Saturday, December 29, 2012

Playing in the Snow

I've been getting a lot of pictures of the dogs lately and not the cats.  Cat-lovers, I assure you that my cats are all OK.  I will have to dedicate a day to getting as many pictures of them as possible...  it's just so much easier with the dogs! Mostly because the dogs can't as easily escape my clutches, but we won't dwell on that point.

We've gotten quite a bit of snow the past couple of days.  We got about 3 inches the other day, and then I don't know... maybe another 5 or so today.  Even though Maera was with us last winter, I think that this is the most significant snowfall she's ever seen...  last winter was pretty light on the actual snow.

I got some terrific footage of the dogs running and playing in the snow, but then inadvertently deleted it.  (D'oh!)  So you're just going to have to take my word for it.  That, and I have some stills that I was able to get the next day.  They're not QUITE as excited about the snow now that it's deeper, but I think they're some nice shots anyway.

I can't remember if I said anything on the blog about this, but back in October, for my birthday, Jeff got me a real camera.  (Up until that point, every picture that I posted here was taken from my iPhone.  I now have a Rebel T3i.  I'm still learning to use it, and despite taking a camera class later in October, I'll admit that I'm still using the autofocus...  I need to practice doing everything manually, but NOT when some great pictures of my dogs are on the line.

ANYWAY,  please enjoy a Saturday afternoon at the House of Carnivores.  (There's even a cat picture, I promise.)

Argos, smiling for the camera

The higher Maera holds her tail, the more mischief she is planning.

Vampire attack!
And around and around they raced, frequently hiding behind the picnic table so that I couldn't get any really good action shots of them.  Because the clumsy two-legger for some reason can't trudge through six inches or more of snow very effectively while lugging a not so cheap camera.

Hahahaha, your vampire attack does nothing to me!!!

My Mama WHAT?

Maera, I am appalled!

Charlotte watches, fascinated, through the window.
I can't say that I'm a winter person, but I do like to watch them enjoying themselves in the snow.  Maybe these pictures will help get me through until May!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Things We Buy

I never knew how many things it was possible to buy for your pets, until I started adopting animals, that is.  There are SO many things out there to buy.  Things that you never knew existed, and now you just can't live without.

Like this:

Yes, yes, ignore the dark picture and my junk in the background (it's cleaning day and as a result everything is MORE messy than it even usually is.)

But this treasure of the post-modern age that you see is a baby gate.  That swings on hinges, so that you don't have to take it down every time you need to pass through.  AND THERE'S A KITTY DOOR IN IT.

It is the best pet investment we've made.  1.)  It keeps Maera out of the kitchen. (Sorry, Maera, you KNOW that you would wreak havoc in there.)  2.)  It's easy for me and Jeff to pass through.  3.)  It's easy for the cats to pass through. OMG, it has simplified my life.

Our guests must think that we're crazy for having baby gates up all over the house when we don't even have children, but life. is.  sweet.

Other things that we've bought that I would have sniggered about a few years ago:

1.  Electrical drinking fountains for both dogs and cats.  It started out as an attempt to get the cats to drink more water (a successful attempt, I might add.)  Then when we had such a hot summer, I wanted a plentiful, cool, and fresh source of water for the dogs while we weren't at home, so the dogs got their own fountain.  They're nice.  You have to watch them, though - they get algae and scum in the tiniest nooks and crannies, so they're more complicated to keep clean than a simple bowl.  Also, the dog fountain is LOUD when it runs out of water.  It will bring me running from upstairs to fill it just to shut it up.

2.  Coats for the dogs.  I used to laugh at people who had their dogs in coats, but now that I have thin-skinned, largely fatless greyhounds, I know that they need the extra layer for warmth, just like we do.

3.  Beds for dogs.  Good lord we have so many dog beds:  upstairs beds for the study, downstairs beds for the living room, beds in their crates.  You would think that we had 7 dogs instead of two.

4.  Dog toys.  They have a toy chest filled with them in our living room.  This is nearly all my fault... I just can't help myself.  They just get SO happy and excited when I bring home a new toy.

The latest are gigantic monkeys that honk when you squeeze them, and their feet and hands squeak. The cashier at Burlington Coat Factory, where I found these toys, was genuinely non-plussed when I bought them.  "What ARE those things?"  I think that she was silently questioning my sanity when I told her that they were dog toys.

5.  Multiple kinds of food.  To get our dogs to eat without complaint, we have to mix a certain amount of certain grain-free flavors of kibble (currently, we're using Merrick Grain-Free) with a little bit of canned dog food.  It has to be ground, mind you, because they're not enamored with chunks of meat.  The cats are little better - we have one that will only eat dry food and one that will only eat wet food.  Of course we almost always run out all at the same time, so as we're filling our cart at Petco with the 50 million kinds of pet food, we do get some strange looks.

But I would happily buy any of these things again and again.  Some just make life easier for all of us, others are certainly coddling my animals, but these guys have all had rough lives before landing in my house.  They deserve a little bit of coddling, eh?

There was a very nice man behind me in line at Petco today, whose eyes popped out when the cashier gave me my total:  I was after all buying a huge bag of dog kibble, an entire flat of canned dog food, and an entire cube of canned cat food, and a big bottle of glucosomine for Argos.  The man was buying a litter box.  He told me that there was a cat outside that was freezing, so he'd let him in and started feeding him and that he might as well stay.   He joked that he'd already spent a small fortune on food and supplies.  I told him that it was money well-spent, and that he was very kind to help out a cold, starving kitty.  And heck, if he can restrain himself from adopting multiple cats then jumping across the species line to adopt dogs, maybe he'll never see his grocery bill quite as high as mine.  :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Foster Success!

When we took our four 1-year-old foster kitties to the shelter clinic two Sundays ago, it was my plan for them to get their deworming medicine, and their distemper boosters, then bring them back home.  However, we were informed that there were cages open for them, so we left them there.

That moment is always sad, as you put an animal who has grown to trust you in a cage, shut the door, and walk away.  But it's part of fostering, unless you plan to "foster fail" every time, or have the luxury of adopting straight from your home.  (That IS technically an option here too, but my problem is, I don't have a network of people strong enough to make this an easy task.  If no one sees the cats, then no one adopts the cats, simple enough.)

That said, the four of them were moved to a "play cage" in the front room of the adoption floor a day later.  A day after THAT, Christina and Emily were adopted, together!  (You may remember this picture of the two of them.)

Edgar and Dante sat there for another week, but I found out that the two of them got adopted on Monday... TOGETHER!  That's so totally awesome that these guys got adopted in pairs.  They were all so BONDED to one another that it was just the perfect adoption story.

This is, of course, what all fostering is supposed to lead to.  There is still a bit of lingering sadness on my part, though.  I get so attached.  I'm glad they're in homes, don't get me wrong.  It's just bittersweet.

So here's a letter to my foster kitties, if they were able to read it.

Dear Christina and Emily, Edgar and Dante,

When I first saw you in the back room of the shelter, huddled in a pile together, staring out at me with round, terrified eyes, you broke my heart.  When I saw the note on your cage that your owner had died, my heart broke even more.  I had not intended to take home four of you, but there was no way that I was leaving you behind on that day.  I wanted to take you home, swaddle you up in warm, soft blankets, and reassure you that everything was going to turn out okay.

That's not the way that it happened, of course, it never is.  I got you home, let you out of your carriers, and you all hid under the bed from me for the next 24 hours.  Do you remember when you first came out?  It was when I popped open a new can of Friskee's pate.  Christina, ever the bold one, was first, but the rest of you followed suit. shortly after.  Edgar, you were trying so hard to be brave... you came out.  You may have been crawling on your belly, staring up at me like I was a monster, but you came out.

Over the next few days you all realized that I was harmless, and I spent many happy hours lying on the guest room bed with all of you on top of me, purring your hearts out.

And then you got sick.  I nursed you through it, held you in my arms, and yes, forced you to eat when you didn't want to.  I worried over you, convinced that you were all on death's door.  But you got better.

And through it all you showed me love and unquestioning faith in my abilities to take care of you.

And then I left you in a cage at the shelter.  I know that you didn't understand at the time, and that you might have felt scared and betrayed as you saw my retreating back.  I did it so that you could find your "forever homes," wherever those might be.  I did it for your good, even if I felt a twinge of guilt regardless.  Even if I cried in the car all the way home and made my husband take me out for comfort food that evening.

And now that I know that you're in your "forever homes."  It warms my heart, and I hope that you are with truly nice people, who will love you even more than I did, who will take care of you.  I hope that they let you sleep with them, and that they'll be delighted when you curl up beside them, purring and flashing your bellies.  I hope that you get lots of treats, and that I become a distant memory, and am then completely forgotten.

Because that's the way that fostering works.  We're only meant to be a port in the storm.  My job was to get you healthy and happy, to give you a warm, safe and loving place to stay until there was room for you.  I was not meant to keep you.

Bless you, sweet kitties.  I will think of you often.

Your Foster Mom

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Lady Down on her Luck

My parents are trying their best to locate a home for a stray that has wandered up onto their porch.  

She really needs to find a place before winter, because as anyone who has spent any time in Missouri in winter knows, it can get quite brutal there.  They can't take her in themselves, due to cat dynamics - their current cats don't like her.  

Edith Ann, as she has been named, has been on her own for quite some time, and has had a rough time of it.  Because of that, she's a little hissy and defensive at times, though would clearly LIKE to have a human of her own to trust, because she does like to be petted, and will purr if she gets any attention.  My own opinion, without having met her myself, just based on other cats I've known,  is that I'm sure that the hissy part would fade given time in a home of her own.

Can anyone help out this little lady?  She is currently living in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving (A Day Late)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Well, for us Thanksgiving hasn't even happened yet...  Jeff has a nasty cold/sinus infection and so we postponed the feast until Sunday when we could all enjoy ourselves more.  Fortunately, his symptoms have gotten SO much better in just 24 hours, so I don't anticipate that Sunday is going to be a problem for us.  So now, instead of being in a turkey coma with a large swath of the country, I'm still drooling over the idea of eating all of it.

We still have the foster cats that I mentioned at the end of my last blog post.  They were intended to be much more short-term, but they all came down with some pretty severe upper respiratory infections a couple of days after we brought them home.  The shelter gave us some antibiotics to fight off any opportunistic secondary infections, but it was a nasty bout of symptoms...  I've never seen cats sneeze so much, or have quite so much mucus up in their sinuses.  I've also never had cats stop eating because of URI symptoms.  It was all very scary, but we've come out the other side, and except for the occasional sneeze, they're almost back up to healthy again.

So, you may be wondering, just who are these kitties?  What's their story?

Meet Christina (left) and Emily (right.)

And Edgar.

And Dante.

They all came as a family unit.  They're all one-year-olds, and I suspect that they are litter-mates.  I don't know much beyond that, except that their paperwork says that their owner died.

I went in to the shelter that night intending to take two healthy adults home with me - the foster list had gotten an email earlier that day telling us that cage space was at a premium, and that there were a number of cats that really needed to go into short-term foster until cage space opened.

Actually, I should backtrack a little bit.  The FeLV positive kittens took an emotional toll on us, and after their new mom adopted all of them, I said that we needed to take a break.  I said that we'd need to go through the holidays with no fosters, and that after that, I would consider doing it again.  My resolve lasted for...  two and a half weeks.  I didn't even make it to Thanksgiving.

Anyway, so I wound up at the shelter that night, and saw a cage of what appeared to be three scared looking kitties in it.  I agreed to take them - after all, three is not any more difficult than two, right?  But as we were peeling them off of their terrified kitten pile, one by one, to put them in my carriers, a FOURTH head popped up.  Well, I am not the type to harden my heart and tell them to start putting cats back in a cage after I'd already decided to help them, so I agreed to take all four.

They're the sweetest, most adorable, friendly cats.  Dante likes to show you his belly, as does Emily, who will purr if you so much as look at her.  (Though she is a little shy, and will require some coaxing to come out at first.)  Christina is bold, and is definitely the queen of this little pride of cats.  She likes to sit on your chest, and gets very unhappy with you if you move.  Edgar is a little scared and shy at first, but is a friendly, snuggly boy who is desperate for your attention once he realizes that you're friendly.

Even though I don't know much about their history, I can know one thing after just a short time interacting with this group of cats - their previous owner loved them very much, because they're clearly used to giving and receiving lots of affection.

They'll all have to go back to the shelter, and I'm guessing soon.  They're very adoptable, young adult cats, and having them sitting in my home isn't doing them any long-term favors. It will break my heart to take them back, but it HAS to happen.  We are not equipped to absorb even one more permanent cat into this household, let alone four.

I will do this thing.

Emily streeeetches.

Christina turns her green, green gaze towards the camera.

Dante wants a hug

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Life Lessons from Dogs AND Cats

I was just reading a wonderful blog post by a friend over at 24 Paws of Love, which talks about the healing power of dogs.  How their presence can soothe, relax, and heal.  I find that is so true.

A bad day at work, or even just an annoying commute home can be made better by snuggling on the couch with the dogs.  Even when I was going through a rough patch emotionally, the dogs helped.

But I started thinking about it, and I realized that my animals, both cats and dogs, have taught me some important life lessons.  Sometimes they teach completely different life lessons...  but their teachings mesh together surprisingly well.  I've talked about some of these life lessons in the past.  But I hope that you enjoy them together here, in a list.

Cat Life Lessons

1.  I am what I am  (am I the only one who can't say that out loud without hearing Popeye?)  I make no apologies, and expect and accept no recriminations. Those who can't accept me for what I am are not worth the time and the effort.

This is perhaps the most painful lesson that I've learned, but you have to admit that cats pull this one off with great dignity.

2.  It's OK to want to be alone.  I'm fortunate that my cats all like to snuggle with me.  They are not the aloof stereotype.  But they all slip away for alone time, every day, even to the point of hiding in the attic sometimes.  As an introverted loner, I need this too.  It is impossible for me to recharge if I don't take some alone time.

3.  It's also OK to not be constantly busy.  Even if the sink is full of dishes.  Or the yard needs to be raked.  Or all of the tiddlywinks have to be washed.

Sometimes it's just better to seek out a "sun puddle" and relax.  The work will still be there in a few hours, and I can just deal with it then.

4.  You don't have to like everyone.  You have to prove yourself to my cats.  They will not come out and interact with you if they don't trust you, don't like you, or are afraid of you.  It's freeing to acknowledge that you don't HAVE to subject yourself to people that you don't like.  You don't have to do ANYTHING you don't like.  Social pressure be damned.

5.  Despite being a strong, independent individual, when it comes to the ones that you love, snuggle and purr and hold on tight.  You never know what life is going to throw at you, and you never know if the ones that you love will be taken away from you too soon.

Dog Life Lessons

1.  Together, as a "pack" we are stronger than if we try to go it alone.  Our dogs are happier when we are all together and... we are as well.  And yes, sadly this point has to be illustrated in a beat up old chair.  You can thank Miss Annie for the rips.

2.  Be emotionally open and vulnerable amongst friends.  They will either prove that they are worth that trust and reward your faith ten times over, or they will tip their hand and show that they are not, in fact, true friends.  This may seem to be an odd one, but I've seen the dogs display this time and time again.  No artifice.  No faking.  No strong front. If they're happy, they are exuberantly so.  If they're sad, they do not attempt to hide it.

3.  If they're worthy to be "pack" then they're worthy of forgiveness when they screw up.  Forgive 100 times over if necessary.

4.  Each day brings new joys.  Live in the moment.  This is one that I've brought up before, and I know that others do as well.  It's one of the defining characteristics of a dog... the ability to live in the moment.  It's a lot harder for us humans to do, after all, we understand just a little bit more about the human world than our canine friends do, and therefore have a LOT more to worry about.  But it is good to cast those cares aside, even if for a short time, and experience the joy that living in the present can bring.

P.S. - I have some new foster cats.  I will post pictures of them soon.  I don't know how long that I will have them...  they're here due to lack of cage space, plus now they're coming down with colds so I will need to at least keep them through a course of medication.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cabin Fever

Pittsburgh was supposed to get some weather from Hurricane Sandy, as did much of the Northeast.  We didn't get it, or at least not like we were supposed to.

Oh, we've gotten rain, and a lot of it, but none of the winds and flash flooding that had been predicted.  I'm so thankful for that!  (Though I feel terrible for those that DID get hit hard.)  I think all of us feel a bit bad for complaining when so many lost everything to the storm...  though if I can submit a teeny tiny complaint...  I haven't seen sunshine in a couple of weeks.  Bleah.  The world is shrouded in gray.  But at least I can look out my window in my safe warm house at the gray.

The rain that we have gotten has driven most of the leaves off of the trees...  which makes me glad that Jeff and I got some good pictures when we took the dogs to the park before all of this began.

It was really just an exercise to get out and use my new camera... I think that the photo quality is pretty good, considering that I was just treating the camera like a glorified point-and-shoot and not using the manual setting.  (I WILL do this.  I've taken a class to give me the basics.  But now I need to practice a little to get everything just right, with lighting and shutter speed, etc.)

It was chilly that morning, and I think that both of us were wishing that we'd worn warmer coats.  There was even frost on the ground!

The dogs thoroughly enjoyed themselves, as they always do.  We kept to ourselves, staying on the leash-only paths and not going to the off-leash exercise area.  I have to admit that some of the antics at the dog park make me nervous, even early in the morning.  So even though the people that congregate there with their dogs seem like very nice, stand-up people, I'm a little uncomfortable just letting the dogs loose there.

This picture was meant to get Argos and Maera both looking straight on at the camera.  You can see how well THAT worked, but I decided that the end result was better this way.

If you're wondering what they're looking at, someone walked by up on the trail with a dog.  They wanted so badly to go over and meet the new dog!  (But I'm a big meanie pants and didn't let them.)

I think that the dogs are probably wishing for those sunny if cold mornings in the park, or at least our frequent walks around the neighborhood.  But every day it's been soggy and raining great big cold droplets, and I've decided that the dogs would be just fine in the backyard.

But I did notice today that they seem to have a lot of restless energy.  And Argos is very intolerant of Maera getting into his space, and air-snaps at her, or barks at her to warn her away.

And Maera snapped at one of the cats tonight, for invading her space.

All of this would go away if we can get a good walk in.  I'm hoping tomorrow will be decent...  I DID see the sun peak out briefly this afternoon (and when I say brief, I mean brief; maybe ten minutes.)  But maybe that's a harbinger of better things to come.  I can hope so, because I think that everyone has a case of cabin fever!

Well, okay, just the dogs and the humans.  The cats, who wouldn't be going outside anyway, could care less.

They get more snuggling when we stay in, and since the weather is turning colder, they think that's a good thing!

Charlotte, on the other hand, just wants for me to get the camera out of her face.

I hope that everyone is having a good weekend!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Great Day

As many of you know, our most recent litter of foster kittens was unfortunately diagnosed with Feline Leukemia.  They are such good, sweet little kittens, and I found the entire situation heart-breaking.  They were in my home for almost three months while we tried, desperately, to think of something to do with them.  They could NOT stay at my house, nor could they be absorbed into any number of feline-friendly households...  FeLV is contagious to other cats.  (They were able to stay at my house for those three months because they were under strict quarantine in the guest room.)  The shelter contacted sanctuaries, but there were no nibbles.

It was heart-breaking to me to go into their room every day, to clean up, change litter, feed, and yes, snuggle and play, and not know what was going to happen to them.  I would lay on the bed and all three would crawl on top of me, purring and purring.  Clark would insist on lying down next to my face, and he would purr and gaze into my eyes and occasionally nuzzle my cheek or my nose.  Lewis would perch wherever he could, kneading my clothes with his front paws, and every once in awhile he wouldn't be able to resist giving the tip of my nose an experimental nibble.  Nellie would run up and down my frame, purring madly all the while, and occasionally swoop in and demand petting.

(But are you noticing past-tense in my wording here?)

Last week, everything changed.  I got an email from a woman who had seen my blog.  She was looking for an FeLV positive kitten as a companion to her already FeLV positive cat.  Could she meet the kittens to see if she wanted to adopt any of them?

She came to our house on Wednesday night, and met all three of them, and left to think about it.  I fully expected to hear back from her, and just wondered which of the kittens had gotten a lucky break.

Thursday morning she contacted me and the shelter to say that she'd thought about it, done some research, and wanted to adopt ALL THREE OF THEM.  All of them got a lucky break!

And the rest, as they say, is history.  She and her sister came and picked them up today, and they are off to their own home, where it is so obvious to me that they will be loved and well cared for and adored.

No foster parent could ever ask for a better situation for any litter of kittens that they have gotten to know and love...  but especially in a situation like this one.

It's of course always bittersweet to watch them leave, and the house always seems just a little bit emptier after they go.  But...  they went to a good home.  Which means that it's more sweet than bitter, because that's what we as fosters DO.

Today, I took them downstairs about an hour before their new mom came to pick them up, to play with them, say my good-byes, and get some pictures.  They didn't ALWAYS cooperate with my plans for them, but here are a few pictures that I managed to get.

Nellie, considering how to steal the string toy from her brother.

Lewis, holding still for a fraction of a second.

Clark, REALLY getting into the string-toy.

So this is very much a cause for celebration!

Congratulations to Lewis, Clark and Nellie, as they move on to explore the next horizon.  And congratulations to their new mom, who I am certain will get a lot of joy out of them.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Still Alive

I thought I'd post to let you know that we're all still alive here at Carnivores.  

Let's see...  

Maera has been very good.  She has been SUCH a patient subject, because I finally graduated up from the pictures that I was taking with my iPhone.  For my birthday this month, I got a Canon Rebel T3i camera, and have been enjoying playing with it and taking pictures of mostly the animals.  The dogs bear the brunt of it, because they can't hide in small places like the cats can.   I still admit to not knowing what I'm doing, though...  which is why I'm signed up to take a beginner's class in about a week and a half.  I can't wait!

Of course, she's not ALWAYS very good.  The picture above is of the remains of a bill for veterinary services.  Ahem.  

Argos is ALWAYS good.  He's such a laid-back dog, and eager to please.  The only thing that he doesn't really care for is when Maera starts jumping around and accidentally (or on purpose, take your pick) jumps on him.  He'll show teeth to her then, and growl or bark.  It always startles me, and is very annoying, but I can't really blame him for not wanting a dog six years his junior leaping on him.

Honestly most of the cats are annoyed with my camera.  I've had a difficult time getting them to pose.  All except for Charlotte, who seems to enjoy looking right at the camera, and posing as if it's a given that we'd want to take photos of her.  So, bask in the glory and beauty of the queen!

That's not to say that I HAVEN'T gotten pictures of the other cats.

I still have the FeLV kittens.  They're growing like little weeds, and are otherwise very healthy.  I don't think that any placement has been found for them yet, which is heart-breaking.  In fact, my heart breaks just a little bit more every time I go into their room and see them.  Clark snuggles up to me and gazes into my eyes, Lewis tries to bite my nose, purring all the while, and Nellie climbs all over me.  It's just not fair that they have this disease.  

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Long Week - And a Birthday!

I haven't had any news about placement for our FeLV+ kittens yet.  They're still in my bathroom.  I have to remind myself that they don't know that they're sick.  As far as THEY are concerned, they are normal kittens, with normal kitten goals.

Clark has fallen into the toilet TWICE now because he is so desperate to explore it.

He has also fallen over the side of the tub while I was showering.  His little eyes went so wide when he realized that water was falling from the sky.

Lewis also has gone "swimming" in the toilet.  Mind you, we keep the toilet lid down in general.  But in that two seconds after a poor, unsuspecting soul LIFTS the lid with the intention of using the camode for its intended purpose, BAM!  Kitten.

A sleepy Nellie paws up my leg.

Lewis shows that string who's boss.

Clark vanquishes his arch-nemesis, the vacuum.

Kitten wrestling.

Of course, when you have needy kittens in the house, it's easy to talk about nothing else, but the other animals' lives are continuing on as well.

Now that the weather is cooling off, they are a bit more active.  (OK, in the picture above, Argos doesn't look all THAT active, but he has been friskier when we go outside.)

The cats are more likely to come downstairs and interact with us, instead of napping the afternoon away.

Thomas has proven that he is actually quite fond of table scraps, thank you very much.  Now that he's learning that we're not going to flip out and start hitting him with brooms, he's gotten kind of cheeky about it.  Sometimes, he'll jump up onto the table and just walk over to your plate like he owns it, and as we've learned the hard way, he is more than happy to help himself if you don't move fast enough!

Thomas and Jeff have a "conversation" about whose dinner it really is.

And I feel super-guilty about this, but Maera had a birthday!  Last Saturday, in fact.  And not only did I not remark on it, but I completely forgot about it.  In my defense, we'd JUST gotten the bad news about the kittens, we were on vacation and therefore not looking at a calendar, AND my folks drove out from Missouri to visit us that weekend.  Maera has forgiven us.  I got her a stuffy today to make up for it, which entertained her for all of... oh, 30 minutes.  ANYWAY.  Happy Birthday, Maera!  She turned three years old.

A certain tranquility has descended upon the house.  Oh, we're insanely busy.  There's far too much going on, and I went back to work this week.  But the animals have reached a certain peace with one another.  Every once in awhile, it will erupt into sniping - usually Bit v. Thomas, but every once in awhile it's Bit v. Annie.  Or maybe Annie v. Thomas.

But overall, I'm very pleased with how everyone is getting along.

In closing, everyone keep your fingers crossed for our FeLV+ foster kittens.  I would love for these little love-bugs to get homes regardless of their retrovirus, and know for a fact that it doesn't HAVE to mean a death sentence for them.  We need all of the good thoughts, prayers, and positive vibes that you can send us!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Heartsick - FeLV Strikes

One of the main reasons that I have fallen behind in my blogging this summer is that I have been fostering kittens.  Even the most trouble-free litter takes up a lot of time and energy, and when juggling foster care with care for my own animals, work, and yes, trying to get some much-needed R&R, there isn't much time OR energy left over.

But this last litter...  this last litter is determined to not only break my heart, but to stomp it into little tiny pieces.

On Monday, after being sick with diarrhea for several days (even with the prescription medication) Amelia, named after Amelia Earhart, died.  Her intestines had telescoped inside of themselves, and there was no cure.  Nothing could be done.

The very next day, her sister, Nellie, got very sick.  She had a 106 degree fever, and was hospitalized at the shelter's clinic for four days.  She rallied, came back home with me, then got worse again on Monday... this time, the site where she received sub-q fluids swelled up to nearly the size of a golf-ball, and she couldn't use her front legs as a result.  She was literally trembling in pain... BUT  she rallied yet again after a change in antibiotics, and we thought that was the end of it.


But today was by far the worst.  The entire litter was retested for FeLV,  and even though they originally tested negative, today they tested positive.

And I am so at a loss.

The shelter cannot adopt them out to a normal household.  I can't keep them indefinitely - I have my own cats to think of.  The vets are fairly certain that the very limited contact that my cats have had with these babies has not infected them, but we can't take chances with prolonged contact,  and we can't keep them in quarantine indefinitely - that's no way for a cat to live. The reality is that these babies have nowhere to go.

They are sweet, innocent little kittens, and it is not their fault that they have a disease.  They are face-kissers, nose nuzzlers.  They are perfect lap-cat material and have no fear of humans, dogs, other cats.  They should have been some of the most adoptable kittens available.

But any windows of opportunity that they once had due to their cuteness are closing.

Does anyone know of someone who already has an FeLV positive cat that might want a kitten?  Multiple kittens?  A sanctuary that wants a three-pack of adorable kittens?   We're in Western Pennsylvania, if that makes a difference or helps.  I don't have the authority to place these kittens - they're fosters, not mine, but the shelter is willing to attempt to place them if a suitable situation is found.