cats · Duty · Gratitude · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important!

KITTEN TAILS PART VI

So, TINS, TIWFDASL….we, uh, no, I was NOT Fighting Disease And Saving Lives, rather, I was at home while TDW-Mark II recovered from surgery. (Thankfully, minor. Well, “Minor” from my perspective. I’m pretty cure that, for whoever goes under anesthesia and awakens with sutures and re-arranged body parts, ain’t no such thing as “minor” surgery!)

In any event, on my multiple rounds on TDW, I noted that there appeared to be two, or three, cats perched upon the bed. Should one depart, one would take station. The others would eat, play, loll about: typical cat stuff. The two, or three, “on watch” all appeared to gaze upon her, that is, if they were not snuggled up against her. Just as if they were, indeed, “on watch”.

Olivia appeared to be the one constant watch-stander. She was perched upon TDW’s pillow, and did not seem to move. Others would appear to rotate in and out, but Olivia was pretty constantly there.

When she (TDW) was up and about the next day, she commented about it. “Every time I opened my eyes, one or more of the cats was there, looking at me. I felt as if I had a couple of private duty, furry little nurses!”

Then she reminisced. “remember that time you had your GI bleed? The two dogs, and all three cats (at one time, my cat crazy was under better control….) were settled in all around you! They would only leave to eat, drink, and go. Then, they were right back.”

At that time, we developed the McFee Critter Triage System: if one animal is sleeping with you, that’s normal stuff.

If two of them, well, likely normal, perhaps not.

If three of them, The Spouse needs to take a closer look at things: it ain’t raht!

Four? When is your doctor appointment?

Both dogs, and all three cats? Call dispatch. It might take some explaining (“Ma’am? Did you just tell me that your emergency is that all five animals are sleeping on the bed with your husband? I…I..don’t understand..?”), but Bad Things are at hand. Do Not Dally.

Fortunately, TDW-Mark II recovered uneventfully.

Fun And Games Off Duty · Gratitude · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

KITTEN TAILS, PART THREE

Our Cat Farm grew, as Momma Kitty joined us. One autumn day, TDW-Mark II observed Momma Kitty come onto our porch, and eat the dry cat food we had been placing out for her. TDW opened the kitchen door, on this pleasant autumn day, and verbally invited Momma Kitty to enter, and get acquainted.

Much to our surprise, she promenaded into the kitchen. She next sat herself in one of the windows, and we could not convince her to move. TDW then retrieved our travel crate for the one dog, opened it, and Momma Kitty simply walked in, settled down on the dog bed, and looked at us as if to say, “Well? Do you think you are done?”

We secured the door of the crate, and realized that we now needed to find, and retrieve, her latest batch of kittens.

TDW (perhaps, by now, y’all have realized who is the brains of this operation. And, it’s not me, apparently.) had observed the dogs lingering over a particular potion of the porch, as surmised tha the kittens would likely be located underneath.

So, we accessed the underside of the porch, TDW entered, and passed out the two kittens she found therein. The first kitten, now know as Oliver, was a wee bit, and appeared to have a lesion of some sort on the back of his neck. (this later was identified by our vet as an abscess) The second kitten, now know as Trixie (due to the black and white, “cow camo” pattern of her fur, reminiscent of TDW’s pet cow from her childhood), appeared to have some sort of mucoid material from her one eye. We wondered if the litter had been larger initially, and suspected that the stimulus to bring Momma Kitty in might have been some predator (we have raccoons about) might have attempted to clean out the litter, and these two, and Momma, survived.

We cleaned them up, as a start, and arranged for vet assessment. Oliver got an antibiotic, and his abscess resolved. Trixie was another story.

The vet could not visualize her one eye, and voiced concern that this might be a viral conjunctivitis, and have a corneal ulcer associated with it. She wondered if this would, in fact, heal, or if, once healed, she would have no vision in that eye.

So, we became cat nurses. Trixie got her eye ointment twice a day. After several weeks, she improved. And, since curveballs seem to be my lot in life, one of the other cats appeared to develop pink eye as well.

Since conjunctivitis is wildly contagious, unsurprisingly the other cats developed it. To my surpirse, only 7 of our ten cat herd did so: the three oldest appeared to miss that fun. So, we drew a kitty MAR (medication administration record), and began twice a day sick call.

The bad news was that the biggest of the kittens Was Not Having the medication administration. That led to Sumo Cat “Parenting”, which is every bit as much fun as it sounds. Particularly for those of us who bleed freely. And do not have hind claws. Fortunately, TDW, wise in the ways of Catdom, determined that should we profit from the old aphorism “letting the cat out of the bag”, and place Reluctant Cat into a sack made of two retired pillowcases, his paws and claws would be neutralized, I could immobilize his head, and she could administer the eye medicine.

To Reluctant Cat’s credit, he either did not realize that he could readily gnaw the shit out of us, or else elected to let this insight pass by, unacted upon. In either event, he improved.

The good news is that, soon, we would corral Reluctant Cat, and his escape artist sister (previously referred to as the superball, or the furry bottle rocket), and medicate them.

That task accomplished, we would administer treats, in the form of canned cat food, which they seemed to very much enjoy. Then, we would open the bathroom door, to release them and seek the next contestants, only to find that there was a feline line up, and next two would walk in, apparently unworried.

We would shut the door, medicate (and chart) these two, and provide their reward/treat. Opening the door, those two would saunter out, and the next two would meander in. Shut the door, medicate cats, treat/reward cats, chart meds, open door, those two exit, and the next one would enter and be medicated, rewarded/treated, easy-peasy.

As the kittens became integrated into the pride, one adopted our older cat. (I told of Henrietta and Max in a previous note) We were surprised to see that, once Oliver was in the pack, he appeared to adopt Olivia, from the previous litter, as if he was her “pet kitten”.

The cuteness mounts!

Fun And Games Off Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important!

KITTEN TAILS, PART II

With regard to the three kittens, Momma Kitty, and their transition from feral cats to indoor cats, well, as you may expect, it was a bit of a tale. TDW-Mark II had determined that the kittens were in another of our window wells, and, judging that they had been weaned, figured that we ought to bring them in, before Momma Kitty drove them off to seek their own fortunes, elsewhere. So, my wife removed the window from one of the window wells, reached out and grabbed Kitten Number One, and placed this kitten into a pet carrier that she had staged nearby.

She reached for Kitten Number Two, and placed that cat into the carrier as well.

So far, so good.

It wasn’t until she reached Kitten Number Three, that it all went wrong. This cat developed into an avatar of Shiva, Destroyer Of Worlds: Bantamweight Division. Exploding into a whirlwind of fangs and claws, Number Three escaped TDW’s clutches, and caromed, cue ball like, about the basement.

And, it was on! TDW attempted to corner the kitten, only to discover that in some kitten academy they teach moves only seen in Kung-Fu movies. Number Three levitated, twirled, and spun away, !!JUST!! out of reach, only to come to rest (relatively speaking) beneath some appliance or another. Once, she had figured out how to access the kitten, she (the kitten) would bolt away, leaping, gazelle like, over another appliance, and then jet around like some furry bottle rocket.

Fortunately, kittens do not have tremendous stores of energy, and therefore, after more swearing and running around (on everybody’s part), Number Three slowed down, just enough, for TDW to throw a towel over her, and wrestle her (the cat) into the carrier.

We settled the kittens into the upstairs bathroom. We figured that accustoming the kittens to our presence would Do Good Things such as reduce the furry superball impressions that they enacted for our benefit, each time we attempted to handle them.

THAT took some time to show any effect. One of the kittens, subsequently named Olivia (due to her peaceful- think olive branch-disposition), rather quickly noticed the humans=food correlation, and even would purr when cuddled, and petted, in TDW-Mark II’s lap. Her twin, named Henrietta (after the chickenhawk character in the Foghorn Leghorn cartoons), soon followed suit, purring up a storm when she was petted and cradled in TDW’s (or my) lap. This, in keeping with her namesake, followed Henrietta’s looking at us, and emitting a kittenish snarl, as if to remind us, “I’m Bad!”

The third kitten, due to her exploding into a whirlwind of fangs and claws whenever one of us approached her, was named “Dynamite”. Dynamite slowly warmed up to us, even, eventually, sleeping on our bed.

That, however, followed our gradually introducing the kittens to the rest of the Cat Farm. We would place them in a wire travel crate, and then settle the crate (and kittens) into one corner of the dining room, where TDW-Mark II and I commonly spend our time. There, we could supervise and, occasionally, referee, the developing acquaintance of the kittens with the rest of the menagerie.

One of the older cats decided that he would wander over to say hello (or whatever cats say in such circumstances). He plopped his large self down near the wire, and spent time looking at the kittens, occasionally reaching in their direction with one paw.

Henrietta, true to her namesake, remonstrated with him, snarling with all the kittenish gravitas that she could muster. Which is to say, nearly silently, and not so very intimidating.

After several days of this, we opened the door of the crate, allowing them (the kittens) to wander. The older cat, Max, appeared to take upon himself the role of mentor/uncle, as, for example, Henrietta would burst into loud purring whenever she had the opportunity to curl up next to Max. He (Max) would play with the kittens, occasionally cuffing them as if to underscore his point of, say, “you are playing too rough!”