Thursday, December 18, 2008

Zoe Update!

So, Miss Zoe-kins, or Zo-Zo, or what-have-you, saw her Permanent Vet for the first time today. Apparently she behaved wonderfully, was quiet in her carrier, and everything (even though she was accompanied by a shaking doggie, and a howling kitty.) She got a micro-chip and a clean bill of health.

A completely clean bill of health.

Yes, that's right-- her snap test for FIV/FeLeuk came back NEGATIVE.

Happy dance! All three foster kitties from this summer are now officially negative for those evil diseases. This is wooooonderful news! :D

Saturday, December 6, 2008

To the Vet and Back

So this afternoon AZMom, Gandolf and I piled into my car and went to see the vet.

Gandolf is not a big boy-- he should be an average sized male cat, but right now he is 5.56 pounds, all skin, bones and rounded tummy (as he's been eating well, thanks to AZMom.) But after last time, when one of the Vet Techs got 'attacked', everyone was taking no chances. Ooooh, fierce tiger!

But really, he was just a nervous cuddle-bug today. He curled up in AZMom's arms, and was fine with getting put on the scale. When it came time for his temperature, the vet tech had both of us hold him, but Gandolf barely made a noise. A different vet tech and AZMom held him while the vet took a urine sample (directly from the bladder-- I imagine that in most cases it's rather hard to get a cat to pee in a cup...)

The urine sample, however, did confirm diabetes, although not actually a terrible case, it seems. The vet showed us how to give Gandolf his insulin, which meant he was stabbed several times (twice with water, to show us how to do it (I did one of those), once with actual insulin to start his treatment.)

Then he was stabbed many many times because they wanted to give him sub-cutaneous fluids-- but he was so dehydrated, and so skinny that the vet tech kept stabbing right through his skin so that she'd start giving him fluids and it would just drizzle onto the table. After several tries, during which Gandolf didn't once so much as complain, she got it in-- but even then the poor baby boy was a bit leaky from where he'd been stabbed before. We joked, sadly, that he was a pincushion and a leaky balloon. But he was also a very good and calm boy.

He let me hold him, too! He really loves AZMom, but he was fine with huddling in my arms for a bit.

Since his white blood cell count was up (but no fever), he's also being put on antibiotics, but thankfully those can be crushed and put in his food.

The vet gave us a little biohazard container to dispose of the sharps, heh. Sorry, the idea of my very own biohazard container makes me giggle. (It's not, of course, mine. AZMom is the saint who is taking care of Gandolf most of the time. But it still makes me giggle a little.)

Anyway, Gandolf starts his twice daily insulin injections tomorrow (he had one this afternoon), and I know how to do it now so if/when AZMom goes out of town I can help. He's also going to have his very own litter box so that his urine out-flow can be monitored. If we get him feeling better, he should be putting on weight-- the vet said she'd expect him to weight 7 or 8 pounds in a few months.

The downside is, of course, that this is long term care. If you'd like to help take with purchases of insulin and needles, as always, your donation is much appreciated.

I see mto have misplaced my camera, but when I find it, now that my life isn't quite so stressful (this was the most stressful semester ever), I'll go out and about and try to find Mr Gandolf for a picture or two.

The other kitties are eating and hanging out and seem to be doing pretty well. The only other cat I'm currently worried about is Agatha (Little Crooked)-- she can only carry her head tilted to one side. The gossip grapevine via DNL is that someone tried to strangle Agatha, but a) I don't trust anything DNL says b) I doubt anyone could have gotten that close to her and c) I don't think that's the damage that would have been left.

Agatha eats and runs and suns herself and such, but she does it all with her head tilted at a 45 degree angle. So, I worry. :(

But, let's focus on Gandolf, and how well he did today. At the end, the vet reconsidered his last visit, wondering how the vet tech could possibly have gotten bit. She asked if she'd reached for him in his box (yes) and said that a bit of employee reeducation was necessary! So, Gandolf was vindicated!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gandolf Update!

So, you might be thinking, what is the deal with Gandolf? And you'd be right to think that.

I actually heard from the vet first thing on Friday morning, but didn't want to post here until I'd talk to AZMom. Now I feel I can update you all on the situation.

First, the good news-- he is negative for FIV and FeLV. Hurrah! Happy dance!

The bad news-- he is probably diabetic. (The probably is because apparently sugar levels can spike when cats are nervous. But the vet is pretty sure.) So he'll need insulin injections every day. She thinks we can get away with just one injection a day (normally you'd go with two, but given that he's semi-feral and outdoors, that would be even harder.)

As I said, I just spoke with AZMom, and apparently she has had some experience with treating a diabetic cat in the past, so she already knows how to inject him, etc. So I'll call the vet tomorrow and find out whatever we still need to find out in order to start treating him.

Apparently, though, Gandolf suffered no ill effects that we know of from his recent trip to the vet. He's still cuddly and loving, and calmly waited with AZMom 'til he was un-groggy enough to go back outside.

It's really hard to find a family for a kitten. It's 10-times as hard to find a family for an adult cat. The odds of finding a family for a semi-feral diabetic orange tabby... I don't even want to contemplate them. But he's really loving, with the people who feed him (as opposed to the people who jab at him) and would, actually, make a really sweet and loving companion. So if you know of anyone who wants beautiful, skinny, needs-help tabby cat...

But of course AZMom and I will keep doing the best we can for him. (Really, AZMom gets all the credit for Mr Gandolf's care so far!!)

Please keep him in your thoughts, too, as we start to treat him. He can't be feeling too good just now, or, really, for a while now. We'll do the best we can.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Quick Gandolf Update

I have picked up the skinny kitty from the vet, who will call me tomorrow with the test results. His physical exam seems to have gone pretty much fine-- he got normal on:
Coat & Skin
Nose & Throat
Central Nervous System

He was abnormal in Mouth/Teeth/Gums, being listed as having tartar and gingivitis. This is probably not surprising. And I don't think, since nothing else under "mouth" was circled, that this is enough for him to be not eating dry food and therefore losing weight. I will ask about this tomorrow on the phone, though, to be sure.

The only other "abnormal" was Musculoskeletal, which, yeah, we knew. He's Skeletal-Cat.

The vet also wrote, "Gandolf has (I suspect an old) injury to the right hip." I'm not entirely sure what that means, but, since he is not having to hunt his food (given that we feed him), I also don't think that that is the cause of his skinniness. (Although it doesn't help his overall well-being, obviously.)

Also, unsurprisingly, she found flea dirt. (Of course she did.) I would expect nothing less from a stray/semi-feral.

Gandolf is currently still in the carrier, on my porch. The vet tech who brought him to me suggested that he not be released immediately, especially since they couldn't get him to drink any water. AZMom is, wonderfully, willing to take him in for a few hours when she gets home, so we're hanging out waiting for that. They just want him observed for a few hours before he's released, to make sure he's safe from the anesthesia. (EDIT: We're off to AZMom's now.)

So, keep those fingers crossed that whatever's wrong is treatable and that we can help Gandolf. I will report again tomorrow afternoon, once I've heard something from the vet.

Gandolf: 1 Vet Tech: 0

My wonderful Neighbor (AZMom) already had Gandolf safely bundled into a carrier when I arrived at her place. He was lying down in it, calm but shaking. He stayed that way, slightly curious, mostly calm, definitely scared, all the way to vet and into the exam room. I opened up the carrier while waiting for a vet tech, but he remained within it.

The tech came in, and I explained the situation-- that he's semi-feral, part of the colony, that my neighbor has no trouble with him (he cuddles with AZMom and purrs). The tech reached into the box and got hissed and swiped at. I don't know if he bit her or scratched her (it looked like scratched, but given her reaction she at least thought it was teeth), so she grumbled and gretzed and left, saying she had to go wash her hands for 10 minutes as it is policy.

I started taking apart the carrier, and as I did so, Gandolf calmly ambled out of it and started sniffing around. After a moment's hesitation, he jumped to the ground.

Another tech came in, and he started trying to get away by jumping back up to the table, which was just too high for him. He settled for flattening himself on the ground. I explained the situation to the second tech, who immediately left. I could hear her conversation (involving fun band-aids, and Gandolf) with the first vet tech (through the door) who was, indeed, washing her hands for at least a good 5 minutes, if not 10.

I waited with Gandolf. He wandered around, tried to get back into the carrier (which I had closed), sniffed a bit, then settled into a kitty loaf on the floor. I sat a few feet away, also on the floor, trying to be welcoming, supportive and non-threatening.

The vet came in, and calmly stepped around Gandolf who just stayed in his kitty loaf. She also heard the story, took a note or two, then decided that the best way for all involved was to anesthetize Gandolf for an exam and blood draw. She left and returned with an estimate (oh, kitties, why must you all find new and exciting ways to cost me so much money?? anesthetizing a kitty, as it turns out, rather expensive. They are giving me a 20% Good Samaritan discount, which is nice, and new for that matter. Which saved me quite a lot of money. But that just speaks to how expensive it is to begin with, eh?) And then she and another vet tech (#3) herded Gandolf into a clear box (using a towel.) There was no trouble with that last part.

So he is still at the vet and they will be calling me. We won't have the results of the blood test 'til tomorrow, but I'll get a preliminary report today, from the physical examination. They decided to run a comprehensive panel on the blood test, feeling that that way was less expensive than piece-mealing things together, and I'm all right with that. (The blood test wasn't the expensive part anyway.)

I queried as to how safe the anesthesia was, given that we don't know what's wrong with him, and the vet understood my concerns, and admitted some small risk, but also that it's very safe, easily and quickly reversible, and far less stress for Gandolf as they examine him. So he'll get a physical examination while asleep (I hope they look at his teeth-- I worry that that's the answer, given the situation with Bozo over the summer. Gandolf eats wet food-- maybe he can't eat the dry.) She'll treat anything she finds physical. She'll draw blood and send it to the lab.

So, I'll hear something today (and pick him up today, too, barring unforeseen circumstances) and we'll get test results tomorrow.

Fingers crossed, please. He's a sweet boy (when he's not attacking presumptuous vet techs).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Plan

Quick heads up, in case you're stopping by to check in on Gandolf. He is apparently turning into a love-bug, wanting snuggles from AZMom, so we aren't too worried about getting him to the vet. She also reports that he's filling out a bit, which is great news. The vet appointment is made for 8:30am Thursday, so keep your fingers crossed for him, that he's just malnourished, or has something easily treatable.

And until then, enjoy this picture of Beatrice, finally sans cone-collar:

Her mom reports that as soon as she got the collar off, in typical Beatrice fashion, she promptly bit her mom on the arm, then ran around the house a few times.

Her belly, which you can kinda see in this picture, looks normal. Hurrah!

Monday, November 17, 2008

No news, have some pictures...

I spoke with my Neighbor yesterday. She has progressed to the point where she's sure she can pick up Gandolf, so I'm going to call the vet for an appointment today. (That's call today, appointment for tomorrow or Thursday.) Apparently Gandolf is now willing to be patient to get his food, which I think is a good sign. Also, she says his belly is slightly less concave now. So, we're hopeful. All right, all right, mostly I'm scared, but you know what I mean. I will, of course, keep you updated.But since that's not really news, I will give you PICTURES. I think Mal's dad was jealous of the attention Zoe got in the last post, because last night I suddenly had these in my inbox. The kitty with Malcolm is his brother, Fritz. They look startled, don't they? And look! Mal is big enough to *almost* fill a drawer!And lastly, but definitely not leastly, a major sooper hyooge thank you to everyone who has donated (ever, but especially recently) in order to help pay for Gandolf's upcoming vet bills. This poor graduate student (do you have any idea how little they pay us for how much work we do?) really really appreciates it, especially since I know that times are hard for everyone and no one just has a few extra dollars to burn. I sincerely, greatly appreciate it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Zoe pix!!!

Imagine my delight upon opening my email today and finding these two pictures from V! My little fuzzy baby has gotten bigger, and she looks so happy and healthy!

Oh! And apparently she and Wembley (the family's large dog) are now playing with each other! And she's busily investigating the pet bird-- Zoe apparently seems very disgruntled that there is a bird living in her house!

I'm so happy that this little baby is so happy!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gandolf Needs Your Help

So... Remember me saying that DNL kept pulling me aside to show me how skinny Gandolf is? (Not that she calls him Gandolf, but you know what I mean.) Well, I hadn't seen him in a few days, but it turns out that's because he's been hanging out one block of buildings down, where my neighbor (the one who called me about Bozo/Waffles)) lives, and is feeding him wet food. She called to ask about him (She thought at first it was Walsingham.) I said that I knew about his plight but couldn't get anywhere near him. She said she'd keep an eye on him and keep me up to date.

Tonight she's called to say that while he's still skittish, he comes up to her and lets her pet him. (This was a message she left.) This means that he's friendly enough to go to the vet and get checked out. I'm ... really quite nervous about this, knowing that both FIV and FeLV run in the colony, and if the vets test him for those and he has either then the only real answer is to put him to sleep, which sucks. But there's no way to treat a cat who is semi-feral, and I certainly can't bring him in with my cats, or ask my neighbor to do that with her cats. (She had to put James to sleep a bit ago, because his kidneys had failed, but she still has two others.)

But, it's even more unfair to not take him to a vet if we can, especially if the answer is something treatable like worms. (That's a best case scenario, of course, but that's a single pill and poof, he'd be better in a few days.) He's eating, eating constantly in fact, and the neighbor says he's getting a bit of a belly.

Anyway, looks like there's a vet trip in the future, and where there's a vet trip, there's a vet bill. I know times are tight for everyone but feel free to hit the donation button on the left if you have a few extra dollars. Or take a look at my Etsy site, should you be in the market for handspun yarn.
(pictures are from earlier-- I don't have more recent ones, unfortunately.)

EDIT TO ADD: Just talked to the Neighbor. He lets her pet him when he's eating, but is still, understandably skittish. The plan is that she'll keep feeding him through the weekend (and being there with him and getting him used to her/people.) Then we'll chat again on Sunday to see 1) how he's doing and 2) make a plan for taking him to the vet (she doesn't drive, so that's on me.) It could be that he just doesn't know how to survive out there, that he was obviously a family pet and dropped off, but since he's been eating a lot-- here and at the Neighbor's, I fear it's something more than that. So, even if you can't donate to defray the vet cost, please keep Gandolf (or Skinny Kitty, as the Neighbor calls him!) in your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kitty Toys for a Good Cause

I have never seen cats clamor for toys the way they do for Madame Morgana's Sovereign Catnip Mice. I know a lot of cats-- my own, my friends', random strangers', and none of them have disliked these mice, and all of them have gone bananas for them. Seriously, it's the most fun a cat can have-- and they're a heck of a lot of fun for the humans watching, too!

So why am I mentioning them here? Well, not only are they awesome, but Lizbet is having a special on them-- 5 for the price of 4, and free shipping!! It doesn't get any better than that.

But wait! There's more! Not only do you receive the most amazing catnip mice known to mankind-- a perfect (purrfect?) holiday gift for anyone with a cat, but! 20% of the sales goes to non-kill cat shelters! It does *not* get any better than this!

To see the current offer and how to order, go here.

For more information in general, go here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Good News for Beatrice!

Miss Bea still looks pretty pathetic in the above picture, but there's actually quite a lot of good news about the widdle fuzzy. Her mom called me yesterday to tell me how good her wound is looking (which is to say, how healed.) So that's the immediate good news. (Especially for her mom because, as you can see in the picture, they had to put her in a hard plastic cone in order to keep her from licking, which meant a lot of middle-of-the-night bumps in the face by a certain kitten seeking attention.)

The even better news? While at the vet having her wound looked at, Miss Bea also got her snap test for Feline Leukemia-- and it came back NEGATIVE. Wooot!!! Hurrah!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Poor widdle Baby B

Poor little Beatrice's tummy is still all red and oozy. She seemed to have basically managed to pull all of her stitches out (before they went to the vet yesterday) her mom reported. She's still acting her normal-Beatrice self, but now she has to wear the dreaded collar.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Ferals

Police at my door yesterday (this time they were the ones stealing my license plate) necessitated that I get up far earlier than I wanted to on a Saturday, but it did mean that when I looked outside from my balcony I discovered Walsingham (the pictures were all blurry of him, though) and Agatha hanging out in the shade.

Then, later in the day, Little Grey And Amaranth posed for a few shots. The cooler weather has been helping me to spy more kitties.

Later still, at a grocery store 2 blocks away, I spied this little guy. He's definitely not tame (he ran from me.) I had stopped, thinking it might be Gremlin, but he's definitely not. He's pretty young looking, too. He seems to be living under the building before which he's standing in the picture (I saw him go into a hole beside it.) I'm obviously not looking for another project, but I'll be keeping an eye out over there, to see if it's a colony or a single cat or what's going on.

Kittens Update

Okay, firstly, Miss Bea, of whom I will hopefully have a picture in the next day or so. She went through her surgery just fine on Thursday, as I mentioned before, and came home and was acting normal (well, normal for her) by Friday. (She was a bit wobbly still, on Thursday.) I can verify her normal behavior because I was over at her house, and even though I was dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, she still hissed at me (and my stuffed big bad wolf.)

But alas, I got a call today from Miss Bea's mom. Her incision was red and oozy, and so they were off to the vet. The vet said, 'Yep, it's infected.' Apparently Baby B licked it, and kitty mouths are dirty. The wound has been cleaned, and Miss Bea now has a cone-collar, antibiotics for twice a day, and has to have her wound cleaned daily, as well as pain-killers if necessary. Poor thing. But through it all she was eating/drinking normally and playing, so I have every faith that she'll recover very quickly. Still, think good thoughts for the little one.

There's no actually Malcolm news, other than that he's doing fine, but upon plugging in my camera I found some pictures that I had never posted that I thought I'd share. This first one is from the day Malcolm moved to his new home. He's hiding under a couch. The next one, of a tabby cat you haven't seen before, is Malcolm's new brother Fritz. Fritz and Malcolm are getting along now, everybody sleeping on the same bed. His new family has apparently managed to dissuade Mal from sucking on fingers any more, which I think is a bit sad, but Mal is still happily kneading at things and purring and trying to sleep on people's faces, so that's all right then.

The last picture of is again of Malcolm, from about 2 weeks ago. I went over to pick up the crate in which I had delivered him. He was immediately frightened of me, and I get the impression that he reacts to everyone but his family that way now. I found him hiding in the bathroom and scooped him up (poor thing) and got a tiny bit of loving in. Then he hid under the bed and his new-dad didn't mind me snapping this picture of Malcolm hiding there. As you can see, he's still a very handsome fellow. What you can't see is that he is getting bigger, and starting to grow into his tail. I'm hoping his family will send me some pictures.

I get more stories about Miss Zoe than I do about Malcolm. Her household's current fear is that when it comes time for Zoe to move to CA with V's middle-daughter, V's older-daughter isn't going to allow it. Zoe has 100% adopted the older daughter, spending most of her time in that room, sleeping on her bed and following her around when she's home.

Wembley, the large family dog, stayed nervous around Zoe for a while-- at one point apparently she'd stolen his bed, sitting right in the middle of it, and he wouldn't reclaim it. He's make wide circles around her whenever he needed to pass by, too. One morning V saw Zoe steal a large piece of dog food from Wembley's bowl (the pieces are about as big as Zoe's head!) and Wembley went to V with a look as if to say, "But mom! You yell at me if I steal from the kitty dishes, aren't you going to do something about this?!"

More recently, with the gradual (very gradual) shift to cooler weather here in AZ, V had her kitchen door partly open so that Wembley could go in and out. She'd thought that Zoe was in with her daughter but looked up to see Zoe sitting outside. She called Zoe! and Wembley went outside and herded Zoe back indoors!! How incredibly cools is that?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Beatrice's Surgery & Ferals Update

Okay, that title makes it sounds like something was wrong with Beatrice, but no. Today she was just off to Altered Tails for the routine spaying. (Don't forget, you can donate to Altered Tails, to make a difference in the lives of animals, both with and without human families.)

I got a call from Bea's mom while they were on the way home. Bea was very unhappy and confused when she was left. She's now groggy but awake. Confused enough, though, that she pooed in her carrier-- ahh, the fun parts of pet ownership!

Enjoy these pictures from just a few days ago. Her tummy is probably mostly spot-less now, though, 'cause they'd have had to shave her. Poor polka-dots, but they'll grow back. :)

Feral Spotting: Despite not posting much, I have been keeping an eye out for our ferals. They eat a *ton*, so even when I don't see them, I know someone's eating!

Yesterday, however, I had a really pleasant surprise-- in the morning I saw Cyrano, not a usual occurrence. Even better in the evening I saw Agatha!! I hadn't seen her in probably a good 2 months-- not since I was with my neighbor trying to rescue James from the drainage tunnel back in August, I think. I'd seen Walsingham around a bit, and they had previously almost always been together, so it worried me that I wasn't seeing her. But there she was!

Cats I see on a pretty much daily basis: Bessie, Little Grey, Mistoffolees, Gandolf (still thin, but still eating and here), Amaranth, Daphne

Cats I see fairly regularly: Daisy, Pigpen, Aloysius, Walsingham

Cats I see rarely: Cyrano, Moo-Cow Kitty #4, Agatha, Athos

Cats who are currently MIA: Gremlin (not seen since July), Barnaby (not seen for about 6 weeks), Creamsicle (not seen in about 4 weeks.)

Mario was spotted by someone else recently, but I only 1/2 consider him part of the Colony. (Hen mostly gets his food and love from neighbors farther south of my particular building.
And he's not feral.)

Obviously I worry about the cats I don't see much, but I should also point out that lately I'm not beating the bushes looking for them-- not because I don't want to but because this semester is kicking my butt. ARG. This is definitely my hardest semester of grad school thus far (and the economic worries, and fear of loss of funding, is not helping!!) So bear with me and we can hope that when classes end, and then when my schedule radically changes in the Spring, things will be different.

(Of course, the best time to see the ferals is in the wee hours of the morning, as I discovered last week when one day, at 6:30 am I had a cranky policeman at my door, informing me that my license plate was found a few towns over, and that the plate on my car was from a different town still. Cue me standing out in the chilly morning in just my pjs and robe, and several cranky cats wondering why there were so many people around, making them nervous about eating their breakfasts!)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Maolcolm's New Home (and other updates)

(Pictures to be added upon finding my wayward camera.)

So, almost two weeks ago now, I loaded wee Malcolm into a cat carrier and took him to his new home. He cried the whole time we were in the car, and I tried to talk to him about his loving new family, but he would have none of it. Just, "Mew! Mew, mew, meeeeeewwww. Mew. Mew. Mew."

Thankfully, it's a short drive.

So we arrived. As with Zoe, we left Mal in his carrier for a while, to see if the resident cat, a wonderful boy named Fritz, was interested. He pretty much wasn't. Unlike Arwen and Zoe, Fritz didn't go up to the crate, just watched warily.

Eventually I let Mal out, and like Zoe, he didn't actually want out. He stayed in the carrier until I actually removed him. But once I did that, he was pretty happy to (carefully) explore. Weirdly, he just ignored Fritz mostly, he sniffed him, then kept going. He was scared, clearly, belly low to the ground, but interested.

After about 10 minutes of this, Fritz got annoyed and growled a bit.

Malcolm just kept exploring. He learned about stairs and was shown to the litterbox, and the bedroom, and all the space he didn't get to have when living in my bedroom.

When I left, Malcolm was still exploring and Fritz was still growling, but not too much.

Since then things have only gotten better over there. I've heard that Fritz isn't completely adjusted (he doesn't sleep on the bed any more, but the assumption is that he will again eventually.) The two cats play a little, although Fritz, a long time only cat, is a little confused by it.

Fritz's favorite thing is his tent-- his people use a blanket and some pillows to build him a fort on the couch, and Fritz will happily sit inside it for aaaaages. And now he lets Malcolm join him!!

So, the kitties are adjusting and happy. Malcolm continues to try to sleep on people's heads. And he continues to suck on people's fingers, and generally seems to be a happy boy. I got to see a couple of pictures of him on Saturday and he is, indeed, getting bigger-- his tail is sooper long and his legs are long.

As for Miss Zoe, she is also doing very well. She has her family's dog (a chow, lab, retriever mix) completely afraid of her, thinking she's a big fierce tiger. She follows the oldest daughter around, skittering after her when she calls, "C'mon Zo-Zo!" I think this is absolutely fabulously cute!!

Beatrice hates me. I saw her on Sunday, and previously last Saturday, and both times she spent the whole time growling and hissing at me, and even striking at me (with claws) if I came close enough. Yesterday I left her alone, but she actually stalked up to me and batted at me. The theory is that she smells other cats on me and she has become fiercely territorial, but I think it might be more than that. Oddly, her mother gave her a bath yesterday evening, after I left, and it made her completely calm, and afterwards she snuggled into a towel and her mom's arms.

It doesn't matter how many cats and kittens I meet, help raise or whatever, I will never understand them.

(My own spooky kitty, who generally doesn't like people and doesn't care to be touched, gave me kisses and let me pet her a bunch on Saturday. I figure that was her birthday present to me, as I turned 29. She hasn't let me pet her since, of course... heh.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Good Day for Moo-Cow Kitties

I was just out getting my mail and spotted 3 out of 4 moo-cows. And I saw a 4th earlier today.

I saw Cyrano earlier today, which was great as I hadn't seen him in a while. (Generally speaking, Bessie is the only Moo-Cow you can count on seeing around here.) Then when walking back from the mailroom I spotted a kitty in the bushes. I stopped to chat with him and realized it was dapper Aloysius. Then at the food dish (which I had just refilled moments before, although DNL had left food out earlier) I spotted Bessie and Athos!! I hadn't seen Athos in a long time-- as long as it's been since seeing Cyrano, actually.

Walsingham (Little Orange) has become a staple again, but I'm worried about Agatha (Little Crooked) having not seen her in a long time. But, as evidenced by the return of the Mysterious Moo-Cows, you never know.

I had also just commented on how long it's been since I'd seen Daisy, and then I saw her yesterday.

So now I'm going to comment on how long it's been since I've seen Gremlin and Barnaby (Splotch) and, as mentioned, Agatha.

Weirdly, I haven't seen Creamsicle in a few days, but hopefully that's just because I haven't been out much.

Amaranth, Pigpen, Little Grey Girl, Bessie, and Gandolf are the ones currently most likely to be spotted.

DNL is still very worried about Gandolf. She called me over on Friday ('causing me to trip down the stairs and twist my ankle so that it is still not recovered) to tell me about it. She thinks he has worms because he eats but gains no weight. I asked her what she wanted me to do about it, frankly, because he's feral. I cannot catch him without sitting out all night long and catching eleventy-billion other cats first, and that's only if we don't feed them for two days, which alway upsets DNL. So...?

Man, that sounds hard-hearted of me. I want to help Gandolf. Of course I do. And if it were something as simple as worms (but you tell me how I'm going to get a ~!@# fecal sample from a feral cat) then it could be treated in one dose. But if it's something more significant-- diabetes? FIV? FeLV? It's not like I can just give him a pill once a day when I can't get more than 5 feet away from him. I do the best I can.


In happier news, the best I can includes finding Malcolm a home. As of today it is official that his new people's land-people said yes. He's going to his new home tomorrow evening. I will, of course, miss him. That should frankly go without saying. But he's been pining for Zoe (or at least companionship) since Friday and it's driving me a bit nuts. He'll be happier with his new people and their other cat (Fritz!) And my cats will be happier, too!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Zoe has Moved!

I'm sitting here in Beatrice's abode to write this update. I'd love to show you pictures of Baby B but I forgot my camera. Also, I apparently smell too much like other cats, so she hisses and bats at me. I'm actually sporting a bandaid across my forehead because she took a swipe that connected (after the one that removed my glasses) and I was bleeding kind of profusely. She's a very territorial beastie. But more importantly, she's a happy one, when her space isn't being invaded by cat-smelly visitors, and she's healthy and playful.... if a bit strange.

(She's currently trying to 'kill' a light-up magic wand that her mommy is taunting her with. The evening I've spent over at 'her' house has been punctuated with hisses and growls. I suggested Feliway...)

Now then, let's talk about Zoe. On Friday evening, after a long day during which I must admit I was quite sad, I bundled her up and drove her to her new home. My friend, V, agreed to adopt Zoe for her daughter, who lives in CA. Zoe will spend most of her time, after January, in CA, but when V's daughter is home, Zoe will be, too. Therefore it was imperative for Zoe to fit in with V's other pets, a dog and a cat.

We left Zoe in her crate at first, so that the family cat, Arwen, could sniff her. Arwen was not immediately intrigued, but eventually came to the crate and sniffed. I could see that inside the crate, Zoe was sniffing the bigger cat, too.

The family dog, Wembley, a large and friendly mix, sniffed the box and Zoe hissed and jumped, 'causing the whole crate to move. Wembley took off to hide behind V.

Eventually we let Zoe out and she fairly calmly started exploring in ever widening circles. She went right up to Arwen and the two cats touched noses. Then Zoe moved on, and Arwen followed, as if half to keep an eye on her new little sister and half asking to play with her. She'd reach out ever so gently with one delicate paw as if to ask Zoe to play. Zoe, however, was too interested in looking around, and avoiding-- but also checking out-- the giant dog.

I have never seen two cats acclimate themselves to each other so quickly. Never. It was amazing.

I left after a time, sad to leave Zoe of course, but anxious to check on Malcolm, since he was alone for the first time. It turned out it was a good thing, because he was miserable and I rather suspect that he was meowing for much of the time I was gone.

Today I heard from V again, and Zoe is eating, drinking, using the litter box and generally making herself at home. Arwen is acting as though Zoe has always been there. Wembley is still giving Zoe a wide berth, but is otherwise fine.

Zoe has landed the most wonderful place-- with lots of people and a cat to take care of her. She has lots of cat furniture and toys to share, and even some of her very own. The cats even have "cat tv"-- V sometimes pulls a cat condo up to the very large (and beautiful!) fishtank they have, so that they can watch the fishies!

The pictures here are all from Thursday evening. I took my camera along with me to Zoe's new home, but decided not to use it for fear that the flash would upset any/all of the animals in this new and potentially delicate situation they found themselves in. But hopefully at some point V will send a picture or two, and I will share. :)

I miss Miss Zoe, but am *incredibly* happy to have found her such a home.

Mr. Mal is still with me as his Probably Forever Family waits for an okay from their landlord. The sooner he gets to a home with another kitty, the better, as he seems very lonely.

42 new pictures in the Wild Kittens Set.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Recovery: Day 1

Well, the kittens are home and they are not happy. Can you blame them?

Apparently Zoe decided that the vet techs didn't know what they were doing and chewed her IV out of her leg before they could bandage things up, so she came home looking sort of scraggly and with some bloodstains on her legs. And of course she's clearly in pain-- you can just tell by the way she's walking and such. I let the kittens out of their carrier, and she went to use the litter box, then went under the bed and stayed there.

Malcolm's surgery was later, so he was more affected by the anesthesia when we first got home. He, too, joined Miss Zoe under the bed. A few hours later (almost three after we got home) I went to check on them. Mr. Mal came out pretty quick, and he seems to be almost back to his normal self. He wanted to be in my lap, sucking on my fingers. If I didn't give him my full attention, he was head-butting and purring.

Miss Zoe eventually came out from under the bed. She let me stroke her back just a little, then she sat (kitty loaf style) just out of reach for a few minutes. Then she wandered off to hide in my closet.

I have pain meds for them, which I will try to give them shortly. But I'm worried that in trying to get meds into them I might traumatize them more (and/or have Zoe pull on her stitches.)

In other news, I have added two pictures to the Beatrice collection on Flickr-- both from the vet visit. She spent most of the trip climbing on her forever-mommy, who kindly let me get a picture of them both.

Great news!

I've been sitting on some good news for a while now. Honestly, it's mostly because I'm nervous that if I talk about it, it'll fall through... Regardless, I have decided that my faithful Project-Cat readers should know....

But first, the more immediate good news: Mal and Zoe are both at the vet right now, and have both come through surgery (spaying/neutering) just fine. I'll pick them up in about 2 hours, once Mal is fully awake. I know that vets spay and neuter every day and (knock on wood) I've never had a pet (or feral!) have trouble from it, but of course I was nervous all day, especially when it took longer than I anticipated to hear from the vet. (Turns out she was literally seconds away from calling me, heh.)

There was some question at first as to whether they'd be willing to spay/neuter them so young, but this vet, the same one who saw all three kittens for their last set of shots, had no problem with it. I wanted to them spayed/neutered before they went to their forever homes, as, even though I completely trust the people to whom they are going to live, it seems the most responsible thing to do. (After all, there wouldn't be a Feral Colony outside my door if not for irresponsible people. The people adopting Mal and Zoe are not in anyway irresponsible, but who knows what might happen down the line-- cats go missing, etc.) Anyway, I digress.

But note that I said "the people who are adopting Mal and Zoe." That's the news I've been sitting on. I posted in the past that it's an almost-sure-thing that Mal has a forever home. (We're all still waiting to hear from the landlord of his parents-to-be for confirmation that it's all right.) The new news is that Zoe also has a forever home!! Hurrah!!!

She is going to be a traveling cat! A friend of mine is adopting Miss Zoe for her daughter, who is a student. Zoe will live with the whole family when the daughter is home, and with the daughter and roommates when she is at school. She will have so much love and companionship!!

So keep your fingers crossed that all goes forward as planned. And I'll update again about how the kittens come out of anesthesia and recover at home.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Holy dog? An update?

Cat news first, as this is called Project-Cat: The kittens (all 3) will be getting their last set of shots at the vet tomorrow.

It's looking more and more like Little Mal has a home (soonish). That's the good news. The bad news is that Little Zoe still does. And two out of my three possibilities have said no. Anyone out there know anyone in AZ who might want a beautiful baby girl kitty?

In dog news, I received the following in my inbox via a rather circuitous route. It's a dog who was found in Mesa, AZ and needs a home. (He's in a kill shelter, and his time will be up quickly.) I don't know any more information than what's below, but he looks like an adorable pup.

The following is the message:
Hi. I don't know if you can help me but I am going to try anyways I know there are so many animals without homes, but I feel for this guy because I found him on the highway someone left him there to die, it tore my heart apart, I stopped and picked him up, I brought him home, hoping I could find him a home but I only had a short time with him, my mom would not let him stay anymore, so she called the pound, I took it hard, I got this dog to trust me then they had to come get him, I cried for the last couple of days. truly hope you or someone else can rescue him before its too late, tomm is his last day for evaluation or it may have been today im not sure I just hope he made it, he was friendly with us just a lil scared is all, I believe he was in an abused dog or neglected all together here is his information his id is 08-32718 at Mesa East 2630 W. 8th Street Mesa, Az 85201 office is 602-506-7387 please from the bottom of your heart help him....the guy that picked him up is J Coville or Covicce 478

EDIT TO ADD: It looks like this guy is now available to adopt via the Maricopa County Animal Control. I can't be 100% sure, but it looks like this is his adoption page.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Holy cat! an update!

But where has all the rum gone?
Wait, no, that's not what I meant. Let's try that again: But where has the summer gone?

Yup, that's what I meant.

Business first: I know I'm terrible at keeping this thing up to date-- which is bad because I enjoy it, I enjoy that people read it, I enjoy having something to point to when I get into debates about Feral Cats and kittens and such. So. I shall endeavor to be better about posting. To that end, however, I think I shall set up a schedule. My question to you, then, is, if I were to post once a week, when would you like it to be?

Next, some observations and thoughts-- nothing particularly coherent here, I'm afraid.

Beatrice-- I haven't seen her in a while, but her mom assures me that she is doing well. I'll see her this week, though, when we take her to get her last set of shots.

Zoe & Malcolm-- These two... man, what to say about these two? They continue to be the most calm kittens I have ever come across. They'll play sometimes (most often loudly when I'm trying to fall asleep-- typical felines), but most of the time they prefer to be sprawled somewhere. And if they have their druthers, they prefer to be sprawled on me. Zoe likes to lie across my chest or, if I'm on my side, then either on my side or on top of my head. Malcolm, the silly boy, prefers to be as close to my face as possible, sharing a pillow and making sure that I breathe cat fur. ::Sigh:: We're working on this.

That said, I had a cat growing up, whom I loved very much. And I wanted more than anything for this cat to cuddle with me like a teddy bear as I fell asleep-- I'd actually hold him like a bear and he hated it, and as soon as I relaxed as I fell asleep he'd dash off. Smart cat. My point, however, is that Malcolm wants to be held like that. If I'm sleeping on my side, he wants to be cuddled to my chest with his head on the pillow, halfway under the covers.

Weirdos. :D

Some friends of mine came over yesterday and met Malcolm in the possibility (this is still pending a number of things, including landlord permission) of adopting him. They, too, commented on how very calm he is. Both Zoe and Mal did play for them a bit, Zoe more. They commented on how beautiful Zoe's markings are, and how fluffy and handsome Mal is. Neither got comfortable enough to purr for my friends, or snuggle, but given how quickly they warmed to their "babysitter" last month, I know that Mal will warm to these friends should they decide to/be able to adopt him.

The Ferals: Mostly I've been seeing Little Grey and Amaranth around. They were both out tonight when I fed them all. I've seen Walsingham (formerly Little Orange) a number of times, too, which is great, but makes me nervous because I haven't seen Agatha (Little Crooked.) In the past few days I've also seen Mr Mistofolees and Bessie. If the @#$!@# weather ever cools, I'll try to get out and walk around every day like I used to, to keep better tabs on the cats .

Photos: More of Mal and Zoe (who *always* closes her eyes when the flash goes off) over at Flickr, in the Wild Kittens set. (Man, that is *such* a misnomer now.) There are 22 pictures. I didn't get to caption them all, sadly. Did caption a few, though. And I, at least, find my commentary amusing, so go check them all out. :)

Oh, and Also: A shout-out to Mr Gecko. Your wife told me that you've discovered the world of blogs thanks to this wee site. That makes me happy. Are you *sure* you don't want to adopt a kitten? I promise Zoe won't eat your gecko.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Excuses, Excuses... :)

Life at Project-Cat continues apace, pretty much, with nothing major to report. Still, it's been a long time since I've talked much about Beatrice, so she's what I'll focus on today.

On Wednesday Zoe, Mal and I visited Beatrice and her mom. Beatrice wanted none of this. She has so much imprinted on her mommy and on her space that upon spotting Zoe she hissed, growled and swiped at her. So I took Mal and Zoe home. All the same, Beatrice continued to hide and growl at all the humans who were over that evening. It took her 'til the next day to calm down! So now we know that Baby Bea is a one-cat-to-one parent (and territory) kind of girl!

She's doing really well, otherwise, completely settling into her home and her routines. She seemed so big, seeing her for the first time in weeks on Wednesday. Her mommy has gotten her a collar, to which she has adapted with no problems. Best yet, it's a Harley Davidson collar, which totally fits her attitude!

There are more pictures of Beatrice at her Flickr set.

Malcolm and Zoe continue to be adorable cuddle-bugs who want to be in my lap, or next to me, or on my head at all times. All three kittens are due for their last set of shots during the week of September 1st.

Lastly, meet Mario. He's a lovely, friendly cat. So friendly, in fact, that I had assumed that he had an owner. He seemed well cared for, and I've never seen him down with the bulk of the ferals. However, when I was with my neighbor, trying to get James out of the tunnel, she told me about Mario. He was, like so many unfortunate kitties, left behind by his owners when they moved away. (@!#!#$!#@$) My neighbor thinks that he was fixed, but since she isn't sure, clearly I'm going to have to try and trap him when next I get to trapping (which I will start to think about when two things happen: 1) the weather cools and 2) Malcolm and Zoe have (a) forever home(s).) Since he was a pet cat when he was fixed (if he was), his ear isn't tipped. And even though he doesn't hang out with the other ferals (he does hang out with my neighbor's indoor/outdoor cat, James), he is, in a way, part of the colony. So, thought I'd point him out to you all. (I have a houseguest with an iPhone and he consented to take this picture today when we were out walking.)

I haven't heard from my neighbor, but I saw James today, and he looks good-- at least dashing away from us!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

No pictures!

So... um... you know what's worse than a digital camera that's rather slow and can't take dusk pictures? Yeah, no digital camera at all. Somebody (uh, that'd be me) left her camera back on the Family Homestead when she flew on back to Arizona-land. Yeah... Oops? My parents are working on sending it back to me.

Anyway, so it's a text only blog for a bit, it seems, unless I can convince a friend to take kitten pictures for me.

Speaking of kittens, it's time for an update!

I still haven't seen Beatrice since I left for the Family Homestead, but I have spoken with her mom several times. She's settling in quite well, and enjoys having a window from which she can watch. She apparently sits on her mom's desk, looking out the window, waiting for her mom to come home. She has not given up the ankle-biting, but thankfully her mom doesn't seem to mind too much, and it does mean she can introduce her kitten as "an ankle-biter." It's looking like I'll get to see Miss Beatrice in-person tomorrow, and so I will get to provide further details then.

Zoe and Malcolm have adjusted quite nicely to life in my bedroom instead of in the bathroom. They're still a wee bit skittish-- as soon as you open the door they race to hide under the bed. However they come out from under the bed just as quickly. Both of them still insist on crawling all over me when I try to go to sleep, but they're not quite as insistent as they were the first night. In fact, when Malcolm's dry-nursing gets to be a bit too much, I can put him on the floor a few times, and he'll stop. (Unlike Beatrice who *never* stopped trying to play.)

The kittens seem to continue to be in good health. I took some of Malcolm's poo to the vet for a fecal test today because he's yet to have one, and because it was runny-gooey today (ew.) And he's still sneezing a little. But otherwise, they're eating, playing, etc. All three kittens' last set of shots need to happen during the week of Sept. 1st. Then they're all set (although I'll also get these two altered while I have them.) I should decide before the last shots about whether or not to get the second kind of Felv test for Zoe now, or wait 'til 6 months.

The only other worrying thing is that I've still had no luck finding them homes. I had one hopeful yesterday, but the potential person emailed to say she wasn't quite sure, and didn't want to adopt a kitten until she was 100% sure. As much as I want to find homes for these babies, I admire her honesty, and wish that everyone gave that much thought to getting a pet. I'm sure that readers here don't need to see me get up on a soapbox about how a pet is a family member and a responsibility that you do not get to just toss out. If everyone was careful about adopting a cat, then there wouldn't be a feral colony outside my apartment, made up of abandoned cats and their off-spring.

Right, heh. Sorry. Putting my soap-box away.

But my request to all of you-- if you know anyone in AZ, or even NM or other nearby states, send them the project-cat url. Chances are they aren't looking to adopt a cat, but they may know someone who is. Malcolm and Zoe are unbelievably sweet and cuddly and adorable; surely there's a forever-family (or families) out there for them.

And lastly, a colony update. Since my return on Saturday I have seen Bessie, Cyrano (climbing a tree no less!), Creamsicle, Gandolf, Pigpen, Amaranth, Daisy, and Daphne. I also talked to a small, round child about why I was feeding the cats (because he was playing with the water-dish.) I don't think that conversation went very well. I think it was the same small round child who, on the night of the Cat-Nabbing yelled, "Run away, cats! Run away! They're going to kill you!" Is it any wonder I spend time putting information out there about feral cats and about TNR?

Anyway, please do spread the word about Malcolm and Zoe. This is the same readership who raised over $2000 to take care of the TNRing and cat-care. Surely we can find homes for two incredibly beautiful and loving kittens.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kept Awake by Looooooove

I returned this evening, exhausted from travel and the heat of the desert. Those angelic kittens certainly had made a hyooge mess of the bathroom, which I cleaned up, after moving them into the bedroom (most recently occupied by Beatrice.)

Once in the bedroom, they both hid for a long while, although Mal was the braver of the two, exploring, as long as nothing startled him (like movement or noise of any kind.) When I went to bed at midnight, he came out from under the bed to see what was going on, but was still very skittish. It took him a while, during which he cried, but eventually he came up onto the bed and started to purr and suck on my fingers as I fell asleep. Zoe, too, came up onto the bed finally, and settled in on my pillow. (She was behind my head, and Mal was just in front of my face. I was surrounded.)

Well, it's almost 4 hours later and I'm exceptionally sleepy, but awake. Why? Because the kittens have, I'm fairly certain, been purring this entire time. Loudly. Like, really loudly.
And Mal has been sucking on my hand (whatever he can get to when I move in my sleep) the entire time, too (or at least whenever I've been awake.)

The purring and the dry-nursing are now keeping me awake.

The once feral kittens are now such cuddle-muffins that they are purring too loudly and keeping me awake. If I weren't so tired, I'd be amazed.

Tomorrow: research on what to do about Mal's dry-nursing. It's really adorable, but I thought for certain he'd grow tired of it once he had a person there for a long while. He may have stopped at some point, but as soon as he wakes up (or I do, and therefore he does), he's back at it.

I might be back to sleeping on the couch after all...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Long-Distance Update #2 (of 2)

Apparently the kittens have learned to jump onto the kitchen sink. This is actually a good sign, I think, but it does mean that they learned where the toilet paper was. The kittens basically threw a frat party, as Alicia said, and photographed.

Meanwhile, Beatrice is settling in well, although she tries to climb her mom's legs, despite her wearing shorts. She's also trying to stick herself so closely to her mom that she's trying to fit inside her mom's nostril.

Enjoy these pictures, as I must now help entertain some guests. We have just (as in a few hours ago) gotten a puppy and people are here to visit.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Long-Distance Updating

Well, I don't have much to say, but I wanted to let anyone who was curious know that everyone back at the Colony (including the kittens) are doing well. The kitties' caretaker sometimes sends me pictures from her phone, so I'll include those here.

The best news is that Zoe and Mal are behaving wonderfully-- not scared of their babysitter, and in fact, immediately purring upon seeing her, and hopping into her lap. Mal sucks on her skirt, if he can't get to her fingers!!

Not sure if Beatrice is moving to her forever home tonight or tomorrow, but either way I'm sure she'll be happier with more love and attention than I've been able to give with so many kitties.

I'll update more when I know more.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hiatus. (Summer Vacation?)

As I mentioned before, I'm traveling back to the Family Homestead this week (tomorrow, in fact.) So there will likely be no further updates at Project-Cat until I return (on the 16th.) I'll try to check in that very evening, to let you know how the kittens weathered my absence.

Beatrice moves to her forever home on the 10th or 11th, so hopefully I'll hear something from the parties involved and be able to post something about how that went, too. I'm going to miss that little girl-- coming home to not find her here will be weird, even if it is expected.

The friend who's taking care of all the kitties while I'm away tends to send me pictures on my cell phone, so actually, you never know what I might manage to post here, even from thousands of miles away. Regardless, I doubt there will be much substantiative 'til my return.

So readers should go hug their own cats (or their neighbor's or friend's. Or better still, go adopt a cat from a shelter, or help TNR some ferals.) And I'll see you when I return!

(Well, okay, it's the internet. So I probably won't see you. In fact, I'll probably just go back to posting here. But you know what I mean.)

Oh never mind. Here, have some pictures to tide you over!

Malcolm -->

<-- I'm a little worried about Mr Mistoffolees there, to the left. I don't know what that white mark on him is-- just shedding fur that he hasn't gotten off of him? What is it?! But he seems to be otherwise okay.

Gandolf has always been thin, but he has become quite gaunt, and so I am quite worried about him, too. I see him at or near the food dish all the time, so it's not appetite that's lost. Oh kitties, why must you worry me so??

<-- Beatrice appears cranky that I am packing.

Miss Zoe likes to sit on plastic bags, apparently. (She likes being fed more, though, and that's what happened right after this picture.) -->

<-- Creamsicle is becoming more friendly (if by 'friendly' you mean will come within 10 feet of me, and hangs out by the food dish a lot.) He's a big handsome boy.

Right then. Don't break the internets while I'm gone.