Wow. Bob is a new cat!
Was the dental surgery, which included removing two of his few teeth, the reason for his almost joyful expression when I saw him this morning? Or was it the fact that his anal glands had been emptied of "Thick, Pasty, Yuck...a double-glover for sure;" according to Super Deb, who either watched Dr. Larry do the deed, or was stuck having to do it herself.
What I don't understand is that of the three cats who've "been expressed," only ONE of them showed any symptoms of needed anything done. This bothers me. How am I to know if they're feeling uncomfortable, walking around with big, fat, gooey glands? I read that high fiber diets help clean them out, but that would only be due to making heavy duty turds that would push against the glands and clean them out as the poop passes.
Once again I will say, CATS ARE OBLIGATE CARNIVORES so FIBER is OUT. I guess I'm going to have to invest in rubber gloves or get used to paying an extra $28 for every wellness visit at the Vet.
Bob's got that "I just got my glands emptied, faraway look."
So, where was I? Oh yes, Bob's glands. They're empty. He's happy. I swear he was smiling, but that may be due to the fact that I was about to feed him. He had a brightness in his eyes, almost a sparkle. For such an old fella, it's remarkable to see. Regardless of what's making him look so un-Bob-like, it's worth it.
And no, I have NO plans of doing "home anal gland expression." I draw the line at washing their asses when they have "chocolate chips" (my term for bits of shit) stuck to their behind.
If you're nuts and want to know more about anal glands, check this nifty, rather obvious link: Anal Glands, The Movie It needs a 3D animation and some whoooshing sound effects, but you'll get the idea, anyway.
And if that didn't satisfy your hunger, you can read this article which has a sneaky plug for a product that's supposed to help clean out the not-Fun-bags. Not sure I believe it works or is necessary, but the rest is helpful. More Anal Gland Fun
So when in doubt, SQUEEZE THOSE BAD BOYS & EMPTY THEM OUT...
...By a PROFESSIONAL and please don't do this at home and if you do, don't tell me, especially if I'm ever invited over to eat dinner.
I've been remiss in mentioning my other foster babies. They've grown quite a lot since they first came here in early June. They were barely a few days old at the time.
It took almost 4 weeks before I was able to handle any of them since their feral Mama was not going to let me. Once things settled down and the kittens were big enough to move on their own, I found ways to begin the process of desensitizing them to being around humans.
As always, it's slow going and along the way I fretted about them reaching their milestones—especially little Twinkles, the runt of the litter.
She was the last to eat big kitty food, the one who always seemed very fragile when I handled her. She's still quite the Mama's girl, but she started to trust me enough to rest in my lap and now she plays along with her siblings, though she is slower to make sense of toys than the others.
The time is soon approaching when this litter will get spayed/neutered, then hopefully adopted (Pixie may already be spoken for!). Mama will be spayed, then released back to her caretaker and her life outdoors as she is, if there is such a thing, extremely feral. She has shown no sign of wanting to warm up to me in the past 7 weeks. I've tried to offer her treats and kindness, but they are received with hisses. That's ok. Her offspring are safe. She is healthy and gaining back some weight. She'll be ready when the time comes.
I'll miss these guys a lot. Sprinkles and Twinkles drive me crazy. I think they're twins. I can only tell them apart by their behavior. Sprinkles is outgoing and nutty and Twinkles is more reserved and sweet. Both of them are going to be great companions to some lucky family-so is Pixie.
I've got too much more to update...I've completely left out my own cats, Bob, Nicky and Gracie! There's lots more news, but for now, a much needed break from writing, photographing, feeding, cleaning up and playing with kittens.
Yesterday I posted a photo on Twitter of one of my foster kittens, Tweetie. He has an uncanny resemblance to The Famous Sockington, a cat so famous he has his own Army! Now, THAT is one cool cat.
Thousands of folks visited Tweetie's photo and visited my humble BLOG. Many were asking about adopting Tweetie, even though he's still a wild child and has a long way to go before he'll ever like people. It does my heart good to know about that support.
The sad reality for us, is that our rescue group is small and we don't have the luxury of time, to turn Tweetie, and those like him, into adoptable companions. This is why our group does TNR and we don't try to adopt out kittens who won't make good companions without months or years of work.
For those of you not yet familiar with TNR. TNR is "Trap, Neuter, Return" You can read this article on the ASPCA's web site
Tweetie IS adorable, but he's already bitten two people, myself included. Since he's been here, I've seen him soften a bit and I know I could turn him around, IF we had plenty of foster families or the money to open a shelter, since that would take the burden off me to foster more kittens.
That forces us to weigh the options. If I kept Tweetie for six months, I couldn't take any more foster kittens. That would mean, at least 24 to up to 50 kittens could have passed through my doors, who won't even get a chance to be rescued AND at the end of six months, there is no guarantee that Tweetie would be adoptable by then.
As I write this, I know of two kittens living in a car at one of the nearby town's dump. A very nice man is looking after them, but he knows if they don't get into a home for socializing soon, it will be too late for them, too. We can't help him because adoptions are down to nothing with the bad economy. Once we free up room, we take more. I hope to help these kittens as soon as mine are ready to go.
Alley Cat Allies also has something to say about this problem, too:
"Depending on your initial decision, you will end up with either socialized, well-adjusted kittens who you can easily adopt out, or a colony with fully sterilized, vaccinated feral cats and kittens. Either decision is correct because, as you have read, taking on the task of raising kittens or socializing them is no easy feat. Be secure that you made the best choice for your circumstances and don’t second guess yourself. Kittens can pull at our heart-strings, but in the end, doing what is best for you will ultimately be what is best for the kittens"
After all this, I want to assure you that we are working with Tweetie, in the time we have. We have to face this dilemma with kittens every year. There are always a few we can't turn around, no matter how hard we try. For those, the most compassionate thing we can do, is provide them with a loving caregiver and a safe outdoor home to live in. It's not ideal, but when you look at the figures of how many millions of feral cats and kittens are euthanized every year; a life lived outdoors, in comparison, is a life LIVED.
Tweetie, got his start living life in the woods of Sandy Hook, CT. He and his mama, two sisters and a brother, all had to fend for themselves. They were all really skinny and had sickness in their bellies. One day a scary lady (who is really nice) trapped them and took them away. At least the Coyotes couldn't eat them any more.
Little Tweetie was scared. He didn't like people, even if his brother and sisters did. He didn't know what would happen next.
Tweetie and his family went to live with another lady. She said she was their "foster mom" whatever that is. She gave them lots and lots of crappy tasting medicine, but now they feel better. She also gave them a lot of nom-noms! No more bellies with worms. Now bellies with warm food. Yummy!
Tweetie loved playtime, too! He likes to run and hide with his toys. I guess he's not great with sharing, but he DOES love his family a lot. People, well they can pet him, but he's still not too happy about it. His Foster Mom is sad. If Tweetie doesn't like people then he will have to go back to living in the woods. His Mom doesn't want that to happen, even if she knows Tweetie might like it better. She thinks she can help Tweetie learn to love people, but she only has a few more days left to help Tweetie. Then time is up. Tweetie will have a caretaker who'll feed him if he wants it, but Tweetie will no longer know the comfortable life of an adopted kitty.
One day (okay, today) Tweetie's Foster Mom noticed something. "OMG! You look like Sockington, the famous kitty known throughout the land! Are YOU Sockington's secret SON?!No sooner than his Foster Mom "tweeted" about Tweetie, the news broke and poor Tweetie was inundated by Pawpurrazzi!
"Oh no! You mean photographers stay away from me!
What is Tweetie, aka Sockington Jr. going to do? Is he going to find a family to adopt him who understands his plight? Or will this little fellow go back to his life of obscurity, living out his days in the wilds of the woods?
And what of his possible father, the great Sockington? When asked, his only comment was: "WHAT NO WE WERE JUST FRIENDS NOTHING WENT ON" even after seeing the photo of Tweetie, all he could say was:"UM WELL AHHH GOTTA GO"
UPDATE: Little Tweetie is available for adoption for Residents of Connecticut (and possibly near neighbor states, but you'd have to email email@example.com to find out). You can fill out a Pre Adoption form for Tweetie, or any of his siblings, by visiting our web site. Please note that Tweetie is NOT a friendly kitten-yet. He will need LOTS of work with an understanding family with no small children, as he has been known to fear-bite. His siblings are all very friendly. Hopefully he just needs more time to come around than they did.
I got the call from my Vet that Bob would be ready to go home around 6 pm tonight. I had no other details, save for "Dr. Larry wants to talk to you." Okay. Sure. Does this mean "have a talk" or just "talk to me about how things went?" I've had both types of talks and the former is not one I'm fond of having.
Bob had a rather long procedure. He had "fun" at both ends. Since he was sedated, I figured they better check his anal glands (see my article about the horror of anal gland expression!), so they did that, then he had his remaining teeth cleaned. With FIV+, Bob has crappy gums and teeth. Until he started living with me, he had NO Vet care at all and his diet was pretty bad, too. Needless to say, this is why I've had to spend so much time and money on Bob. He's come a heck of a long way in three years and I know he would be long dead by now, if I hadn't taken him in when my Mother died in 2006.
I spoke with Dr. Larry and he showed me two of Bob's teeth. They were no longer in Bob's mouth. One was broken, the other whole. They both showed signs of disintegrating near the gum line. They must have been VERY painful. Dr. Larry said that Bob reacted to him touching the teeth, even though he was unconscious. Poor Bob.
I asked how many teeth Bob has left. He's almost down to none, but he has a few, just for fun. He can start off eating mooshie food (which he already gets, then he can eat whatever he likes after a few days. He's on Metacam, a short dose, to keep him comfortable.
All that was left was for me to pay the $450. bill (anal gland expression went up $4 since last time I noticed!), hide my pedicured toes from Dr. Larry (he HATES seeing bare feet for some reason! What is so wrong about toes? Maybe he got ambushed by naked feet when he was a little kid or something?) and get Bob home.
Bob's already eaten, but his back legs are very weak. I see he got a butt shave, oo la la! Tomorrow it's pain meds and observation. Hopefully in a few days he'll be like his old self, only not in pain.
Quit being so cute or I'll have to adopt you! Then I'll have too many cats and be accused of being the crazy cat lady, but "they" never call people "crazy baby lady" if they have too many kids!
Life is so unfair.
I dread tomorrow. Bob Dole has to go in for a dental procedure. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal, but since Bob is who-knows-how-old and he has FIV+ and he has bad gums and worse teeth, that I flat out worry he won't even get through the surgery.
I must have the dental done. Since Bob's immune system is compromised, infected gums could kill him. He also has a mysterious head shake. He's had it since he came to live here 3 years ago, but it's worse now. I wonder if it's a dental issue? We can't seem to figure it out.
Bob may lose the rest of his teeth tomorrow, too. I hope not. For his sake, but that said, the food he likes is mooshy so he should be able to manage it all right. I guess we'll see.
The other thing on my mind is that Nicky flared up with a URI. Not too bad, just juicy sneezes. Now Spencer may be sick and Bob, too. It's hard to tell. I guess I'm so worried about him I want to be extra safe. I got him a shot of a new antibotic called Convenia on Tuesday as a precaution to help him fend off any URI secondary issues and to help him with the aftereffects of the dental.
Bob's three year anniversary living with me approaches. I'm so glad he's here. I sure hope he'll be here lots longer. I love you, Bob! Hope you have a great day tomorrow and all goes smoothly.
Angel caught mid-air bouncing from my lap onto suspecting kitten, Tweetie, below.
It's official. I'm a cat toy. I have the claw and bite marks to prove it! My skin, all over, is starting to look like drunken etch-a-sketch drawings. I feel like a human pin cushion.
Oh but they ARE SO CUTE, right? That makes up for it?
I wrote not long ago that I felt like I couldn't do enough to help save these homeless kittens and cats. I think I'm about to a point where it's feeling like, okay, I can't do more than this.
Right now I'm planning an Adoption Event, going to design collateral material for that event, am fostering two litters of kittens, four of them get meds every day, plus caring for one nasty mom. I'm also networking and trying to find some folks to adopt the kittens we have or consider being a foster family. I have one friend from High School who's shown interest in fostering and another is making a donation to our group. I also wrote an article for the paper and am thinking about contacting the folks at the local tv news. They love animal stories and having 38 kittens who need homes is a story, if you ask me!
Fluffy (left) and Angel (right)
This is also an exercise in balance. My own cats are not getting what they need. One of the peed on a rug this morning. I caught her in the act. Good old Petunia-the one with territory aggression. She peed right between where the two foster rooms are located. If that wasn't a message, I don't know what is. I'm going to have to try not to kill her, first, then try working with giving her more attention. I've also got two sniffly kitties-Nicky and Bob and I need to be watching them more carefully, as well. I don't want them to get a secondary infection!
Honestly, this nuttiness is, in theory, just for another week, then I'm back down to one litter. That said, I have even more compassion for our Director since she takes on the brunt of the litters. It has to be a ton of work, keeping it all straight and still finding time to have a life outside of cat care. I need to work on some design projects and get back to writing my book.
...that said, there are really cute, fluffy and non-fluffy kittens upstairs and they need some play time. Who can resist?
This sweet muffin is available for adoption. She was bottle raised and is extremely affectionate and relaxed. Whoever adopts her is going to be VERY VERY lucky. She's an amazing kitten!
To adopt Penelope, visit our web site