WARNING: THERE'S A GRAPHIC PHOTO OF BOB'S STAPLED UP BELLY AT THE END OF THIS POST.
WARNING: THERE'S A GRAPHIC PHOTO OF BOB'S STAPLED UP BELLY AT THE END OF THIS POST.
Bob made it through the first night after the major surgery to remove the right lobe of his liver. It had a 5cm mass on it and it needed to go. Fortunately, Dr. Weisman was able to remove the entire mass, but because the rest of Bob's liver didn't look so great, she had to biopsy a small part of that, as well. She also biopsied some lymph nodes. The pathology will take FIVE DAYS. This means that with the holdiay upon us, I'm guessing I won't know a thing until next week. For now, the goal is to get Bob to perk up, start eating and use his litter pan.
This morning I was told that Bob was not eating. He's on pretty serious pain meds right now and between that and the operation, he must feel like Hell. I offered to come see him and try to get him to eat, since I know all his favorite treats. I figured, if nothing else, I had the dreaded dry food to give him if he wouldn't eat anything good.
I couldn't get up there fast enough, but I admit to being one of the many people who stayed up late the night before to (attempt to) see the Eclipse. It was too cloudy here and though I hoped the stupid clouds would move out of the stupid way, they did not. I watched some of the “show” online, but it felt phony and awful. I went to bed and got a few hours of sleep, but felt hungover when it was time to get up.
Sam wanted to see Bob, too, so we ditched whatever plans we had and grabbed some raw food and treats for Bob. We stopped at the store and I bought a small container of chicken liver. Gross, but yes, Bob LOVES it. I don't give him much of it, but I had to arm myself with everything I could, in case he would eat for me.
We got to VCA Cheshire in the early afternoon. They told us they weren't busy and to come over. Just as we got there a family got ahead of us. They were there to see their dog, so we had to sit and wait for them to stop visiting with the dog so we could see Bob. My blood started to boil. Why they couldn't put Bob in an exam room was beyond me.
The minutes ticked by. After 30 minutes I was about to spit fire. Then, out of nowhere, was Dr. Weisman. She came over and explained what was going on, that it was very busy in the back and that they were going to put us in a room with Bob. At last! As we stood up to walk to the room, I saw through a window in the door to the hall. A tech was holding BOB in her arms!!!!
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Oh, Bob!
I asked for a towel for him so he wouldn't have to sit on the cold steel exam table and she brought out two. Bob seemed like Bob. He didn't look near death's door, but he wasn't very perky, either. We gave him pets and kisses. He started to purr faintly.
Bob has the best purr. I have an audio recording of it that I must figure out how to share one day.
Bob was clearly in pain. He didn't move much and his head was almost always down on his paws. He was wiped out. What did I have done to my boy?
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Get some rest, my sweet boy.
We began putting different food combinations together. We brought out all his treats. He ate nothing. He was fine if I rubbed something against his mouth. He even licked at it a bit, but we thought he throat was hurting from being intubated, along with everything else. He wouldn't eat raw, or dried chicken treats or dried salmon treats. I opened the container of chicken livers. I had no way to chop them up so I washed my hands and just ripped up little bits. I put them right under his nose and he licked a few off my fingers. It wasn't much, but it was something. I tried over and over again, to encourage him to eat something more, but he refused.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. We will be strong for you, Bob and keep those prayers and good wishes comin'!
I didn't want to push him too hard, so I let it be. I washed his face and he purred for me. We pet him and talked to him, told him to get better. I wanted to see his belly, but I didn't want him to exert himself by having to stand up or roll over. I wanted to sit on the floor and hold Bob on my lap until he felt better again.
I ran into the Doctor again. We talked about Bob. She wasn't too worried about him not eating. He's on an IV, so that's good. Her concern is she wants to see Bob perk back up. Have some twinkle in his eyes again, then he can come home-even if he's not eating. That surprised me, but she knows best. Instead of coming home today, our next hope is that he will come home tomorrow NIGHT, at the earliest. She said if we had been through what he had, we would be in tremendous pain and not want to eat, either. On a good note, Bob DID use his litter pan and had a good pee. He wouldn't use their tiny pan, but when they gave him a big one, he went for it and made a big mess, splashing the litter all around! How unlike Bob to make a fussy mess! Maybe he still has some “Bob” left in him?
The tech came to get Bob and I gave him another kiss. She lifted him in her arms and that's when I saw it...his belly. My heart sank. I knew the incision was going to be long, but I wasn't prepared for what I saw. My Bob looked like franken-kitty!
I could only think about how badly that incision must HURT and on top of that, what's going on inside his body right now? My poor, sweet boy. I am so sorry I had this done to you, but I know it was your only chance of getting better. To know I made my cat suffer so much...well, it's a very uncomfortable feeling. If I think about it too long, I'll start to beat myself up. I made this choice for him-his one chance. Now he has to heal and show us he can make it and I will do everything I can to help him get there.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Franken-Bob. :-(
All I know is, Bob has survived the surgery, now he has to survive the recovery.
I love you, Bob. I hope you can come home, soon.
Anxiety plays out in my stomach most of the time, but today I could feel it in my chest as my heart beat hard and fast-“thump, thump, thump!” It was time to pack Bob into his cat carrier and drive to Cheshire, the town name I find rather ironic and/or amusing. There we would meet Dr. Weisman at the VCA Cheshire Vet Hospital. As much as I needed to get this meeting to happen, I struggled with wanting to go to bed and stick my head under the covers. I didn't want to know how she felt about Bob's prognosis or whether or not he'd make a good candidate for surgery.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob circa 2008. This is why we love Orange cats!
I was pretty sure, after talking many times to Dr. Larry, that I'd hear: “Well, Bob is a senior with FIV+ and the mass is large and, you know, he probably wouldn't even survive the surgery and maybe it would be best to just send him home to be loved and let him go to The Bridge.”
Dr. Weisman was surprising. She was upbeat and listened, she is quick to understand a situation and she explained things clearly. Bob IS a good candidate for surgery! Yes, he has a liver mass, but his other organs, including his heart and lungs are working normally. His blood test is really quite GOOD, if you don't count the glaringly sky-high ALT value.
She didn't want to do the surgery to prove anything. In fact she said she's not a “hero.” She's not going to go in and try to remove the biggest liver mass ever seen. If it's dangerous, she's not going to do it. She said a few times, she is there to do what is BEST FOR BOB-NOT what is BEST FOR ME, HER, ANYONE. I really admired her for saying that and appreciated it. That's all I want.
She told me she'd open him up, take a look. If he was a mess, full of cancer, she would close him up, send him home to spend his last hours or days or weeks with us. If he wasn't full of cancer, if the mass is on the part of the right lobe (there are THREE lobes on the right of the liver!) she thinks it's on, it would be something she could remove. If it's NOT and too risky to remove she may biopsy it to find out if it's benign.
As it has been since we found out Bob had a liver mass a week ago, there are no firm answers, only the okay to go to the next step. We've reached the place to decide and in the end, there really was no decision to be made. Bob will have a better life without the mass. If it can be removed, we will have that done. If not, we'll at least know what we're dealing with and Bob will have the best, most comfortable end-of-life we can provide for him.
If we did nothing, Bob would slowly decline further and further and die. If we do something, Bob can have quality of life. We did not talk about how much MORE life, but it will be more...
And it's going to cost. It's going to cost a lot of money. Between $3500-4500. Sam and I aren't having Christmas this year due to our lack of finances, but we will find the resources we need to make this happen for Bob. It's not foolishness. It's not "just a cat." It's a living creature who is in pain. If we have the ability to do this for Bob, then we will. Money will never be something that is more important than LIFE. That is just wrong.
At the end of my own life I never want to look back and feel like I didn't do right by my cats because of fear and because of a buck. If I have to go without some things, that's fine. I will still have a roof over my head and food in the panty. It will be okay. It will suck to have to spend this money, but so be it.
Sunday, the foster cats arrive from Georgia. My house is going to be full up with craziness. Monday Bob has surgery and hopefully by Wednesday he will be coming home to recover. It may mean Christmas Eve at the ER Vet. It may mean a sleepless Holiday, but hopefully it may end up meaning, that what I really wanted for Christmas, I have a chance at getting. I just want Bob to be well and to stay with us for as long as he can manage. We're not ready to say goodbye and I think he still has a lot of life left.
Bob Dole proved it to me as we were about to leave the Hospital. We walked past another client who was bringing his Golden Retriever into the waiting room. Bob took one look at the dog and HISSED LOUD!
THAT'S MY BOY!
I know this road. I've walked it more times than I care to recall. It's the moment at which I realize the time I have with one of my cats is coming to an end. The road is full of hopeful moments that will ultimately lead to despair and to the final choice we must make for our cat, one day.
I hate this road more than I can say. It eats at my heart and taxes my reserves. I try to prepare myself, but there is no preparing for death. It comes, as it does for all of us. We either accept it and find peace or fight and have the same end, no matter what.
On Saturday I got Bob's blood test results. His liver function, one test indicated by his ALT, was stratospherically high. A normal value would be 10-100. Bob was at 1240.
Other liver values were also very high, save for his Bilirubin, no it's not a sandwich, it's a blood test. That test result was normal. This is a good thing.
From Cat World, Australia, I found this description of Bilirubin:
Bilirubin: This is a major breakdown product of red blood cells. When red blood cells wear out they are trapped in the spleen and destroyed, releasing bilirubin into the blood. This type of bilirubin is called unconjugated. This bilirubin is transported in the blood to the liver, where it is taken up & conjugated (joined with glycuronic acid). This conjugated form may either be stored in the liver cells or excreted into the bile. Bilirubin levels are increased in cats with liver disease, gallbladder disease or have excessive destruction of red blood cells (known as hemolysis).
What do these numbers mean? See THIS web site for some helpful guidelines.
Then the kicker came today. Bob had an ultrasound done of his heart and abdomen. I thought I was going to be able to sit in during the ultrasound, but Dr. K said it would be quicker if he was on his own. Super Deb assured me she'd be with him and answer any questions. I kept thinking about this and that thing I wanted to make sure he knew, but in the end, nothing I was worried about mattered.
I took Super Deb's dog, Jayne for a walk, instead of twiddling my thumbs in the waiting room. It was freezing cold outside with a bitter wind. I tried to shake off the fear of what I would find out in a few more minutes. I tried to not cry thinking about it. I know as any good cat-parent knows-something is wrong, I just didn't know what it was. I didn't really WANT to know.
When I returned to Dr. Larry's office, grabbed a magazine about celebrities and their fabulous lives and pretended to look at it. I saw Super Deb. She wouldn't make eye contact with me. Then Dr. Larry arrived to start his day. He didn't even look towards the waiting room. Maybe it was not a big deal that he didn't look, but it seemed like no one wanted to even give me a hint as to what was going on.
Sam arrived with Petunia and Nora. He sat next to me, but we didn't speak. It's been a common thread here for a very long time. We only speak when necessary. Something is going on with Sam. I can guess, but he won't talk to me about it. Instead he hides in his office in the basement and plays his guitar. He mumbles this and that. He helps out around the house, in silence. Each day I grow a little more resentful, more angry. I am shut out and alone. I didn't do anything wrong. I can't wait forever for his life to be in a place where he feels like being a partner to me again. I'm still suffering from the car accident, in tremendous pain, but he does nothing. No comforting. No nothing. With all the stress I have about Bob, he only taps my shoulder or brushes my hand. When I need him most, he is the furthest away. I have to ask myself how many more years can this go on? What happened to having joy? Companionship? Even a dear friendship? For so long I have tried to encourage him to trust me, to talk to me, to give him guidance and support, but I am tired of trying.
So, Sam is there, but not there. I am there, but wishing I was somewhere else.
Petunia is getting a dental. One of her molars has a HOLE in it! Was THIS what was causing her to go on a pee-storm throughout the house? Fight with the other cats? Did she also have a urinary tract infection or impacted anal glads? While under anesthesia we'd be finding out. Maybe after all these years, I'd finally have a true end to the inappropriate urination going on in my home.
Nora was there to check her foot. We thought she had ringworm, but turns out she did not. She has some sort of fungal infection on one foot. It hasn't spread. We've treated it and it's getting better. But what about BOB??! Will someone please TELL ME what is GOING ON?
Dr. Larry took a deep breath. That was all he had to do. I knew it was bad news and he was preparing himself to speak.
Bob's heart is normal, which is very good, but...
Fun with ultrasound results.
As you can see, above, the many LONG words that I can't make heads or tails of spell out that Bob has a 5 cm mass present in the right lobe of his liver. It is not possible to tell if it's a cancer or if it's a benign tumor that could be treated or removed surgically.
With FIV+ and being a senior cat, Bob may not be a good candidate for surgery. He may have cancer and if they do the surgery they will open him up, then say they have to put him down. That it would not be fair to wake him up when he will only live a little while longer, anyway. It's a big crap shoot.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob ponders his future (on his new blanket from Jennifer)
Thanks to one of my readers who works with FIV+ and Feline Leukemia positive cats, she told me something shocking:
...for any kitty that has been tested since the beginning of this year with the new IDEXX 3-way test (FIV/FeLV/HW), you cannot trust ANY positive result on the FIV or FeLV component: incredibly high rate of false positives, confirmed by retests with the western blot for FIV or the IFA for FeLV. the true positive rate on retest is the normal, VERY LOW, percentage. (and, of course, the FeLV component only tests for EXPOSURE, and most cats are able to process the virus out of their systems, which is why retesting is imperative. usually, the retest should be done 90-120 days after last exposure, but with the nationwide problems on the new test, we-who-get-the-panicked-calls-to-place-these-cats are advising that cats be retested immediately. (IDEXX does know about the problem, and will admit it to vets; however, tho they've asked for the names and contact info for those who have stats--national rescues, and special-needs sanctuaries--they've never followed up when they were provided with same.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Blitzen and Nicky try to cheer Bob up.
Even though Bob was tested years ago, this is the time to make SURE he is FIV+ because that will effect his ability to get a surgeon to take on his case. Because he was not neutered at an appropriate age, he got FIV. This is my Mother's fault and I will never forgive her for not caring for her cat. His life would have been so much better if he'd been neutered sooner and not left outdoors to get into fights with other territorial males.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Blitzen decides to lick Bob's head while Nicky is...Nicky.
I started to cry when I got the news...big, shaky tears. I tried not to cry, but he knew I couldn't hold back. Dr. Larry rubbed my arm and told me about a woman whose dog had the same thing Bob does. That he opened the dog up and saw the mass and called the owner and said he should put the dog down. The mass was too big. The dog would die anyway. She was going through a bad divorce. The dog was all she had. She demanded he cut the mass off-so he took half the liver. The dog lived...another two and a half YEARS. But Bob's not that dog and Bob could have cancer and Bob has FIV+ and he's a senior...blah blah blah...
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Blitzen being cute, as usual.
I just wanted to fall over, curl up in a ball and weep. But that won't help Bob get better or live a bit longer, at least.
So I asked a few questions, then left the exam room. The first thing I saw was Moonpie's face! His new owner, as promised, brought Moonie and Patty to meet Dr. Larry now that they are adopted. I couldn't have been happier to see their friendly faces. I took Moonie out of his cat carrier and held him. He sat comfortably in my arms. Both cats meowed furiously at me. I hope they weren't asking me to take them home. I wanted to, but they will be happy in their new home one day. Right now they're doing well, but are still scared. Their new owner says that each day the calm down a bit more and become a bit more cuddly. With three young boys to play with, it's a big change for them. I told her to give it a month and that I'm always there for her whenever she had a question. She told me to come visit them any time. It would be too tempting to sneak them back home with me, but it was really GOOD to see them again.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. My boy, Bob.
We loaded Bob into the car, alongside Nora and drove separately home. I got Bob fed and gave him his liver medicine. He ate well, then went to his heated bed for a nap. It was just like any other day, completely unremarkable, save for the part that I know there may not be many more such unremarkable days ahead.
A month ticked by since we rescued Polly, Cara, Chester and their Mom, Mazie. It's been a constant battle to keep them alive. To date there are been about ten Vet trips, one emergency run late at night. Of the four, Polly has suffered the most and is still struggling to recover fully from the dreaded herpes virus infection she got just days after she was rescued.
Her sister, Cara struggled as well, then started to improve, but now has an added complication of picking up another type of URI that's effecting her breathing. Maria, their foster mama, works so hard to get them to turn the corner; has taken time off from work, gotten her sister to come see the cats during the day so they're fed regularly, but more importantly, that someone is watching out for them.
Chester hasn't been hit too hard, knock wood. His mama, wasn't effected too badly, either, but she has a mature immune system. We expected she would pull through all right.
Each sunrise the kittens see is triumph. It means, they lived through one more day. Each meal is a few more calories to keep them alive and get them to grow stronger. Mazie watches over them, encouraging each one with a lick on the face or a comforting purr.
The difficulties in providing care for these kittens, is partially due to their inability to smell their food. First, it stopped them from nursing and caused Maria to take over syringe feeding them many times a day. Then, it was difficult to get them to lap food off a plate. They just didn't understand how to eat. I suggested Maria elevate their plate and that seemed to help, but before that was done, their bathroom home had to be scrubbed down many times a day.
Litter training was a tough road, too. If they can't smell, they can't know the smell of their mama's elimination. What then would help guide them to the litter pan?
And yes, Maria also has other foster cats to care for, plus her own kitties! How she's doing this without having a nervous breakdown, I don't know. She's a tough cookie, that's for certain.
Then there are the costs. One small vial of antivirals cost $90.00. I've lost count of the Vet visits and we don't get a discount. Fortunately the Vets try to be kind about charging us, but it adds up. We also had thought we were going to get some funds covered from an anonymous donor, but that has fallen through. We're going to have to open up our fundraising and ask for more funding. The costs for their care and future spay/neuter is going to break the bank.
We're still waiting for the day when the kittens look like kittens, instead of sad little urchins. Where their joy is measured in how high they can jump after a toy or how long they can purr.
These little soldiers will march on and we will continue to be there to help them along the way.
Once a year, as the full moon rises and the planets align into a cat-shaped orbit, the scribes of the feline world join together. It's a sacred gathering of secret handshakes and mystical rituals that date back to 1992, when the organization first came into being.
In other words, The 2010 Cat Writers' Association, which was established in 1992, held its' annual Conference in White Plains, New York at the Crowne Plaza hotel. Oh yeah, and there was a full moon.
Prior to the formal Conference starting, many of us got together for the “TNT”-Thursday Night Thing? I have no idea what the last “T” stands for, so you'll have to excuse me for guessing. The goal of TNT is for everyone to help stuff the HUMUNGOUS SWAG BAGS full of cat-centric goodies and to get to know each other. After the bags are stuffed, we get to stuff our faces with pizza. Post stuff-fest, We were asked to form a circle, but no joining hands or animal sacrifice followed. We simply took turns saying a few words about our background, how many cats we had and what sort of books we had published so that everyone could get to know us a bit better. There were quite a few folks in the circle, so we added a second concentric ring to accommodate everyone. Many folks said their bit and moved on to the next, but a few decided to pontificate (that's a big word meaning they were time-hogs/show offs, were inconsiderate since it was pushing 9pm and instead of being naked, perhaps we only needed a tease to know enough. I struggled to fight off the urge to roll my eyes back and scream; NEXT! as loudly as I could.)
The thing that surprised and or scared me was realizing that with the exception of only one person, we had the MOST cats of anyone else-by far.
I hoped we'd get an elevated status within the organization for our cat-population prowess, but maybe these folks knew better than we did- that having so many cats is not necessarily a great idea. (this is written as I fear finding out how many times my cats puked, pooped and peed in the house while I'm away from home.)
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Enter the Swag Bag!
But then there was the swag bags. As I live and breathe, it's like the Christmas I never had, looking into the depths of that black World's Best Cat Litter Bag. Every time I took something out, I'd get a peek at something even better. My imagination ran wild, anticipating how my cats would dive bomb the bag the second I walked it in the door. They'd drag out the catnip laden Hot Cat (awesome!) or wrestle the KONG Kickaroo (love those!) and we got a NEKO Flies wand toy (with the great tagline: “It's swat cats love!”). I can't wait to see how the cats will react once they see it. In addition to the super-schwing-swag-bag, we got eve MORE goodies. I scored some Feliway diffusers (THANK YOU CARRIE!), a cute kitten-sized cat tree (THANK YOU ALLIA ZOBEL! and ARUBACAT) and coupons to buy World's Best Cat Litter at a discount (YEAH, BABY!). ...AND some folks didn't want some of their swag so they gave it to me to give to my foster babies!
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Blitzen and Pattycake get first dibs.
Honestly, I could have just gone home with that bag and skipped the Conference, but heck, I had a hotel room booked so might as well stay...oh that and This year I was slated to be a Speaker! The topic was: “Using Analytics to Measure Your Reach.” How boring does this sound? Yeah, pretty boring. In fact, our (Sam was a Co-Presenter with me) presentation was quite perky and charming, but there wasn't much time to get folks excited about it since we were FIRST to go on Friday at 9AM.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. I can't believe Blitzen used this tiny cat scratcher right away!
But now we must change pace. This is the first of two sad parts of my story. We got all set up, the projector ran just fine. Mary, my sister-in-writing, had loaned us her projector as a backup! How great was this? No worries about a failed projector. The Keynote presentations we created were working fine, too.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. MINE! MINE! MINE!
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Like Catnip much?
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Spencer, Nora, Petunia and Blitzen are mesmerized by the Neko Flies.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Moonpie grabs it!
But my camera was not doing so well. It showed signs of being under the weather about a week before the Conference. I didn't have time to fool around with it before we left and it was in our room, moments before we were to being that I realized my camera, though it functioned, it only worked when it FELT like doing so. I thought it might be the battery or the fact that my Digital SLR had reached retirement age. Drat! Not having a good camera is like having my arm cut off. Let us take a moment to reflect on the thousands of cute kitten photos that camera has captured for me, as we try not to be pissed off that it's going to cost and arm (and leg) to replace it. But, the show must go on...camera or no.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. No, our Presentation wasn't in an empty room. Folks actually showed up!
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. The graphics are ready, the bowels are empty, let the Presentation begin!
The Presentation went well. Sam did the tech stuff, I told the warm fuzzy story. We hit our times well, fielded a few questions and were done! Felt good.
Then I realized I had a “pitch” session with Susan Logan the super-boss of Cat Fancy magazine in 30 minutes. I'd worked so hard on the Presentation, I didn't prepare my pitch, which I hate doing in the first place. If I ever want a shot at writing for a national publication, I better get my act together.
My brain started to fuzz over. I hadn't sleep more than an hour the night before. You know how it goes when you try to sleep in hotel. Some times it just doesn't happen. The thought that I'd become accustom to cats jumping on my face, screaming in the middle of the night and laying all over me as my evening tonic was depressing. Here I was in a king sized bed and no cats and sleep would not come. The real reason I couldn't sleep was this.
So I dragged my sleepy self over to the Editors room. I prayed my mind would begin to fire on at least ONE cylinder. I sat down to speak with Ms. Logan and my mind went blank...
...part two of my adventures at the CWA Conference soon! Will I face plant in from of a respected colleague? Will I WIN an AWARD for..umm...ANYTHING YOU MIGHT BE READING? Will I make a new friend? Get rid of an old one? Will I wear more bling than the ladies from Texas? Will there be an underlying theme of FIRE TRUCKS and loss in this story?
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson
Moonpie (left) and Yodel (right) were born to different mothers, obviously on different dates since Moonie is quite a bit older than Yodel.
That said, I can't get over how much the two look alike!
and they both came from HCCAC in Georgia!
A few days ago there were 16 cats in my home. Adoptions were just non-existant. My first litter of kittens in our Kitten Associates program were STILL not all adopted and they'd been here since early AUGUST. I had to turn down MANY potential adopters for one reason or another. I kept waiting. I tried to have faith it would work out. I decided if I never got an application on Yodel, I wouldn't mind it so much. I've been promising myself one more cat-a long haired tuxedo, one of these days. It wasn't the perfect time, but so what?
©2010 Robin A.F Olson. Candy Corn.
Then reality set in. I would be INSANE to keep ANY more cats at this point. My cats are pooping and peeing all over the house. They're furious. There are too many fosters cats running lose. Pattycake and Moonpie can't find an adopter. They're just too big. I can't confine them to a small bathroom. It was driving them mad. Yodel and Honey B. can't be in their old room because The Halloween Express of four kittens are a bit sniffly. The two groups can't be combined.
©2010 Robin A.F Olson. Candy Corn actin' sassy.
I was just about to pack my bags and run off when a curious thing happened...I got a promising application. I did a Vet check. It was not great. They had taken great care of their dog, but the cat hadn't been vetted since 2008. I was about to write them, off, but I realized I needed to ask why, first. Turns out the adopter had traveled to Europe for business for a long period of time and had asked his father to care for his cat while he was gone. Dad fell in love with the cat and the son felt guilty taking his cat back. This answered the question as to why no Vet reference for the cat.
©2010 Robin A.F Olson. Skittles. Really! I can tell them apart.
We had a good chat. He was VERY interested in feeding his cats a raw diet! He also talked about letting his cats outside, but after a few minutes he realized it was not necessary and he assured me no cat he adopted would be going outside. Yes, he could be giving me lip service, but I felt he was being honest.
©2010 Robin A.F Olson. Three little maniacs all in a row (Skittles is probably crawling up my leg, so he missed being in the shot).
His girlfriend liked Patty and Moonpie and wanted to meet them. They have no animals currently and hope to have a few cats and a dog, eventually. I jumped at the chance to have them meet the crazy cow cats, but he also said he was very interested in the orange tabby cats-Skittles and Candy Corn. I knew Patty and Moonie didn't stand a chance against the 12-week old kittens.
©2010 Robin A.F Olson. Treat.
Yesterday, the couple came over to meet the kitties. They both told me about how they'd had cats for most of their lives. I really had a good feeling about them. They were great with Moonie and Patty but the two cats were "off" and didn't show that well.
Then I opened the door to the foster room and the entire Halloween Express ran towards us. The second the couple entered the room, they were covered with kittens who were purring, pawing for attention, standing on their hind legs and patting one of them on the nose. They wanted to be held, touched, loved. Not one of them was shy. Who wouldn't fall in love with these happy-go-lucky kittens?
©2010 Robin A.F Olson. Trick.
I tried to remind them that any of these kittens would need more attention and care. That Patty and Moonie were ready to go and these kittens still needed more shots (eventually), more de-worming and were still a tiny bit sniffly! They just looked at the kittens and nodded. Whatever I said was going right through them. They were smitten.
I realized it would be wise to give them some time to talk, so I left them with the kittens and went to visit Patty and Moonie. I told them they weren't going to be adopted, but that it was going to be okay. They sat on my bed and looked up at me. It made my heart melt.
As I stood to leave the room, the door opened to the foster room. The couple came out and I asked if they had made a decision. They had. Which two did you want? I figured they would say the orange tabbies, but they surprised me.
They said they would take them ALL.
I blurted out; “You're shittin' me!” before I could stop myself. And they said they couldn't imagine being able to chose two of the four and that they were all too lovely and they had the room for four and wanted to give them all a home.
I just stood there with my mouth open.
©2010 Robin A.F Olson. The happy family before they leave for their new home.
They asked me to hold the cats until Monday, when I'll have finished treating them for ear mites (which they don't have but Dr Larry found ONE dead mite in Skittle's ear so we're being careful). I'll bring them to their new home tomorrow. I barely can tell these kittens apart! They've been here just over ONE WEEK and they're ALL ADOPTED!!
I just can't believe it! The Halloween Express zoomed in the door and right back out! Amazing! And to think...they were a few minutes away from being EUTHANIZED for their sniffles! I shudder to imagine...
I've adopted out a mama (Huggy Mama) and her two offspring together, but that was it. I've never adopted four kittens to one family before, but they've both had over 8 cats so I think it will be all right.
We sat down and did the paperwork. My head was spinning. If these kittens were gone in a day, then it would take a big load off me. I started to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe I would have time to get some work done? Maybe I'd STOP flying off the handle every two seconds? Okay, maybe a pig would fly out of my butt, too...hey, I tried.
But an hour later, the adoptions continued. More kitties found a home...part two coming soon!
Last week, I learned a painful lesson. I waited a few hours too long to say, “YES” to rescuing some kittens from Henry County Care & Control. By the time I called, they had been euthanized. Some of them started to show signs of upper respiratory-something we could have easily managed in foster care, but the rules of the shelter are not forgiving.
I cried a lot that day and the images of those kittens are etched in my heart, forever. Though guilt weighs heavily upon me, it does not stop my need to try again.
Over the weekend, I found out about the kittens you see, below. There are two sets of two-really one litter of four in two cages. Each one sweeter than the last. I knew it would be tricky for me to take them since my fosters haven't all be adopted yet, but I was set on doing just that. I started the work trying to put all the puzzle pieces together. Could Maria foster? Yes. Could Bobby transport them to the Vet and get them from HCCAC for me? Yes. How much would this cost? I need to do a fundraiser.
©2010 Henry Care & Control.
Then, another rescue group in New York stepped up to offer to take two of the kittens-the cute lynx point/siamese mixes. Another group said they would take the other two. Fundraising didn't need to be done, but they didn't have a foster home or a way to get the kittens out of HCCAC. So I contacted Betsy at HCCAC and told her about my weird plan. My group pulls the cats, they get funded by another, they get transported to New York and ultimately get fostered and homed by another group! It's nutty, but who cares? Will I miss having them here, YES, but...they will be alive. That's what counts.
Crazy little details sorted. Directions, confirmations and approvals given, I made the call yesterday morning to confirm rescuing the kittens. My heart was racing. I hoped I hadn't waited too long (again). Betsy was out and they asked me to leave a message. I started to panic. I gave them the ID numbers of the kittens and said that I would be happy to take them and to NOT PUT THEM DOWN. I waited.
©2010 Henry Care & Control.
I waited an hour. I didn't want to be a pest. I hate to be annoying, but I was freaking out! I emailed Betsy. I waited. I finally called HCCAC again and she was still out so I asked if there was someone else I could speak with and a gentleman got on the phone and told me they cats were still "available" and that not to worry. Betsy would call back.
©2010 Henry Care & Control.
So. I worried.
A little while later my phone rang. It was Gerri Yoder, the Director at Henry County Care & Control. She told me that Betsy had contacted her and asked her to call me! That not-to-worry, the kittens were safe and they would hold them until we could pick them up the next day. She gave me her direct phone number at the shelter AND her cellphone number. I never have to worry that I can't reach someone who can help me help the kittens.
I stopped worrying. As soon as I started to relax, Gerri told me it was a good thing the kittens were getting a rescue. They had starting to sneeze-showing signs of getting URIs. Then, it hit me. If I had waited another second, they would have been put down. It was by a whisker that these kittens were saved. I wanted to throw up.
A little over an hour ago, these little babies were not only busted out and rescued, but they have already been to the vet and are on their way to Maria's house to be fostered for the next two weeks. They are just six weeks old.
©2010 Henry Care & Control.
Two have the sniffles, but nothing too bad just now. Bed rest and good food will help them feel better soon. They are out, just in the nick of time...and now they have their whole lives ahead of them, instead of few hours left to live.
©2010 Henry Care & Control.
Welcome to life outside death row, babies. Welcome! Oh and we have a few more kitties to welcome, too. When you rescue four, you just can't stop there, can you? Heck no!
Why am I so angry?
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobbi at Connie's house a few weeks ago.
Bobbi got returned to AID last week. That's really tragic and I'm VERY disappointed in her temporary adopter. They assured us they would GO SLOWY introducing Bobbi to their other cat, but they just couldn't manage it. They couldn't deal with Bobbi hissing-which is normal or the fact that Bobbi went after their other cat. Bobbi has only been in FIVE other temporary homes-each with many cats-over the past MONTH. Do you THINK that MAYBE she needed a few WEEKS to just get her bearings and TRUST in her surroundings? NO. You didn't wait or give her a chance. Like her family before, you gave up on her, too. Not great, but not the end of the world.
This is it. Sit DOWN in your CHAIR. Stop driving or whatever you are doing...
I got an email from Connie tonight. Bobbi has been doing great back at the shelter. Not fighting with the other cats. Getting along fine...then tonight...
I WANT TO HIT SOMETHING! NO. I WWANT TO HIT SOMEONE! NO! I WANT TO HIT THAT VET! I WANT TO PUNCH OUT WHOEVER TOSSED BOBBI TO THE CURB AND LET HER STARVE!!! I AM SO ANGRY!!!!!!!!!!!!! All I can do is type exclamation marks!!!!!
Did I go to sleep, then wake up in a parallel universe full of asshats? I mean, really? WHAT IS GOING ON IN THIS WORLD WHERE THIS MADE SENSE TO SOMEONE? Did the moron who owned Bobbi hold a GUN to the VET'S head and MAKE him declaw the cat? That is the ONLY explanation that makes any sense to me!
I think my head is going to explode.
Meanwhile, Miss Bobbi is going to be SPAYED very very soon-on our dime. No problem. Worth every penny.
As for the Vet...all I have to say is Karma is a BITCH.
Three years ago I trapped three feral cats. I thought I was trapping only one, but to my surprise, I ended up catching three! I thought they must all be related, and maybe in some ways they were. Clearly one female was older than a second female. They were always seen together- they had to be Mother and Daughter. I named them, Bronte and Madison. A third cat, I named Buddy, was a big, gray Tom who'd been in plenty of fights in his day. He was ragged and rough, with devilish golden eyes, yet he was far from fractious, just as the other two. I think they'd known human contact at some point in their lives, but over time those memories had been replaced with their primal, wilder urges.
I detailed the story of my first trapping experience, capturing Buddy, Bronte and Madison HERE.
Fast forward a few years...
You know that Buddy showed up injured a few weeks ago and since then we've tried a few different methods to trap him. Thankfully, Karlyn is a super-trapper and builds her own traps. This was what eventually did the trick, not only trapping Buddy, but Bronte, as well. Since neither of them had been to the Vet for years, I decided they could both get their shots updated and have a checkup and we'd finally be able to help Buddy with his leg injury.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson Bronte and Buddy (rear) in Super-Karlyn's trap.
There was a bit of a problem.
It wasn't Buddy.
Recently, when I saw this cat, he was a big gray Tom with lovely golden eyes, but his ears weren't ragged and he had a sweet look to his face. He looked more like a lover and less like a fighter. I started to wonder if Buddy had long since left us and been replaced by a Buddyganger; a feral cat-double!
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson Who are you, mystery cat?
Even after we trapped him, it just didn't look like the same tough guy I once knew. That left me feeling both sad and curious. When had Buddy left us and who was this cat? Where did he belong? He couldn't be a neighbors cat, could he? It would be a lousy neighbor if they ignored their injured cat for weeks on end—also, this boy really WAS a LOVER. He was still INTACT!
So our dear friend, Buddy is gone. What his fate was, we will never know. I don't even want to guess as my home abuts a State Forest. My neighbors are wild animals. 'nuff said.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson Our new feral, Austen. What a face! Look at that BIG TOM head!
And who is this new cat? He's in need of a name. Since we have Bronte, already, how about Austen-in honor of Jane Austen, author of our perennial favorite 5-hour-mini-series-version-only, the one staring Colin “Hottie Pants” Firth, “Pride & Prejudice!”
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson Poor Bronte! She was so scared she cried. I wanted to pet her and tell her it was going to be okay, but I realized that would only make her feel worse. Poor baby!
Luckily for Austen, upon exam there was no sign of injury. Austen must have had soft tissue damage or a thorn that he worked out of his paw. Whatever it was, there was no old or new break and he had full function of his limb. His shots were updated and he was tested for FIV/FeLuk (neg/neg). Sadly for Austen, he is not a LOVER any more. I had him neutered-even if he IS someone's cat. Tough! (I really doubt he's someone's cat, though!). So no more yeowling in the yard, no more stench of cat spray, just a nice de-balled kitty with a very forlorn look on his face. At least he won't be fighting any longer or making little Austen's.
Bronte, poor dear, cried in her trap. I felt so bad for her. She just needed her shots. She got scared and peed in the car on the way back from the Vet. I can't get the smell out of my nose. Hope I didn't pee up there, too, in some freak accident I didn't notice. Whew...yikes!
While the cats were gone, I cleaned out their room in the screen porch. I set out a fresh bowl of water and lots of food. When we put the traps down, I got two photos-one of each of them. Austen, shot out of his cage like a rocket after I moved out of his way. Bronte was much more cautious. She went to the opening of the trap and reached out one paw towards the floor, but did not touch it. It was if she was testing to see if the trap would close on her if she tried to get out. She held her paw an inch over the floor for a long, few seconds. Then, carefully touched the floor. Nothing happened. And then she was gone, like a ghost, without a trace.
I hope they return as soon as they find a way to forgive me or their bellies get empty, whichever comes first.