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Bob.

It's 4am. I can't sleep. I'm angry. I'm scared. I'm upset. I'm crying. All of this could have been avoided with a simple thing—get a cat neutered. That's it. If it had been taken care of in good order, I would not be up tonight, worried with a tight gut, thinking my cat, Bob, is on a slippery slope facing the end of his life.

I got Bob on August 15, 2006. The day my Mother died. Even though I already had six cats at the time and I didn't want to take in any more, I ended up being Bob's caregiver. It started out as a temporary situation, that quickly grew into giving Bob a permanent home. Bob was simply too sick to be adopted out, plus he was the last link to my Mother—good or bad, and I wanted the best for him.

Think Good Thoughts for Bob

My Mother did not believe in taking her cat to the Vet. She let one of her cats die when his urinary tract blocked up. I stopped talking to her when I found out. It was 3 or 4 months before I said a word to her, I was so furious. We constantly battled over whether or not it was right to Vet the cats. She blamed me of being cruel to the cat. They were "free", after all. Free to live their life they way they wanted. Bob could come and go as he pleased. He wasn't neutered. He never got a rabies shot. He got fed, crappy food and she brushed him. That was it.

Me. I will do whatever it takes to help my cats. I know I have to draw the line, too, but I know how vital it is to properly Vet your cat and I know it saves so much grief, in the long run, to do preventative things for your cat.

I finally made a deal with my Vet to trade services. I would help him with some computer training and he would do a FREE neuter for Bob. My Mother accused me of stressing Bob out and she refused to have any part of his surgery, but she couldn't say no to FREE, so I arranged everything. Why did I feel guilty for helping out this poor cat? It caused unending rifts, but I didn't care. I wanted Bob to have a better life, but after the surgery, there was nothing more I could do, other than get him an update to his rabies shot, which was, by law, needed to be done. My Vet looked at Bob's teeth and they were in bad shape, but I couldn't have yet another fight with my mother about it. She wouldn't spend the money and made me feel like shit for wanting to help him. I had to sit back and not say any more about taking Bob to get his dental done or I'd lose my Mother, too.

Once my Mother died, Bob went right to the Vet, first thing. There was no way I could endanger my cats health by bringing Bob here. At the Vet they determined that Bob was FIV+. Of course. Years of being an intact male-what did we expect? Bob had to have SIX teeth removed, too. He also had to be shaved down. Bob's health improved a lot after he recovered from the teeth extraction and getting onto a better diet. Bob is not a young cat. He is at least over 10 years old. Probably more like 15. I know I won't have Bob with me forever, but he has fit in perfectly with my cat-family and I love him dearly.

Two days ago Bob started vomiting. I thought it was a hairball, at first, but yesterday afternoon he vomited again. Each time it was a large quantity of food. Then Bob would go back and eat, then vomit again. I got him to the Vet and they pulled blood, did some x-rays and gave him sub-q fluids. I already know that Bob has FIV+, diabetes (that I manage with his diet), a liver that is not doing too well (he is on denamarin to help support his liver function) and his lungs sound like Hell. Up until two days ago, he was basically doing just fine. Now he can't keep any food down. Not even a bite.

I don't know what's in store for Bob. I hope we can turn him around and help him to feel better very soon. Just the idea that Bob may be on his final days with me makes me so sick and horrified. I don't want to lose him. I'm scared to find out about his blood test results. I want to run and hide and pretend this is not happening, but that won't help Bob and I need to find some way to be strong. I also have to find a way to deal with the anger I feel over my own Mother's treatment of this magnificent creature. How could she do this? How could she turn her back on him like that?

14 May 2008

I think I have some news!

Hello

Time to Go Bye Bye

Don't go!

Jelly doesn't want me to go. I don't want to go, either! Waaaahhhhhhhh!

13 May 2008

Much has transpired over the past few days. It's taken me some time to put my thoughts together about what I want to say. Part of the struggle is my life-long battle with depression. I find I get bogged down and feel run-down, then I just slip into doing as little as possible. I want to be functioning at a higher rate and really get a lot done, but I look around and I just can't work up the energy.

Part of this down-cycle may have to do with the natural flow of hormones, those "wonderful" things that make us all feel crazy or lazy from time to time and make me want to pop Ding Dongs into my mouth to stuff down bad feelings. Smart, right? The other facets have to do with having to part with the kittens and another Mother's Day passing without my Mother here.

My Mother died in August of 2006 and the pain is still fresh. Mother's Day is tough for me. I think back on how we spent one of our last Mother's Days. I so wanted to please her. To show her a good time, but she was tricky to hit the right combination of fun with a short drive and not-too-expensive dining. I was determined to get it right.

Me and Mum

As often was the case, we didn't celebrate Mother's Day on the day. It's too nuts trying to get into a restaurant. All those anxious families, screaming babies dressed up in overstartched clothes and new, tight shoes. Paying top dollar for a holiday that was planned by a greeting card company. No. That wasn't for us. My mother's idea of dressing up was wearing a button-down shirt, instead of a t-shirt. Comfort was key and that was just fine with all of us, too.

And no flowers. None. Flowers die. Mother didn't like that, but she didn't mind stealing lilacs from the neighbors yard.

What we'd do is pick the weekend before or after to celebrate the big day. Then we'd go on a day trip somewhere new, avoid the crowds and not feel ripped off.

This particular year, I decided it was time to have lunch with Sam's Mother and my Mother, together at a wonderful place in Woodbury called, The Good News Cafe. I did some research and found out about a rather large nursery, not too far away, where we could go for a stroll after our lunch. I'd never been there before, but they had a nice website and we all enjoy looking at flowers and trinkets.

I never plan too much to do, since Sam's mother had to travel a long way from uptown Manhattan and I didn't want to overtire her. Just a nice, simple day, with us together enjoying each other's company.

And it was great. For once. The restaurant served everyone delicious food. My mother's entree had some sort of red sauce on it. It wasn't a pasta sauce. It was too thin for that. My mother wondered aloud what this sauce was. It was so tasty! We all began to guess what it might be. Sitting next to her I said; "Maybe it's paprika. Let me have a taste."

So I taste the sauce. It's very good.

"Well? Is it paprika?"

"I don't know."

"What do you mean, you don't know?"

"I've never tasted paprika before, but the color looked about right!"

I got "The Look" (this was what we got as kids—not a spanking, just "The Look." We knew we were in deep shit if we got it. Somehow, though, being in my 40's, "The Look" wasn't so bad). Then my mother couldn't help but burst out laughing and we all quickly followed her lead.

8 May 2008

A new day dawns. The second day the kittens have been without their Mama. I've noticed some changes in them. Whether it's due to their continuing maturity or their life-change, I cannot say. What I've noticed is that the kittens do seem to rely more on me, not for the obvious food, but for the comfort of a warm body and reassuring physical contact.

Oooo...can I have some?

Their play cycles are a lot more intense and now that I've taken down their big dog crate to open up the space in the room, they can fly around with ease. Elmo is starting to get to the point of being able to climb beyond the confines of just climbing up on the bed. This is always the point where I start to be glad they're due to leave in a few more days. When they can really climb, they can get into dangerous situations. The foster room has a bed and two bookcases, but it also has stacks of boxes of books and the flattened dog crate leaning against the wall. If they knock any of those over, it could be very bad, indeed.

Ha ha ha Bad boy!!!

Jelly continues to slowly improve on his ability to eat "Big Boy" food. He still wants his warmed KMR, but today, instead of offering him the syringe, I just put the food in a bowl on the floor. He lapped at it right away and seemed to be okay that I also added a spoonful of the same canned food his siblings were easily eating. As a whole, I don't think they eat quite enough. The pick a bit here and there and I throw more food away then I believe they eat. I'm assuming this will change as their nutrition needs grow and they realize it's their only source for food now.

I've also turned into a cat bed.

Nap Time

I have an old down comforter I cover myself with, when I visit the kittens each evening. It partially protects me from getting scratched and it gives them a fun surface to play on and under (which gets me scratched for certain!). We hang out for an hour or two, playing or just socializing. They like the warmth and softness of the comforter and easily fall asleep on it. Some times they fall asleep on me—locking me into a weird, contorted position for fear of disturbing them. Last night Elmo and Happy each fell asleep on one of my shoulders, while I sat frozen in a sort of lounging, sort of hunched position—which is why I feel creaky this morning.

7 May 2008

Mama

Mama is gone.

Things went surprisingly well with the transfer. I did a lot of prep work, getting the room cleared out and moving the kittens to another room, all the while, keeping the "mood" in the room, peaceful.

Monica came by to collect Mama with a trap, cat carrier, net and a sheet. She was very impressive in her feral cat capture-technique and had Mama in the trap within a minute or two. Mama put up a bit of a fight, but it was out of fear. She wasn't aggressive at all. I still wish I could have given her a kiss good-bye without fearing I'd lose my face by doing so.

Last Lunch

I did my best for her before she left. Gave her lots of yummy food and time to spend with her babies uninterrupted. I wish her a happy, long life.

4:28 PM EST

I hate locking Jelly-Belly up. I'm basically starving him until he submits to eating food out of a bowl. I don't cage him at night because it's too long to go without food and I have to draw the line at getting up in the middle of the night to feed him.
Let me out!

Today I had Jelly locked up for about 6 hours, then freed him from captivity so he could play with his siblings and stretch his little legs. While he was out, I weighed him. There is no way his weight went up from 1.5 to 2.25lbs in TWO days. I must have done something wrong. I know I wasn't feeding him enough...so that makes me wonder what is going on. I really don't think he's eating other than midnight snack from Mom or a dribbled mess of KMR from me.

The single syringe I have is getting to a point where it jams while I'm trying to SLOWLY release the KMR into Jelly's mouth. Before I can move it out of the way, it unloads all over me and Jelly's chest. I think that out of the 4-syringe goal I had, Jelly and I wore one and he might have gotten bits of the remaining three.

This afternoon, a breakthrough. Jelly mid-play, hopped over to the water bowl and began to lap water out of it! Finally, a sign of improvement! Here is the moment, captured for all to see
Finally!

4 May 2008

He still won't eat! I'm going insane!

3 May 2008

Jelly-Belly lapped at some water this morning. It was the first sign of him being interested in something besides Mama for his nutritional needs. I've been feeding him with a syringe every 6 hours or so. He laps at the dull end of the syringe, chews it a bit. I know he must be pretending it's like Mom, only it must feel odd to him. With the teeth he has, I'm glad to feed him. Mama would really be feeling some pain if he tried to nurse. Thankfully, she seems to just stay by herself. It makes me sad to not see the kittens hanging all over her, as they once did, but it's part of the process and the babies must learn to live on their own.

I've had some news about Mama's placement. She will be living with one of her rescuers! I can't imagine this cat living with anyone, but the surprise for Mom is that two of her offspring from a previous litter are also waiting for her to arrive! I wonder if they'll know each other? I certainly hope so. It will make Mama's adjustment to her new home a lot easier.

I wish she could stay here. I have the room, but it would be a nightmare. Her new home is going to be small quarters, which makes her new family even more wonderful, in my eyes! To take in a tough kitty like Mama is no easy thing to do. I hope it goes great for everyone.

Just a few more days and Mama will be gone. I better get off my butt and take some more photos. First, though, I gotta clean the room out again. Those kittens are creating a stink! Yikes!

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