It’s been more than four months since Inari passed. I still get comments on the blog post from my blog readers, and they fill my with all sorts of emotions. I know I haven’t been really active on responding, but whenever I try leaving my response it brings me to tears. Not all sad tears but I still miss her dearly.
But today I have happy news. (Warning: A lot of photos ahead!)
Inari’s birthday was May 18th, and on her birthday, there were four of us living together, remembering her. Derek, me, and two new furry family members. Yes, we welcomed two kittens into our family!
Actually we adopted them on April 7th, which was about 2 and a half months ago. I didn’t share this bundle of joy on my blog or Twitter or FB right away because to be honest, I wasn’t sure if they’d make it. When we got them, they were probably around 3 weeks old. They were about the size of my cellphone and only 13 oz each!
Usually kittens are not even supposed to be separated from their mom until they’re about 8 weeks old. During that time, they drink their mom’s milk, and their mom will help them pee and poop until they learn how to use cat litter.
In this case, their mom cat was not able to take care of these two little boys anymore. Their ears weren’t even standing up, and they could kind of crawl but couldn’t walk. They had to be bottle-fed special formula for kittens every 4 hours and we had to massage their “boy parts” to make them go to the bathroom after every time they ate. We knew it wouldn’t be easy but we were ready.
We both wanted kittens named after food we like, because that was how I named my beloved kitty, Inari (as in Inari zushi). So the list was basically a list of our favorite foods, mainly Japanese food.
We narrowed it down to a couple of names of sushi to follow the “sushi names” trend Inari started. Looking at the list of names, Ubi (sea urchin) and Ebi (shrimp) would sound best for kitten twins.
The past two and a half months were hectic but awesome. Their first bath (they were flea ridden!) on the day they arrived, the first visit to the vet the day after we got them, potty training while making sure they were gaining weight everyday, etc… and not to mention bottle-feeding & slowly introducing solid food to them.
They were both constipated the first several weeks, so we had to “help” them poop a several times with a technique called the “Triangle Method.”
From here on, I’ll talk about kitten poop. So scroll down to the cute kitten pictures if you don’t want to be grossed out.
We first learned about the “Triangle Method” on the internet while desperately searching for ways to help our kittens poop. We tried a couple of other tricks (mixing vegetable oil in the formula, etc…) but it just didn’t work and we were getting worried.
The strange thing was that we couldn’t find anyone who explained how to actually do this “Triangle Method.” Everything we read said something like “I tried the Triangle Method on my kitten and it worked!” Or “The Triangle Method saved my kitten’s life!” It almost sounded like it was some kind of shady infomercial you see on the TV at 2 in the morning.
We even found a video of a lady having the vet perform the Triangle Method on her kitten. But all we could see was the vet massaging the butt area with her fingers, so we couldn’t see how exactly the Triangle Method was performed. We even called the vet but the assistant didn’t know about the Triangle Method and she just told us to stimulate the butt.
Since it’s called the “Triangle” Method, we figured that it was probably three fingers forming a triangle with the butt hole in the center. After no poop from Uni for 3 days, we had to try it. Derek wet his fingers with warm water, and started massaging. Soon after, Derek said “Oh! I feel poop!” And there it was, a really long poop came out! We were never this ecstatic about poop EVER. We quickly put a sample into a container we got from the vet for testing and we rejoiced.
Let me explain this “Triangle Method” in more detail. You probably think “but how would your fingers go around there?” The cat’s legs and tail are right around their butt hole!” At least that’s what I thought. It didn’t make sense to me. But stimulating their butt hole makes the kitten start pushing the poop out. It’s almost like you can feel the skin around the butt hole stretching as the poop is being pushed out. Then you feel that you’re gently massaging and “navigating” the poop outward with three fingers. I used the “Triangle Method” on them a couple times, and I was really able to “feel” the poop. It was cool.
Anyway, the mystery of the Triangle Method has been lifted. We were so amazed that no one really described how it was done. (At least from what we could find.) Derek even did a comic about it.
They grew bigger and bigger every day. Soon they were jumping/hopping around everywhere playing with everything they could see or couldn’t see (yup, invisible toys everywhere!)
We kept both them in the same playpen at first, but unlike Uni who was pretty much potty trained, Ebi was still learning and would still prefer a pan with newspaper instead of the litter. We thought Ebi would learn from Uni but looked like having two litter pans, one with litter and one with newspaper, was confusing to him. So we got another playpen.
We made sure that each had a comfy bed, water, and plenty of toys. They were still playing together (they’d climb the playpen to visit each other!) but when they looked like they had to use the bathroom, we’d place them in each playpen. Our persistence & efforts paid off in the end, and both were potty trained within a week!
One month after we got them, they were allowed to go outside the playpen to explore their home for the first time.
Do you know what kittens are good at? Getting in trouble.
One day in the middle of May, I was leaving for a business trip to Japan, Uni had a tumble when trying to jump on our coffee table and hurt his feet somehow. He seemed fine but I noticed his foot was bleeding. It was Sunday and we had to pay the very first (hope it’ll be the last) visit to the ER. We waited for a while but the ER was busy that day, so Derek took me to the airport and he emailed me this photo the next day.
He said that according to the X-ray, he may have had a fracture or a broken bone and they put a HUGE splint on his leg. Derek said that Uni was totally fine, walking and jumping around like nothing had happened.
A few days later, Derek took Uni to our regular vet to change the splint.
After I came back from Japan, we took Uni to the vet, and they took off his splint. We were a bit worried but after licking the leg for a day or two, he was totally fine. Phew.
They’re almost 4 lbs now! In 2 and a half months they’ve quadrupled in size!
I’m a cat person. I had Inari for almost 18 years, and at one point I had four cats at once. All of my cats were adopted when they were tiny kittens. Derek’s first cat was Inari and she was 12~13 years old when Derek and I started going out so she was already pretty mellow. So Uni and Ebi are Derek’s very first kittens. I’ve warned him that with kittens you’d feel like you could “die of cuteness,” and I think he truly understands that now. The joy on his face every time he looks at Uni and Ebi is like nothing I’ve ever seen. He’s never even shown that face to me!
I won’t lie. When we got them, we were a bit more scared than happy, but now we’re just truly happy that Uni and Ebi are part of our family!
The photos here are taken on Derek’s camera. And I have TONS of photos on my cellphone which aren’t on my flickr yet. I’m taking photos of them constantly so I need to sort them out… I’ll probably tweet them little by little and have update blog posts about Uni & Ebi featuring the photos from my cellphone every now and then.