Saturday, May 31, 2008

I know what you're thinking...'re wondering, where is my kitteh update?! I demand kitteh!

So here it is. :) Except that there isn't much to say. I didn't get to see the Colony Cats until dusk, which means my camera was useless. (Of note, though, I saw: Aloysius, Amaranth, Bessie, Gandolf, Gremlin, Little Grey Girl, and Mr Mistoffolees. Not in that order. That order is alphabetical.)

I have to admit-- I was outside less than usual the past few days because I am avoiding DNL. I know she's just lonely, and I know she likes these cats a lot, but good grief, there's only so much I can take. In fact, I didn't refill the food dishes yet today (although when I went past them around 5 they still had food in them, so that's all right then) because of avoiding her. I'll do it now that I can fairly safely assume she won't be out and about.

But the kitties look good. And it was good to see Amaranth for any length of time today-- I'd been seeing her less frequently.

As for the baby, she continues to do well. For someone who couldn't meow at all on Monday, she certainly has become impressive in her squeaking. I got her to eat some actual cat food today-- not from a plate, sadly, but from my finger and from the outside of the syringe. There's hope that some day my bathroom can stop smelling like a Thanksgiving dinner. (I'm pescetarian, so the aroma of turkey with turkey gravy only makes me think of Thanksgiving. The beef and chicken versions aren't much better. Cat food is its own aroma, and one I'm used to.)

Baby and I took a nap outside (on my balcony) together after her bath so that she could get warmed up. She got to explore a bit on the balcony (with me keeping an eagle eye on her-- she will not be permitted to fall, I promise) while I was on the phone this afternoon, and then this evening she took a nap on my shoulder while I read a magazine out there. What's with all the balcony visits? It's the one place (other than currently my bathroom, which I'm tired of) where my pet cats don't go.

I hope it's not just wishful thinking-- I really do think that she's starting to be a little more padded. She's skin and bones, really, and a round tummy most of the time, but I think her ribs and spine and pelvis and shoulder blades are all just a little less prominent. Must be all that baby food. :)

She takes her medicine without any trouble whatsoever.

I'm a little worried about her eyes-- hopefully people who know about kittens better can help me to know if I ought to be worried. You can see it in the pictures-- her eyes seem to go slightly in different directions. Is this just because as a kitten she can't focus yet, or do you think this might be a real problem? She doesn't run into anything, so I'm probably worrying about nothing.

And she loves people. She wants attention all the time. She going to make her forever-mommy or -daddy very happy, methinks.

I take as many pictures as I can, but I'm often covered in baby food, or she is. And she doesn't sit still except when she's sleeping-- but that generally only happens when she's on me which means pictures are generally blurry. And if she's clean, then she's probably hungry, so she's squeaking, all mouth open. But, I do my best. :)

8 pictures at the Baby Set.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Bad News and the Good News

All right, first the bad news. And you might want to not read this and just skip down a bit to where I talk about the baby (who is fine.) For the sake of those who are easily saddened, I have conveniently labeled the Good News from the Bad News with bold captions.

Bad News
First, the port authority in NYC is apparently full of cat haters. After months of negotiations between the port authority and cat rescue groups, the port authority has decreed death to the hundreds of feral cats living at JFK airport. You can read about it here and here. It makes me sick to my stomach to even think about it. If this blog can do anything beyond saving 'my' colony, I hope it's to raise interest and awareness about the overabundance of feral cats, their plight, and the need for volunteers to trap, neuter, return and manage them. I hope I can inspire others to help 'their' colonies.

The second bit of bad news is closer to home. Given that it's kitten season (as evidenced by the kitten and the smell of baby food in my bathroom), it was surprising that no kittens had been seen in this colony before the adults were altered. Today as I was taking the baby on an outing (see below), I ran into the DNL who was in quite the talkative mood. Unfortunately, it was about a litter of kittens who had evidently been born on her patio-- and had been there, dead, for two weeks. Admittedly I don't know how long she had known about them (but they were on her patio) but why why why didn't she do something about them while they were still, y'know, able to be saved?! She knows where I live (she's brought me cake), she couldn't have called me, or someone else, or done anything. While I was there a maintenance guy was removing the bodies, and she had the gall to tell him that they weren't taken care of because the cats had been trapped. I know for a fact that a female cat who is lactating will continue to do so after her surgery. Perhaps yes removing the adult cats caused these kittens to be uncared for and to die (from cold, from lack of milk, I'm not sure), but even if that's true, why didn't the DNL do something sooner rather than blame it on me after the fact?!

Obviously I'm distressed by these kittens' deaths, and I'm deeply upset by my potential role in it. But somehow I don't think I'm the only one at fault here. Weirdly, DNL, who has proudly told me numerous times about how Daisy was born on her patio, is now fiercely declaring that the cats bring bugs and fleas to her patio and she doesn't want them there, especially having kittens. Thankfully there will be no more kittens, but good grief, DNL, choose a story and stick to it.

It doesn't help that the DNL makes me paranoid about the management. She said that they were by her apartment today and were saying that they still want the cats gone. I ... don't think they actually said that, but because the DNL said that to me, I have to look into it now.

Good News
The good news isn't so much news as it is my usual ramblings about cats. I saw Bozo happily eating up on the 2nd floor today. Little Grey Girl was out and about, munching away on the first floor. She seemed really uncertain as to whether she should run from me or not-- she seemed almost put out when I walked past her instead of chasing her! Pictures of LGG and one of Daisy and one of Bessie are in the Project-Cat Part 2 Set.

As for the baby, she continues to thrive. And to get food everywhere. I got a few pictures, which you can see in the Baby Set. A lot of them are of her with baby food all over her. :)

I took her on a field trip today to meet a potential Forever Home. She got along great with her potential forever-mom (falling asleep on her several times, and generally just being really friggin' cute), so this is hopeful. (Best of all, this is a friend of mine, so I'd get to see the baby!) Nothing is definite, a few more things have to happen before this person can even decide, and I don't want to say more, lest I jinx it. ::fingers crossed::

So, there y'go, the good and the bad for today. I hope I continue to have more good.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Quick Update -- sans photos

Greetings from the Land O' Cats! Sorry no pictures today-- my camera batteries have died and I must needs get more.

First up, just got back from feeding the colony. Apparently someone thought I didn't feed them enough because when I got downstairs I found their dish filled with food that I hadn't put it in it. Neat! Elves, perhaps.

While down there I saw Amaranth, Daphne, Bessie, Little Grey and Mr Mistoffolees all approaching the dishes. Pigpen sat across the green, in her usual loaf style, watching. Gremlin was near the cars.

The baby continues to grow stronger. Where she didn't even try to meow on Monday, and only managed to open her mouth and make no sounds on Tuesday, today her meows and squeaks are loud enough to be heard anywhere in my apartment. This, along with everything else, has made my cats curious and I often find one sitting and staring at the bathroom door. Thankfully, though, they've been pretty accepting of the no-bathroom rule (which is good, since they usually drink from the bathtub faucet.)

The baby continues to want to eat only on her own terms, which is to say all the time, but in teeny-tiny doses, which mostly get on her and me. This is exhausting. Plus, baby food is really kinda disturbing. She recognizes the jar, the jar lid and the syringe, but can't manage to eat from any of them very well. (Well, obviously on the jar, although she continues to try.) She'll pick up the baby food lid and try to carry it off rather than eat from it. But when I put baby food on a plate, she completely ignores it. We have a communication issue, she and I, but we're working on it.

She has not quite understood the litter box yet, but does her job on the paper around it, so that's good. She takes her medicine like a champ. She sleeps in her box (which is now on its side), and wanders about the bathroom the rest of the time. She sits on the cardboard scratcher just like my adult cat does, and it's really adorable because their size difference. (Let me just say that my cats seem really hyooge after caring for the kitten!)

I expect to get more pictures tomorrow, of everyone, so see you back here then. :)

(Oh, but here's an amusing anecdote-- I saw my professor today and she scolded me for taking care of cats when I ought to be writing and researching. Sigh. More guilt, since I also ought to be working for, y'know, monies. Oh well.)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Baby Ate from a Saucer!

Okay, so not really a saucer, more of a baby-food jar-lid. I sat down with her for her lunchtime (she was in my lap earlier, but made it clear that she was hungry by trying to gnaw on my nose), and hadn't quite gotten the syringe filled up yet, and she started trying to eat the baby-food jar. This was very cute (nomnomnom), her mouth open as wide as a tiny kitten's mouth can open, attempting to eat the jar, but not particularly effective. So I put the lid down with some food in it, and after a false start or two (trying to eat the lid), she ate the food. Not a whole lot (she seems to prefer lots of little meals) but still! Hurrah!

So we'll try the more actually cat food foods that way, too.

And I think I read that as soon as the baby starts eating from a dish you can start trying to litter train them. Considering she can now get out of the box, so I gave her the run of the bathroom now, I think beginning to litter train is probably a good idea.

As you can see from the picture at the right, baby kitten is feeling well enough to play and attack things an gnaw. It makes it harder to take clear pictures, but makes me so very happy. She's doing so much better than on Monday. Oh! and look at her eyes! They seem to be clearing up too! She's sneezing a little, but the vet seemed unconcerned (given that we know she has a URI and that she's already on antibiotics.)

Yaaaay baby kitten! Fight, fight, fight to get well! Maybe stop fighting quite so much with my nose, though (ow.)

Now that she's had her lunch, time for mine.

Baby food for the win!

This morning the baby wanted food-- she was snuffling about and trying to squeak (she didn't manage it, though), and chewing on my fingers, and yet she refused to take her bottle. She seemed dehydrated, too, so off we went to a vet.

This was not the same as the ER-vet, nor is it the same as the vet I'd been taking my cats to. (I'd been thinking about changing their vet anyway.) The place was super-uber-busy but baby and I still got in to see a doctor very quickly, and weren't left waiting for but a moment. (And if we'd been waiting longer, we could have evidently watched Puppy Bowl IV on DVD-- naturally we would have chosen the kitten halftime show.)

The doctor agreed that she was a little dehydrated, but was very impressed with how active the kitten was, especially after hearing about Monday night and reading the notes from the ER Vet (whom he knows, apparently.)

Then he brought out the chicken and gravy baby food. The kitten loves it far more than anything else we've tried to give her! She even meowed for more-- her first real meow! He also gave me more advice on how much to feed the baby (something I've been worrying over a lot.) And is going to call tomorrow to see how we're doing. I like this place.

The vet commented that it is unlikely that the kitten carries leukemia because if she did she'd not likely have recovered so fast. So that's hopeful. (We'll be testing in about 6 weeks.)

I got the baby home, and gave her her meds (amoxicilin and albon for the coccidia) and then she took a bunch of baby food. She ended up wearing a lot of it, naturally. And now she's down for her nap. It really is almost like having a much tinier, quieter, furrier baby. Hee.

Now it's time to wash the amazing amount of towels and blankets she's gone through in the last 24 hours. :)

Almost time for the 1am feeding.

So, here have some pictures...

A few new ones (Daisy, Bessie, Creamsicle, Bozo, LGG, Pigpen) in the Project-Cat Set 2.

And a new set, in honor of the colony's youngest member (who will not, of course, really be part of the colony, but still, y'know what I mean): Baby Kitten pictures.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

This is your evening Kitten update...

Frankly, I'm still worried about the baby girl. She still doesn't want to eat very much, and towards evening her skin started being dehydrated seeming. I called the Emergency Vet that we were at last night, and they didn't seem too concerned once they knew that she's much more active than last night. Still, they suggested seeing the regular vet in the morning in case she needs more subcutaneous fluids, so that's what we'll be doing.

Now 'tis time for her nightly dose of amoxicillin. The brand name is "amoxi-drop" but what's so very fantastic about it is that it's the very same smell and shade of bright pink as the amoxicillin I used to get constantly as a child for my chronic ear infections! Hee! Well, it amused me. :)

She has turned into a little purring furball. She's quiet when I first pick her up (after all, I might be waving a bottle in her face again), but if I put her on my shoulder she immediately starts purring.

In other cat news, I saw a lot of Little Grey today. It's probably just my overactive sense of guilt that made me imagine that LG was looking at me accusingly, as if to say, you stole my baby. Right? Heh. Anthropomorphize? Me? Never! Also saw Creamsicle (formerly known as Pastel), when I was talking with the Downstairs Neighbor Lady. She informed me that Creamsicle is upset because he is no longer intact and cannot chase the other girls. She thinks he's the head of the colony (but I think that Bozo is.) She told him to stop being angry at her because it was my fault. She was joking. Mostly. I informed Creamsicle that it was for his own good and that it was healthier for both him and the lady-cats. He seemed unconvinced, but went off to much on food.

Such is a life full of cats. :)

Kitten's Feeding

I got her to eat a few syringes full of KMR mixed with Hill's Prescription Diet a/d, and she took it pretty well. Earlier I got her to defecate (which, as gross as it sounds, is an important thing given that kittens can't do it on their own. Yes, ew.)

But best of all, when she was done eating, after I'd cleaned her up a bit, she climbed up on my shoulder, nuzzled into my neck and started purring! :) I know that purring can mean that a cat's in pain or scared (as well as the usual meaning of 'happy') but I'm pretty sure she was actually content.

She explored my lap a bit, as well as my hair, and is now back in her box for a nap.

Overall, her first post-ER-vet feeding was a success, I'd say. :)

The Kitten is Home.

We're home. In fact, baby's in my lap as I type this. I have to figure out now how to keep her separate from my cats, at least 'til we can get to the vet this week for her regular kitten checkup and tests (to be sure that my cats will be safe). When the Volunteers came over last night they took one look at her box and said, "She'll climb right out of that." I believed them, but in the state the kitten was in last night she certainly wasn't interested. Today she's already given it a try.

I have all sorts of high quality, high calorie, high vitamin food for the baby. She's much more active (see above) although not just at the moment-- she's lying quietly on my lap. Now begins my stint at feeding her every 4 hours (eek), for a week, according to the instructions I got from the vet. And giving her medicine 3 times a day (2x for one med, 1x for the other.) Oh, this'll be fun. (Yes, yes, sarcasm ill becomes me.) But she's obviously a sweetie, and I'll do everything I can to keep her safe and find her a forever-family.

So, we need a name for her. On all the paperwork thus far she's just "Kitten." What'cha think?

Kitten News!

I'm off to go pick up the wee baby! Hurrah!

Kitten Update

The Volunteer Couple arrived and showed me how to feed the baby kitty. They judge her to be about 3 weeks old. Unfortunately, the baby didn't much want to eat, despite being nothing but skin and bones. Also, once I figured out what Tamnonlinear actually meant about checking for dehydration, I could tell that the baby girl was very dehydrated. Also, she just wasn't being very feisty for a kitten of her age (even allowing for her recent troubles.)

So, about quarter after eleven, I gathered up my stuff, and the emergency vet information that The Volunteer had provided, and off I drove. I was shaking so badly (out of, I imagine, fear and adrenaline) that I had a hard time filling out all the necessary paperwork. Then they took the kitten away from me and I had to sit in the waiting area. I was a twitchy being. When I was taken back to the kitten they told me that they had gotten some high-calorie food into her (just a very little, and frankly there seemed to be a lot in the box and on the kitten). [This is also when I was informed that the kitten is a girl.] But when the kitten then didn't seem to be able to hold up her head, the vet tech took her away again to find the vet.

The vet was busy with critical cases, but while the vet tech had the kitten, the kitten had diarrhea on her. Which sucks for the vet tech. But it meant that it could be looked at under the microscope. The vet tech returned to the kitten to me and said the vet would be in when she could.

I wrapped the kitten in one of the baby blankets and curled up with her on the bench in the exam room. I was dozing off when the vet finally came in.

The kitten has coccidia, which is common but dangerous for kittens. She's dehydrated, too, of course, and probably has an upper respiratory infection. None of this is particularly surprising, I guess. The course of treatment that the vet suggested was keeping her overnight for observation (and to be kept in an incubator. The kitten's temperature was fine according to the vet tech, but still), be given subcutaneous fluids, and antibiotics and such.

I said yes. I'm not exactly flush with my own cash, but I figure this falls under the realm of the Feral Colony, even though this kitten, if she survives, won't be feral. (And the donation button, to the left, is still there.) So another receptionist type came in to explain the costs. While waiting for her I took the above picture with my phone (not a great picture, but whatever. She was asleep in my arms). Then after signing off on that, I waited for another vet tech to come and get the baby. By then it was 1am.

They'll call me if anything happens. Otherwise, I'll call in the morning (which is to say in about 6hours) and find out when I can bring her back here. Once her health seems stable and she's well on her way to recovery, I'll start looking for a forever-home for her. [Anyone want a kitten? She'll be healthy and spayed.]

Monday, May 26, 2008

Uh, this was unexpected...

9:30 at night, a knock on the door. I very rarely get people at my door, even less so at night (when they clearly aren't delivery people!)

But I answer. And it's a guy holding a tiny squirming kitten. Apparently one of the ferals had kittens on the porch of an empty apartment. Then the mother moved the kittens inside the apartment when guys were working on it. This one was behind a refrigerator and almost got squashed when they were moving it. Instead, a worker got his hand squashed. (Which sucks for him, but good man for saving the kitten!) This is the only one they found-- mama cat probably moved the rest when workers started showing up. But the guy at my doorstep had him for a few days, apparently, before anyone could recall which apartment I (the "cat lady") was in. And they tried to feed him (I don't know what... I really hope not cow's milk) but he wouldn't take much and so now he is in my hands. I know that he needs KMR immediately, but of course it's well past pet stores' closing time, curses!

Freaked out, I called Tamnonlinear (she of the brownies), who calmed me down and gave me some options. Then I called the Volunteer (who answered as Pigpen, heh), who is now coming over with some kitten supplies.

Tomorrow we go to the vet.

This is why I am incredibly thankful that we raised more money than was immedately necessary.

Kitten is tiny, and I don't know if we'll make it. He was crawling around on me, but is now sleeping in a box I made for him. One eye is fully open, the other only half, I think because he's so young, but maybe because of an infection. You can feel every bone in his body through his fur. He's a grey tabby, and adorable (of course). He can sit up, and isn't too wobbly when he does so. I have no idea how old he is, but estimates are currently between 1 week and 3 weeks. Likely the Volunteer will have a better idea after seeing him, and the vet will have an idea tomorrow, certainly.

Mostly I'm concerned about keeping him alive to get to the vet. Eek. (Also, don't really know if it's a 'him' but statistics of my colony, and my rude peek under his tail say him.)

More updates as they warrant. Also? Three HUGE cheers for Tamnonlinear and for The Volunteer who is the BESTEST EVER and is coming over here even though it's already late.

Also, BOO to websites because it took me forever to find something on the web to direct me to an emergency vet (should the need arise.)

Aaaaand, we're back! Mrow!

I wish I could say that I was only gone because I was having some kind of fabulous adventure, or at least have fantastic stories about the cats when I came back. But alas, no. I was looking (and not finding) for a job, and keeping myself busy with a myriad of other projects, and so, the Project-Cat neglect.

But, the cats seem well. I've seen each of them since the Great Cat Nabbing of '08, even if I haven't gotten photos of all of them.

When we were cat trapping, the Volunteer asked me if I ever saw the cats climb the trees, and I said, truthfully, no. Tonight, though, while I was out in my balcony, I heard a sound, like the scrabbling of a very, very large squirrel. It took some maneuvering and patience for me to discover that Bozo is a veteran tree-climber, both up and down! He got way up into a pine tree-- I couldn't see him at first in the boughs. I only actually spotted him on the way back down. That is a large cat for being in trees! I think he was showing off because he somehow knew that I was on the phone with my mom, who happens to be his sponsor.

Oddly enough, the cat I see most often is Pigpen. Yes, seriously. So this gives me great hope for the Not Quite as Grand Cat-Nabbing of '08. As to when that will be, well, I've been a total slacker about calling the scheduler, but I'm going to try to remember to do it tomorrow. Hm, it's a holiday, and I don't want to bother her... oh well, if she can't answer, that's fine, I can leave a message. :) Anyway, yes, there should be trapping again soon, for we have 4 more cats to catch (although I wouldn't hold my breath on Twinkle-Toes [the black cat with white, well, toes] because I've only seen him once in the time since the Great Cat Nabbing.

The other most frequent visitors would be Walsingham (aka Little Orange), and, surprisingly Mr Mistoffolees. I see him more often now than I did before teh Cat Nabbing. And look at this picture-- look at his wee pawsies!

I've posted 11 new pictures in the second Flickr set-- check 'em out! 3 of Mr Mistoffolees, 1 of Daphne, 2 of a Moo-Cow Pow-Wow (yes, I do make myself laugh, why do you ask?) and the rest of Pigpen!