Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New dog Pen Pal! I've been up to a lot lately. In quick summary: Lacey had surgery to remove 2 mammary tumors (still awaiting pathology results), Achilles found his perfect adopter and should be going home this weekend, and I have a new foster cat- a 6 month old black cat named Angelo.

But for now, I need to upload this photo so I can use it in advertisements (hopefully!)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

So much has happened.

Well, I'm officially a blog failure. Things just got so busy... I had no idea that essentially the last post I made was after I lost Trixie and Karen. Wow have we come a long way!

Diamond is perfect. She's alive. She got her FVRCP vaccine ever 2 weeks, was spayed at 2.5 lbs, and finished her kitten rounds of FVRCP and Rabies around 16 weeks. She learned how to play with ET and Lacey, endured hours of forced grooming by Lacey, learned that biting and scratching hurts, and just became a fantastic, fantastic cat. She has the loudest purr and absolutely loved to snuggle.

I can't explain my happiness when my boyfriend offered to take her for me as a companion for his shy cat, Baby. So, up to Boston she went, and she's doing fantastic. She's fluffy, happy, putting weight on, and enjoying life. I finally got to see her again over Thanksgiving and again this past weekend. I don't think she remembers me, but she's such a fantastic, well socialized cat that I still got a lot of snuggles. Now that he has 2 cats and I have 2, we're both at our max for "permanent cats" for we're not sure we could have more than 4 in our future home :) I'm so glad that Baby is now learning how to be more social, too. It's so win-win, and one of my most rewarding fosters.

After Diamond went up north, I think I waited about 3 days before getting the itch to foster again. I stalked the Philly Urgents facebook page for a few days and kept going back to another cat, ironically named "Diamond." I think that is initially what attracted me.

"Diamond" was found 2 weeks prior in South Philly, as a stray. "She" was having trouble getting around with bleeding, blistering wounds on the bottom of all four feet. She was taken into intake at ACCT, sedated and had her feet scrubbed. She was given pain meds and advocated in urgent emails. Nonetheless, she waited 2 weeks, during which time she came down with a cold. I went in, asked for her, and was told that she wasn't Urgent, and had finished her meds.

(Here I'll say that "Diamond" actually was a neutered male, so I will now refer to his proper sex!)

I found him in Isolation, pissed off with a cone streaked with medicine. He had a cold, a soft meow, and was a challenge to shove into the carrier. I took him to the clinic to get him a new round of medication for his URI, and to have his feet looked at. All of his feet were caked in litter- in his original photo he had shredded newspaper for litter, but now he had clay, and it was completely filling his wounds. He tested negative for Feline AIDS and Leukemia, got antibiotics, topical feet meds, and was determined to be a neutered male.

I took him home :) Set him up in the bathroom where he proceeded to leave little bloody footprints around for a few days. I changed his named to "Achilles," wanting a name that was a bit of a play on words to describe his odd injuries (which I think were caused by walking across hot asphalt). I took his cone off- his coat was dull and in gross shape from the street and then from lack of grooming. He kicked his cold pretty easily and had a great appetite.

I could go on and on, but I will tell you where we are today. Achilles is a fully integrated member of my household :) He gets along FANTASTICALLY with ET and Lacey, is a huge snuggler, has a super endearing chirp meow and loves to play. He's put on weight, was microchipped, and is totally ready for his forever home. It will not be easy for me to let him go because he is SO perfect, but I know that there is someone out there who needs a perfect cat, and for that person Achilles will be perfect :)

First day in foster:

ET and Lacey are fantastic. I will (really try to!) update later with some photos and updates about them :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I'm still here!

I know a few people read this, so I will apologize for not updating. I had a bit of laziness that turned into school chaos! I have my last exam of this round on Friday, followed by quite a nice lull, so I will update on Lacey, ET, Diamond (going strong!) and my Pen Pals within a few days :)


Friday, August 13, 2010


I guess it had to happen sometime. This litter was my fourth (fifth time fostering if you count Lacey); something bad had to happen eventually :(

On Wednesday, Momma and her baby were euthanized at the shelter :'(

Momma cat had a slow downhill course. She ate ravenously on Saturday, was a bit pickier on Sunday, would only eat baby food on Monday and on Tuesday she wouldn't eat anything, and was vomiting. She went from laying on the plus rug on the top of the crate, to the open window, to the space behind the toilet. I tried syringe feeding her Pedialyte and baby food, but she couldn't keep it down sufficiently enough to stay hydrated. On Wednesday morning, her kitten (Trixie) was limp. She would stand if I picked her up, and she tolerated the fluids and food a bit better than Mom. After a cookout on campus I took them both (along with Diamond, who had been fine) to the shelter to get them checked out, and hopefully for them to get some subQ fluids.

When I got there, the shelter clinic was packed. I got talking to a friend and fellow volunteer about what was going on, and she immediately said "sounds like panleuk." My heart dropped. It did sound like panleukopenia, I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it.

Panleukopenia (aka. distemper, feline parvo virus) is a virus which attacks the white blood cells and all rapidly-dividing cell lines. It causes vomiting (a nasty mucus, yellow color, which both cats had), life-threatening dehydration, bone marrow failure and gastrointestinal ulceration. Very, very nasty. So nasty, in fact, that there is a vaccination against it: FVRCP (aka "the distemper shot"). The "P" stands for Panleukopenia. Every cat that enters the shelter is vaccinated against it, but it takes some time for immunity to develop and the cat may already may be infected, and in both cases the vaccine doesn't do any good.

The vet tech did a fecal swab on all three kitties to test for the virus; Momma and baby came out very strongly positive, and Diamond completely negative. There really is no treatment for panleuk... you can give supportive fluids and antibiotics, and even blood transfusions, but the success is widely varied. After talking to the tech (who also was a friend) we decided that euthanasia was the fairest course for these two little ones. It was an awful choice to make, and I was bawling my eyes out. Had they been in better condition (both were borderline emaciated to begin with) I may have given it a shot. Regardless, kittens under the age of 8 weeks have only a 5-10% chance of survival, and cats under 1 year (like Momma- she was probably only about 7 months) have only a slightly better chance.

It was very sad, and I was (and still am) devastated. Because of shelter policy I wasn't even able to be there while they put them to sleep. I needed some way to honor their little lives, and once the tech handed me back their paperwork, I noticed Momma's (Karen) rabies tag taped to it; she was the only one over 16 weeks old, so she received a rabies vaccine. I have ET's tag from the PSPCA shelter (he was wearing it when I adopted him) on my key chain, and it occurred to me to do the same with this tag.

On the back, I wrote:

This way I can "carry them with me," a little memorial to two innocent souls. I find comfort in that, and in the fact that they did not have to die an unrecognized or unmourned death, and that they got to spend a few days in a loving home with open windows, high places, and yummy food.

Now on to Diamond, my little negative girl.

The tech advised that I euthanize her; even though she was negative, it was likely she would become infected as well, if she wasn't already. I couldn't bring myself to allow that, Di looked great, was playful, and NEGATIVE. So, I took her home.

It's been 48 hours since we lost Karen and Trixie, and Di still looks great. She's eating, drinking, and playing all normally. Because Di has a different mother, it is very possible that she was born with antibodies, if her mom was vaccinated or otherwise immune. This means that she HAS the ability to fight the infection, which hopefully her shelter vaccination only improved. The vet says it can take 5-7 days for symptoms to show up, so she is not out of the woods yet. I'm going to enjoy her and give her lots of love, and see how far that gets us :)

Here is Diamond, in the window (she can't get up there herself, but I put her up there for a bit yesterday)

This entry is long enough for now. I did take ET to the vet today and will update about that another time. I am excited, though, as tomorrow is my first day back at the Cube!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

In love with my foster family

My little family is doing GREAT! I was very worried the first night that momma would be loud, but I've hardly heard a peep from her. She is a really great mom and is now letting the singleton nurse on her as well :) . I scheduled momma's spay appointment for 2 weeks from now, so I can get her spayed and recovered separately from the kittens. I'm going to see if I can find her a home and if I have success, I'll adopt her out before the little girls are ready, since mom will be good to go. We'll see- lots to think about! I'm really enjoying them a lot, though. Moms with babies are great!!

Mom (Karen) is so sweet, and loves any bit of affection you give her.

Trixie biting on Di's tail while mom watches from a safe place atop the crate

Nursing kittens!

Trixie (mom's baby) was full so she snuggled with mom while Diamond (singleton) nursed happily :)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

We're back!

Yesterday my "traveling circus" and I made the drive from Boston to Philadelphia. Thankfully my apartment wasn't hot so ET and Lacey went up with the first load. They immediately found their favorite spots and it was like they'd never left.

The situation at ACCT is always so desperate, and it was tough for me to be unable to help while I was out of the city. So, I headed over after about 2 hours of unpacking to meet my new dog Pen Pal and pick up some fosters. Shawn had strongly suggested I only get one cat, to minimize mess and hassle to me. I should've listened to him! I made a compromise in my head to just get 2 (a mom and baby, or 2 babies) but of course when I got there I couldn't just take 2. Thankfully, I didn't deviate too far... I pulled a mom with one baby, and a single baby around the baby's same age. So, I have a mom and 2 babies, one of which is hers.

I brought the family home and put them in my bathroom, and mom howled for about 15 minutes. I already was emotional from being overtired and just the general transition of going back to Philly, and I was pretty upset for a while, convinced I'd made the wrong choice or acted too quickly. I don't mind having my bathroom slightly "out of commission" while I have kittens- I don't even mind giving meds- but I can't have a screaming cat or kitten in my apartment. It makes me way too anxious to think about a neighbor hearing and complaining and making a big hassle.

Thankfully, mom seemed to settle down after that initial period. I worry she might be in heat, so I'm going to try to schedule her for a spay in a week or so. Her baby is still nursing, but she is eating on her own too so milk is not critical (most mommas lose their milk supply after they are spayed). Then I can try to find mom a home or have her placed in an adoption center, bringing my foster household down to 2. The kittens are both about 4-5 weeks, and as soon as they reach 2lbs they can go in for spay surgery.

Everyone did great last night. I was very worried about mom howling, but I only heard a few squeaks and squeals from the kittens as they wrestled! Mom found a great spot to lounge- on the top of the crate on the fluffy bath mat. The kittens can't get to her when she is up there! When I went in this morning to feed everyone the momma was so happy and purring and making "happy feet" (opening and closing their toes, sometimes kneading into a surface or just into the air) all over the mat. She did great eating as did the kittens.

Mom's name is "Karen," which I kind of like and I think I will keep. The babies both have crazy names, but I think the daughter is going to be "Trixie" and the singleton "Diamond." We'll see :)

Below are some pics of them on their first day with me.


Mom and Baby:

Thanks for reading! I have a new cat Pen Pal too. I'm hoping to meet her today and will post about her later :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

"Love a Philly Cat"

Just wanted to share an OUTSTANDING new website dedicated to Philadelphia's homeless cats, launched by the PSPCA. It's a beautiful site and appears to be updated regularly. The PSPCA and ACCT have done really great things for the cats, most recently a $1 adoption special, where you can adopt a altered, vaccinated, microchipped, flea-free cat or kitten for just $1. This adoption special will run for just a few more days until July 31. I can't wait to hear how successful this event has been.

Click here to be directed to the site =^.^=