Every day I see MANY pleas concerning cats and dogs in need of rescue. Like most folks who do this, I have to draw the line at where I can be of help. I may not have a shelter or huge home foster network, but I jump at the chance to help with cat behavior problems. Helping others, helps me learn more and knowing that cats can keep their homes, if I gave them the correct advice, is thrilling and deeply rewarding.
Over the past two weeks, I've been in touch with a local rescuer regarding this situation:
If anyone has had this experience, any input in correcting it would be v appreciated.
A friend of a friend has 2 cats. 2 males, neutered, littermates, had since kittenhood, 4 years old now, utd, indoor only, no declaw., etc. They have always been fine with each other - no behavioral problems and now, out of no where, they are hissing and spitting at each other relentlessly.
I asked all the usual ?'s - illness, any family new members, any change in household, change in litter box habits, any cats outside hanging around, etc., and all the answers were no.
I told my friend to get them to a vet and she felt the woman would, but she the owner was looking for a resolution that would not require lots of money or time on her part and seemed very impatient and mentioned that she would not tolerate this and would consider euth. Aren't people just wonderful !!!
Any ideas .... pls send them my way.
How would YOU answer this question? Tomorrow I'll post my suggestions, along with an update on what happened. Did the cats get euthanized? Did my suggestions work? Did the cats need to be put on medications?
I want you to hone your understanding of cat behavior. Please let me know what you'd do by leaving a comment, below. If you're not already signed up to be a Member of CiCH, then know I have to approve your post before it goes live. It may take a few hours before I see it, but don't let that stop you from writing up what you'd do. If you're right, you get bragging rights and the knowledge that you have the chops to help other cats! If I'm really impressed, I may dig out something I have laying around to send you as a prize, but in truth, the prize is knowing you can help others.
Mazie went from having a strangely, rather shockingly elevated white blood count (53,000-when high normal is 19,000) and a high fever (105+°F) last week, to a NASTY upper respiratory infection. Her WBC went down to almost normal after hospitalizing her and giving her IV antibiotics. Her temperature went back down as of a few days ago, but she came home with the sniffle and each day Mazie seems more seriously afflicted.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Mazie, mid-sneeze.
Mazie IS eating, though much quieter than usual. She's found a place on the corner of the bed where the angle of the wall creates a comfy, almost hiding place. I put some towels and a pillow there for her. She's been taking it easy for a day.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Runny eyes and a spot of ringworm that's healing. Sweet...NOT!
I called the Vet and was given a message to get the kittens OUT of the room. That incubation is 7-10 days and that they should be in another room for that period of time. The problem is: I HAVE NO ROOM to put them into and we still don't have any foster homes.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Mazie has to constantly lick her face because her nose runs.
I begged a favor from a good friend. She's going to take Cara and Chester and maybe Polly, tonight. I hate to separate the cats, but it must be done. I think Polly could stay behind because she sneezes all the time and has watery eyes, but is really not in bad shape at all. I wonder if what Mazie has is something else, entirely and if so, then Polly should go, too. Mazie will have a quiet week, but I'll make sure to spend time with her. My biggest fear is transmitting what Mazie has to my other cats, especially BOB DOLE.
Bob could die from a cold. I've been furiously washing hands, not touching Mazie, changing clothes. I don't know if it will be enough. I just heard Nora, one of our other cats, sneezing. I am very worried.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. My how Cara has grown, yet she is still tiny compared to her siblings.
Little Miss Cara is STILL tiny. One of the cats vomited, but I don't know if it was her. Having her live away for a week will help me find out if she's still getting sick. I see her do her "I feel queasy" mouthing where she licks at her mouth and twists her head a bit. Her appetite is good and she's bright and fairly playful. I think she's very close to being considered ready to be adopted-after she gets spayed, of course.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Polly. Our little girl has grown up.
Polly needs to see the Eye Specialist. I'll have to do a fundraiser for that. Her left eye is still cloudy. She may have some blindness from being sick, so young. She's grown into a beautiful young lady. Even with all that she's suffered, she's very sweet and LOVES to escape from the foster room, run down the stairs with her tail held high and visit the other cats. If she wasn't rapid-fire sneezing so often, I wouldn't mind her being out, but she can't go near my cats until she is all better-IF she ever gets better!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. That's “Mr. Handsom” to you!
Then there's the most Handsome Young Cat in the world-Chester Cheesetoes. He still has a runny eye, but it's very subtle. All the cats are getting a big dose of Lysine to help boost their immune system. Other than his eye, Chester is awesome. He loves to get onto a high perch and watch things going on, below OR run after the laser pointer like a crazy-cat. He is so soft and sweet and stunning. He's grown into a very big boy.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Polly and Chester boldy go where I don't like them to go!
The cats have been here too long. Kitten Season is in full swing and I haven't saved one Mama or kitten. It's driving me crazy. I must get these cats well and adopted. I'm also so attached to each one of them, that it will be very hard to say goodbye-much harder than usual. The only comfort I can take in all of this is to remind myself that I've felt this way before and over time the pain softens. Over more time, I get to a place where I need a minute to remember their name. That's when I know it's okay to let them go. I have to make room for more. So many need help. Whether or not I cry about the ones I have makes no difference. I need to do this. I need to rescue more cats.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Who loves Cara? Who doesn't?
The Vet bill for Mazie came in a just over $700.00. It's a heartbreaking amount of money for us to come up with and thankfully, many of you have used our ChipIn to help out. We still need about $200.00 to get to our total, so if you can offer a dollar or two, we appreciate it VERY much! Thank you for helping Mazie!
(You can use the ChipIn for Maze on the right sidebar if you wish to donate. Your donation IS tax deductible.)
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob Dole (left) and NICKY (right) “share” the electric blanket.
Bob is hanging in there. After four months of chemo, somehow he's still with us. Each day with him is a blessing, even if I only seem to interact with him when it's time for a snack or a pill. He sleeps a lot, so I try not to bother him too much. I know he's resting and comfortable. I check on him all the time. He still purrs and whines, depending on his mood and appetite.
I set up an electric blanket over an old chair, which became a big hit with the cats. I'm not sure if Nicky, our huge 24 lb cat, is willing to share or just puts up with Bob if he wants to warm himself on the blanket, too. Looking at this photo, you'd think Bob was very tiny. He's average size. Nicky, however, is enormous-freakishly so. More to snuggle with-that's for sure. In a way, it's like he's looking out for Bob and helping him feel better.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. NICKY planning his next move.
I'll leave out the part of the story where I tell you that Nicky ran over my FACE this morning; his own brand of shocking wakeup call. I don't want to ruin your opinion of him as being a NICE cat, looking out for Bob, instead of being a pain in the rear end, thoughtlessly crushing Sam's man bits before he makes a beeline for my head.
It's okay. We can pretend Nicky's a good boy for awhile longer, but tonight I'm wearing a football helmet to bed and I heard a rumor that Sam's going to wear a cup.
This morning I brought Cara in to see Dr. Larry. Thankfully, they were able to fit her into the schedule for today without an appointment, but it meant I had to leave her there and they'd do x-rays and an exam at some point during the day. I got home and sat in the foster room with Mazie, Chester and Polly. They've been in that room for FOUR MONTHS. Only Mazie can be adopted and no one has been interested in her. Polly STILL has a URI and Chester is dealing with that spot of ringworm on his head. I know that being in a small room, even if it does have one huge window that overlooks the yard and another smaller window that gives them a view of the sky and tree tops, is not enough. Since they can't really catch anything from my cats and vice versa, I let them out into my bedroom once in awhile. There's more room to run around, but they really need a huge space to stretch their legs. I suppose if being bored or not having a lot of space was their biggest problem, I'd be lucky.
Dr Larry called me early this afternoon. Cara's x-rays did not show any obvious foreign object, but he wanted to do a blood panel to make sure she didn't also have an infection. I wanted to push back and say, no, not to spend the money since Cara seems fine, but I agreed. He told me to meet him at 4pm and by then he'd have the results and I could take Cara home.
Things were busy at Maple Ridge today, so I grabbed a People magazine and looked at it while I waited for Dr. Larry in exam room number 2. I noticed photos of celebrities in their bathing suit, walking on the beach at some exclusive resort. I didn't even know who half the people were. Then, it dawned on me. Why does it matter that I need to see these photos at all? If there were photos of my neighbors walking on the beach, I would be just as uninterested. They're on vacation? So what! What are they doing that's unusual, interesting, important? Maybe People should be renamed; “Photos of people on the beach with really nice bodies, wearing huge sunglasses, but otherwise not really doing anything.” I swear they use the same photo each week, they just photoshop the latest celebrity A-lister face over the body they used the week before.
I was just about to read about why Catherine Zeta-Jones is disclosing she has Bipolar Disorder II and why there is a “II” and what that means? Is it a sequel to Bipolar Disorder I? Maybe it's fancy movie star version of Bipolar disorder? Dr. Larry entered the exam room before I could sort it all out. He sighed. Then he said something about me having too much on my plate. I had a feeling he was about to add more to it and I was right.
Cara's blood work showed her White Blood Cell Count was VERY HIGH. High-normal is about 20,000. Cara's is 35,000. She's got a raging infection. Her stomach is swollen full of gas. Her intestines are full of stool-almost packed solid. I looked at the x-rays and asked about something I saw in her stomach-some small particulate. Dr. Larry waved it off saying it was the cat food I feed...you know the RAW food with the BONES in it. I balked. Cara does not get raw. She gets canned. So of course it has to be the canned food. It's CANNED FOOD! There aren't BONES in it. Then it hit me. It was the cat litter. It confirmed what I had been suspicious of all along—that Cara has been eating the corn based cat litter. Perhaps the high WBC count is due to her eating out of the litter pan?
It's tough to say what's going on exactly. Dr Larry wanted to have an ultrasound done. The Vet who performs them had a cancellation. It's for tomorrow at 8:30AM. Larry felt we might be able to see if there's still a piece of yarn toy acting as a filter between her stomach and her intestines or if there's any damage to her stomach from eating the toy or ingesting the litter. It would give us some info, but potentially not enough.
Cara may need exploratory surgery or another endoscopy. Dr. Kittral, who's been performing all Cara's endoscopies needs to be included in our decisions. Sadly, she doesn't start her work week until TOMORROW. Dr. Larry wanted to put Cara on antibiotics, which, of course, raised a huge alarm bell in me. We can't give her oral meds or we risk causing her strictures to return. We compromised and Larry gave her an injection that will only last until tomorrow. By then, hopefully we will have more answers and be able to figure out a game plan for Cara.
I tried to be brave, but I felt a bit weak in the knees. Cara could be in a very dangerous situation. With her esophagus compromised already and her stomach lining possibly being damaged, we can't try to clear the stool out of her without risking her rupturing somewhere. Anything invasive that needs to be done, has to be carefully considered. Any medications given must be carefully scrutinized. She's been on too many antibiotics. She's been through so much already. I just don't know how we're going to get her over this next hurdle.
This Vet bill, even with a discount, is going to be bad. It could be the beginning of VERY BAD, I don't know how bad just yet. I'm going to open up yet another fundraiser for Cara. Her last two Vet bills came to $1500.00 and with the loan I got, we were able to pay everything off in full, but now we're back to loose change in our pockets to pay for the next Vet bills. I'm guessing that between today and tomorrow it will be $600.00 and counting. I can't give up on Cara even if the timing is the worst, ever. I thought we were over the hump, but now we've been pushed back down the hill like a feline version of Sisyphus.
I also have a lot of guilt about this situation. The past two weeks I just haven't been home much with frequent trips to NYC to care for Sam's mother. I couldn't feed the cats as regularly as usual and I fear that Cara resorted to eating the litter out of desperation and perhaps now has developed a taste for it. I really LIKE the litter and the other cats are fine with it, but I have to stop using it around Cara.
As for Cara; we've just GOT to get her well; for once and for all.
I realize we've had to ask for help more often than I ever imagined to get Cara well. I'm blessed with having devoted and compassionate friends of this Blog. My hope is that not one person has to donate more than $5. If we can all ChipIn, we'll hit our goal in a heartbeat. If you can share this request with your friends, I would appreciate it very much. Your donation IS tax deductible, as the funds go to a Kitten Associates, Inc. foster kitten (Cara).
I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. I just saw Cara PROJECTILE vomit. I've never seen so much fluid come out of such a small animal, so quickly, in my LIFE. The vomit was mostly water. She'd eaten a good 5 hours before she vomited, so this indicates she was able to digest her food, but why so much water? Clearly something was wrong with her when I sat down to have some play time with the foster kitties around midnight.
Cara licked her mouth—a lot. This is a strong indicator of nausea. I knew she hadn't eaten recently, so I couldn't figure out what was going on. I got her a bowl of fresh water, not really knowing what else to do. I have had some fears she's been eating her corn based cat litter and perhaps that was the culprit? I spread some chunky Yesterday's News over the corn litter to put a “protective coating” over the corn until I could change out the entire pan.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Poor Cara. She's been through so much already.
Meanwhile, Cara was troubled and uncomfortable. I lifted her up to listen to her belly. Was it rumbling? Was her breathing ok? Her heart was racing. I put her down, then moved her inside her cat carrier because if she was going to get sick, she could do it there instead of on the bed (which is why I've had to do a lot of laundry lately.). The past two weeks I've been finding these enormous watery vomits in the foster room. Due to the volume of fluid, I thought it was Mazie or possibly Polly or Chester. They're still twice Cara's size. Certainly it was not her.
Between everything else going on in my life, I just wasn't able to give Cara the close attention I normally can provide. I've had to spend much less time with the fosters.
The biggest reason it's been difficult to be more attentive to the foster cats is Sam's mother. She's having surgery today. I was told to stay home and keep things going here. It's partially due to the reality of having relationship problems with Sam, and possibly moreso that the folks at the hospital don't even know what time or what HOSPITAL she's having the surgery done. After being in the Psych Ward for TWO WEEKS, with little information provided, we only know she's had her meds adjusted for the pain in her hip and now her Orthopedist says, at 82, she's still a good candidate for a hip replacement. So...after her attempting to take her life over the pain she was in and the fear of having to have surgery to repair her hip, now she is fine with the notion of having her hip replaced, which I believe is far simpler and less painful than the corrective surgery she had five years ago. It's rather ironic she's at this place after where she started off, but she's alive and hopefully her surgery will go well and she'll be on to a new, happier chapter of her senior years.
I'm writing this at 12:30 AM, so as soon as Dr Larry's office opens at 8 AM, I'm going to call to see if they can fit Cara in for an x-ray and an exam. Last week in one of the vomits, I found a length of a knitted curlycue cat toy that was attached to a plastic wand. I caught Polly gnawing on it and figured she had also been the culprit who threw up a piece of it. I made it tough for the cats to get at the toy. I was stupid. I should have thrown it out. I saw Polly chew it again a few days later, so that's when I finally did throw it away.
The problem is-it may not have been Polly eating the toy. In Cara's vomit, there was a 2 INCH long piece of that darn toy! Cara HAD eaten it. Was there MORE in her stomach? If I had saved the remaining cat toy, I would have been able to make a guesstimate, but with that gone, my only choice is to get her x-rayed to see if there's more inside her.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. 2 inches long. I measured it!
Cara's energy has been off and on, but mostly normal. She eats well. Her eyes are bright, yet...after days of wondering who was vomiting, I had to do something to figure out which cat was sick. I crated Cara for two days until she vomited in her crate, proving to me it was her all along. I made an appointment for her to see Dr. Kittral, her Internist, right away. The soonest we can get in is on Wednesday. I know I can't wait that long, so we'll start with x-rays in a few more hours and I've left a message for Dr K for when she starts her week on Tuesday, so she knows what's going on.
I'm terribly worried that after ALL the effort, the two endoscopies, the medications every 6 hours...has it all been UNDONE because Cara ate a cat toy? Are we back to square one? I'm terrified of what this is going to cost, but I'm going to take it one day at a time. We'll do the x-ray and hope for the best. Maybe Cara just popped out the only foreign object inside her? Maybe pigs will fly out of my butt, too?
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Polly (left), Cara (center) and Mama-Mazie (right) settle down on the electric blanket for a nap.
I have to admit, this cat is driving me nuts. She's so sweet and so dear, but I just can't keep up with all her problems! I keep thinking we're over the hump and she's on the road to being 100% healthy, but she just isn't getting there any time soon! Maybe her Internist will adopt her and make my life a lot easier and her's a lot better? Yeah, right...like that's gonna happen.
I'll update this post as soon as I can get Cara to Dr. Larry...
WARNING: THIS POST DISCUSSES A POTENTIALLY UPSETTING TOPIC. PLEASE READ WITH CAUTION. YOU'RE “SAFE” UNTIL THE SECTION AFTER THE UPDATES ON THE FOSTER CATS, NEAR THE END OF THE POST.
I'm very sorry to not have been tending to my Blog over the last week and a half. Every day that passes that I don't write, bothers me a bit more.
Initially, my plans were to talk about the lovely birthday party-a SURPRISE party, that Sam held for me, now over a week ago. He really pulled the wool over my eyes. I had no idea until the very last second-when I hoped, against hope, that maybe even though he had a bad cold, even though he said there could be no birthday this year, even though most of my friends said they were busy that weekend, it would happen.
It was Connie's doing, too. She called me around noon on my birthday, to say her cat, Big O was very sick and could I come over and help her give him a bath? Oh yes and “Happy Birthday.” Big O was covered with poo! She sounded so sad, I realized it didn't matter if it was my birthday, so I got changed, grabbed some things to help with the bath and told Sam I was off. He knew I was hungry so he said he'd come with me and we could go eat afterwards.
Connie lives a mile away. As I started to pull up her driveway, I realized that Sam had asked me to “kill” a half hour before we went to lunch, then Connie called me, it was too much of a coincidence. Maybe something was going on at her house? Surely not. No. I was going to break up with Sam. I was really mad at him. He'd hardly talked to me for weeks. He didn't even notice when I got my hair done (like a porn star-that's what my stylist called it)-and it wasn't just because he didn't give me a birthday party. The near-silent treatment was killing me!
Then I noticed two cars in the driveway, but certainly it couldn't be cars I knew. It must be a...then I saw it...a “Happy 50th Birthday” banner over Connie's front door. There stood Marcia, Super-Deb and Connie, all waving and shouting Happy Birthday and here I am in a t-shirt with a glow-in-the-dark Cheshire Cat on it and crappy pants. Thank God I had a change of clothes with me! I looked over at Sam and was torn between slapping him and kissing him. I never had anyone throw me a surprise party in my life. It was really nice.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.
No sooner than we walked in the door, I realized there was no sick cat, so I got changed, then we all left for lunch. As I pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant, I saw my dear nephew, Ryan and my sister, Anne! Another suprise, yay! This was going to be a nice day after all.
But then I walked into the dining room at the restaurant. There sat Mary. My other sister. I didn't see anyone else for a moment. My mouth fell open. Mary had LIED to me, first saying she was coming to take me to lunch and there was no way I'd be alone on my birthday, then she begged off saying her cat was sick not 6 hours later. She had been in Baltimore for a book show (Mary is a Writer and Graphic Designer)! Then I realized she must have driven up from there. What a shock!..and there sat her partner, Shelly...and my friends Irene and Jennifer I.! I love those babes! I was literally speechless and it took all my reserve not to burst into happy tears.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Nephew Ryan shoots the flames while his mom, Anne watches.
We ate at a Hibachi style restaurant and had TWO chefs taking turns either trying to set fire to the place or tossing food bits at our faces (since most of us couldn't hope to catch the food in our mouth). Everyone was happy and getting along well. I never wanted it to end. I had a nice lunch and lots of lovely gifts. I missed my Mother and Father so much, but they were there, too, in spirit (and later that day, I discovered my Mother had sent me a message, too. More on that, in another post).
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The cake on the left is what I ordered for myself, thinking there would be no celebration of any sort. I cut out the frown and turned it upside down later that day.
I have a lot to tell you about the cats-especially Bob. The short version is, to me, he seems to have turned a corner and is doing better. He seems to have gained weight. Tomorrow he gets Chemo #9. I'll find out if he gained any weight then. A surprise blessing is that some of his fur is growing back ever so slowly. It's just peach fuzz on his head, but I can see the subtle stripe of his tabby pattern in the fur.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob and the gang on the electric blanket
I took him to a Dermatologist and she confirmed he as a terrible case of ringworm and that only he can really fend it off and with cancer and a bad immune system, the odds aren't great. We give him baths and add a special lotion afterwards. He's lost half of his coat, but I think, just maybe it's slowed down. He seems comfortable and he seems a lot more like his old self.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.
The kittens are still struggling with URI's and this and that. Cara has grown some, but one of the kittens has been vomiting. I don't know if it's Cara. We're closer to the day we can call her healed, but we're not there yet. The kittens are as big as their Mom, now. I think Chester will be even bigger. He is the most darling cat in the world. He really is sweet.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Cara and Chester, bigger and better every day.
MacGruber is still here, too. Got a tiny dot of ringworm on his paw, so he seems to stay here another month and another month...he's a bit like gum stuck on the shoe...but very cute gum.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Okay. I'm suppose to adopt this cat out! Really?
I'm bringing Noelle to Connecticut next week, along with Amelia, another Henry Co. Cat we rescued last year. It's time for them to get their forever homes. I need to write more about that soon.
The main reason I need to write is I need to tell you what happened and why I haven't been able to write more than this post-we had a family tragedy and I'm struggling to cope with it.
A few days ago, Sam and I were to visit his Mother in Manhattan. We were going to have a belated birthday party for me and Sam's adult daughter, Kate, whose birthday is two days before mine. The day before we left, Sam told me his mother was having trouble walking. The pain from her hip, which she broke six years ago and has long since healed, was back. We worried that if she couldn't stand for a long period of time, that we needed to come up with ways for her to fix meals that didn't require much effort. The plan was to finally buy her a microwave whether she liked it or not. Get her some wholesome meals she could just pop into the microwave and eat without standing over a stove or getting up and down to check on a pot on a burner. We put a lot of time into planning how we'd manage to get all this stuff into her apartment, since we'd have to double park to get the car unloaded. Parking is a bear on the upper West side on a weekend.
We thought we had it all worked out. We got a bit of a late start, but we got everything done. Sam called his Mom to tell her we wold be there soon. She didn't sound right. She said she might need to go to the ER. Sam pressed her as to why. All she said was, “You'll find out when you get here.”
This was not something his Mother would say. She has always been the most polite and kind person I have ever known. She was raised in the south and that sweetness never faded away even though she's lived in Manhattan most of her life. What was going on?
Sam drove as fast as he could to NYC. We had an hour to go. I texted his daughter. She called her Grandmother and found out that she was asked to get there soon. Clearly something was terribly wrong. Had Sam's 82 year old mother re-broken her hip? Why didn't she call 9-1-1? Why was she waiting?
When we got to the apartment building, I got a txt. Kate was there. I said we would be right up. I stayed with the car, as Sam ran up to her apartment. A neighbor came out and signaled to me to follow him up the block to take his parking spot. As I was about to try to park the car, I saw Sam in my rearview mirror. I got out of the car. Something was wrong-really wrong.
“It's bad up there. It's a mess...you need to be calm about this, but get up there now. I'll park the car.”
“She slit her wrists. Prepare yourself. She's alive, but it's a mess. Just get up there.
No one had called 9-1-1. I think everyone was in shock. As much as I wanted to help, I had a bad flashback and my heart started racing. Years ago, my Father took his own life. I didn't want to go through this again, but I went upstairs and walked into the apartment filled with dread and absolute fear.
Poor Kate was kneeling on the floor, next to the sofa. She wasn't saying a word. I could see Sam's Mother's white hair on the arm of the sofa. She must be laying down. I walked over to her and tried to be calm. It was very gorey, but she was conscious. I asked her what she did and she told me that the pain was so bad in her hip that she just couldn't take it any more. That she felt so bad she couldn't do anything any more and didn't want to get in the way. I asked to see her wrists. I saw that the blood was congealing. This was good, but she injured both wrists and up her arms. I talked to her for a few minutes. Everyone was calm, almost matter-of-fact. As if nothing terrible had happened at all. It was surreal.
I told her that we all loved her and it would be so terrible if she left us without letting us even say goodbye...that we didn't know she was hurting so much and that we wished she could have told us so we could help her.
Then I did something weird. I'd bought her a hyacinth. It was in bloom and so fragrant. I held it up to her nose and asked her to smell it. She smiled as she smelled the sweet flowers, even though her skin was as pale as a sheet and her robe was crimson. I reminded her that it was finally spring. That even on our worst day, another day will follow and maybe that day we will smell the sweetness of a flower or see the sunny sky and it will remind us to try to get to the next moment, and the next after that. To not give up.
I calmly told her she needed some help and that I was going to get that for her. She said it was ok, if I really thought she needed help I could do that (as if anyone could to STOP me from calling for help!!!) I left the room and called 9-1-1. In less than 5 minutes, 5 NYPD officers were at the door. A few minutes later, the EMS arrived. I had to stay away from them so I could completely fall apart and cry. I felt so bad for Sam and Kate and his Mom. I worried about Kate, who found her Grandmother just moments before we arrived. I was in a bad place, myself. I couldn't believe it. It was not about me, it was about his Mother and getting her help. I pulled myself together and did whatever I could to help until she was ready to be taken to the hospital.
It was about 10 hours before we could get his Mother admitted. We waited in one room after another. She barely was tended to at all. We had to fight and make a fuss for every little thing. No one was “supposed” to make a decision or do what was needed. I never so much “passing the buck” in my life.
She's stable now. She had to be admitted into the Psych ward, though she is the last person on this Earth I would ever think belongs there. I don't know for sure, but I think she just wanted the pain to stop so badly that maybe this was the only way anyone would really hear her? If that's the case there's a big disconnect that needs to be fixed. Between her Doctor putting her off for almost a week, to even our relationship with her. We all need to learn to stop being polite and start getting “real” with each other.
Since Sunday, my life, Sam's life and Kate's have been turned upside down. There is so much to do, so much to try to figure out. Will Sam's mom ever be able to live alone again? How can we get her help? Who can pay for these things? And who is going to clean up the apartment?
The last question, I answered. I cleaned it up. I didn't want Sam or Kate to have to do that. Even though I've known her for almost 20 years, I was still the person most removed from this situation, so I got to work. I just did what I needed to do. I started to clean away more than just the accident scene. I started to clean everything. I wanted to put life back into that apartment. I wanted the space to feel happy again. In a way, it was like cleaning my Mother's house after she died. It was so nice, freshly painted, re-carpeted, sparkling, even. It made me sad she never go to see it. I hope that Sam's Mother gets to see this. Her home, which was dark and sad, will be clean, fresh and even have lots of color and comfortable places to sit. Perhaps the gloom, washed away, will give his Mother something she's needed in addition to being free of pain, maybe it will give her some joy, some delight in her day to day life?
Perhaps this is the start of her new life? Perhaps it's a new start for all of us?
I don't have the answers. I can tell you I had a breakdown the night after I cleaned things up. I couldn't stop crying. Other than my little birthday lunch, it's been one bad thing after another for more than a year. Every time I feel down, I look to the positive. I get myself back up. You guys lift me back up, heck you catapult me back up! But with all of those blessings, that love and generous support, sadly there is a darkness that remains in my heart. The same thing that drove Sam's mother to do what she did, the same thing that drove my Father to do what he did...it's there, waiting. I am terrified one day I will lose this battle to stay in the sunshine, but I am equally determined to not give up and to help Sam's mother do the same.
One of my friends said something to me once in jest; “Life. It's not for everyone.” He couldn't have been more right.
I've rarely been so excited to write about a new product. It's so top secret, I'I had to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. I've been lucky, heck, honored to be the ONLY BLOGGER TO BE GIVEN BEHIND THE SCENES ACCESS TO THE MOST DAZZLING NEW PET PRODUCT TO COME TO MARKET SINCE CAT LITTER!
I can't even believe I'm going to write this...inappropriate cat urination problems have been SOLVED with the modification of a simple device that's been around since the 1930's.
I give you, Flunette™
Let’s start with the obvious question: What is this thing? Flunette is a silicone container, a reusable device that collects the urine of female cats rather than allowing it to be released, then collected (by you) as clumped waste in litter pans. The container can be worn continuously for up to 12 hours, including overnight, before it must be emptied. This just means a quick rinse off with their Feelin' Good Feline Wash Liquid and you're ready to go.
The Flunette is based on menstrual cups, which were first used in the 1930's. It was a reusable alternative to tampons and pads that collects the menstrual flow rather than absorbs it. With a slight modification and adjustment downwards to a small size, the Flunette was born.
There’s a learning curve, for sure. But there’s also a payoff. Flunette is comfortable, well at least that's the theory. Your cat can do everything she normally does – take a nap, eat, play with a mousey toy – but no matter how mad or territorial she may get, the last thing she can do is empty her bladder onto your favorite chair, the wall in your bedroom or even on your kitchen counter! All her urine is safely contained inside the Flunette until YOU empty it.
Made of silicone, the Flunette (above) is flexible enough to ensure comfortable insertion. Note: I wear kevlar gloves when I insert the device into my cats. I find it's safer for us both if I take that simple precaution.
Insertion is a snap. Just press the sides together to collapse the container area then insert open end first. The tapered tip should face OUT. It's the handle you'll tug on later to remove the Flunette from your cat.
For those of us who suffer, as I do, with cats peeing all over their homes. The Flunette is a lifesaver. Sure, it was difficult to insert the device into my cat's urethra, but I found that if I gave her a bag of treats, she was so busy gobbling them up, she didn't notice what was going on in her back end. Yes, I did get clawed and bitten the first few times, but never so badly I had to be hospitalized and like anything else, persistence pays off.
I can't believe how clean and fresh smelling my home is now that I have Flunettes in all my female cats! Now that they stopped spraying, the males stopped, too and they didn't even need to wear the cup!
In the big picture, using a urination barrier device is better for the environment since it reduces the need for cat litter! Now Fluffy will only need the litter pan for moving her bowels, though don't tell, but there is a rumor that Flunette will soon have a companion product; Turdtainer.
Think of the money you'll save on cat litter, since a Flunette device can last for several years with proper care. Your back will thank you, too. No more lugging heavy bags of cat waste to the trash!
Made of 100% medical grade silicone
Hypoallergenic and latex-free
Rinse carefully with soap and water (or Feelin' Good Feline Wash)
As with all of my Product reviews, know I did not receive any payment for my review, only a sample of the product and the wash. My results are simply that, mine! Your results may vary. Also, make sure you have health insurance before you purchase this product.
Ordering information for Flunette is HERE. The Flunette is $12.95 for one and $16.95 for two. The Feelin' Good Feline Wash is $6.95. Both products will be available April 31, 2011 for one day only, so ACT FAST! Please share this post with ALL your fed up, peed upon friends! You'll be glad you did.
When you take on the responsibility to provide a home for a companion animal, you owe it to that animal to give them a safe, clean, loving place to live for the rest of their life. There is no excuse to do anything less. It's one thing to live in spoiled surroundings, yourself, but it's another to force an innocent creature to do the same.
Home Soiled Home.
That's exactly what some people in McDonough, GA have done. They lived in a perfectly nice home and slowly, but surely, drove it into ruin by their lack of care or concern for anything other than themselves. They didn't care to take out the trash. They couldn't be bothered with putting food away in a cabinet or making the bed. The things we do in our daily life, that we don't even think about, these people couldn't be bothered with. Were drugs involved? It's likely, but I don't know for certain.
They couldn't be bothered with providing their animals with ANY vet care. The cats had litter after litter of kittens. Who knows what happened with the dogs? I can't be compassionate about these people for what they've done to their pets. Frankly, if they want to mess up their lives, that's their path, but to drag their pets into it-that's where I get mad.
You know you're white trash when...
I don't even want to refer to these people as people because clearly they live like animals and that's making animals sound bad. They're disgusting, self-centered, thoughtless. Their animals roam free, not ONE of them is spayed or neutered. Two of the cats are pregnant. Two of the cats, somehow are not, yet.
What would you do if you lived near these people?
The windows are too dirty to photograph through.
One of our own, found out. Our foster mama, Maria lives next to this house. She saw the ruin, the filth. She knew if she called animal control the animals would be put down fairly soon. So, she started a campaign to get these people to do the right thing for their animals. She told them there are low cost Spay/Neuter clinics. There are vouchers to take to any Vet. She offered to get the cats vetted and pay for it! It's not that tough to do right for your pets, but there was one excuse after another as to why it couldn't be done. It was plainly clear that they didn't even understand why taking their cats and dogs to the vet was even necessary.
Maria's blood boiled.
And this is the nicer part of the house.
I spoke to her at great length about what to do. The people were moving. Their current house was foreclosed-no surprise there. They said they would get the cats taken care of after they moved-saying they should have some money by then. Right. I'm sure they were really going to do that. Maria sensed the same “BS.” Maria pushed, asking to, at least, let her get the two that were not pregnant, spayed.
Looks like Christmas got out of hand.
After she thought about the life these cats would face if they stayed with these people, she realized that the only thing she could do was to offer to take the cats and find them a good home-the LAST thing Maria has time or space for, but Maria followed her heart.
Such a contrast. Warm, friendly, yellow walls that are surrounded by garbage.
It's not convenient or easy or cheap to take on two more cats. Maria really struggled, especially because a few of her cats have needed emergency trips to the Vet and it took a big chunk out of her finances. I'm sure she wished these people would step up and do the right thing, but she knew they wouldn't and in fact, just as they were going to move away, they changed the date to a few days earlier, which turned up the heat on Maria. She HAD to act NOW. She couldn't save all their animals which made her feel terrible. She didn't really have the ability to take on these cats, but she did it-she took the cats into her home.
Introducing, Muddles & Cuddles! Which one is which?
Their names are Muddles and Cuddles. One look at them and you'll fall in love. Despite the dreadful living conditions they've been exposed to, they are very affectionate four year old silver tabbies. How these cats managed to not become feral or fearful is a testament to their fortitude. They've suffered for years at the hands of "people" who had no concern for their well being. I doubt they had anything decent to eat and they certainly did not have a litter pan to use or a CLEAN place to sleep.
They were taken from a box of free kittens at a Walmart to live in a dump for the next four years of their life. They deserve far better than this.
They love each other so much!
As with many animals who've faced dire situations, these two siblings are too bonded to separate them. We're looking for a needle in a haystack—someone who would love to adopt BOTH CATS.
Maria tells me they're SO AFFECTIONATE that their tails POOF out when you pet them! How funny is that? They crave attention so if you want to be completely adored by two sweet sisters, then this pair is for you.
She still smiles after all she's suffered. What a great kitty!
We WILL provide transport. What we would ask of you is to fill out a pre-adoption application on Kitten Associates web site and we'll process your application and make arrangements for you to adopt these extraordinary cats.
If you have any questions, contact ME: email@example.com
And pretty please, would you be so kind as to SHARE this post with your cat loving friends? We'd love to see these two get a great home soon and we can do that with your help!
With all the horror and tragedy going on in the world, I've found myself unable to write. I don't see the point in talking about my cat having cancer or my foster kittens having a cold. It just doesn't seem worthy of description when thousands of Japanese people, and their pets were washed away in a tsunami or crushed in the 9.0 earthquake last week and the ones who survived, 450,000 are in shelters without much more than the clothes on their back.
I also find myself not wanting to look at the situation with Bob. It's so sharply painful, that perhaps I'm looking for reasons not to think about it, not to write about it. This isn't a cheerful story. It's one of great heartbreak, but just for one person and that doesn't seem to matter compared to so many worse things going on.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob last month.
Last month, Sam and I had to make a choice. Either stop the weekly chemo treatments Bob was getting because we can't afford it any more or find another solution. It cost $600 a WEEK and we'd have to do it for 27 weeks. I haven't worked in a very long time. My finances are in the dumps. Bob was doing well on Elspar and Vincristine, but we asked Dr. I. if there were any other things we could do that would be as good, but not as costly. He suggested we could change Bob over to using Mitoxantrone. It would be every four weeks at $400 or so. We could certainly make this happen. I felt such relief that the burden of the costs would be lifted and we could give Bob a fighting chance to live.
I asked everyone I could about whether or not we should stop a successful protocol that we cannot go back to if the other chemo doesn't work. We were told the new chemo was well tolerated and that they had seen very good results with it so we felt good about moving forward.
So Bob had his first treatment about 5 weeks ago and the Vet now said it's $600.00 and every THREE weeks instead of every FOUR. The next morning after treatment, Bob's ears were filled with hot pink spots. He was itchy. He was eating, but not great. Dr. Larry thought it was the ringworm being ignited by the chemo. Dr. I. agreed. There was little to do other than to treat it topically.
It got worse. Slowly, at first, Bob's head lost fur. He looked terrible, but he still ate well and seemed perky. I still pushed the Vets about if it really was ringworm or a reaction to the chemo. No one could tell me other than if it was chemo it was a very rare reaction. That the fur would grow back after chemo-if we get that far.
Dr. Larry said that maybe a dermatologist would take Bob's case but with having FIV+, lymphoma, ringworm, etc., that it was unlikely there was much to be done. Then, he said if I was any other client, he would urge me to euthanize Bob to spare the other cats in the household from getting the ringworm. At the time I nodded, said I understood, but the more time has passed, the angrier I've become. I know what Bob is facing. I've had ringworm in the house for a year. He knows that. Most of the cats are fine, knock wood. MacGruber has a spot on his foot. That's it. It's a fungal infection. It sucks, but that's all it is.
Bob's losing his dignity, along with his fur, but he's still Bob. He was still eating and purring and hanging out with us. To even suggest I put him down...
He said we could give Bob a bath and it might help. At least he tried.
So we did.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.
Bob either enjoyed the bath or was too tired to fight us. As I washed him, I started to see just how much fur he's losing...and he's losing it rapidly. His belly, which was shaved when he had surgery to remove 1/2 of his liver in December, had grown more bald. His head has comical spikes and clumps of fur, but he's mostly bald now. His paws have small spots of fur loss. It won't be much longer before Bob has no fur at all. His once beautiful orange fur, will be gone, maybe forever.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.
I'm freaked out and don't know what to do or where to turn for help. I feel the Vets have washed their hands of this but maybe no one can help now? I'm not a Vet. I'm just someone who loves their cat and is trying to help him, but now it's hard for me to even look at Bob. When I pet him, I can feel every bump in his spine. He's not eating well for us and he spends day and night in our bedroom, on the bed, where we placed an electric blanket for him to snuggle on. He moves very slowly. Clearly something has happened and I'm not sure I can fix it. He's had the sniffles for a day or so and the other day he had "the runs." Maybe Bob's brewing a URI and that's the cause for some of his recent woes? Maybe I'm kidding myself? I can hear Dr. I's voice; “It's probably a progression of the cancer.”
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob, this morning, with MacGruber looking on.
I'm sure the blanket is the big reason Bob doesn't hang out with us any more, but I can't help but feel a stab in my gut when I pass by the bed he usually sleeps on and see it empty. I know Bob is upstairs, but I know, too, that one day that bed will be empty and Bob will really be gone. He's leaving us already, gradually, but we can see the progression happening when we couldn't before. The day is coming. I am not ready. I never will be.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.
In a statement dated February 28, 2011, Tim Callahan, the CEO of WellPet, makers of Wellness cat food (which I have heartily recommended to many people over the years) has announced a VOLUNTARY RECALL of certain lots of Wellness Canned Cat food and certain lots of the Chicken & Herring flavor.
The cause of the recall is inadequate Thiamine in their product, which can cause, a reversible deficiency that can be treated if caught promptly.
I just called Dr. Larry. He told me that I'd have had to feed this food to my cats for 6 months or so for there to be a problem. The problem is that CARA and her FAMILY have been getting this food for MONTHS-since they were old enough to be weaned! None of them are showing signs of Thiamine Deficiency, but at such a young age, could this have effected them more acutely?
I am very concerned about their health and with them being chronically sick for months...is this something that added to their problems? Is thiamine the only deficiency or is this the tip of the iceberg?
I certainly hope that the good folks at Wellness are being honest. They're recalling ALL their canned food with the certain “best by date,” instead of trying to figure out which flavors of which best by dates are effected.
The lots involved in this voluntary recall are:
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The dreaded cans that are part of the recall.
I found that I had a few cans that were effected by the recall. I decided to go back through my bags of recycling and check those cans. The further back I went, the MORE cans I found that were part of the recall. I can only imagine how many, in reality, I fed. I've been buying Wellness by the CASE-and most of those cans are long gone. In the end, I found 18, 12 oz. cans.
I called WellPet at 1-877-227-9587 to arrange for return of the product and reimbursement. They answer the phone right away and are very accommodating. Gee, are we surprised? Okay, I'm being mean. They were very nice and will take care of this right away.
That said. I'm sitting here with a big stomach ache, wondering if these kittens have been compromised in some way and no coupon or refund is going to fix that.