making sense or trying to

roll call for sick kitties-

trump
shimmer
mercedes
sierra
everest
riley
madison
rocky
baker
panic
cole
chappy
oliver
matuse
taylor

who is healthy (knock on wood)
charlie
squirrel
mckinley
dash
wk
twirl
guinevere
livingston
cyclone

i have various degrees of sick kitties here. some are vomiting, some have fevers. there are no uri, i have mouth lesions or ulcers in some, in others their mouths are fine? no one is dehydrated, only a few are lethargic. i have disinfected the entire house today, switched litter pans and litter containers, washed bowls in bleach and water….i’m stumped. sickest are trump, taylor, sierra, shimmer, oliver, and riley. riley is no longer throwing up blood. if this is calici it isn’t the “normal” strain by any means.

people in times square will be waiting for the ball to drop tonight. for me, i am waiting for the shoe to drop.

Emergency visit

Spent the morning and part of the afternoon at the vet’s office with four cats. I now have 14 cats vomiting. Riley is vomiting what looks to be blood. After a thorough exam on all cats, the vet thinks that this is a virus. She said calici, but I don’t think so. Trump was diagnosed with the calicivirus when he first arrived here and I was so careful to keep him away from all the other cats. Plus, the symptoms aren’t there. Not one cat has URI. The main thing is the vomitting, fevers and diarrhea. The four cats got shots to stop the vomitting. I was given some cherry flavored sulcrafate suspension liquid to give all the cats and some clavamox. I am also not feeding dry foods because most of the cats do have ulcers in their mouths. Two of them have stomitis, two of the kittens. They are to young to have stomitis, so that is why the vet is leaning toward a virus. No bloodwork was drawn as it would just sit in the frig for a few days before they could send it. If the cats get worse in the course of the next few days, they will draw blood then. I wish I could stop adding to the vet debt here- but apparently not.

Stressful Day

Yesterday, I went to Costco and bought cat food. Kirkland dry and Fancy Feast canned. I opened up the new bag and poured some out in the food trays. Two hours later, four cats began vomiting. By the end of the day, I have nine cats vomiting! I called the vet and they supplied meds: metoclopramide, sulcrafate, and barium. The emesis consists of a rusty colored liquid, but it isn’t blood. I checked the expiration date on the bag, it is way in advance of today’s date. So far we have Trump, Baker, Everest, Riley, Sierra, Rocky, Charlie, Cole and Taylor vomiting. :( Color me concerned and very frightened. I have bagged all the food into another bag and removed food from the entire group. They will be on a 24 hour fast with liquids only. I have fresh dry food that I bought today ready for them. It is not Kirkland, it is Purina. I have no clue what is going on. It is going to be a long night.

Make it ten- Mercedes just started. I might have a virus here. God, I hope not!

You know you’re a crazy cat lady when…

The spoils of Christmas this year brought a huge smile to my face. I received from good friends a lot of goodies to bring kittens into good health. 473 ml of Albon, bacterial ointment and antibiotics for wounds, bandages, syringes, thermal heat blankets and kitten formula. Mike said my friends must know what I really want and he would be right.

Mike and I will be purchasing a new roof when the weather gets better, as our old roof has developed a leak from all this rain. Last estimate we got from a roofer was between $5,000.00-$7,000.00 For a LEAK? Come on! We have two more roofers coming out after the holidays to give us their estimates.

Merry Ho Ho!

Teacher’s Pet

I really try not to have favorites among the group, but I suppose that is unrealistic. Charlie has endeared himself to me from the beginning. He was so weak and almost lifeless when he arrived here, and now he is this spitfire of energy who loves my lap and loves life.

His latest trick is to curl up in my lap when I am typing. Not a big deal, many of the cats and kittens do this. But he lays when his head on my keyboard and chases my fingers. Makes for some interesting typos, let me tell you. He doesn’t use his claws, but he paws my fingers as if to say “Hey Mom, can’t you type any faster?” He is still so small though, and by all estimations he should be around 6 months old, and he should be at least 6 pounds but he is holding steady at 4. Mike made the comment last night that he and Panic would throw some beautiful kittens. I told him to bite his tongue! Charlie’s neuter is just weeks away, and Panic although just as small as Charlie, should be entering her first heat cycle any day now. If that happens, the girls will go into one room, the boys into another.

Charlie..Charlie…Charlie…

This morning as Charlie was using the litter pan, I was close by. Before he could cover the evidence, I scooped it up and that’s when I noticed a small screw that he had passed. The screw is tiny, possibly a computer screw. I am hoping this was the source of the problem for him. He is on antibiotics again regardless and this morning he is perkier, eating and drinking just fine and so I let him out of confinement. He kept climbing the wire, and I was afraid he would fall on his head.

Now, he is running around the house like a hurricane. In doing research on Blastomycoses, it normally hits dogs not cats. But it is not common up here in the PNW. We need to get the mold removed regardless, but suspect we might get better prices if we wait till after the holidays.

The sun has returned and it is a welcome sight. I am not sure how long this burst of warmer weather is going to last, probably not very long. But one can hope..

The year of strays

The numbers here this year are overwhelming. With such a warm winter last year, the mating never stopped and kitten season seemed endless. In November, I was getting calls about kittens just days old! But now the weather is decidedly cooler, so I know the cycle has finally ended. The strays have taken refuge from the cold weather and mating is the last thing on the toms’ minds right now. The urge to mate has been replaced for the need of survival.

Working with strays and ferals is always a challenge. Taking a cat who has survived outside in the world, enduring God knows what, and confining him behind four walls can sometimes cause conflict with the other resident cats. As the kittens continue to grow, and suitable homes are not available, I am now dealing with several urinators and more aggressive alpha behavior. There is an influx of couch scratching on the “sacrificial” couch upstairs (the one place the cats can scratch without reprisals. We just had our drapes cleaned for the downstairs windows and not ten minutes after they were re-hung, McKinley came and baptized them thoroughly…….sigh…….

With the windy weather and hard rain, the cats have evacuated the outdoor enclosure, settling instead for the comfort and warmth of the house. Not that I blame them, but it does increase the stress on several of the cats having to share our home with others who used to be tiny and of little consequence.

All the kittens will be neutered next month. It is my hope after the surgery that I can find decent, loving homes for these wonderful creatures. They are now all socialized, loving beings. You can clip their claws, clean their ears and keep your skin and fingers intact while doing so. With the exception of Panic and Charlie who we are keeping- I will have 6 kittens in need of loving, caring homes.

Today, a special friend called me eccentric. It surprised me, but I suppose she spoke the truth as she sees it. I would rather spend a day in the company of my cats, then attend a Christmas Party where I would just end up sitting on a sofa trying not to spill my drink in my lap, or hiding in the corner wishing I were anywhere else but there. So yes, I guess in the light of society and how people function, I would be considered odd.

But I would take odd, over cruel, apathetic or boring any day of the week. These cats need me. We understand each other and they know they are safe here. They trust me to not release them into a home until I am100% certain that all their needs will be met.

Gift Wrapping 1-Oh-1

With the dining room table swallowed up by Mike’s latest project, I settled on the floor as being the perfect place to wrap the kids’ Christmas gifts. Getting into the attic where the gift wrap is kept turned out to be a challenge. Livingston, determined to explore every nook and cranny of our home, has yet to venture into the attic. Once in the attic, open access to the roof through a vent and kitty would go bye-bye. So after a few unsuccessful maneuvers, I managed to get Livingston out of the upstairs bedroom so I could slip into the attic unencumbered.

Once back downstairs, I carefully laid my selected rolls of festive wrap on the floor, tucking a pair of scissors into one of the tubes for safekeeping. Then I went to grab the presents from the bedroom.
By the time I returned, Charlie had invented a new game called- “Sliding gift wrap.” He managed to unroll two of the four rolls of paper. This created a nice tunnel for Shimmer, Trump and Baker. I could see the gift wrap take on a life of it’s own as it wiggled across the floor while the kitties played chase underneath.

Charlie, tired of unrolling gift wrap, turned his attention to the squirming mass of paper and pounced right on top, his claws tearing large, decorative holes in the gift paper. So much for the grandkids not peeking at what Santa brought! Livingston, hearing the rustling noise came running. He too dove straight for the cluster of kittens finding a nice kitten size hole, he vanished from sight.

Soon the living room floor was littered with shreds of paper, sticky bows, and Christmas labels. My scissors had mysteriously disappeared and the cardboard box of packing peanuts had been upended. Magic~ Snow in the living room and the kitties wanted to go sledding! As they slid through the whiteness, popcorn went flying into the air causing another game to erupt. Catch the peanuts and chase them around the floor.

By the time the mess had been cleared up, my floor monitors were tuckered out. I gently removed a shipping label, stuck to Baker’s back that said “Do Not Open Till Christmas,” extricated Charlie out from under one of the cardboard boxes that his friends had graciously trapped him under. When I turned on the vacuum the kittens recovered quickly and scattered in the wind.

I never knew wrapping Christmas gifts could be so entertaining.

On the edge of a precipice

Last night quite late the phone rang. When I picked it up and said hello, I heard a slurred female voice respond. It took me a minute to place the voice, and then I knew who it was. A girl (woman) actually, who I have never met in real life but when she was in a better place, we knew each other over the Internet.

When I first started to get to know her, she was a vibrant, funny talented woman. Married with one son, she also had cats and had built a cat enclosure for them. That is why we connected so quickly. Not a rescuer, just a person who loved cats and loved life.

I have known her now for almost 6 years, although know is figurative. I could trip over her on the street and not “know” it was her. Even though, way back when-she sent me photos of her, her husband and her little boy, I still would not recognize her.

Since our cyber-friendship began she has been on a collision course with her own personal demons. Alcohol addiction led to several confrontations with her family. She thought she was overweight and getting rid of the excess fat would help her out. She had gastric bypass surgery. But cutting away at her stomach was not the answer for what ailed her. Even though she was warned she had to stop drinking, she didn’t. She landed in the hospital several times with blood poisoning and other issues. She was on a downward spiral, and as much as I tried to save her, she couldn’t even save herself.

A few years ago, it all went black for her. Unable to deal with childhood trauma, a dysfunctional family and a spouse who was unsupportive, who drank even when she was trying to stop, and a child she couldn’t reach, she found herself split from her husband.

She has tried to kill herself several times or so she attests. My heart weeps every time she calls me to “talk.” She has drifted far into drug addiction, has been in programs but doesn’t stick it out. She is divorced…she is separated..she is reconciling…she is divorced again…What a mess.

So last night she called me begging me to save her. I can’t save her, I don’t even know where she actually lives! I have a phone number and a state, but other than that. She was so wasted she couldn’t put two words together to make a sentence. Yet, in the same breath that she was asking me for salvation, she was insisting that she was “fine.” She was “sober” she was “great.”

When I confronted her on the fact that she didn’t sound “great.” That I could tell she was messed up, she broke down crying and asked me to save her. I just told her the truth. I told her that I couldn’t save her when she couldn’t save herself. That she needs professional help and I am by far not that professional. I told her you need to get into a good program and stay there. Not be dragged into a Scientology type of place where they pour unnatural liquids into your veins and tell you it will help with your addiction. I gave her the national number for AA and a hotline number and suggested she call them. That they were qualified to lead her out of this darkness.

My mother used to say when I was growing up that I was always bringing home strays. She wasn’t talking about stray animals, she was talking about the friends I brought home. The ones who weren’t popular in school, or who were dealing with abuse or domestic violence at home. I find that even today, this stays true. The ones who are hurting gravitate towards me as if I have some sort of beacon shining out to them. It is very puzzling sometimes. I know what I have endured, how I have survived. But the reality is, you have to save yourself from whatever is haunting you. You have to face the demons and not turn away no matter how painful.

When I was in therapy so many years ago, my therapist Patt told me we would start unlocking doors of pain that had been closed off for so long. But, we wouldn’t open them all the way until I was ready to face what lay behind those doors. With this friend, she is not ready to face what lies behind her doors. She wants me to yank them open and drag her instantly out of her addiction. It simply can’t be done- because, sadly, it isn’t that simple.