By Jennifer Hart, president of Furry Friends
As many of you know, the Cowlitz kittens are 10 babies that we rescued from a hoarding situation. They were almost dead and have required a lot of time, money and attention. On Sunday August 19 I was lucky enough to help Dena Hugh, their foster mom, bathe all 10 of the Cowlitz kittens. We took these kittens in on June 2nd and shortly thereafter started their ring worm baths in lieu of medication since they were so small and sick. So here is how bath time went.
First we had to gather everything we would need before going into the quarantine area of Dena’s house which included towels, gowns, booties, and clean food/water dishes. Everything else was already either in the bathroom or the cat room.
After putting on the booties and the gown we started with a nail trim – 10 kittens x 4 paws x 5 toes equals 200 individual nails! This was mostly for our benefit as the bigger they get the harder it is to bathe them even though this was about bath #10 and you would think they were used to it by now or at least resigned to it!
The kittens are in the catroom and the bathroom with its bath rub is down the hall. Even moving the kittens from the catroom to the bathroom has to be managed properly, you can’t just chase them down the hall and into the bathroom. Dena used 3 carriers to move them into the bathroom and 3 more sanitized carries to put them into after the bath.
So Dena and I and the 10 kittens are all in the bathroom. No it is not a big luxurious master bathroom, just an ordinary sized room. Leaning over the bathtub she dipped each kitten into a tub of water to get them wet and I lathered them up trying to get their arm pits, bellies, tail, cheeks, between their toes and everywhere that that nasty ringworm fungus could be hiding. Then we set them out on the floor to sit with the medicated shampoo for 10 minutes and moved on to the next kitten until all 10 have been dipped and lathered and medicated for 10 minutes. They didn’t mind the lathering part I tried to make it like a full body massage, but cats don’t like water much so Dena had the worse job and she was soaked.
After 10 minutes she started rinsing and I dried. The kittens went into the three sanitized carriers in the hallway with a heating pad while she cleaned the kitten room and I just handed her whatever she needed next. And then the little darlings where transported back into their clean room. Where we towel dried them some more and gave them some love.
Besides these 10 Cowlitz kittens Dena permanently fosters two other FF cats with heart conditions, Minnie and Oliver. And she has 5 of her own cats. It is imperative that she not spread this to Minnie or Oliver or her personal cats.
Dealing with a quarantine organism makes you think totally different about what you touch, where you walk, how you keep everything sanitized. The shop vacuum, mop, dust pan, broom and cleaning supplies all stay in the cat room. Toys are soaked in bleach water or laundered in hot water and bleach. She doesn’t take anything into the cat room without knowing if it can be sanitized. I was so impressed with Dena’s thoroughness, caution, cleanliness and dedication to these kittens.
This has been a huge lesson for Furry Friends that we are not set up for such a huge undertaking, and without Dena we couldn’t have done it. Our hearts were much bigger than our expertise and experience. But I will tell you these kittens are absolutely adorable and all are growing and thriving, even though the ringworm is being very stubborn. Bumble was the most memorable, annoying and energetic. He was right there every minute during everyone’s nail trims nipping at my toes and ankles, playing with the strings on my gown, biting at my gown, stretching up my leg. Bean was also right there but was much more polite then his brother.