Category Archives: cat health

Big Guy‘s Story – Part Two

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Before I got the kittens rehomed, I managed to get BigGuy neutered. He fell for roasted chicken, and I shoved his butt into the carrier and off we went to my vet, who had agreed to take him and do the neuter on behalf of the local SPCA.

We did it as a TNR (trap neuter release). The vets said he appeared to be about ten, but his teeth were pretty good for his age. He came out of the surgery just fine, so I took him back to work and let him go again. Part of my reasoning was that if I got Peggy done while the kittens were still around, he would protect them. I saw over the next few weeks that he stopped spraying pee everywhere (fantastic) while I also tried online to find a home for him. No one wanted a 10+ year old feral (former) tomcat, no matter how beautiful and kind.

He definitely became calmer and happier. And he showed me his incredibly fuzzy, curly belly! He was actually playing with string! I stopped looking for someone else to take him and started making plans to bring him home.

Hubby and I discussed at length how it might work. We bought a little cat-house for the outside, as we assumed he wouldn’t want to be indoors. We also had huge concerns about the dog. She likes cats, but definitely knows the difference between ‘her cats’ and ‘stranger cats.’ So, a ‘stranger cat’ in our back garden all the time was something we had to work around.

We both hated the idea of leaving him outside. But after the calamity and violence that happened between Lokii and Lumi when I tried to keep one of last year’s kittens, we knew we couldn’t just toss BG inside and hope for the best. Old man Lokii was not likely to want BigGuy anywhere near him. Also… the dog! What would BigGuy think of a massive dog in the house all the time? Was he scared of dogs? He should be, to have survived so long as a feral.

I put the little cat house together (smaller than expected), found a good sheltered spot for it, and when the stars aligned I went to work on a Saturday morning, got him into the carrier again, and brought him home!

I used tuna in oil to catch him this time. A tip for anyone doing cat-catching: DO NOT use tuna in oil! It got all over him. Especially his tail, which was horribly filthy already. At this point he didn’t want to go in the carrier again and did fight me a bit, then flailed about in the carrier. He came out with a dirty, oily, smelly, crud-encrusted stick instead of a tail.

Unfortunately, I was an idiot. Bound to happen; I’ve never done this before. I didn’t give him enough time to acclimate. I was accustomed to him following me around at work, and I expected the same from him at his new home. He spent the night in our tiny, junk-filled shed, and on Sunday morning I let him out with me and he went exploring.

Exploring right out of sight. He went over a wall and he was gone.

Kittens Kittens Everywhere

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I owe you all an update, especially for those who contributed to my county SPCA! They sure needed the funds, as they are still full up with kittens.

So, good news or bad news first? I think I’ll start with good, go to bad, and end with good.

Bear has a home! My husband and I drove him over 3 hours one way to deliver him to a lovely woman and her two children. He was terrified for less than a day, and is now ruling a house of three people and two boxer dogs. The youngest, a daughter, is is best buddies with him and I’ve seen many a photo of them cuddled up together. I can only share one picture for privacy reasons, but trust me, everyone is very, very happy!

Next, Elf has a home! Via Twitter I found a wonderful young couple in Belfast who fell in love with her. We met with them much closer than Belfast as they happened to be close by last weekend – it was only an hour and a half one way. Elf isn’t the same gregarious kitty that Bear is. She’s a few weeks younger, Vickie’s baby, and she hasn’t warmed to her family yet. She (and Bear) both litter trained immediately. But she is the kitten of a quite feral mom and she will take time.

Elf, with her paw on my boot on a very wet afternoon.

The bad news.

Jupiter was badly injured when I went to feed them on thanksgiving day. We can’t know how, but it’s possible he got into a car engine. His right ear was torn half off, and his back leg is broken. Since I had the day off, I caught him and took him to the SPCA veterinarian clinic right up the road. He had to have a pin put into his leg, and he is now recovering at the shelter. I can’t do any more for him but keep asking people to adopt him from there.

This Tuesday, Dot was hiding under a car, screaming. I’d seen her an hour before and she was fine. Now she also was missing half her right ear, and it was still bleeding. Again, I think she got into a coworker’s car engine. I can’t think what else could make such a clean cut. The next day, I saw she wasn’t able to hold her tail up so I feared it was broken. But she recovered.

They have also all been sneezing, especially Dot, so I’ve been given liquid antibiotics by the vet. This meant I had to catch them by the scruff and force it into them! Not fun.

Yesterday broke me. The runt of the family, who I haven’t even named other than Little One, was screaming from a back garden over the wall. I got her to come to me, and her right front foot was swollen and looked flattened. I started to cry. The SPCA volunteer was able to come and take her to the vet as I was at work and couldn’t leave. She later told me they think it is a bad infection. She wasn’t even limping the day before so I’m not sure about that.

I’d had enough: my heart couldn’t take seeing three of my babies hurt in a week.

The volunteer brought me a puppy cage and since it fit in my MINI, I took time after work yesterday to catch the last three babies (tuna works wonders). They are now home with me; safe, warm and well fed, if unable to run around freely.

Since they are still sneezing, I can’t let them anywhere near my boys. More antibiotics! So far I don’t think the lads know I’ve kittens, but the kittens sure heard Lumi talking! They all stood up and looked for him.

So I have, left to right, Rory, Shark, and Dot. I have a home for Shark, but it has to wait a bit. She’s (I think is a she?) really friendly! You might remember she was the first to eat from my hand. She really enjoys being petted, rubs her face on my hand, and lets me hold her.

Rory is a boy, and he was about as good as Shark when still out in the wild. He’s not happy being caged and hisses at me weakly when I go in the room. Dot is the one missing her ear, and younger than the other two, but she’s doing pretty good with being tamed, also.

A better picture of Rory and Dot (see the tiny nose dot? And the ‘freckle’ on her left muzzle?) from Wednesday. Enjoying the sunshine with Piggy Peggy.

So, that’s my news. Some very bad, some outstandingly good, and some both good and causing me a lot of work! I’ve cleaned that litter tray five times today…

Thank you again to everyone who donated, and one twice (Linda!). I also had a cash donation brought to me, and I was going to give it to the SPCA but I asked her if I could keep it to cover some of the food and petrol and she said absolutely yes. So we are doing well, just need homes for Rory and Dot!

Nothing Ever Goes as Planned

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I’ve been delaying an update on Piggy, Vickie, and the SEVEN kittens, because I have hardly a thing to say.

First, the SPCA is crammed full of kittens and there is no room for my seven. It’s so sad. So much irresponsibility regarding cats in this county. If you are feeding them, maybe it’s up to you to make sure that food isn’t making more kittens? Sigh.

Well, I am feeding them, and I do feel responsible. Even though I live 20 minutes away, these are my babies.

Firstly, I had difficulty getting a cat trap. So a few days of my week off were wasted in regards to cat trapping!

I did catch Vickie on Wednesday. I thought like a cat, and moved the trap a few times to make it seem ‘safe.’ I also had to distract all the babies with food, while also making sure she knew where more food was. It didn’t quite go as planned, as she went in twice and didn’t trigger the drop down door. The third time she did, but it also caught the all black kitten, Bear.

Me, watching Vickie not-trigger the trap!

Vickie freaked right the hell out, of course. My first surprise was how quiet she was, no vocalisations at all. Just banging around trying to escape. But when I picked up the trap with her and Bear in it she bit the hell out of him, right on the back of the neck. He screamed. It was horrible! I had to let him out, somehow, and I did.

My brilliant husband came with me and drove to the vet that would do the spay on Vickie, and I am so thankful as my adrenaline was through the roof making my hands shake and my brain less than perfectly functional. It’s also super hard to find parking so no way could I deal with all at once.

The volunteer I’ve been working with took Vickie back and released her, but I couldn’t get the trap back until Friday. Himself came with me again, with high hopes.

I sort of … pushed Piggy Peggy into the trap. She’s my friend, I didn’t want to trick her too much. But it didn’t work; she immediately got out the other side and then she was mad at me. Fail. She left the area completely and we gave up.

I couldn’t even try to get Piggy again this week. I work until 6, and the vet doing the TNR closes at 4. I also give a coworker a lift home so I couldn’t stay late even if they did stay open longer.

Also, Piggy was upset with me and didn’t appear until Wednesday this week. Then it rained like hell for two days. I’ve still been feeding the babies of course.

Yep, seven. Didn’t this start with four? I’m thinking four are Peggy’s, and a bit older, and the other five are Vickie’s. Bear, Shark, and Jupiter are definitely Peggy’s kids. It’s so hard to tell the other ones apart.

I did name another one yesterday. There is one very small baby with an all black face, and she has gotten so brave in the last two days! She is now Elf. Maybe she is the runt of Peggy’s litter?

I’ve been playing with them as well, and between the cheese and the toy, I get Elf, Shark, and Jupiter climbing up my legs. Touching is still iffy, but today I managed to get in some full-hand strokes, not just a finger on the back. The shy ones play by themselves after they eat, but the named ones stick by me.

Cheese please?

I was also given some wormer, seen here. Hoping those fat bellies are my good food and not worms. But it’s likely worms.

Today wasn’t so good. I heard a lot of sneezing. Peggy came up and didn’t want cheese, she only wanted to sit on the blanket beside me. I eventually got her to eat a little bit, but she definitely did not feel good. I rang the TNR vet and I can pick up some antibiotics tomorrow to put in the food. I hope they eat it. I also hope I can catch Peggy.

This whole experience has been harder than I thought, and scary, and stressful. I’m super happy I have Vickie spayed now but so much more needs done. I’d still love some donations for the SPCA, they might take the babies if room opens up.

The Plan for Peggy and Co.

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I finally have the timing right: I know Piggy isn’t pregnant right now, I know where all of her kittens are and one teenager.

I also have all of next week off work! The Halloween stars have aligned to allow me to get them all help.

Look how close they will come now! My big steel-toe boot is right there.

I’ve been in contact with the county SPCA, which is very local. They are even aware of a colony directly across the main road. Likely it is a colony founded by one of Piggy’s daughters from a previous year, who has set up over there after surviving the crossing.

It’s the perfect time to stop this nonsense, give these babies a good life, and keep any more from being born and raised in the bushes beside a very busy warehouse.

It’s even more urgent as one of them has bad eyes. Bad eyes, but is also the friendliest and bravest kitten of the six.

This poor sick baby ate bits of cheese from my fingers, and then climbed up my leg in hopes of more!

I’m in love. Over and over again, I’m in love. Oh, with this little face especially.

Here is where I beg. Please, if you can, donate to help these lovely babies find forever homes.

We are also going to get Piggy Peggy (and hopefully Vickie) spayed and returned. They will keep their territory clear of other feral cats, and this is definitely Peggy’s turf. I am of course tempted to bring her home with me, but my boys are indoor only and so very bonded that she would have to spend most of her time outside in a strange place. What with my neighbour cat very decidedly, and violently, thinking this whole estate is her territory, it would be bad for them both. Of course if I can find Peggy a safer place I will be sad to lose my friend, but happy for her new, safer, life. As it stands, she knows very well how to be safe where she is. I won’t ever stop caring for her. If she looks ill or has parasites I will be there. Vickie… is very feral. In a few years I might tame her like I did Peggy. But it’s going to take a lot of time.

The SPCA is no-kill. If any of these kittens are seriously ill, there might be a problem to deal with at that point. First is to catch them, veterinarian check them, and get them used to humans more than my meagre attempts. They are young enough that there is lots of hope to tame them before it is too late.

So please, if you can, donate via PayPal by emailing it to my blog email. No matter how much it is, it helps. We need help, and it is such a burden on shelters to take in these unloved ones, give them health care, and find them homes.

Please. Heretherebespiders@gmail.com

…And on Wednesday, Even Closer…

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It was raining like hell on Wednesday, and I had little time with the cats as I had a personal emergency and so lost my lunch 45mins.

I fed them under the bushes so they wouldn’t get rained on too much. I got wet of course!

Something is wrong here…

Ah, no!

One two three four five … six. Six kittens now? I swear they are multiplying.

Six. Sigh. This gets worse every day. Except… look how close I am to them all. That’s very good! I stroked the ones who let me, but I move slowly and quietly and try not to hover my hand or arm overhead as that scares them.

Piggy’s Clowder

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Something has changed in Piggy Peggy in the year I didn’t see her. Now that I’m back at work again, she has clearly missed me and is showing it in some very surprising ways.

It was obvious that she had recently weaned another litter of kittens when I first saw her again, in April. She had the remnants of milk still, the poor thing. Soon, I found missing fur on the back of her neck and initially thought it was mange. It was not. The baldness was from mating. Cats aren’t very romantic.

Soon Peggy disappeared for long weeks. I knew she’d had more babies.

I’ve been looking for the kittens ever since.

And I’ve found them, living in a dense garden hedge that borders my workplace. The company put up a fence a few years ago along that line, and the homeowners keep it nicely trimmed even on the side they can’t see. It’s thick, and it’s chock-full of cats.

Six, I thought. Piggy Peggy, a mostly black teenage daughter from the spring I’m calling Vickie, and four kittens, one all black and the rest black and white. Then I spotted what I believe is a male teenager, all black. Seven, Then I met who I expect is daddy Tomcat, pure white and stunning. Eight. Then I saw a fifth kitten! Nine. Oh no, no no.

Piggy and Vickie.

For now there are nine. I say for now, because I’ve seen two dead black and white cats in the road across from this house. How many have died there that I didn’t see? It could be dozens by now. I saved just one, Iggy (who is still happy and healthy and beloved). But he cost me a lot of money. If she is having at least 4 kittens 3 times a year… this is awful. They die. They die horribly.

I know it’s hard to see, but there are two kittens in this picture. Taken 7 October. This is where they are living, in the bushes.

At the same time, it’s amazing to see them interacting. And also how my efforts to make friends are working, but it’s Piggy Peggy who is the one teaching not only her kittens, her teenager, but me.

She kept me away, and kept them away and safe as a good momma does. But they are bounding about now and exploring, and I am not making this up but she is trying like hell to teach the little ones, and her teenage daughter, that I am safe. I am honoured.

I’m also feeding them all!

Next post is about how she is educating her babies, including Vickie, and some surprises.

Last picture is as close as I could get to the kittens on 11 October. Notice Piggy Peggy is watching over them, and watching me also.

Return to Piggy Peggy

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So, I’ve been off work for nearly a year and a quarter. I’m back now, and easing up from half days into full time.

Today, my old friend found me!

She is looking good! Her ears are clean as is her fur, and no parasites that I could see.

She was happy to see me, and remembered me right away. I didn’t even have food but I got to give her lots of cuddles and even some lap time.

Unfortunately, she still hasn’t been spayed. She shows signs of yet another recent litter. I’m also concerned because the houses I believe she ‘lives’ at have For Sale signs out front.

In any case, it made me happy to have a visit with my old friend Piggy Peggy today.

“I Know We Will Love Him”

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Iggy went home with his new family today! Friends of ours, they are a man and woman with a little boy and girl.

These are kind, intelligent, thoughtful, artistic people – Iggy couldn’t be in better hands. He has already made himself at home and loves having four sets of hands to pet him!

Best part is I can visit with him when I want to (but of course I will let him settle in and bond with his new people for a while first).

Thank you to everyone who followed his rescue with me. iDJ and I are quite relieved he is safe now – and I bet Iggy is, too.

Jailbird Iggy 

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He’s still at the vet. They neutered him last Thursday, the abscess is healing nicely…but he’s lonely. I just don’t know what to do. It’s costing me both in money and mental distress. I miss him at work all the time, but he can’t go back there as he comes inside the warehouse.

I’m beginning to think that turning him out in my back garden and hoping for the best is my only option. I hate that idea. I hate how people don’t take care of cats. It’s so frustrating to be full of love and full of hate at the same time.

Iggy Update

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We visited with Iggy kitty today. He is completely relaxed at the Vet’s office: nothing seems to get him upset. Doc mentioned how chilled out he is with a bit of surprise or admiration, not sure which!

His face is still leaking from the abscess but it is healing. He made sure to rub goo and drool all over me and hubby. My chin was a bit crusty afterward – Iggy loves to be held close and give sloppy headbutts. 

Of course, he is still full of love and cuddles – he didn’t want me to set him down! Quite the drool machine, too, and got so excited to see me he did nip a little, but not hard. The excitement overwhelmed his little kitty circuits at first. 

They are letting him heal for a bit longer and will do the neuter on Monday. He can go to a new home on Monday evening, if I can find one. I have a new coworker who is interested, and he got permission from his mother, but I’m a little concerned as I don’t know him well. Iggy needs to be kept inside as he has no sense of danger, it seems. I don’t know if this guy has really understood that, yet. I sent him a text yesterday but had no reply, which doesn’t speak well to his dedication to the idea of taking Iggy in. Or on. I expect Igs will be a bit of a challenge. 

He is using the litter box in the cage no problem – we saw him do it!

Doc N agrees that our two-cat one-dog household is very stable, especially with how Lumi loves all over the dog and Siamese Lokii. He thinks that introducing another cat would be a bad idea for our current happy family. We showed him pictures of Lumi cuddling with Lokii and hanging out beside the dog. The first thing he said was, ‘Don’t mess with this, it’s rare and easily broken.’

Going to be about €150 if he goes home somewhere Monday evening; if he stays longer it is €15 a day.

Oh, and he needs a bath still. He’s rubbish at the washing up. I’d make a joke about him being the typical male, but none of us believe in stereotypes or think they are funny! I’ll save that one for the work lads.

No new pictures, I didn’t think of it and the doc was closing up for the evening. Here’s a blurry older one.