I am so proud of this little girl! She has decided now that dry food might be a good thing to try. She is chewing the kibble which makes my heart celebrate, because with only two teeth left in her mouth and all those awful ulcers, she has to be feeling better to attempt just regular dry food.

I went to visit Mike today and they still don’t know what is going on with him. I stayed as long as I dared, but as much as he needs me, right now, Shell needs me more. At least with Mike he has trained professionals working on him and caring for him. He is a grumpy gus and wants to come home. But he is out of ICU and in a room now.

Tomorrow, I will set up the bedroom for Shell to be able to come and go from the cage, carrier and room at will. I’m going to bring the cat stairs down from the attic and put it near the bed so she can climb up instead of jumping.

And now, I have to go to work.


ShellI have to make this quick as they have called me to work today. It’s our 25th Wedding Anniversary today and God is smiling on us, even though Mike is still very ill (so much for a romantic dinner!) LOL and I woke up this morning to find the kittens all have ringworm.

There was a woman here the other day looking at the kittens, she was very unkempt and there was just something about her that was a bit off. Now, all the kittens she had come in contact with; Riddle, Puzzle, Massey, Tandem, Axle and Sammy are all showing signs of ringworm!

Could you imagine if Shell got ringworm? The kittens are upstairs behind closed doors and they cried all night because they couldn’t come out and play. I have a separate pair of jeans, old grubbies up there and I take off my grubbies immediately after seeing to them and get on the bleach step, change my clothes, wash my hands and arms and take my shoes off. Maybe I should just get a HazMat suit?

Sorry, just trying to make this situation a bit bearable at the moment.

On the Shell front, I went in and opened her cage and was looking for some things when she just leaped on the bed! We had a pet fest-don’t worry, this was before I went into the kittens room. But I had to put her back in her cage and see to all the others. She is eating, there is no signs of vomit anywhere in the cage! YAY!

Last night at work, who walks in but my vet! I was able to update him about her condition and all he kept saying is most of this is because her mouth is a mess- and it is, a big one! But you know, I think she might be gaining a bit of weight. I have to get another scale as my last one got broken, but I do believe, she might even be 6 pounds now!

I believe by looking at her photo I snapped this morning- this kitty doesn’t like mornings!

11:30 p.m. Just got back from the hospital (the human kind not the vet kind) Mike is having lime jello for his anniversary dinner. I am to tired to type about it- but he is in ICU with CRF- we had no warning- not one until today.

Shell Part 2

nullIt is now 5:30 a.m. and I fell out early last night. With three days running of sleep deprivation, I had to get some sleep or I wouldn’t be useful to anyone.

I was just in checking on Shell and she wouldn’t come out of her carrier. I finally, carefully lifted her out to discover that she had vomited in the night. I put her into another carrier while I carried out her soiled bedding. I can’t run a load right now, we are sitting at 12 degrees and the washing machine (on the back porch) the pipes are frozen. I took her bedding into the shower and washed off her pillow then threw that in the dryer.

I went back in and put the carrier on the bed and she walked right out. I was lying down and she head-bumped my face. I am so grateful that nasty, thick, smelly discharge is now gone! Gosh she wants to be petted and gets downright upset if I don’t comply. I am so used to working with cats that don’t want you to touch them and here I have a cat who wants nothing more than a simple pet, and I can’t really touch her much!

Her ears are cool as are her legs, but she is active and we had a gentle love-fest.

I needed to get her new litter, so I put her on the floor. She jumped back on the bed! Then she settled down for a little nap, keeping a careful eye on me as I made her environment as clean as possible.

She has stains on her back legs, but I don’t want to bathe her, so I settled for grabbing a baby brush and very, very gently brushed her and removed several small mats I encountered along the way. Her only fur left is on her head and chest, and the back of her rear legs.
I found myself wishing I had kept a few of the fleece cat bed bags that I recently donated but the problem with those “beds” are they don’t stay up and collapse around the kitty.

When I finished cleaning, she went right into her cage and up into her bed.

At any rate, she must be feeling better because before I left her room she asked me to share her list of Likes & Dislikes:

Likes: mom petting my head or my cheek* food appearing like clockwork in my day*my nice warm bed* the Drinkwell, fun to play with*my new home- there isn’t any mud in here!*the vet- he is very gentle with me*the big man Mike-though he does scare me at times*

Dislikes: the drool that keeps arriving in my mouth especially when I am eating and drinking* the big dog who keeps barking in the other room* mom taking my temperature- (but I show her) I rabbit-kick her hand away*being asked to come out of my carrier when I don’t want to.It’s so warm in there and it smells nice, why should I leave?

Herein Lies the Challenge…

How do you NOT pet a cat who craves attention every time she sees you? I know that petting her isn’t advisable because of the fragile skin syndrome, but how do you tell her this? She walks out of her carrier when I open the cage door and head-bumps my arm and I cringe, thinking she will tear her face. But, her head seems pretty solid, it is just the rest of her that is paper thin and vulnerable.

I did some remodeling on her cage today. I took down the second level shelf, because I know she doesn’t have the energy to climb or jump yet. I stuffed a large dog bed on top of her carrier to stop any cold air that might find its way into her domain. I went to WalMart and bought three sturdy doormats and used these to line the inside of the cage, so she could keep warmer. The baseboard heater is running in the bedroom, but we never finished remodeling the room after Mike first became ill so there are a few drafts and it is going to drop down to a record cold tonight.

Shell doesn’t seem to mind the new mixture in her food; Vitamin C, B-12, Alpha Lipoic Acid and L-Lysine. She just scarfed up the food and looked at me as if to say “Please Mom- More?”

She is so very thin, and so fragile. Who could do such a thing to one so beautiful. I hope she makes it, I hope she starts to feel better. I am doing the best I can for her.

Shell’s Vet Visit…

First off sorry for the long delay for an update. In a few words, it has been a day today. I am just going to ramble, basically because I am dog-dead tired and I just got home from work. It is 1:30 a.m.

I was the first one in the vet’s office this morning. I was in there with him and Shell for over two hours.

Concerning Shell, after he carefully and gently examined her, he gave me two options; euthanize her immediately or bite the bullet and pay for some expensive treatments and see if in two weeks we might overcome some hurdles.

I opted for the latter based on several things. Shell has a fighting spirit. I see that in her. I suspect she has never had a chance to have a life (something the vet also agrees with) I think she deserves a chance and she is eating (not drinking) but eating, she is pooping and peeing and she is active.

Ok here we go. I have dealt with rodent ulcers before, but honestly, they were maybe the size of a canker sore. Not so for Shell, she doesn’t have just a few rodent ulcers, she has SEVEN. One is right at the tip of her lip coming out from under the gum causing that funny swelling she has when you look at her closely.

Before I say anything else, just to get you into the picture, when my vet looked into her mouth, he was speechless. After he saw the extent of the damage all he could say was “Whoa, that was a mess!” And that was the first thing he examined on her! He let me look (I had been holding Shell still for him) I needn’t have bothered, she wasn’t going anywhere. She has one ulcer under her tongue that is so large it actually overlaps her remaining teeth and gums and is forcing her tongue out of her mouth! The worst part about this ulcer is because of the sticky drooly drainage crap, the top of the ulcer is glued to the underside of her tongue. Poor girl.

She has another large ulcer on the left side of her mouth and it looks like someone blew a balloon up and planted it in her mouth! Another concern is an ulcer setting in the back of her throat that has caused constriction of the thoat opening which is why I keep hearing her hard swallowing when she eats.

She has two teeth left both canines but they are so messed up because of malnutrition, poor care, neglect whatever, that you can almost see through the teeth! They will have to come out eventually. She has stomatitis, and that is just what is going on in her mouth!

My vet told me he has never seen such an epidemic of large rodent ulcers in his life, and neither have I.

Onward and upward…or maybe it’s downward. It is his professional opinion that she hasn’t been attacked by a cat, or a dog or a coyote or even a human at least not with the wounds she has on her presently. He said that due to poor, poor nutrition, her skin is as thin as onionskin and if she, for example, scratches a flea, she rips a hole in her side! I cried so hard at times as he was talking to her and about her. If she rubs up against a rough object like a tree, she tears her skin. She has twelve wounds on her body. Two on her back leg that look like tears, seven puncture wounds about the size of an icepick. Two large gashes on her front shoulders and two holes one in her belly and one, sadly right under her anus.

Ok we aren’t done yet. She has feline herpesvirus, she has a really bad URI, she is peeing blood not a lot but it’s visible and it is pink not red thank God. He thinks it is parasites, or her system is shutting down. She has earmites, fleas but he said she isn’t strong enough to treat yet for these parasites.

Because of the ulcers in her tongue, she is unable to clean herself and so she had a mess under her tail as I was gently washing her down she pooped and it looked like a poop worm. went to check, yep it was a hookworm. Hence her anemia.

The good news is she tested negative for FIV and FeLV which was the first thing we did before anything else.

He gave her two shots; depo medrol and covina. he gave me a bottle of Hibiclens ( think it is called) to cleanse her wounds. He told me to give her a buffet to eat from, dry food, wet food, baby food, puree, and some safe human food and let her tell me which she wanted to eat. Her preference appears to be wet food. He gave me some AD and at the end of the visit I was out several hundred dollars. But she is alive, she is in the bedroom isolated from everyone in her cage on a cat heating pad with a vaporizer going nearby, my CD from to help de-stress her and a snuggle kitty to cuddle up with.

Through it all, she just laid there and wanted to be petted and loved. I don’t know if it is just because she is so worn out, or if she somehow understands that for probably the first time in her life, someone actually gives a damn about her.

I asked about blood work, but he wants to hold off, says the mess in her mouth could wreck havoc with the values (or something like that) He wants to give her two weeks to see if the mouth calms down- oh and she is about 7 or 8 years old, not a young cat by any measure.

When i came from work earlier, I went to sit with her and watch her. She came out of her carrier and headbumped my arm- crawled into my lap and fell asleep. It was pure bliss……

The Newcomer

I am calling her Shell, for she is a shell of what she should be. A young, dilute calico who was abandoned by her owner and then attacked by a dog. Her injuries were so severe that just in opening up her carrier door, I could smell the infection. She has two wounds on her front shoulders, a wound right under the tail mast and in her haste to escape her tormentor, she somehow injured her mouth. Her tongue hangs over like a limp, soggy noodle causing her problems with eating and drinking. With her tongue obstructing her way, she has bitten it repeatedly with her canines, causing a large infection in her mouth. Opening her mouth was difficult as it was glued shut with heavy mucous.

It took two hours to remove all the mats out of her fur and in the end, there was a hospital basin full of mats and hair and she was left with little protection from the cold.

She was pregnant when she was attacked, the kittens have long died inside of her, but she isn’t strong enough to withstand the surgery needed to clean her out. She might absorb the kittens which can cause her some health issues, or if I can get her strong enough, fast enough, the vet can go in and get her cleaned out. She was covered in mud and filth when she was found and even after her shave and a bath, you can’t tell she had a bath.

She is so skinny, and so hungry she dives into her food, turning her head to the right so that she can suck up all the food but in the process, she swallows the pools of infection hanging out of her mouth.

Through it all she has carried herself with the quiet dignity of a queen. She accepts everything necessary that I must do to help her out of pain without a battle, either because she to weak to put up a battle, or somehow, she understands that she is now with someone who cares. I have her in a heated room on a new soft dog bed and am giving her baby food, pedialyte and powdered velvet deer antler to boost her immune system. The vet said she still may die as she has been through so much and her body will soon catch up to it and she may go into shock. But for now, she is my Shell and I am blessed she is here with us.

Frustrating time

It is so maddening to have people call about cats in distress and know that I can’t do anything about these wonderful cats in need. My numbers are climbing again, my hours are dwindling at work and there is so much need out there to just rescue 24/7. If this cat sanctuary plan comes together, I will be set up to take in over 100 cats where they will be safe, loved and cared for- but right now, that dream is a bit far away.

There was a call last night about a cat going to be thrown out of his home of three years because the owners are losing their home to foreclosure. I wish I could take him, especially after finding out he is desperate need of food, a vet and a neuter. But I have learned what I can care for without totally crunching us. Our latest rescue, Manchester is slowly warming up to the group, but he is a far cry from being able to join them yet. All my rooms are full and still my phone rings off the hook. I feel like the enemy saying No, but right now, it just isn’t feasible to take in any more cats.

Future preparation

Mike and I paced off the land today and made measurements for the Purrfect Fence. We also decided to add to the existing plans for the cat building itself by attaching a shop to the building. There, we will be able to plan and build cat ramps, tunnels, cat posts etc..

I want a large sandbox in the middle of the field so the cats can have access with a roof over it to protect it from the rain. Two outdoor fountains are planned, one on each side of our land for the kitties. The plans are coming together slowly and I have until March 1st to formalize them and launch this plan. Because it is a glorified barn (really) for the stray cats, I need to check if a building permit is required. Mike came up with a way to place an observation post at the top of the hill at the back of our property where folks can park and get out of their cars and see the cats outside and hopefully choose one or two for adoption.

Maybe this is wishful thinking and as the first of March approaches and the plans including the budget proposal is finished and submitted- maybe I have a chance to help the ones here in this county that people would rather ignore, abuse or kill. My goal is to fit this for no more than 100 cats and to not do bottle babies. My fellow rescuer says that if this goes, she will be happy to do the bottle babies.

There’s a lot of money on the line here, but then, there are a lot of cat’s lives at stake here too.

Wish me luck! One thing I will say about this new plan. It has gotten Mike interested in living again- and that is a GOOD thing!

Oh the Joys of Winter

Waking up in the morning to cold, crisp air. Ice crunching under my feet as I carefully make my way to the cat enclosure. Barn kitties sledding by on ground that has suddenly become a bit slick, looking quite surprised as they slide past my feet.

Me and my Carharts staying snug and warm while cleaning litter boxes. Prying loose the frozen waste- one thing about frozen poop- it doesn’t smell…YET!

20 degrees with temperatures predicted to drop any further. Oh yes, the joys of winter in Oregon!