When what ails your cat isn't clearly defined, it's easy to lean on your Vet and assume they know all the answers. They can decide what should be done next-that's their job, right? What I'd like to suggest is you don't let them call the shots-ever-without being your cat's biggest advocate. You know your cat better than anyone else how your cat behaves-how well they eat-if they are using the litter pan and their output is normal or not. Your Vet has MANY other patients to deal with, a life to live, other distractions. It doesn't mean they don't know what they're doing, but it does mean that they don't have the time to spend endless hours on your cat's case, alone. When it comes to your cat's health care, you must be prepared to push back, ask questions and offer reminders and suggestions to your Vet to help him/her solve the case.
The longer I do cat rescue and experience health issues with fosters as well as my own cats, the more I realize that it helps my Vet if I understand the pieces to my cat's health “puzzle” as much as I can. Overlook something and that might be the one thing that ties everything together. I may not understand cat's physiology the way my Vet does, but I can provide anecdotal information and I can be the one to remember my cat's health history when my Vet might miss something while reviewing my cat's file.
Before we visited Dr Weisman this morning, I made a list of every question I had, plus I thought about Nicky's past health issues. Dr. Weisman didn't have a complete picture of Nicky's life and it was up to us to provide that to her because whatever is ailing Nicky is not blatantly obvious.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Waiting for Dr. Weisman to arrive.
It made me think of a few suggestions to share about going to the Vet. Maybe some of them will help you when you have to bring your cat to the Vet.
1. Keep a folder of your cat's health records. Sounds obvious, but if you have to look something up, it's there. If you want to compare blood work from one year to the next or can't remember if your cat was ever tested for Bartonella it's there. Yes, you can call your Vet and they should know, but what if your Vet is closed and you need to go to the Emergency Vet?
2. Do your best to understand and be able to recall every treatment and condition your cat has ever had. If you have to make a cheat sheet of notes, do that. I seem to have a good memory for what each cat has been through, so I just sit quietly and think about it and jot down questions for my Vet based on the cat's past history and include the details of his or her past I think are important to underscore.
3. Don't let your Vet tell you what to do without clearly understanding the pros and cons of what is being done. It's nice when they offer to give your cat a shot of Convenia so you don't have to give it pills, but is Convenia the RIGHT antibiotic for your cat? Should your cat even GET an antibiotic? What about other medications other treatments? Understanding is so important. In the heat of the moment, some times you don't have the luxury of looking up what side effects or dangers are in a certain medication, but if you do have time, then LOOK IT UP. Be smart. Ask a lot of questions. Make sure your Vet remembers those details about your cat that he or she may have missed.
4. Take time to think about what is best. IF YOU CAN. There are many situations where time is a luxury you do not have. There are other situations where if you take a day or week to repeat a test or see how the cat does, it's perfectly acceptable. Sometimes rushing into a treatment or surgery makes it worse or makes the case more complex. Try not to do too much at once or you won't be able to understand what changes were the ones that made the difference.
What happened with Nicky today is a very good illustration of the points, above. Sam and I were expecting that Nicky would be having exploratory surgery today. He has too many test results that show some sort of problem-and we needed to know what was going on.
We had our list and because we had spent time thinking about it, we were able to give Dr. Weisman more information about Nicky that ended up being crucial to his care, today.
Nicky has a growth on his spleen-it is likely it is benign. Older cats can get these growths, but the ultrasound Vet didn't describe the growth well enough so we know if it is a tumor. Cats don't need their spleen as they get older so if it had to be removed, Nicky would be fine.
Although Nicky's blood work does show early signs of renal disease, what Dr. W didn't know was that Nicky is in DIRE need of a DENTAL!!! Some how that information was not passed on from our Vet to Dr. Weisman. Nicky has a cervical line lesion on at least one tooth and some mild tartar that needs to be cleaned. That, alone, could be the cause for Nicky's kidney issues and that his mesenteric lymph nodes are swollen, but that wasn't the possible smoking gun.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. I DO NOT CARE TO BE IN THE CAR! WAHHHHH!
Before we knew any better and Nicky was being fed GRAIN (in his dry and canned food), Nicky's urethra would get blocked up. Eventually we spent many thousands of dollars having surgery done on Nicky to remove his penis (which can be referred to as a PU surgery) so he'd have a bigger opening to urinate through and not block up any more. Right after that we learned about diet and got him off grain. The surgery was done years ago, but once we mentioned it to Dr. W. she perked up. That one thing could be what is causing some of Nicky's symptoms and that his immune system is constantly being taxed from having that larger opening.
She also felt that possibly Nicky was having a reaction to being fed a raw diet. Sam and I aren't sold on that, but we're open to the idea that if Nicky's immune system is weaker from his bad teeth and the PU surgery, that perhaps the mild bacteria he might encounter on his food just adds to his problems.
We also showed Dr. W. Nora's blood work. She's Nicky's sister and she has no kidney issues whatsoever. Of course this is not comparing the same cats, exactly, but between Nora and Gracie's recent blood work there are no signs the diet is hurting them-rather helping if anything.
It became clear that doing anything other than a dental on Nicky wasn't necessary today. Nicky doesn't show enough clinical signs to tell us he's in crisis. None of his tests are so bad that we MUST do surgery NOW. We decided that after the dental and dose of antibiotics and some time to recover from both, that we'd re-do the ultrasound and see if anything has improved. It's possible many of these issues will lessen in severity OR get WORSE. If so, we move forward with surgery.
We're giving it a month. Right after Thanksgiving we'll re-test and see how he's doing. If he starts to show clinical signs before then, he has the surgery done sooner. It's really not a case of not going it at all, it's a case of when it's done. Sooner or later we will be facing this procedure, but today is not that day.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. My boys last night.
Nicky is on an IV for the next few hours to protect his kidneys before surgery, then they do the dental..and they remove and biopsy a growth I found on his leg while we were IN THE CAR, on the way to the VET! After that, Nicky goes back on the IV and tomorrow morning, with any luck, we'll bring him home.
I can't say we lucked out, but I think I can say we feel better about this choice. Nicky may still have cancer or renal disease or both or hyperthyroid or IBD...we just don't know yet. Maybe we caught it VERY EARLY or maybe not. We'll find out in time.
And all this happened because we saw Nicky peeing on the floor in the kitchen...
It's getting late. I should get to bed. In less than 12 hours, we'll be seeing Dr. Weisman, Nicky's surgeon. I feel the same anxiety I felt before we went to see her with Bob. Bob's case was, at first, more clear cut. He HAD to have part of his liver removed or he'd die fairly soon. With Nicky, we don't even know for certain that we SHOULD open him up at all, but I still fear the same miserable results...the Vet saying; “I'm sorry, but...”
Over the weekend, one of my readers reached out to me. She worked for a great Vet in the Northeast for many years, who, according to her, was a fantastic diagnostician. She spoke to him about Nicky's case and right away he said NOT to do ANYTHING other than repeat Nicky's urinalysis in a few months. That what was the benefit of opening him up? I felt confused. I was so ready to move forward and now this...he asked us, through our CiCH friend, that we call him on Tuesday afternoon, when he had normal business hours, so we could talk to him.
Now what? Here we have Dr. Larry and Dr. Deb saying we need to open Nicky up. We have a long track record and trust both Vets, but this other Vet did bring up a good point-if it IS cancer and we cut into it, we can make it a lot worse.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. If you rub Nicky's head, you get full belly access!
I hate feeling conflicted about what to do. Nicky is Sam's cat. Ultimately Sam has to decide, but I'm definitely going to need to hear from Dr. Deb exactly why we need to do this now, instead of give Nicky more time and re-run all the tests again later.
Something else came up, too. Nicky may NEVER have been “snap tested” for FIV+ and Feline Leukemia! Back when Nicky was adopted he came to Sam unvetted. Sam took him to the vet and had him neutered. Did they test him then? It was 10 years ago? I wouldn't have known to test Nicky when he, Nora and Sam came to live at my house! Now I have a terrible fear of what if's going through my head...Meanwhile Nicky seems a bit down, a bit thinner, not eating quite as well as he has in the past. Is he feeling worse? We KNOW he has a bad TOOTH on top of his other issues so maybe that's what's causing his eating problems?
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Meet my belleh.
At this point it's so hard to know. I've been down this road before and it sucks. Is this our last night with Nicky as a reasonably healthy cat? Are we losing him and this is the start of that journey?
Sam has been very stoic about how he feels about Nicky. Even though the two of them are always together and I know Sam loves Nicky, dearly, Sam isn't one to wear his emotions on his sleeve. This afternoon Sam looked glum. I asked him what was wrong. He came over to me and put his arms around me and sort of sank against me. All he could manage to say was; “Don't let them take my cat from me.”
My poor Sam. My poor Nicky. I have a hard time imagining one without the other. I hope I don't have to do that any time soon. My poor boys. We'll get through this together-just like we always do. I just hope that maybe this time we luck out-whatever lucking out means. Nicky and Sam need many more years together. We just can't lose another cat. Not right now. Not so soon.
We trudge down this all too familiar path with weary legs. It started with something that was a little bit off with Nicky's behavior, then a blood test, then, ultrasound. Next step takes us to having exploratory surgery done on Nicky on Monday, at which time they'll do biopsies. We'll get some answers and have more questions. Based on finally reading the ultrasound report, it looks grim, but it could be worse. I fear Dr. Weisman finding a labyrinth of tumors inside Nicky's belly-that same belly we've rubbed and kissed, now full of growths that could take us from him far sooner than we could have ever anticipated.
If you looked at Nicky, you'd see a big lug of a cat with a sweeter than sugar personality and a high LOUD cry (only when he has to be in the car or is looking for his sister, Nora). Nicky doesn't look sick. He eats well, gets around the house without problems, his eyes are bright, his coat is good. He doesn't vomit or have the runs.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Nicky chillaxin' yesterday.
I look at him and think I may see him waste away-just like I did with Bob. I don't know if I could bear to see that again. Bob was an old kitty. Technically, I suppose Nicky is, too, but 11 doesn't seem that old. Sam and I both thought that we had at least 15 to 20 years with our cats, especially now that they've all been on a much improved diet for many years. This just seems so out-of-the-blue. We're both shocked and I don't think the reality of it has completely hit me.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Nicky, with sister, Nora, crammed into a cat bed even though there are two of them and the one next to them is empty.
Nicky could be weeks away from dying or not. I sure HOPE NOT!!! Some of you have been sharing stories with me about your cats who passed from lymphoma: one was only 5 years old...another a few years older than that. Some found out just before their cat had to be put down or died on their own. No, we don't have a confirmed diagnosis, but let's look at Nicky's ultrasound report. It's like reading another language. I have to wonder why they don't use simple words! I had to look up just about every word on the report. My comments are in italics.
“There is no evident peritoneal effusion. (no fluid-this is good).”
“There is an apparent solitary, solid nodule of undetermined nature which measures approx 1.5 cm x 2 cm. The parenchyma appears hyperechogenic (I think this means the functioning part of the spleen- allows increased sound waves to penetrate it. What does this mean? I have no idea and I can't find into online, but I DO KNOW WHAT A NODULE IS-TUMOR?) centrally in the nodule and the remaining parenchyma of the spleen appears unremarkable.”
[paraphrasing here]: The liver appears unremarkable..lacks lesions...gall bladder OK
“There are multiple (4 to 5) hypoechogenic to mixed echogenic nodules in the mesentery. The largest is 1.5cm in size. The others are about 0.5-0.8 cm. The nodules closest to the root of the mesentary are likely the mesenteric lymph nodes (this is not good). The others may be the same but seem less likely to be so. The character of these is unknown but would include reactive noes or neoplasia. The iliac lymph nodes are not visibly enlarged (this is good).”
“Both kidneys have increased medullary echogenicity and consequent reduced corticomedullary contrast or distinction that would be consistent with mild inflammation or degeneration. There is no significant mineralization apparent. There is no visible renal pelvic dilation to support pyelonephritis (how about just say, NO INFLAMMATION in the kidneys, but I think the opacity of them varies in not a proper way! ENGLISH PLEASE!) at this time. The overall size of the kidneys are withing normal limits. Neither uretar appears dilated.”
[paraphrasing here]: Bladder is OK.
“There is diffusely prominent and mildly thickened small intestine...There is no visible focal lesions and this thickening appears to be in normal mucosal to muscularis proportions which would be more suggestive on non-neoplastic inflammation (I think this means the inflammation is not an inflammation due to swelling of a tumor). There have been reports by oncologists of low grade lymphoma that mimics this same appearance (this could be very bad news).”
[paraphrasing here]: Stomach and pancreas are OK.
Sonographic Diagnoses (the bottom line):
Splenopathy-solitary nodule of undetermined nature. (growth on Nicky's Spleen).
Renal Disease: Increased medullary echogenicity consistent with Interstitial nephritis-nonspecific inflammation or diffuse neoplasia such as mast cell disease or lymphoma (Inflammation of the kidneys...not good)
Mesenteric nodules of undetermined nature (this could be mesenteric lymphoma).
Mesenteric lymphadenopathy (Mesenteric lymphadenitis is an inflammation of the lymph nodes on the wall of the mesentery-the covering of the intestines).
Small Intestine: moderate, diffuse thickening more consistant with IBD than diffuse lymphoma (but...lymphoma and IBD go "hand in hand" so we're not off the hook).
We've stopped in our journey to take a rest. This weekend will be “All About Nicky.” We cancelled our plans to have an outing on Saturday. Instead, we'll stay home and focus on Nicky-as we have been for the past few days. We'll also have to ramp up our care for Gracie. She still has a growth on her belly that may also be cancer. Right now we're to put warm compresses on it to see if we can get it to drain. It got smaller a few days ago, so I'm hoping this will be a non-issue...please...please!
I realize that if we're facing the last days with Nicky that no amount of attention this weekend will ever leave us feeling like we had enough time with him. After this weekend has passed, Nicky's life will be much more difficult, at least at the onset of the week. When the surgery is over, hopefully he'll recover and be like his old self again, but these few days may be the last we'll ever see of our ol' boy, as he once was.
No matter what path his life takes, we will always love Nicky.
A few folks have contacted me, asking me to post a ChipIn to provide donations towards Nicky's surgery on Monday. If you'd like to help him, the ChipIn is on the right sidebar. To those of you who have already been so very kind to donate, Sam and I appreciate the help so very much---more than simple words can say. Thank you.
After my father killed himself in 1999 I figured nothing bad would happen for awhile, as if I deserved a “pass” from any more pain. Of course I was wrong. I got divorced four months later and lost my biggest client.
I realize that most things that happen during my life are not about me. My father took his own life. I didn't cause that to happen, but certainly it effected me deeply, and still does. The thing is I can't help but feel a bit, well pissed when one thing after another seems to go down the drain. I asked Sam if we were being foolish to think that things were going to get better “some day.” Maybe we should just realize that life pretty much sucks, is difficult, frustrating, heartbreaking and has moments, just moments of good stuff to keep us from offing ourselves, too.
Last month after Bob died, I thought that maybe we were done with long trips to Vet Oncologists, done with digging the deep financial hole to provide Bob with the care he needed, done with heartbreak over our cats. Bob was an old cat with FIV+, two kinds of cancer and half a liver. Our next youngest cat is eleven, so certainly they would be fine for many years to come. I really wanted to take a deep breath and relax, focus on the working out some behavioral issues with the cats and get the foster cats adopted.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Nicky, this morning, getting ready to roll over and show me his belly.
I nagged at Sam to take Nicky to the Vet. I was fed up watching the cat urinate on the floor, right in front of his litter pan, often not caring if we were watching him do it. We knew it might be due to the stress in the house and the cats jockeying for position in the cat hierarchy with Bob being gone, but due diligence dictated that Nicky should be seen by Dr. Larry.
I honestly thought Nicky had a urinary tract infection or might be in the early stages of hypothyroid because he drank a lot of water (and I knew his blood sugar was normal so it wasn't diabetes).
The blood work came back and it indicated that Nicky might be in early stages of renal (kidney) failure. The next morning, Ingrid King of The Conscious Cat just posted an article by Dr. Darren Hawks about Kidney Failure that helped me understand what was possibly going on. It was devastating news, but since we caught it early, Nicky had a chance to live many more good years. Maybe it wasn't so bad after all?
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. He always gives us "lovey-dovey" looks.
But Dr. Larry wanted to do a sonogram to look at Nicky's kidneys. Sam agreed and the procedure was done yesterday afternoon. I wasn't worried. I thought we had that pass to not get bad news-Nicky is just eleven, right? He gets a raw diet and fresh spring water not our yucky well water. Sure he had some kidney issue, but maybe he just needed some antibiotics?
I was sitting at my computer, working on a project. I'd had a lousy day. An acquaintance of mine died. He was only 52 years old. He had a massive stroke last week and died on Monday morning. I had some very interesting times with him and I liked him even though he seemed to bring out the worst in my childhood friend, MaryEllen, who was dating him in those days. Now she's planning his funeral. I couldn't help but feel the weight of the ticking clock of my own life. How much time did I have left? I'm only two years younger than he was and a lot of people don't even get to be my age. I can't take it for granted I have tomorrow. It gave me pause.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Rub Mah Belleh.
Sam stood in the doorway to my office. He didn't look so good, but we've both been in fairly bad moods for lots of reasons lately. He started to talk about Nicky. He must have just gotten off the phone with Dr. Larry. They found a growth on one of Nicky's kidneys-which were both showing signs of degeneration. They found lymph nodes that were enlarged, but it wasn't renal disease, it might be CANCER.
When I heard “lymphoma” my head buzzed and my stomach flipped. I felt like I couldn't breathe for a second. No. No. NOT NICKY. NO!
They can't be certain until they do EXPLORATORY SURGERY. Maybe it's something else? Maybe it's some sort of reaction to something else? I don't know what else it COULD BE other than some sort of cancer!!!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Nicky's view of the world is often upside down.
For the handful of you who've met Nicky, you know he's our BIG 20 pound boy who would rather lay in your arms, belly up, like a baby or get tummy rubs than do just about anything else at all. Nicky is a big sweetheart who LOVES everyone. He and his sister...and then I thought about Nora...are inseparable. She wouldn't survive without her big brother. Oh my GOD..what is happening to my cats?! We found this out just because Nicky was drinking too much water and peeing outside the litter pan. That was all we had for symptoms.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Skritches from mama.
I really thought we had more time. Now we have to scrounge for money. Nicky must have the surgery, but we are tapped out. We gave all that we had, and more, for Bob, thinking we could recover in time for the next cat health issue, but we were wrong.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. We love you, Nicky!
Later that night, after we picked up Nicky from the Vet and brought him home, I half jokingly said to Sam that I was feeling suicidal and asked him if he was, too, and he said, yes. Then he said, gesturing to the cats, but they would suffer if we died and I answered simply, we'll just take them with us when we go.
I guess we didn't get that pass we were hoping for. We'll do our best for Nicky. I don't know what that means. It's one step at a time. We need to confirm that it's lymphoma. We need to sort out what Nicky's options are and how we can provide for him. These are dark days indeed and this is just the beginning of a very sad journey for one of our beloved cats.
Sally and Clare were barely busted out of Henry County and spayed, before Sally's sutures started to rupture and she got a hernia. Foster mom, Bobbie, got her to the Vet right away. He said it had to be fixed and was one of the worst hernias he'd seen. We didn't hesitate in saying, YES, to going forward with the surgery. Bobbie left Sally's sister, Clare with Sally at the Vet so the two would not be alone, even for a day.
©2011 Bobbie Coker of Cats-Goats-Quotes. Sally's herniated belly boo-boo!
By the next afternoon, the girls were home. Sally was recovering slowly and had to wear the “cone of shame” for about a day so she wouldn't tug her sutures out. She did well and got back on her paws quickly.
In the meantime, I asked for some help. The girls didn't have any toys and were clearly itching to play. Miss Memory and Miss Emily jumped at the chance to help and sent a VERY NICE selection of toys. The girls LOVED THEM!
©2011 Bobbie Coker of Cats-Goats-Quotes. Nom nom nom nom nom
The only problem was that Sally is not very good at sharing. She'd grab up the toys and guard over them, growling at her sister if she came near. Sally also eats FAST and jumps into Clare's dish if Bobbie isn't watching them during meal time. Okay, so maybe Sally is a bit of a brat OR she just never had toys before and good food, so maybe this is just a passing phase?
©2011 Bobbie Coker of Cats-Goats-Quotes.Are you gonna eat that?
Bobbie reported that the girls are very friendly. Sally more outgoing, Clare more reserved. They're both full of energy and want to play, over sitting in Bobbie's lap, but they do like their head skritches and pets.
©2011 Bobbie Coker of Cats-Goats-Quotes. Clare with her toys-until Sally steals them away!
A few days ago, the girls started to have very stinky poo and were having lots of accidents all over the carpeting! Bobbie took a stool sample to the vet and sure enough it was positive for Coccidia. This is why when you foster like Bobbie does, you MUST keep the foster cats separate from your own cats. Coccidia is very contagious and is spread through the litter pan so good thing Bobbie didn't let her cats share the girl's pan!
©2011 Bobbie Coker of Cats-Goats-Quotes Don't even think about taking Sally's favorite toy!
It was touch and go for a few days. The girls were having lots of accidents and Bobbie was being very gracious about having to clean it up. I shipped her some things to help with neutralizing the odors and helping clean up. I sent her some Cat Attract cat litter to see if the girls would stop having accidents if that was added to the litter. I told Bobbie it might be that the girls just didn't feel well and that hopefully they would stop going outside the litter pan as soon as they felt better.
Two days later...the girls stopped their inappropriate behavior as their stool began to firm back up and clearly they were feeling better. This is yet another example of why it's so important to get your cat to the vet when it inappropriately eliminates!
©2011 Bobbie Coker of Cats-Goats-Quotes. The snowshoe sistahs!
The girls are doing well and having loads of fun with all their toys. Thank you very much to Memory & Emily for their generosity and kindness. Bobbie and I appreciate your help and I know the girls are passing the days until they come to Connecticut with joy in their hearts with all those good toys to play with and a belly full of nom-noms.
I do not like to pick and choose who I rescue because I know whoever I say yes to, means others don't get a rescue and may not live. It makes me sick that I have to be faced with this choice. If I choose cats I feel are very adoptable, then they get adopted quickly and make room to save more, though sometimes I just have to save ones like Nigel and Basil, who had no hope of survival, but weren't any less deserving.
©2011 Betsy Merchant. Clare.
Today I chose ID#9/26-3728 and 3729, two Snowshoe sisters. I thought they were well into adulthood, but it turns out they are just 7-8 months old. They have fleas. Of course, they're not spayed. I don't know where they came from, but they are sweet, so they knew life with a family, at least for awhile. I don't know if there is a little girl, crying somewhere, missing her kitties because her parents couldn't afford their care or if some cruel so-and-so didn't like them any more because they weren't cute little kittens and dumped them at the shelter two days ago. I just know they needed help.
©2011 Betsy Merchant. Sally.
Today they got it.
They are named Sally and Clare. They are getting all their vaccines and they already tested negative/negative for FeLV and FIV+. They are getting spayed, too. It will be a BIG day for them, but after that they go to their Aunt Bobbie's house to rest and recover. Bobbie took in Phil, Nigel and Basil, MacGruber and others. She is a great foster mom and I was very glad she could offer her home to help these cats.
©2011 Betsy Merchant. Clare is ready to be busted out of her cage now!
My sister-shelter, Animals in Distress, offered them a place to live once they are ready to leave Georgia. I have a feeling they won't be in the shelter for very long-these cats are, I'm told, very sweet and cute. It feels good to know they're safe, but there's a bittersweet quality to this small success.
Right now the girls are being prepped to be spayed thanks to the great work Doc Thomas does at Noahs Ark. Thanks to Bobby, for running to get them with no notice, for paying their bill for now and even for prepping them for surgery. Without these good people, this rescue would not have happened.
©2011 Betsy Merchant. Silly siamese sisters!
I hate that I can't do more. I left behind all the others who I posted about this morning. I pray people find it in their heart to step forward and help these other cats. It's just so wrong that so many will die for no good reason.
There has to be a way to do more. I just have to find a way.
Mama weighs just over five pounds. She's skin and bones on her young frame. The Vet determined she is between 9 months and 1 year old-the same age as Cara. I can't imagine a cat that young having SIX kittens, but it happens all the time. I feel sick about it. That poor creature, trying to survive in what was, up until recently, a truly heartless world.
She has an haunted quality to her expression that speaks volumes of what she has suffered. Though she is malnourished herself, she provides for her newborns as they struggle for access to the warm milk that sustains them.
Yesterday we prepared ourselves that this Mother would have to die based on what we heard from the shelter. She wasn't eating-for days. She was depressed, lethargic. What was wrong with her could have been the end of her.
Once she and her babies were in foster care, Mama began to EAT and eat well. It will take time for her to regain her strength as her hind end is red and swollen from many days of diarrhea. She has a small abscess on her tail that the Vet thinks is a self inflicted bite wound from giving birth. She may have been tugging at one of the kittens as they were being born and she bit her tail by accident. The wound is not bad and she really shouldn't have antibiotics just yet, so Maria will keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn't get infected.
Overall we were VERY LUCKY-SO FAR. Mama is in rather good shape, considering. They did a stool sample on her and it was negative for parasites. She had no fleas. Maybe she knew life in a home for a time, but they got rid of her a few days after she gave birth.
Her kittens were in good shape, again, for now! Maria and I are both terrified of them coming down with the you-know-what-plague that seems to hit every cat that comes out of a shelter. It's wait and see. I find I am a bit reluctant to give them names-that said, should the worst happen, maybe they should have the dignity of having a name before they pass away? I hope it's not something we will meed to worry about. Right now, they're OK, getting fed and mostly sleeping in a big pile with each other-little orange puff balls.
I can't get over their orangey-goodness. I wish I could give them all kisses and welcome them to the world. Happy Belated Birthday to you my sweet babies!
Taking on seven new foster cats will require some funding. I'd like to start raising donations for them so we'll have it set aside when they need it-or in case of an emergency! I'm using a low cost S/N clinic, but even with that, everything that has to be done will be times seven cats.
If you want to send a donation DIRECTLY through to PayPal, then we will get 100% of your donation IF you take the following steps:
1. Log in to YOUR PayPal Account
2. Select the tab: SEND MONEY (on the top of the page)
3. To: email@example.com, Fill in Amount, then choose the PERSONAL tab below where you fill in the amount and select: THIS MONEY IS BEING SENT AS A: GIFT
4. Press "continue" to finish the payment transfer
Checks can be made out to: Kitten Associates. Please note: Bob's Angels on your check and mail to: P.O. Box 354, Newtown, CT 06470-0354
And now for some FUN. We need names! I'm open to suggestions-I may not use the names you offer, but let's give it a shot. We need a name for Mama and we have FIVE BOYS AND ONE GIRL (we think) who need names, too. They should all have names in honor of Bob. Here are his names and nicknames: Robert J. Dole, Bob Dole, Baba-D, Bobbie Tinkleberry (hee hee). Post a comment here with your suggestions or visit our Facebook page and leave a comment there.
In honor of my beloved, Bob, who died 12 days ago, I decided to rescue a cat. When I found out about an orange kitty stuck in a tiny cage at Henry County, sick and starving with six tiny kittens stripping her of any energy she has left, I knew I met “the one” that needed my help. In this case, it turned out to be “the seven” who needed me.
©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. My darling, Bob.
I'm VERY VERY LUCKY I have good friends who support my rescue “habit.” Over the course of this morning and afternoon, I was able to put together a number of plans, which included the dreaded “worse case scenario.” They told us that Mama “was not doing well” and not eating. That could mean a million different things. Is it as simple as she's scared and unhappy? Is she getting an upper respiratory infection? Or is something deeply wrong with her? Something the Vet can't correct? Something VERY costly to cure?
I had to ask everyone on our team if they would be able to handle it if Mama had to be euthanized. I didn't even want to ask. Bobby didn't even bat an eye. He is willing to be our warrior. I knew I could count on him. Maria found a backup foster home in case the babies have to be bottle fed. Then Connie, understanding the risk of pulling a sick cat from a shelter, said that her group, Animals in Distress, would help us with initial vetting!
How could I say no?
So I didn't!
Then we all started to panic, worrying about the worst case...would Mama be OK?
Bobby got her out of Henry at 4pm. An hour later, I found out the good news-MAMA IS NEGATIVE/NEGATIVE for FIV+ and Feline Leukemia!!!!!
But why wasn't she eating?
I don't have complete details yet, but Mama has a small abscess on the base of her tail. That has been treated. Otherwise they thought she was in VERY GOOD overall condition. I don't even know how old she is or the birthday of her six little kittens. All I know is she is SAFE and will be in a warm, clean room with plenty of good food to eat. Hopefully, once she settles down, she will want to eat. She won't need to use a tiny litter pan as a place to rest. She'll have a nice, soft bed. She'll have the companionship of someone who loves cats deeply and hopefully one day, when they are all old enough, they will come to my home and be fostered here.
We don't even know if we have six boys or a mix of sexes. We barely even know what they look like. All that matters is that they're a lovely orange, perhaps more rich and deep in tone than Bob, but it works for me. I am so VERY HAPPY to be able to have been part of saving their lives. It softens the pain of losing Bob, just a little bit.
Today is the beginning of their story with us and unlike Bob, they will have a great start with everything they need so they'll never have to get FIV+ and suffer through a sad end the way Bob did.
I think Bob sent this family to me. I just found out they were born the day he died.
Here we are again...in that same, familiar place. Another Mama cat and her six newborn kittens are in DIRE NEED OF RESCUE by a GA LICENSED RESCUE ORGANIZATION---that needle in a haystack so difficult to find.
©2011 Betsy Merchant.
Apparently, Mama isn't eating. She gave birth a few days ago and hasn't eaten since. As she grows weaker she is at high risk of getting SICK, then she will be put down, along with her innocent babies. This breaks my heart especially because being orange, they make me think of Bob and how much I'd like to rescue them in his honor.
©2011 Betsy Merchant.
There are many obstacles-the big one is what is wrong with mama? If she is VERY SICK she may need to be put down. Can I make that choice? Can Bobby, who will have to pick her up, be in the room with her. What will that do to him? What about the kittens? Are they going to be sick, too? Will this be another year long many thousands of dollars vet bill? What if Maria has to bottle feed the babies? She can't! She has to work!
THIS IS DIRECTLY FROM BETSY-------------------------
This precious young little Mama is in dire shape. We cannot find anything she will eat. She is skin and bones and literally wasting away here while desperately trying to care for her 6 newborns.
©2011 Betsy Merchant.
We have given her every type of canned and dry chow and she just will not eat any of it. I have boiled some chicken to take tomorrow and try but we are running out of time. She is so thin, and she cannot keep feeding her tiny tots.
©2011 Betsy Merchant.
PLEASE spare them, we need rescues help NOW!
©2011 Betsy Merchant.
**Please Note; When forwarding, crossposting, or re-posting I ask that you leave this message intact exactly as it was written by me. I do not give permission to post my message, part of my message, or my photographs on Craig's List or FACEBOOK. Thank you for your help and support, and for respecting my wishes.**
We are very rescue friendly and are more than happy to work with any rescue group as long as the group has a valid Georgia Department of Agriculture license! Any rescue group, whether in or out of state, that takes pets from Georgia shelters, is required, by Georgia law, to have a rescue license issued by the Georgia Department of Agriculture's Animal Protection Division. Having tax exempt status is not the same as a license. For more information on obtaining a license, please call (404) 656-4914.
Henry County Animal Care and Control
527 Hampton Street
McDonough, Georgia 30253
Monday-Friday: 9 am-4:30 pm
Saturday: 9 am-1 pm
County Observed Holidays: Closed
The shelter is located at 527 Hampton Street in McDonough. We are located south of Atlanta off I-75. Take exit 218 and head east on 20/81 toward McDonough. Our address is 527 Hwy 20/81 East.
For all other information regarding ordinances, county codes, and other functions of Henry County Animal Care and Control please visit www.hcacc.org
It's a good thing I was at a conference full of pet lovers because sure enough Dorian Wagner, of Your Daily Cute, who had been playing with one of the kittens, jumped up when I said I needed a Vet and said she knew where to find one. She made a quick call and the Vet popped her head up from across the room, waving over the top of a low room divider. We hustled BlueBelle over to her. She was very calm and relaxed, which was the polar opposite to how I was feeling. She was perfectly willing to asses BlueBelle's incision.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Kate Benjamin and BlueBelle.
She gently turned BlueBelle over and looked at her little belly. There was a bright red, open area. We told her about the crappy spay surgery. She said she thought that the glue (the GLUE?) had failed and popped the incision open, but that there should have been stitches inside the kitten that would hold her abdomen closed. She was concerned about infection and the wound opening further. I asked what I could do and she said to find some Crazy Glue!
The clock is ticking. We have to leave for dinner soon. Bobby and Maria are really tired and hungry. I just won a big award, but now I must find Crazy Glue in a hotel that has a tiny gift shop and NO OTHER SHOPS anywhere close by.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Ingrid with Truffles.
The front desk offered me a dried up tube that we couldn't even get the top off of, so I tried the gift shop. They DID have some glue! Okay! Great! I ran over to the Vet and the small gathering of ladies around the kitten. Now the Vet says she really needs some sterile saline solution, some betadine and a syringe with no needle. Yeah. I can get that...WHERE CAN I GET THAT? My mind is spinning! I have to HURRY. Someone figures out there is a drug store a few miles away. It's rush hour in the D.C. area. We have no idea where we are going, but I grab Sam and he says he will drive me over to get the things we need. Meanwhile there are about 20 people wondering what is going on and some of them have grumbling bellies. Thankfully, Ingrid King, said she would call the restaurant and change the reservation! WHEW...okay...time to RUN!
But wait...can I get the first aid kit from the front desk? Sure! I was running back and forth between the front desk, the vet, the gift shop, Bobby & Maria and Ingrid. My head was getting ready to spin off my neck. There was nothing much in the kit. The woman at the front desk said that the night before had been a busy night for injuries in the hotel and that the kit was mostly empty!! Still, I brought it over for the Vet to take a look though..but it was sorely lacking so I returned it.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Snack time in the hotel room!
We got an address for a local pharmacy and just hoped for the best. Sam started driving and the GPS wanted us to go in a different direction than the point by point directions we had from GoogleMaps. Crap! What to do? We just followed the GPS hoping it wouldn't route us into a lake.
The traffic was TERRIBLE. No one was moving. Tick, tick, tick...HURRY! I wanted to JUMP OUT OF MY SKIN! It seemed like the drivers in front of us had cotton shoved in their brain hole because they were driving really slowly and they wouldn't try to cross traffic to turn into the parking lot!
Once we got into the lot, it was packed full of cars. Sam told me to go into the store and he would circle around.
It took me a few minutes to find most everything, but I had to wait for someone to help me with the syringe, so I stood there on line, tapping my leg, wishing they would HURRY already!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Time to head to Connecticut.
I got what I needed...$34 for this? Geez! Not complaining, but really? I jumped into the car and Sam sped off. Traffic back to the hotel wasn't as bad. My cell phone rang “where are you? we have another kitten that needs help!”
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Tree removal trucks getting into position before Hurricane Irene hits.
We got back to the hotel and the Vet said she wanted the First Aid Kit after all...so I ran back to get it...and she needed a place to work on the kittens. Truffles incision looked infected and needed to be cleaned out, too. We agreed to go to my hotel room so she could work on the bathroom counter.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Moments after arriving in their new home.
We loaded up all the cats, which saddened all the cat lady bloggers. They were not deterred. Many of them came upstairs with us! Before anything was done we had to promise not to say who the Vet was because like everyone at the conference, she was licensed in another state-even though she was just going to clean out a wound and put a drop of glue on the skin. I left her to do her thing while a few of the ladies watched the procedure. I needed to SIT DOWN and try to spend some time with Bobby and Maria, who were clearly energized by all that was going on, but I knew they needed to eat and have a chance to relax.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Blaze, Peri and Jack, ready to play.
The kittens did great. Their bellies patched up and looking better, the Vet excused herself and I thanked her profusely as she left our room! Where could I get a housecall in a hotel for kittens that needed help-RIGHT HERE! How lucky we were! We had antibiotics with us that the kittens were already getting so we kept them on their meds. We let them out of the cat carrier to run around in the hotel room while we all went out for dinner-at last! Everything was going to be ok now, right?
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. BlueBelle is doing fine now.
And it was...we had dinner with lots of PETTIE-WINNING cat lady bloggers, along with Maria, Bobby & Sam. We had a great time, great food, but sadly some of us had Hurricane Irene on our minds. Sam and I reluctantly decided we needed to leave early in the morning. Time was running out. We'd had our one day at BlogPaws and asking for another would potentially put us in peril...and the kittens, too, so we decided to call it a night.
Instead of going to bed, everyone came back up to our room to play with the kittens some more! Kate was on her belly, shooting videos of the kittens playing. Amberly took a huge stinky poop (we had a litter pan on hand) and we couldn't open the windows! No one cared. They were all cooing and laughing. I'd forgotten that I'm used to being around kittens most of the time and for them, it was more of a rare treat. It was really lovely to sit on the floor and watch the kittens and watch the joy and the delight on everyone's faces.
We bid everyone good night. We had to pack. Bobby & Maria still had 10 more miles to drive before they could get some sleep. For awhile I forgot about all my problems and what was waiting for me back home. It was nice, but far too short of a break. We got packed and set the alarm. Bobby & Maria would return in the morning with the kittens and we'd load up the car and head for home.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Amberly, always lovely and ready to chat wtih me.
Sam and I were very tired. The morning came too early, but we got ourselves out of bed. I went down to the car to start loading it up. I set up the dog crates where the cats would be traveling. I realized we didn't have enough room in the car for everything we had, so I made some changes so we could make it all fit.
Bobby & Maria were right on time. We let the kittens out so they could run around while we had breakfast. It was just the four of us eating, while BlogPaws continued on. The sky was slate gray and the winds were starting to pick up. I knew we had to leave soon. Irene was nearby.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. One of the many reasons the power was out. This is across Route 34, a main road in our town.
I was very sad to leave. I gave Bobby & Maria a big hug goodbye. We'd only just met a less than 12 hours before. We loaded the kittens into the car and began our trip home, deciding to take a longer route, away from the coast. It added an hour to the drive, but in the end, it was the right thing to do. We missed some flooding and a few tornadoes. The entire drive home we hit bands of violent rain, but they only lasted a minute or two. I looked the weather radar and we were literally skirting the edge of the storm the entire drive home.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. A common sight around Newtown, CT.
Seven hours later, we pulled into the driveway. I unlocked the door. I just wanted to see if Bob was still with us. I hadn't had an update on him and I was worried. Sure enough, Bob was sitting on his favorite red chair, looking a little more frail, but still with us. Once I knew he was ok, we worked on getting the kittens settled and getting ourselves unpacked.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The Housatonic River flooded quickly. If you look carefully, in the center of the image, you can see a home. It's built on stilts because the river often floods, but not as bad as this time around.
Irene swept into town and took with it, many of our lovely trees. 80 percent of the town went dark. Almost a week later, the power is still out in 26 percent of the homes. We were VERY LUCKY our power didn't go out. Many of the roads were impassable, not marked that trees were down, so getting around has been tough. My car is STILL in the SHOP because they lost power and phones. We drove past there and you can see my car on a lift in one of the bays. We haven't gone out much and we offered shelter to all our power-less friends, but they are doing fine without and hopefully things will be getting back to normal again soon.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The Pootatuck River was raging in downtown Sandy Hook, CT.
Now that I can look back, I know going to BlogPaws was the right thing for me to do. I'm glad I didn't miss out on the entire conference and I left yearning for more...for more connection to these good folks...for just a break from the troubles in my life. It was exhausting, but worth it. I'm glad I took the risk.