While I wallow in self-loathing and despair over parting with many of my foster kittens, I thought I'd mention that my latest article just went live on Feline-Nutrition's web site.
It's a story about how I got started feeding Bob (Dole)(my cat, not the dude), a raw diet. Just after I wrote the article, I made my first batch of “homemade” raw for the clutter. Since it was too late to go to press, I'm including some extra photos, here.
For my crew, this is what it takes to feed my cats for a little over TWO days. Yes, it's a lot. It's kind of a pain in the ass, actually, but I'm still trying to find my pace and getting used to not opening a can and dumping it onto a plate. At least now I know for sure what my cats are getting in their food.
For anyone who fears this is gross, it's not. It smells nice and fresh. The trick is getting it warmed up without cooking it. If it's still icy cold the cats won't eat it.
If you want to know why I bother, look at the before and after photos of Spencer, below. He was a blimp a few years ago. It was hysterical to look at him, but I was doing him an injustice and I knew it. Spencer also has a chronic breathing problem, which left him wheezing all the time. These days I can barely hear him. I'm sure the diet helped keep any swelling down in his sinuses
Here's Bob on day one of the new raw diet. He ate as though he had never eaten before. Most of the cats cleaned their plates, which I have NEVER seen them do in almost a decade. This might sound weird, but they also seemed relaxed and content. Most of them passed out after they ate and washed their faces. It's not like that every day. I'm still working out the kinks, but it's nice to see them be interested in their food.
The article is on the front page, so if you care to read it, just look for Bob's cute face and you've found the right place.
Thank you for the homemade cat mats. I know I'm supposed to give them to the foster cats-and I will, but I had to “test drive” one on my cats first.
What did you put in the cat mat? Spencer's sense of smell is poor. Normally he isn't interested in catnip. Is there something you want to tell me? Spencer is bunny-kicking the shit out of this mat. His eyes are glazed over. What is going on?
My cats won't share. They want their own mat. If they don't get one, they'll spat.
There is more square feet of cat, than there is square foot of cat mat. Can you make me a bedspread sized one?
Do you know if there's a catnip rehab facility in Connecticut? I'm thinking Bob might need to go there. He looks like he's had a bit too much and Nicky can't stop rolling around and yeowling incoherently. I'm afraid the neighbors are going to call the cops.
Nora would like to know if you can rub her belly to maximize her user experience (since she can no longer reach her own belly).
Nicky also asked if you could rub something, but I had to edit out what he said. I blame the drugs for his ungentlemanly outburst...plus, he had a surgery a few years ago and that sort of limited his options in that department, anyway.
Dear Clare & All My Dear CiCH Readers,
It's friends like you that are like a big mat of catnip for me. I can wrap myself up in your comforting words and breathe deep, feeling suddenly quite invigorated and alive when only moments before I was too busy licking my wounds to do much else.
People often ask me; ”How can you let foster cats go? Don't you miss them? Doesn't it make you sad? Cry?”
I energetically answer that if I don't adopt them out, I can't rescue more. I already have seven cats, which is more than plenty. It's not wise to add on to the “family” for a variety of reasons. Sure, it hurts when the cats leave, but usually they're only here from just a few days to a few weeks. If that's the case, hey, anyone can do this. Just keep them moving in, then leaving promptly. It's doable.
What happens when it's NOT the case? What happens not only when you've had foster cats for a few MONTHS, but what if they were all sick? They all needed you? Some were so sick you didn't know if they would survive? How can you not become deeply attached?
How do you let THOSE foster cats go?
Jennifer has been caring for Rudy & Comet for months. They are no longer in their foster room, but have the full run of the house. They frolic and play and love life. Jennifer's been crying, thinking about them leaving. I've been reminding her that we'll find them a great home and we'll keep them together if we can. That she can't adopt more cats. Jennifer not only has plenty of cats, too, but she has seniors and special needs kitties. Adding two spunky kittens to that mix would not be good in the long term.
I'm not telling her anything she hasn't told herself. She's steeling herself for the day, which may come VERY soon, for when she has to say goodbye to them and I feel really bad about that. I never wanted her to have a bad experience fostering, but I can't protect her from this.
I, too, am faced with the same thing.
Today was the big day. After MONTHS of struggle, I was able to put all but Blitzen on Petfinder. The cats are ready to go, at last!
The problem is...in looking over my photos and selecting the ones that are the cutest and will garner lots of interested adopters, I found myself awash in tears. I could barely type out a description or upload a photo. I'm still crying now.
I just kept looking at their faces. I missed them and they are still here. I never want any of them to leave. They've all captured my heart and I honestly don't know if I can be here when they get adopted.
And if this wasn't painful enough, Sam and I are done after 17 years. I am flat out heartbroken. The person I used to be able to go to when I was sad and needed a hug is lost to me, probably forever.
I have lost so much in my life. I don't know how to go on.
I suppose this is what they call burnout or just a big, bad bump in the road? Whatever it's called, I don't recommend it.
At almost four months of age, Blitzen is looking like a proper kitty now.
After a long, miserable night, spent mostly with food poisoning and an empty bed, I managed to get up another day and begin the usual rounds of caring for the cats. Tomorrow Blitzen is slated to be neutered. I called the Vet to double check that it was still all right to bring him, bearing in mind he has something on his head that is...I'm not supposed to make a diagnosis to this Vet, but...it's RINGWORM, OK?
It's hard to hold a wiggly kitten still long enough to look and my close-up vision ain't what it used to be. It wasn't until I looked at the photos that I could see just how bad things were looking.
You tell me that's not ringworm!
There's the telltale crust. It's gotta be ringworm. I've been treating it topically, but I wonder if I should do more? I guess I can wait until the Vet sees him tomorrow. Of the 4 kittens, he was the sickest, the longest, so it's not a complete surprise, BUT..now what? What about his siblings? He's going to have to be with me another few weeks. There is no where to quarantine him too. Everyone has been exposed. I'm in full “fuck-it” mode about this ringworm nightmare.
Sick or not, I've really fallen for this little guy. I'm not sure I can part with him. Maybe I'm willing him to stay here and he's responding by getting sick again? Sure. I have super powers. Why can't I have the super power that wins me a huge lottery payout?
I'd settle for super powers that make Blitzen be the last cat (or PERSON) I EVER see with RINGWORM!
A very nice couple in their 50's were looking to add to their family. Their three previous Maine Coons had all passed away from old age, so they were looking for a new kitty companion. Grayson is on his way to his new home already or might even be there by now!
Thank you to everyone for putting out the word for this sweet boy!
And no...we're not done yet. Grayson was being fostered with a sweet, but shy black kitty. This little baby had a nightmarish, Hellish life. Someone took a SCISSORS to her EARS and cut them off. While she is not a super beauty, she deserves a great home to call her own, where she will be SAFE from further abuse and discover that humans can give love and not just pain.
I'll have photos and more info shortly and then we'll start this whole process again!
This is Grayson (aka, Mr. Gray). His 92 year old mama passed away, leaving no one to care for him. He was lucky to find a temporary placement at a cat clinic, but now his time has run out there, too. He faces being put down in a few more days. There's just no space and no place to call home.
Grayson is just 3 years old. A good boy. Loves people and LOVES to be brushed! He also will follow you around like a little shadow. This is one lovey-dovey cat. He likes to be held and sit on your lap. What more would anyone want? He's a beauty, too!
Grayson's fully vetted and healthy. He's up to date on shots and neutered. He was combo tested for FIV+/Feline Leukemia and is NEGATIVE for both. He's been treated with Revolution, so he won't bring fleas into your home.
Grayson is fine with other cats, but don't know about dogs or small children.
It's tough on Cupid being confined and it's tough on me because I've got to spend time with her every day to keep her from going crazy. I know she's lonely and bored. The hour or more we spend together-spread out across the day in short play-periods, is something, but not enough. I can't wait for this to be over. I'm sure she would agree.
Still waiting for that darn ringworm to GO AWAY! Looking pretty as ever, during the process, of course.
The ringworm hasn't spread, KNOOCK WOOD, to any other part of her body, nor has is spread, KNOCOK WOOD AGAIN, to ANY of the kittens, myself, Sam or our cats. So far, so good.
Next week ends four weeks confined. At that time, I'm going to beg Dr. Larry to give me the go-ahead to free her from the bathroom. I wonder how she'll be with her kittens after such a long separation? Her mammary glands are finally flat and normal again and her spay surgery wound is healed and barely visible. Cupid's put on a few POUNDS and looks terrific. I just wonder if she'll remember her offspring or look at them as strangers?
On March 6th, we're having an Adoption Event. I had to cancel the last two because WE HAD NO CATS. With any luck, ALL the fosters will be READY to be ADOPTED-at LAST!!!!
Cupid enjoys batting at toys with her paws. She's very expressive with them. I can get her to give me a “high five” or she'll reach out to get me to pet her. She's a very sweet cat.
By the Adoption Event, the cats will have been here almost THREE MONTHS. Compared to the last group I took in from GA, those 9 were here for only 10 days before they all went to great homes. You think this will be tough-saying goodbye to this pile o' cats?
Tough doesn't even come close.
Spencer flailing around in the hopes that the string toy will accidently fall into his waiting arms. Getting up to chase after it seems like just too much work.
Stanely Pertwee Kokopelli. 1990-2002.
Most people get cards on Valentine's Day.
In 1998, I got a cat, instead.
This is Stanley. I adopted him 12 years ago today and from the first moment he arrived, I was not only smitten with this silly 7 year old cat, but I found my best furry friend forever.
Sadly, Stanley and I only shared 5 short years together before he died suddenly from misdiagnosed/undiagnosed HCM. I was truly heartbroken.
If any of you have lost a cat to HCM, you know how terrible the disease is. Steve Dale, a nationally syndicated pet columnist, has worked with The Winn Feline Foundation to create The Ricky Fund, in memory of the cat he lost to HCM in 2002.
To learn more about HCM, visit here.
...and to all of you, give your cats a BIG HUG from me and remember to cherish each of them, faults and all. I wish you ALL a very Happy and Love-Filled Valentine's Day.
Poor Cupid. Today is day nine of her being quarantined from her kittens. She's doing well, but is very sad about being alone most of the day. I'm the only one she sees and there are just not enough hours in the day to hang out with her, give the kittens some time, give my cats some time, give me some time to work.
We're all making due with less, it seems.
The DTM culture isn't done “culturing” yet, but it HAS turned slightly pink. This may indicate she has a fungal infection, but NOT ringworm. In a few days we'll know for sure. I hope she doesn't have ringworm so I can let her OUT of the bathroom! I hate keeping her confined! She's not eating well and I fear that the nice weight she's put on is going to just slip off her and she'll be back to skin and bones again.
Off to the visit Dr. Larry. This time with Blitzen! He's just not getting over the URI, so time to tweak his meds or just stop giving the poor thing antibiotics. It's so tough on him and he's been on them for over 4 weeks now!
I'm so cute. You must LOVE ME!