I hate it when senior kitties suddenly need to be re-homed. It's a tough sell to most adopters because many want a kitten. I was just alerted to the plight of Sweetie & Joy and they were just so lovely I had to post about them. The girls are not related, but are very bonded. Sweetie is almost 13 and Joy is 12. They're located in Woodstock, Georgia. Their owner has kept them up to date on shots, they are spayed and Sweetie is declawed.
Their owner contacted another rescuer and I'm sharing her email, below. You can see she wants the best for her cats and with a very sick husband, she has more than she can handle. I'm not here to judge her choices. I just want to help.
We are looking for:
This is Sweetie.
This is Sweetie napping.
This is Joy's belly. How do you do, belly.
This is Joy's cuteness.
-------------- This is from the kitty's current owner--------
I was just referred to you by my vet, where our 2 kitties, Joy and Sweetie have been receiving care, shots, and grooming for the last 5 or 6 years.
The reason I am writing you is that we can no longer take care of them. My husband, age 81, is quite disabled after a fall and pneumonia, and massive bleeds and other infections, and I am his caretaker.
He is allergic to cats and his lungs can't continue to tolerate the cat dander. And one of them likes to sit in his path, and he can't afford to trip on a cat and fall again (he takes coumadin for A-fib.)
They are both female and neutered. They love each other and sleep and play together, even tho I got them at different times.
I am overwhelmed with care of my husband and lack of sleep and can not care for the kitties like they should be taken care of.
Sweetie is the Himalayan, and I got her in fall of 1999 somewhere in Cherokee or Cobb county don't know because I had just moved here from Florida. No papers, but she is supposed to be the "real thing". She has been declawed. Her records are at the all at the vet, and I think I can find my file on them. She loves to sit next to me and will just hang around a person even when the person is napping, like watching guard.
Joy is the "main coon mix", and the two of them sleep wrapped up with each other. Joy was raised for the first 6 weeks by my son and wife and given to me in 2000. She has her toenails.
Both of them sleep most of the day, and watch us closely whenever we do something that is different than our normal schedule. They both like to live in a small room, eat in it and sleep in it and if we would leave their door open they could cry for us to come close it (meaning, at 6pm they are fed and run to their room and in the morning they are fed again and let out of their room).
They have lived in 3 different houses and adapt quite well. I have had kitties all my life and have never had one put down for convenience they all have lived to get old or get cancer or leukemia. Oh, they are indoor only cats.
The grandkids love to pet and brush them and play with them. After too much play tho, Sweetie will take a swipe at you, but will not walk away. They both like ice cubes in their water spoiled?
They do well when we go on vacations with a feeder and water feeder and a family member looking in on them every 4 days.
It would be WONDERFUL if they could go to a no-kill shelter. I know someone would consider them quite adorable and want them.
UPDATE: Jan 25, 2012: THESE GIRLS HAVE A RESCUE!
In trying to work more with my cat's social issues, one sign of things going in the right direction is seeing just about every cat in the house, on or near the bed. Sure, it's cold and I don't have the heat cranked. The only thing to warm up the room is a weak space heater and fluffy comforters on the bed, which act like a cat-magnet. There's little room for humans, but it's worth sleeping scrunched up to see them back on the bed.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. I'm sorry the video is so dark. Any attempt to lighten it up makes the image fall apart. Below is a still showing most of the crew.
Enjoy this little slice-of-life…
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. (Left to Right) Spencer, Gracie the dark blob in the front, to her right is Blitzen, then to his left and near the foot of the bed are Nicky & Nora. It's tough to see but the DOOD is behind Nora in a big cat bed on the storage chest at the front of the human bed. Petunia (unseen in photo) is to DOOD's left. All that's missing is Cricket and he has never come into the bedroom in his life. Maybe one day he will. Yes, that's a cow on the TV and a siamese cat TV lamp on the Art Deco vanity on the right.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Elfin-Spencer prepares his Holiday message by resting on the bed.
Spencer, the Mascot of Covered in Cat Hair would love to wish you a Warm, Happy, Safe, Joyful, Christmas, but I think all the Holiday planning made him sleepy.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Spencer is dreaming of a White Christmas, or a can of tuna, not sure which.
Make sure you have the volume turned up!
I don't want to go upstairs into the foster room. I dread opening the door and seeing only two kittens in the room when just an hour ago there were four...just two days ago there were six. This is what I've been waiting for-for the babies to be adopted, but this is the tough part of running a cat rescue; letting go.
Periwinkle & BlueBelle are adopted.
©2011 Maria S. Little Blue, Rescued!
Periwinkle and BlueBelle got under my skin in a big way. First, I'm a sucker for a fluffy cat; the fluffier, the better. Second, look at their EYES! The color of a new penny, copper, but just around the pupil is a tiny thread of lime. It's amazing. I've never seen eyes this color. I believe it's because the cats were born under a tree and the colors of the earth seeped into their bodies just after they were born. Those eyes put me in a trance.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Lovelier with each passing day, Blue.
They're both incredibly sweet. Blue reaches up to me on her hind legs. She wants to be held. She wants to lay on me and purr her musical purr. It's not a solid purr, rather it's got many off-key tones to it. It reminds me of Bob.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Those eyes!
They're so soft and velvety. It's that diet. Kill the grain and the coat goes insane. It's so soft it doesn't even feel like fur. As Blue lays against my cheek I can smell her. It's a slightly sweet smell. I like the feeling of her fur as it brushes against my nose.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Blue and Blaze.
More than anything, these two want to be loved and give love and they don't fear what's around the corner. Periwinkle dashed out of the foster room this afternoon and met Nicky and Gracie who were napping on the bed. Peri just purred and went over to each one and say hello. No one hissed. Peri went over to Gracie and sat next to her. Peri could be Gracie's daughter. Damn. It just made me want to keep her all the more.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Yes, Blue likes Harry Potter.
Why can't these cats be bad tempered? Why can't they bite me or hiss? Why do they have to be so pretty and affectionate? And of course, they love me so how do I give them up?
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Blue and Peri not long before their new family came to adopt them.
I did it for the children. The two girls who have dreamed of Peri and Blue since they met them at my last adoption event. The 12 year old, older sister, did a drawing for me of Peri and Blue. It shows her 9 year old sister dancing in a spotlight, as a ballerina, with BlueBelle at her feet. Off to the side, behind the curtain on the stage, is a self portrait with Peri sitting on a chair holding a sign in her paws that reads, "10." Peri is scoring the performance and felt it was top notch. I thought the drawing was, too.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Baby Peri.
Stacey, the girl's mother, told me they were singing a song about Kitten Associates that they made up. When the girls met the kittens, they were enchanted. Peri and Blue would be the first cats they ever had. I couldn't help but think how lucky they were to start their love of cats by having two such great companions and how lucky the kittens were to have two doting young ladies be their new best friends.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. What an amazing transformation!
I thought back about my first cat, a kitten named Sarafina. She was pure white and had blue eyes. We moved out of state shortly after we got her and she was boarded at a Vet until we got unpacked from our move. Something happened to her and I was told she died. She never grew out of kittenshood and I never found out if that was really what happened to her. I was only 5 years old, yet it still haunts me that I never got to grow up with her.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Who wouldn't love that face?
I can come up with all the reasons in the world why this is a good adoption, a good family who really cares about their cats. I know this is the right thing for the kittens, but I lost a little bit of my heart to them and I will certainly never forget them.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.
I have to focus on Truffles and Blaze. They need homes, too, and I need to make room. The Angel Babies will be here on Saturday. Four more kittens to fall in love with...four more kittens to find homes for. The familiar cycle begins again. My heart is heavy, but I know they'll help soften the edge of my sadness.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Peek-a-Boo! I see you!
To Blue and Peri, may you live a long life, full of love and joy, with a family who is devoted to your care and well being. I hope the sadness and confusion you feel today will fade into simple joy, looking out a new window onto a fresh, new world.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. I love her peach colored toe.
You survived a very long journey and met a lot of wonderful people whose love sustained you. You're ready to be with a family you can call your own. It's time. Farewell my sweeties.
It began simply enough. I was trying to take some photos of Mazie. She's taken to sleeping in the little basket that hangs off the cat tree. Most of the cats are too heavy for it. Nicky tried it once but the results were less than stellar (in his mind...to me the results were hysterical!). I need to update Mazie's photo for Petfinder. She's been here for almost a YEAR! We gotta get her a forever home!
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Umm...yes you are!
As I photographed Mazie, Spencer and the DOOD had to investigate. Mazie, content to literally hang out, wasn't bothered. I snapped a few photos, then noticed that Spencer and the DOOD were getting into a playfight.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Mellow Mazie in her hanging bed-basket.
Of course I had to capture the antics as long as no one was getting hurt and the fighting was kept to gentle bitch-slapping and not claws out and ready to rumble
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. You can tell it's Spencer by the overabundance of pouff.
What was almost as amusing as Spencer and the DOOD going at it was the fact that Mazie continued to sit there, unfazed by the the ruckus. Blitzen lurked in the background. He was probably smart to avoid getting into the middle of it.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Three cats, one cat tree. Now that's a good use of a cat tree!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Spencer and the DOOD begin warming up. Mazie just sits there.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The only thing missing is the sound of Spencer snorting while he tries to breathe and smack the DOOD at the same time. Blitzen's on the left. See him?
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Mazie? Are you just gonna sit there? I guess so.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Gotcha!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Gotcha big honkin' tail! (Hi Mazie! Still sittin' there!)
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Spencer's got that fed up look on his face (so does Mazie, it seems). This won't last much longer.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Shot looking UP from underside the second level of the cat tree. DOOD!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Spencer, the mascot of CiCH declares playtime is over. Time for the napping phase of the day to begin (again). I hope the DOOD leaves him alone! Mazie is STILL in the basket!
DoodleBug is passing the days, waiting to be out of quarantine. He still has seven more weeks to go, living in my blue bathroom until his FeLV test can be re-done and prove for once and for all he does NOT have Feline Leukemia.
Until that time, I've been trying to keep Doodles entertained, but I can't spend enough hours each day to play with him and the bathroom is dark, with only one small north facing window. I fear for Doodles mental health, but I must follow protocol. I can't risk some sort of freak test results where I got a true positive first and an unheard of false negative with the second test!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Mazie & Blitzen inspect the contents of the box.
I'm very lucky that there are many good people out there who care about what I'm doing. One such person is Amy Sikes. I've written about Amy before because she offered to take someone's cat (after reading about him on Covered in Cat Hair) when they had to move out of their home due to tough economic times. Amy ended up fostering the cat (named Cheese) much longer than she bargained for so I ended up helping Amy find a home for Cheese.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Directions with NO words to read! The small parts come in a velveteen bag!
Amy has also been donating proceeds of her Avon sales to my rescue group, Kitten Associates. This month, she's helping our friends at Diabetic Cats in Need! It's clear, Amy is devoted to helping cats everywhere!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Blitzen inspects every inch.
When Amy heard about Doodles confinement and my wish for him to have a cat tree, just the right size for the bathroom, she contacted me right away and said she would take care of it!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Trying to get the hang of this new-fangled doohickey.
Sure enough, a few days later, a big box appeared at my front door. In it was a very nice cat tree from Armakat! The bonus for me was that this time I didn't have to build it when I had PMS! (Yes, I wrote about building a cat tree when my hormones were out of whack-see HEREand HERE if you want to laugh your butt off.)
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Locked on target!
This was the easiest cat tree I've ever had to build. Every part was marked. The directions were clear. I built it in a few minutes, though Blitzen could not keep off the thing as it was being constructed. He thoroughly examined and tested every piece. I guess Doodles should have been happy his maybe-some-day-big-brother vetted the cat tree for him.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Showin' off now!
When I was done building, I had to drag the thing into the bathroom. Doodles was shut up in a cat carrier so he wouldn't get under foot, but he was going nuts wondering what the heck I was doing to his room!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The Dood & His Cat Tree.
I got the cat tree in place and let Doodles out. He RAN over to it and began furiously raking his claws up and down the sisal covered supports. He began to PURR very LOUD. I swear he was smiling.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Test driving going well so far...
He went over to just about every sisal covered post and scratched it, hugged it, climbed up, then fell down, then scratched some more.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The claw master!
After a few minutes he jumped into the cat condo and ripped at that for a time. He was very amped up, that's for sure!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Action shot! Look at that white tip on his tail!
Even though Doodles is small, he managed to climb all the way to the top of the cat tree, which is about six and a half feet tall. He looked down at me, smiling, still purring. He batted at the toys I attached to the platforms. He scratched the posts again.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.
He just couldn't get enough.
Seeing “The Dood” so happy made me feel a lot less stressed out about having to keep him in such a small space. Though the cat tree takes up a bit of room, Doodles gains vertical space, interesting spaces and plenty of area to rake those claws and help him manage his stress.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Chillaxin'
It meant a lot to me that someone cared about Doodles as much as I do and wanted to make his life better during this tough time.
What was even sweeter was that another good friend, Ingrid King, of The Conscious Cat, contacted me. Her cats Ruby and Allegra also wanted to get Doodles a cat tree, but when they found out he was getting one, they decided they'd like to buy some toys for The Angel Babies and Amberly's family, when they get here in a few weeks.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Flying meatball?
I had to throw out all the toys and bedding to prevent any upper respiratory or ringworm from spreading, so I really need more for the kittens and it's just great to know that when they get here, I'll be able to provide those things for them thanks to Ingrid's generous cats!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. THANK YOU FOR MY CAT TREE!
If The Dood could talk, I know he'd say; “Thank you, Amy! I love my new cat tree!” But I fear he'd also say; “Robin, why are you locking me in the bathroom? You suck!”
I'm glad cats can't talk.
If you'd like to do some shopping for yourself or your family, visit Amy's Avon Page and the proceeds will go to Diabetic Cats in Need! We thank Amy for her continued support of cats everywhere-especially The DOOD!
I think it's almost a given, that when something bad happens, we try to make sense of it. Give it a reason for being, so we can learn to accept it. Then there are times when it's just so bad, there is no sense to be made.
Yesterday afternoon, I called my Vet to see if Doodlebug was ready to be picked up. I had dropped him off that morning and he just needed some tests, a shot and a wellness exam. If you're going to do cat rescue, you must NEVER bring a cat into your home without it going to the Vet, FIRST. Considering all the creeping crud out there, you can't be too careful.
Doodle looked great, perky, nice weight. I didn't worry that anything was wrong with him, but when it took 6 minutes of being on hold to just find out a pickup time, I knew something was up. Instead of one of the Vet techs picking up the phone, it was Dr. Larry. His voice had a serious tone. Normally we would joke around, but not this time.
He didn't mince words.
Doodlebug tested POSITIVE for Feline Leukemia.
WHAT??!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!
I felt lightheaded, like I was going to faint. I tried to muster up the courage to ask him what this means. When I was a kid, two of our family's cats died from it. Dr. Larry said what I had heard from other folks who do rescue, that although it is a “strong positive,” that there is a CHANCE that in time, Doodle's immune system may kick in and he will re-test, negative. This result means he was EXPOSED to the virus, not necessarily that he HAS it. It's called, Primary Viremia. You can read more about it on Cornell's excellent resource guide for Feline Leukemia If so, there are no more concerns for this cat's future. If he re-tests positive, you have to wait and re-test again. All in all, I may have to wait for up to SIX MONTHS to really be sure one way or the other.
But Feline Leukemia is very contagious and fatal and I have an FIV+ cat with cancer and eight other cats in my house. What am I supposed to do now?
Do I have to EUTHANIZE Doodlebug? I could barely ask the question. I had to sit down. My legs went wobbly. I was in shock. I didn't want to know the answer.
I can barely even type that word: euthanize. The thought of me KILLING a KITTEN, when my life is devoted to SAVING their lives,? It's absurd! I would NEVER do that! How could I do such a thing? But what about my own cats? Does bringing Doodle into my home, mean a DEATH SENTENCE FOR MY OWN CATS?
We talked about isolation. Re-testing. Doodle does NOT have to be euthanized today, but it may have to happen at some point. IF he was at a shelter, guess what, he would be dead. I get it. This is not something you want around a lot of other cats.
But I was VERY WORRIED about bringing him into my home. I wished I had a separate building to bring my fosters now, more than ever, but I was stuck. At least I HAD a room to put him in that was isolated from the rest of the house.
I had figured Doodle would be in the blue bathroom (as we call it), for a few weeks, then I'd let him meet my cats and he could run around and have a good time until he got adopted. Now I may have lost that space for fosters until 2012!
I could make SURE Doodle was locked up, change clothes after I handle him and wash my hands well after each visit, too. If I could keep my own cats away, the Feline Leukemia virus does not live for more than a few hours in the environment, so as long as there are no shared dishes, litterpans or contact, it increases the odds my cats will be all right.
He will be ALONE in that bathroom for a very long time.
I hung up the phone and called out to Sam. I told him the news and I could see his shoulders slump as he processed the information. He had a crush on this little kitten, too. I could see it broke his heart. We spoke about our options, about what this might mean for our own cats and for Doodlebug. I started to cry, but I was late for a meeting and I had to figure out how to not be sad, be businesslike and deal with this later. I asked Sam what we should do. We had few options. Sam said; "We don't give up on him. That's what we do. I will go get him and bring him home.”
So now what I thought was going to be an easy rescue, has become much more complex. What I thought I could afford has become a challenge. The bathroom where Doodle will live is small and has a small window. I would like to buy Doodle a cat tree so he can sit up high and look out the window, as well as have a place to climb and a way to de-stress because it will have nice, tall sisal legs to scratch.
I contacted Doodle's former owner and told him he must contact the person he got the kitten from and let them know the news and to get that cat tested for Feline Leukemia. I also told him that if he had Doodle around other cats, that those cats needed to be tested, too. I would have LIKED to tell him that I also would have appreciated it if he warned me that Doodle was trained to use a human's hand as a TOY and that he will haul off and bite and grab your arm or leg-a behavior I will be working to correct.
I didn't hear back from him. I'm not surprised. Doodle was on the road to becoming a very unpleasant cat to live with. You wouldn't be able to pet him without him getting excited and biting. When he weighs four pounds, it's one thing, but when he grows up, it won't be a lot of fun to have him around. I would bet money that this was the real reason they got rid of him-not that their kid was allergic, but that the kitten was growing too aggressive from how they mis-handled him.
All in all, I'd have to say that my first CT cat rescue under the Kitten Associates moniker was about as bad as it could be. I have to think that in trying to make sense of this, I had to save Doodle, so I can help him be a good kitty-citizen, learn to be gentle and give him all the tools to have every chance at being healthy and living a good life.
For the record, if there is one someone's keeping out there, I will never put Doodle down.
I'm in trouble. A lot of trouble!
I get emails and calls every day about cats needing a new home. Their owners give them up because they are suddenly allergic to them, or they're moving and their new landlord doesn't allow cats (so why MOVE THERE?!) or they've fallen on tough times or they just found the cat on the street. Whatever the reason, they're out there. So many there's no way I could even make much of a dent by saving one cat, but heck, it makes a difference to that cat.
I admit it. I was missing MacGruber and Polly. The house is silent without them running around. Okay, I don't yell much any more either, since the two of them were pretty good at getting into trouble, but I MISS it, you know? Also, my own cat, Blitzen is very sluggish and sad. He has no one even close to his age to play with and he just follows me around the house now.
©2011 Wei H. Photo from Craigslist Ad.
So I felt weak. I got an email from our local rescue group mailing list. It was a copy of a Craigslist ad for a Free kitten, 2-3 months old. Litterbox traiend. That's it. No other info. Craigslist doesn't allow postings like this so they aren't up for very long-which means, the contact info of the person who wrote the ad, is not valid for more than a day or so. The rescuers try to intercept these ads and get those animals help because the people giving the cats away are giving them away, unvetted, not spayed or neutered!!!, and to just ANYONE, so those cats could be harmed or worse.
Many times these cats are kicked outside to fend for themselves if the ad doesn't work. So, I replied to the ad. Did they need help with the kitten? A few days passed. I got an answer. YES, they needed help.
Oh dear, now I actually have to do something! Okay...my foster room is booked. Phil will be here from Georgia on Saturday. My only other space is my bathroom. I guess that will have to do. If this cat isn't as advertised or is nasty, I might have him here for a long time. It's very tough to take on something without having any idea of the outcome. You're responsible for a LIFE. YOU have to choose, if this cat can be adopted and what the heck to do if it's a mess!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Cutie!
In a month, I'll have Amberly's family here, then The Angel Babies, so this little kitten BETTER be adoptable and I better be able to get him neutered in time-knowing that the S/N Clinic near us always books out this time of year-at least a month. Oh boy...well...It's a risk worth taking, I think.
Then there was the family...I have to say dealing with them did not go smoothly at all. First, they blew us off after we went to all the trouble to make a vet appointment, get the room ready, and get ourselves in the car to meet them, then they say they can't be there for 2 more hours! So we re-scheduled and while we were on the road, anyway, we went to Target to buy a new litter pan for the kitten.
Then they didn't want to sign the Surrender form, which would protect us should they ever want the cat back and find we had already adopted him to another family. That was announced in an email I got at 1am this morning. They said NO, we will just not bring the cat if we have to sign the paper.
So bleary-eyed and half asleep I had to try to "nicely" tell him in my reply, not to worry. That it was a common thing to sign off on and that it was just so that WE were not sued if THEY didn't like where the cat went after they gave it to us. At 8 am he wrote me back saying; OK, thanks for explaining. See you at 9:35 AM.” Yes, 9:35 AM, not 9:30 or 10...hmmm...odd.
Sam and I were both sure we would never see the kitten.
We pulled into the Park & Ride off I-84 to wait for the owner, who I didn't know anything about other than he had an Asian name, to bring the kitten. A car was already there waiting even though we were 15 minutes early. There were two Asian ladies in the car, one waved at me. I waved back. Their windows were open. I thought it was strange. I didn't see a cat carrier. I got out of the car and said hello. Turns out they waved at the person in the car BEHIND us and did not have the kitten! Oops. I live in a pretty much “New England Yankee” sort of demographic area so what were the odds we'd see another group fitting the same heritage as the owner of the kitten?
At 9:30 AM, an SUV pulled up. Definitely our guy. He got out of the car and smiled, then went to get the kitten. They had closed him up inside a small, covered CAT LITTER PAN. It was clean, but really? No holes in it to breathe? Sam took the litter pan and got in the car to transfer the kitten into our cat carrier. The guy gave me the paperwork signed and I signed it, too. I asked if there was anything I should know about and he, in a round about way, said the kitten peed on soft things when they first got him. Did they give him a litter pan? I don't know. Then he said he used the litter pan, but was weird about telling me if the cat pees on soft fabric that's on the floor, like a rug or cat bed. May have a litterbox aversion issue. Other than that, he said the kitten was fine.
©2011 Sam Moore. Meet DoodleBug!
He never told me the cat's name. He didn't give me any of the leftover food, if there was any. I asked him if they fed the cat. His mother said something in Chinese, not sure what, but he nodded at her and said the cat was fed breakfast. That was it. No remorse, no sadness, not even a goodbye to the kitty. No donation to provide for the cat's vet care, which I had asked for a few times. Oh well.
They left just a few minutes after they arrived. I got in the car and looked inside the cat carrier. That was it. I was “done.” What a sweet little face was looking at me from inside the carrier. When we got to Dr Larry's I took him out. He was purring. He was FLUFFY. He has a little white TIP on his stubby black fluffy tail! He didn't mind being held. His fur was very soft.
Sam almost whined at me. He wanted a turn holding the little guy! So we traded. He nibble at Sam's whiskers, then got a bit over excited so we put him back in the cat carrier. Lauren came out and we took the kitten out and put him on the countertop. He calmly explored this new place and I saw his butt. It was just the right amount of FLUFFY. He had that cute little butt-wiggle when he walked. Oh shit, I'm in trouble.
I think I'm in love.
Anxiety plays out in my stomach most of the time, but today I could feel it in my chest as my heart beat hard and fast-“thump, thump, thump!” It was time to pack Bob into his cat carrier and drive to Cheshire, the town name I find rather ironic and/or amusing. There we would meet Dr. Weisman at the VCA Cheshire Vet Hospital. As much as I needed to get this meeting to happen, I struggled with wanting to go to bed and stick my head under the covers. I didn't want to know how she felt about Bob's prognosis or whether or not he'd make a good candidate for surgery.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob circa 2008. This is why we love Orange cats!
I was pretty sure, after talking many times to Dr. Larry, that I'd hear: “Well, Bob is a senior with FIV+ and the mass is large and, you know, he probably wouldn't even survive the surgery and maybe it would be best to just send him home to be loved and let him go to The Bridge.”
Dr. Weisman was surprising. She was upbeat and listened, she is quick to understand a situation and she explained things clearly. Bob IS a good candidate for surgery! Yes, he has a liver mass, but his other organs, including his heart and lungs are working normally. His blood test is really quite GOOD, if you don't count the glaringly sky-high ALT value.
She didn't want to do the surgery to prove anything. In fact she said she's not a “hero.” She's not going to go in and try to remove the biggest liver mass ever seen. If it's dangerous, she's not going to do it. She said a few times, she is there to do what is BEST FOR BOB-NOT what is BEST FOR ME, HER, ANYONE. I really admired her for saying that and appreciated it. That's all I want.
She told me she'd open him up, take a look. If he was a mess, full of cancer, she would close him up, send him home to spend his last hours or days or weeks with us. If he wasn't full of cancer, if the mass is on the part of the right lobe (there are THREE lobes on the right of the liver!) she thinks it's on, it would be something she could remove. If it's NOT and too risky to remove she may biopsy it to find out if it's benign.
As it has been since we found out Bob had a liver mass a week ago, there are no firm answers, only the okay to go to the next step. We've reached the place to decide and in the end, there really was no decision to be made. Bob will have a better life without the mass. If it can be removed, we will have that done. If not, we'll at least know what we're dealing with and Bob will have the best, most comfortable end-of-life we can provide for him.
If we did nothing, Bob would slowly decline further and further and die. If we do something, Bob can have quality of life. We did not talk about how much MORE life, but it will be more...
And it's going to cost. It's going to cost a lot of money. Between $3500-4500. Sam and I aren't having Christmas this year due to our lack of finances, but we will find the resources we need to make this happen for Bob. It's not foolishness. It's not "just a cat." It's a living creature who is in pain. If we have the ability to do this for Bob, then we will. Money will never be something that is more important than LIFE. That is just wrong.
At the end of my own life I never want to look back and feel like I didn't do right by my cats because of fear and because of a buck. If I have to go without some things, that's fine. I will still have a roof over my head and food in the panty. It will be okay. It will suck to have to spend this money, but so be it.
Sunday, the foster cats arrive from Georgia. My house is going to be full up with craziness. Monday Bob has surgery and hopefully by Wednesday he will be coming home to recover. It may mean Christmas Eve at the ER Vet. It may mean a sleepless Holiday, but hopefully it may end up meaning, that what I really wanted for Christmas, I have a chance at getting. I just want Bob to be well and to stay with us for as long as he can manage. We're not ready to say goodbye and I think he still has a lot of life left.
Bob Dole proved it to me as we were about to leave the Hospital. We walked past another client who was bringing his Golden Retriever into the waiting room. Bob took one look at the dog and HISSED LOUD!
THAT'S MY BOY!