Friday, January 23, 2015

New Normal???

Well it is certainly feels different when I feed my remaining ferals.

Jazz is the only one left of the Logan Gang and he is quite feral.  He has become more feral over the past four or five years to the point he keeps his distance.  I have discovered he only comes out to eat at the end of the afternoon.  I still leave food in the morning, just in case he comes early but it is still there when I return before dusk.  If Jazz is in the shelter eating when I drive up I just keep going.  I learned a while ago that if I stop and just sit in the car Jazz will run and he doesn't return.  I have adjusted my feeding schedule to arrive by 4 pm, leave fresh canned food and fresh water.  Jazz will show up within the hour most of the time.  


The East Side Gang has dwindled down to two kitties, Spirit and Ollie.  I am happy they always come out to eat while I'm there.  I can't pet either of them and after 12 years I double I ever will.  I am thankful both appear in good health, have thick furry coats and they use their winter sleeping shelters.  They eat well at both the a.m. and p.m. feeding.

I miss being able to interact with any of the kitties now.  I loved that Doodle would rub against my legs, Valentine (Rainbow Bridge July 2012) would stand between my feet purring, FJ (Rainbow Bridge January 2013) and her brother Jet (Rainbow Bridge June 2011) loved to be groomed.  I loved that these dear kitties learned to trust me and I loved loving them.


Spirit, Jag, FJ, Ollie and Doodle

Spirit, FJ, Jag and Ollie

My mission was always to care for all these kitties until the end of their lives but that always seemed so far in the future.  Guess the future arrived, I just wasn't ready.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jag my beautiful black kitty


Today I had to help Jaggy cross the Rainbow Bridge.  She had cancer and was in pain so from that point of view the decision was easy.  What made it difficult is that earlier today she seemed so bright and responsive to me.

Three weeks ago I was able to catch Jaggy so that I could bring her home but not before going to the vet.  I was told that the problem could be an abscess or a tumor.  Of course I hoped it was an abscess.  It made more sense to me that it would be an abscess.


A week later Jag and I returned to the vet but there really hadn't been any improvement.  Her left eye was still swollen almost shut, she had an abrasion above her eye and there was yucky stuff in her left ear.  A swab was taken to see if we needed to put her on a stronger antibiotic.

This past Sunday I felt she was not doing well.  I called the vet Monday and because I wanted Jag to see the same vet who had been caring for her I had to wait until today.  It was decided to see if the new lump below her ear was an abscess.  I left Jag with the vet to do what he needed to do and returned a few hours later.

I learned that Jag's orbital bone had disintegrated and that her TMJ was fused so that opening her mouth, even under sedation, was not happening.  I asked if this was causing her pain and when the vet said yes I couldn't allow her to suffer further.  The vet was amazed she was able to eat at all but she did.

Jag and Ollie

In the past two weeks Jag's appetite was unbelievable. She ate so much food and as long as she was eating I thought she was doing well.  That she might get better.  She had even gained weight.  Every time I went into my guest room to spend time with Jaggy she purred.  She started purring immediately upon being touched. 

I'm so sorry Jaggy that you had to be so sick but I'm grateful for the past three weeks we got to spend so much time together.  I am also grateful that I got to give you a warm home to spend your last few weeks.  You were so loved for all 12 years that I cared for you.  I miss you very much sweetie.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

My Dear Sweet Doodle Noodle

Last week when I renovated Doodle's winter sleeping shelter I had no idea that a few days later it would no longer be needed.

Friday I went to feed the East Side Gang with the intent of trying to get Doodle into the carrier so I could bring him home.  He wasn't eating.  This wasn't unusual because he was often a poor eater during the winter months.

Last night he went into respiratory distress.  The vet examined him and we talked but ultimately I decided to help Doodle over the Rainbow Bridge.  Doodle's future didn't look promising and the vet said he might not survive the night.

Doodle was my favourite "feral". He and FJ (she died in January 2013) were the sweetest little cats and I loved them so much because they let me kiss them and hug them and groom them.  They came to greet me when I arrived with food.  They loved the attention and both were so affectionate.

This morning when I feed the East Side Gang, now consisting of two remaining kitties, I know I am going to break down.  Seeing Doodle's empty shelter is going to be difficult to look at.

I love you so much Doodle Noodle.  You were a very special little cat.

Doodle checking out his new digs last Monday

Enjoying a little summer sun
July 2014

Summer snoose

The new winter sleeping shelter for Doodle, Jag
and Ollie

Doodle and Jag November 2014

Doodle loved to be loved
Note the wee bit of food on lower lip

Enjoying warm Snuggle Safes

Doodle made a bed from the leftover straw
used to the sleeping shelters

A special dinner for my special buddy


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dear Doodle

Doodle is the sweetest little feral kitty.  He isn't really feral because he's such a love bug loving every scratch behind the ears and kiss on the top of his little grey head.  He is probably my fave outside kitty, but mostly because he is so friendly with me.  The sad thing is Doodle doesn't do well in the winter when it is as bitterly cold as it has been over the past 10/12 days.  He doesn't get the extra thick fur that the other kitties get and he is thin.


Winter sleeping shelters were completed months ago but somehow Doodle has turned one of the feeding shelters into his sleeping and eating shelter.  The shelter has evolved.  Sunday I took an unused feeding shelter home and after a quick trip to a home improvement store for supplies I spent Monday completely insulating the shelter for Doodle.  The pink styrofoam insulation has made it much warmer. 

Then the shelter was wrapped in two layers of tarp to keep the wind from blowing in through any cracks.  Inside along with the insulation material there is fresh straw bedding plus the snuggle safe discs.  It isn't perfect but I hope this will help Doodle get through the coldest days and nights that still lay ahead.
Feeding shelter now Doodle's
sleeping shelter

When I feed in the mornings I have been taking 3 heated snuggle safes to put inside Doodle's shelter.  When it is particularly cold I will go back in the middle of the day to bring him 3 more heated snuggle safes.  Tuesday was one of those days.  Then about 4:30/5:00 I returned with dinner for everyone and 4 heated snuggle safes for Doodle's shelter for overnight.

Doodle snuggled up beside me

My snuggle buddy

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Too many raccoons

It was pouring rain this morning when I left home to drive down to feed my feral kitties and I got quite wet but making sure the kitties have food is more important than being dry.

My beautiful, dainty Ollie came out and she was wet!  The sleeping shelters are dry but she came from the space behind the feeding shelters.  She has used this spot before but on a rainy day like today, it made me wonder why she was there and not inside the warmer, dry sleeping shelter.

Overhead I heard a noise and looked up to see a raccoon making his way down the tree.  Yikes!  Well that meant I wasn't able to leave breakfast for the kitties and I had a commitment to get to.  I packed up all the food and left.  I returned a couple hours later so that everyone could finish breakfast.

After everyone was fed, I pulled the feeding shelters apart to look at the small space behind that Ollie had been using.  It was wet.  After adding some dry straw for bedding I spread a tarp over the shelters along with the little space that Ollie was tucking herself into.  Now if she feels the to need to go in there she'll be dry and out of the wind.

As I was packing up to leave a raccoon came out of the sleeping shelter.  Arghhhhhhhhh.

A few minutes later two more raccoons came out of the shelters!  They wandered around looking for food and finding none they climbed a tree to the roof of a shed.  I was glad they didn't go back into the sleeping shelter.

Later as the sun was setting I returned to feed the kitties their dinner.  They all ate and returned to their individual sleeping shelters.  Just as I was about to leave the raccoon returned looking for food, but I had packed up all the leftovers.

I don't usually see the raccoons at this time of year during daylight hours but they certainly made themselves visible today.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Jag - The Ups and Downs

For some reason I feel like Jag has been with us for much longer than 72 hours.  She has been a model patient.  She comes out of her heated carrier every time I go to see her.  She has allowed me to wash her eye with warm water, purring the whole time.  I applied a topical solution to the raw wound on her head, which I believe she caused by scratching, and she was very accepting of my help.

My biggest concern aside from the serious infection, is her eating and drinking.  Yesterday she ate very little and I was thinking sad thoughts about The Bridge, but I wasn't ready to give up.  Last night I struck upon the thought to weigh the bowls of food before I gave them to her.  This way I could get a more accurate idea of her consumption.

When I went to see her early this morning I was pleased to see she had eaten some of the food left overnight - 35 grams worth.  Not enough to sustain her but she ate.  While fixing her breakfast I decided to try pouring just the water from the canned (people) tuna in with a little wet cat food to make a slurry.  It worked. She ate.  
Jag ate!

In the past 7 hours she has eaten just over 100 grams of slurry.  Almost half of that was what I call a "tuna shake". I threw a can of tuna in the blender with water and when I took a bowl to Jag she went right to it.  I'm now more encouraged.  

I have special feline vitamins from the vet that I mixed in with the tuna shake because I know she is not going to get all the minerals and vitamins she requires.  Next meal I will add a little wet cat food with the tuna shake and if she continues to eat she will have a much better chance at recovery.  She cannot return to the colony until she is 100%.

Next meal is in two hours and I will try adding a little bit of wet cat food to Jag's tuna shake.  

Nom nom nom

Friday, January 2, 2015

Sun Shelters for My Feral Kitties

Last November Mike helped me to make two sun shelters.  These are wooden shelters with an acrylic roof.  The interior is painted black and filled with straw.  My theory is that when the sun is shining it will warm up the interior providing the cats with a little relief from the cold. The entrance holes were cut in the side facing away from the wind, which usually comes from the north or west.

Sun shelter almost finished.  Just need to
put the acrylic roof in place

Two sun shelters in place

Doodle has used them a few times that I know about but tonight I watched Ollie go in after she ate her dinner.  Guess it was still a little warm from the sun today.

Ollie in the shelter

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Jag - Day 2

Jag spent a cozy night in her heated carrier. This morning she was very good about eating the tablespoon of food with her antibiotic, but less than interested in the rest of her food.  She purrs up a storm everytime I touch her and I planted another bunch of kisses on top of her sweet head.

When I look back to 12 years ago when I first met Jag she was not friendly.  She hissed at me daily and kept her distance.  This went on for a couple of years then slowly she changed into a sweet kitty who loved to be groomed.  I'm not sure when it happened but I'm glad it did.  

It may be New Years Day but there is no sleeping in, the rest of the kitties in the colony needed their brekky.  The Logan Gang is no longer a Gang but one lone black kitty named Jazz.  I seldom see him but the food gets eaten so I hope he is the one eating.  I did see him two days ago coming from the sleeping shelters and he looks good.

The East Side Gang consists of three kitties, until Jag is well enough to return.  Spirit is always on the lookout for breakfast.  I meet him on the path, then he turns around meowing all the way back to the shelters.  Doodle and Ollie pop out of their shelters as soon as they hear my voice calling them.

Here they are having New Years Day breakfast