Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Just visitin'

The evenings are getting a bit cooler, and I can't bear to leave Pumpkin in his little kennel out in the garage. OK, I'll admit that I'm a bit of a softy when it comes to kitties. If I lived by myself I'm pretty sure I'd become one of those crazy cat ladies.

We have a large full bath on the 2nd floor of our house--plenty of space for him to run and hide, and with the tile floor we won't have to worry about litterbox mishaps or food spills. It's perfect! And once he is fully healed from his surgery, we'll find a permanent home for him.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dangerously ill

Our "little mister" had his surgery early Monday morning. We picked him up late in the afternoon that same day, with instructions that he not climb, jump, or run for 14 days. (How the heck do you stop that??!!) Anyhow, he brought him home, and the three of us took turns watching over him in his new "house"--a dog/cat kennel large enough to accommodate a feeding dish, water dish, litter box, and bed. 

Perhaps it's time to talk about the elephant in the room--why don't we just bring him into our house? We have a female tabby named Kyla. Kyla is almost 11 years old and has been living with us for about 10 1/2 years. We have tried to introduce other kitties into our household, but Kyla has always exerted herself as the "Alpha Cat". So our plan is to take care of all of our stray kitty's medical needs, and then find a good home for him. 

"Mr. Kitty" rested comfortably after his surgery day. The next day he ate and drank a bit. The third day he was lethargic and didn't want to play. On Thursday it was apparent that he had stopped urinating and had not produced any stool. So we took him back to the vet who had performed the surgery.

The vet merely said "he's a bit impacted, we'll just clean him out and he'll be fine". 

But he wasn't "fine". Friday and Saturday he continued to cry, and Sunday his rectum was actually jutting out. He was obviously in great pain, so we took him to the emergency hospital. 

There we finally found a doctor who took the time to not only attend to the immediate problem, but also looked for a reason for the problem. Her diagnosis was that our kitty's digestive system was not accustomed to the dry kibble we had been giving him. She recommended that we add brown rice and pureed pumpkin to his diet, and to use canned food, not dry kibble.

We took our heavily sedated but much happier little guy home. We were happy to have a diagnosis, but truly skeptical that we could actually get him to eat such odd foods.

The next day I prepared a small dish of food for him, and he devoured it hungrily, with little chirps and mews in-between bites. In the days that followed, he yelled for his dinner, always searching out the pumpkin--apparently that was his favorite thing. And that is how he came to be named "Pumpkin".

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Eye am watching you

It's Sunday afternoon and we have returned from our camping trip. Within minutes of pulling into the driveway, we see "Mr. Kitty". He runs over to us, yelling and scolding. (I guess I'm starting to bond with the little guy--I'm actually happy to see him.)

Before our trip we had been pretty confident that we would be able to capture the little one, so we set up an appointment for a Monday morning checkup and neuter at the veterinarian. Of course, doing so requires a bit of deception--a trail of irresistable morsels leading to the interior of a kitty carrier. We wait. We talk to "Mr." We play with him, and then he gets hungry. Hungry enough to follow the trail, and the door to the kitty carrier closes behind him.

A bewildered cry and huge "kitty eyes" look out at us. The vet cautioned us--"no matter how mournful his cry, even if he wets or soils the carrier, do not let him out." So we place the carrier-enclosed Mr. Kitty in our garage, turn out the lights, and go into the house, praying he will settle down, and sleep, and forgive us.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A figure in the distance

Every year our church reserves a campground for one week. It's primitive camping--no electricity, pit toilets and, as the joke goes, "running water if you can move that fast with a bucket." This year we are the camp hosts and so have to leave depart on time.

This is Day 1 of our trip, and still no sign of "Mr. Kitty". We've called him, we've placed fresh food and water in "his" bowls. But finally, we can wait no longer--it is time to leave. So we hook up the trailer, climb into the truck and begin our trip across the mountains.

As we we rambled down our dirt road we take one last look in the rear view mirrors....and see a tiny black figure in the middle of the road, watching us pull away.

Monday, August 15, 2011

In the beginning...

Our story begins as most stories do--in the beginning.

In the beginning we lived in an ordinary house, in an ordinary little town, on an ordinary little dirt road. There were four of us--my husband, older daughter, a 10-year old female tabby named Kyla, and myself. (We also have a younger daughter who lives and works nearby; she visits often with her female kitty Shadow, but we'll share those stories a bit later.)

We've lived here for many years and have been a family for many more. (In July my husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.) I love my husband. He is a kind man, a generous man, a man who rarely complains...but he lives in a household in which he is surrounded by women. Even the cats are female.

In the Spring of 2011 our ordinary lives began to change when a little stranger walked down our road. I was working in the garden and saw what, from a distance, appeared to be one of my neighbors four black cats. I called to the kitty, but he ran back into the brush. So I telephoned my neighbor--she did a quick head count and found four little black faces in her house so no, this little guy was not hers.

Several days passed and I saw him again. This time he came a bit closer, but still not
close enough to touch. Off he scampered into the woods. Days, sometimes a week would pass without seeing the little black kitty, but just when I had forgotten about him, he would appear once again out of the woods.

Soon it was summer, the days were long, and my husband was working outside every evening until sundown, preparing our trailer for a camping trip. And every evening the "little man" would appear. With every encounter our little visitor became a bit more bold, a bit more daring. He was a sorry sight indeed--rib and hip bones were prominent and he was obviously flea-bitten and weary. He had no collar, and he was starving. We began to leave food and water for him; he would warily eat and drink then quickly disappear back into the cover of the forest.

I should probably mention that we live in an area inhabitted by raccoons, coyotees, and the occasional cougar. We knew "Mr. Kitty" could not continue to survive outdoors. So, my husband, daughter, and I sat down as a family and had a meeting--what to do about "Mr. Kitty". We agreed that he appeared to be homeless--either ferral or discarded. He needed to be neutered, and he needed to find a good home.

So we placed a kitty carrier with food and water in our driveway, right next to the travel trailer. Our hope was to coax him into the carrier, and then transport him to our veterinarian where he could be neutered and receive a much-needed checkup. Then we would work on finding a good home for him.

But time is running out. In four days we will be leaving for a camping trip east of the mountains.  My husband has waited outside every evening until long after sunset, but our little stranger is no where to be found.