Tuesday, July 31, 2012

She's a Sweetheart

Cinder has adjusted to inside life well after spending the first 14 weeks of her life outside under a porch.  It's as if she has always been inside  And she just loves Annie Sparkles.  There are times when Cinder is like Annie's little black shadow.  And they play together so nicely, although they can be very noisey as they chase each other all over the house.

This morning I came downstairs to find toys everywhere. The yellow basket was nearly empty and I suspect Cinder was the one to pull them all out.

Cinder is still a little bit skittish, but I have been picking her up lots to help her feel more secure.  The one thing I have noticed is that everytime I do pick her up she brings her tail up between her legs.  I don't think I have ever seen this before but suspect it is just her.  She has only been inside with people for about two weeks and she is older than most kittens I have fostered.

One of the things I love about Cinder is how quickly she purrs whenever I pick her up.

Monday, July 30, 2012

I miss you already Valentine

In yesterday's post I told you about Valentine going back to the vet on Friday.   I spoke with the vet last night and the prognosis was not good.  They found a mass in her abdomin and while they cannot say for certain it is cancer, her care was now palliative.  This once plump kitty was down to barely 5 lbs.

View IMG_4572.JPG in slide show

This morning it took me hours to get up the courage to phone the vet to make an appointment for my last visit with my sweet Valentine.  My husband told me he did not want me to go alone, something about driving with tears in my eyes.

At 6:19 p.m. I kissed the top of sweet Valentine's head has she went over the Rainbow Bridge.  In the minutes leading up to her departure I got to do something I've never been able to do in the past, I was able to cradle her in my arms.  I held her and kissed her and talked to her and stroked her and scratched behind her ears.  I have been able to pet her and kiss her head for a long time but holding her was very special.

I miss you already, sweet Valentine.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

East Side Gang

There have been a few changes for the East Side Gang.  Miss Valentine has been the matriach of the colony since I started feeding this colony in very early 2003.  I met Valentine a few days before February 14th, hence the name.  She was very pregnant at the time. I contacted a cat rescue only to be told that Valentine could not be pregnant at that time of the year.  Well she was and she delivered 3 kittens that I know of.  I didn't see the kittens until early April, two black kittens and a little brown tabby who looked exactly like Valentine.  I was still very new at feeding and caring for a feral colony. 

The day Valentine brought her 3 babies out to meet me and show them where to get food was a wonderful spring day in early April with warm sunshine.  I stood mesmerized as I watched Valentine teach her babies to eat food from the bowls I put down for everyone.  It was a real treat for me.  Unfortunately the little baby tabby didn't show one day and I never saw her again.  However Jet and F.J. did and they grew into beautiful adult cats. When they were about about 5 or 6 months old I managed to trap them so they could go in to be spayed and neutered.

Jet crossed over the Rainbow Bridge in mid June 2009.  He had FIV as well as toxoplasmosis.  Because he had grown up with me around, catching him and getting him into the vet was relatively easy.  The blood tests revealed the cause of his weakening condition.  He was on meds until just a few days before he disappeared.  I last saw my Jet Boy on June 11, 2009.

I called Valentine and Jag the Plumpkin Sisters.

When I caught FJ to go in to be spayed, I didn't know if she was a boy or girl. FJ stood for Fluffy Jet because she is a long haired black cat and her brother Jet was a short haired black cat.  When I found out she was a little girl kitty I changed her name to Frances Jane but I still call her FJ.

Valentine got pregnant again in 2003 and in late July delivered 5 tiny babies behind a skid of rough lumber.  The kittens were discovered when they were about 2 or 3 days old by a lumberyard worker and thank goodness this man had a good heart.  Valentine and her babies were bundled up and spent the next 4 or 5 weeks in a vet's office.  When the kittens were old enough homes were found and Valentine was spayed, then returned to the colony.

Until recently Valentine has been a very healthy, somewhat plump girl.  During our  9 plus years together she has come to accept me along with a few other humans.  I don't remember when it happened but it has been quite a while that I have been able to pet Valentine and groom her. She was also one for rubbing against my legs while I got the food out for their meals. 

Now my dear Valentine is back at the vet.  This is her second time in 3 weeks.  Three weeks ago she spent a weekend in the vet then I returned her to the colony.  I expected to see some improvement as the days went on but after a few days of her eating very little I knew she couldn't stay outside.  I was able to catch her again and she went to live with a friend who knows all the kitties in my colony and she feeds for me if I am away.  Wednesday Valentine stopped eating.  I went to see her yesterday and she looked awful.  My beautiful full bodied girl was weak and losing weight, a lot of weight.  Back to the vet yesterday.

Valentine enjoying a warm spring day
Valentine is on IV fluids again and still not eating.  I am very worried about her.  The life of a feral cat is very hard at best.  The average life span is 2 to 3 years and the fact that Valentine is likely 11 or maybe even a little older defies the odds.  She has been fed daily since I met her.  In the winter she has had a warm and cozy sleeping shelter to get out of the bad weather so she can stay dry. 

If it is determined that she is not going to recover, I have left instructions that I must be with her when she goes over the Rainbow Bridge.  I need to kiss her sweet head and be with her.  She will not be alone.

This is a video of Valentine from spring 2011.  She loved to play with toys, especially if they smelled of catnip.  http://youtu.be/wKGLFHx_uvE

I love you sweet Valentine. Hug hug hug

Freedom for Cinder

Little Cinder arrived late Monday evening at our house.  I got her settled in the kitten cage and let her rest overnight.  Within a couple of days it was time to see how she behaved when given a little more space so she and I went into the bathroom.  She started playing with a toy almost immediately, which was a very good sign.  I wasn't sure if she would try to hide, not that the bathroom offers much in the way of hiding places.  Then Annie joined us and right away Annie began to lick Cinder. 

Last night we turned Cinder lose in the master bedroom, along with Annie and Boomie.  They had an absolute ball.  Cinder was so happy to be out of the kitten cage (I was happy for her as well) and she loved having some playmates.  When it came time to turn off the lights Annie and Boomie got booted out for the night to ensure we humans got a decent sleep. I'm not sure where Cinder slept but she was quiet.

This morning little Cinder had a vet visit to be wormed and when we returned home I turned her lose on the whole house.  She is loving the freedom and I am happy she is not isolated.  The kitten cage is perfect for wee kittens and it was ok for a few days for Cinder while she got used to us.

The next step was for Cinder and Teika to meet.  Teika is a dear little grumpy goose who dislikes all kitties and she is so-so with humans.  It wasn't long before we heard a growl and a hiss and knew that Teika had come downstairs.  She is all hiss and growl when she meets a new kitten - thankfully.  To do anything more would require too much effort on her part.  Cinder took off and Teika just sat on the step pleased that she made Cinder run.

Cinder has two sisters who are being fostered in another home.  They were caught a few weeks before Cinder and are ready to go to a forever home. Here's the link to Robin's blog about Nellie and Stella  www.cherrystreetcats.blogspot.ca

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cinder, Our Little Black Foster

Last night I met Cinder for the first time.  She is a dear little 14 week old (this is a best guess) black kitten that was removed from a feral colony last week.  She is quite friendly, once she gets in a half hearted hiss, which I think is more for effect and then she instantly purrs when touched.

On the drive from her first foster home to our house this dear little kitty cried the entire time but stopped as soon as we were parked in the driveway.  Guess she is not fond of car rides.

Once in the door, Boomer and Annie Sparkles came running to meet Cinder who was not too impressed with these two new faces staring at her through the carrier door.  Cinder hissed and did a little growl which sent Annie fleeing while Boomer sat there looking at her in wonder.

I got Cinder settled in her new temporary digs, the kitten cage.  She ate the food I gave her and aside from the occasional hiss every time I go into the room, she appeares to be quite relaxed.

This afternoon Cinder got to meet Annie again and she was very unsure but Annie was very quiet and calm and then Cinder seemed to relax.  I am still amazed at how good Annie is with new kittens.

And, of course, since Cinder arrived she has been given many kisses on the top of her little head. If a kitty lives in this house, even when it is temporary, they get oodles of kisses between their ears.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pixie and Bear Update

Pixie and Bear went to their new forever home two weeks ago today.  They went to live with Spencer who is one of the techs at my vet's office.  When I stopped in at the vet this afternoon I learned that Pixie is now called Miko and little Bear has been renamed Loki.  These two sweeties have adapted very well to their new surroundings, judging from the photos I got to see.  I have been promised that I will get photos soon.  I hope so, or as I mentioned to Spencer, I will come and take the kittens back. Ha ha ha.

I have no doubt that these two kittens have found the perfect forever home with Spencer and his girlfriend.

I am now awaiting the arrival of another kitten, Cinder.  She is a little 14 week old (best guess) black baby who needs to be socialized so she can then move on to her forever home in a short time.  Can't wait to meet her and post a picture or two.

I will also post pictures of Miko and Loki when they arrive.

Friday, July 13, 2012

My Sweet Valentine - Part 2

Valentine spent last weekend at the vet's office getting IV fluids. I really hadn't expected she would be staying for any length of time however she was really dehydrated and it turns out she is really anemic too. Blood tests ruled out FIV (yay!), FIP (yay!) and she is not hyperthyroid (yay!). In fact after my chat Sunday with the vet, they are not sure what the problem is, however it is possible that because she was a walking flea factory this could be the cause of the anemia. She has been given a flea treatment as well as an antibiotic shot.

Valentine May 2012

What I found interesting about Valentine is that during her entire stay she has been very easy to handle. The vets and staff have not had any problem examining her and she appears to be quite relaxed. For a feral, I think that's pretty good. I can pet Valentine, I groom her and I love to plant kisses on the top of her sweet head, but I didn't think she would be so good for others.

I picked Valentine up from the vet's office late Monday afternoon and returned her to her colony. She was very quiet in the carrier until we got out of the car. She recognized the smell of her home and wanted out - NOW.

By Wednesday I was getting concerned about her. She was eating so little at each feeding and I didn't see her drink anything either. I was going twice a day because I wanted to get as much food into her as possible. I was afraid she was going to become dehydrated again because it has been quite hot and getting hotter.

I made arrangements with a friend who is going to care for Valentine while she gains strength. She will be away from her colony but she can be monitored more closely and if necessary can be taken back to the vet.

This morning I was able to catch Valentine quite easily and she hardly put up any kind of a fuss when I picked her up and eased her into the up ended carrier - a sign that she just doesn't have the strength to fight. I'm not sure how long she will be in recovery but we are going to take good care of her and hope she returns to her colony before too long.

I love my sweet Valentine and want to do whatever I can to help her.

Friday, July 6, 2012

My Sweet Valentine

I have a feral colony, well two colonies actually. One location has 3 kitties and the other has 6 kitties. 

Valentine is the kitty I consider the matriach of the East Side Gang.  She is the one who appears to rule the other five kitties with a firm but loving paw.  I started to notice that she was not eating with her usual gusto.  Valentine is always there for food when I arrive. Always. Over the past 9.5 years she has become a more loving and trusting cat where humans are concerned.  I can kiss the top of her sweet head and I can groom her.  She is always rubbing against my legs.  She started off suspicious of me back in 2003 when we first met a couple days before Valentine's Day and now she is one of the sweeter more trusting kitties in the colony.

I noticed that there was a problem about 6 weeks ago.  She seemed to not be eating quite as well as before.  Valentine was not one to miss a meal.  She and her friend Jag are known as the Plumpkin Sisters.  They both had a little more girth to them than one would expect of a "feral" cat.

Initially I wondered about a dental issue.  Maybe she was having problems with her teeth which was the reason she seemed to be eating less.  Then about 4 weeks ago she seemed to be ok but that didn't last long.  I began to wonder if she had some kind of infection because her eyes were really runny but that can also indicate a dental issue.  Over the next 5 or 6 days I was able to get an antibiotic into her by placing it in a wee bit of food.  Then she stopped eating much of what I was giving her, including the pill.

Last Saturday I petted her, the full length of her body - usually I give her lots of head scritches behind the ears.  O M G.  She had lost an incredible amount of weight.  I could feel every bone in her spine and her hip bones.  Looking at her I couldn't really tell but touching her left no doubt. She had lost weight.

Today I planned to get her into a cat carrier and into the vet.  I spoke with the vet a few days ago about bringing her in for a check up.  The thing about feral cats is that if an appointment is made one cannot guarantee to keep that appointment.  I have cancelled many appointments in the past.  Thankfully any vet I have dealt with has been very understanding about last minute cancellations.

I arrived this morning with food and water and a cat carrier, along with my husband's motorcycle gloves which go up my arms half way to my elbows.  Those gloves have come in handy over the years when dealing with feral cats and kittens.  The East Side Gang is very trusting of me and the fact I had a large cat carrier didn't seem to phase them in the least.  Within minutes of arriving to feed the six kitties, I was able to pick up Valentine and plunk her into the up ended cat carrier and close the door.  She didn't even make a fuss.

On the drive to the vet clinic, which was about 20 minutes away, Valentine managed to get her front right claw caught on the door of the carrier.  Every red light  I tried to unhook it without success. I finally found a spot to pull over so I could help her get unhooked.  Once that was taken care of she was very quiet in the carrier.  The entire drive I was concerned about what we would find out.  Did Valentine have FIV.  Would I have to make a decision on my own about her future or lack of a future.  I was prepared for the worst.

Valentine and I sat in the waiting room for an hour.  Valentine was very calm and for the first time in the 9.5 years I have known this beautiful tabby I heard her meow.  She didn't meow very much, just 5 or 6 words and she was quiet again.  The vet said he suspected two possibilities, FIV or hyperthyroid and he didn't see anything wrong with her teeth.  A blood test revealed she is not FIV positive.  What a relief.  It also revealed she does not have a thyroid issue.  However, the vet said he wants to keep her overnight and would send the blood test off for further analysis because he still suspects a thyroid problem.  I am to phone the clinic in the morning by which time they should have an answer.

If Valentine is hyperthyroid, well, we will just have to medicate her daily.  I did it for over 12 years with my dear little CiCi and I will do it for sweet Valentine.  At least I will give it the old college try.  In the mean time Valentine is overnighting at the vet's office in air conditioned comfort.  How fortunate for her on this recording breaking heat wave day. 

I love my Valentine and all my feral kitties.  We are thinking positive thoughts.

Good News! Bad News! ! Great News! ! !

What a week! 

Pixie and Bear, my two sweet foster kittens found a home together and left with their new mom this past Monday.  I provided all their medical records, food, toys and treats plus written information about the kittens such as where they came from, their birthday (which is always a best guess) and any other fun tid bits of info that I hope their new family will appreciate knowing. I like as much information as possible when we welcome a new kitty into our family and assume others do as well.

We were sad to see Pixie Chick and Bear Boy go but full of hope for their future together with their new mom.  Yesterday I arrived home mid afternoon to a message from their new mom.  She no longer wanted the kittens.  Gasp!  I will not tell you what she planned to do but it was drastic. Three hours later, Pixie and Bear were in my lap purring up a storm on the drive home - I should mention my husband was doing the driving.

The search was on again to find the truly perfect home for these two adorable babies.  In the meantime, Annie and Boomie seemed very happy that their little buddies were home.  Annie played with them for hours last night.  The three of them raced up the stairs, down the stairs, over the living room furniture, under the dining room table, up the stairs, over the beds. How is that 3 little kitties can sound like a herd of 15 elephants.  OMG but they were having a faboo time.

They stopped briefly allowing me to take this picture
Neither Pixie or Bear has said anything about their 72 hours away but I wonder how I could have made such a horrible mistake, which could have been made even more horrible had this woman not called me with her plans for MY sweet babies.

This morning my friend, Robin, was doing a poster blitz at various vet offices and pet supply stores placing posters for some other kittens looking for homes.  She  also had a poster for Bear Boy and Pixie Chick.

One of Robin's stops today was at the vet clinic we both go to with our own cats.  Turns out that one of the vet tech's at the clinic and his girlfriend had wanted to adopt Pixie but by the time they made it known the kittens had been adopted.  They were very disappointed.  When Robin dropped off the poster about Pixie and Bear being available again Spencer made his move. 

I was out most of today and Spencer had left me a couple of messages at home saying he wanted to adopt both kittens. He wasn't going to waste a moment and lose out a second time. As it turned out, I had to stop at the clinic on an unrelated matter.  When I walked in the door Ashley, another vet tech, had a big smile on her face and told me she had some good news.  Just then Spencer came around the corner.  When I was told that Spencer wanted to adopted both Pixie and Bear, I threw my arms around him and gave him a big hug. 

We have Pixie and Bear until Monday afternoon.  Spencer is coming over when he finishes work and my two babies will be off to their new forever home. And the really nice thing for me is that I know I will get to hear how my babies are doing when I am at the clinic with Boomer, Annie and Teika.  And I know my babies will get the proper medical care they need, they will get their vaccinations when necessary and will be spayed and neutered.  Funny how things work out sometimes.

Twenty-four hours ago I was rescuing my little babies and bringing them home.  Now I am doing a happy dance knowing this home is the right home.  Yay Spencer and thank you.  Hug hug hug.