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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kittens finding homes

Now comes the hard part: the part where losses tear at my heart.

Effie before kittens

If you need to catch up to this story you may read my previous posts here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

All they needed was socialization with other people. That soon came in the form of potential adopters coming to see their favorite babies. First came the retired professor to see Tinkerbell. I had been sending her pictures for several weeks so she’d grown quite enamored with all of the girls. I let her see the room where the kittens lived then I moved them out to the living room where she could interact with them away from the worried mothers.

One of the few pictures I have of Tinkerbell
The most difficult part for me came when she begged to be able to take her kitten home right away. I explained that I wouldn’t let them go until they were properly socialized and had received at least one vaccination. She was just so eager to have her new baby at home. I told her that I might be willing to bring the kitten to her when she was 10 weeks old although I would prefer to wait until 12 weeks. She seemed reluctantly satisfied.
Very rare Trinket picture

I watched as she nearly melted holding and calming the tiny red girl. Her son had fallen in love with Taylor though. After her visit she told me that they wanted both girls. I promised myself that, except for Spotty and B.W., all of the other kittens had to go to other homes – no matter how hard it was. So I had to be happy that another kitten found a home. Before long, the professor contacted me again to say that they’d decided they wanted all three of the younger females! She and her son decided that Taylor, Tinkerbell and Trinket made a great “Charmed” set. Their names became Phoebe, Paige and Piper.
The three Charmed Ones

Tortie’s new family came to meet her one sunny afternoon. They already had one cat, Freya, but wanted a companion for her. The young man wanted a tortoiseshell so I was thrilled when I saw the skittish girl curl up in his lap and calm right down. I didn’t want to intrude on their time with Tortie so I took the opportunity to bring out Spotty and B.W.  I spent the time working with them around the visitors in hopes it would help to socialize them.

I could tell that Tortie had found a perfect home. She’d never warmed up to me, a devoted, lifelong cat lover, yet there she was sitting quite comfortably in a stranger’s lap. She belonged to this couple, even before they’d met. All it took was a picture and they knew it – now she knew it too.

During this time I also had to make sure my own family of cats got enough attention. Effie, my 16-year old ex-feral cat was ailing from diabetes. We never could get her completely regulated then she slowly stopped eating. My big mistake was in giving her her insulin before feeding her. You should always feed first then give the appropriate insulin so that they don’t go into insulin shock if they don’t eat. Well, that one horrible day Effie came in to eat with the rest of the cats so I went ahead and gave her the insulin then put out their food.

My last moments with Effie
No matter what I did Effie would not eat and she went downhill very quickly. She was already weak from her recent lack of interest in food but now that she hadn’t eaten anything at all the insulin was plaguing her body. I rushed her into Dr. Tammy but I was afraid it was too late. They did all they could for her during that day but in the end I brought her home in a last ditch effort to calm her down and hopefully bring her around. Unfortunately it didn’t work. She had regular seizures all night long. I sat with her through the night attempting to calm her seizures but I knew it wouldn’t do any good. She was too far gone. First thing that morning I had to let her go.

I spent much of the rest of the day in the kitten room watching them gambol about but I think they knew something was wrong. They worked off their energy for a bit then, as I curled up on the floor they all came over to lie with me. It was a precious moment filled with tears.

How could you not love this face?
Even more special was the fact that Scotty cuddled up to me as close as he could possibly be. He burrowed into my arms and purred and purred. I knew he was a special kitten from the first time I took him from his cage but I already had a home for him. At that moment I just couldn’t bear the thought of losing him.

When his person came over to see him for the first time in person I tried convincing her to take one of the remaining red tabby boys instead. She didn’t want a red tabby, she wanted Scotty. I remembered that at first she had mentioned how cute the black and white boys were so I then offered to give up B.W. if she would leave Scotty with me. Still she wanted Scotty, even more so after holding him.
Scotty kisses

I kept my promise to give away any kitten that had a home and let her have Scotty. But I spent those last couple of weeks absolutely spoiling him. I really loved that kitten but I could tell that she did too. After all I still had four more kittens, two more than I’d planned to keep.
Tweety and Trucker, the leftovers

I could have done more to find homes for the red tabbies. I could have pushed more people at work to look at them, I could have advertised. But after losing Effie and giving up Scotty I just didn’t have the will to lose any more. The four kittens soon became Mulberry Spot, B.W. Huckleberry, Gooseberry (Trucker) and Strawberry (Tweet).

Next time I’ll tell you how the adoptions went. I tell you now, though, that all of those kittens went to exactly the right homes. They are where they were meant to be.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Variety of News

Today I’m going to share several websites of note. Enjoy!

Check out this story about the horse who not only lived through a tornado but miraculously ended up IN his owners’ kitchen! This story should point out to everyone that it doesn’t take an EF5 tornado to do damage. Any tornado can destroy:

Read this story about a move to determine where a potentially lethal pet treat-borne illness comes from:

I always encourage owners to vaccinate their pets and horses for rabies to not only protect the animals but people who work with them as well. Now officials in New Mexico are responding to a seemingly drought-driven increase in rabies cases by encouraging the (rabies) vaccination of any livestock that come into contact with people as well. Even if your aren’t in New Mexico you should read this:

Paws Hospice in Tampa, Florida, has started a new database that lists used small animal wheelchairs available for pets who need them:

Finally some legislators are trying to change the status of military dogs. Historically they have been listed as equipment and many times left behind after their faithful service at war. Now efforts are in play to provide transport for these heroic dogs from the site of war back home:

Maybe now I am ready to get back to the story of my kittens and how they found homes – or didn’t. Next time!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New Kitty App

Now I don't usually promote commercial products and I'm not doing so now. I just thought I'd pass on this new information about an iPad app that may give you another reason to play with your cat. It is a video game where you compete with your cat! Here's a link with more information.

If any of you purchases the app please let me know what you think of it. Does it work? Will your cat actually play with it?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rainbow's Recovery

I remember that warm spring day when I sat poised above the space between hay bales, my hand in a claw-like pose waiting for the first feline head to poke its way out. Quick as a snake I grabbed and startled myself with a fistful of kitten fur. She screamed and screamed sending my wits into panic mode until I saw Hobby, her overly-attentive mother, rushing at me her eyes wide and tail puffed up. Without another thought I dropped that kitten back onto the hay bales and she disappeared into her cavern while I backed away from the nest hoping Hobby wouldn’t attack.

I’d already named her Rainbow because of her brightly colored fur but it seemed I was not meant to catch her just yet. As it turned out I never got another chance to catch Rainbow that summer, in fact, I took in two of her sisters, her mother, several other kittens and a few adults but no Rainbow. That fall I planned to stop trapping a week before I was scheduled to leave on my Hawaiian vacation so I didn’t have to worry about leaving any new cats or kittens for my house-sitter to worry about.

That last day, I approached the barn praying to God, let her be in the trap this time, please let it be her. I quietly crept along the side of the barn and took a deep breath before peeking around the door at the trap I’d left inside. I had to blink a time or two but sure enough it was Rainbow. Nearly six months after I’d first had her in my hands, I finally saw her in my trap.

Now, nearly 18 years later, I have that wonderful, enigmatic girl on my lap as I type. Most evenings now she comes downstairs to curl up in her cat bed while I administer her fluids and check out her “redesigned” cheek. Then she settles in and sleeps while I watch TV or write. At night she competes with Mewdy Blue and Lady Butterfly to get under the blankets in my arms but eventually gets out and sleeps in her bed beside my pillow or on top of me.

I am extremely thankful that God has granted me this extra time with her. It seems to me that her biggest problem was that darn abscess on her cheek. When it finally died and fell off we started her on injectable antibiotics (in place of the oral ones she’d been taking) and the remaining tissue started to heal. She quickly perked up and started acting more like herself. She’s eating, drinking and jumping up on the counter again. Today she even played with a toy!

Tomorrow, Rainbow will see Dr. Tammy again but I anticipate a clean bill of health. Of course, I know that her kidneys are still failing but she is thriving and seems happy. Her strength has returned and she’s bathing herself again. And I am one happy camper.

Thanks for all the support you’ve given me and my loved ones.