Friday, May 28, 2010

Cold, Cold World

Hypothermic little kitten.
Black and white mom, fixed today, with two of her three kittens.
The two latest kittens from the Lebanon colony.

I am exhausted. I am frustrated and sad, too. And horrified.

I get back from taking six more cats from the Lebanon colony, off a rural road east of town, to be fixed, the torti from my bathroom, a black and white young female cat, two more flame points, one a female, one a male, and the big long hair orange and white, who had a severe URI.

The orange and white male's URI was severe enough the vet really really wanted to inject him with the two week antibiotic. Despite the expense, I finally agreed. Then the big Flame point male had a bad abscess, from fighting, on a front paw and bad ear mites. I agreed to the ear mite treatment and the vet cleaned and drained the abscess at no charge, thank god.

I went to the rest area and tried to sleep some.

I got back fairly late, and was planning on taking the weekend off after the sheer joy AND misery of caring for so many kittens and doing all that work on that Lebanon colony. Then I get a call from the daughter of the Lebanon man with the cats. They found the black and white females' kittens. I had told them yesterday I thought she had kittens in their shop barn because she hung out around it. We'd gone looking, and I ended tripping over a trailer hitch hidden in very tall thick grass. But they wouldn't open the shop itself, which was locked, to look, claiming they couldn't be in there because they would know it, since they are in there a lot.

But they were in there. She said they were young but old enough she thought to eat wet food, so, when they found them mid day today they put them in a cardboard box, she said, with wet food and a water dish. I went up immediately tonight.

I knew they were going to be freezing and hypothermic. She had said one just would lay on its side and not move but cry. She thought it must be injured. She said she had a home for one of them.

I knew this was not going to be a good scene with babies that young overnight in freezing weather. They can't generate their own body heat well until they're older.

I went out, and the man pulled out the box. The bottom was wet. There was not so much as a towel for them to lay on. Two were screaming but active and the other was screaming and laying flat out. I picked that one up and it was ice cold. I thought, "How did this kitten survive, laying in water, from the water dish, for that long?" The outlook was not good I know. His tongue was blue and his body stiff. I tucked him immediately into my bra against my skin. The man was saying "Well he must be injured." I said, "No, he's freezing to death." I took his hand and put it on the little body so he could feel the ice cold himself.

I sat in my car with the motor running and the heater vent blowing on him for probably 15 minutes, trying to get his body back to life. He revived somewhat, enough for me to head home. I tucked him back into my bra for the drive home.

I can't get him to warm up though. His heart is failing. This was all so unnecessary.

Pisses me off, too. And they had trapped another black and white male. Now I have him to deal with. I should have turned him loose I think. Monday is a holiday. If I don't find somewhere to get him fixed tomorrow, well I have to, I can't hold an unneutered adult male here until next week. Pisses me off because I'm worn out.

The two kittens will live and the third, who laid in water for half a day, will die. He can't survive that. He's only two weeks old.

All my difficulties are compounded by Jack, the Heartland cat, who, after seeming to get over his slurpy cold, broke out in sudden extreme bilateral conjunctivitis. It is so extreme his eyelids are bleeding and half over his eyes, bright bloody red. The only other cat I took care of, who got bilateral conjunctivitis this bad was Little Miss Sunshine, now known as Tsarina and who lives in Ridgefield now.

It was the Neuterscooter vet who said, "For gosh sakes, use a corticosteroid," and proceeded to prescribe eye ointment containing it. As long as there is no tear or ulcer on the cornea, she said, she'll be fine. It worked almost instantly, comparitively speaking, and within four days, she was much improved. I'd already taken her to a vet twice.

So far, Jack has no tear or ulcer. He is unbelievably impossible to medicate due to his extreme aggression, which has come out again with the stress he is under with the pain of such severe conjunctivitis.

He went after me tonight when I tried to treat his eyes, not just biting when I tried to medicate him, but literally charging at me swinging at me and trying to bite me. This is probably one of those cats who is too damaged and maybe should have been euthanized as he cannot even be a barn cat if there are children who live near because he's tame and wants petted, but he can suddenly decide to turn and come after you and bite.

I wish he'd had a rabies vaccine before he came here from Heartland, being the biter he is. He gets along with other cats, and as long as he lives on his terms, he does not go after me. But, medicating his eyes is a different story and is dangerous for me to even try. If I don't, he'll lose both eyes. I guess what he came down with is something that has gone around Heartland, the cold that seems to end, then the sudden outbreak of bilateral conjunctivitis. In most cats, medicating with antibiotic eye ointment does the trick, but not with a cat like Jack, who cannot be medicated without entering the danger zone. True ferals are far easier to medicate, because they are just scared. This cat comes at me with a vengence. He has been abused by someone.

Update: the frozen kitten has died.

I suppose losing only one of the 18 from this terrible situation should not feel bad. But tonight it does feel bad. I'm worn out.

I feel a pride, that in one short week, 16 adults have been fixed, all but four and maybe only three, because the big Flame Point might be the one they call the white male, and 17 kittens are going to have live as a result.

This has been one very difficult week. It's almost over though. Seven of the kittens went to Heartland and they vowed they would not be euthanized, that they are a different shelter now from the one I once knew. The two fluffy boys went there as did Dandelion, the buff boy, and Vixen the long hair torti. Two short hair torti's went and so did Prancer, the long hair Lynx Points' little funny brown tabby tux girl.

I have ten more as a result of the two living kittens from tonight, in my bathroom, but they are all leaving on Sunday for various foster homes. I won't see them again.

All the adults will be back home by Sunday too and I won't trap for the last three until later next week. There are two all blacks left to catch. One for sure is a male and the littler one I'm betting is also a female. And if so, she'll have kittens somewhere. Then there is the second torti. The only hope I have for any kittens out there we haven't found is there are a lot of mothers there, who will take on any kitten, whose own kittens I stole away, so the raccoons and hawks and the cold, cold world won't take them.

I took kittens from the cold, cold world into one of love and warmth. I stole a lot of kittens from the cold dark vicious jungle this week.


  1. oh those poor babies! How ignorant can some people be? Its more than sad - its infuriating!

  2. I sent you an email reply before knowing the little kitten sad....sorry to hear - and stealing kittens from danger in the wild or abuse at someone's hands is not criminal....

  3. You try SO hard and care SO much...
    Thank you for doing what you do.
    I'm sorry you have to deal with so much pain all the time.

  4. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this all the time. It is heartbreaking, sad. Thank you for doing what you do. We need you--the cats desperately need you! K

  5. i'm sorry you have to deal with this day in and day out. what would we do without you!

  6. You are truly one of God's best and brighest angels. I am in tears about the kitten that passed on. Tragic death infuriates me - ignorance infuriates me - random breeding infuriates me - heartlessness infuriates me.

  7. With Jack - is there anyway to slip a sedative in his food? sounds like an extreme measure to medicate his eyes but might be necessary - just wondering. A cat like Jack takes a long long time to heal emotionally - and with all your other cats near impossible for you to spend the time necessary to help him. I don't envy you with this one. Biters are hard - and problems other than rabies can ensue from bite wounds - including severe infections. Put antibiotic ointment immediately on any bite wound.

  8. Oh, he's doing so much better and now letting me medicate even his eyes. He's going to be fine. You know what helped most? Cortisone ointment, not cream, I finally found at the dollar store. I should have taken photos of his eyes, they were so horrible, conjunctiva covering most of his eyes, bloody red, with blood, in the end, from the inflammation, running down his face, snarfing green gunk, too. It came on suddenly and now he is on the road to recovery. Lets me put antibiotic ointment in his eyes, is taking his oral antibiotics well, eating up a storm. I think we bonded in the process.