He knew gentle hands, soft voices and caring hearts. He knew that some people do care. That some of us fight to right the horrible wrongs that some men seem to put upon innocent souls. He knew warm blankets, good food and that love does triumph in the end. But his life had been a struggle and he was tired, it was time to go, to travel out of pain and be embraced by the angels.
In his honor, find a local small rescue operation and volunteer to make a difference. Donate old sheets, kitten food, cat food, money, donate your time. I am talking about the small grass seed rescues not the big dogs. If you don’t know the local rescue lady or gentleman, my bet is your vet does. Or leave a monetary amount at your vet and tell them that this money is to be applied to the next person who brings a stray in bad shape to the clinic, and they can’t afford to pay for all that is necessary.
I don’t know when Smokey Joe ended up in the wrong uncaring hands. All I know, is the end, he knew that he mattered and people were fighting (and praying) for him to make it.
His age is hard to determine. What little teeth this dusky gray tomcat has left are broken and his gums are in bad shape. His back claws are non-retractable, his whiskers and chin gray. He was found in a pile of trash by a man’s beagle while they were out for a walk. The man thought it strange, not only that his beagle alerted to the pile of debris, but that one plastic bag was also encased with wire. When the call came, I left immediately for the old airport where he had been found.
He is thin, emaciated, yet as I lifted him gently into the carrier, he licked my hand. His eyes are goopy, his breathing labored. Whoever put him inside that bag didn’t want him found. God had other ideas. I offered him canned kitten food, the only thing I had on hand, he ate a few bites then laid his head down on my hand and I wept.
He is at the vet’s being given life-giving fluids and electrolytes. Although worms are visible, he has only been de-flead at this time. His body isn’t strong enough to handle to many chemicals but the fleas were covering him. I’ll have to flea-bomb my car later. He could be anywhere from 12 years old to 17 or 18. If anyone did love him in his life, there is little evidence of it. We are hopeful that because he is eating small amounts at a time, that he will live. There is no fever. His eyes show evidence of conjunctivitis perhaps there are corneal ulcers as well but right now, we are just concentrating on getting the infection under control. His tail is shrunken and broken- no telling if it is hereditary or due to something else.
I gave him the name Smokey Joe and he will be at the vet’s for a few days. Although his breathing was labored, his lungs sound clear. The vet believes the plastic bag the cat was encased in has caused the labored breathing. He has a murmur in his heart but it is very faint.
I gave him gentle pets and kissed the top of his head before I left him. I told him to hang in there and be strong, be the tough cat that tomcats are supposed to be. I told him it would only be a matter of time before his jowls filled out again and he had the cheekiness of a tom- I told him a better life waits ahead of him.
I have seen the cow kitty several times since his jail break. The minute he sees me, he scoots away from me. This morning, I sat on the steps and he came out. I had Mason in my lap. I could see that Darby wanted to make Mason’s acquaintance, but I kept my hold on Mason. I don’t need two small kittens outside. They are easy prey for hawks, owls and coons. I am going to talk to George and see if he can build a wire barricade inside one of the larger dog crates. I will put Mason in the back of the crate, leave the door open and hope curiosity wins out and Darby goes into the crate. Then I will slide the door shut and have him again.
The minute I got Gump home and put him in the house, he showed a fever- a high one! They used supportive fluids, kitty antacids and worming medicine on him and kept him for a few days for a couple of hundred dollars in care and told me he was good to go. They kept him in isolation, he was the only kitty out there. I wonder if it is the stress of being inside that does this kitty in, so I put him outside in the barn and he is a happy kitty with cool ears once again. He is stalking mice and bugs, introducing himself the other kitties out there and just apparently not wanting the inside life. Inside, he cried constantly- outside, he is silent and seemingly happy. His fever is gone- He is a strange one both in coloring and personality. He bit Mike last night while he was just lying on his lap. He woke up, lunged straight for Mike’s neck- MIke deflected him with his hands and got bit for his trouble. I think only Prozac will make Gump into an indoor kitty and I hate sedating kittens because of “behavior” issues.
Darby was scheduled for a neuter today, so last night, I captured him and put him in Jedi’s cage. I didn’t realize that one of the walls on the outside catio (it is removable) wasn’t locked in place. When I came back to see how he was doing, the wall was pushed out and he was gone!
I’ve spotted him several times since. He is having a ball, chasing beetles, terrorizing the barn cats (who are interested but so far not schooling him on manners). He’s been down to the creek and back (quite a hike for a youngster) Every time I see him and try to get close, he shoots under an outbuilding or the house. At least he’s not running away. I set out some of my kitten traps last night, but all I caught was a possum and I let her go.
I’m not sure how I am going to get close to this 4 month old- at least it’s a male and I don’t think there are any nearby females he might mate with (at least not with my bunch). He hasn’t run away so hopefully he will stay close and with time and patience and lots of meaty treats, perhaps I can catch him again and return him back to the house. I never thought to check the lock as the wall has always been in place before. I just hope I can capture the hisscape artist before a predator gets to him first.
An elderly woman called earlier and I can’t get the phone call out of my head. She is being ousted out of her home and moving to an assisted living facility in two weeks. She has 3 cats she is unable to take with her and she wants me to take them all. In talking with her, I found out that a few weeks ago, she had 11 cats. She used a Hartz product on them for fleas and 6 cats died. She has two cats she will take with her to the facility but the remaining three cats have no place to go.
I told her I was sorry, that I couldn’t take them. I don’t have the room to put three cats into the house right now- they would at best have to go into one of the enclosures IF they got along with the one cat out there already. I am not prepared to do that. She started to cry and said she got my name off the Internet on a rescue page and if I wasn’t a rescue than what was I?
I lost my patience a bit and told her that I am someone who steers clear of owner-surrendered cats and concentrates instead on the ferals and strays. She didn’t like that answer and tried to guilt me into taking her three cats. I gave her several options of what she could do; she didn’t want to use craigslist, she didn’t trust anyone on there, she didn’t want to take the cats to the local shelter because they charge $65.00 a cat to surrender them and she “didn’t have the money.” I kept telling her I was really sorry- but there wasn’t anything I could do to help her.
I don’t know why some people wait till the last minute to take care of the most important part of their homes- their pets. She kept saying that she heard talk around the town about me and we are the best sanctuary around. I was glad to hear that, but it doesn’t free up the space, the money and the energy her cats will need to continue their lives.
I got off the phone and talked to Mike about it and he said I did the right thing. Owner surrenders never work out- they just never adjust to sanctuary living.
Unable to figure out what is wrong with Gump as of yet. He will continue to stay in Isolation till they figure it out. Chances are good on Monday, we will just go ahead and order bloodwork. He is eating now, but not a lot- very little enough to have Dr. Steve concerned. He also hasn’t passed all that stool sitting in him yet so a foreign body is quite possible. Wish my vet did ultrasounds but those are only done at OSU to give the students training and experience in small animal ultrasounds.
Gump should be called Grump. He bit me at the vet’s, I think it was related to the pain he is in. His temperature was 98.6! Great for humans, not so for kitties. His gums are pink and happy, he has stool in his colon, he was bright and alert and the vet is as stumped as I am. They gave him a shot for pain- seems his tummy is quite sore when you palpate it. They will also deworm him and start him on kitty antacid (sulcrafate). He is in isolation and if he hasn’t eaten by tomorrow, the vet will call me and we will discuss other options; blood work, x-rays or other diagnostic tests. The vet is leaning toward either a gastric ulcer, stress or pancreatitis. I hope it is nothing serious. He is a sweet boy even though he bit me. Will let you know how it goes with him as soon as I know something-
At the vet
It’s the home health care nurse and Mike picks up the phone. We were told yesterday at OHSU that they are using a new wrap on Mike’s legs and it only comes off during his once a week visits with them. No more daily bandage changes (yeah!) No need for a home health care nurse to come here either. Mike had called them to let them know they didn’t need to visit us every few days as planned. The nurse was apologetic (on the phone) she said the powers to be had told her to call us and see if they can come out five more times “for their billing!” They have only been out here once to interview us and check out Mike’s leg. Medicare won’t pay for one visit, they will pay for five visits.
Mike told her he didn’t wish to add to the medicare fraud that is so rampant and for now, they just needed to stay home. Am I stunned? No, I have seen so much medicare overbilling and waste since he has been diagnosed with Diabetes. It just makes me sad that the level of care depends on how much money the billing department can gather.
Gump (aka Franklin) is going to have to go the vet in the morning. He has stopped eating and drinking on his own, but he will eat and drink if I feed him. He does not have diarrhea, stool is formed- he was vomiting bile, now he is vomiting blood? He has been vaccinated and is up-to-date on his shots so I am uncertain what is wrong with him? He started acting strange a few days ago- but no fever even though his ears were hot. I don’t know what this is or where it came from. I caught him a few days ago (before he started acting strange) He had a huge spider in his mouth (ugh) it was still alive and I grabbed a washcloth and took it away from him. I checked his mouth and body for bites but didn’t see any. The spider was just pure black as big as a wolf spider, but they are fuzzy bodied and this one was smooth (and no it wasn’t a black widow) So was the spider toxic? I don’t know, I didn’t save it- it went swimming down the drain. I don’t know what is wrong with him so I am Gump-stumped.
Huge dark swirling clouds are forming overhead and quarter size hail is falling! The winds are clocked at 35 mph and they are saying turn off all electrical equipment and head to a low level of our home. I hope my barn cats will duck under the house that’s about as low as it gets. Drenching rain is to follow YIKES!