Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Quarantine" is the pits!

OK, this is yet ANOTHER stray kitten story...

On Saturday afternoon, as Charles was off to do an errand and I was standing on the porch watering plants, a kitten walks towards us from across the big part of the front yard. We watch. She is limping or having trouble walking and both of us just stand there quietly, knowing that this isn't going to be good. The kitten, a rust, black & white calico reaches Charles first and he pats her and says to me, "He's in rough shape." Bad words. I walk over and not only is the kitten in bad shape, it is asking for help. I could tell. This is when a cat who would normally take it's time to get to know you, if at all, will walk right up to you and look at you. They are in trouble and are looking for help. Charles called it "buddy" a few times so I assumed that he "saw" something to tell him it was a boy. (Little did we know that almost all calico cats are girls.) I felt the cat and it was very emaciated and the first thing I do while Charles pets it is to get food and water. I don't care what the implication is, I would NEVER, EVER, NEVER, EVER let an animal walk away from me that needed food. I couldn't live with myself. Yes, I know the "they'll never leave" mantra. I've heard it a lot from Charles throughout our years together. And guess what, sometimes they DO leave. Sometimes they are just bumming a free meal and move on. And guess what else, sometimes they stay for a couple of weeks and then move on. And, yes, sometimes they do stay. Walter and Luna are the only ones that we've actually kept from a situation like that. Two! That isn't too shabby of a record for a certified stray-helper like myself. (In case you are wondering we are not keeping Jack or this new arrival! They are both looking for good homes, so if you want a cat, let me know!) But I digress in my story here...sorry.

Back to the kitten at hand.

Here she is. You can see that her eyes look terrible. They were watery, milky and had white, floating spots. Her nose was clogged and drippy. It was hard for her to breath, and sometimes it was very a very loud, congested breathing. Her tongue would just loll out of her head every now and then, she was covered in big, poky burrs, she was also covered in her own runny poop and what I thought was some blood too. You can just imagine how gross and stinky she was. Her meow was so pitiful and when she purred it seemed like a great effort. She didn't want to eat any of the dry food I offered, but when I gave her some canned food, she set to. I think that even Charles knew better than to say his famous words, "If you feed her, she'll never leave." She was just too bad off to ignore. He did say that we couldn't keep her, but that was understood, honey! He has to grumble a bit!
Well, we debated on what to do. He called our local SPCA in Wellsboro. They refused to take him. I don't really have a comment about that other than I thought that is what they are there for. I contacted a sweet friend who volunteers at her local SPCA and got some advice from her. Besides giving me the names of some shelters in NY who WOULD take her, she also said that she would have a better chance at the shelter if she went in as a healthy cat. So after more talking with Charles we decided that we could nurse her back to health, hopeful that whatever she had didn't mean that she'd have to be put down. Of course, there was a bit more grumbling from the Charles camp, but just in case you think I have to really push at this cause, refer to the below photo...
I hear Charles talking to someone on the porch late Sunday afternoon. I peek out there and the kitten is sitting on Charles' lap in the rocking chair. He is petting her and saying things like, "It's gonna be OK buddy (he still thinks it's a boy) we are gonna get you some medical help." or "You'll be safe here. We'll keep you safe." and "Don't worry. It'll all be fine. We love 'ya!" Should I tell him that if you tell a cat that you love it, it'll never leave?" HA! When I asked him what he was doing he said, "He just looked like he needed some love and attention. Jen, he has NO place that is his place to "BE". He just looked sad." (Yeah, I know that I have a wonderful, animal loving husband!)

SO! I had an appointment the next day at the vets to get Jack his booster shot and I think I'm gonna either piggy back new kitty or let her go in Jack's place. Our vet has been super busy lately (I think she needs a partner, but who am I to say?) and I was worried they wouldn't take her. They did and this cat was much sicker than we thought. First and foremost, she tested negative for FIV and FelV which is GREAT. She was covered in fleas-immediate Capstar. Yes, she is very underweight. She and Jack are about the same age-Jack weighed 7.8 lbs, she weighted 4.1 lbs. She had an infection which was causing the eye running, nose dripping and congestion. AND she had parasites which was also in the eye and causing the runny poo. What was the most amazing to all of us, the vet included, was that after a very long eye exam, he determined that she had worms IN HER EYES! He said it was very rare (he had never seen it live in a cat) and that they were there because the worms in her body had migrated to the wrong or "abnormal" spot. He couldn't even remember the word for it. So kitten got put on three meds-one easy liquid 2x a day, eye salve 3x a day and a very weird powder that has to be mixed, suspended and given orally thankfully only 1x a day but for 5 days, then wait three weeks and do 5 more. New one for me. What the doctor really stressed is that she is highly contagious. Both to the critters and to us. He asked if we had diarrhea. Yikes! So she had to be but in quarantine. I had four choices: #1-Keep her outdoors. I didn't like that option one bit because she might leave, might run into Luna out there, Luna might eat out of her food dish, food dish on porch and bears is a no-no, and on and on. #2-Put her in the garage. Not a bad option, but I really didn't want to walk around outside at 1:30am to go for the late-night med run. #3-Set her up in a bathroom. Runny poop? 'Nuf said? #4-Put her in the unfinished basement. I have a wonderful pet playpen (a million thanks to Vickie for that recommendation years ago) that I use for the dogs as a winter potty. It was still set up in the basement, so I just lined it with a tarp, folded up boxes, sheets, old towels, a soft and fuzzy rug, a kitty litter, food bowl and a bed. All that stuff is gonna have to be burned when we are done with this, but that's OK. I laid long shelf boards across the top and at first thought that she wouldn't have enough strength to push through. Wrong. She got out quickly, so now the boards are loaded down with heavy stuff so she can't escape. I feel so bad with her stuck down there. Every time I go down for either a med or a social visit she just wants to be loved or held. Both of which I have to do in my homemade HazMat suit! But she is cozy, doesn't have to worry about anything except resting and getting better. I guess if she was at a vet's office in one of the cages she wouldn't have as much space and she'd have all the stress of barking dogs in other cages. So, the Taj Mahal it isn't, but it at least is somewhere she can call home. Until we find her that "forever home"!


  1. I would have done the same thing. I believe she is now yours, lol.

  2. Jen, Jen, heart is aching for this little kitty. You're an angel and so is Charles. I really hope you get to keep her, as she is yours, now. All 8 of mine are rescues, but only tow have such sad stories such as "Jackie" - now that she is a girl...LOL. Can you feel your halo glowing??????????????

  3. No glowing halo, but we did decide to call her Matilda!