Friday, late afternoon, I received an email from our Director about Winkle's urgent need for eye surgery. Within an hour, I had the information out to my Tweeps, my FB friends and my dear friends here on CiCH.
Many of you were kind enough to help me get the word out. Some were doubly kind and offered donations, from a few dollars, to much more. That you would take the time out of your day, the money out of your wallet, to help a kitten you don't know and a rescue group you may not be familiar with-well that just humbles me to the core.
I want you ALL to know that The Animal Center is a registered non-profit, 501 (3)c. Your donations go 100 percent to helping kittens. We're all volunteer. No one gets a salary and I design any fundraising materials for gratis. I welcome you to check us out or ask any questions. We don't have a shelter, though we dream of having one some day. We do in-home fostering, so the kittens we can help are based on the number of foster families we have and the financial resources we have.
As you may know, our donations, like most rescue groups, are down from the past years, so having to raise funds for Winkle, was a bit daunting. I'm very GLAD to let you know that in barely a day, we've gotten close to reaching our goal. If we should get any extra monies, those are earmarked for The Angel Fund, so it will ALWAYS go to cats in dire need of medical help. Every year we have kittens in crisis.
I'd like to catch you up on Winkle. Right now he's comfortable and happy in foster care. In a few days he's being taken to a specialist to have his eye removed. Though the Vet feels his condition is due to a "blunt force trauma" to his head, there is a SMALL chance that Winkles has juvenile cancer. Winke's eye will be biopsied to determine if he has cancer. We'll still get him a great home-but his new family needs to know that Winkle's life may not be as long as other kitten's.
With any luck, Winkle will just be a one-eyed kitty and the rest of his life will be long, healthy and filled with love.
I'll get some photos of Winkle posted and more updates as soon as they're available.
Again, my deepest thanks to all of you.
This JUST IN from our group The Animal Center:
Unexpected twists and turns in life happen to everyone. Winkle the kitten is only ten weeks old, but has already had some big ups and downs in his life. First, something happened to seriously damage his left eye, leaving him partially blind and in significant pain. But then his life started to change for the better when someone spotted him in a busy parking lot and brought him to the neighborhood "cat lady," who then contacted The Animal Center for help.
Shortly after Winkle came to us in late July, we brought him to an eye specialist who diagnosed his left eye with severe glaucoma. Winkle is completely blind in that eye and the pressure behind it is causing him considerable pain.
Photo credit: The Animal Center
But despite his pain, Winkle is always in good spirits, greeting visitors with purrs and affection, and he loves to play. Like so many animals who are abandoned and rescued, Winkle has demonstrated a strong will to live and trusting, positive spirit from the very first day we met him.
We don't know how Winkle was injured, but his veterinarian suspects a blunt force trauma to his head.
Photo credit: The Animal Center
What we do know is we can make life a whole lot better for Winkle. By removing his left eye, his doctor will relieve the pressure behind it, eliminating Winkle's pain. His surgery is scheduled for August 5th, 2009.
Today, we're asking for donations to our Angel Fund to help us pay for Winkle's eye surgery and follow-up care so that this kitten has a chance to live a full and healthy life free of pain. And if you know anyone who's interested in giving the sweetest one-eyed kitten in the world a home, let us know!
I'm going to try to write while sipping iced tea and nibbling at a chocolate muffin. I know I shouldn't eat it, but heck, some times a girl's gotta eat what a girl's gotta eat. Plus, my pants feel loose. Okay, maybe my stomach popped over the top of my pants so they feel looser, but who can see me right now?
I'm trying to keep muffin bits off the keyboard. Good thing it's one of those uber flat ones from Apple. Less crap can sneak under the keys. Have you ever looked or dusted or CLEANED your keyboard? I got rid of my last keyboard because I swear I heard growling coming from under the "T" key.
For all those concerned, and there were a few, thankyouverymuch!, my finger is not infected and I didn't have to visit the ER. There's one spot near my knuckle that's quite sore, but nothing disgusting is oozing out of it. It should heal in time. I even found a bandage. Good old Sponge Bob Square Pants! I thought I had ones that looked like bacon strips, but I couldn't find them.
Oh! Tweetie. Yes, Tweetie.
Tweetie is insane, but to be fair so are Sprinkles and Pixie. Twinkles, is too mellow to be crazy.
There's an energy that forms when kittens hit about seven weeks old. It grows to explosive proportions that radiates from their tiny little bodies from eight to ten weeks and beyond. They can climb well, run endlessly, jump high, mixed with an insatiable curiousity for everything around them. These changes indicate the time is coming for the kittens to leave!
They start to GET ON MY NERVES!!!!
All these kittens do is RUN RUN RUN, fight, climb up the side of the dog crate...which gives them access to the top of the cable box (nearby), a shelf full of books, and a ton of crap I put high up to keep it away from their destructive paws. Then they...OOPS...knock stuff to the floor, hurt themselves, run so hard they start panting and Tweetie even started foaming at the mouth-which scared the shit out of me.
I ended up putting Tweetie back in his room, alone, to force him to just REST. He was fine in a few minutes, but I was shaken. I tried to just hang out with the Sprinkles and her gang, but they too were too busy poking around, ripping at things, treating me like a scratching post and fighting with each other. They would not sit still even after a good hour of hard playtime-an hour that I witnessed. Who knows how long they were running around BEFORE I was in the room!
It was getting late. Their crazy antics made me feel stressed out. It's weird. Their energy flows so strongly, you can't help but be effected by it. It was like coffeeless surge of caffeine. I had to leave the room and just stare at a TV show for an hour before I felt my pulse slow down. I was ready for bed.
I finally got a decent night sleep thanks to the new pillow I got at Bed, Bath & Banal. I have a "thing" about pillows. I constantly have a problem finding one that supports my gigantically fat head. They're either way too hard, then my neck aches, or they're so mooshy I have to shove my arm under my pillow to give me the support I need. I even blew $150!!!!! on a Tempurpedic pillow. I used it a few nights and it was ok, but then one night I woke up in the middle of the night. I literally could not sit up. All the muscles in my neck were LOCKED. I started screaming and hyperventilating. Poor Sam woke up, did not pee in his pants or the bed, thankfully, and after a few fuzzy minutes of me screaming and writhing, he got the idea to pull me up, then started to dig his iron fingers into my neck to loosen up the muscles, while I began to cry, of course.
Yeah, so I have a thing about good pillows.
So, I'm rested and somewhat refreshed. Ready to face a new day full of insane kitten behavior. Next Wednesday all but Tweetie are getting spayed and their final shots and tests ('cause Tweetie was already vetted). Then Thursday/Friday they'll be going to their new homes and I'll get the house back to myself and my seven bratty cats.
There's a new found appreciation for my own cats, I must admit. Yesterday I jiggled a few toys at them and they just laid there and looked at me. Not one of the cats would actually get up off their big ass to even bat at the toy! I whipped the feather toy past their heads, taunted them, was provocative in my every move and nothing. They just looked at me. Their expressions asking; "Are you quite through now? I'd like to go back to bed OR You could pet me OR you certainly could FEED ME. Other than that, would you mind going away?"
I love kittens. Really, I do, but there's nothing like an old, slow moving, bored cat that really makes my day.
And, by the way, that was a pretty good muffin, too.
I love you, BOB! (He looks like Puss in Boots from Shrek!)
Bob had a re-check after his dental procedure, tooth extraction and adventure with Metacam (see back a few posts). Looks like the old fella is doing well. His toothie holes have closed up and healed nicely. Considering Bob is FIV+ this is pretty darn good news!
Bob's had this weird head-shaking thing for a few years and I thought the dental would stop the problem. Bob shakes his head and his tongue comes out and sort of licks sort of doesn't lick his mouth. Hard to describe. I thought one of his teeth was the culprit. Now that the dental is over, he does it less, but still does it. Dr. Larry gave me some drops to put in his ears. He assures me they are 20 times more poisonous than Metacam is, so we should be in good shape.
That was a joke.
Ever since I "yelled" at Dr. Larry about prescribing Metacam, every chance he gets Dr. Larry tells me how he's sure I'll be using it again and that it's just fine for short term and then..tease...tease...Metacam.
Well Poop on your Metacam, Dr. Larry! Hmpf! Glad my Bob survived your prescription!
Mama-Cat, Gabby is doing well after her spay surgery and is recovering nicely. She'll be released back to her woodland home in the coming days! Finally free of annoying humans, she'll be able to run free and do her thing, but be healthy and not worry about getting knocked up again!
This chapter is a difficult one to write both physically and emotionally. Last night I wrestled with whether or not I should leave out what happened and just keep this as a positive, uplifting story, but that's not how life goes some times.
The truth is, socializing feral kittens can be difficult, frustrating and painful. It's part of the process. Some times all the work is for naught. Some times we have to accept the results we get, knowing we did our best. Some times things go beautifully and without a hitch and it's just another notch on our belt of success.
Yesterday, though Tweetie was mellow and friendly, the three kittens I introduced him to, didn't care for him one bit. Poor Tweetie wanted to fit in and play, but they just hissed and arched their tiny backs. Eventually, Tweetie hissed back and ran off to hide in his carrier. I got them all to play together and eat in close proximity, but clearly the kittens were all stressed.
Tweetie putting up with hisses from Sprinkles
Pixie, is not thrilled, while Tweetie looks to make friends elsewhere.
At 6pm Sprinkles' adoptive family come to see her again. Since they also wanted to see Tweetie, I left him in the room, instead of moving him to his private quarters.
Still hoping to make friends. Tweetie tries his luck with Twinkles.
Friend or Foe? Who's that knocking upon my door?
It was clear, fairly quickly, that all the kittens were stressed during the visit. Because it was important that Sprinkles show well, I realized I needed to move Tweetie to his room. Tweetie was upset. I reached to scruff him and he went down right away. A good, submissive move.
Because I was distracted by the visitors, I missed scruffing Tweetie properly and grabbed his shoulder. He flipped out and bit me. Instead of moving my hand, which I SHOULD HAVE DONE, I tried to adjust my grip, but it was too late. Tweetie's teeth sunk deeply into my index finger-the same one he bit a week ago.
Instead of screaming, I calmly let him go, stood up and told him to "go to your carrier." As I walked behind him, he ran into his carrier. I shut the door, preparing to return him to his room. My finger was throbbing painfully and starting to gush blood. Sprinkles' family thought I had magic powers over cats, by getting Tweetie to obey me so quickly, but I just knew he'd run to the first, small, dark place he could find.
I summoned up the courage to be calm and excused myself from the room, bringing Tweetie with me. I put him back in his room and quietly left him to calm down while I took care of my wounds.
I have five bite marks on my finger. It hurts like Hell. I furiously cleaned my finger, fearing infection. I've been down this road before with my very own formerly feral cat, Cricket. He sent me to the hospital once when he didn't want to go to the Vet. He sunk his teeth into my hand. It swelled up like a balloon, even though I cleaned it out. I got a few shots, one in the ass, for my troubles. I wasn't sure this wound was that serious. I sure hoped it wasn't.
The family finally left and I basically fell apart. I haven't slept well for a long while and I was very upset, thinking about Tweetie. He'd made all this great progress. Would his chances of being adopted end because he bit me? Would anyone see past that and feel safe around him?
I know it was MY FAULT that Tweetie bit me. He told me, most clearly, that he was upset and I did not heed his warning signs, so the warnings became more explosive. I never should have touched a cat in the "red zone." I should have re-directed him with a toy and got him into his carrier. My fear was how would he behave now that we've had this "incident?"
I went to bed at 10pm after getting everyone fed. Normally I'm up much later, but my body was aching. I laid in bed and couldn't get comfortable. I tossed and turned, worrying about Tweetie. In my heart, even though he hurt me, I know he didn't mean it.
I got up an hour later and made some chamomile tea. It tastes like ass (actually, I never tasted an ass, so this is just a guess). I brought it into Tweetie's room, not knowing what his state of mind would be.
He was sitting on the cat condo, so I sat on the floor next to it. I didn't reach out to give him a pet, I just looked over at him. He looked at me and burbled, then cocked his head, curious as to why I wasn't petting him. He jumped off the condo and nervously ran past me. He sat on the floor and looked at me as I sipped my tea.
He got up and jumped onto my leg. As I lifted the teacup to my lips, he head-butted my elbow and burbled another greeting. I touched his back and he melted into my lap, looking up at me as if nothing tragic had happened and that everything, as far as he was concerned was just fine...and oh, could I pet him some more so he could purr louder??
So this, my friends, is part of my difficult journey with a cat who has literally gotten under my skin in so many ways. He's a good egg, I promise. I take all the blame for what happened. I'm not sure what this means for him or if it's just another bump in the road? I just hope beyond hope's limits that I can find Tweetie the loving home he so deserves and a band-aid for my finger. I seem to be out.
Tweetie's Feral Kitty Boot Camp began almost a week ago. What was once a shy and fearful kitten, has softened and warmed into a sweet kitty. The next stage of the process is to begin to open up Tweetie's comfort zone. This will also allow the poor guy to get a break from hours of alone time.
Tweetie's first escapade was to travel with me to one of the only other rooms that, a) has a door on it and b) doesn't need to be kitten-proofed. Yes, another bathroom! Good thing I have more than one.
It was easy to put Tweetie into a carrier and bring him to the Master Bathroom where he could keep me company while I shower. And no, there is no and will not be ANY photos of this! Do you want to go BLIND? I mean, really!
Never undress in front of a kitten.
Tweetie was a bit nervous, as I expected, but the room isn't that large and he had some toys to occupy his attention. That was, until I turned on the faucet to start the shower.
Tweetie hid. Okay, no problem. I tossed his toys around and coaxed him back out of his carrier. I got into the shower and called out to him. He took one look at me and ripped out a YEEEOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWW!!!!
In cat, I believe this translates to mean: "GET OUT OF THERE!!!! WATER!!!! YOU'LL GET WET!!!!! GET OUT!! GET OUT!! GET OUT!!! OH MY GOD GET OUT!!!"
I ignored Tweetie's pleas and called out again, assuring him that "hoomins need to not smell bad and this is the only way to get there, other than wear too much perfume, which really only masks the problem and doesn't really head the problem off at the pass, like people who think those air fresheners really do anything other than mask a lie. They should clean their house, not spray chemicals on their belongings."
Thinking back on it, maybe all I said was; "It's ok, Tweetie. Don't worry. I'll be out in a minute."
Tweetie just meowed.
After two days in a row of shower-meowing and with feral Mama Cat, Gabby no longer with the other fosters, I got the go ahead to let Tweetie share his play time with the kittens. Finally, no more day-long alone time. There'd be some adjustment time for all kittens concerned, but after that, it should be all right.
In another hour, the lady who is going to adopt Sprinkles will be here with her Fiancè. She wants him to make sure he also wants to adopt Sprinkles. Normally, we have one meeting, they adopt the cat, they go. This will be meeting number two of at least three meetings before Sprinkles goes home. They also asked to see Tweetie again, you know, just to help with his socializing, of course. They don't want to ADOPT HIM. Sure they don't! After all the oo-ing and ahh-ing of their last visit, I have a feeling they will change their mind.
Good thing Tweetie may already be spoken for.
What the heck shape IS this? Blobular?
I swear Nicky has no bones.
Well? What's the opposite of "Uplifting?"
Today had some very big ups that I can't talk about right now, other than to say that there are some very interesting, exciting, joyful things percolating. How it all comes to pass, I do not know, but it's nice to have something to look forward to nonetheless. I don't mean to be a turd by keeping quiet, it's just, well, know that I'll tell you as soon as I can. Ok, you want a hint?
I can't. Not yet. Sue me. No, please don't sue me. I really don't want to be sued for teasing my readers!
Anyway, back to being miserable.
I HATE, HATE, HATE this part of rescuing cats. In fact, it doesn't feel much like something that can be described as part of "rescuing" a cat. That said, I know there are many who would disagree with me.
Our brave and tough-cookie Director came for Mama cat-Gabby this afternoon. It was time to remove her from her kittens, forever. Gabby will be overnighted in a trap, then taken to the Vet to be spayed, given her shots, ear tipped and a checkup while she's sedated. After a day of rest, she'll be taken back to where she was first trapped, a few miles from here. I'm not sure if she'll immediately be released or if she'll be in a dog crate for a few days. Regardless, she will go back to living her wild life, free from ever being knocked up again and free to live her life as she decides is best.
I hate separating Moms from kittens. So does our Director. It's another part of the "tough love" stuff we do. It makes me feel like guano, but I know I can't keep everyone together forever. Sooner or later the day will come. Here it is.
Mama went ballistic when we tried to get her into the carrier. I felt so bad. I know she was terrified. Ironically, with all her running around we finally got her into the big dog crate. She ran over to the end of the crate where I was standing and climbed up the wall. It was the first time I was less than a few feet away from her. Her eyes were dilated in fear, but all I could think of was how pretty she was, close up, and that it would be nice to have been able to pet her during the eight weeks she's been with me.
Our Director got her packed up. The room was a disaster. I'd removed the kittens before we even started so they wouldn't see what we were doing. When I returned them to the room, after I'd cleaned it back up, they seemed nonplused and went about playing with their toys. I'm guessing they'll notice something's wrong, but I snuck out of the room before they could do that. I just don't have the heart.
Even though she was nasty and she'd hissed so many times, her "hisser" was barely functioning, I still feel sad. I'm sorry we had to do what we did, but weighing all the options, this was the best choice for her. As with all my fosters, I wish her a safe, happy, joyful life. Her caretaker and his wife will look out for her and make sure she's fed. A week from now she'll be lounging in the grass, enjoying the taste of freedom and because I've got Jewish and Italian heritage, I'll still feel guilty!