We've got a lot to cover in this post, so I'll keep it as concise as possible. And also, pictures of the kittens to help break it up a bit!
We have a whole bunch of business to cover first, before we get to talk about the kittens.
First off, we have a Twitter now. We tweet things at you, and you tweet back, and it's pretty wonderful. Please follow us on Twitter, because that's the first place we announce things now, and also post bonus spontaneous photos. And also just interact. Our twitter handle is @kitten_academy.
Advertising: We tried it. I don't think it is really worthwhile. Ads are annoying, and if our reports from Google are to be believed, then what we're seeing is about $3.50 for about 40,000 views -- that's one day's worth of activity. The way I see it, if Google showed up at my front door and said "Hey, there's 40,000 people outside, and I'll pay you to go out there and annoy them for 30 seconds. I'll pay you $3.50," I would definitely not take that deal. So why should I take it here?
Perhaps we'll revisit that decision someday. For now, it doesn't make sense. We will be turning off the ads. We already turned them off for the live stream.
Donations: We set up a donation page here to see how it would go. And it went surprisingly well! Not everyone wants to or can use the methods on our donation page as it stands, so we're planning on adding a PayPal option soon, and also Patreon. Frankly, I'm pretty excited about Patreon. It's a place where you can sign up to pledge a certain amount of money every month -- and what's cooler is that we can offer some rewards to you if you do; things like early access to certain videos, or a private live stream up close with the kittens -- of course if we do that, we'd publish it for everyone... afterwards. I think it's a great option, and it's coming very soon!
Already, so many of you have been spectacularly generous. I honestly do not know how to thank you for your help. I talked a little about how much taking care of these kittens costs us in my previous post here. Even with your amazing contributions, we're not breaking even -- but we never expected to, either. We're in this and will support these kittens no matter what. But your help makes it easier. I'd like to take a minute to shout out to our donators so far by name. I don't want to "dox" anyone, so I'll just go by first name and country:
- Marius, from Germany
- Christophe, from France
- Tatiana, from Russia
- Sara, from Germany
- Sandra, from the United States
- Adele, from the United Kingdom
- Joanne, from the United States
- Kayla, from the United States
I'm not sure whether I should be calling out individual contribution amounts. Every bit helps! You've all been generous beyond what we could expect. You are heroes to us and you are heroes to kittens. You are heroes to Toffee. And you're wonderful people, who must sleep very well at night, knowing you have made the world a better place.
Chat on our Live Stream: A lot of you really liked this, and I did too. But it was getting more and more impossible to police, and keep relevant and family-friendly. We're going to try bringing it back, but with a very extensive list of banned words. We'll see whether we can make it work. When we're ready to turn it on again for this experiment, we'll announce it via Twitter first.
Now, on to the kittens!
Toffee, Cobbler, Custard, and Shortcake are all more than big enough to graduate and be adopted. However, they've had diarrhea since day one that so far, we've not been able to stop, despite numerous efforts. We've tried various foods, including Hill's ID -- prescription food for cats with digestion issues. We've tried antibiotics. We've tried probiotics. (Do antibiotics and probiotics cancel out?!) We've had numerous dewormings - with three different dewormers. We've had a bunch of vet visits, and a more than a few fecal exams. We even had an X-ray. So, their graduation has been delayed until we can see them having good poops. Next up is a fecal culture, a more extensive sort of fecal test that takes lots of poop, and several days of lab work. It's not cheap like a regular fecal exam. We dropped off the lots of poop for that today, and we expect the results early next week.
Despite the diarrhea, they all seem to be in great spirits, active, and gaining weight. So overall, we're not too concerned about their health.
The newer crew, Nutmeg, Clove, Poppy, Tamarind, and Fennel are mostly well and active. We think they might all have a minor eye infection, we're treating for that. Fennel, however, has shown a steep decline the last couple days, in weight and in activity. We're not sure why, yet, but we're feeding her on a special mix of pumpkin, chicken baby food, and KMR powder until she can go to the vet -- which is scheduled for today at 15:30. She loves the special food so much... she might not want to get well!
I'd like to share our kitten weight data with you. You don't need to be interested in this, but for people who are, it gets updated nearly every day. All the weights we keep right now are in ounces. You can find the entire spreadsheet by clicking here. Please note that each 'class' is on a separate tab, with graphs on the last tabs.
Finally, if you've read this far, you should know that we've had an awful lot of people tell us on the chat, on Twitter, and via emails that we should make Toffee a permanent member of the Kitten Academy faculty. If you think so too, Tweet us with the hashtag #professortoffee