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Foster Cat Journal: The Cat Tree that Hormones Built-Part 1

It's not my fault I get PMS. I didn't go online and order a 12-pack of the “Super-Beyatch 2010 Kit.” You know, the one with “extra Rage flavored” tablets?

I get PMS. Some times it's REALLY bad. I think it's PMDD, but since I'm going insane at the time, it's tough to do any research when all I want to do is slit my wrists, cry, get mad about things that only usually annoy me, watch chick flicks, overeat carbs, or do all of those things at the same time.

As a Public Service, I notify Sam a few days ahead to watch out. I do this every single month. Every single month he seems to FORGET to steer clear of me during this malström and gets pissed at me when I start to get pissy.

Yesterday we had to run some errands. Before we even left the house, Sam noticed we'd gotten a big shipment by the front door. I was delighted to see that Cupid's new Cat Tree had arrived! The box was too huge to schlep into the house so I suggested we cut it open and take the parts into the house and leave the box in the garage to take to out to be recycled later. So Sam stepped up and started ripping the box apart. Intent on being helpful, he grabbed at the contents of the box as I had already started to do. I hit some of his fingers and he recoiled back, shouted, then gave me a REALLY nasty look. Well my friends, that was it.

There goes the switch. KAH-CHONG! (Yes, that's the sound it makes. Trust me.) The PMS I had been trying so hard to avoid went from a simmer to a boil. I thought; “If he hadn't been trying so hard to be a Boy Scout (push me out of the way), we could have just gotten this done without the drama!” Now I was mad. He was mad. The tension only got worse as I drove (safely and not insanely) to the Bakery.

In trying to avoid things going more postal, I said that I didn't feel like we were getting along very well and that I thought we should forget doing the other errands and just go back home. Well, that just pissed Sam off even more, but what was I to do? I knew that at any moment I was going to lose control, drive into a tree, screaming all the while; “I TOLD YOU I WAS GOING TO HAVE PMS. I TOLD YOU. DID YOU LISTEN TO ME, EVER?!!!!SEE? THIS IS WHAT YOU GET FOR NOT PAYING ATTENTION! WHY DIDN'T YOU STAND NEAR ME IN THE BAKERY? DO I SMELL BAD? YOU HATE ME, DON'T YOU!”

So we got home. I took off my coat, trying to be calm. Sam walked in the door, got his car keys and turned around and curtly said; “I'm going to the store.”

You have GOT to be kidding me! We didn't even HAVE to go to the store. So I offer up the shopping list and manage not to rip his head off. All I could do was think what a jerk he was for putting a bigger rift between us while I'm really trying NOT to do or say a thing. It's the only way to prevent Armageddon. 100% avoidance of each other until it passes!

I decided I was going to build the stupid cat tree for Cupid. I told myself I would go slow and if I got upset, that I would stop. I saw the video about how to build the cat tree on Drs. Foster Smith's web site. It looked super easy. I can do this. I do not need help!


Foster Cat Journal: And the Award Goes to...

Cupid does not care for me to read while I'm having one of my visits with her. She also likes to make sure she rubs her ringowrmy foot all over my book, my pants and anywhere else her rear left leg can reach.

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In a way, I was grateful to her for interrupting my reading. I took it as a cosmic approval that the book sucked as much as I feared and I really shouldn't bother with it. I'd forced myself to read up to page 100 because the author is a famous, fancy-pants, but I just didn't get it. The story had too many back stories and not enough “forward” story. It just annoyed me. It annoys me to even write about it. I wanted to slap him and declare; “GET ON WITH THE F-ING STORY, will ya?!”

Who is the author, you ask? I can't say. It would be unprofessional of me to reveal HIS name because HE wrote something that was made into a crappy mini-series AND he won a Pulitzer for one of his novels. And he lives in Maine. And his latest book is about Cape Cod. That's all I'm sayin' and NO, I do not think the book was “FUNNY” as I've seen others declare.

He wrote about getting crapped on by a seagull. That is NOT funny. It's especially not funny if you're traveling in Scotland, with a family you just met, and a giant flying rat craps down your arm, in front of two young children, who are suddenly shocked into silence because they have good manners, but whose eyes are about to pop out of their heads because they want to laugh so badly. They wait for a nod of the pooped-upon to let them know it's all right to laugh their asses off, while you try to swab away the shit storm on your sleeve.

See? It's funny when I tell about MY experience of being pooped on, but in this book eh, not so much. Plus, being pooped on is just a few lines of a bigger story. It's not going to win anyone a SECOND Pulitzer, 'cause if there was a Poop Pulitzer, well, stand back because I would surely win it!

Foster Cat Journal: Fighting with the Foreign Lesion

I really hope I don't have to change the name of my web site to: Covered in Ringworm. I really don't. I'm not a big fan of change, in the first place, and it would be an understatement to say this was an unwelcome surprise.

Blap.jpg is good for Cupid. If we only knew then...

I've gotten a lot of emails from other folks that do rescue. I feel like I've been sitting in a bar, shootin' the shit with my war Veteran buds. We're kickin' back some brewskis, bitchin' about our wives (well, more likely, cats, in this case). Their reaction to the state-of-the-worm is always the same: [cue inhalation of cigarette smoke and exhale while speaking] “Yeah, I had ringworm go through about ____ cats. I was real lucky because my own cats must have built up an immunity to it since they'd had it before (BEFORE??!!). That is just one thing you don't want to have to deal with. It's just a nightmare.”

[cue additional smoking] “Yeah, I knew a rescue group that had to shut it's doors for ___ months when one of their kittens broke through enemy lines with it. Oh man, it was bad! There were medics scrambling everywhere, trying to get a handle on the situation, but it was dire. No one got much sleep for weeks, that's for sure.”

[order another round of beers] “In '67...I'll never forget it. The look in their eyes when I told them it was Ringworm. Those damn swamps-all that wet, leads to no good. No good. And all that ointment. The smell. I'll never forget that smell 'til the day I die.”

We all nod silently. Everyone knows about the Ringworm epidemic of '67 and still brings a chill down to our toes.

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This is the foreign lesion!

One of the guys pats my hand in solidarity. She's fought that battle before and wants me to know she's right there with me...

...Until she realizes that I might be carrying Ringworm, too. At which point, she quickly smashes out her ciggy and makes a mad dash for the door and the waiting bottle of hand sanitizer in her car.

Groundhog Day-Prediction for 2010

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It's that time of year again. Time for Punxsutawney Phil to make hopeful predictions about the upcoming weather. Will winter lose it's icy grip soon or will we have to endure six more weeks of bone-chilling temps?

This year, through my very high-up contacts, I was able to ask Phil to add a prediction, just for me—well, for my foster cats. I asked Phil if he could tell me WHEN my fosters would be ready to get adopted. After all, they've been here for over a month and they appear to be getting to a point where maybe they're well enough to go to their forever homes.

Phil pondered my question for a moment, then came out of his snug burrow. His answer was clear:

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I could have saved $278 by not taking Cupid to the Vet this morning and just figured, heck, the cats are going to be here FOREVER. Might as well get used to the idea of having TWELVE cats.

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It appears that the little bald patch on her right rear leg is most likely


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Que the scary violin music! Cupid, watch out! The RINGWORM-Psycho is gonna get you. It's right behind you! Ack! Hey, don't rub your ringworm on the bed, while you're at it, OK?

We did a DTM culture, which takes 7-10 days to get a result. In the meantime, I have to treat the area externally, for now. No need for nasty anti-fungals. If Cupid gets another patch, she WILL have to take the meds. The hope is that we caught it quickly enough. Cupid also had a nasty rodent ulcer on her mouth and her blood tests showed a falling Hematocrit level, which could add up to an immune disorder (FIV+, FeLuk), so we re-did her combo test. Showed she still is negative/negative and negative for heartworm, too. We ran another CBC to see if she's doing better. She's certainly gained weight-up about THREE POUNDS now and she is still a sweetheart.

Of course, her kittens have been exposed to her, and so have we, and so has OUR BEDROOM. Cupid is to be quarantined from all of us for the next SIX WEEKS. Hence Phil's prediction. “He told me so,” I know!

So poor Cupid is locked up in the bathroom. It's cold and dark in there, so I'm going to go out and buy her a heater and a cat tree so she has some vertical space in the tiny room. I feel TERRIBLE about this. Saturday we were going to put her up for adoption. Now it will be March 16th before she is cleared again.

The bedroom's been cleaned up, kinda-sorta and I'm doing a mountain of laundry. I cleaned up the foster room as best I could, but I already know that Donner likes to groom her mama, so I'm guessing any day now the kittens will break with ringworm, too. They'll all have to stay put. No more running in and out of our bedroom for now.

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If I only knew then, what I know now. Don't lick da Mama, Donner!

I'm going to take it in stride, not have a nervous breakdown, but I may begin to fantasize about running away from home or becoming an alcoholic or both.

Maybe I should ask Phil? Six more weeks of madness or is sanity just around the corner? If you see Phil, please don't ask him for me. I don't want to know the answer.

Foster Cat Journal: Ready or Not?

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Cupid's looking great, BUT...

Last night I noticed a bald patch on the back of her left rear leg. It doesn't look crusty and at the center there's a hematoma or a blue vein. Not sure which. It also looks like her upper lip is swollen. Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!

Are we looking at “Typhoid Cupid?” Is she the harbinger of ringworm in MY HOUSE??? Ho boy. Fun-city.

It's good to be me. You're jealous. I can tell!

Ring Around the Rudy (and Comet, too)

I made it. I reached the point with all these sick kitties that whatever happens to them, I'll just deal with it. Freaking out doesn't make them get better and is only worse for me. That said, IF they DIED or had something like Feline Leukemia or FIP, I would go right back to freaking out. It's my right as an American citizen! Okay, maybe not, but I'm gonna reserve the right to freak out again. Right now I'm okay.

Saturday, Jennifer drove alllllll the way from Milford with Rudy and Comet, stopped at my house to pick me up and we all went to see Dr. Larry and Super Deb. How could this NOT be a FUN adventure? You've got two crazy-cat-chicks and two cute, sick, contagious cats all together laughing and singing songs (or something like that).

Jennifer drove very “enthusiastically” (YIKES!!), while I calmly suggested she be careful about those small, windy roads (while I clenched the “JC Strap in the car”) that hugged along the River Road. One false move and the comfort of the pavement, down an embankment into the deep, dark and cold depths of Paugussett River.

Good times.

We arrived safely, albeit with a few extra gray hairs on my part. While we waited in the exam room to meet Dr. Larry, you could feel the excitement building. This was the first time I'd ever gone to the Vet with anyone who had only read about my MANY trips to Dr. Larry's office, but never met him. Jennifer mentally reviewed all the concerns she had about Rudy and Comet.

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Rudy's face looked worse. His tail looked worse. Then we looked at Comet, who until that morning had looked fine. Now her face had big red patches between her eyes and ears and more on her ears, too. It really looked like something nasty was erupting and reminded me of Gracie's skin when she has bad Dermatitis flare ups. Comet's chin looked really terrible.

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You can see how pink the skin is under Comet's mouth.

Even feeling badly, Comet is still a sweet kitty. That is for sure. Her body is filling out. She gained a few POUNDS. No more skin and bones. Her coat looks great. No more URI. Now what is going on with her face? We were both dreading what we were about to find out.

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A hush fell in the room as the door opened. There in all his glory was Dr. Larry. I swear I saw a glow around his head! He gave me that look he always gives me. The “okay, Robin...NOW what weird thing is going on?” I smiled weakly and began to tell him what was going on with Rudy. Jennifer added her observations. Dr. Larry took notes while his assistant, Amber held Rudy at arm's length. Whatever Rudy had, she wasn't going to be rubbing it on herself and who could blame her?

Dr. Larry examined Rudy, who behaved himself beautifully. Once Dr. Larry looked at Rudy's tail he knew that it was most likely Ringworm. He got out the Woods Lamp, turned off the lights, the shined the black light on Rudy's tail. It glowed. It glowed GREEN.

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Rudy got a nice “lion cut” tail shave for his troubles, which revealed the extent of the disease. Amber found another lesion on Rudy's side and that was shaved, as well. Dr. Larry put some topical medicine on the areas, which Rudy tolerated all right. He also checked Rudy's ears, which he found ONE ear mite EGG, so Rudy got a treatment of accurex, too. At least it was a one shot treatment and poor Jennifer wouldn't have to give him yet more meds!


Dr. Larry took some hairs from Rudy to do a DTM culture to confirm that it was Ringworm and he prescribed a nasty med to be administered for the next 30 days that would kick this fungus in the butt. Honestly, there is NO fun in fungus, if you ask me. They should call it: notfungus.

Next up was Comet. Yes, you guessed it. She has ringworm, too. Since she “eats Rudy's brains” and likes to groom his face, it's not surprising that she has ringworm on her head. Since we can't put the meds near her eyes, she's getting treated systemically. She didn't have any ear mite boogies at least.

Dr. Larry stepped out of the room for a few minutes to get the meds ordered from the pharmacy. I confessed that I thought I had a ringworm lesion on my boob, but wasn't sure. Jennifer said we should look at it with the Woods Lamp and I said I wasn't so sure that was a good idea, but Amber agreed and suddenly it was pitch dark in the room, the lamp was turned on, so I whipped out part of my right boob (the G-rated part) and we looked at the small lesion. It did not glow, but that didn't mean it wasn't ringworm. It did mean, however, that I am NUTS for showing my boob at my Vet's office! And no, I do not have a photo of that to show you, but I am keeping an eye on it. Hopefully it's not ringworm, but since we've all be exposed to it, well, what can you do? Just gotta go to CVS and buy some “jock itch” cream which will also kill the ringworm, but makes you wonder about what jock itch really is if it can be killed by ringworm ointment??

I got Jennifer and her hubby a gift certificate to buy medical scrubs to cover their clothes, which will help prevent them from spreading or getting ringworm. They're being beyond gracious in continuing to foster the cats, for which I am eternally grateful.

I was sad that Super-Deb didn't come in to visit Rudy, because I know she's very fond of him, but Super-Deb has other animals who need her help and we can't be greedy. Before we left the Clinic, Jennifer DID get to meet Super-Deb. She even called her Super-Deb, which I think made her blush a tiny bit. I'm not sure if it was the first time Super-Deb got recognized by a reader, but she must have been prepared for such an event. As we made our way back to Jennifer's car, Super-Deb opened the door to the Clinic and shouted out to Jennifer, “Did you want my autograph?”

Jennifer cooly replied that she only wanted a paw print, but from what animal, or where on Super-Deb, I cannot be sure.

All I know is it will be 30 more days for Rudy and Comet to be fostered. Poor Jennifer is going to be heartsick when it's finally time for them to be adopted. God, do I know that feeling. I'm having the same troubles, with my fosters, too.

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Rudy contemplates the rotten hand he was dealt, but knows he's in loving, if not latex glove covered, hands.

In about a week to 10 days we'll have the “final” confirmation when the DTM culture is done culturing. Will it be a surprise that it's a positive result? Awww...just add it to all the other surprises I've had on this insane rescue and wait for the next one to pop up. I shouldn't write that or I'm going to jinx things and something will pop up and one of the cats will get really sick. Okay. I didn't mean it. There. Hopefully that will keep us from further worry.

Yeah, right.

Lord of the Ringworm: Ressurrection

When you get woken up in the middle of the night by your boyfriend screaming; BISON!!!!, you know you're in for a weird day. Add to that having to pry your eyelids back open again at 6:15 AM and things are really off to the races.

I had to get not one, two, three, four cats to the Vet by 8:15 AM. I had to bring ALL SEVEN foster cats to the Vet! I created a list of what was needed to be done to which cat so I wouldn't forget. It ranged from: “needs a booster shot, right?” to “Not sure what is going on. Cat is not getting better and now has a weird area of hair loss on the tail.”

Cupid and Prancer were also due to be spayed IF the Vet agreed that they were healthy enough to go through the stress of the surgery. It's hard to know how they'll do and even if they do well, they may relapse either from being around the other kittens who are still sick, or from stress. Either way, it's a risk I have to take. Now if I could just stop feeling guilty for putting them through this. Check out Cupid and Prancer (below). Tell me you don't feel guilty looking at them!

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The Bison Yeller (Sam) helped me load up the car and he drove us over to the Vet. We got there a bit early and they were able to see us right away. We started with Cupid and Prancer. They got the “all clear” to be spayed. Great!

Next up was Blitzen, Donner and Dancer. Blizten is struggling to get well. He is on different antibiotics for the next 30 DAYS!!!!!!!. At least they took him off just about all the other meds and there's only one eye ointment and that's IT. The other two kittens are still sick, but the Vet felt that we should give it some time to resolve. How much time? “WEEKS OR MONTHS” (!!!!!!!!!!!!) She replied. Oh brother. They'll be adults before I can get them well!

Lastly, there was Comet and Rudolph.

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Comet looks good. Got a clean bill of health...sort of. Her eyes are clear and no more sneezing. Her sore nose looks good, too. She gained weight and her coat is sleek and shiny. Except for one thing...

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Rudy. Rudy is the one thing. Rudy has a bald patch on his tail. Jennifer called me about it over the weekend. She mentioned that Rudy and Comet had accidently been locked up with one of her resident cats and that Rudy had hid inside her husband's recliner. I thought that perhaps Rudy's tail had been stuck and that's how the fur came off. of course it wouldn't be anything else, right? What causes funky alopecia? It didn't occur to me since Rudy had been in 2 week quarantine in GA AND he'd been in CT for 4 weeks now, so he couldn't have broken with anything



No. That couldn't be it! Not after ALL THIS TIME?!! How could Rudy get ringworm?? We looked at the area with the Woods Lamp. It glowed, of course. “Should we do the test? Results take two weeks.” I said not to bother. We'll just treat it, but WHERE, HOW did he get it?

Here's a hint:

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Doing cat rescue, apparently, is not for the faint of heart. The things I've learned in the past year, and learned the hard way, never stop to amaze me. The Vet felt that Comet MAY be a carrier for ringworm and passed it to Rudy. She may not show any signs of it or might break with it in another week. Wait and see. Also, she COULD give it to other cats after she gets adopted, or she might not. Is there no way to tell if she can do this? Apparently not.

I'm not going to have a nervous breakdown. I did that over Christmas break!!! As one of my client's says daily; “It IS what it IS.” Whatever that means, he's right. What can I do?

I called Jennifer. That was a tough call to make. I felt (feel) so badly about this because ringworm is airborne so of course all her cats and her husband have been exposed to it. By the way, all MY cats and my boyfriend have been exposed to it, too. Not to make it any less bad, but Jennifer is their caretaker. Without her, I will be in a big jam. Rudy's treatment lasts 45 DAYS.

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Not only that, but Rudy STILL has bronchitis. The Vet is concerned he has Feline Leukemia or FIV+. We ran 2 combo tests and both were negative. She said you can't trust the results because Rudy is too young. We are not out of the woods with this boy. Hopefully by MARCH!!! he will be all better, BIGGER, healthy and happy.

I gathered up a new bag full of medications. One had to be ordered. The Vet bill for all these visits and medications is at $1250.00. I'm going to have to put out my paper cup and ask for spare change to help us pay the bill, but right now I need to count my blessings that Jennifer was willing to take Rudy and Comet back and that I've got two kitties that MAY be able to be adopted in another week or so.

Baby steps, right? Baby steps.


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