I can't believe it's been almost two weeks since the cats arrived. All the joy and good wishes for their future are on hold with no end in sight. These cats are so sick, it's terrifying me. None of us have ever seen such sick animals for such a long duration. The number of medications each cat gets grows daily. Also, one cat will improve, another gets worse, but they get better or worse in different ways. One is snotty, one's eyes are suddenly inflamed, then vice versa. I can't even predict who is going to get what, next. The Vet says it can be WEEKS for things to resolve. WEEKS! Only Comet and Rudy might be coming out of it, though Rudy is shockingly still snotty after two full weeks of meds. The one bright spot is that Comet gained a POUND in 12 days!!!! She looks more like a cat, instead of skin and bones.
Rudy, looking much improved, but sounds like heck, still.
I've been too busy to take any decent photos, but here's one I shot this morning. Dancer didn't look bad yesterday, then this morning, this is how she looked. I made yet another run to the Vet, every day this week now...to pick up more meds. I'm so fed up and angry and frustrated. I need them to get BETTER ALREADY!!
Dancer. Just gave her new eye drops. Hope they help her. She is playful and eating well.
And poor Blitzen, who once was the most beautiful kitten I'd ever seen-now he's a shell of his former self. His once sparkling blue eyes are pale and runny, staining his cheeks. He was literally foaming and bubbling at the mouth. He needs more than I can provide for him, so he's been admitted to the Vet's isolation boarding facility. I can't tell you how deeply this KILLS ME to see these little guys suffering so badly. I know I have to see this through, but I'm not sure I can do it.
My little guy, Blitzen, a shadow of his former self.
This is how Blitzen looked about 10 days ago. Can you believe this is the SAME kitten? Now you know why I'm heartbroken.
Last night I packed Comet and Rudy up, along with their meds and a chart I designed so Jennifer could figure out how to dispense everything and when. It took two hours to pull everything together. I had just enough time after getting home from the Vet, to get it done. I am not getting anything done for myself, my work, my home, just cats and Vets. I am VERY GRATEFUL that Jennifer took these guys. They will get a MUCH nicer place to live and the attention and care I could not provide. They were getting the basics and that's about it. With them gone, I will have a bit more time for myself, once I scrub down their room and wash all the linens they used.
This is JUST for TWO CATS. I am dealing with FIVE CATS worth of MEDS. You can see the charts I made for Jennifer on the far right. The white boxes indicate how often the meds are given out.
And through all of this, now Sam and I are not talking. He stays in his office downstairs and I stay in mine. When I enter the kitchen, he leaves it. When I sit down on the sofa next to him, he gets up. A late Christmas gift arrived for him yesterday. I gave it to him as a bit of a peace offering. It's still sitting there unopened. I think I will just send it back. I don't nee this slap in the face on top of everything else.
I really need to get out of here, not go to a Vet, not do an errand, just do something I want to do or see people I want to see, but I can't think of anyone or any where that would help me find my smile.
I honestly am so fed up, I fear anyone who dares to give me any grief right now. I seriously am about to fly into a rage that may be seen from outer space. Heck, that might cheer me up? Maybe I should try it?
I had a good cry yesterday and got some rest, not enough, but a start. I talked to the Director and she said how badly she felt and how she knows just how I feel, too, but she was sorry she couldn't take any of the sick cats off my hands-you know she is wiped out, too.
I don't dare get into a rant about that right now, but let's just say-how badly does someone have to cry for help before the folks that are supposed to help, step up to the plate. I don't know how many times I've sucked it up, tired or not, but I guess that doesn't count when I'm in a jam.
Our dearest friend, Jennifer who had to put one of her kitties down a few weeks ago, ended up having to do the same thing to another cat yesterday. She is the one who also just adopted a 13 yr old, diabetic cat in very poor body condition. Jennifer is a Saint. On top of all that, she read my blog post and she called and offered to take Rudy and Comet. I'm torn by my own need for help and my fear that either of the kittens would get any of her cats sick. Also, Jennifer, do you really need more to do? Although, maybe having little ones running around would soften the heartache of losing a good friend? I can't say.
I'm going back to the Vet...again...I might as well get an apartment nearby. Hopefully Rudy and Comet's recheck will go well and they will be ok'd to go to Jennifer's. I'm bringing Blitzen back even though he was there yesterday. He has become so seriously snotty that it's terrifying me. I'm not a friggen' VET! I'm a Graphic Designer! It seems as though everyone expects me to just plug in some Sub-Q fluids or take temps on a wildly wriggly kitten or just some how know what to do for every little problem.
Ugh. Sorry for complaining. At least, so far (KNOCK WOOD), none of my cats are really sick. I'm hearing a sneeze or two and last night Tunie's eye was a bit runny, but overall they are OK. Hopefully, because they had better health to start with, they are able to fight this off. We'll see...it could still flare up.
Lastly, I really appreciate everyone's supportive emails and comments. You've all been there with all of this stuff and it makes it somehow tolerable to know that you care so much! I wish I could give you all a huge hug right now! THANK YOU!
Caring for seven sick cats is killing me. Between their care, my own cats and the f-ing holiday stuff, I am so exhausted and sick it's scaring me.
Yesterday, Super Deb came over with a care bag full of things to help Cupid, our Mama kitty, feel better. Deb gave her sub-Q fluids, as her temp was 104.1°F. Cupid hadn't eaten much, has the runs, is lethargic and limp. It breaks my heart. I've tried a gillion different foods to tempt her. We ended up force feeding her, then she ate a bit on her own.
Today the gang was slated to go to the Vet for a re-check. I was figuring Mama needed more care than I can give her. This morning I had to get up early because Sam had to leave for NYC. I need him to help me medicate the cats, so I got up. I was so tired, I felt delirious. All I wanted to do was go back to bed, but I couldn't.
At least Cupid ate for me, which was a big surprise. I was very happy to see that, but she's still not “right.” The kittens are getting snottier and I'm still having trouble getting Donner to eat consistently. They all look like shit-this is after five days of meds. Great.
After I took care of all the cats and I fed myself, I went back to bed to sleep as long as I could before I had to pack up and get going. I had a bad dream. I was with some family, I was in a huge house. I didn't know where I was and I was frantically trying to get my iPhone to show me my GPS location. It said I was in Louisiana or Mississippi, but not sure...then I tried to call Shelby to come and help me but I couldn't get a call out. I woke up feeling worse than I did when I went to sleep.
As I got dressed, I heard vomiting. Petunia spewed a two foot trail ALL OVER MY BED, then more on the floor. I had to strip the bedding and get it washed, great.
Then I had to hurry up and get the cats into their carriers. This is the part where I either skip ahead or just tell the truth...I thought I had to fart, but it was not a fart...oh no. You can guess the rest. I had to RACE into the bathroom to clean up and change my clothes. Yes, I have the runs from not eating or not eating well and not getting enough sleep. I was running late, getting angry, then of course...I flush the toilet and I can tell it's going to back up and FLOOD all over the floor. I get the water turned off before it's too late. I can't find the f-ing plunger, so I just leave it. I'm already 15 minutes late.
I try to go slow, take a deep breath, so I don't let the momentum of all this stuff get me into an accident. I make it to the Vet's a few minutes late. Not a big deal.
The big deal is Cupid. Though her fever has broken, she has a great deal of fluid in her abdomen. Her kidneys are small. They took x-rays to confirm. It took three people to hold her down to get a blood sample. The Vet said something about her veins being blue before she even touched them..that it was weird. She also told me that Cupid is more like FIVE, instead of 1-2-another LIE from the good old south.
Cupid could be sick from parasites. One of the kittens has tapeworm. They all got treated for it. I hope that's the only problem going on because the head Vet came into the exam room and said that it's possible Cupid has kidney disease. If she does, it may mean there is nothing they can do and that Cupid will have to be euthanized.
I was not ready to hear that. Would I ever be? I asked her if money was not an issue, if we could help save Cupid's life. She said “maybe,” but even money may not be able to give her the chance at ever surviving.
I ask myself, what have I done? If I hadn't taken Cupid, she would be dead. I saved her life only to take it a few weeks later? Is that how this is going to play out?
I haven't even mentioned Comet-who lost her adopter and Rudy, who lost his, too. No one wants to wait. Both cats are still snotty and sick. Caring for them consists of me feeding and medicating them. That's it. I can't spend any time with them. I can't give them what I don't have.
I need help. I really need this to be done. I need Cupid to not be deathly ill, for the damn kittens to start bouncing back and eating well. I need Comet and Rudy to be in another home so they can get some love and attention they deserve.
I need some sleep. I need some good food and I need for there to STOP being f-ing problems with all the cats.
Tonight, one of our most dear friends on Covered in Cat Hair, Anne (AnnaBanana74 here and on Twitter, too), sent out a number of “Tweets” that sent a shock wave through those of us who follow her. I got a call from Andrew, another one of our CiCH friends, asking me if I'd seen what Anne had been posting. I had not. I ran over to my computer to look. I was sickened and saddened by what I read:
‘Made the decision to disavow most of my family. That's news.”
“Two bottles of wine, 6 Xanax and xx number of Ambien TBD.”
“Hey at least the cats give a fuck”
“Peace out all.”
“Please find my cats and fosters good homes”
and an hour later...this....
Everyone experiences difficulties in their lifetime and some come with such force, the only option we might feel we have to stop the hurting is to hurt ourselves, one last time, and to be over and done with this awful life. I'm not reading out of a self help book. I've lived it and lived through it, myself. Tonight Anne called out for help on Twitter. Maybe she was just venting “aloud,” but it was so unlike anything she's ever said before that a number of people perked up and took action.
Another one of our friends, here, Ms Julie G, jumped on the phone, calling Anne (as I had done, along with a few others) and got nothing but ringing or the call went right to voicemail. I left Anne a message asking her to call me right away and that no family argument was worth hurting yourself. Out of concern, Julie called the Police. So did I. So did some other people. Not ONE of us have ever even MET Anne. Tonight was the first time I ever heard her voice on her outgoing message. It didn't matter that we had never met, the cords of love bind us whether we are living in the same house or living hundreds of miles apart. Anne has always been supportive, compassionate, loving to everyone. She is passionate about rescuing her little kitties. She shares advice and offers her heart to whoever needs it.
Something happened to her that tipped her over the edge. She called out for help and her voice was heard loud and clear.
After a number of frantic calls, emails, txts, I finally heard from Julie. She had saved the day...well...and probably saved Anne's life. I'm not totally clear on who's call did the trick, but does it matter? We called. Things happened. They reached the right person at the right Police department. They had spoken to Anne! She WAS alert, but...she HAD tried to hurt herself and needed help.
I don't know much more than that. Anne is in a hospital somewhere in upstate NY. What happens next. I don't know. What I do know is that when I heard that Anne WAS in good hands, I burst out crying and began to shake with relief. I've lost two family members to suicide. No one got to them in time. I've battled with that demon, myself. What causes someone to feel that taking their own life is the solution, is a private, complex matter. Thankfully, for our Anne, she cried out for help, perhaps not realizing just how many people were listening.
Anne, I am so sorry you felt so badly tonight that you wanted to end your life. You need to know that you are NOT alone. We ARE here with you and we DO CARE, so very much. If you think I'm a big jerk for writing about you, please understand, I only do it because I care about you and I want other people to know-other people who might feel just like you or I do, that they, too are not alone.
Please, all of you, if you ever get to a place in your life where you feel like you don't want to go on, remember, the one thing you can count on is things will always change. Take a deep breath. Wait a moment, then...another. Suddenly, you will soften and not feel as badly as you did a few minutes before. Give yourself the chance to take the next breath. There's so much in life to enjoy and experience. Don't let these bad feelings drive you to miss out on all of the wonderful things in the world.
Anne, you are loved. Don't forget that.
I'm too tired to plot out the points of this post so I'll ramble along the best I can. Last night I was up until about 3am with palpitations-I'm guessing from too much caffeine and stress. On top of that, Christmas, has not been an easy holiday for me to endure-yes endure. My parents are gone-3 years since my Mother died and 10 since my dad's been gone. Holidays give me a stomach ache, mostly. Little things make me cry. I try to find solace in visiting with my close friends, but all the family traditions are gone and I feel like I'm wearing someone else's clothes. Maybe they protect me from the cold, but they don't fit quite right-maybe they smell a bit odd, too.
Today didn't get off to the best start. I was already tense about Donner and Cupid, who weren't eating well, or at all, the day before. When I opened the door to the foster room, I feared seeing a dead cat. Thankfully everyone was alive, but Mama-Cupid had clearly vomited all the food she ate the night before. I had gotten her to eat by offering her about ten different foods. I finally found a winner- crappy, grained dry food, but she ate. That's what was important. Now, a huge splash of vomit covered the left side of her dog crate. She was curled inside a covered cat bed next to the mess, looking limp and weak.
Sam has to help me give the meds to the cats. They get so many different medications, I can't hold them and give them the drops, ointment, creams, pills, what have you...When I tried to get some probiotic paste into Blitzen's mouth, he squirmed, then bit my thumb-a deep puncture bite. I threw myself backward and howled in pain. I knew I was in trouble if I didn't get it cleaned out quick.
I ran to the bathroom and grabbed at the betadine and hydrogen peroxide. I washed my thumb, trembling all the while. I soaked my thumb in a peroxide filled Dixie cup and kept squeezing at the wound to push any contaminants out of my finger. It bled profusely, which was good. Hopefully I got it cleaned out enough to keep me from having to visit the ER on a HOLIDAY!!!
After that, what could I do? I had to finish giving the 4 remaining cats their meds. By now I was cross and Sam was silent. We just did what we had to do, then I had to figure out how to get Cupid to eat, so I force fed her some A/D and warm water gruel. I hoped she could keep that down and that it would help her find her hunger again. She looked so miserable, but I have to do the best for her, whatever that may be.
Thankfully, little Donner ate. She ate a bit of this and a bit of that and a bit more, then had a drink. She looked a bit more perky. With any luck, she is out of the woods and on her way to being healthy again.
Then I tried to feed my own cats. Poor Bob is sneezing. He's either sick from being around Nora or he's got the nasty-ass bug my fosters have. He was reluctant to eat. I'm sure he can't smell his food. I tried and tried to get him to eat. I finally gave up and gave him some grain-free dry. He hasn't had dry food in a month. He gobbled it up greedily. At this point, I want to keep him going. I don't care what it takes.
I also put out a brand new electric blanket for Bob. I got it on sale at Tar-jay. I let it warm up, then carried a very irritated Bob over to the new bed. He sat on it, feeling the warmth. He started to purr and gently knead at the blanket. I feared he would electrocute himself, but he wasn't doing it too hard. He laid down and purred deeply. He looked relaxed and content. It was great to see him like that.
Sam put on the "Yule Log" DVD. It's video footage of a fireplace with a nice fire going, so in essence you can pretend your TV IS a working fireplace. The soundtrack is rather poorly orchestrated Christmas songs, but it does the trick. It throws me over the edge and I burst into tears. I'm taken back to all the years my Mother would turn the TV to WPIX to watch the Yule Log broadcast. This was before there WERE DVDs or even computers in the home. My Mother would have my brother and I stand in front of the TV and pretend to warm our hands on the warmth from the phoney fire. Of course she would take a photo to commemorate the event. One year, when we were in our teens, my brother lit a piece of paper on fire and held it in front of the TV to add to the realism. I was terrified he would drop it onto the floor and set the house ablaze. Hey, he did it when he was four, so why stop at 15?
Sam didn't know what to do. He offered to get some present for me to open. He just didn't get it. Opening a present isn't going to fix a broken, stressed out heart. Then Sam got real quiet again. This was just not going well at all. Some times I just want to give up and leave, but I don't. There is no running away from heartache or missing your parents.
We both tried to right the ship. I sucked it up and said we should open our presents. I didn't expect much, nor did he. We both had some good surprises and it was all right, though there was little joy, more polite friendliness. Let's just get through this...right?
We were invited to visit some friends. I thought it would keep my mind occupied, which it did, but Sam stayed on one side of our friend's home, while I was on the other. I tried to make peace, while he sat quietly with a cat on his lap. I know he might be hurting, too. Sam has to have a root canal in a few days. He was treated with a big antibiotic injection and said he was doing all right, but maybe he wasn't. I don't know. Sam doesn't say much. Maybe you're noticing that trend. I'm too tired to talk to him to figure it all out. I got nothing left. He's got...I don't know what. I know he went to bed at 9:30pm and I am up, too wired to sleep.
If Cupid doesn't improve, I'll take her to see Dr Larry tomorrow. She's too thin to not be eating. She's separated from her kittens so they can't bother her. It's weird. They seem to know she's in trouble. When she gets up to use her litter pan, they run over to her dog crate to look in on her with interest. They so want to be with her, but she pays them no mind. She does her business, then goes back to her bed. Her sparkle, what little she had when she got here, is gone. I hope I can get it back.
As for my own sparkle, well, the odds are that I will get that back one of these days and I will get through this Holiday season. What I can't get back is a part of my heart. It was left behind with a small, crazy family that lived in a 2-story colonial house on Salem Road in Trumbull, CT. They did silly things during Holidays, like Olympic Score belching at the dinner table or take a family portrait and where our heads would be, we each have taped in place, a vinyl die-cut placemat of Santa's smiling face. There was something about all of us together that was magic and there's no getting that back.
Cupid and the kittens have the URI, as I feared. Donner and Mama have the worst of it. They're each on 5-6 meds, twice a day. Shoot me!
Cupid and Blitzen, not too happy to be confined, yet again.
Donner (I know it should be DonDer, but too late for spelling boo-boos), is not doing well. She hasn't been eating for a few days and has to be force fed right now.
Dancer behaved herself for her claw trim. She's doing pretty well overall, but did have a fever.
Blitzen is beautiful No matter what angle or lighting!
This morning, Super-Deb the Vet Tech and dear friend, emailed me to ask me if it would help me if she volunteered to continue caring for Cupid and Rudy until Saturday! Sure, it's just two more days, but with Mama and the kittens flaring up with URI, the less cats I have here, the better. I was truly overjoyed and grateful for her help. THANK YOU, SUPER DEB! I'm SO GLAD I BOUGHT YOU A BOTTLE OF WINE LAST NIGHT! You'll love Pure Evil Chardonnay from South Australia. Well reviewed. Should be a keeper!
Also either I kissed or got kissed by Dr. Larry! Delirium set in so I fogged out the important, who started it all and it was just a kiss on the cheek, but heck, after what...10 years? I got a kiss! He liked his wine, too. I think he chose 3 Blind Moose Merlot. Not sure. I also got some Bitch Bubbly which went over well with some of the staff. Thank you guys, for helping me when times got tough.
Also, thank you to Jennifer for offering to take Rudy & Comet this weekend!!! Now that they are "safe" to go into foster care with other families, Jennifer kindly stepped up to help out even though she has her hands full with her own cats and their health problems. Having the little tuxes out of here will really help me focus on Cupid and the babies.
Sadly, I did not have time to do my special custom Christmas Card, though I think the crappy image above covers how I feel. YES, those are REAL hairballs on the tree and YES, I am leaving them there as the new vogue in holiday ornaments! Yes, I'm a trend-setter AND a cat rescuer on the verge of a nervous breakdown!
Merry Christmas, everyone. May our New Year be filled with Joy and Healthy Cats!
Thank YOU to all the folks who took time out of their busy lives to offer words of support and love during this difficult time. It humbles me to the core and I appreciate it a lot.
Our good friend, Memory, who saved the local kitty after it was hit by a car, wrote me and offered to foster Rudy and Comet if they were not contagious any more. Very generous, indeed! Thank you, Memory! I may take you up on that!
And where would I be without my new good friend, Clare? She adopted our Will after he was hit by a car in South Carolina. Clare was so sweet that she brought me some very YUMMY Christmas cookies and bars! What a big surprise to have her stop by and hand deliver us special treats while she, herself is battling a cold! Clare! You are a DOLL and I adore you! Thank you for helping lift my spirits! I hope I can be good and SHARE all these great treats!
I must be in bad shape if people are coming to my door, bearing food gifts! ;-) THANK YOU, CLARE!
Wish us luck. I'm taking Cupid and the kittens to the vet soon. Just want them vetted before the holiday hits. If they are going to break with this URI I want to be prepared. I'm also stopping at the liquor store on the way home to load up on something that will knock me OUT later. (Kidding! You KNOW I prefer Xanax!)
I haven't cried for a few hours. This is a good sign. I had a really nice talk with Dr. Larry, who I LOVE. I will always love him! He is my soul-brother! He's taking care of Rudy and Comet and we both know it's just this one time...it's asking a lot, but he knows I'm respectful of this situation and don't take his help, lightly. Thank you for helping me Dr. Larry and Super Deb and staff!
Got other news...the local rescue group has URIs-bad ones, too. Something nasty is going around, that's for sure.
More after I get back from the Vet...stay tuned...
I think it's a bad sign if I look at one of my cats doing something stupid and I burst into tears, seemingly for no reason. I'm so stressed out about all the sick cats that I'm feeling sick, myself. I've been trying to just breathe...not flip out...try to be good to myself, but it's not working. I'm exhausted and woozy and am losing the battle at caring about the outcome of all of this.
It's been a few days and Cupid and the kittens are just not eating well. I got Donder's temperature last night and she was not feverish, though she was a tiny bit over 102°F. These kitties haven't been seen by a Vet since they arrived. I was hoping that I could keep them comfortable and not stress them with a car trip to the Vet, but after trying five different foods last night-from chicken baby food, KMR, A/D, Solid Gold-“kitty crack” and one flavor of Wellness, they just sniff and walk away. I feel like I'm at the topmost rise of a terrible roller coaster and I can see it's about to drop downwards, but I can't see the bottom. I anticipate the feeling of of the drop with a deep primordial fear that grabs my gut and gives it a good, hard squeeze.
I've decided to get Cupid and the family to the Vet. It's almost Christmas and I can't risk them really being sick over the holiday. Whatever I was hoping to get done to lamely attempt at preparing for Christmas, will have to wait. Another late night awaits, trying to catch up.
I also heard news about Vixen. She's congested now and her owners are taking her back to the Vet. I know they're supposed to go out of town for a few days starting tomorrow. They have a great pet sitter set up, but now I wonder if their holiday is going to be ruined, too. It's one thing if my plans are shot, but it's not fair that they have to suffer, too. I hope Vixen is just hitting the snotty phase of the URI and will be all right very soon.
It really tears me up to know so many of them are suffering. At least I know now what I want for Christmas: a magic wand to wave over these sick cats and help them be well again.
Yesterday was tough for me. I woke up at 7am, after only five hours of sleep. I was up late the night before because I hadn't spent enough time with Cupid and her kittens since they arrived. I've made sure they've had plenty to eat and drink and a clean litter pan, but that's about all the time I've had. I've been so busy running the sick cats back and forth to the vet, spending time with Dash (he's alone most of the day and I take him out and run him around as much as I can) and dealing with the many applications from hopeful adopters, calling them, calling vets, calling our Director, getting photos of them to the paper, that it left me having to wait until midnight before I could start to have some real time with them.
Cupid lets me know how she feels about me.
Cupid is laid back and sweet. The first days she was here, she spent a great deal of time, pressed up in the corner of the big dog crate I use when I need to separate cats from each other. She looked depressed. The many weeks of life in a cage had probably taught her that life was meant to be spent sitting in one spot, all day, up against metal bars. I thought she might not be friendly, but that was not the case.
Cupid has slowly been allowing herself to rest on the bed, that has a big fluffy down comforter on it. I found her sitting on the cat condo by the window this afternoon. She seems content, but also fragile. It's tough to get her to eat, but once she starts she's all right. She's battling the same damn URI the other cats have and maybe her sense of smell is off. I worried about mastitis, but she seems fine when I checked her mammary glands. She's painfully thin, but even after a few days her coat has improved a lot. I think that one day she will really be a serious beauty, once she gets her health back.
If I could have rested in that moment, I would have been fine, but I had to talk to our Director about where Comet and Rudy were going to be living. Our Director was "done" with fostering and would only help in an emergency. I did NOT want either of the cats in my house. They were still quite sick and I didn't want MY cats to get sick or Cupid and her family to get sick! Sniffles are one thing, but raging high fever and bad congestion is a big problem.
I've got two rooms I can use. That's it. I have my big foster room for mama and the babies-done deal. I have a bathroom with a tiny laundry room attached-which is space two. I don't want ANY cats in that space. It's a nightmare to do laundry while there are cats in the room, plus it's too much work. It takes me about an hour per feeding to get everyone fed, fresh water, cleaned litter. If it's just one room plus my own guys, that's one thing, but an extra room of cats-not good.
I've got Dasher in room two. He can't be put back with Rudy and Comet. Dash is doing fairly well. He's eating great, running around, sneezing, but that's it. If I put those other sick cats in with him, I can't adopt him out on Wednesday.
I give Dash a break as often as I can, to get out of the tiny bathroom and run around in the bedroom. He's a joy to have around.
So I can't take them, the Director won't, I can't ask Jennifer because she has geriatric cats and it's too much to ask her to take on sick animals. I can't ask Rick, another foster, because he has six cats of his own. I had our Director ask our Vet to do a medical boarding of the cats until after Christmas-just to give me breathing room and maybe the cats would be healthy enough to not be such a high risk of getting my cats sick. They said, No. I called Dr. Larry and talked to Super Deb. It was weird that she answered the phone on a Monday (she doesn't usually work on Monday's), but I was grateful to talk to her. By the time I called her, I was in tears. I had tried to figure out how to deal with these sick cats. It wasn't my fault they were so sick, but it was on me to care for them. Thankfully, Super Deb said; YES, but it would COST. I felt at that point, there is no price I wouldn't pay for sanity. I honestly felt like I was about to crack from stress.
Now all I had to do was get Rudy to the Vet for a checkup. Pick up Comet from the same Vet, then drive over to Dr. Larry's office and have them both examined, then they would be boarded, but only for a few days. On Christmas eve they have to be picked up. Not ideal, but better than nothing. If I play my cards right, I can get Dash out of here (adopted) and slot the sick cats into my bathroom. Also, the sick ones would have 4 more days of meds-which would put them at just a week's worth. That might be enough to get them to a point where they are doing better.
Just as I was about to walk out the door to meet our Director to pick up Rudy and get him to the Vet for a re-check, I got a call. It was from Julia, Vixen's adopter. Vixen was sick. She broke with the URI and Julia wanted my advice. When she said: “Didn't get up this morning..not eating...vomiting” I urged her to get the kitten to the Vet-already done. She was going in shortly. Holy shit...that's four cats with this nasty URI. Of course I had warned Julia that this might happen and Julia is a great person-totally understanding. She doesn't have other cats so it was safe for her to bring Vixen home, but now that she was home, she was in trouble. I felt guilty and responsible. I have never and would never knowingly adopt out an animal that was sick. I was mortified. No wonder...a few hours later I found out that Vixen had close to a 106°F temp and had a SERIOUS EAR MITE INFECTION on top of that.
Ear mites are not that big of a deal, but in this case it was the straw the broke the camels back. NONE of these cats should have ear mites!!!!!Supposedly they were ALL checked by a VET before they left GA. Something wrong is going on. I don't know what it is, but I did ask Barb to find out. This is why we do the fundraiser-so we can afford to get the cats vetted before they come here. Transports don't cause ear mites-at least not this bad. And that, I found out later, was not even the half of it...
I got Rudy to the Vet. He looked marginally better. No weight change. No temp. Ate for us. Still very snotty and a bit teary. Had blood in his nasal discharge. They added one more med to his bag of tricks and said they wanted to check him in a week to ten days. “When can we get him to his new home???”...two weeks?? Yes. About that...we have to see how he's doing. Great. Now I may lose the adopters we have for Rudy and Comet, since Comet is only marginally better herself.
Comet was released with lots of meds. Her eyes look much better, but she is very snotty. She also was pooping out tapeworms. Nice!!! Were any of these cats really de-wormed or was it a lie? No problem I will deworm everyone again to make sure...again...what is going on here?
Now that the better part of the day was behind me, I had yet to get the cats over to see Dr. Larry. Actually, they saw Dr M. since Dr. Larry is off on Monday's. I loaded the cats into the car and drove through rush hour traffic just getting to his office on time. I dreaded going there partly because I knew I was going to see Julia and I was scared to find out if Vixen had taken a turn for the worse.
Super Deb looked over Rudy and re-checked his vital signs. Rudy was a playful little imp. Nothing seemed to bother him much. Deb stepped out of the room and I sat down, holding Rudy in my crossed arms. Rudy laid across my chest, like a baby. Deb opened the door and as she did, Rudy suddenly grabbed at my right boob and nipped my nipple-as though he was going to nurse off me!!! Debbie stopped frozen in her tracks, then stepped back out of the room, shouting “I didn't see that!” I had good laugh, but man was that FREAKY!!!!!! No pix. Sorry everyone!
Then Comet was checked out. She is really really thin and dehydrated, still. She had a fever, but that could be brought on by being in the car or her being due for another antibiotic OR she is running a fever. Regardless, she was going to be cared for by good people who have the skills to make sure she stays in better shape for a few more days. Then, she will be my problem, but for now I had a break...
...until Dr. M came into the room and ripped me a new asshole.
It wasn't enough that I was feeling horrible about so many cats being sick. That it was my fault that I subjected them to this awful transport and that they are too young to handle it. Well, some of the cats that are sick are 6 and 8 MONTHS old. The kittens are doing marginally better (other than Rudy). This also seems to be a great opportunity for people to give me shit about doing transports at all. You know...let me tell you this: the deal is done. I did the transport. The animals got sick for one reason or 100 reasons. Some are shitting worms. Some have ear mites and flea dirt. Let's get them well and not use this as a platform to make whatever point you want to make. Apparently, Dr. M did not get the memo because she launched into me about how the Practice is too small and that they don't have adequate quarantine facilities and if I wanted to get into a viral quarantine, well that would REALLy start to cost big bucks. That she couldn't completely decontaminate herself so it put the other patients at risk and if this was her Practice she would have not allowed these cats to be boarded at all. Then she told me about North Shore Animal League washing their hands of an adoption they did a few days before and that the puppy that was adopted was near death...then here's Vixen's adopters whose cat could also die from a high fever and how would I feel if my adopters had to face the DEATH of their cat just after adopting it? Hey...they KNEW the risks. I was very clear that Vix had been exposed to a nasty URI. That she got sick was bad, terrible, awful, rotten, BUT...why am I getting ripped on about this?
I seriously felt like I needed to just take the cats home. I started to imagine seeing Bob Dole and Spencer, dead. Neither of them could handle getting this f-ing virus-espeically Bob. I started to imagine that this rescue may be the worst thing I have ever done-with the best intentions I have ever had.
We've had many good runs. Many good transports with very happy outcomes. Now we are having a big problem and I'm basically on my own. I am very thankful I didn't get 12 cats instead of 9. I really would have been in trouble if that was the case.
I did my best to explain that we've learned that we cannot spay or neuter the cats before they leave GA. It's too much stress on them to do that, then transport them. Her reply was “Ya, THINK??!!!”...in a way, almost mocking, and certainly belittling me. I felt like I was an inch tall.
I left the exam room while Rudy and Comet were set up in their new home. I heard Julia's voice as I turned the corner. She saw me and I gave her a weak smile. I sat next to her and was ready to get laid into, but she was very nice. She wanted to know if Vixen's fever was like the others. She wanted me to help her feel better about all this. I didn't want to say that Vixen could die, so I didn't. I did tell her that the other cats had high fevers that broke within 24 hours-which was true. She was scared to take Vix back home since she still had the high fever and I told her she could call me any time, day or night and that I would help with the cat. It's the least I can do. No adopter should have the first days with their new cat be mired in fear and have to cough up a HUGE Vet bill on top of that, but she was graceful about it and understanding. It was a big kindness to me after such a bad day.
Just as I pulled into my driveway, our Director call to see how I was doing. I got choked up, but didn't cry. She was really kind to me about all that's going on. She has been there-and lost many kittens over the years. We had a good talk and we decided we need to shut this down for now. Instead of moving ahead to get Cupid and her kittens spayed or neutered, we are going to cancel all Vet appointments for the next two weeks. That will give them time to fight off this URI. If they are symptom free, we will go back to getting them vetted, then put them up for adoption. We fear any stress will be bad for them. I can't even move Mama and the babies out of here to get away from Rudy and Comet when they arrive on Thursday. The move could make them sick.
So I'm stuck. I've got more foster cats than I bargained for and they'll be here for far longer than I hoped. I may lose the adopters I have lined up, but so be it. I honestly don't mind having the kittens here, but I'm fearful of what's to come. Will Rudy and Comet be the tipping point to send a wave of illness through my own cats? Will they survive it? Will the kittens get seriously ill? Will they live through this?
Then there's Christmas. I didn't send out a card—first time in a gillion years. I didn't wrap a gift-I hardly even bought any. I only got Sam two little presents and I feel awful about it, even though he tells me not to worry!!! I have the house decorated, at least, but the place is a mess. I'm trying to just take a deep breath, but I so want to have a good Christmas, for once, but at this point, I'd be thrilled with a Christmas where my cats don't get sick and a New Year that brings new homes to my fosters.
Will I do this again? Will I rescue more cats?
What do you think?
Nora, our own cat, has broken with an upper resp. infection. She's uncomfortable and on antibiotics. Just what she needed after having to face that awful dental procedure last week!
Cheech: Is doing well. Eating, playing, enjoying life at our Director's home.
Rudy: temp is down. Not dehydrated. NOT liking to be medicated a gillion times a day. Improving, slowly.
Comet: temp. is also down. Vet wants to keep her this weekend. Her eyes are badly infected and they want to observe her and continue medicating her. SHe will probably be released on Monday.
Dasher: doing great! Sneezing a lot, but otherwise bouncy and awesome. We love him to pieces.
Cupid: Not sure what is going on with her. Her appetite is not great. Not sure if she doesn't like the food-and I've tried quite a few, or if she is flirting with mastitis or something. She is a beautiful cat, but so very thin. She won't eat the grain free dry food, either. She just likes total crap dry food treats. No surprise there.
Cupid's kittens: a bit sneezy, some eye “boogies” but that's about it. They're getting used to me now and when I enter the room, they look up at me with surprise, then run over to say Hi. A few of them are enjoying being petted and even purr a bit. They are so beautiful it hurts my heart.
Vixen, as you may recall...IS ADOPTED already!
Speaking of which, Comet, Rudy and Dasher all have adoptions “pending,” so if we can just get them HEALTHY, they can go to their new homes. Hopefully within 1-2 weeks they will be home. This has completely messed up my plans for these guys, but so be it. I'm glad I didn't end up taking in 12 cats. This is complicated enough-trying to figure out who will take what sick cat and who will take this or that one to the vet-ugh.
Of course, there's room for more, so I did just inquire about a tiny tux who was thrown out of a car in NY on a highway. He is not in great shape. If he needs our help, we are ready to go. He may be the last rescue of the year. We'll see.
We got about 8" of snow. Once the driveway is plowed out, we're free to go. The storm wasn't as bad as they were saying, but I know other folks got dumped on. We must have lucked out. It looks pretty and just in time to give us a Christmasy mood. Now if I could just get my shopping finished, decorate the tree and design a Christmas card, I'd be all set.
Or, I could go back to bed!