Sunday, March 13, 2011

I just brought our 4 month old foster kitten, Spitfire, back to the shelter for spay surgery and to go to the adoption floor. We had her for a couple weeks for socialization and while she recovered from an upper respiratory infection. Spitfire came from an overcrowded living situation and while she was used to having her owner around the house, she wasn't handled at all. She was a spitting, hissing ball of fluff. She's the fluffiest kitten we'd ever had and looked over twice her 4 pounds. Under all the fur, she was very skinny. She gained a whole pound while she was with us and is no longer underweight. She's also probably the most beautiful kitten we've had with her white bib and paws, brown tabby stripes on her legs and tail and tortie coloring elsewhere. She's officially a torbie in our computer system but I prefer tortie-tabby. She should be appearing on the AHS website later this afternoon and she can go home tomorrow.

I knew we'd be fine because while she hissed and growled, she never did anything else, so you could pick her up. The first few days, she mostly hid in her box with her ears flattened. She came out occasionally to rub against Alan's legs and would alternate hissing, growling and purring. I knew we'd be fine when I saw that and heard the squeaking of the bungee mouse hanging on the door of her room in the middle of the night. Alan wanted to call her "Sink" because she spent a lot of the first week hiding in there. We had to move our toothbrushes into the kitchen. This last week, she's been pretty much a normal kitten, chatty like many torties, and even trying to escape out of the room to see our dogs. Despite occasional hissing when she's caught by surprise, she's the most gentle and good natured kitten we've ever had. I never once had to deal with her playing with claws or teeth. Growing up with a big group of cats must have really trained her well!

I'll be working the Walk for Animals this year but am raising money with the Woodbury staff team. Please consider making a donation!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

I've held it in my hands now and it still doesn't seem real! My copies of the book arrived today. It's now available on the Aqueduct Press website: A Brood of Foxes . It is the 29th volume in the Conversation Pieces series and I'm honored to be included with such a wonderful group of writers. If you want a description of the novella, there's a good one at the link above. I have a very time describing it to people myself.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I brought two of the four kittens back to the shelter today for spay and neuter surgeries and to the adoption floor. We've had this group for a few weeks and have been through round and now lung worms with them. These two were the healthier and better body conditioned of the two.
The bigger female black one, Kerrigan, hit surgery weight last week by a hair and we decided to keep her until the grey one, Mulligan, caught up. They are now 1.78 pounds and 1.53 pounds. 1.5 pounds and good body condition are the minimum requirements for surgery. They will be available to be put on hold this afternoon (we close at 6:00 pm) and will be available to go home on Tuesday after the MLK holiday.

We had a great day today with the little, skinny male, Morgan, finally getting completely over his diarrhea and starting to put on body mass. The other one, Callaghan, is filling out nicely. I'm guessing I'll still have a couple weeks at least with them as they finish the de-worming treatment and their little bodies finish recovering. (Sorry about the photo--I'm not doing this from home and I can't seem to get the photo to display the other way.)

Sunday, January 09, 2011

I'll have a post about the new book shortly but in the meantime, here are foster kitten pics!

We've had this group about 2 weeks now. The solid grey and black kittens are doing pretty good and should be at spay and neuter surgery weight by next week. The two grey tabbies aren't doing so hot and will take a little longer. They've gotten the normal de-wormers and some extra panacur. Partway through we found roundworms. They got their second round of de-wormer and we hoped that was that.

The little ones still weren't gaining weight so we retested and today we found... lungworms! I hoping another, longer round of panacur (de-wormer) will take care of them, so we can get them onto the adoption floor and into their new homes.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

So, Ben just went back to the shelter today for neuter surgery and the adoption floor. Last night, he left me with some pictures I had to share. I'll post them in sequence, so you can see the developing fun.

I came into the bathroom last night and this is what I found. Someone discovered the toilet paper roll and holder!

What's this?

Now, like many of my kitten predecessors, I will help you remove the icky mauve plastic wall tile, too!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Foster kitten Smoke, who was still sitting at the shelter alone after his sister was adopted, was put on hold yesterday and taken home today. I got to say good-bye to him and meet his adopter.

Yahya went back to the shelter on Tuesday for neuter surgery after getting the go ahead from our vet. While I wouldn't say he is nice and plump, he is a slim but healthy weight. It was amazing to watch how quickly his wounds healed up. We were thinking the largest one would need stitches once the infection cleared but it closed up nicely on its own. It was about the size of a quarter when I brought him home and within two days it was dime sized and when I returned him it was a dot. Today, it's completely healed and his fur is already growing back. He has white, light orange and dark orange fur all in that area and it looks really cool growing back. There are still 3 small scars where the bot flies were removed which are bigger than anything left by the large wound. When I left today, he was curled up on his fleece blanket with his green hippo stuffed toy.

I brought Ben (in the photos!) home that same night I returned Yahya. He lagged behind his siblings in his prior foster home and they had to return him before going on vacation. He was steadily gaining weight in the shelter again so I have him for a while for weight gain. He's a tiny little thing compared to our last few but very loud.

The oldest of our classic editions, as Alan calls them, Tora the 14 year old brown and white tabby is really sick. We have him separated from everyone else in our bedroom, mainly to give him space from the crazy dogs. He kept up us the first couple nights because his breathing was so awful. His lungs are full of fluid. He sounds better after a few days of meds which brought his temperature down. The emergency clinic diagnosed an upper respiratory infection but it's much worse and without the nasal and eye symptoms we usually see with URI. We're not totally sure what is happening but he does have some kind of respiratory infection as well as a UTI and asthma. The x-rays showed a lot of fluid around his lungs and possibly his heart. I'm worried about how congested his lungs still sound but he's eating well and trying to escape the room, so he must be feeling better. It's crazy how quickly cats can go downhill. One day he's getting a little matted, which was new and worrisome, and the next he's agonal breathing. It must be their small body size. We will probably be going back in sometime this week if he continues to sound so horrible. He is a house cat but did manage to sneak out an accidentally left open door and was out for a few hours earlier in the week. He's looking a little scraggly in this photo and I think this is the first time ever that he's actually looked like an elderly cat. He's starting to get old cat skinny hips. After kidney stones 5 years ago and a small cancerous tumor removed 4 years ago, he's had a pretty awesome run of health. The cancer was most likely injection site located cancer which has a very high recurrence. We've been very lucky up until now.

Needless to say we are being very careful to practice good hygiene to protect both the kitten and the sick cat from each other. We always keep the fosters in a separate room that is well-cleaned between uses. So far, neither of the other two classics are showing any signs of illness.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Yesterday, I brought two kittens back to the shelter for spay and neuter surgery, a full week after their sister, the little fatty, Rosie, was adopted. Ember and Smoke, as of close time tonight, were both still available and showing up on the website. Ember has some of the most beautiful tortie coloring I've ever seen. Smoke is a huge cuddler and is also very pretty with black fur sprinkled with wisps of white. I kept them a little longer than I had planned because our surgery list was very long and crammed with other kittens earlier this week and I found out they both had roundworms.


I had hoped to get them back on Saturday so I could take Yahya home sooner. Yahya, a male orange and white tabby kitten came into the shelter a mess. Staff pulled 3 bot flies (cuterebra) out of his neck. (Don't google cuterebra if you are squeamish--they are the closest thing to Aliens I've ever seen!) He also had a large, wide open wound on his neck that was surrounded by necrotic tissue and infested in maggots. It may have been a bot fly hole that got torn and/or infected. He was skinny and scraggly and the most pathetic kitten I've ever seen. The bots were some of the largest we've ever pulled out of an animal and were probably making it difficult for him to swallow. I washed the wounds--Yahya was amazingly well behaved in what was basically a very intrusive and long bath with lots of probing of sore places--and the vet gave him something for parasites and prescribed an antibiotic. I learned that I'm really not that bothered by the creepy crawlies in the wounds especially since I told myself the maggots only attack dead tissue. (I found out later that that wasn't necessarily true but they did seem to be only around the dead tissue in this case.) Over the next week, the bot fly wounds healed quickly--it's amazing how quickly they heal--and Yahya had to put up with the vet debriding the large wound and daily cleaning.
By this past weekend, we were able to stop debriding. The scab is only about the size of a nickel now and it's surrounded by pretty new pink skin. He's still sloughing some of the dead skin but is looking like a kitten and not a walking wound now. During all of this, he was a trooper but he got a little scared of people since the treatment was probably painful. He's home with us now to gain some weight and learn to trust again. The vet thinks he only will need about a week before he can return for neuter surgery. We're hoping his testicles will deign to drop by then as he's now cryptorchid. (We originally thought he was a she because of that and who really wanted to subject him to more probing after everything he'd been through that first day?)