Tripp’s Trip to the vet

They did bloodwork and x-rays on Tripp and he was so good. He only got a bit clawsome toward the end after being in the carrier for about three hours off and on. He has PICA- they are going to put him on amnitryptelene (or however you spell it) to see if this makes the behavior subside or go away forever. It is unfortunately such a rare disorder in cats (more prevalent with dogs) that not much is known about it. Some believe it is because the kitten was rejected at birth- Tripp was not rejected- some believe it is metabolic in nature and can be cured by diet change (basically giving the cat a meaty bone every day to chew on) others believe it to be neurological in nature or a product  of genetic inbreeding. Tripp is from an inbred colony.

The “Kitty” had one hundred dollars in it- the bill was twice that- but that’s okay he is well worth it. Both he and his siblings are some of the most unique cats we have ever had here at the sanctuary. I go in tomorrow to pick up the medicine and we will see how it goes from there.

Tripp kept trying to get away from everyone and hiding in the hoodie of my sweatshirt. LOL Everybody just loved him and the vet agreed that trying the sedative first was warranted. He has no obstructions showing in his small intestine or his stomach so that is a relief. He is right now curled up with his buddy Kota no doubt taking comfort from his furry friend after all of this morning’s chaos visited on him.

Moving Forward

After several frustrating weeks of showing up at the door to receive the donation of food for the cats and coming up short, we have decided to formally stop active rescue. We will remain a sanctuary for the cats who have been rescued or dumped here, maintain our non-profit status but it would be foolhardy of me to increase the population here when I have no idea if the food that once was flowing fairly regularly can be maintained. Last week, their contribution was one jug of cat litter and a container of Temptations.

We have 8 indoor cats- 3 of which are semi-feral and then our outside kitties which number 17. Although it breaks my heart daily to tell callers: “No, I am sorry we cannot take your cat(s) kitten(s).” it is getting easier to do so. In the past, sob stories would melt our heart and off I would go on a rescue that would add to the population here. I can’t in all honesty do that anymore.

At Mike’s suggestion the other day, I went up to the attic and pulled out the 15 file boxes full of folders that contain the lives of the cats that have come under our roof. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of these creatures who lived better, found love and warmth and went on to better homes because of our efforts. That speaks to my heart and looking through the files and the before and after photos brought back a ton of memories and some tears for those who did not make it. That’s our legacy. We leave rescue knowing that no one is coming in to take over and step up and walk this incredibly rewarding and sometimes painful path. A few have tried, but I guess their commitment wavered in the end and they went on to just make a difference with one or two strays instead of dozens and that’s okay. This path is not for the faint-hearted.

We still have debt with the vet ($600.00 currently). I did manage to catch the orange boy who turned out to test positive for Feline Leukemia and he went on to heaven to have a better life. The other four are keeping their distance and sadly, they look as hammered as orange kitty did. The vets also suspected orange boy had FIP because what I thought might be a pregnancy turned out to be fluid in the belly.

I will be blogging as much as possible. But at this time, with Mike’s leg once again becoming challenging- I am concentrating on training Kota to be a full-fledged service dog for him. I will also still be trying to find placement for the outside kitties- but they are semi-feral so barns would be the best bet for them. Although there are people who want barn cats, it is hard to find a person that wants to put the time and effort into keeping the cat in a cage long enough for the cat to adjust to the new home. Most people just think, you find a barn, dump a cat in it and it eats all the mice and gets fat and stays around. Doesn’t work that way- you have to still feed barn cats, de-worm and de-flea and keep the cat contained for at least 45 days to make it work.

My friend Midge is coming over next week to take photos of the cats that now call this sanctuary home so I can update the current files. My brain and heart is currently full of names of the cats who have been here and gone: Hurricane Charley, Bravo, Stryker, Hissy, Shell, Funny Face, Sheldon, Prowler, Rocky, Everest, Taylor, the names go on and on.

We did good here. We gave those with little chance the best chance of all to have a normal, loving life. We will from here on in, be operating on a shoestring budget- because face it- it is hard enough to ask for money for the special needs kitty, but when you have older, settled cats that have called this place home for years- most people won’t give if the need isn’t that great. For me that was the hardest part of rescue. Asking for money from folks, some of  who are just trying to keep their own heads above water.

I’ve met some extraordinary people both in person and online and I have also been exposed to the dark parts of a person’s soul during this 35 year journey. God has helped me keep it all together and for that, and so much else that remains unspoken,  I will be eternally grateful.

Sad Update- it looks like Tripp, the seven month old kitten that has attached himself to Mike’s hip has PICA. I will be taking him in to the vet tomorrow morning but I have caught him chewing large holes inside of blankets and eating socks and anything else he fancies in the past couple of weeks. This disorder is thought to be genetic but they aren’t sure. The problem is that I just discovered an electric blanket stowed away in the closet with a hole in it and some of the wires are chewed. There are no missing pieces of wire to be seen and Tripp is vomiting. 🙁 This is a kitty that sleeps with Mike daily and nightly so prayers will be welcomed and much-needed.

Tripp and Kota- best buds

 

 

The Night Feeder

The skinny orange stray will now jump into the center of the wet food tray and make it impossible for the others to eat out of the same tray. It breaks my heart to see him so hungry yet still so elusive. I could use my catch pole but those aren’t the best thing for cats. They can do great harm and are easier on feral dogs as a catching device than cats. He is coming to the night feedings- I have been sprinkling the food with antibiotic powder as probiotics and his eye looks a bit better. I try to stay out there while he’s eating so he will get used to me, but if I stay beyond 5 minutes he will leave. I would rather he get to the food- so will still be using the slow, soft approach with him rather than a trap or the pole.

Last night when I was out there, Mama Possum and her 6 young ones came to the feast. They are getting so big and mom is huge. I don’t want to tangle with her- out of all the wildlife here, I would put her as the most aggressive. One of her babies looks like it is an albino! But maybe the coloring hasn’t kicked in yet- since I know little about when the babies colors start to change.

We are still turning down more rescues on a daily basis.Nothing I can do about it except recommend other rescues in the area that might help these people. We still just have one store donating on a weekly basis but the bags are 4 pounders so far. Our storeroom- thanks to those of you who sent either food or money our way, is a bit fatter these days. We have 15 bags of dry food of various weights and a cupboard of wet food- so thank you all of you again for your help.

On a somber note, Mike has now been diagnosed with Stage III Kidney Disease. We are told that the transplant list is 7 years long and they put the more critical (and youthful) patients first. There are apparently five stages of this disease and ironically, he has this because of all the antibiotics he has been prescribed in the last three years.They have now ceased giving him Bactrum and are resorting to lesser strengths of antibiotics to help clear up his infections and issues.

Who Needs Wound Care?

It’s nice to know that when I am changing my husband’s dressings, I am being  closely monitored by our new wound care in home specialist Pigeon! As I bent over to remove the dressings, Pigeon decided to jump on my back and take a closer view to be sure I am doing things the right way! LOL Gotta love these kitties-

The Five Strays

They have been elusive since being dumped here. I suspect I know who brought them here and why, but at this point it is my focus to just get them some vet help. Last night, I managed to finally see one long enough to somewhat evaluate him/her. He is old, he is sick, his eye is messed up, his ear is torn and bloody, he is paper thin. If I had to guess I would say leukemia has him/her in its grip. I can’t set the trap-too many other critters to catch so I will start by going out at night and building a fire in the shop where he hangs out and keeping it warm so he doesn’t freeze to death. We had a limb go through the shop last year and although we removed the limb- fixing the shop wasn’t in the budget so it was just tarped over until we can repair the roof. I don’t like going in there- even though Mike’s buds put a lot of braces on the roof to keep it up. But I have to keep these strays warm. I will start feeding in there and see if I can gain their acceptance- but if he is any indication of what the others look like, then they are all in trouble. This boy/girl is orange and white and I suspect a tom just by the nature of the injuries I see on him. He did stay still long enough for me to put a plate of food near the fence where he was sitting- but it can take weeks to gain their trust and it is weeks I don’t think he has. 🙁

The Food Fight

The fight for the right of these cats to eat on a daily basis continues. Thanks to one blog follower who helped me design a pretty effective letterhead for CATS I have distributed those letters to nearly every grocery store in the three towns surrounding us. One major chain has stepped up and said he will call me when they get any broken bags or boxes. I will take it and hope the calls start coming in soon.

We were recently blessed with the arrival of all these canned food for the kitties so we have been mixing the dry with the wet to help make it expand and last longer. It’s getting a bit dicey now feeding in the wee hours of the morning when the more elusive ferals are about and hungry. So, unfortunately awake at that hour are the skunks, the coons and the possums. I always know when these animals come to the banquet table, because in the mornings, the trays are tossed about- the water bowls are muddy and floating in the water is dry kibble (no longer dry). I am thankfully able (so far) to talk to the skunk babies until they slide back under the shop or the shed and then put the food out without getting sprayed in the process. I lay out the eggs for the skunks, hoping the food they should be eating will be the food they want instead of dry cat food!) My friend has chickens free range and keeps us in eggs most of the time. But it seems lately, the skunks prefer the ease of eating dry cat food instead of cracking an egg!

So the fight continues on our end. Some cat lovers in the neighborhood after my ad went online- has called and pledged on bag of food a month- which we will also take. We will just have to see how this goes. Currently, we have 8 cats in the house and main enclosure. Nineteen free roaming cats who have access to two enclosures 24/7 and 5 new strays recently dump one who I fear is pregnant- Pushing for this cold weather to continue to finally stop the mating cycle. This cycle has not stopped here in Oregon for three years now!

MK’S Moment

We have been working slowly with MK (Mystery Kitty) since first contact a few weeks ago. This morning, MK sidled up to me at feeding time and head bumped me! I picked MK up, brought her  in the house and proceeded to de-mat this beautiful girl with a seam ripper, a comb and plenty of patience.

Because she is long-haired and I suspect also has Persian in her- she does mat every year, but until now, getting close to her was near impossible. I was able to gently extract dozens of mats and overjoyed that the entire time we spent in this grooming session- she never once got grumpy, tried to swat at me or bite. She growled a few times but that was when I was working in her nether region which was really matted and bad.

I took a quick photo and put her back outside and now when she sees me she runs! LOL  But that’s okay- I removed enough fur and matts on her to know she will be fine throughout the winter. Mike asked why I didn’t shave her? I don’t want her losing heat in this cold weather 32 again this morning- so the seam ripper did the trick. I love the ripper because unless you truly just poke the cat in the skin- you can’t hurt them removing the matts. Unlike the scissors that can cut their skin- or the clippers that can burn their skin. Using the ripper to loosen the grip the mat has on the skin then combing it out is a way for cats to not hate being groomed because it doesn’t hurt.

Here is our girl relaxing after her session:

I wish that I could keep her indoors but as the session wore on- she made it quite clear that outside life is best for her. She will never be adopted- she sprays like a fire hose and always has. (Yes sometimes, females mostly those who got pregnant before they should will spray without it being a health issue)- but she will always be loved here.

Maybe I Should Just Surrender?

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of non-support and discrimination against cats and people who care about them in this area. I could make everyone of you weep if I shared with you some of the stories these cats will carry in their lives due to abuse, neglect or hatred of the species. But the discrimination doesn’t end there- it flows over to the people who give a damn about these stray and feral cats and ty to do something about the issue. All of my neighbors save one dislikes cats. We have had our cat enclosure broke into and the cat litter and cat food dumped on the ground mixed together. We had beds slashed, litter boxes upended as one demented person whose cats we rescued and rehomed miles away “searched for his precious cats”  seized after a meth raid. We have had fireworks intentionally thrown on our driveway, at the cat enclosure- we’ve had cats systematically killed and laid out on our lawn as a message to us. I don’t get it? We don’t hurt anyone, we just wish to coexist and allow these cats to have a life here without prejudice or future abuse.

Yesterday, they lifted the burn ban and in the afternoon when I got home after picking up only two bags of food- I started the pile. You could burn till 4:30 so at 3:00 I went out and started putting water on the pile. The pile was bigger than normal due to the tear down of some of the buildings as we remodeled. Our maintenance man who is no longer here was supposed to have burned down the pile to a manageable state, but again, he is no longer allowed to come here. Long Story- at any rate, I put 4 hours of water on the pile and it still wouldn’t go out. I asked Mike if I should call the fire department and he said no, it would burn out. But I knew I wasn’t going to sleep much last night because I would watch it and douse it when it flared up again. It took forever to get going and now it wasn’t going out.

At 10:30 our house was lit up by a Christmas tree- and the fire marshall is banging on my door.There’s a fire truck in the front driveway and I hustled into clothes and showed them the fire and told them all I had done to try and put it out. One of my cat-hating neighbors called them and even they said the fire posed no danger in spreading- but I asked them to please just put it out. Too many fires to take a chance- and again, it was a bigger than normal pile. So they did. They said I wasn’t in trouble but I was sobbing while they were talking to me. There is no way anyone on the road saw this fire the fence obstructed the view as well as outbuildings. It was a neighbor and sadly, I know who it was without even being told. And ironically, I have clashed with him in the past for burning all the time, even during burn bans. I never reported him but that didn’t matter- after all I am a crazy cat lady and I need to be “watched” or that’s what his wife said to me once during an encounter we had years ago.

So this morning, I wake up feeling embarrassed and foolish and relieved that no fines were issued. One of the firemen said when the call came in, they just kind of looked at each other and went “really?” But they came anyway engine in tow.

I told my friend when she called worried that she went past the house and saw all the emergency vehicles and the house lit like the fourth of July that maybe I should just put up my hands and surrender already? But in the next instance, the word that came out of both of our mouths simultaneously was “Never!” Which made both of us laugh and that finally dried my tears.

 

Food is Arriving

Thank you nameless ones 🙂 We have bags of cat food arriving almost daily and although some bear the buyer’s names, others do not. I cannot thank you enough for your generous spirit. Small boxes, big bags, it matters not- it all is going for the good of the cats here. I keep seeing new strays all the time and I am puzzled and figure they were just dropped here. The strangest part about it is all the new strays are orange or orange and white or calicos? Not a common color here usually. One gorgeous girl looks young and very pregnant. I am hoping to trap her fairly soon but so far, am only trapping the cats already fixed here. This little girl looks to be about 6 months old, she is long-hair and likes to peek out at me from under the deck or behind a tree. She is gorgeous though- hoping soon to be able to blog that we caught her.

 

Mike is not doing well. This morning I went and talked to his doctor (he has an appointment tomorrow afternoon) I have asked the doctor to either put Mike in the hospital or in Respite Care. As selfish as it sounds- I need a break. Also he is NOT doing well. He is barely eating, he sleeps almost all day and he is weak and has been re-diagnosed with MRSA. He also has another serious problem that would be TMI if I shared it. He needs to be in a hospital to get the best care. We will see how tomorrow goes after the idea is approached to him.

 

And it isn’t even Halloween Yet!

Yesterday, I had such a fright. Mike fell getting out of the shower and was unable to gain his footing (no pun intended) This man did not call out to me until he was on the floor for 15 minutes! I went in there and it looked like a mini murder scene. 🙁 I called 911 and four paramedics had to assist Mike back up his chair. They all strongly suggested he go to the hospital, but he refused. You know, sometimes I wonder why I even bother? If he doesn’t care about his health, then why should I? I’m sorry guess it sounds like I want to throw a pity party but it is so infuriating when he doesn’t take accountability for his condition and be proactive in trying to make it better.

The other day at the dog park, I happened to meet a lady who is the same age as my husband. She is the last known polio victim in the United States and she has not lost one leg- but both. Instead of crawling into the corner and letting it overtake her and yes, she weighs probably as much as Mike does- she is out and about- running her dogs in the park and has the brightest outlook on life. I told her that I wish Mike and her could meet and talk but he’s not interested (I asked him when I got home). It’s hard to watch someone you love just give up on himself. There’s not much I can do about it- had he knocked himself unconscious yesterday, he WOULD be in the hospital.

Kota alerted me to the fall- I think he smelled the blood and got anxious because Mike wasn’t making much noise at all. 🙁 Sorry to vent, but sometimes, I just feel like I am going to explode backward and fly out the door never to return whole again.