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.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Cat in the Tunnel-- Update

Not only is James (yesterday's cat in the tunnel) home safely, but he was whisked off to the vet today. Turns out he has Horner's Syndrome, which is causing one of his third eyelids to stick up. This will go away on its own, the vet said. No spinal problems, or ear problems. He does have a fever (103, which isn't *too* high for a cat, but is elevated for an adult), so he was put on a week's worth of broad spectrum antibiotics. He's being tested for feline leukemia, but the results won't be back until tomorrow. (And thankfully the neighbor knows enough to know that FeLeuk isn't an instant death sentence, even if it comes back positive, which it hopefully won't.) He's eating and drinking and seems to be moving okay now, so while he's not entirely healthy, he's doing pretty well.

I told her I'd keep my fingers crossed for him to have a negative result on the test and to keep getting healthier.

Vet Appointment #2: Beatrice

"If I didn't know she'd tested positive, I'd say she looks completely healthy."

Beatrice weighed in today at 3.22 pounds. She hopped into the sink, hissed at the vet tech and puffed up her tail (which delighted the vet tech to no end), and kept trying to climb up onto my shoulder. She was active and her usual adorable self. Pretty much nothing else to report!

I'll have to drop off a fecal sample for her later on (as in, when she presents one...) but otherwise a clean bill of health. She got her shots with no troubles. (The vet tech held her because I had warned the vet about how badly Baby B had freaked out last time she got shots, but she was fine.) Hurrah!

Vet Appointment #1: Malcolm & Zoe

Malcolm: 3.44 pounds
Zoe: 2.86 pounds

These babies were very good at the vet. The very first time we went, they just flattened themselves and wouldn't move. This time, while not thrilled, they weren't nearly as uncomfortable. They stuck with me, and preferred to hide, but neither tried to stuff themselves beneath the paper towel dispenser or anything. The vet told me that she thinks they must have had human contact before me because if they don't have contact between 4-8 weeks they'd never be as friendly as they are. I say "piffle" to that. They saw lots of humans before I nabbed them, but Little Grey kept them in the tunnels most of the time.

So, they each got their distemper vaccines and their leukemia vaccines. This vet was not one I'd seen before. She said that since we believe Mal to be negative, it made sense to start him on the leukemia vaccines. And since we hope that Zoe is, too, to do so as well. Further, if she isn't negative, it wouldn't hurt her to be vaccinated.

This vet wanted me to test Zoe (and Beatrice) now again with the more expensive "confirmation" test. (That's what she called it, and I can't remember the 'real' name.) She wanted me to separate Mal and Zoe, if Zoe's test came back positive, even if it meant putting him in a shelter. I declined today, saying it was too expensive just now. It is expensive, but in reality, I need time to do a little more research and thinking-- each vet is telling me something different about the FeLeuk.

And I'm really not comfortable putting Malcolm in a shelter. Yes, he's adorable and yes, he's a kitten and so would very likely be adopted, but he needs to go to someone patient (as does Zoe) because they're not well socialized. I'm just plain not comfortable dumping him at a shelter.

They do need homes, though. Anyone out there looking for a sweet adorable kitten? Preferably in the Southwest area... I have two very potential possibilities, but so far that's it. ::fingers crossed: All kittens are special, but these two (and Beatrice) are especially special.

Oh! But there was good news, too!! Zoe's heart murmur is gone! (Wow, "murmur" is a really weird word to spell.) So it must have been anemia from the fleas. Yaay! That's one less thing to worry about. Oh! And her fecal came back negative, which is why they didn't call.

Half an hour, and back we go with Beatrice...

Kittens, Neighbors and Colony Cats-- oh my!

(Please note: Pictures today are all of the three foster kittens, and therefore not relevant to the story until the very bottom when I actually talk about the foster kittens. Still, cuteness, right? So, enjoy! There are a few more of Beatrice posted in her Flickr Set as well.)

I had no idea I'd be called on to don my Cat Lady cape today. (And how much cooler would life be if I had an actual cat-cape??) But there I was, preparing to go about my business this afternoon, when I get a phone call from my neighbor, quite upset. This is the same neighbor who had caleld me about Waffles/Bozo.

Her cat, James, didn't come in last night or this morning, and now he was down in one of the drainage tunnels and wouldn't come out. Did I know anyone she could call for help? Well, I'd never been faced with this problem before, and suggested the Humane Society for advice. Not much later, I got another phone call from the same neighbor, this time even more upset. The Humane Society was coming eventually, she said, but in the meantime she was certain that James was dead, was I home and could I come over.

I wasn't sure what good I could possibly be, but of course I went. I dutifully peered into the tunnel and James did not, indeed, look good. He was lying on his side, about a ten-twelve feet into the tunnel, his eyes wide and staring.

We waited for the Humane Society for an hour or so, I think, and every little while I'd shine the flashlight into the tunnel to check and see if James had moved, or blinked or anything. Nothing.

The Humane Society arrived and by this time the neighbor (and myself, really) were convinced that James had died, but obviously we still wanted him out of the tunnel. The Humane Society woman shined a flashlight into the tunnel and was sure that James flicked an ear at her. She put together her long pole/robe/collar-y-thingie, and sure enough, when she went to put it into the tunnel, James moved another ten feet back.

This was obviously joyous news (James is not dead!) and bad news (we could not get him out.) The other end of the tunnel was a flat grate embedded into the parking-lot, so the fire department could be called to come flush the cat out with a hose, but this seemed like a bad idea. The HS-person suggested waiting, checking on him, putting food further into the tunnel, and getting a humane trap.

Around 9:30 I got another phone call-- James had come out, and the neighbor had brought him inside and he was now resting. He ate and drank, but he seems shaky on his hindquarters. Apparently he's a skittish cat in general, and when the neighbor startled him, he did manage to dash away, so these all seem like good signs. She's going to take James to the vet in the morning, so if you could keep some good thoughts for this kitty, that'd be great. I'm quite worried about what he might have picked up from the Colony Cats, but we'll see.

While chatting with the neighbor, I learned about the very tame cat I'd met in my travels, before the Great Trapping. Turns out he, too, was left behind by !@#$@#! previous tenants, and is named Mario, but is already fixed. And that Twinkle-Toes, called Tuxedo by the neighbor's children, hangs out more in their area than down in mine, but has been spotted lately.

Happily, while out-and-about, I saw Agatha and Walsingham. Walsingham jumped up into a tree and was lying on a flat branch looking like a lion. I only briefly spotted Agatha from a distance, so I didn't get to see how she's doing. But if they're hanging out more down by this neighbor, that makes sense as to why I didn't see them as often. Still, it's weird that they've so thoroughly changed their habits -- they used to be the ones I saw most frequently.

And lastly, the foster kittens. Beatrice is crazy hyper but otherwise fine. Oh, and just about nearly impossible to photograph, at least with my little digital camera. I can almost never get all of her in one frame because she's always moving. On the bright side, if I get her face in a shot, she always cute.

Mal and Zoe are much more reserved and also fine. And Zoe always looks a bit like Mr Magoo because she always ends up having to squint at the flash. They're such loving little kittens. Every time I go into the bathroom, Mal cries to be picked up. Such sweeties.

All three go to the vet tomorrow for their next set of shots. For once I don't have any huge questions to ask, knock on wood. The only thing I'm currently wondering about is why Beatrice's litter box/poo smells musty instead of like, I dunno, kitten poo. So I'll try to have a fecal sample for her visit. The visits are at 8am and 10am (Mal and Zoe first, Beatrice after) so I'll report back after we've returned from both sets.
Oh, and in case I forget -- I will be back on the family homestead (across the country) from the 7th 'til the 16th, so if there are no posts in that period, that's why. A close friend will be taking care of the foster kittens and feeding the colony cats. By the time I get back, Beatrice will have been rehomed with her forever mommy, which will be both very sad and very joyous, and there will be a full report on that, too.