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Saturday, June 23, 2001 Well, this has been an action packed week. Boy, oh, boy, let me tell ya. And hot. A scorcher.

Wednesday, I caught one of the kittens. A little white one. Her eyes were so bad, she didn't even see me coming. I brought her into the house and put her in my bathroom. I brought a carrier in there for her and after a little thought, put a towel over it so she'd have a more secure place to hide. I got her into the vet and she has an URI and an infection in her eyes. She got medicine for both. She's about six or six and a half weeks old. And she's a little purr queen. It didn't take long to get the first purr from her, let me tell ya. After my chiro appointment Wednesday, I stopped and got some kitten food for her. She likes it.

Then Thursday night, I got the little red kitten, the one with the scraped up face. I took him in Friday morning and dropped him off. I was very concerned about his eye, I really thought it was scraped up, but the vet said the infection was so bad, that it probably itched and he kept rubbing it with his paw and messing up the rest of his face. I named him "Opie". He tested negative for disease, as did his sister.

Also yesterday morning, after we were done exercising, Brian was looking out front. Besides the two kittens still out there, a new one has shown up. White, blue eyed, but a couple of weeks younger than the two current residents. Great. What do we do? Brian said again, we can't bring them in if we don't have potential homes for them. We've spent hours this past week, just watching the kittens play and neither of us cared for the idea of leaving them out, but we just didn't seem to have any alternatives. The shelters would surely put them down, seeing as they're feral spawn. And I have no idea how to look for owners. How to properly screen. I wasn't even sure if the two in the bathroom were going to stay here. I was able to catch this tiny one, I put some Advantage on her back, then put her back out front. I didn't think there would be a problem catching her again. At least, the fleas would quit eating her. So, yesterday, I posted my problem on a cat forum and somebody gave me a link to a site with a state by state listing of organizations that might be able to help. I called one yesterday and explained the situation. That we couldn't bring more into our home. And one of Brian's big fears is how the other cats will react. Other cats, meaning Kirby, mostly.

Anyway, she said that she would be willing to work with me. That we'd have to socialize the kittens (which could take months), have them spayed and neutered (she referred me to an organization that could help with the names of vets who do juvenile alters), and then, they would have to fit into a shelter environment. She said that often socialized feral kittens revert to feral in this setting. And if that happened, they'd call me to come get the kittens. Well, it was better than anything I could come up with, so I mentioned it to Brian when he got home. He wasn't sure. He didn't like it. He was concerned that we'd become attached and not be able to give them up. And then, if we did, he was concerned they'd come back to live with us. Valid concerns. I told him we'd just do the best we could, that it was better than anything else we'd come up with. I just couldn't see leaving them outside without giving them a chance at a better home someplace else. After thinking on it for a while (quite a while), he said okay. He didn't want me to try for the littlest kitten last night, because he thought if her mom brought her, she might bring more. And he didn't want her scared off by the absence of her kitten. Oh, we think her mom is Blue, Katie and Mystie's mom. And he said that the our resident cats most likely won't have a problem by the time these guys are socialized. And Kirby's problem is taken care of at this point. He shouldn't block again. Ever.

So, this morning, there were no new kittens. Brian took off for Ranchita, he'll be back later. And I was able to get that little kitten. I put her in the bathroom with the other two. I think she's their aunt. She would be Katie's half sister. Possibly Mystie's full sister. The other kittens are Katie and Mystie's niece and nephew (at the vet, they asked me the name of the little white girl and I said "Daniece"....*chuckle*...the red one would be "Danephew". (I'm so funny, I crack me up!) The little red boy has been officially named Opie. My Opie. No name for the little girls, have to see what their personalities are like. And I still have two to catch. They spend their days under the hood of the Mustang. Not a problem as long as we know they're there. I usually drive the truck, anyway. I'm thinking I'll try to trick them into the garage, like I did Red and Jackie. I'll have to clear it of other cats first, then just prop the garage door open and let them check it out. After this, we'll start trapping in earnest again, now that the kittens are all taken care of. We need to get the intact females fixed for sure. Little Guy and Blue are two that I know of. And the males. I don't know who the father is of the little white kittens, maybe Meezer, and I'll bet a dollar that Angus is the paw of the little red ones. So, we need to get him trapped, too. I don't know how many more are out there. The food isn't getting eaten at night, but I don't know if that's due to the heat or the kittens in the entry way. Little Guy is just a stick. She's so darned thin. No suckling kittens and having her reproductive organs removed should help her out a lot.

Because of this, I am going to be working on a new section for the cathouse. It will be for rescuers to post about kittens and cats needing homes. No breeder advertising. Breeders can list their sites in the links section of this website.

Now, on to my Kirby.

Ah, Kirby, Kirby, Kirby. My little sweet, my little purr kitty. My little "Kirbette". Kirby no longer has male organs. The testicles were taken when he was young, leaving behind a scrotal sack. Thursday, the penis and the sack were removed.

In the picture above, if you look closely, you can see the sack. That's gone. Buh bye. So, here are a couple of pictures I just took, to show you kind of what he'll look like. The little tannish red thing is the stent. That is stitched in place and is keeping the urine from touching the area where he is stitched up. If it did, it would burn and be very uncomfortable for him. It also helps to keep the hole in the open position.

And he really hates the collar.

So, here's how it went. I took him in Thursday morning. Nobody was able to eat, because Kirby wasn't allowed. Kirby was really hungry, kept begging for food. It was pretty sad to listen to him. Anyway, I think that he mustn't have been feeling well (blocking?) because when it was time to get him for the vet, he was gone. I hadn't pulled out the carrier, so he didn't know he was destined for a trip to his most hated place in the universe. I finally found him down in the tube by the pool and he ran into the house and up at the back of the entertainment center, where I had to get a ladder to get to him. I waited around until they took him into the back, giving him a big smooch on the head and let him know how very much I loved him and that although I hated that he was being put through this, that he'd feel ever so much better if it was successful. I spent part of the day getting the email working again (I found out it had been shut down since April, when the host had a script that automatically checked MX records and deleted accounts where the MX was wrong; well, they must have hit lvd when the host was upgrading the system, because the MX record was always positioned properly). About 3:30, I called to see how the surgery had gone and was told that it went very well, that the vet was very pleased with how smoothly everything progressed. This was a relief.

Yesterday, when I went in to drop off Opie, I was invited back to see Kirby. They opened the cage and I started petting him. He looked really good. Shiny, perky, but he was on pain medicine. He hissed at me and once he realized I was a good guy, he started looking over my shoulder as if he was going to take off. I petted him and talked with him for a while, then closed the cage. About then, the vet came into the back and was on the computer, then started talking to me about how very, very pleased he was with the surgery. He said that I'd have to buy Kirby an e-collar (good thing I was back there, I thought he'd have them) to make very sure he didn't lick himself. When I left, I went to Petco and got the e-collar. They had a really nice dark blue one, but it had a huge scratch in it. That wasn't acceptable. So, I got the one you see on him now. I also got two cases of kitten food.

When I got home, I made room in the exercise room for the dog crate, then I cleaned the crate. I also emptied out a litterbox, cleaned it with Simple Green and left it to dry. I went back to the shop and got one of the sixteen carriers we had gotten years ago. I needed to put one together to bring Opie home, because I couldn't have Kirby and the kitten in the same carrier. It was pretty gross, full of cat pee, which I washed off. I dried it off, then assembled it and put a clean folded towel inside. I'd have to wait for Brian to get home to bring this stuff inside. Now, it was time to wait. The appointment was for 4:45. I did some laundry, folded clothes and put them away. I read the paper. I watched some stupid movies on tv. Then Brian called and said to take the business line off of call forwarding, he was coming home.

He got home, brought the crate into the tv room (too big for the exercise room) and kicked back in his recliner. This is when we talked about the kittens and what I'd been told. I told him that this wasn't something we could put off making a decision on, because the younger we got the kittens, the easier it would be to socialize them. That done, it was time.

I got to the clinic a little before my scheduled time. I got Kirby's medications, paid the bill (thank goodness the card I used doesn't have any interest until November) and waited for the cats. Kirby and little Opie were each put in a carrier and I sat there and waited some more. The vet wanted to speak with me. When he did, he went over the instructions for Kirby's after care. Kirby will be on Baytril (a heavy duty antibiotic) for two weeks. He's back on ammonil twice a day until his sutures come out. The e collar will stay on until the sutures are removed. I'm to bring him back in Tuesday to have the stent removed. Okay, this sounds pretty simple. He reiterated how well the surgery went. He said that sometimes things just don't go smoothly and it can be pretty frustrating. I mentioned the last one he did and he told me that the penis of that cat was full of stones. Not crystals, but stones. He said that usually, during this surgery, there's a catheter in place and this helps guide the vet to make a straight cut when opening up the urethra. He couldn't do that with this cat and the cut was crooked, which made suturing it more difficult. But Kirby didn't have that problem. While he was talking to me, he looked in the carrier and said "that cat hates me. Look at how dilated his eyes are." I just laughed. He then told me it could be very likely that Kirby will be a whole different cat now that he doesn't have that problem. Maybe a much nicer, friendlier cat. When I had it all done, I got my cats, my purse and went out to the truck. I got the carriers situated, got into the driver's side and came home. Brian had fallen asleep and didn't hear me drive up, so I had to set the carriers down and unlock the door. When he heard me, he jumped up, apologizing. No problem. He took Opie into the bathroom and I got the e collar and put it on Kirby, then put him in the carrier. He went nuts. I figured he'd calm down in time. Brian took a shower and we went to dinner at Applebee's.

When we got home, I looked in the crate. Oh, spit. The collar was off. Damn it! I yelled for Brian and he came in the room. I held Kirby while he put the collar back on. He put it at the third setting. I had it at the first and it apparantly just popped off. *sigh* I let Kirby out and I looked at his bottom. It looked okay. I hoped he hadn't done any damage. The vet was adamant about the e collar, because licking would cause stricturing, which could either lead to an abscess or make the hole smaller. After we'd been home for a while, Kirby went into the kitchen and I took the collar off and fed him. He ate quite a bit. When he was done, he jumped off of the counter and went into the living room, where he proceded to start to clean his genitalia. He didn't get very far. I had the collar back on him, toot sweet. Man, he hates that collar. He spent an hour walking around the house backwards trying to get out of it. I put him in the crate and he was quiet for a while. Then Brian went to bed and I stayed in the tv room. Kirby started trying to get out of the crate. I figured what the heck and let him out. He got up on the sofa and stretched out on the arm and napped. Then he came and laid on me. At one point, he went into the garage, where he pooped. Then he went back into the tv room and back up onto the sofa.

This morning he went into the garage for chicken and seems to be doing okay. I called the vet about the collar being off, asked what I should look for, what should concern me. I told him I doubted Kirby had done any licking, because after he got the collar off, he probably was trying to get out of the crate. I heard him chuckle on that one. Then he said about the e-collar "he deserves it". Heh heh heh...but Doc, he hates it.... But he didn't seem too concerned. So, that's good.

Well, off to do stuff in the house. Like maybe take a nap. I didn't sleep much last night.


Sunday, June 24, 2001 Okay, you've read my entries about Kirby and my entries about the kittens we're trying to catch. So, here ya go...

All the kittens

Daniece and Opie

The baby, not yet named

There are two more to catch. One looks like Opie, the other like Daniece, looks like she'll/he'll have long hair. Whoa, talk about purdy.

Well, we had a little Kirby excitement last night, ended up at emergency. Yesterday afternoon, Kirby was laying (and dripping) on the sofa. Georgie was on the coffee table and started to hack up a hairball (hubby described it as being the size of a small bird). Hubby yelled at Georgie to get down, Kirby got scared and ran into the garage. Up into the rafters. Well, when I went to feed our guys last night, around 8:30, Kirby was still up there. Now, keep in mind, Kirby is wearing an e-collar. He decides to come down. He came down, all right. The quick way. He lost his balance. Luckily, my head and shoulders were there to break his fall (I tried to catch him, but it happened so quickly).

There was blood around the stent. I called my vet and the answering service couldn't get in contact with him, so they put me through to ER. They advised bringing Kirby down. Luckily, it wasn't busy. Of course, I'm scared out of my wits. Brian is angry with me, he can't understand why I was even trying to get Kirby down. This is not helping my state of mind, believe me. And of course, we hit traffic. We had to detour for the freeway on ramp, because where we would normally get on, was blocked by CHP (found out this morning, a woman officer was on her way to work around six last night and a drunk in an Explorer cut her off and the Jeep, which was driven by the woman CHP officer, went down an embankment and the officer died at the scene).

We finally got there, got right in, because they had finished up with all the other patients. Whew. Kirby was okay, fortunately, and they only charged us for a "exam-post-op, complications". $26.00. Cheapest we've ever gotten out of there. Anyway, we come home and Brian was much better (I think the charge helped immensely). Now, I had to figure out what to do with Kirby. He hates being crated. I put him in anyway. I slept on the sofa and got tired of hearing him trying to get out of the crate, and I let him out. I know, I know, my bad. But it turned out to be okay.

Now, you've heard me mention the e-collar. It isn't doing the job. It's a cat sized collar, but the collar portion isn't long enough. He's able to contort and to clean himself. Bad news. We bought another collar yesterday, a bigger one. Too big. I figured we could just cut up the new one and make an extension on the old one.

Now, Kirby gets fed special in the morning, has for a couple of weeks, since I was trying to get him to eat canned food, thinking it would help with his fluid intake, thus helping to keep him from blocking. So, he comes into the kitchen and I fed him. Then he went into the laundry room and squatted on some throw rugs I had set to put in the wash (I don't care, they're already dirty). At the end of his urination, there was a little blood in the output. Then he pooped, just a small amount. The blood didn't worry me. Not just yet. But when I saw blood around the stent (5:30 this morning) I freaked. I took a shower, then called my vet. I just knew I was gonna have to take Kirby in. I called at 5:45. His wife talked with the answering service, telling them to tell me he'd call me back. At 6:15, a sleepy doc called me back. He said not to worry about it, but admonished me to keep Kirby in the crate. He said Kirby would just have to tough it out.

Somewhat relieved, I went to the crate and pulled out the litterbox and the pee pads, giving Kirby more room to stretch out. If he potties on the blanket, well, it's washable (like everything else in the house). And I put him in there. Brian modified the old collar with the new one and I kept petting Kirby so he wouldn't clean himself while he was without a collar. The modifed collar complete, I put it on him.

And life is much easier now. He's still not pleased with being in the crate, but he's getting used to it. And with the collar modification, he's unable to contort and clean himself, so I have to wipe him down periodically, to clean him. I'm sure that urine burns his sutures.

Anyway, that's the latest from the cathouse.

I'm very, very tired today.


Thursday, June 28, 2001 Well, I'm still alive. Still tired, too. But, things have been getting a little better since Monday.

Monday, I took Kirby in to get his stent out. I had some running around to do, thought I'd drop him off, then go back and get him later. It was a little after noon and the doc took us both back to an examining room. Kirby did not want to come out of the carrier, the vet took it and held it so that Kirby would drop out of it, but Kirby had other ideas. We ended up taking the carrier apart. April had to put the towel over Kirby's face, because he was very unhappy. He looked at Kirby and looked at his bottom and we discussed the excitement of the weekend. We exchanged small talk and I told him what a very hard time I had keeping Kirby from licking. I told him that Kirby was excellent at contortion, that if Kirby really wanted to, he could put his head up his own ass. He chuckled at that. As he worked, I told him about how the doctor at emergency kept going on about what a great job that he had done on Kirby. He said "yeah, these young guys nowadays don't know how to do this surgery, you hardly ever find a vet who will." He said back in the seventies he used to do them all the time and I said "yeah, you got so good at it you could do it in your sleep." I don't really think he had done all that many, really, I think Kirby was about the seventh or eighth that he's done. But, no matter, he did a very good job. Anyway, I wasn't watching closely, but I saw the stent. Now, I thought this thing was a couple of inches long. But it wasn't. It was over six inches in length. Holy crap, no wonder Kirby was so uncomfortable, not to mention the constant drip of urine. You know, since that thing was taken out and we've been home, I've not seen him contorting to clean himself. He hasn't had to be in the crate at all, either. You can tell he feels so much better now. He's not fighting the collar so much, I think he's getting pretty used to it, and it's nice to not put that big one on him.

Sunday evening, I took one of the cats' toys out front, the one with the long wand and a bunch of feathers on a string. I figured I could get the two kittens who were still out front, used to me, by playing with them. The little red one was braver than the white one, the little white one would run back to the car at the slightest move by me. I tried being patient, but I guess I just wasn't patient enough. So, I tried again Monday morning and Monday night. When their mom, Little Guy, showed up to be fed, I came back inside. Tuesday morning, I had success. I dragged the toy all over and kept bringing it closer and closer to my feet. I couldn't move suddenly too quickly, because I think these guys have eyes in the back of their heads. If I moved too soon, they were gone. But my timing was right on, the little red guy was so intent on getting those feathers, I reached right down and picked him up. Boy, was he surprised. I went into the house and showed Brian, still in bed, what I had. Then I took the little one into the bathroom. "Hey, kiddo, here's your brother and sister and Auntie Angel." He was pretty frightened, but that's to be expected. Brian chose the name "Richie". So, we have an Opie and a Richie. I never did see the white kitten that morning. But I saw it in the evening. I put out kitten food and would check to see if it was eating yet. Yes, we have a visitor. I got the toy and went slowly outside, making sure not to spook the little one. I put the feathers close to the kitten. It looked, but hunger won out. It kept eating. I gently ran the feathers over it. No response. I stroked it with the hard plastic wand, gently. It repositioned itself so that it could watch me, while eating. I moved, very, very slowly, trying to get out of it's line of vision. Brian pipes up from inside the door, giving instructions. I look up at him. "How many of these kittens did you catch?" I asked. He quit supervising. When I finally thought I had a shot at it, I bent down and grabbed. It tried to get away, but I had a firm enough grasp so that it couldn't slip away. Success!! I had caught the last of the kittens!! I took him in to see his brothers and sister. He tried to bite me, broke the skin, but didn't bite deeply. We finally decided on a name for him this morning. Sam. I took both Sammy and Richie to the vet's to be tested on Wednesday and they're both clear of disease. Richie is already pretty used to me, Daniece, Angel and Opie love me. But Sam is a little more reluctant than they were to be my best friend. Oh, well, we'll get it done. I told Brian "now the hard part is done". He said "no, the hard part will be giving them up." :( Maybe if the other cats adjust quickly to these guys, we won't have to give them up. Boney and Rusty aren't spring chickens, DeeJay doesn't look good sometimes and then we have Lola who had cancer surgery a year ago. Lola, by the way, it doing great (knock on wood).

It was really sad when Little Guy came by Tuesday night. No kittens. She cried and cried. She came to the door and talked with Brian and he tried to explain it the best he could. He did keep asking her if she was ready to come in to see her babies. I know he wants her to live here. Now that the kittens are all rescued, we really have to get hot on getting the other ferals fixed. She was crying last night, too. I wonder how long she'll be looking for them. I think she knows on some level that we have them, because she did talk to Brian. Poor Little Guy. I bet that's gotta be really hard on them, with the kittens just gone. And it seems since the kittens are no longer out there, cats who hadn't been dropping by to eat, are back. The food consumption was way down while the kittens were running around, but yesterday morning, the food was all gone, nothing left in any of the bowls. Very different from the week the kittens were around.

But Tuesday night, we did have a scare. Angel wouldn't eat. She had very bad diarrhea. I gave her immodium, but when she wouldn't eat, I became very, very nervous. All she wanted to do was sleep. Dehydration can quickly kill a kitten and didn't want her to die. This felt so much like what happened when we got Georgie and Gracie. Their brother Riley did die. I wasn't going to let that happen again. I took her out of the bathroom, because I thought maybe there was too much excitement in there, and brought her to lay with me on the sofa. But I had a bunch of stuff to do, so I asked Brian if he would take her. He laid down on the other part of the sectional and put her on his chest. He gently stroked her for hours. She purred for him. At one point, she got up and started walking around. Knowing she had a fecal problem, I took her into the garage and put her in the litter box, where she proceded to poop. It wasn't looking any better. Damn. I took her back into the house and put her back on Brian. She rested for a while more, then sat up and started making the "I'm gonna puke" sounds. Oh, man, this was scary. Puking and diarrhea are not good things. I put her on the floor where she lost what was in her little tummy. What's this? Red fuzzy stuff? It was from a cloth mousie. I put her back on Brian when she was done. I went into the bathroom and got the offending toy. I showed it to Brian. I dropped it on the floor, not thinking anything of it. Benny started sniffing it and Brian told me to get rid of it. I did. Angel got up again, started walking around. I took her into the bathroom where she went over to the water bowl and started lapping. She was very, very thirsty. I thought this was a good sign. I had planned on taking her to the doctor yesterday morning because I was so concerned, but maybe she wouldn't need the stress. I stayed with the kittens until after three in the morning. And Angel did okay. Wednesday morning, she was back on her feed and playing with the other kittens. This morning, she was even more active, more active than she's been since we caught her. It looks like she's finding her groove. Whew. That was scary, I thought she was a goner.

When I was in the bathroom with the little ones, it was so cool. I experienced something I've never experienced in my life. I laid on the floor and played with the kittens. Then Opie, Angel and Daniece came over and cuddled against my chest. Daniece started suckling on my shirt. They were purring. Richie came over and joined in. They were so loud! Four kittens, all purring, kneading and happy. What a warm fuzzy feeling I got. I wished that Sammy would come out of the carrier, but he was still being shy. Last night, he came out, too. *sigh* I waited for them to nod off before I left and while I was laying there and the purring died down, I heard a cow. I swear to God, I heard a cow mooing. When I was finally able to get to bed, I told Brian. (He was kind of awake.) He said "no way, you must have been dreaming." Well, maybe I was, but I don't think so. Lisa's growling around five woke me up. I got up to see what she was growling at and the bathroom door was open. Oh, no. What now? So, I look in, do a quick head check. Four kittens. No Richie. I shut the bathroom door and start looking for him. He wasn't very hard to find. I just had to look at the big cats for clues. He was in the living room, behind a chair. It took a few minutes to nab him, but it wasn't too bad and he didn't get all wierded out when I picked him up. And he was very happy to go back into his little home. Anyway, yesterday morning, while Brian was in the shower, I went into the kitchen to get water. And I heard that cow moo. I ran into the bathroom "I didn't dream it!! There's a cow out there somewhere!!" And when he was in the kitchen, he heard it. Boy. A cow. In suburbia. Whooda thunk? And to top it all off, on the way to the vet's yesterday morning, there was horse dung in the middle of the road. What's this place coming to? (Actually, I think it's pretty neat.)

So, that's it for now. The kittens are a lot of work. It seems like I clean constantly, I have to clean the litter every couple of hours (they're very, very messy). They get rowdy and spill their water bowl, often into the dry food right next to the water. Kirby is doing so much better now, he even "sprayed" in the laundry room the other morning. Backed up to the washer and let 'er rip. Of course, it didn't really "spray" not like it used to, but there was a good amount of urine (paper towels are very handy to have) and it didn't seem to bother him at all. Monday, the remaining stitches are out and the collar comes off and his life will start over. I hope he doesn't start meowing show tunes, though. I can just imagine how odd it would be to hear him singing "I enjoy being a girl". Oh, and people have asked me how does he pee now that his penis is gone. Brian's answer? "Very well."

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lisaviolet is fifty something, married with no kids, takes care of lots of cats, likes taking photographs, loves Southern California weather and spends altogether too much time avoiding her responsibilities.

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