Thursday, March 11, 2010
The Crew - Tweedle
Tweedle came to me as a foster kitten who was still nursing with her siblings on mom. There was nothing special about her at that time, and she seemed quite normal. As things progressed though, things changed.
First there was her inability to learn how to eat. Nursing she got, but the fact that food could come outside of her mom was completely alien to her. Her siblings all started eating solid food on schedule, but she would sit and complain that there was no food. I would offer her tidbits in her mouth, and she LOVED the food that appeared in her mouth, but could not make the connection that the food pile on the floor that I just took a bit from was the same as the bit that ended up in her mouth. After a week her mom was weaning the kits, and she was getting less and less and I was starting to get concerned. Usually the bit in the mouth works for kittens who don't understand food, but if it doesn't then the next step is to put some food on their nose. She just looked at me quite pathetically. When that doesn't work I tend to very gently push their noses into the food. She struggled against that, totally not understanding that I was working in her best interest. After a piece of food finally worked it's way into her mouth against her will she FINALLY figured it out. Unfortunately she thought she had to eat with her head buried into the food up to her eyeballs and that is how she proceeded to eat for the next month or so.
Tweedle also had a little deformity as a kitten. Her chest wasn't formed as her siblings were. It wasn't glaringly wrong, just enough for me to bring her into the vet, and for the vet to be concerned enough to take an x-ray. Twee was always an incredibly sweet kitten, very loving and wanting of attention. But she has one thing she will not put up with, and that is being laid on her back. I don't know if it is because of this deformity or what, but she hates it. During the vet visit she needed to be prone on her back to get the xray of her chest. She fought tooth and nail, and the techs were quite surprised at how determined she was. They finally got it and it was decided that while she was different, she was in no danger from it and was given a clean bill of health.
My husband had fallen in love with Twee by this time. Her incredibly sweet nature and her desire to be snuggled when ever we would visit simply won him over. He too had noticed her deformity, and we had decided that if it was going to be a problem that we would take that on and adopt her. When she came back with a clean bill of health, he was noticeably disappointed. Not that she was healthy, but that she would be moving on. Well.. as you can tell by this post, that was not meant to be.
When she and her siblings made weight and went to be neutered, she had a severe reaction to the anesthesia. Her lungs filled with fluid almost immediately and her heart stopped. They were able to revive her, but they were not able to spay her at that time. We ended up bringing her home to recover while her siblings went back to the shelter for adoption. She stayed for several weeks while her lungs recovered, and then she went back to be spayed. This time they took precautions and used a safer anesthesia, but it too had a horrible effect on her. Once again her heart stopped. The doctor raced through the spay, and got her through it, but her chart showed severe warnings that sedation would be beyond risky for her.
So now we had a medical reason to keep her. But still I tried to find her a home. The shelter had an event at a hotel, and I brought her down on a leash and harness to talk about fostering and possibly find her a home. There were several people who thought she was adorable and were interested, but did not take the next step to actually adopt her. The next step for me was to bring her to the shelter and leave her there with the written warning about sedating her. That really bothered me because I know a lot of people fall in love and don't pay much attention to the restrictions the pet may have. I did not want to risk her being adopted by someone who would have her declawed - which I am sure would have killed her. Or someone who would let her outside where she could be injured and have to be sedated to repair something - or even not take care of her teeth so she would need to have a tooth extracted. These images floated around in my head as I drove home from the event. When I got home my husband excitedly exclaimed "Tweedle is home!!" and I asked if she was, and he admitted he very much wanted to keep her. I told him to go down to the shelter and adopt her then, and he did. Tweedle was ours.
Tweedle is so named because of her .... well how do I put this kindly.. her intelligence deficiency. There were many other names bandied around for her that were on the mean side when a co-worker suggested Tweedle Dum. I jumped on Tweedle Dee, and Twee she became. Now don't get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with her, she's just a little slow and definitely a little special. She did not hit all of the normal learning milestones that kittens hit anywhere near when she should have. She would often get very lost in the house and scream for us to help her find us. New things just confuse her, and offering her treats will often get you a blank stare. She has her security blanket of a toy (her current one is wrapped around her) which she can often be found carrying around the house. Previous to this she had a feather garland that was meant to go on a Christmas tree. She loved that thing so much that after a while she started to eat it. But not as you would expect, she would begin at one end and eat several feet of it before it would be forced back up. I tried tying the ends together, but she found a way to undo them. It was as hard on me as it was on her to finally decide it wasn't safe for her any more and I had to throw it away. Before that it was shoe laces and strings that facinated her. I had to be so careful - but no matter how hard I tried she would find something to play with. Shoelaces were chewed off at the shoe, fringe on the carpet was all chewed off before I even realized it was interesting to her. Even one of my favorite bras was not immune. No matter how many times we thought we had gotten up everything she could chew on she would find something new of interest that we hadn't even considered. We are beyond lucky that none of that was damaging to her as eating string can easily lead to an obstruction, and it probably would have been the end of her because putting her under for surgery is so risky.
Even as she became more comfortable in the house, she still sat outside of the "kitten room" and wanted to be let back in. "I'm the Baby!" became what we associated with her desires. It is why the next new addition to our house ended up with the name Kit, because we had to call her the kitten because if we called her the baby Twee became visibly upset and confused. I once had a reading with an animal communicator, and not having told her anything about Twee except that she was 2 years old and a black and white short haired kitty, the communicator came up with that she had the mind of a six month old. That rings very true. I lovingly call her my little down syndrome kitty. Only because of what I know of down syndrome people is they are so happy, and so joyful and loving while not being fully blessed in the IQ department. (man that probably sounds horrible, and I do not mean it to be. To me it is an easy description of her personality, which is a very positive thing in my book)
Twee was very bonded to Em as she grew up. She would often lay next to her and let Em do what Em did best - lick her. I was very fearful what would happen with Twee when Em died. But she did seem to take it ok. I am not sure if it is because Em spent so many months not doing well, or if because she was euthanized at the house and some how Twee got that. She was at a loss as to what to do with herself, because she used to be with Em, but over time she started to figure out that she could hang out with the other kitties. They were not overly amused. Twee particularly likes Muffin, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't depending on Muff's mood. Twee does NOT understand why sometimes it is ok and sometimes it is not. She also doesn't understand why Muff runs off and then hisses quite violently at her when she runs after her. I feel so bad, and try explaining to her over and over. I even went so far as to ask the other kitties to be nice to Twee, but she just wants to be with Muff. *shrug*
Health wise, we have been lucky. There was an abscess on her neck when she was a young adult, but a round of antibiotics took care of that. I brush her teeth when I can remember and fortunately they are doing very well. At the moment she is losing very tiny patches of fur on the top her head. A little bald spot about the size of a pencil eraser pop up, then disappear. She's never had more then one at a time. There aren't lesions so I can't fathom what is going on.
Twee's biggest quirk is her need to YELL at us. I think she just doesn't grasp the concept of how loud she is talking. Kind of like Loud Howard from Dilbert. She likes to crawl into bed with us and look us straight in the eye and scream.
In July of this year, 2010, she will be six years old, but she still looks and acts like a one year old