We were given a gorgeous kitten by my friend Felicia. He’s fudge coloured with toffee coloured stripes and dots on his tummy. We call him Harry.
He was ill last week. He went from well to unwell over night. He looked as though he’d lost a third of his bodyweight in a day and was listless.
His coat was sticking up and he wasn’t eating or drinking.
We thought, oh no, not another death. I decided to use the power of the internet and sent a message to a facebook friend who is a nurse at a veterinary clinic in Australia.
In her expert opinion, it was feline enteritis, or feline Parvo virus. Not good.
The internet helped again – with an excellent Australian site about cats and also trusty About.com.
The key, according to these sites, is hydration and care. Keeping Harry hydrated and also keeping his spirits up was the thing to do. There is no treatment, except hydration and hygiene and so this is what we did.
I read a little more and discovered that Lucky, our 15 year old cat was very unlikely to contract the virus, as he’d been vaccinated for years. According to a vet’s blog, his practice had never seen an old cat with Parvo and he reckoned that the vaccine would be good for at least 7 years and Lucky’s been vaccinated every year. Well, every year until we arrived here.
At Lucky’s last vaccination session for his pet passport, the vet didn’t think he needed any more boosters and as he’s not sexually active (not having the bits needed for this anymore) his risk of leukaemia is low.
We decided to keep Harry hydrated with a little rehydration mix (salt, sugar, water) every hour day and night.
There are some symptoms that you don’t want to see in a case of feline enteritis. Shaking, involuntary cries when passing urine or faeces and oddly, low mood. We’d already lost one cat this year, to what I thought was tetanus, but it may have been Parvo.
We looked after a very cute kitten for some friends and he died about four days after he went home. Leukaemia is rife and this tends to hasten the decline.
We knew that Harry didn’t have leukaemia, as he came from a village where this hadn’t gone through the cat population. So it was up to us.
My husband stayed up with Harry all night and I took over the next day, but he was looking much better by then.
He has recovered well – but has ataxia – which is a nerve conduction problem and his back legs don’t work as well as they should. He falls over a lot and wobbles when balancing – climbing into his litter tray is difficult and indeed, climbing up things is quite an effort.
I’m hoping that he’ll improve over time and that he’ll live as long as Lucky. He’s very, very cute and knows it.
Outside in the garden, in the chicken run, there is great excitement – tinged with respect.
We’ve had a broody hen, so we decided to mark some eggs and let her sit. After a bit of research, we discovered that it would take 21 days, if they were fertile eggs.
We’d been given a cockerel – which was disparagingly called ‘ a capon’ by Mari-Carmen, who’d owned him previously.
I was glad to inform her that her capon was a gallo after all. Hens are gallinas. Cockerels are gallos. In Gallego, hens are Pitas and cockerels, Polos. Chicks are Pollitos or Pollitas.
The chicken that sat on the eggs is quite likely to be very high in the pecking order. She is being treated with great respect by the other hens and is left alone to show her cute little chicks where the best foods are.
Surprisingly, the neighbours are quite excited. When the chicks feel threatened, they jump onto her back and sit there cheeping. She is, without a doubt, smug. And why not.