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Oh Yeah, I Forgot. I Have Cats, Too!

Okay so maybe they're not cute little kittens just learning the ropes and they weren't rescued from a tragic situation and they haven't, thankfully, had to face anything worse than being kicked (accidently, of course) off the bed at night (for HOGGING THE BED), but heck, aren't they CUUUUUTE? Don't you just LOVE THEM? Look at Nora's rear leg, draped oh so elegantly over her brother's big ass. It's endearing, is it not?

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Nick and Nora believe in sharing. Either that or they're both stubborn and won't let the other have the entire chair to themselves.

Isn't it amazing to see how they can cram 46.25 pounds of cat into a small, vintage chair from the 1940's-made during the days when people's butts did not suffer from too-much-time-on-the-computer-spread. This also means that I can't fit my ass into it, which is why it's become a giant cat bed.

So there.

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Foster Cat Journal: Guilt

Okay, now what do I do? Huggy is home and happy and her boys are locked up in the dog crate, climbing up the sides of the cage, trying to get out. They cry, look at me with those little sad faces that beg to know why I'm being so mean to them!

So I left the room. I couldn't be in it. I wanted to hang out with Huggy and let her rest on my lap. I decided to just let her rest on her own. I came back hours later with her next round of meds. I got her to take everything by hiding them in tiny portion of "kitty crack" (e.g., Solid Gold canned tuna). I scooped the rest out onto two plates; one for her and one for the kittens to share. I lifted her carefully and unlocked the crate, letting the kittens free and locking her safely inside with her dinner. She looked up at me with those big, knowing, green eyes and went back to her food. She'd eat because the food was so tasty, but was resigned to being locked up yet again.

Dash and Snuggles raced around the room, finally free after a day in captivity. They attacked their food dish with great enthusiasm now that they can no longer get snacks from Huggy's sore mammary glands. They'll be free until the morning. Then I switch them back into the crate.

There's no winning here. Someone has to be locked up. It's either that or I have to put some of them into the bathroom and leave the other/s behind in the guest room. Then they'll each get even less time with me because I'll have to bounce between rooms and the bathroom isn't exactly full of soft, comfortable places to sit, if you get my drift.

It's only for a week...well, a week until Huggy's re-check at the Vet. Then she'll let me know if it's all right for Huggy to be reunited with her kittens and I can go back to feeling guilty about something else.

Poor Huggy. Poor Dash & Snuggles. Poor me. Boo-hoo. I know. Get over it. It's a week. Sheesh.

You tell them, that.

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Foster Cat Journal: Home Again

We got the call. Huggy Mama did well over the weekend and is stable enough to come home! We ran straight over to pick her up. One of the cute Vet techs from Mill Plain brought her out to see us! Huggy looked alert and raring to go-a far cry from the limp, weak darling we left their on Saturday morning.

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Huggy has to be on lots more Baytril and Amoxy-and Dr. Larry will love this, METACAM! After all my ranting about it, I have to give it to Huggy. Just a DROP for the next few days to manage pain. I had it out with the Vet at Mill Plain, but she also assured me that she's not seen any problems with it at a low dose for a short period of time and she reminded me that if either of us was in pain, we'd want something, too.

The worst of it, no surprise, Huggy MUST be separated from her babies. No contact. We can't risk them giving her another infection and she's gotta stop producing milk! Enough already! The kittens are well past being weaned. I have the big dog crate set up and the kittens are in it now. I can hear them banging around, trying to get out. I'll give them cage time, then swap them out, then lock up Huggy. I hate it, but it's got to be done. At least they can see each other.

Huggy's only been here for a few minutes, but already she started to "burble" the second she saw the kittens. They surrounded her cat carrier, wanting to get at her. I got them locked up and let Huggy out. I put out a big dish of food and she attacked it hungrily. I'll give them all some time to settle down. It's a perfect day, light breeze, warm temps, but not too hot. Will be a great day for Mama to rest in the sunshine and continue healing. In a week she goes back for a re-check. After that, if Huggy gets a good report card, she'll be back up for adoption. Then the crossing-fingers stage begins!

Thank you to everyone who sent such encouraging "Tweets" and emails. I know they must have helped Huggy. She is so much better today. It's like I got a new cat back from the Vet!

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Dear Adopter...

This kitten season was slow to get off the ground, then went gangbusters, pushing our resources and emotions to the breaking point. Fortunately, we've been able to get enough moments, and I really mean MOMENTS, to recover so we can gear up for the next "thing." I believe it's effecting me more this year, than last because I'm far more involved than ever before. I'm glad, almost relieved that I've finally gotten to a point where I have permission to make the call on if we bring an animal into the Program. It also means that I've become in charge of our newest foster home and taken on the responsibility for all the cats that came up from Georgia and any cats that I decide to pull from other states.

I'm also coordinating adoption events, designing flyers and promo pieces, photographing cats at our foster families, doing Vet runs, thinking up new ways to get donations and trying to take good care of my own cats, as well as the never ending, always fluctuating number of foster cats.

The tricky part of this "job" is working with the public. I need to be gracious and friendly, when some times I want to wring someone's neck or just shake them hard, hoping some sense will uncork itself and drop into the right spot in their neural network. It tests my compassion and I'm sure Sam is tired of me going on and on about how I can't believe what some people say to me. For the record, I sincerely want everyone who wants to adopt from us, to be able to do so. For the reality of this situation-well that's different.

This is an open letter to the people who, for whatever reason, I end up having to tell, I can't allow them to adopt a cat or kitten from us.

Dear Person, Persons or Family,

Most of the cats and kittens in our Program had a rough start in life. Some were abandoned by heartless owners. Some were born into the wild, not knowing human kindness. Others were abused or ignored, allowing disease to destroy their limbs, eyes, or trust. Our Volunteers take these animals into their homes, not knowing if their new wards carry diseases, like ringworm, upper respiratory infections, feline leukemia or FIV.

These cats might have ear mites, fleas or worms; though we treat for those things right away, some times those pests are passed into our homes and onto our own resident cats. We may be forced to do tons of laundry to clean all the bedding that's destroyed by kittens who haven't figured out their litter box protocol yet or if there's an outbreak of fleas.

We constantly worry over every loose stool or every little sneeze. We get frustrated when a timid kitten won't turn around and finally allow human contact. We worry we won't find a good home for the few adult cats we dare to take into our care. We look at our donations dwindling and take the money out of our own pocket so as to make it easier to take in another kitten. We do without a new car, without a vacation, without sleep.

We do all this for that one moment, when a wonderful, loving adopter comes to us and offers to adopt one or more of our kitties. We do this for the look in someone's eye, when they hold their new kitty for the first time and that kitty relaxes in their arms and purrs and that person is flat out smitten. They see a healthy, well-adjusted animal. They don't know what it took to get them there. They just see the end product. They don't need to know more than that, but they should realize it and they should appreciate it.

This is why I'm so offended and angry when some people think they can adopt a kitten, then bring it back if it "doesn't work out." If the kitten "likes the dog, better than me." Well, what did you do to encourage that to happen?

I've heard things like; Well, some of us really want a DOG, but some want a cat, so the cat people win. Some of us are allergic to cats, but that's okay, too, right? If the cat sheds or rips up the furniture, well we'll just return it. We won't try to learn about ways to work with this problem, the way you did when the kitten was pooping all over your bed. If the cat does anything other than just love me and use it's litter pan properly, well then, you'll hear from me because I'm the customer and if this "product" is faulty. There's just no room for that in my home.

So when can we pick the cutest kitten and take it home with us? I hope it's not going to grow too big. Can you assure me that this kittens personality will be perfect? It's only eight weeks old, but you can tell me, right? My kid is screaming at me and demanding a kitten. We want that ONE, that ONE right THERE. We don't care if it's shy. It's really cute and I need to shut my kid up, so give us that kitten NOW so I can get out of here. I don't care that it's a 20 year commitment. It's not. I can always "get rid of it" if it doesn't work out. I can just lie because I don't want to really take full responsibility for this animal's well being. I just want it to be easy.

Was caring for your KID, easy? Did you put him up for adoption because he spit up on your favorite blouse or because he cried all night and you didn't get any sleep? Did you toss your husband out the door because he knocked a vase off the table by accident and broke it? How is it any different if your cat pees on the rug because it's frightened of your dog or frightened of your kid?

I ask you, dear Person, Persons or Family to really THINK about what you're doing. How willing ARE you to take responsibility for the future well being of a two pound animal that's only been ALIVE for two months? I ask you to not be selfish, thoughtless or self-centered. There are situations where it's flat out NOT appropriate to adopt a kitten. Are you going to let it outdoors when you live near a busy road? Are you only adopting ONE kitten, knowing it will be left alone most of the day so it can become a neurotic mess when it's more appropriate to adopt an adult cat, but you don't want to because cats aren't as cute as kittens? Are you going to think the poor kitten is trying to get REVENGE on you because it didn't use the litter pan?

I didn't sacrifice a majority of my time and give up making a decent living so you can treat this animal like a commodity! I won't adopt a kitten to you if you demand it of me. I won't appease your sullen child. I won't give in to your impulsive desires or ridiculous assumptions about proper cat behavior.

Go to the store and buy a ceramic sculpture of a kitten or a stuffed animal. Put it on the mantle or table top. Dust it once in awhile. It will never shed or claw the furniture. It will never get old or need anything from you and if you end up changing your mind about it later, you can throw it in the trash or put it in a box in the closet and no one will care.

This doesn't mean you're a bad person. Well, yes it does. To me, it does, but who am I to decide such things? I'm sure if this post annoys you, you can complain about it and maybe it will get tossed in the trash, too?

Not really sincerely, but I'm trying...

You-know-who

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Foster Cat Journal: Heavy Heart for Huggy Mama

Huggy Mama and her boys arrived barely two weeks ago. Over that time there have been quite a few medical issues that came up. Of course, you all know that the Huggy Bunch never was treated for fleas or ear mites before traveling to Connecticut (that was a mistake, I assure you). Sadly, Huggy had to endure a nasty ear mite infection and she and Snuggles had flea dirt on them.

Huggy's incision from her spay surgery wasn't looking great. Perhaps she picked at the sutures or she was too active, too soon after the operation. She was put on a course of Baytril and I kept an eye on it.

Huggy was really good about being pilled and very clever about spitting them out when I wasn't paying attention. I caught on to her tricks quickly and made sure she got a treat after every pill. That way I knew she swallowed her medicine.

The kittens kept nursing, which I strongly discouraged. They're well weaned and Huggy needed some rest. I don't often have a Mama and kittens for this long. By the time the kittens are weaned, the Mama is usually gone-adopted or released if she's feral. I have little experience with Mamas, especially post-spay.

The past few days, Huggy's really blossomed. The once quiet and reserved Mama, decided she wanted to play along with the kittens. She'd burble and squawk, the merrrow at the toys. She jumped and ran, plopped into my lap, made muffins and purred. She seemed very happy.

Yesterday, since the boys were off getting neutered (or so we thought since they didn't have the surgery when the Vet realized their little nuggets hadn't descended yet), I decided to give Huggy a treat. I carried her into my bedroom where she could get more space to run and we could snuggle in bed together for a few hours. Huggy wasn't scared at all. She didn't hide even though she smelled the scent of all the other cats in the house, I'm sure. She was curious, that's it.

She REALLY got goofy. Running and jumping around. She hopped up on the bed and sat on my lap, purring loudly. She stretched out, laid her head on my face and relaxed. What a love!

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While I was petting her, I noticed one of her mammary glands was swollen. I thought it was full of milk since the kittens were not home to feed. It felt hot, but I thought that might be just because her belly is shaved and she's a mom. What do I know? Last night she ate and seemed fine. I gave her her almost last dose of Baytril and went to bed.

I've been in charge of putting together an Adoption Event that happened today. Last night I was really tired. Of course, I got my period that morning, had awful cramps from Hell and wanted to just stay in bed. Instead I dealt with my intern and getting things ready for the adoption event. My head was spinning from all the last minute details. I asked Sam to feed Huggy and Angel and our cats so I could go pick the kittens up from the Vet.

When I got up this morning, I felt bad for not spending much time with Angel, so I fed her and sat with her awhile, figuring Sam would care for Huggy. I left awhile later and made a mad dash to the Vet to get the kittens, then go home, pick up the Mamas and turn around and head off to the Adoption Event with all six cats.

I brought Dash and Snuggles in to see their Mama. I opened the door and I knew something was wrong. Huggy was laying in bed and would not get up. Huggy ALWAYS meets me at the door with a cute little meow-hello. She would not even look at me when I entered the room. I went over to her and she looked up at me. I touched her belly and recoiled.

Her mammary glands were HUGE, HOT, and HARD. It seemed as though someone inserted a hard edged tray under her skin. It was WRONG. VERY WRONG. Huggy did not want to get up. I called out to Sam and asked him if she ate that morning and he said, NO. That she hadn't even gotten up.

SHIT!

I made a few calls, fast. I talked to Super Deb and she said to get Huggy to the Vet ASAP. They didn't have any open appointments, so I was on my own. No problem. Huggy was going to the Vet no matter what it took.

Fortunately we were able to get her in to see Mill Plain Vets, Bless You! I had 15 minutes before I had to leave. Sam volunteered to take Huggy to the Vet so I could get to the Adoption Event. It was the LAST PLACE I wanted to go, but I have a strong sense of duty-and the cats needed to be there. I sent Sam off, gingerly putting Huggy into the carrier and giving her a kiss before she left. I felt like a real jerk for not catching this sooner and for not going with her to the Vet. I was sick with worry.

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Huggy, moments before I gingerly lifted her into the cat carrier. She was running a fever of 104°.

Within the next hour I heard from Sam. Huggy was suffering from a fairly serious case of Mastitis. Two Vets took a look at her and have put her on an IV, given her more Baytril and Amoxicillin.

She's going to be staying at the Vet over the weekend. On Monday I expect an update. It's possible she may need surgery to remove the worse of the infected tissue. Although I didn't see any oozing, scabs or injuries, she's got a raging infection going on. She's a young cat, only 1 1/2 years old. I hope she's got a lot of fight in her and that she pulls through without any serious damage.

She's been through so much in her short life, but she's lucky she has so many people watching out for her and giving her the best care possible. She deserves all we can do and more—not only because she was rescued off Death Row at Henry County, but because she's so very special and loving. I need to see her pull through, feel great and be 100% healthy. No more fleas, ear mites, feline acne, infections...just a healthy, happy girl, ready to move on to her forever home.

It's quiet in the house. Angel and her kittens are back with Jennifer. Dash and Snuggles have been resting after their big day. I think about Huggy, probably hooked up to an IV, back in a cage. I really hate doing this to her, but there's no choice. I miss her a lot. I wish I could see her. I cross my fingers and hope that her life will be saved, yet again. It's a good thing she has a few left.

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Foster Cat Journal: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Last month I added my voice to those who were pleading with folks to come together and find a way to rescue some kitties from Henry County Care & Control in Georgia. With the help of Kat5 and Winging Cat Rescue and the generosity of many people, we were able to raise the funds needed to bust some of these precious kitties out of Death Row.

I offered to take Huggy Bear and her two kittens, but had no placement for the dilute calico we named, "Last Chance." We'd gone as far as I thought we could go. Without another foster family or rescue group stepping up to the plate, Last Chance and her offspring were going to be KILLED.

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Thankfully, our friend Jennifer, stepped up and offered to help. She'd never fostered kittens before and never fostered for our organization before. She doesn't even live near any of us, but she didn't care. She just wanted to help. If it wasn't for her last minute offer, we would have lost these sweet animals. They were saved just hours before their time was up

For the past two weeks, Jennifer and her hubby have been caring for Last Chance, now called, Angel and her babies, Spyder and Pumpkin.

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Tomorrow the kittens are due to be spayed and Angel will be seeing them again on Saturday when we have an adoption event at a local pet food shop. Since it's a long drive to our Vet for Jennifer, she dropped everyone off at my house tonight so I could get them to their Vet appointment by 8:30am.

It's great to finally meet these guys-especially Angel. You can tell she hasn't had the best life. Though friendly and very affectionate, if you reach out to pet her, she tucks her tail and ducks her head back. She'll still come to you for pets and is easy to purr. She's got a beautiful patchwork pattern and cute gray spot on her chin. She reminds me very much of Huggy, both in her look and overall condition. She's a mama, who's young enough that she still wants to play, but had a tough go of things and it has quieted her disposition. I can see this kitty really flowering once she has a safe and loving home to call her own.

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The kittens are chubby and rambunctious. Both are completely adorable. We're already getting adoption inquiries on both of them. I hope to find them awesome homes very soon!

It's all good. We came together and found a way to save these kitties and I'm really proud of all of us, but...if I sit quietly and stop thinking about the million things I should be doing, I get a pain in my gut. I feel like I'm going to burst into tears. I look at their faces and imagine them being put to sleep-that someone would have done that to them and they'd already have been dead for two weeks.

Who would have been witness to their lives? Who would have seen the love Angel has for her offspring or their joy in playing with a new toy? Who would have heard their purrs or taken comfort in watching them eat a good meal?

Who would have cared for them in their last moments? Indeed, would anyone?

In my joy is such sadness, more than anything else, for the ones we could not save that day. For the ones we could not save the next day or the next. Or the ones at Spaulding. There are so many it's sickening. You don't want to know about it. You don't want to look and see their faces. You want to fix it, but you don't know how!

So we pick our battles. We try to find joy in this moment. These cats will have a good life. They will know love and a warm bed. They will not know a cage ever again. When it's their time to pass on, they will be missed. They will be cared for in their last moments. It will be life lived that wasn't cruelly ended before it had a chance to begin.

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Foster Cat Journal: Sprinkles Update

In July I said good bye to Sprinkles, Twinkles and Pixie (and their nasty feral mama, Gabby!). As you may recall, Twinkles and Pixie went to a home together to live with another kitty named Snowman, while Sprinkles went to live with Ms. Terry and her nice family and their kitty, Patches.

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Sprinkles & Twinkles. Which one is which?

Sprinkles, renamed Ninja, didn't get the warm welcome she had hoped for from resident kitty, Patches. Concerned, Ms. Terry contacted me about the situation and I sent her a long list of things to do to encourage a "proper" introduction between the two cats. Patches was growling and angry, no doubt causing Ninja to retaliate. After reading my email and carefully following the strategy I suggested, within a week or two, she wrote back and told me the great news that everyone was getting along well!

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Photo by Ms. Terry and used with her permission.

Apparently, Ninja and Patches are such good buddies they sleep together and enjoy play time. Ninja also decided it was time that Patches gained the upper hand with the family dogs when she showed them who was boss! Now Patches has joined Ninja's efforts and the dogs are now in their proper place! So there!

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Ninja (left) and Patches (right). Photo by Ms. Terry and used with her permission.

To make things even better, Ms. Terry told her friend about our group and a few days later I met her and her family when they adopted Shamus and Arabella! Yay!

It's really nice to be able to share some good news with everyone. I have even more. I just need some time to write it up.

I can give you a hint that one of our dear readers was so inspired by the efforts here that she reached out to help a stray cat in dire need of rescue. Stay tuned for her heartwarming story!

Okay. One last cute photo!

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Photo by Ms. Terry and used with her permission.

Thank you to Ms. Terry and her family for not giving up on Ninja. I know they had some tough times, but in the end it worked out well. It's always tough to know when to give up and when to give it more time. In this case, things worked out well. I've been invited to visit everyone in the near future and am looking forward to that very much! Of course, I'll report back here with more photos-hopefully of the cats beating up the dogs! (JOKE).

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Some Sun Amidst the Clouds

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Shamus (above) and Arabella (below) were adopted by a very nice family yesterday. Congratulations, kitties and family!

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Sadly, poor Malibu and Nova still don't have a home. They're both getting big and the bigger they get, the less time we'll have to get them a good home. They're both really sweet kitties, but Nova doesn't show well and Malibu is goosey, even though he purrs loudly and with great passion and loves people! I hope they find their place with a family very soon.

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Lastly, though Our Director is a private person, I have to ask everyone to think good thoughts for her kitty, Spruce. Somehow, on Friday, he tore the ACL in one of his legs. He was rushed to the Vet and it was determined he needs surgery. Spruce will have his surgery on WEDNESDAY, 9/9/09. If you'd like to leave Spruce a message with your good wishes, please post them here and I'll pass them along.

I'm not going to wonder what's next. This week will be crazy juggling cats. I don't even want to think about knowing I'm the back up rescue group for the eight babies down in South Carolina that no one has stepped up to help. I feel like I bit off more than I can chew, but I'll stand by my promise, come Hell or high water...ho boy...

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Trouble Continues to Bubble Up

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Woe is Flea

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).

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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.

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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.

nora vet visit 09.jpg

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.

It's not.

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.

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