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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Zach's Great Adventure

Saturdays at Petsmart are quite exhausting.  It's a lot of standing around, waiting for people to walk by and look at "your" cats and kittens, falling instantly in love with one, and adopting it on the spot.  And, talking to lots of people just looking, parents who are allergic to cats but bring their kids up to pet kittens, and the people who just love cats and want to see who's new and who got adopted since last week.  Some of the regulars know the cats' names better than I do! 

I load my crates in the Highlander on Friday afternoon.  On Saturday morning, it's hard staying one step ahead of the cats.  As soon as they even see a carrier or my Heartland t-shirt, they're under sofas or on top of cabinets.  On Friday I make a list of what cats I want to take and what crate they go in.  I can stack three crates on the rolling platform John made.  On Saturday morning, it's easy to get the ones in a bedroom, but finding the particular cats that are loose in the house is a challenge.  When I can't catch the ones I want, I have to change cats, but be sure that the two or three in each cage will get along for the next five hours in very close quarters, in a loud and noisy store, with strange people, kids, and dogs walking around, music playing, and strange smells.  I leave my crates set up in the car, but wouldn't be able to lift the crate in or out of the car if it had three adult cats in it.  So, unless they're small, two cats go in a carrier, and one is in the crate, and then I put the carrier in the crate, too during transportation.  It comes out so I can lift the crate out of the car easier.  Then it all gets unloaded in the store parking lot, wheeled in the store, wheeled out, and repacked.  I drive 10 minutes home, unpack cats, unload crates, etc.   Jeez, I needed a drink and two Advil.  I wasn't feeling very well today.  Just a backache and a queasy tummy.   I know pill directions say not to mix the two, that "alcohol may intensify."  I was counting on it.

So, having done all that, and standing for five hours, I'm now on the deck with my cats, my Kindle, and a bottle of Mike's Hard Berry Lemonade.  Drinking out of the bottle makes me feel like I'm really drinking an adult beverage.  I hear a noise on the canopy, look up expecting to see Lilly, but see Zach instead, looking at me through an 18" hole in the canvas.  The canopies only last three years and this was the third year, so it's pretty fragile at this point and has several rips and holes.  I told him to get down, and I could swear I heard him mutter, "Yeah, right."  He then jumped up onto the roof of the house.  My only explanation for how my little brain didn't register that the edge of the roof and the top of the canopy were 12" apart, or how a cat could easily go from one to the other is that the canopy is UNDER the eave and I can't see the roof, so therefore, it doesn't exist.  Then he disappeared.  I threw cat treats on the kitchen floor to clear the cats off the deck, then treats on the deck, shouting Cookies, Cookies, to entice Zach, who is still gone. 

I grab the camera and head to the back yard.  No Zach on the roof.  Walked up the hill to the front yard, no Zach.  Back down the hill to the back yard, no Zach.  He has to be here somewhere!!!

Back up the hill to the front yard - and there he was.  I snapped the picture and wondered how I was going to get him down?  Then, I wondered how was I going to explain to Cheri that one of my fosters jumped off the roof and ran away. 

Before I could take a second picture, he ran up the roof and over the peak to the back.  I sure didn't need this today.  This time I went in the house.  I would wait on the deck for him to come back.  Chasing a cat only adds to his adventure and makes it more fun.  Guess who was there waiting on me.

Like he'd never been gone.  Never put his mama through hell and a heart attack - not to mention the Exercise!  Like he'd been laying there all afternoon.  Poor thing looks all tuckered out. I'm going to cut the canopy off of the part closest to the house.  I only need the other half for shade.  I don't want to take it down, yet, because this is the perfect deck-reading weather.  I put Zack in the house, reclaimed my lounge, Kindle and not-so-cold drink, which I drained, anyway.  I think I may have closed my eyes for half an hour, too.  It was getting a little cool outside, so I went downstairs and sat with John while he watched cooking shows and soccer.  I think I closed my eyes again, just for a couple minutes.  Somewhere I heard John ask if we were still going to the party.  Yeah, I'd love to leave my recliner, go change clothes, try and do something with my hair, put make-up on and be ready in....30 minutes!

John's been going with his friend, Hank, out to a shooting club on weekends for a couple years.  Hank has all kinds of guns and ammo, and won't let John pay him for anything, so we try to take them to dinners occasionally.  The club has four competitions during the summer.  John usually places in the top four out of 25 or 30.  He even came in first place once, beating the two-time national champion.  This party was the season-ender awards party at one couple's house.  John came in 3rd place for the year and got a framed certificate.  Pretty cool.  The MC explained that the scores were very high and close this year and that he'd compared them to some national scores for the same event and that their club had higher scores.  So, John is shooting at a National Level!  Pretty good for someone who doesn't even own a bullet, much less a gun. Congratulations, Sweetie!  We had a great time and stayed till midnight! 

We also got stopped in a police checkpoint just as they were towing somebody's car off.  John'd only had diet Pepsi, so we were good.  This was my second checkpoint stop.  Ree and I were coming home from a quilt guild meeting about 10:30 one Thursday night and had to stop.  When they saw us and heard "quilt guild meeting" they waved us through. Rather insulting.  They think older women who make quilts don't drink!  They should be at one of our quilt retreats.  One of which is coming up in 15 days.  Woo Hoo!!!  Fifty hours of not fixing food, doing laundry, cleaning, shopping, errands, and scooping.  I'll miss my cats and kittens, but I know John's taking good care of them.  Nobody can starve in 2 days, and they all drink out of the toilets.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Delcy's Milk Problem

A recent post told about Delcy and trying to get her very large boobs dried up.  The cabbage leaves worked while they were wrapped on her, but the problem, too much milk, came back.  I know all the websites and people who know say to separate mom from the babies so she dries up.  Poor Delcy was separated, but not drying up.  I felt so sorry for her and followed my gut instinct, and let her back in the room with her 8-week-old babies and two slightly older kittens.  It was the only way I knew to give her some immediate relief.  Well, the kittens sucked her dry in less than 5 minutes and she was flat as a pancake.  I've let her in to nurse several times and she is much better and seems to be drying up on her own.  She also loves being back with her kittens, and especially with Bridgette.  I know Bridgette has missed her, too.  They rub all over each other.

All you can see of Delcy is part of her head and an ear next to the white kitten, and one leg on the far right.

Pet Bed Covers

After years of washing the cat beds when the hair got too thick, I had to come up with something better.  I made fabric covers for my plush cat beds, and they work great.  They're like bowl covers and shower caps.

The pile fabric the beds are made with is very soft, but it holds the hair like velcro.  The cotton fabric I use, being smoother, is easy to clean.  A damp paper towel rubbed over the fabric is great for removing the hair before tossing the covers in the washer. 

 This is the underneath side.  This cover is a little loose, but the fabric hasn't been washed or dried, yet, and may shrink slightly.  I pull the 3/8" elastic tight and use a wide zig-zag stitch to sew it on.  About every 5-6", I'll make a 5/8" or so pleat in the fabric as I sew the elastic over it.  The outer edge of the covers are just too big to have the elastic gather it enough to fit well.  A cover that is too big is better than one too small.

 These are two covers I made last week for the small beds we use in the crates when we take our fosters to Petsmart on Saturdays.  I give some to the other foster moms, too, and am told they love them.  It's also a great way of using up my older fabric.

Almost before I could take the pictures, I had cats wanting to try them out. Xena is in front, Cody and Lilly in the beds, and Ebony waiting on the chair.  My cats must not be too bright.  Cody is in the pink bed and Lilly is in the blue one.
This is a larger bed.  I have patterns made for 4 sizes of beds.

The covers take a lot more fabric than you think.   Here is a small bed that measures 14" x 17".  The fabric for the cover is cut 31" x 34", and takes almost a yard of fabric.  I've been cutting the leftover fabric from the corners into 2.5" and 3.5" strips and in squares from 2.5" to 8.5".  I'm positive I'll use them in future projects.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Davy and Stewart are Adopted

I should have posted this last week, but life got in the way.  Two of my best kittens got their forever homes, and I couldn't be happier.  Well, I could be happier if I could keep them myself, but I already have three and that's my limit.

Stewart went home with Barb and Dave and kids.  He settled in from day one and is a well-loved member of the family already.  He's also made friends with the other three cats she has.  Barb and her neighbor, Betsy, came over a couple weeks ago and played with kittens.  Barb took one look at Stewart and fell in love.  It was impossible not to.  He is such a sweetie.

Thank you, Barb, for adopting my baby and giving him a wonderful home.


I don't want to start a trend of posting my picture with every adoption, but they want to take my picture after I take theirs.  Stewart is one of those special kittens, like Micky, Davy and Alissa, that I won't adopt out to just anybody. I admit that my standards have been a little lower on adopters for some cats than others, but not these guys. They deserve the best.

A super-nice couple saw Daisy, my very shy cat, on the web and wanted to adopt her.  I wrote about this in the "Micky and Davy Put on a Show" blog of 9-26.  I knew Jean wanted a lap cat and that wasn't Daisy.  When I showed her Davy and put him in her arms, he melted into her and she was a goner.  I knew both Davy or Micky would be, the perfect cat for her, and Davy was closer when we went in the room.  About a week later, I was going to be close to where they lived and set up a visit.  I know cats usually adapt very quickly to their new home, but he didn't have to adapt THAT quickly.  He did act like he remembered me when I walked in, but he had also settled very nicely into his new house with Jean and Robert.  I took two family photos.  Jean's eyes were closed in the first one, and Robert's were closed in the second one.  Sorry, Robert.

Then, they wanted to take a picture of me with Davy.  I usually take such horrible pictures, but this one wasn't too bad, and Davy is one of my favorites.  Jean and Robert are so happy with him and can't get over how friendly and personable he is.  I do spend a lot of time with my kittens and cats.  Most respond and are very friendly.  I only have a couple, Daisy and Trish, that are very shy, and a couple that should be only cats, like Mike and Ben, two of the house panther cats. The rest are all super cats.

Thank you, Jean and Robert, for giving my boy a good home.

Poor Delcy, the Cabbage Patch Baby

My newest mama cat, Delcy, gave birth to four kittens seven weeks ago.  Last week I picked her up and noticed her tummy was very warm.  I knew from a previous experience that this could be an infection of her uterus known as piometria.  I took her to the vet immediately.  An x-ray confirmed it, and she had her spay later that day.  The vet, Marcy Hammerle, also found that Delcy's intestines were very inflammed and weren't digesting the food from her stomach.  Delcy spent two nights at the vet's office on IV fluids and antibiotics. When she was eating and pooping, she got to come home.  This Thursday, I noticed Delcy's stomach was huge and looked like she was pregnant again.  Took her back in, and another x-ray showed her stomach was full of food, but her intestines were empty and still didn't look right.  So, the poor baby spent another two nights at the vet's.  I picked her up Saturday morning when she was eating and pooping again.  Marcy said her mammary glands were engorged and she needed to stop nursing and dry her boobs up.  She gave me a couple meds for Delcy's stomach and intestines, and said I should wrap cabbage leaves around Delcy's stomach to help dry her up.  I had heard of this remedy, but had never done it.

I still had to load up cats and get to adoptions at Petsmart, but I stopped at a nearby produce stand, bought a head a cabbage, went home, put some cabbage leaves in a baggie, got a roll of sticky bandage tape, loaded up cats and headed out.  John was gone until 10pm, so I took Delcy to the store with me because I knew I couldn't do this by myself.

It was pretty busy with people looking at our cats by the time I got there.  I asked one of the other foster moms, Cheri, if she could help me when there was a break in the action.  I needed to wrap cabbage leaves around Delcy's stomach.  Nothing phases Cheri, but the look on her face was priceless.  Even with Delcy being so, so good, it still took three of us to get the job done.  Cheri held Delcy, Lisa held leaves in place, and I wrapped the tape around the cat.  The 2" tape I brought originally stuck to itself and turned into a half inch rope and was impossible to use.  Petsmart had some 4" wide tape, and that worked better.  Too bad we didn't get a video.  The Three Stooges bandage a cat.

Cheri took this picture when we were finished.  She also came up with the Cabbage Patch Baby.  You can see some of the cabbage sticking out from the end.  Poor Delcy looks like the deer in the headlights, but she does have very round eyes.  Everybody who came through wanted to know what happened to her.  After telling the actual story a few times, I just told them she had surgery.  One guy came in and asked if she got kicked in the stomach and seemed surprised when I told him no.  Another man wanted to know if she got run over by a car.  No.  The women were much more sympathetic and asked much less violent questions.  Hmmmm.

Delcy spent the night in the bathroom so she could eat her special food and her meds in some canned food.  I took the bandage off about midnight, and the cabbage was pretty wilted.  However, the six boobs covered by the cabbage and bandage were, in fact, smaller and flatter than the two boobs under her back legs that just couldn't be covered.  Whether it was from the cabbage or just being flattened, I can't say.  There were a lot of dark blood vessels showing on the wrapped part.  My internet research said that the cabbage increased blood flow to and from the area and helped with inflammation.  That's exactly what I saw.

The tape was history, so I had to come up with another method - and easier method - of doing this for Sunday.  Cheri had mentioned using a sock yesterday.  Worth a shot!  John unknowingly sacrificed an old white sock and held Delcy while I put it on her.  Then I stuffed the cabbage leaves in.  So far, so good, but her back two boobs still aren't covered.  I also clipped half of the little elastic threads in the sock to make it looser.  It worked well, except for the last two boobs.  She had four kittens and they only used the back four boobs, so only half the problem is being solved.  I may have to invent a kitty tummy wrap.  I let her out into the house this morning, but will have to put her back in several times a day to feed her.  I hope being separated from her kittens will also help dry her up.  She whines at the bedroom door, but I think she misses her BFF Bridgette more than the kittens.

I'm very, very happy Delcy's eating and pooping.  I was extremely worried about her intestines not working again.  She's not out of the woods, yet, but seems to be doing a lot better.  Animal foster moms live for solid poop.  When anything at all is wrong with a cat, they seem to get diarrhea.   With Delcy, I'm just thankful for any poop at all.  Sometimes, it doesn't take much to make us happy.