rocks in my head

I must have been nuts thinking I could actually stop rescuing. The other day at the grocery store in the cat food aisle, I ran across a confused girl looking for kitten formula. After talking to her for a few moments, I was horrified to find out that someone she knows had a litter of kittens and the queen had died. The owner, caring nothing about the welfare of the kittens had put the kittens in the backyard in a playpen with no food, no water, no shelter. Too much trouble I guess?

I told the girl that if she could rescue the kittens, I would take them. There were five and I was told that they were bottle babies. :( It has dipped down into the forties lately at night, there is no way a litter is going to survive long.

So the three remaining kittens are now here with me and they are wonderful. Other than a puzzling scar on one of the kitten’s necks- where i swear it looks like someone tried to slit it’s tiny throat! They appear healthy and happy and have been romping in the front room with the big kids.

The gal who rescued them wants the mackeral tabby- and I am favoring the siamese mix that so strongly resembles my dearly loved Kahuna. May he RIP. I lost Kahuna to feline hyperesthesia several years ago. The other black kitty will also probably stay with us because in this area, people fear and even loathe black cats! Can you imagine-

So I guess as long as there are heartless and clueless cat owners, I will be rescuing until I take my last breath and go and join my son in heaven.

Here are the newest arrivals- They need names too….

Also, check out this lady’s wonderful cat sanctuary! Oh for my cats to have the pleasure of roaming our property too- but the fencing would be a major expense-

Cats on Kings Mountain

And here are the playpen kitties—-

Minor achievment

Today- Moe (the new arrival) relaxed enough to allow me to touch him. He is still hiding under the futon upstairs, but he stopped growling and hissing at me. I took a chance and laid down on the floor, shut my eyes, talked softly to him and reached in to pet him. I connected with his face and started scratching his ears. He loved it and rolled over on his belly and begged for more. We had about a ten minute pet-fest and then I backed off. If he is pet aggressive, I really don’t want to get nailed by him. My hope is to open his door soon and let him find the others. I think once he has the benefit of moving freely in the house he might relax a bit more.

I wake up daily now with slamming headaches. I know it is a combination of the stress and the non-working heater. The house is so cold and we are waiting on the company who is looking for a heater for us. I can’t wait too long though. Mike’s temperature still remains sub-normal (no one can tell us why) and I need to find heat soon. He sleeps so much now- most of the day and the better part of the night. He is having horrible nightmares still and he just looks bad. I am worried about him, but he has good doctors and my hope is once he gets off all this medication he is on, he will be back to his old self soon.

I don’t work today, but there is plenty to do around here. I just want to sleep but that is a luxury I can ill-afford. So I gently shake off all the cats in the morning and get up to meet the day and the challenges that lie ahead.

My parents will celebrate their 68th wedding anniversary this month. I won’t be able to go and see them because I can’t leave Mike and he can’t travel that far right now. They are 12 hours from us. My mom just went through a heart catherization but the doctors found nothing to explain her sudden fainting spells. Growing old, it’s NOT for sissys!

Nancy is staying with them for a week while Mother recuperates. I really want to see my parents this year, but I don’t think under the circumstances I will be able to. Even though my dad’s health is declining and I have a feeling that this will be the last Christmas he will have, I still can’t leave to visit. We stay in touch via email and phone.

Dumping ground

A few days ago, a guy Mike used to work with gave us a call. They were being evicted and had no place to live. There were some broad hints about them parking their small trailer on our land, but thankfully, Mike had all his faculties at the time and didn’t even offer. We both know that if we did allow them to live with us, we would never be able to get them off our property, much less would they pay any rent. Then there was the cat, they were looking for a “boarding” facility to put him in. He is a 4 year old, neutered orange boy about 15 pounds. I told them I would take him in temporarily. He is upstairs now, most unhappy about his recently upheavaled world. He just started eating this morning and is still hiding underneath the futon.

I called around yesterday looking for the couple who owns the cat hoping they could help me get him jump-started to eating. I came to find out they have left the state and aren’t likely to return!

So now I have one more cat, quite likely for life. I suppose this was their primary objective when they appeared back in our life out of the blue. What better place to leave a displaced cat then with a crazy cat woman?

He isn’t a friendly boy. Their last two cats both died due to obstruction problems as they owned a tailor shop and let the cats play with thread! With Shad not eating, it was my fear he too had been allowed to eat thread (a dangerous, dangerous practice.) I am relieved that he is eating, but he is in full defensive mode- hissing, swatting and glaring at me whenever I interact with him. So, although he was “owned” something happened to him to make him so angry and it is like I have a feral cat once again under my care. Not what I need right now, not with everything else going on.

Our heater is still not working. The company will be out again today to figure out if this used heater is actually functional. It runs two hours then shuts down. Last night it dipped into the 40′s and it was really sad this morning to wake up and see the majority of the cats huddled around the portable heater in the living room trying to stay warm. I wish we had the $1,000.00 for a new heater, but right now the used one is our best hope.

Charlie was very helpful yesterday with the repairman. He kept running off with the man’s small screwdrivers, screws and various pieces of wire. Thankfully, the man likes cats and didn’t get upset as I went to fetch the latest trophy from Charlie’s clutches.

I have to get in this morning and clean the cat enclosure. It has suffered horribly since Mike has been so ill. The cats have just ripped down some of the platforms when they play and it has to be weather-proofed for the coming cold weather. Hopefully today, I can find time to do some repair. My friend Chris just did a video of her cat enclosure. It is on youtube. I wish mine were so elegant- but my cats love it and call it home anyway- I love the rock facing this cat enclosure has and I can just see my cats scrambling up the rocks playing- as they do that in the living room on our fake rock wall near the (currently) non working heater.

Chris’ lucky cats

A Close Call

Tonight on the way home from work (midnight) I came very close to running over a tuxedo kitty. He darted out into the middle of main street and I saw him in my headlights, screamed and hit the brakes. As I slid to a stop, he did a giant leap over the meridian in the center of the road and then did another large hop as well, so I don’t think I did hit him. I had traffic behind me as I was close to the local bar, so I couldn’t stop and be sure he made it all the way across the road.

I would never forgive myself for running over any animal and it is my worst fear at night driving through the narrows. Even feeding the other tuxedo feral cat, I marvel at how she can cross busy streets and parking lots and not get hit. She is yet to trust me enough to let me near her, but tonight she was waiting outside the video store for me to get off shift and feed her. Although she ran away and hid in the bushes, I did see her cross the parking lot later for her nightly feed.

I suspect the kitten I almost hit might have been hers as they looked an awful lot alike. Thank you God for not letting me run over that baby, and I hope he made it across the road without someone else taking his life.

I came home and hugged all my cats. They were all in the living room waiting for me and it was glorious to see them all.

Mike is so sick- I don’t know what is going to happen to him next, but he had six cats on him this morning, all snuggled around him keeping him warm. Tomorrow they are supposed to come and install the heater for us. I hope they keep their labor cost down- money is so tight right now.

A brief moment

Mike came out into the front room early this morning and fell out in the hospital bed here in the front room. Oliver takes up his vigil watching over Mike tucked between Mike’s leg ever watchful. The other cats leave him alone, perhaps they know that something has gone haywire inside of MIke’s system and Pop isn’t “Pop” any longer. Life as they know it has come screeching suddenly to a stop and they now have to deal with the onslaught of healthcare professionals who invade the house daily. They even seem to sense that my time is crowded and I don’t have a moment to myself anymore. I am either packing and tending to Mike’s wound, seeing to his needs, cleaning the house, working or volunteering down the street with a program assisting the homeless.

I find myself so tired wishing we had more money, more food, less stress, less bills. I have managed to save the house from foreclosure, but I wonder how long that will last? I envision myself as a homeless woman pushing a shopping cart full of cats down the street. When, I wonder did it ever come to this?

Mike’s blood sugar is so out of whack. It is either way to high, or to low and when it dips down he gets terribly cold and shakes so hard the bed trembles- so of course our heater flamed out the other day. I found another one, at a reasonable cost- a stand alone gas heater that resembles a wood-burning stove but no one will install it for less than a thousand dollars! My dishwasher quit, but that is no big deal. I have washed dishes by hand before. But now my car is making noises like the fanbelt is loose and I have to have that fixed.

Through all this chaos, all this sadness there comes solace in the form of felines. My cats understand that I am stressed and they gather around me in the morning as if they are saying ? Touch me, pet me…I will bring you peace.” Charlie, my little orange boy is most intuitive and he wraps himself around my legs as I am stealing this little bit of time to myself to blog. Sinclair begs to be picked up- his adoptive home fell through when he started showing signs of ringworm. Patty the lady who wanted him, only wants him if he is “perfect” which he is, even with a fungus. So they didn’t neuter him as planned because of the high infection rate of ringworm and he didn’t get to go to a home where he would be the center of attention. But that’s okay, because he is deeply loved here and I don’t care that I have to put on ointment four times a day on his head, neck and chin. Thankfully, after a thorough check of all the other cats yesterday, no one else is showing signs of being infected with ringworm.

I went to the doctor the other day as my headache was stretching into months- and lo and behold, I am stressed! Who would have thought? I am not depressed though (he says i am on the precipice of depression). He put me on antidepressants, headache pills and something to sleep. I find I am sleeping one extra hour in the morning now, getting up at 7:00 a.m. instead of six.

I take Mike in to see the specialist today and I am wondering what this new doctor will be like? Will he be able to tell us why Mike’s blood sugars don’t remain stable, why do mike’s pupils of his eyes constrict so in the afternoon and dart madly around his eye sockets? Why is he so nauseated, nasty and angry and when will life go back to normal? Hmm normal, what does that mean?

I talked to Ben yesterday when I took Sinclair and Kodie to the vets and told him I needed to find a good, loving home for my two horses. It breaks my heart to give them up, but if Ben tells me it is a good home for them, that is enough for me. I know that if I keep them through the winter, they will suffer for it because I have very little hay to feed them and not any extra money to buy more once the 3 tons run out.

So Life doesn’t suck, although it might sound like in this posting that it does. I have much to be grateful for; my husband is still alive, we now know who our true friends are and we have each other for however long we have left. My cats are my comfort and I have my health with the exception of this headache which still hasn’t gone away. And, I am still working and I found a wonderful group of volunteeers who help the homeless and the down-trodden. I go in twice a week and repack food, and I am learning to run the front desk so that I can spell the girl who does it now. I came close to losing everything including my husband- if I can help others who have lost everything, then that is my mission for now….

Mike’s new bunkmate

Oliver has taken over the job of offering comfort to Mike. He either is sleeping tucked between Mike’s leg during the day, or when it comes time to elevate his leg, Oliver perches on the top of the back rest (that I use to get Mike’s foot higher than his heart) right next to his foot.

Ollie takes great offense in being shooed away during wound cleaning and packing time, but that is all I need, more cat germs inside my hubby.

Quirky Food behavior

As mentioned before NK (new kitty) is rib skinny. Even her tail when you stroke it, you can feel the bones. It is quite sad.

She has been here for 24 hours and I generally just leave the newcomers alone for that long so they can settle in. I just peek in on them, make sure they have all they need and unless they are kicking up a fuss I leave them be.

This morning at 3:00 she woke me up just screaming. I shake off the sleep and go bolting upstairs thinking I am going to find her with a half-born kitten sticking out into the world. Nope, she is pacing back and forth in front of her food bowls (which are empty now) and screaming like a woman in labor.

I pour a small amount of kibble into her bowl, and give her some cooked and shredded chicken I made just for her with broth, and she immediately shuts down the noise and starts eating. I have to feed her a bit at a time, so when that bit vanishes her meows of protest fill the room. I pour more kibble, she looks at the food in her bowl then goes over to her pillow lays down and goes to sleep! I thank her very much for the early-morning alarm system and then Thank God she hadn’t been in trouble with a difficult delivery and crawled back to bed.

This is new behavior for her as she was quiet as a churchmouse yesterday. I know this isn’t a spoiled cat- they left her outside, she was a mouser and a provider of other kittens for their barn and that was all. I doubt she got regular bowls of kibble which she should have been provided (especially in the winter time) and they never allowed her inside.

It’s going to be interesting with her I think. :)

New arrival

She is a beautiful, young soft mackeral gray tabby who is pregnant for the second time. Her diet was inadequate provided by her previous owner. She was being fed raw cows milk and raw beef pureed in water in a blender. She quit eating a few days ago and I was told about her and went to pick her up.

She is pregnant, due probably best guess in two weeks but she is rib-skinny and she shouldn’t be. Dr. Vicki said that with adequate nutrition given in small amounts and some TLC she should be bringing kittens into the world soon.

That was before the incident….

I picked her up yesterday and didn’t even get a chance to properly meet with her first. I was just handed the carrier (a small, cramped container duct taped together.) I took her to the feline specialist for a checkup along with Sinclair who has a sudden skin eruption on his head and in his ears.

When we got home, I set her in the carrier in the bedroom, knowing that the one occupant of our bedroom Guinevere would pose no threat to her, and I went upstairs to ready the cat room.

When I took her out of the carrier upstairs, she was wringing wet. It didn’t look or smell like urine, and she was wet from the tail to her front legs. My first action was to look for a mucous plug, but there was none. I toweled her dry and called Dr. Vicki.

Since then she has shown no signs of early labor, no distress, no pacing, tearing up the strips of cloth in the nesting box but she has taken up residence in my canning cupboard as there is access to this cupboard from the cat room.

When introduced to wet food, dry food, baby food and KMR (not all at once of course) she didn’t know what to do. She has a good appetite and she ate way to fast and urped it up a few minutes later after she gobbled down some dry kitten food.

She appears to like a new brand of canned food from Merrick. Grandma’s Stew is her favorite.

She hasn’t produced any signs of visible labor, so a good friend of mine introduced me to a breeder in Texas who is extremely kind and knowledgeable in this area. After hearing the story, she believes the fluid was a stress reaction and not the actual breaking of the water, but she also thinks this girl will give birth sooner than predicted but won’t have milk…so good thing I do bottle babies.

So I guess we will see what happens during all of this-

Guess it was my turn…

I spent the night in the ER last night due to not taking care of myself. I got extremely dehydrated and was running a high fever. My friend drove me to the ER and they immediately hooked me up to IV’s and gave me a shot to bring down my temperature. I have been inhaling coffee and the doctor wants me to go down to 4 cups a month! Holy smokes! I had all the early signs of dehydration but didn’t recognize it. My legs had major cramps in them which I thought was from sleeping on the couch (the bed is lonely). I was irritable, and even got nasty with a good cyber-friend, so Carla, if you are reading this, I am SO very sorry. That was not me that sent that email- it was the sickness talking.

I have been home all day sleeping most of it and drinking lots of water. Mike doesn’t know and I don’t want him to- he has enough to worry about. My cats have been clustered around me all day and they know I was ill, and knew before I did that I wasn’t myself. I don’t go back to work till tomorrow night, and will go and see Mike tomorrow morning with hopefully news of his MRI results. I will be drinking water all day as I don’t want this to happen to me again- and again Carla, I do hope you will forgive me-

The Waiting Game

In a few days we will hopefully know the outcome of Mike’s extensive hospitalization and his fight with his leg. I take him on Thursday first to see his surgeon then to the hospital for an MRI and a bone scan. He is going stir crazy in the nursing home and my heart breaks for the forgotten folks that roam the hallways in wheelchairs trapped within their minds by altzheimers or the ravages of disease breaking down their bodies. If they were cats, they would be gently laid to rest in peace by the insertion of a needle that stopped their hearts. But, because they are people with medical insurance, the medical profession is bound and determined to soak every last dime out of their policies and even seize personal property to pay for the outlandish cost of “living.” Do I sound jaded? I guess I do- I see misery there and people who once had dignity and life reduced down to being put into a posey belt and restrained in a wheelchair on a daily basis.

I took Kodie in with me for another visit. The people just light up when they see her. She loves all the attention, and surprisingly, she doesn’t jump up in their laps or put her paw up on their arm. It is as if she instinctively knows that the light touch is needed with these fraile folk. She loves to go and I am seriously considering training her for a therapy dog after all this is resolved. There isn’t an aggressive bone in her body and she is very appealing for many.

There is one wizard of an old man who believes that Kody is his own dog and I have to fight him every time for possession of her leash. He turned out to be quite strong yesterday and rather than wrestle him for her, I just let them be. She ended up trotting along the corridor, pulling him in his wheelchair while he giggled with delight. I need to buy her a gentle leader harness now so she doesn’t injure her throat if she is going to turn into a sled dog for him. I finally got her back from him and when we walked away, I turned around and noticed tears in his eyes. It broke my heart.