Thursday, July 30, 2020

Princess Peach is in Jail until further notice

When the kittens came to me a few weeks ago, they were pretty normal and average kittens, no major issues, in good health, etc. Peach seemed a little smaller than the other two, but I wasn't stressed about that at all. 

I then realized her poop was a little bit softer than the others and it wasn't firming up. She wasn't gaining as well as her siblings, so I gave her some probiotics. Her stool firmed up, but she was still quite small. Mario and Luigi both gained weight and filled out while she looked pretty much unchanged. 

I know that kittens gain at different rates so I initially wasn't that concerned. She was eating and she was active, so it was something I was keeping an eye on not so much something I was worried about. 

I noticed that Luigi was incessant about .. um.. well to be direct, nursing on her genitals.  This is something very young orphaned kittens do for comfort. I had not seen it start up in three-month-old kittens so I was assuming it was something he had done regularly and it wasn't causing a problem. I had real problems with it because it is seemed so rude, especially as he got bigger and she did  not, but no outward physical damage was being done (it can get really damaging in little kittens who can't get away) 

Then one morning I went down to feed them and found four piles of vomit about the room. Princess Peach was showing signs that it was her. She was tired and just had that air of not feeling well.  I separated her out into the bathroom and consulted with the rescue and we gave her some metro to settle her stomach and we gave her some fluids.

Things seemed to be going in the right direction, then one day she spent the day out of the bathroom (either I forgot to close her back in or the Catman let her out not realizing) and she went right downhill. 

More consults with the rescue and my own vet, we increased fluids and I decided to move her into a cage so she could interact with her siblings a little more.  

While I can't know for certain what happened, I am guessing that Luigi pestered her to the point of some pretty severe dehydration that subq fluids could only take care of over multiple days.  At this point, she is putting on some weight and is active and self-grooming and playful.   I will continue fluids and supplements until she is 3lbs

She gets plenty of running around time twice a day. Luigi has become more respectful (thank goodness) and hopefully, she won't need to be isolated for the rest of the time she is here. 

As an aside.. I realized the other day that Mario is actually a girl. I did a quick gender check when they first arrived and in my hubris, I didn't double-check myself (I always should).  I am not going to worry about changing her name as they probably won't be here much longer. Besides, as high energy as she is (and I mean like a toddler birthday party on Red Bull high energy) I do think Mario fits her very well. 

Monday, July 27, 2020

Photography cards from Skyboy Photos

Skyboy Photos greeting cards

I was on Facebook the other day and was served an ad for Skyboy Photos offering me five free cards. I am highly skeptical of all Facebook ads, but the images on the ad were pretty so I thought I would check it out.  He had some lovely art, but even better he had a kitty photo, so I figured I'd risk it.  I ordered a number of cards that I could use as condolence cards.  

Skyboy Photos greeting cards

Skyboy Photos greeting cards

David Bayard, who runs Skyboy Photos is a photographer, poet, and woodworker with a lifelong love of the natural world. He is also pretty adorable. I had a few interactions with him on Facebook and it made me want to put this out there so people could check out his work.

The cards are photographs adhered to nice card stock and I was very happy with the quality of them. Individual cards are $3.50 and a box is $18.  I just checked out his page and it appears he is still offering five free cards, so check him out to see if that offer still stands. 

I was not compensated in any way for this post. I just really like David and his work and thought I would share it.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Remember Kreb?

Back in October of 2018 I fostered Onyx and she gave birth to four kittens. Among them was Kreb. Kreb was adopted into a home with his sister Romy and pretty quickly it seemed like it was going to be a problem. From the history I was able to get, he pretty quickly developed a habit of not using the litter box all the time.

I give the family a lot of credit for working with them, but over time they came to the conclusion that their home wasn't the best home for him and reached out to me for help. After some discussion, I offered to take him back here with me and work on finding him a new home. The rescue who took in Suri agreed to take him if we could figure out what his issue was, which was a load off my shoulders because I simply do not have it in me to handle the adoption process.

I brought him home and set him up in the bathroom of the kitten room. He was a little uncomfortable, choosing to spend most of his time in the carrier, but he was happy to see me and would purr and wanted to be a lap kitty but wasn't sure if I was okay with that so he would lay down next to me with his paws on my leg.. See, Kreb is a VERY big kitty, weighing over 20 lbs. 

I do not know what his issues were with his last house. I have some speculations but that doesn't make them true. All I do know is that he is always on alert when the kittens would make noise. He was also reluctant to eat when I wasn't around. It made for a rough couple of days for both of us, but he is eating pretty well now and since he has used the litter box for his duty, he has graduated into a bigger room and so far has been very good in there. I have given him a few soft surfaces (towels etc) to give him a chance to show me that he has bigger issues than the stress of his old home (whatever that was) and so far *knockwood* 

So he needs a home too. While he might adjust to something different, I think the easiest transition for him would be a nice quiet home with adults only (or introverted older kids) and being the only pet.

I am probably going to give him another week or two here to be sure that nothing pops up, but we don't have a single complaint about him - well except that he is a bit of a dry food addict.. 😸

Catching up with the kittens

Luigi, Mario, Princess Peach

Princess Peach

Princess Peach and Mario


Luigi, Princess Peach, Mario

The kittens have been with me a little while and are doing pretty well. There have been a few issues overall, but they have generally been well-mannered kitties who haven't been much of a problem at all.

Princess Peach has been dealing with digestive issues. I think they are all set at this point as I haven't seen diarrhea in the box in a couple of days. She has been very slow to gain weight and has only just cleared the 2.5 lb mark where the brothers are racing to see who can reach four pounds first. 

I have also been dealing with some issues with Luigi. He was very timid at first and still startles easily. His first thought is to hide, which will make him a great companion for a quiet home. His insecurities have probably also led to his second problem which is nursing on his siblings' genitals. This is something orphaned kittens often do for comfort since they nurse and get liquid, but it can cause some serious problems if left unchecked. I have not seen it last this late into kittenhood, but as we like to say every cat is different. Mario doesn't put up with him for very long and kicks him in the face or gets up and walks away but Princess Peach puts up with it, so I have felt the need to separate them when I am not in the room. Luigi doesn't seem to mind at all and has not been the least bit destructive while isolated.

I asked my husband what he would say if asked to describe their personalities, because other than Luigi having a little less self-confidence they are pretty similar to me. He said, "they are cute, playful, affectionate and everything you could ever want from a kitten".  

I will say they are not the most graceful kittens to ever take a turn in my kitten room. Heck, I would probably rank them pretty low in the grace department.  Watching them jump up to catch a toy you would wonder if it is their first day with new feet.  They rarely land upright when playing, often falling over and looking quite ridiculous. Mario has an obnoxiously long tail that wraps around his paws and then some.. 

It is pretty rare that I don't have stand out features for a kitten. Usually, a kitten will have a preference for a toy or have a unique way of snuggling, something that sells them as "different" but these kittens are all very similar.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Happy National Kitten Day!

Happy National Kitten Day!

I will admit this one snuck up on me. Didn't realize today was the day.  I was going to wait until Monday to admit this, so I had a chance to get to know the kittens and give you a better idea of who is now residing at Camp Casa de Gato, but seriously, how could I resist posting kittens on National Kitten Day???

So.. Meet the campers..

The two on the top are a girl and a boy.. She has the head that has more black on it, he has the more white. The black kitty with white with the big eyes is also a boy. Decided on the names Mario (for the white with black boy), Luigi (for the black with white), and Princess Peach.

All three were unsure about me in the beginning. Peach thought I might bring food, so she was willing to come to see me when I walked in for the third time.  Luigi is more likely to run and hide when I walk into the room but will come out after a few minutes. Even after playing for a few minutes, his eyes look like they do above, so I am guessing he is going to end up having some really interesting photos in the next few weeks :)

They need nail trims.. that will be on the todo list in the next day or so.. unless they move that up the list by doing what kittens do..

Monday, June 1, 2020

Photo Day

The shelter has asked for photos of the kitties in quarantine so that they can network them at the shelter.. so I thought I would take my nice camera out for a spin and give it a shot.

Ash (Bowie) did pretty well, the camera didn't frighten him at all. Abigail (Crema) was not a fan. She has shown over and over that it takes quite a while for her to get used to new experiences enough to even investigate it.

Ash currently lets me pet him. If he is eating or is eating treats I can easily pet him. If I walk up to him, most of the time I can get my fingers in under his ear/chin area and am able to give him scritches. Occasionally, he gets a little worked up by it and I stop. 

Abigail will let me get my hand near her while she eats. I can pet Ash while he eats and she sits right next to him eating, but if she feels my hand near her, or if I touch her, she reacts immediately like I have touched her with a flaming hot poker and she is off and I get hissed at. She will sniff my hand if I walk up and offer it about 90% of the time now instead of hissing at me on sight, and I have gotten her to take treats from my hand. Most of the time she thinks if she just noses it I will drop the treat because that is what I did originally to get her to come towards me, but now we are working on making her work for them and she's not always on board with that. I will sometimes feed a smaller dinner and delay breakfast so she is very hungry in the morning to hopefully make her more motivated to work with me, but with minimal success. She is absolutely a challenge.

I was able to pet her a few weeks after she originally showed up here, and she loved it, but when she realized what was going on she got mad at herself for giving in to the luxury of it all and took many steps backward. I KNOW that if she could just get past the fear she would make someone a great snuggly kitty, but I don't know if she can get past that fear any time soon. She is going to need a home where the people are okay with a project, or maybe a barn. I just hope something comes up soon, because as much as I love these guys I am jonsin for some wee baby kittens and kitten huffing and doing regular photo shoots again..

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Saying goodbye

 Seventeen years ago this improbable kitten came into my life. Born at 1.7 oz, less than half the size you would expect a kitten to be, I was told to expect him not to make it. I didn't think that was acceptable and I fought tooth and nail to save him. I was so new at fostering, there was so much I didn't know but somehow we made it through.

He was special. I loved him hard and giving him up was a challenge. I sat there on adoption day both loving and dreading it. When his folks walked in, looking for an older kitty but enchanted by my boys, I talked to them about kittens and then encouraged them to look at the older kitties. They came back and they wanted my "Peanut". I suggested they adopt "Gonzo" who was a good fit for him and the deal was done. Their new mom promised to give me updates.

I was really quite shocked when she did. So many people promise that and so few follow through or they think one update is.. IDK, bothering me? (Totally not!!) but Ann reached out to me once a year or so (sometimes more, sometimes less) to let me know things were going well. She shared a few of their challenges and several of their joys.

I was so thrilled earlier this month when she included me in their 17th birthday. The photo made me laugh. It was hard to see Treads declining, but I knew it was happening so it wasn't a shock.

What was a shock was just a few weeks later to learn of his passing.

It has been seventeen years since I held him, and I am reduced to a puddle at this news. While I am thrilled he lived so long, and happy that he was a part of my life throughout, the idea of no more photos and updates about him......

Yeah, I loved that cat.. oh who am I kidding, I love that cat.. he was a special soul, that is for certain..

My heart goes out to Miles for the loss of his brother and for his human peeps who miss him dearly. - and while it is out, I think I'll just go mainline some chocolate and grab a box of tissues and sob..

Friday, May 15, 2020

My Unrequited Loves

Yes, Bowie and Crema are back. Previously I called them The Boy and The Girl but now I'm calling them Ash and Abigail.

They were adopted out by the shelter as "Spirit Cats" but the family that adopted them weren't quite ready for their nature. I give them immense amounts of credit for trying as hard and as long as they did but there were kids involved and I respect the decisions they made.

They were comfortable in the house, but still not comfortable with me. I tried harder and harder to make friends with them but I realized that was just making things worse so I started ignoring them. I show up, I give them treats, the wand toy gets waved around a bit..

and despite the looks I often get, as long as the grabby hands stay reigned in they are okay with me.

I love them so much.. even the looks they give me, even the snarling at me when I dare to offer treats a little too closely.. my heart aches to hold them and give them a good huffing.. but alas, that is not to be.

I thought I had a good placement for them, but it didn't work out, so these two are looking for someone who has it in their heart to hang out with a couple of really adorable kittens who like deli meat and do kinda want to be around you but have some serious PTSD when it comes to hands and towels.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Precious Metal Prints Nose Print Necklace of Muffin's Nose

A silver pendant with a nose print  in a box

Way too long ago I purchased a kit to make a nose print necklace from a promotion Precious Metal Prints did. I bought it with the intention of making a noseprint of Jack, but when the kit arrived we were attempting to sell a home and it sat in a pile of "these aren't bills" mail that got stuck in a box and I didn't uncover it until long after we moved and Jack was gone.

I was heartbroken and I wasn't sure what to do with it and then one day Muffin came up and stuck her nose in my ear for the millionth time and it seemed most appropriate to use her nose instead.

The kit came with what looked a bit like a contact lens case with a two-part white and blue silicone epoxy. You mix it together with your fingers until it is a uniform color and then "smoosh" your cat's nose in it (or dog, or whatever you would like)

I was least comfortable with that part, as Muffin wasn't feeling well at the time and the last thing I wanted to do was make her more so. The first time I tried I got a decent impression but she moved unexpectedly and I ruined the impression.

They warn you that the silicone sets up quickly, and I was able to try a second time which came out poorly so I tried a third. By that third time, it was becoming less pliable and so I decided to go with it, which is why the print isn't quite as defined as I would have liked.

I packed it back up in the packaging they sent along with it and sent it off. They returned it pretty promptly and I was thrilled with it.

the backside of a silver nose print pendant  from Precious Metals Prints
The back of the pendant
a close up of my cat's nose print necklace
a close up of the nose print pendant

I wore it for a few days after Muffin passed, but I remembered what happened to Susan Willett at a conference we went to a few years ago when a pendant she had for her blog Life with Dogs and Cats fell off and she lost it. I could not bear the idea of losing this and she was gone and I could not get another, so I have stored it away with her other keepsakes.

I am posting now because they have a 25% off sale currently going on if you use the discount code PETS that I found on their Facebook page. As of today, the price for a silver pendant is $79.99 with the code bringing it down to $60. They also have a gold option which is $109.99.

This is not a sponsored post. I bought the necklace and I thought it was something you would enjoy learning about and possibly buying for your own nose print. They also do fingerprints if you have a loved one you would like a keepsake of.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

The unannounced foster - Suri

Last month I saw a post by a kind of local rescue group on Facebook asking if anyone was willing to foster a kitty with chronic diarrhea. She was a nine-year-old kitty and the owners took the kitty to the vet multiple times trying to fix the problem and couldn't so they elected to rehome the kitty instead.

One look at that face on that post, and you KNEW I was a gonner..

*Not the actual FB photo

I mean, seriously..

Since I have a history of "curing" uncontrollable diarrhea with diet change alone, I literally didn't think twice about it. I saw that someone else had reached out to foster, so I figured it was superfluous, but still, I raised my hand and said I was available, even though I totally wasn't (my foster room was full)

Not sure how it all worked out, but I found myself driving nearly an hour and a half to pick her up at the vet. Not that I minded one little bit

When I met Suri, she climbed right up on my shoulder and snuggled in. Whenever I would hold her that is where she wanted to be. She had been suffering from diarrhea for over a year and was down to just under five and a half pounds. She was obviously tired and not feeling well but she was an absolute love. She had also been shaved due to some pretty severe matting. She still had some on the bits that were left long and we worked on those in the weeks that I had her.

The vet recommended food they didn't have on hand and medications they didn't have on hand, so I packed her up and brought her home and got her what she needed. Unfortunately, the food that was recommended she could not eat. I don't know why, as I was told she was kibble fed prior, but when she put it in her mouth it simply fell out (the vet said her teeth were fine). I offered her a can of food to see if it was the kibble that was the issue or if she just wasn't hungry and she scarfed the can down so fast she threw it right back up. It was then that I started her on the "Connie's protocol for diarrhea of unknown reasons" aka raw food. I was very fortunate that she loved it and took to it right away since she was nine years old and had a history of eating kibble and older kitties have a well-earned reputation of being "picky*" when it comes to food.

*they aren't being picky, it is a long complex set of survival skills, often combined with foods sprayed with flavorings that have actually been shown to be addicting. It is very complicated and picky is just too simple of a word, but this is a whole 'nother post, so "picky" will do.

Unfortunately, my homemade raw chicken diet didn't seem to help. She did put on a little weight, but the litter box was still far from good. Years ago, I had another kitty with gross stools and the holistic vet I worked with at the time recommended food with either pork or white fish because they were better for this sort of thing. (Honestly, I don't remember exactly what she said, if it was better digestible, or if they were "cooling" foods, etc.. she was awesome but it was a VERY long time ago) so I thought I would try a raw pork diet. Suri took to this as well.

In a few short days, there was marked improvement. Not great, but no longer puddles and the obnoxious amounts of gas in her digestive tract, that you could hear rolling through, were gone. She thrived on the diet, producing a solid looking stool pretty quickly after starting it and getting up over six and a half pounds*. I think she has a bit more healing to do and in time will put on a little more weight, but she was healthy enough to put up for adoption.

*The actual story is a little more complicated than this with a few more twists and turns and detecting to come to the conclusion I did, but this post is getting long enough and it really doesn't change things in the end

Suri continues to be a love.. I mean a "I have to have half an hour of snuggles before I will even consider eating" love. I mean a "you seriously have nothing better to do than to snuggle me so get down here now" love.

My heart both ached and rejoiced at the time I got to spend with her. Some of you might be wondering why I didn't share her with you while she was here. The truth of the matter is I simply could not bear to hear people tell me "oh, you should adopt her" or "Oh look at how much she loves you!! You can't give her up"

See, not only am I trying to not adopt right now - for several personal reasons - but because of her obvious food restrictions (we accidentally fed her chicken a couple of times and her gut had serious problems with it) she simply would not have worked out at Casa de Gato. I loved her, I love her still, I enjoyed every single solitary second with her and when time came to give her up it hurt.. badly.. (she went home with a few too many things so she would have a small bit of me for at least a little while)

Her new family reports she is loving on them as quickly as she loved on me. She was unimpressed with the family dog and found a nice sun puddle to lay in for a while. I am absolutely thrilled for her and am very glad she spent a small part of her life with me.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Sometimes adoptions don't work out - and that is okay

Hibiscus and Rooibos are back.  They are safe, happy, and adjusted back to the room after just a few minutes. I'm glad they are here.

I know a lot of people get really emotional when cats (or pets) are adopted and then returned, but I really think those people are doing a great disservice when they attack people for doing this. Not every match is a love match, not every energy is right for every home, and no matter how you think you know a kitten, cat, puppy or dog is going to act in their new home, it doesn't always go as planned.

Being adult enough to say "this isn't working and we want what is best for us AND the pet" and taking those steps to return the animal and give it a shot at home where it will be a much better fit. Owning a pet is at least a decade long commitment and it should be a complete and utter love match.

I look at this an excellent socialization "boot camp" for these two. I hated that I could not bring other people into my home to get them used to others. I also could not really take them out to "stress" them out to give them that

So not one negative word that they are back with me.  I am sure that they will find their right home quickly and in the end, everyone will be happy. Yes, there are times that "returning a pet" will put the life of the pet in danger, but I do believe that even then it is in the pet's best interest to have that shot at another home than staying in one where it becomes an obligation and not a member of the family.
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