You know if I disappear for a while that something is up, and usually it has to do with cats. Three situations have been developing and this weekend it was their turn to take some time. You’ll be reading more about each of them here as their stories unfold, but for now, here is an introduction to Amy, Kitty and “three adult cats and eight kittens”.
Amy, Home Again
Amy will be this week’s rescue story, but in brief, she was a feral cat who decided to be socialized, slipped out the door in January and her person asked for ideas and support to get her back. We’ve met and kept in touch from the beginning. On Sunday she emailed me with a photo. What could be better? Read the whole story.
Kitty, Rescued and Feeling Better
Skin and bones Kitty was often seen digging through garbage, and found on the sidewalk covered in urine and nearly immobile. Because it seemed there was an owner her rescuer wasn’t sure what to do but clean Kitty up and feed and return to the front porch. She saw that owner toss Kitty out the door, saw the cat scrounging through garbage again, and in May it was too much.
Her rescuer is Meghan, a teenage girl who also helped her neighbor trap Sienna. In both cases she contacted me about the situation and asked for advice. I gave her my best decisions. She’s been wonderful to work with, and has also helped a few other cats in her neighborhood find new homes or caretakers.
In May she let me know she’d taken Kitty in and was holding the cat in a cage in the family’s shed in the back yard. With the symptoms of being covered in urine and seeming weak and confused, my first thought was a seizure. There aren’t too many ways a cat gets covered in her own urine, but that would be one of them. I wondered if the cat had had a blunt force trauma from a car or a foot, or was underweight and dehydrated and collapsed.
A few days later I stopped down to meet the cat, who was lanky and thin and certainly looked as if a few issues were a problem, but didn’t mind being held or poked around a bit. The kitty at first appeared older and grizzled, but the eyes looked clear with neat irises and dark pupils. The bleached fur was puzzling especially as it began almost in a line right across her shoulders. Her white legs and paws stained yellow and brown denoted the urine stains and dirt from living outdoors, and her ears looked huge above her gaunt face. Too fuzzy to see anything under the tail, I thought I felt an empty scrotum there (the skin that held the testicles remains in place and shrinks, but it’s what I look for if in doubt) but we still began calling Kitty “she”. Here is the first photo.
Meghan and I kept in touch as Kitty ate and drank well, was social and friendly and talkative, but was still found every other day or so with urine in her cage, in her water and on her fur. Meghan bathed her, which Kitty didn’t seem to mind. I told Meghan to add water to Kitty’s canned food to give her extra fluids, and even use chicken broth or tuna water now and then to get her to eat and drink more. Kitty began to fill out and seemed stronger, the seizures were less and less frequent, and when the heat came in June they moved her to their basement. The plan was for me to eventually take her as a foster, especially since Meghan’s family has cat allergies—they have many other pets, but no cats, and that’s why. But after having gotten to know her, and no one with an allergic reaction to her, they thought they might keep her.
I knew that Meghan and her family didn’t have enough to cover a workup and treatments for a cat like Kitty, who could have multiple and very serious conditions. I’d been waiting to get an appointment at our clinic which would be at reduced cost, but when Meghan told me Kitty had quit eating dry food completely because it seemed to hurt her, and then quit eating even her soft treats and had very strong breath, and then she had a seizure after weeks of not having one, I was concerned her condition might be serious and progressing: renal failure, cancer, strokes. I got an appointment with one of the other vets who works with the rescue.
I went to visit Meghan and Kitty last weekend so I could see how she looked prior to taking her to her vet appointment. I barely recognized her! She looked like a totally different cat. All that broken bleached fur was grown in soft and smooth, the whites still stained but looking much neater, and not only that but she was sleeping in a box in the kitchen, not in the basement. It seemed she’d found her place, literally.
We went to the veterinarian on Tuesday and first determined that Kitty’s pink flower needs to be blue. He was fine with being poked and prodded and carried and held and all sorts of less than dignified things. He weighed a little over 10 pounds, and we guessed he had gained two or three in the past two months, and that with his height and length he had several more to gain—he is quite the big kitty.
He does have a few conditions just on exam. He has feline tooth resorption and is already missing a few teeth and others look as if they are trying to push up through the gums. The condition is very painful and can’t be cured, so extracting the affected teeth and sometimes all teeth is the only treatment. He also has ulcers all along his upper gums which could be calici or could be from renal failure. A minor condition, he has ear mites. They took blood, gave him fluids and sent him home with medications until his blood tests are ready.
You’ll be hearing about him again because I’ll be doing a fundraiser for his treatments, whatever they turn out to be. But for now, he’s looking good, and I’m so glad such a nice kitty has a loving home!
Three Adult Cats and Eight Kittens!
I saw a message in a Facebook local community group about someone finding three adult cats and eight kittens, asked generally where she was, and, since the home was about five minutes from mine I knew I could help. The adults had shown up in January thin as rails, so they began feeding. The adults just brought the kittens out from the bushes about three weeks ago when kittens were very active and curious, not tiny babies.
I visited over the weekend and was entertained by the antics of five ginger kittens, an irresistible panther, and two torties, light and long-haired and dark and shorthaired, AND three adults, husband, wife and son about to go off to college, who are totally captivated by the show. They had lots of photos, including the one above. As I watched the cats it looked like two litters; the torties and one ginger were noticeably smaller than the four gingers and little black cat. The adults are decidedly feral, two dilute torties and a pale ginger. Oddly, one of them is apparently ear-tipped, but the kittens have been seen nursing from her. That will be interesting to figure out.
The family is willing to continue feeding them all, that was their intent, and will work with a TNR plan, but if any don’t have to live outdoors they’d rather they didn’t. The kittens are just on the outside edge of socialization, and would take a month or more to bring around, and there are eight of them. We talked about them socializing them but their son is leaving for college, husband and wife both work, and they have a large black lab named Victoria who loves to watch them but owns the house. Socializing that many kittens for beginners would be a challenge. Oh boy, am I tempted! I just don’t have the room, but I am looking for possibilities.
I took two traps to their house on Tuesday so they could tie them open and get the cats accustomed to them, then begin feeding in them. Within hours the kittens were playing in and around them. I hope trapping is that easy! I will show the caretakers who to set up and trap, but they are the sort of people who could easily carry it off after one lesson.
For certain you’ll be hearing about this group again too. So that’s some of what I’ve been up to, and I’ll try to be a better blogger to keep up with other events this week too.
Art and Gifts Featuring Cats You Know!
Great Rescues Day Book:
Portraits, Rescue Stories, Holidays and Events, Essential Feline Information, All in One Book
Each month features one of my commissioned portraits of a feline or felines and their rescue story along with a kitty quote on the left page, and on the right page the month name with enough lines for all possible dates, with standard holidays and animal-themed observances and events. Great Rescues also includes a mini cat-care book illustrated with my drawings including information on finding strays or orphaned kittens, adopting for the first time or caring for a geriatric cat, a list of household toxins and toxic plants, or helping stray and feral cats and beginning with TNR.
Each book includes also 10 sheets of my “22 Cats” decorative notepaper with a collage of all the portraits in black and white so you can make your own notes or write special notes to friends.
The portraits in this book, collected as a series, won both a Certificate of Excellence and a Muse Medallion in the 2011 Cat Writers’ Association Annual Communication Contest, as well as the 22 Cats Notepaper mentioned below.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters Tuesday: Rescue Stories Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork Thursday: New Merchandise Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!