Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Crew - Skippy

Ahhh.. Skippy.  The lover, the wrestler, the kitty the household needed with out even knowing it.

Skippy was another one of those "OMG I need to rescue that kitten!!" shelter moments.  He was sitting in a cage all by himself (yes apparently I am a sucker for those) and I needed to get him out.  Two other kittens had recently come in, and it was recommended that I take all three instead of just Skippy alone (single kittens tend to be badly mannered kittens so I agreed with the recommendation).  Turns out that wasn't going to happen, because the pair of kittens were so infested with ringworm that it was beyond heartbreaking.  Now I'm all for rescuing the underdog, but I am not about to risk infecting myself and my entire household with ringworm - because yes, it is that contagious.  The shelter did not want to risk spreading it anywhere, and there was also the compromise they were facing from being so infested, so sadly they were euthanized.  Now came the question of what to do with all of the other cats stored in the same room as they were - since ringworm is that contagious.  I was asked if I wanted to back out of fostering Skippy.  I asked what would happen to him, and she said reluctantly that she'd "try" to find him another foster home... which often means he's low on luck.  Considering what he had faced so far, I was not willing to let him roll the dice.

See Skippy was found in someone's yard mostly dead.  Starved and low on reserves, he came to the shelter as a cruelty case.  While the got him back on his feet, he ended up with a urinary infection.  I just could not let him face another day alone wondering "what happened" so I brought him home.  I put him in my shower stall, and kept the door shut as a precaution - one more layer between him and my cats.  I used a lab coat, and washed my hands faithfully after each visit.  Skippy either knew what he had been given, or just had the right kind of personality, because all he wanted to do was cuddle.  Now normally when I get a young kitten who only wants to cuddle I get very scared.  Kittens should want to play and rough house and cause mischief, and if they aren't then that is a sign that something is wrong and vet intervention is right around the corner.  But he would climb out of the bathtub into my arms and snuggle with me for 10-15 minutes and then want to play.  He was perfectly fine playing in the tub too - which helped a lot.  When two weeks pasted and he didn't break out with ringworm, I assumed the worst was over, and worked on introducing him to the other fosters I had at the time.

Well that so did not work out.  They were smaller then he was, by a long shot, and he wasn't so much interested in playing with them as getting in their way.  So the shelter suggested another only kitten, and I took her home and tried to introduce them.  She was smaller then Skippy, and Skippy very much wanted to play with her.  All indicators were positive when the two were separated - he made the right play motions, was happy and interactive as was she - but the second we put them together he treated her as if she was prey.  He hunted her, chased her relentlessly, and it was not a good situation.  I felt horrible returning her to the shelter, but a cat smaller then he was was not going to work.

Skippy was almost of size when I took him home, and he was previously shaved from his trip to the vet for his UTI, ,so I assumed he was neutered.  When he was finished with his antibiotics and spent some more time to make sure he was healthy, he ended up going back to the shelter to be adopted.  He was almost adopted by one family (that wasn't the right fit according to the staff, but they didn't really have reason to say no) but they realized he wasn't neutered so they kiboshed the adoption, and sent him out to be altered.  He went back up for adoption.  I generally want to be there for adoptions, but he went up on a Friday morning.  I ran over after work, and met the people who chose him just prior to them signing the paper work.  I tried to explain his needs and his quirks, but they had fallen in love with him, and I'm sure I could have said he'd try to kill you in your sleep and they wouldn't have cared.

Well a short time later Skippy was back at the shelter.  He had come down with a respiratory infection that was bordering on pneumonia (if not outright pneumonia since he really didn't have any symptoms in his head/nose but severe congestion).  I got a call asking if I wanted to treat him - my answer is "duh!", and Skip came home again.  He took the first round of antibiotics and it did nothing.  We did a second course with stronger stuff, and he cleared up.  He was fine for a few days, and then he broke with it again.  This time we did a much longer course, and I watched him for a week after his final dose, and he seemed fine, so back to the shelter he went.

Well by now I was a gonner.  I loved this little boy so much.  He was such a lover, and a goofball and a sweet little thing with a huge prey drive.  I visited him daily, waiting for him to find a new home.  I talked to a few people telling them of his unique start in life and his quirks, and apparently I talked them right out of adopting him. (really, that was NOT my intention, honestly!!) After two weeks my heart couldn't take it any more and when the adoption coordinator jokingly asked if I was going to take him home I said yes, and she didn't wait to see if I was serious, she wrote up the paperwork and gave him to me.

Skippy never really did get over his bout of pneumonia, and every week or two would break with some odd congestion and even a weepy eye from time to time (not inf lammed or oozing, just a few extra tears)  I ended up talking to my own vet about it, and he suggested a different antibiotic all together the next time this happened, and if it didn't clear up then maybe he was just going to have a compromised immune system and it would be something we would have to live with.  I lived in fear of his next outbreak, but when it came I gave him the round of antibiotics and it worked.  He hasn't had another!!  *yea!*

Skippy fit a hole in the household I didn't even know we had.  He and Fleurp wrestle constantly.  I find him chasing Fleurp or Eli or some other cat through out the house quite frequently.  He also loves to hang out with the rabbit, although he is spending less and less time doing that.  He still feels the need to snuggle quite regularly, but he is reluctant to muscle his way through the other cats to get to one of us to do so.  I find I get to snuggle with him when I use the toilet (TMI?  sorry) he jumps right up on my lap and starts to purr and leans into me. Not the most comfortable place to snuggle a kitty, but if this is what he needs, I will let him.  We are very fortunate that he does not suffer from Only Kitten Syndrome, and is very well mannered.  He had learned the household hierarchy and has found his place.  I just need to be extra careful to make sure he's getting the attention he deserves.  I have the feeling he thinks he doesn't deserve "mom and dad" time, and I so need to cure him of that, because he is an incredible kitty..

Skippy taught me a valuable lesson though.  I am now no longer allowed to foster only kittens.  Much as I am not allowed to have a chocolate chip cookie, because it will lead to my eating more then one cookie, only foster kittens have a tendency to stay.. and darn it, eight cats is enough!!

(which is probably a good thing because I just got another email from the shelter asking me to foster!)

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