It's been a draining few days. Seems like the dam burst on health problems for the cats...and not just mine, but foster cats and kittens and our Director's own cats. I find it tough to remind myself that it can always be so much worse. To just go with the flow, do the best I can to deal with situations and understand that in the realm of problems we could have, knock wood, this is nothing.
Or does it count that once again Dr. Larry prescribed a med that's only for dogs but that is fine to use on cats, too? Does it count that within 12 hours of Gracie getting this crap, Temaril-P she was VOMITING and there clearly was BLOOD in it? That it didn't stop for 48 hrs. Of course this has to happen over a friggen' holiday weekend, so I'm limited to waiting it out or getting her to an ER Vet for a shot of Reglan.
One bit of kibble and no pasta sauce, that's bloody vomit. Pretty, right?
Gracie's been vomiting little fur balls, bloody mucus, food. Then she'll go about 12-16 hours and be fine. She's stable right now so I'm still hoping to wait until tomorrow to get her to the Vet. She's been in good spirits, eating and bugging me-all normal.
So it's fine, except that what the you-know-what is in this stuff that made her vomit BLOOD? This poor cat has been through Hell and back. The last thing I need is to add a complication to her treatment and here we are hurting her-and who will pay for her shot, her IV that I'm guessing she may need? Who can't get a refund on meds that my cat's allergic/badly reacting to? This sucks.
Add to this, the fun with fleas, the ear mites, the chin acne that poor Huggy Bear has from being fed out of plastic bowls when she was on death row, her sutures almost blowing out...that Nicky has to be pilled daily because his colon is blocking up and it could kill him and it starts to feel crazy
Then I find out that Andie's adopter, who had good references, or so I was told, decided it wasn't working out and that Andie had to go! This is after FIVE DAYS. FIVE. This woman is a flake. She insisted on coming over to my home to beat everyone else out on adopting Andie. I made accommodations for her to make it happen. While she was here, her kids were going back and forth. They clearly liked Shamus, but the cat was for HER, not her kids. That already was weird to me. She didn't even spend much time with Andie and based her choice on looks. I should have stopped her.
Four days later I get an email saying it's not working out. That their resident cat who was semi feral didn't like Andie and was VERY upset. I asked her if she introduced the cats PROPERLY as we discussed, well, no. I never got an answer. I sent her more info on doing introductions and told her it can take a few weeks, to go slow and it would be fine. I've seen it happen so many times! The cats need a few weeks to get things worked out. So she says, I was just tired and didn't sleep much so, okay I'll give it more time. The next MORNING she sent her husband out with Andie to bring her back, not to me, but to our main adoption home. Why? Because Andie peed on a bed and pooped outside her litter pan. Because she wasn't properly restricted from the gillion animals this woman already has and the poor thing was left to fend for herself.
Andie is shaken. THIN. CRYING. Does NOT even KNOW her OWN brother, Shamus and sisters, Arabella and Sunshine. She growls and hisses at them. She won't EAT. She is pooping outside the litter pan now. What the _____ did this _____ do to this cat? I'm so FURIOUS. I SO WANT TO LET HER HAVE IT, but I can't. I'm not even sure I can say this much, but it's said. I'm really mad. Andie was perky, proud, friendly and loved her siblings. Now she's a shell of what she once was.
Sam and I saw her yesterday. For three hours we sat with her. She only wanted Sam. He made her feel safe. I got her to eat a lot of food. I saw her use the litter box correctly three times. She had a long nap on Sam's lap. So long that his legs kept falling asleep, too.
I worry about Andie's long term prognosis. We plan on visiting her again tomorrow. I wish we could just keep her here with us, but I have no place to put her where she can be around people and not end up being around lots of cats, too. It would just flip her out more.
Thankfully, four more kittens were adopted yesterday. Andie only has to share their huge room with five other cats, instead of nine. She may be able to calm down more and begin to recover. If she doesn't, we'll find a way to get her back here to help her. She's such a lovely creature and has a good heart. We will always do right by our foster cats and this is no exception. The problem now is finding the right home for her with someone who can work with her. A home that's quiet, sane, full of love and with a family who maybe only has just ONE other cat or dog. That's it.
Oh yeah, and there's MORE!
I tried really hard to be a good sport, to not worry or freak out. I took in CallaLilly and her five kittens knowing they had fleas. I thought I did my best to contain them. Today I took three of my cats to the Vet. Two of the three had flea dirt on them. Needless to say, I am not thrilled.
I initially brought Gracie in for a check up since she's not getting any better. It's been TEN MONTHS and her rash still flares up, her skin itches. I'm suddenly wondering if this entire time she's had a serious allergy to flea bites, since it DOES cause miliary dermatitis in some cats. We didn't see fleas on Gracie, but we DID on her daughter, Petunia (well, just dirt, nothing living). We may have accidently stumbled upon a solution for a cure. Advantage for the next three months and a low dose steroid/antihistimine (more on that in a future post).
Dr. Larry looked at Petunia. Lauren combed her and sure enough, flea dirt. Not a lot. Not a tragic amount, but Petunia also has a ring of scabs around her neck, a sure sign of being bitten recently. F-ck. My heart sank. I didn't even want to look at Sam. I waited for the lecture about having too many foster cats and too many cats and this is what happens. One cat gets fleas, they all get it. What is the source? Hard to say.
It's quite possible that the cats got fleas from:
1. Gracie catching mice (about once a year)
2. Bob, Nicky, Spencer and Gracie hanging out on the deck-even though
they don't go on the grass or near the woods. They're a good sixteen feet off the ground, BUT the damn squirrels and raccoons visit on the deck, too. Guess what they could have left behind?
3. Foster cats-cross contamination. Fleas that weren't caught on a litter about 10 months ago when Gracie first got sick.
Then it was Nora's turn. First, she gained the pound we got her to lose. I've had a nightmare lately, trying to get everyone to eat their food. They pick, then run off. Gracie is timid so she's the worst to get fed unless it's grain free dry food, which I only give them as a last resort. Now Gracie's LOST a pound and in only a few months. This is very bad. I'm about to throw my hands in the air and just let them eat whatever they want. I just ordered another $300.00 of cat food that they will pick at. Why bother? I'm so frustrated and fed up (pardon the pun).
Nora had flea dirt. Wasn't hart to see, either. All over. Great. Nora also is in dire need of a dental, which is why she's probably doing this weird rapid-fire sneezing. She doesn't have a URI. It may be triggered by her painful, bleeding gums or a tooth problem.
So after getting the lecture and feeling like I was going to cry, we got Advantage on the cats and bought enough extra to give to all the cats at home. I started to think about how much cleaning I'd have to do-like strip the bedding, vacuum the house, the cat beds, under everything, the bed, itself. Then I'd do a light coating of the poisonous flea spray on the bedding for everyone-the carpets (thank God I don't have wall-to-wall), my OFFICE which has more cat beds than flooring. Then there was the mountain of stuff that would have to be laundered. My heart sank. There goes my day.
Sam was really good about it. He could have pointed a finger at me, but he kept his cool. I bought him a fancy sandwich at the Artisan Food Shop in Southbury. It wasn't much, but it was all I could offer other than saying I was worry even if it wasn't my fault. We drove home in silence, other than Nora occasionally crying. I told her it was going to be OKAY. That we would be home soon. I wish someone would tell me it's going to be okay.
We got home, ate, then grabbed the Advantage. I put some on Bob, no problem. Got Nicky, too. I parted the fur on Spencer's neck and there was either a flea or flea dirt right where I parted the fur. How I never saw it on his pure white coat, I don't know. Spencer likes to sleep ON my PILLOW right NEXT TO MY FACE. I just read that fleas will make a home in humans hair. I'm freaked out. Am I gonna have lice now, too???
By Some miracle, Sam was able to get Advantage on Cricket. He's a former feral, but he's not one you can ever pill or get into a cat carrier. Sam said he did it so fast that Cricket didn't have enough time to freak out about being messed with. So, all the cats are treated. Now we wait for the stuff to work. I'm thinking I have to bar them from the bedroom tonight, which will be impossible. They'll just pitch a fit and rip on the door until they blow a hole in it. So why bother. I might as well get some Lice Off or whatever they call it because Spencer is going to sleep on my head.
I'm on the third load of laundry. The new dryer has decided that the big comforter shouldn't dry because it must be blocking the vent with its' bulk. The alarm keeps going off saying the empty the dryer filter, but it's empty. I went up to fix it three times. I blew my lid. I'm so done. This is after spending the past six hours cleaning the house and breathing in fumes from the flea spray. On top of it, I'm riddled with guilt for forcing Huggy Bear to wear an e-collar and stay confined to a dog crate for the next week! Yeah..she's got EAR MITES. Fun.
It's Friday. 8pm EST. I should make dinner, but I'm too tired. I keep hearing the dryer alarm go off, then silence. Sam is doing something to it, I think, but since the dryer isn't RUNNING, I fear he doesn't want to tell me it's broken and we'll have to find a laundromat next.
I know it could always be so much worse. We didn't even SEE one flea, dead or alive. It's a good thing. I'm trying to stay positive. This could have been percolating for months. It could have come in on stuff we brought in from my Mother's estate last year since she NEVER did anything for Bob and he basically LIVED outdoors. Who knows. We will never know. We just need to make sure we don't end up having a flea infestation.
I need a glass of wine. I think the taste will blend nicely with the chemical burn in my throat.
I've heard from some of the adopter's of CallaLily and some of her kittens. All are loved by their new families. Some are struggling a bit with fitting in.
Calli has been vocalizing and appears to be sad. She's in a home with another cat and that doesn't please her too much. Although they're separated, there's plenty of hissing when the door to her room is opened a tiny bit. The owner knows Calli will need a lot of extra time, both to recover from the change in her hormones and to grieve the loss of her family. I absolutely hate separating moms and babies, but I've seen my own Kitty-Mama, Gracie smack her own daughter, even hiss at her from time to time-so it's not an entirely evil thing to separate everyone. It just sucks that you can't explain it to them.
Andie and Sassafrass are also having a few hurdles dealing with the resident cats in their new home. Sass is having a great time with his new family and Andie's family is simply crazy about her. Tonight, hopefully Sunny will be adopted, leaving only Shamus and Arabella. I'm sad they haven't been adopted yet. Shamus is stunning now. His eyes will be pale blue and with his buff coat, well...gorgeous!
I miss everyone. They are quite the pretty litter of kitties (say that five times, fast!). Here are a few reasons why I love fostering and why I'm a bit sad without them here.
Cue the violin music!
Goodbye dear friends. Long and happy life to you all.
Huggy finally gets to enjoy some sunshine.
As with any new foster, it takes some time to understand the quirks or behavior problems that might need behavior modification. Yesterday, after spending HOURS cleaning up the foster room and after a quick farewell to Sunshine, Arabella and Shamus (they are being fostered by our Director now), I was finally able to release Huggy Bear and her babies into their new home. It was evident that they were relieved to be OUT of the small bathroom and well OUT of their previous confinement in a steel cage.
Huggy sniffed around the room, as did the kittens. Within a few moments she jumped onto the bed and spread out flat. She started to purr. It must have been bliss to just stretch out on something warm and soft for the first time in months.
The kittens ran across the room with great gusto. No longer confined, they were able to jump and spin out on the hardwood floors. I put out more toys, which they were eager to attack.
They all enjoyed a nice dinner and even though Snuggles is tiny-one half pound smaller than his brother, Dash, they all ate well. It was marvelous to just take some time with them to see them enjoy themselves.
Dash with his new mousey toy.
Things seemed fairly ordinary. The litter pan was being used. The cats relaxed or played. I even saw Huggy Bear, "hug" her kids, grooming them as they tried to nurse from her without much success. Then the scary thing happened. Little Snuggles was minding his own business when Huggy grabbed him and began to furiously bite at his head, she used her rear feet to "bunny kick" him! I stopped her, thinking Snuggles was going to be injured and Huggy just looked at me at went back to napping. Snuggles hadn't tried to nurse or do anything and he is so frail compared to his brother, that I worry about his safety.
Even Dash beats up Snuggles, though he will jump on Dash, too, but really! Dash is quite large!
I spoke with Dr. Larry about this and he agreed something is up. I am slow to separate them, but I need to see if she does it again. I didn't see her do it today, in fact, she went from being super mellow, to wanting to play. I think her hormones might be changing and she's not so much a mother now, as maybe her old self, a playful young adult?
Snuggles is very sweet. I wish I could get him out of that room and just carry him around with me all day, but he hasn't had his booster shot and he might faint if he saw all my huge cats looking at him like a snack. Hopefully, everything will be all right. Every time I foster, I learn something new. Please don't let me learn something that ends up being heartbreaking...I know. I worry too much.
Better go check on them!
Snuggles (left) and Dash (right). Yes, I can tell them apart. Easy? No!
It's official. Huggy Bear would rather sit on my lap and purr than do anything else. Tonight I sat on the floor with a towel on my lap. Huggy saw me, walked over, climbed in my lap and started to "Make Muffins" on my leg. She got settled down and made some more muffins, then out came a nice, sweet purr. She seemed blissfully unaware of her children who were scratching the crap out of my ankles, I mean, playing.
Looks like I need to find a home for Huggy with someone who LOVES having a lap cat because it didn't matter if I moved or even lifted her up to put a cat bed on my lap, Huggy wanted nothing else but to rest and reach out her paw to touch my hand.
Do I question whether or not I should have saved her from Death Row?
Are you f-ing kidding me? You're kidding, right? Huggy Bear is the Queen of the Lap Cats and whoever adopts her is going to be a VERY lucky person!!
I managed to get Huggy and her kittens into a carrier and up to their room. For now, they're living in my blue bathroom. Tomorrow, after my three remaining kittens from CallaLily go to our Director's home for fostering, Huggy and her bunch will be moved over to the main foster room where they can really spread out.
Huggy Bear, Dash and Snuggles bounced out of their cat carrier and immediately dove into bowls of food. They had no hesitation or fear. They were just HUNGRY! Huggy PURRED while she ate! She must have been relieved to finally not be in a moving vehicle and not be confined to a metal cage.
I was startled by the markings on the kittens. Normally I see mackerel patterns on the kitties we get here, but these guys are classic tabbies all the way, one has the telltale bullseye marking on his side and both of them have tail patterns that look like chunky dash marks-hence the name, Dash for one of them!
The boys are tough to tell apart. Dash has stronger markings and is bold with toys, but not so much with people. Snuggles is vocal and friendly. One of them does the funniest thing with his tail. When he runs, his tail goes over his back and is rigid! Looks bizarre!
I have no idea which kitty is Dash and which one is Snuggles!
There were a few glitches with the transport, in that none of the kitties got treated for fleas or de-wormed. Oops! Thankfully, my guys are clean and I hear from Jennifer, one of our CiCH members (TuckersMom) that her litter looks good, too. Right now I have my fosters in quarantine until tomorrow-just in case and until CallaLily's kittens are removed from the house. That way we can't cross contaminate any of them. So far, so good. I gave them Advantage and will de-worm them. Snuggles is way too thin, but Huggy and Dash are pretty solid.
Huggy holds her leg up mid "making-muffins."
Huggy Bear's coat is yellowed and dry and she's very mellow, but also friendly. I can tell she's been through some challenging times and she's tired. She also goes right over to anything soft in the room and starts to "make muffins" on it. She even does it to me! Oops! She'll stand on her hind legs and mooshie walk on me. Ouch! I've picked her up. She just sort of sits there. No big reaction either way. I'm sure in a few days she'll come out of her shell. For now, I'm really glad she made it to safety and she's ALIVE.
I guess we can all take a collective sigh of relief. Everyone seems to be in good condition and eating well. The kittens got to play with some toys and run around to their heart's content. It might have been their first time with a toy. Once they realized what they could do, they were both bouncing around the room joyfully.
I hear the Last Chance (Kitty) and her babies, Spyder and Pumpkin are all very friendly, eating like pigs and happy to be in their new, spacious digs. Once I have photos of them, I'll be sure to share them with all of you.
Thank you for your support and thank you again to Judith and Barb and Bobby and everyone else for all their hard work. Look what we were all abel to do together! Save 6 lives! Yay!
Lots more to tell, but wanted to get these few images uploaded. Huggy Bear is here, is a sweet mama and her two babies have the CRAZIEST markings I've ever seen! Very striking mackerel tabbies!
Your long journey off of DEATH ROW at Henry Co. Care & Control in Georgia is OVER. You will NEVER have to fear being euthanized for no good reason, again. You're only worry is if you should eat the canned food or the dry food that I put out for you. Other than that, kick back and enjoy the ride!
I do believe Huggy enjoys the scenery and the smooth ride of my BMW! Yes, where is the cat carrier? Why is she loose in the car? Well NO ONE TOLD ME I WOULD NEED TO BRING A CAT CARRIER!!!! OOPS! I shoulda brought one, I know. Duh. More pix and updates SOON!
I got up early, worried that I'd get a call from Chrissy, the transport driver, that they were running ahead of schedule and that I wouldn't have Huggy Mama's room ready! There was much to be done. I had to get my other fosters fed and watered, feed my guys, then get my swanky bathroom ready for Huggy.
This is my first rescue from a GA shelter. I'm worried that Huggy will not be so sweet. She'll be nasty, then I'll never be able to find her a good home. What if the kittens are skittish? Okay. I can work with that. I should be happy if that's their only behavior problem after being in a cage for over a month. What if they're sick? They shouldn't be, but geez, look where they came from. Using step pans and quarantine is not my idea of a welcoming committee, but hopefully it will only be for a few days and then we can move everyone to the nice big room.
Those poor kitties. What they've been through; being confined, the noise and smells of a shelter, the fear, the loneliness, the unending time stuck in a cat carrier in a transport vehicle. I have a brand new cat bed and a big fluffy blanket for them to rest on when they get here. There's fresh water out and food at hand. I plan on just letting them stretch out, relax and eat to their heart's content.
Part of me is thinking; "What have I done? I'm never going to find a home for an ADULT cat! She'll be here forever!" Well, I took this on and so be it. With any luck, by Christmas she'll have a forever home.
I have the same worry for Last Chance mama, too. I hope Jennifer has an easy time with her Mama and kittens. This is her first time fostering for us and I want it to go great. She's bent over backwards getting a big space ready for everyone. They have a dog crate for their first few days, lots of toys, bedding and food. She even got kitty stairs so Last Chance (whose name will soon be changed to, Kitty) will be able to get onto a bed that's in the foster room. I think I'd like to live there! Sounds pretty nice!
The transport is running late. Three more hours to go. In the meantime, I have an adopter coming over soon and another may come over after that. There's been LOTS of interest in Andie. I feel badly for the others. My big fear is that Mama won't get adopted. I'll hate to see her taken away from her children, but it means a good life for her if she can move on. She's such a sweet, mellow lady. I've grown quite fond of her in a short amount of time. I took a few photos of the kittens and mom together. It makes me sad to think soon their time together will come to an end, but that's how it goes...
Things are very busy here with Mama-C and her five offspring finally vetted and ready for adoption. Calls have been coming in and it looks good for at least half of the kitties. One person even begged to adopt little Andie! Popular girl! Hopefully, by Monday, I'll be down to four, then perhaps another one or two will be adopted during the week.
I've been working on making arrangements to take in another critical rescue. Yes, the eight kittens, shown in the post below...not sure I have the guts for this, but if no one else steps up, I will find a way to give them a foster home.
Speaking of rescues, TOMORROW, "Huggy" Mama & her two kittens, as well as "Last Chance" Mama & her two kittens will be arriving via transport around 1pm. There's much to do to get their temporary space ready to go. I had to cut a deal with my Director. She's going to take the CallaLily litter and I have to keep Huggy in quarantine-which includes having to use "step pans" filled with a bleach mixture that I'll have to step in and out of every time I exit the foster room Huggy is staying in. This is to prevent the unlikely spread of disease until Tuesday, when Cali goes and I can move Huggy out of the bathroom and into the main foster room.
Will be a royal pain in the ass to keep things disinfected and separated, but I that's the deal and I might as well learn how to keep a quarantine area in case, God forbid, I need to do this again.
Mama-C is wiped out from her spay. She slept in my lap for awhile. The kittens bounced back from their surgery quickly, but no one feels like eating! I have four kinds of food out. Nothing. Ugh. I am going through a tough time with ALL the cats. No one likes anything I offer them. It's really annoying and a waste of food.
Mama-C is also done with her Motherly duties. She is very thin and weak. I feel so badly to be the one to "cut the cord" between her and her offspring, but the day draws near where they will be separated from each other and all go off to their new homes alone. I really hate this, but fortunately the kittens are resilient and make new friends quickly and hopefully Mama will find a good home, too...I worry if she does not. It means going back to where she came from. Her previous owner cannot afford to pay her electric bill. How will she care for Cali? We gotta find a home for her. I'll start trying on Monday.
So basically, that's what's going on. I gotta run to Tar-jay Boutique (Target) to get stuff for Huggy Mama. Oh, I'll need names for her kittens, too. Start thinking, guys!