Just chilling out

Slush and Indiana have decided that since Pop isn’t the one cramming worming pills down their throats, making them take awful tasting medicine and putting Kitten Advantage on them- then he must be the purrfect place to take a nap on!

I swear, it never fails. I rescue them and they end up bonding with him before me. But who came blame them? All he ever does is help me bottle feed when needed, he may hold them for meds if required but other than that he provides a soft napping spot with plenty of pets.

The room is alive today with kittens scampering about. Indiana growls at everything whether it moves or not. He is so funny. I have never heard a kitten gowl as much as he does. He is a formidable beast!

There is territorial spraying going on as well- but what can I expect? I just introduced three new scents into the house and these are scents that are all over the place! I don’t have time given the construction that is going to occur next week to integrate the kittens into the house gradually. They all need to get along so they can share the cat enclosure as the crew works on the roof.

I have wee cleaner to the rescue and it works quite well for getting rid of the odor. Thank the good Lord! But the kittens are merging well into the main household. Mike already wants to keep Slush- there is just something about orange kitties that grabs up both of our hearts. She reminds me of Prowler with shades of Franklin thrown in. I think she is going to be a keeper.

Catching Up

Haven’t had much of a chance to write lately. Going back to work after all these years of not punching a time clock, has been interesting to say the least. I thought that I would be able to manage my schedule, work, take care of the home, the hubby the cats and also write. But I find that after an 8 hour shift, my brain is to exhausted to make sense of words and all I want to do is sleep. Instead, I come home, take care of Mike, scoop litter pans, feed critters and try to find the time to have a creative moment or two. It isn’t working.

Add to that it is kitten season and I turned down 9 kittens- yes, you heard me, 9 kittens all within one litter. Mom under a year old, not nursing- can’t imagine why after popping out 9 kittens into the world! She probably doesn’t have the strength to nurse! I told the gal she can come over and get some kitten replacement milk as I have plenty, but that there is no way I can accomodate that many kittens at one time, what with working and Mike and stuff going on.

I did take four kittens however- these are also WalMart kitties and they are partially feral but more social than most stray kitties. I have a beautiful gold and white female who is strikingly similar to my beloved Prowler with a coat like Franklin. I call her Slush because she has already made mush-meat out of both of our hearts. A tuxedo boy I am calling Rambo, a dark grey kitty I call Indiana Jones and another grey boy I am calling Greystroke because he loves to be petted. They are about 2 months old thereabouts, thankfully healthy except for crusty noses. The place is hopping right now as we skirt around kittens at play in the home-

The photo is of Rambo who is a real character.

Rambling thoughts

Another kitty has left our home this morning. The departure was not expected. He was in the prime of his life. Rescued just four months ago from a home full of torment, filled with people who did not understand the way of the kitty.

When he first arrived, he was content to stay in the house. Jumping up on the places where kitties shouldn’t actually go. Up on ledge of the shower, the top of the fridge. He was curious, mischievous and fun. He would dart between our legs on the stairs and because he was black, he would get away with these games without being seen.

He loved to hide in the canning closet and as we walked up or down the stairs, a black paw would snake out of the depths, snag our shirt and claim our attention.

He was a talker this one, and soon he found himself drawn from the house to the land. When we first moved here, the road was quiet. A two lane, seldom traveled entity, claiming no lives. Now, it is a four lane highway- with speed demons whizzing past.

I tried to get him to stay inside. Tempting him with all the latest toys and gadgets to keep an outside cat inside and happy. But he was happiest in the tall grasses, where he could stalk the latest field mice, keep an eye on the birds. I worried about him, but he never wandered off, sleeping on the battered chair on the patio, or taking up watch on the frayed cat condo in the corner of the porch.

Occasionally, I would find trophies of his, laid lovingly on the mat by the back door; shrews, field mice, grasshoppers, even a humming bird. He was proud of his ability to hunt. He knew the skill well. At times I could see him running alongside the cat enclosure outside- full speed, the other cats inside following. It was as if he was saying “Hey guys, look at me, I’m free!”

But freedom can be costly and this morning he paid the cost. I heard him crying in the early morning hour. His cry was different and I got up to search for him. He must have been under the house because I couldn’t find him. Somehow though, he must have known that discovery meant he had to get out from under the house to be seen.

I found him at 5:03 a.m. under the stack of sawhorses. I heard him first and called to him, opening up his beloved can of cat food, a sound that used to bring him running- but not today. His running days were far behind him.

I picked him and was horrified to see two mangled back legs. He had collided with a vehicle and somehow made it the distance- how I haven’t a clue. But just as the drive to be outside called him when he was in the house, so did the drive to die in the lap of someone he loved bring him home.

He didn’t have a chance. The damage was to great. With 70 mph the normal speed on the highway (although not the posted speed) who could survive such an encounter? A cat can live with one amputed limb, but two back legs gone would be impossible to overcome.

He is now at peace and nestled in the trees. Moss covers his grave and my tears surround him. He was a free spirit and he celebrated life as only a he could. Once that back door opened, he would zip out into the fresh air. Catching him and placing him back inside just made him all the more determined to be outside again.

Dob I am so sorry- you now join Twirl who was your buddy. The two of you can roam free one black, sleek spirit, full of mischief the other white and pure of heart. I don’t know what made you so different from the others here. Why you fought so hard to leave the protection of our home to be outside among other wild creatures. I worried about you all the time at night- even when I could see you from the window, curled on the chair purring away. Now, all I can do is miss you and apologize for not finding you sooner. I hope that God took you before you died to a place where you could feel no pain- a place where all you felt was our love.

Thank you for coming home again, it must have cost you greatly to do so.

Twirl’s last day

At 2:40 p.m. today, Twirl will take her last breath of air. She is 12 days short of celebrating her ear-removal surgery with us, and will fall 5 days short of her arrival date anniversary. Had she been in the care of a loving pet owner someone who actually gave a shit about white cats and the dangers of the sun before she arrived here, perhaps her outcome would have been different.

The biopsy showed that in all the fragments taken from her ear, they do reveal infiltrative squamous cell carcinoma. It has also invaded her parotid salivary glands and lymph nodes. Her condition is guarded, but the cancer extends over all normal margins.

I can’t see prolonging the evitable. Squamous cell carcinoma is aggressive, invasive and to keep her alive (is she suffering?) I don’t know if she is or not, but I do know that I do not wish her to even start. At 4 years old, I suspect the first 3 years of her life, that she suffered more than most could endure. Euthinasia is a kinder means to let her know that someone cares enough in the end to let her go with dignity.

Sadness is a funny creature. It creeps up on me suddenly and my heart becomes heavy. My eyes are filled with tears over this beautiful white kitty’s life coming to a quicker end than it should. It seems that no matter how long I have them here, they all retain the ability to capture my heart, enslave my spirit and as they leave – they take a piece of me with them.

I had hoped she would find a home filled with love for only her, with no other cats so she wouldn’t have to be on the defensive all the time. Those absent ear flaps have made her in perpetual rumble-mode- even though she is a love and doesn’t have an aggressive bone in her body.

She has been grumpy lately- I should have taken it as a sign things were not well with her. But, the vet assures me that even if the tumor had been benign, removing it would have not been possible without causing major facial paralysis and her not being able to turn her head.

So fly dear Twirl, up to the heavens and leap onto the lap of the Almighty. Reward his goodness with that of your own, those treasured headbumps, those scratchy kisses and your magnificent purr. He is all that is Good and Holy and you are pure in your white spirit. May your spirit soar as you join all those who went before you. Find that special little boy who I know is waiting. He is a big part of who I once was, and a bigger part of who I am now. Purr into his ear and tell him his Mom misses him terribly and you will comfort him until I can join you.

Go with God in your final moment and know that the candle burning brightly in my window shines as bright as your soul that will be departing this earth this day. I love you and will miss you every waking moment of every day until we are together again- I tried my best, but sometimes, you just can’t win. No matter how badly you want to.

It is now 7:34 p.m. and Twirl slipped off into eternal slumber peacefully without protest. She is now settled under the long meadow grasses. There are dry flowers, dry grass, pinecone laden tree limbs laid on top of her final resting spot. The tumor had grown since the initial visit and spread. Like the one vet said, “once we wake up a tumor, we can really piss off the cancer and it will respond aggressively.” I was assured that Twirl was feeling only slight discomfort at this stage and the real pain was waiting just around the corner.

It was a solo journey for me with Twirl as Mike stayed home at my directive. This was something I wanted to do, to share the last moments with her. To once again for the last time, wear that coveted coat of white as she shed all over me in the clinic.

I love you Twirl, I just wish I could have loved you longer-

A difficult place

I find myself once again at a difficult place with Charlie. He is showing me by leaps and bounds that he doesn’t feel very well again. I have just paid down my vet bill not to a manageable level (will it ever be there again?) I doubt it, but I have gotten it down under $1,100.00 which is quite an accomplishment considering what it used to be! Now, I need to call the clinic on Monday and make an appointment for Charlie for a urineanalysis and blood-work to find what is wrong. For now, Charlie is in confinement outside in the enclosure. He is in the Introduction Cage and isn’t liking his new prison. But I have no choice- he has baptized the living room, bedroom, kitchen and dining room with his urine. Because of his age it is unlikely this is behavioral according to my feline vet- instead it is probably health related.

No word yet on Twirl’s results either. Gosh I wish I could win the lottery tonight and pay off my vet bill-

Result Day

Today we find out what Twirl is facing as the lab results should be in. It is early in the morning and I find that I cannot sleep. I want this lump to be a friendly lump, one that will go away in time with medication and TLC. I want this white kitty with no ear flaps to have many more days ahead of her where she can just take it easy, lay in her favorite nap spots, eat to her heart’s content and accept all the love we have to give her. But, deep down I have a small fear that this will not be so and her days are numbered.

Yesterday was very strange. There is a lady in town who expressed a deep interest in giving Dobby a good home. I took him into her shop to meet with her, she appeared to really like him, but he was so scared, he was trembling and yowling his discomfort. Not the best first impression. She was then supposed to show up here after work and I was going to take him and follow her to her home so I could see where he might be living. Well, she never showed up, nor did she call. I called her twice and all I got was her answering machine.

I told Mike that this must be some sort of sign that he isn’t supposed to go and meet her family and have a life where he is to be her cat. Instead, he is to be ours forever. Or for as long as God wants him to be. He was terrified to be out of his comfort zone in her shop. I was holding him on my lap and he was shaking and crying. I’ve never seen the trembling before in him and he has been through a lot in his short little life.

Dobby came to us after someone called my attention to this haranguing post on Craigslist about how this “devil kitty” was dumping over plants, thrashing her house, using the litter box right after she cleaned it! GASP! What a devil! How dare he do that? I read this post and thought to myself, this poor kitty- what is she doing to him because she doesn’t understand how kittens are? So we drove to Portland to rescue him. And he has just been a champ! No problem whatsover. If I got bent out of shape over kitties dumping water glasses, running up the drapes, using the litter pan seconds after I cleaned the litter box, scrubbed it down and put clean litter in it- then I guess I would be a candidate for the Prozac parade. These are kitties, and it is what kitties do. So Dobby will stay here, with people who love him and take him seriously.

Speaking of litter pans, yesterday I cleaned, scoured and put in new litter in all my pans. Some readers may be thinking, big deal lady, I do this every day. Well I dump and scoop litter more than daily, but thanks to a wonderful gift- yesterday, I was able to do this for all my litter receptacles. I don’t use “pans” anymore. I find the regular litter pans to be worthless except with kittens. I use kiddy pools, large rubbermaid containers, hot water heater drain pans and other items large enough to accomodate my crew. It’s a lot of litter that I use.

Yesterday, I went to Portland to pick up 1,500 pounds of cat litter that had been “gifted” to me! I have it stacked in my barn, the cat enclosure, the patio and also have some upstairs. A true godsend, an answered prayer and something I am still pinching myself about, because even though I rescue, I am not non-profit and this litter was first givin to shelters and rescues that are 501’s. I received the left-overs which was the last pallet of Odor Lockers and I am thrilled. My mother laughed at me when I told her about this gift and she said only I would get excited about cat litter on my birthday! LOL

Well, I need to wrap this up. It’s nice to come here in the morning and share a cup of coffee and my thoughts. I have five articles on my desk I need to get on, and a clowder of kitties gathered at my feet waiting to be fed. It’s supposed to get to 90 degrees today! I have all the windows open right now, letting in all this cool air- time to get back to my life- and wait for the phone call that will determine Twirl’s life. Panic is better, her swelling is going down and Charlie, other than spraying the house because he is so stressed from his last illness is also doing fine.

A Year in the Life of Twirl

It hasn’t been the best time for the Miller Kitties. I had to rush Twirl to the vet today because she developed, virtually overnight, a huge mass under her left ear. With the previous diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma, I had a sinking feeling the cancer has returned.

The vet feels I am right, so Twirl has stayed over and will undergo a biopsy tomorrow morning, We will know by Thursday if this is a cancerous tumor or not.

If it is, I see no other choice but to let her go. I can’t see putting her through any discomfort for a cancer that is so aggressive as squamous cell. We rescued her almost a year ago next week. I don’t know if she will make her arrival anniversary date or not. Time will tell

The Comeback Kit

Charlie has rebounded yet again! He is feeling so much better and has his appetite back. The other cats are leaving him alone, it’s as if they know he doesn’t feel well. Tarzan is snuggled against him glad that his buddy is back from his quarantine time upstairs.

No one can tell me what he had- all I know is I am thankful he is still a bright spot of orange in my day.

The Charlie Chronicles Part II

Charlie spent 24 hours in an oxygen box because his fever did indeed break- but then it also started going sub-normal and he began to have problems breathing.

He is home now and he isn’t much interested in life at the moment. I just gave him my last-shot effort a shot of dex to see if that might jump-start this orange spark-plug. If it doesn’t, then I am out of ideas.

I have been asked to prepare for letting him go. I won’t allow him to suffer- although it is hard to figure out if he is, because he hides pain so well. I have been packing him around in my special sling and he is content to lie in the bottom snuggled close to my heart. He is a bit heavier than the normal newborn kitty that usually occupies the sling, but hey, I need to lose weight anyway. He isn’t eating but he is drinking. I have yet to see him use the litter pan since all this started.

I’m really bummed and don’t know what to do next. My special vet said he is an enigma to be sure, because when he does get sick, he crashes in a major way. I spent most of the night reading the sick journals and tracking his illnesses. It appears he has strong 3 months of no sickness, then inexplicably he crashes.

I can see that he is losing color in his vibrant coat and his mouth is still thick with strings of mucous. He is gurgling, lurching his throat to swallow and there is confirmed fluid in his lungs. Poor Charlie- if the shot doesn’t kick-start him in 24 hours, I will sadly just let him go. It will be the hardest of all decisions to make, but I can’t expect him to deal with this mystery illness just because I love him so much. If he tells me or shows me he wants to give up, I will let him go in peace.

The Charlie Chronicles

Last night when I got off work, when I walked into the house, I noticed that Charlie was sleeping in an odd way on the couch. He was all balled up in a kitty fetal position and his breathing was off (rapid and shallow.) I could hear him gurgling even though his head was buried in his paws.

I ran over to scoop him up, and I almost dropped him because he was so hot. I grabbed up the rubbing alcohol and some cotton pads and we went upstairs to be alone.

His temperature was 105.2! I started giving him alcohol rubs- rubbing the solution on his ear flaps and footpads. He wouldn’t drink or eat and he was so dehydrated too. I gave him sub-q’s but unfortunately, I kept turning him into a sprinkler because the needle kept poking through.

I was up all night with him giving him lukewarm baths and rubs. His temperature went to 104.2 at 2:00 a.m. and we both slept uneasily through to morning. He was so hot on my chest that it wasn’t necessary to use blankets to keep warm!

In the morning, I called Dr. Vickie and now Charlie has had a shot of dexamethasone, he has been started on zithromax and I am giving him Buspar for pain.

He was eating a little bit this morning, but nothing since then. Not even baby food tempts him. His temperature as of 20 minutes ago was 103.2- he is lethargic and except for one exciting moment when he decided to drink out of the pet fountain, he is getting sub-q’s to keep him hydrated (twice a day.)

Hailey, bless her heart came over and showed me how to give fluids without turning him into a sprinkler, and for her trouble, Charlie almost bit her! Not like him at all.

He has heavy thick discharge coming out of his mouth, brown gunk in his nose and red gunk in his eyes. Because he is an active carrier of felineherpes and calici virus, I am loath to take him to the vet as stress will cause him to get worse.

It is going to be a long night- better go and start the coffee