hear a baby kitten up in his roof.  All of the sudden it all began to sink in...Kitty Baby HAD BEEN pregnant and had given birth in our neighbors roof while I was away in October.
That brings us to Smokey.  Since Smokey spent the first month and a half or so of his life in the roof, he wasn't too keen on us humans the day his mom brought him down to meet us.  Unfortunately Jorge and I were leaving for vacation to Mexico the next day so we didnt' have much of a chance to make friends.  Smokey is still around and while he's not exactly a people kitty...he has warmed up to us more than his mom and will let us pick him up if need be.

So to make a long story short, Kitty Baby got pregnant again.  I know, all you critics out there are thinking, why didn't I get her fixed?!  I do have a few excuses I could offer but I won't since you would probably only tell me that I was just making excuses!  :)

This time she had 5 kittens...on March 5th.  Here they are when they were 3 days old. 
From left to right: Tiger, Ping, Panda, Lola and Luchito

I just had to throw this one in this pitiful or what?!  Smokey joining in with his new siblings for some breakfast!  And Kitty Baby thinking, "Lord, have mercy!"

Here is Luchito on the left and Ping on the right at 6 days old.  As you can see Luchito is normal and thriving.

 Luchito (far left) is the same size has all his brothers and sisters but something happened while Jorge and I went away for our anniversary.  When we got home four days later Luchito was in big trouble!!  We assume that somehow he had not been able to get enough food, fighting for nursing time with all the others, so he started to go downhill fast.  When we returned he was totally limp, couldn't hold his head up or move his limbs and when I held him up to his mom to nurse he wouldn't even open his mouth to grab on.

So, we started to feed him with a syringe and the following days he just seemed to be hanging on by a thread.  Every moment I expected to find him dead.  I started investigating on the internet to figure out how to help him but I wasn't feeling very hopeful.

I read that mamma kitties will sit on their sick babies to smother them to death to put them out of their misery.  One day when I went in to check on Luchito I couldn't find him!  I counted 4 kittens...I looked at Kitty Baby and demanded, "Where is he??!" and she just looked at me with a blank stare!  I slipped my hand underneath her and sure enough, she was sitting on him!

So again, to make a long story short, I was able to get him to the vet on monday to get some good advice on what to do and buy some needed supplies and now I am trying my best to nurse Luchito back to health and have been bottle feeding him every 3 hours for the last 4 days.  He has had many set-backs and I honestly was convinced he was going to die but no matter what happened he kept hanging on to life!  He was fighting so hard to stay alive that I was amazed and perplexed!  He even survived his own mom trying to smother him to death!  That is why I named him Lucho.  Lucho is a nickname in spanish for men named Luis but it also is a word that mean to fight, struggle and wrestle! 

 One thing the vet pointed out to me was that Luchito was not showing any respose to pain or any movement in his hind legs and while his front legs were limp and weak, he did at least respond to pain.  So I watched him the next few days and was sure that he was a paraplegic, possibly from damage done from when his mom sat on him. 

But today has been a very good day!  He's had lots of "firsts"... signs that he is improving like:
big, open, alert eyes
wiggling his ears
faint purring
licking/grooming his paw
AND... moving his hind legs!!!!!

Luchito on the right and his sister, Lola, on the left.  Poor Luchito is still limp and can't support the weight of his own body...even his own head...but his eyes are alert and his ears are perked!

 Lola is a little chunk and Luchito is about 1/2 the size of what he should be.

I'm thankful for his progress so far and that when I wanted to give up, Jorge urged me to keep fighting to save Luchito. 

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