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!
I really hope I don't have to change the name of my web site to: Covered in Ringworm. I really don't. I'm not a big fan of change, in the first place, and it would be an understatement to say this was an unwelcome surprise.
Ahhh...life is good for Cupid. If we only knew then...
I've gotten a lot of emails from other folks that do rescue. I feel like I've been sitting in a bar, shootin' the shit with my war Veteran buds. We're kickin' back some brewskis, bitchin' about our wives (well, more likely, cats, in this case). Their reaction to the state-of-the-worm is always the same: [cue inhalation of cigarette smoke and exhale while speaking] “Yeah, I had ringworm go through about ____ cats. I was real lucky because my own cats must have built up an immunity to it since they'd had it before (BEFORE??!!). That is just one thing you don't want to have to deal with. It's just a nightmare.”
[cue additional smoking] “Yeah, I knew a rescue group that had to shut it's doors for ___ months when one of their kittens broke through enemy lines with it. Oh man, it was bad! There were medics scrambling everywhere, trying to get a handle on the situation, but it was dire. No one got much sleep for weeks, that's for sure.”
[order another round of beers] “In '67...I'll never forget it. The look in their eyes when I told them it was Ringworm. Those damn swamps-all that wet, leads to no good. No good. And all that ointment. The smell. I'll never forget that smell 'til the day I die.”
We all nod silently. Everyone knows about the Ringworm epidemic of '67 and still brings a chill down to our toes.
This is the foreign lesion!
One of the guys pats my hand in solidarity. She's fought that battle before and wants me to know she's right there with me...
...Until she realizes that I might be carrying Ringworm, too. At which point, she quickly smashes out her ciggy and makes a mad dash for the door and the waiting bottle of hand sanitizer in her car.
Blitzen, the Zombie-Kitten, called a Press Conference today to discuss the recent attacks on his helpless human foster parents. Sadly, no one showed up to the conference, save for me, so I'll do my best to report this exciting news bulletin.
Blitzen, who suspiciously enough, was born on Halloween of 2009, indicates that he is not the living-dead, Zombie-kitten we insist he has become, but rather a simple kitten, going through a hair-chewing-fetish phase.
“I can't help myself," said Blitzen. “There are far worse things on heaven and earth that a cat could get caught up in, like peeing on the sofa or clawing the curtains. I have no interest in eating brains, that I know of. So far I've been eating turkey, chicken, sometimes a little salmon, but NO BRAINS! I'm being framed, I tell ya. Eating hair does NOT make me a ZOMBIE!”
Sources close to Blitzen are spreading rumors that the little fella is headed off to Rehab, somewhere in Arizona, near where Tiger Woods is suspected to be seeking treatment for sexual addiction. Of course, Blitz won't be at the SAME facility since his foster kitten salary only provides for “just the basics” sort of place.
As I watched Blitzen's passionate plea for understanding, a tear rolled down my cheek (I had something in my eye). That poor little kitten. So innocent and fresh, already being cruelly blamed for actions that were not his doing...but then something occurred to me. We use brain flavored shampoo!!!!
Oh my GOD! He's just waiting until he grows larger, into a full-fledged Zombie-CAT, when his true nature will come forth and he'll have the strength to open our skulls! By then our defenses will be down! It will be too late!
I mustn't let on that I know. I know the truth about Blitzen. He wasn't framed! He IS a ZOMBIE-KITTEN! I must come up with a plan to rescue us from his powerful cuteness! I must get him adopted out to another family! I must not adopt him!
Either that or we have to change shampoo! It's for his own good!
He looks so INNOCENT! Don't let his cute face fool you! He wants to eat your brainz!
Cupid has no idea how lucky she is to be alive. Not only did she escape a High Kill Shelter when she had less than 24hrs before she was separated from her offspring and very likely to be put down, but she survived a thousand mile transport, and being nursed on to the point of almost killing her. Cupid got sick, too and has managed to recover enough to be spayed. She relapsed a bit, but nothing serious. She's gained a few POUNDS in just over a month. This lady has won the lottery a million times over.
The time has come to start finding Cupid the perfect home. I've already had to say, “No” to an adopter. It's just not a good fit. Cupid is not going to be an outdoor cat. She's been through too much and her coat is finally sleek and beautiful. To allow her to run around, risk getting parasites, fleas, injured, you know the drill...well I just can't do it. Sure, we do adopt out to folks who let their cats outdoors, but we also have special circumstances and this is one. Cupid will have the best life I can give her and the best home I can find. I would rather say no again and again, until it really feels “right” to me. I don't care how long it takes.
I have lots of time, now. I won't be fostering any more cats until “Kitten Season” kicks in in our town in May.
Cupid is the last mama-cat I can save from Georgia. We will no longer be doing any transports other than with our new partner New Hope, a group affiliated with Animal Care & Control in NYC. It was not my decision to end doing transports and I understand why we have to pull back, but I hope to find a way to help the cats of Georgia. They are in such dire need, we all need to band together and find a solution for the overpopulation problem and the over-euthanasia problems there.
I am forced to close my doors, but I will never close my heart.
Cupid and her kittens made it. All the others I was lucky enough to get here before her were lucky, too. They were also the prettiest, sweetest cats I've ever had the pleasure of dealing with-all 32 of them.
I feel badly turning my back on the ones in Georgia that need help the most, but I look at it as only temporary, until I can find another way to help. If any of you are interested in helping cats in Georgia, let me know. Maybe we can team up and do something amazing!
People ask me all the time; how can I foster? Doesn't it upset me when the kitties get adopted? Don't I cry? Don't I want to keep them all? Sure. Of course I do. I love all my foster cats, even if they're only here for a day. Thing is, usually I have foster cats for just a few weeks. Right at the point where I'm getting attached, it's time for them to move on. I feel sad, some times I'm glad and it doesn't break my heart at all. I know I'm doing a good thing and that can sustain me. I also know I can't save more cats, if I keep them all and realistically, adding to my cat-family would be tough on the others who are already here.
In over four years of fostering, I've never adopted one kitten. There was one I wish I adopted and I still miss her, but I can live with that.
Each day Cupid gets more and more relaxed and contented with her life in Connecticut. It sure beats living in a cramped cage in a Kill shelter!
This is the group that will test my willpower and ability to say No. I've had Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Dancer & Prancer here for almost six weeks. In that time, not only did I feed them and clean up after them, but I medicated them up to 50 times, in total, per day. I washed their snotty faces. Took them on endless Vet runs. I brushed out their rough coats. I held them until they slept, sharing the warmth of my body to help soothe their disease and give them comfort. My heart is connected to each one in ways I haven't with all the others.
Donner in her usual place, passed out on my shoulder.
I won't keep them all, but breaking them apart will be awful. Cupid is ready to go. Her URI is all but gone. She's spayed. She gained weight. She's tired of being cooped up, so I let her and the kittens run down the hallway and into my bedroom so they can stretch out a bit more. The love to run laps on the rug and chase each other from the master bathroom, then dive bomb under the bed. It's wonderful to watch them, but I know the days are coming to an end when they will all be together. I know it will break Cupid's heart too, but what can I do?
Donner, Cupid and Blitzen (below, right) enjoy having a new place to hang out.
I knew they would leave one day. I knew it before they ever arrived. As with all my fosters, I ready myself for that. Reminding myself of the goal at hand-save as many as I can. Let them all go to good homes. Send them on their journey without complaint. It's what I have to do. I don't have to like it and I don't like it. I don't know that I can say goodbye to Donner & Blitzen. I'm trying. Really I am. I'm trying to let them go now, but every time I look at them or Blitz gives me his belly to rub, I melt a little bit more and I am one step further down a path I should not tread.
Sadly thinking about the days ahead and the farewells I will have to make while Donner dreams of her forever home and wonders if she has already found it.
It wasn't enough to take SEVEN foster cats to the Vet on Tuesday. Of course I have my OWN cats who need occasional vet care, too. Right. I DO have my OWN cats. I keep forgetting about them!
He looks so sweet because his is still DRUGGED in this photo!
Spencer was up first. He wasn't too thrilled about being at the Vet. He was due for a dental cleaning and WAY overdue for a CLAW (talons of DOOM) TRIM. To make things easier, I brought a “to do” list for Dr. Larry and to make SURE he trimmed Spencer's claws (TOD), I wrote: “Please trim the Little Fu@ker's claws...” I figure, humor is a good way to drill in the request to get those claws trimmed. Spencer LOVES to sit on my chest at night and no matter how far I pull the covers up, he has a way of sneaking his claws around the edges and digging those tips right into my shoulder. I will do what it takes to get some relief.
Spencer wheezes. After thousands of dollars spent on tests, it was determined that Spencer has scar tissue in his right sinus from an old URI (from before I adopted him). Because his breathing is effected, I always worry about him going under anesthesia AND he does NOT like to be messed with while at the Vet, too. So he can get himself VERY worked up and out of breath from fighting everyone who has to handle him. He will hiss and spit and make life HELL for everyone at Maple Ridge. He really IS a nice cat, but just not when he's getting a cath removed.
One of the other things on my list was to check Spencer's bald patches to determine if, indeed he has symmetrical alopecia or not. If you recall, Spencer looked like this (see below) a few months ago.
So, the ”Little Fu@ker” (now his new nickname) got his teeth cleaned, his claws trimmed and his fur combed. His fur is growing back nicely, so Spencer isn't sick. Hurrah! That said, I GAVE SPENCER THE BALD PATCHES FROM RIPPING OUT HIS MATS. MY BAD!. In my own defense, Spencer DOES have very soft, delicate fur. I know. Call the Cops on me! I'm sorry, Spencer!
Spencer is getting ready to kick some ass. Ears are locked and sphincters are loaded.
I"m not even sure if I should write the next bit 'cause I'm really going to look bad! Spencer also lost 10 oz in a few MONTHS. That's a LOT of weight. So now I'm starving him, too! First abuse, then starving. Great. Actually, I've taken him OFF dry food. No more for him AND I have been transitioning him to a RAW diet. He gets a combo of RAW and canned grain-free. Apparently, I can give him a bit more than I was. Will fix that. His weight is great. He's just under 13 lbs.
This is where I shine as a cat-mom: Spencer's wheezing is almost GONE! We're sure it's due to his diet change and possibly his weight loss, but most likely the dry food was irritating him in some way. So there! I'm not a complete Cat-Mommy Dearest!
I also brought Bob Dole in to see Dr. Larry. Bob's been vomiting a bit and also sneezing. Since he's FIV+, I don't want to risk him getting REALLY sick. Right now Bob has no fever and I needed them to take his temperature (I am NOT going to check that on my own! I would like to keep both my hands, after all). Bob was congested, but not bad. He got some Convenia and we'll wait and see how he does. So far, whatever he has is mild. Thank goodness. Super-Deb combed out Bob's fur which he couldn't decide if he loved or hated her doing. SD even combed off some poop particles. Okay, dingle berries. Anyway, Bob is a bit happier for it. Well, okay, I'M HAPPIER for it. Super Deb was shocked that Bob would “go out looking like that.” SD was right. Bob should start wearing pants.
Bob lost 8 oz, too! Starving your cats, Robin? Say no!
Spencer (aka, Little Fu@ker) got through his dental, then drove me INSANE once we got home. I wasn't supposed to feed him and he was supposed to be confined to a room for the night. He clawed at the bedroom door, desperate to get out. He would not stop no matter how many times I yelled, cajolled, begged. Around 10pm I gave up and fed him some broth. That wasn't enough, so he returned to trying to claw a hole through the door. I was so happy he was okay and so pissed because he can really be an annoying maniac some times. By 11pm I had enough. There was NO WAY anyone was going to sleep unless loonie-boy got FED and got FED NOW. Who cares if his body temperature lowered from eating? I'll set him on fire so he will be warm after he eats.
I AM JUST JOKING. No need to call the authorities, but he was really being a pain in the ass.
All is well for now. Tomorrow Jennifer will bring Comet and Rudy here, then we'll drive over to visit Dr. Larry and Super Deb. I hope that we can get the ball rolling on ruling out Ringworm and also find some answers regarding why Rudy isn't recovering from the URI.
That will add up to four trips to the Vet in five days. I hope I don't have some sort of Vet-visiting disorder. Granted I DO enjoy chatting with Dr. Larry, Super Deb, Jessica and everyone else at Maple Ridge, but it IS a bit embarrassing to think if I had been going to the gym as often as I go to the Vet I would certainly look like a super model by now.
Looks like all the kitties are finally starting to get better. I'm told that Rudy and Comet are enjoying their new digs at Jennifer's house. They're playing and having a good time. Comet, apparently, likes to “eat Rudy's brains,” which Jennifer describes as her grabbing his head and chomping playfully on it. They're both drying out and heading towards good health. Then we try to find them homes again, since we lost their last adopters. They just didn't want to wait.
Cupid and the crew are growing and gaining weight. Blitzen still has nasty eyes, but not as bad as this past weekend. Dancer is getting better and Prancer and Donner seem to be past the worst of it. Cupid acts oddly. I can't quite figure her out. She wasn't even trying to nurse her kittens so I let them hang out together. Now that she's feeling better, I caught them nursing on her so I had to separate them again. I HATE doing this because Mama is the one who gets locked up in the dog crate while the kids run around the room like maniacs. Cupid looks depressed. She's slightly friendly at times, but won't sit too close. Other times she purrs and follows me closely around the room. I can't figure out what she wants.
Tonight I gave her a break and took her into my bedroom to keep me company as I folded laundry. I know, exciting. She calmly sniffed around the room with her tail held high-a GREAT sign. She was interested in everything and seemed to perk up without the kittens around. I decided I was going to grab a shower, but first wanted to brush my teeth.
Cupid followed me into the bathroom. The SECOND I turned the faucet on, she had pushed me out of the way and was drinking from the tap!
She seemed quite delighted and I was quite surprised! Suddenly this laid back, almost emotionless cat was interested in something. She had a good drink, then took a break then went back for more.
Of course she could not resist that there is a SECOND sink in the bathroom, too. So I turned it on so I could finish brushing my teeth.
Now that she's feeling a bit better, you can see how pouffy her tail is getting. It's REALLY LONG, too. She is a pretty kitty. I'm gonna try to get her away from the kittens more often so I can see her personality shine through. It was nice to see her rolling on the carpet with her paws in the air. Normally she sits on the hard wood floor, never on something soft and the foster room is filled with beds. Weird. Regardless, I think someone will really enjoy giving her a home, from what I can tell.
We didn't hang out too long. Cupid started to cry. I think she was worried about the kittens so I brought her back. She burbled to the kittens when she returned and they all ran over to her to...NURSE! Damn it! I had to lock her up right away. I really feel bad doing this to her. I may see about moving her to a foster home for a week so she can really dry out, but not have to be locked in a cage. Thursday they go back for a re-check. If I get an OK from the Vet, I'll move her for the next week. She really needs time to herself and a vacation from the kids.
Don't we all?
Some of my cats just don't get along. For whatever reason, Bob (on the far right ) and Petunia (center) don't like each other. Bob always goes after Petunia and is quick to give her a swat if she gets too close. Is it because SHE wants to be the alpha cat and Bob wants to keep his position of authority? Perhaps.
I bought an electric blanket (on sale at Tar-gay), thinking it would be a cozy treat for my cats, since I keep the heat low in the winter. It took all of five minutes before the cats were lining up to lay on it. Not only lay on it, but stretch out, relaxed, without a care in the world. This is pretty big stuff around here. Gracie usually is really tense and high strung and Petunia is very jumpy, too. Yet, once on the warm blanket, they started to unwind, the tension falling away, as they turned into furry puddles of bliss.
I think I'm on to something! Here are mortal enemies, hanging out together, peacefully. It makes me wonder if the same thing could happen in the Middle East if everyone would just have a Spa Day together? Think about it. Put down your weapons and get a hot stone massage and a dead sea salt scrub. I mean, really, if the warmth of an electric blanket can get my cats to get along, just think what aromatherapy might do for World Peace?