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Big Guy’s Story – Part Three

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He was missing. I was hopeful but upset. I had taken that week off work as I had unused holiday time. Going back to the stars aligning, it was part of my plan to be there for a week to help him settle in.

Instead, I spent several hours every day walking around and calling for him. I spoke to everyone I saw, as we knew there weren’t any other long-haired white cats in town.

I had one person, close by, say that they saw him early Monday morning. I kept going around and around that area but didn’t find him. So many people were on the lookout, but no sightings. One false alarm, because my friend Mrs MMC (who fosters cats) has a short-haired solid white cat who goes outside. It was her Monty, not our BigGuy.

The week, and the weekend, went by with nothing. I learned all about the local outdoor cat population, and found a sad case I couldn’t help who died. I reported the body to the spca, and worried more than ever.

When I had to go back to work, I made up lost cat signs. Himself printed them out, and he, and I, and his mam, set about posting them around town.

Mam was the winner! She had just put the sign up in our local hardware shop (the owners are good friends of all of us) when a woman stopped to chat. The woman eventually got around to remembering that she had seen a big white cat at the local school!

Mam rang us and immediately we went to look. I didn’t go into that area on my walks, as I didn’t know I could go in there. I’m not a local! It was also across our main road – while not super busy as it is a small town, I didn’t think BigGuy would cross the main road. We drove, and he dropped me off to let me look while he went to the shop. We were thinking it could be another failure so didn’t prepare.

I walked down an alley and saw a big, old, stone shed with a metal door that didn’t quite touch the ground. I called, ‘Big Guy! Big Guy! Come on!’

Instantly he came out from under the metal shed door! He was so happy to see me, giving little trills of excitement and pleasure. I rang hubby right away to go home and get the carrier so we could bring him home again. It was a tense wait, but BigGuy was not leaving my side. There was another cat there that was cursing at him but he completely ignored her and looked up at me, so wary and unsure but happy to see a friend.

Again I stuffed him into the carrier for the one minute drive home. He was less than happy about the shoving, but I wasn’t letting him go again.

Piggy The Teacher

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The first thing PP did to surprise me involved an elderly turkey sandwich.

Vickie came to see me first, and I was tossing bits of turkey and cheese her way (I didn’t need a lunch, right? It was a couple days old anyhow). She wouldn’t come close to me at all. Eventually Piggy showed up, came to me, sat beside me, got some loving and some cheese, and then she went to sniff the bread, which I’d left on the ground next to me, thinking they wouldn’t have any interest in it.

Piggy picked up half the bread (French loaf type), took it over to Vickie and dropped it, then gave a “momma cat call.” She was calling her teenager over and saying, “Hey! You missed this. Look, it’s got butter on it! Eat it, dummy! That weird big cat over there has good stuff, and you can trust her.”

Well, I was gobsmacked. Even more so when Piggy took the other half off into the bushes. I knew it was for the still-hidden kittens. Wow!

In the middle of this, the tomcat showed up. I’m calling him Big Boy. He’s honestly not that big, as he’s mostly floof.

He was stalking Vickie and looked like big trouble. I was about to get in between them when someone left the parking area making lots of scary car noise, and everyone scattered. Whew, right?

Big Boy came back a few days later, and as above, he perched on a wall. I got closer and closer until I was about a meter and a half away before he fled.

He is gorgeous. He has the lightest ice blue eyes, and faint orange/red colour on his face. He’s also filthy as hell on his belly and feet, poor lad. This was taken on the 17th. I was assuming he was trouble for the kittens, especially after Piggy growled at him during the ‘stalking.’

Backtracking a bit to the 15th, when the kittens started popping through the fence to get food.

The all black one was first. He was brave. I’m assuming he, for no reason whatsoever. So there we have black kitten, Piggy Peggy, and Vickie.

Yum yum yum!

I’m using those bright blue bowls on purpose – a visual cue that food can be found inside.

This Monday Vickie was right there when I called, even before Peggy. Then three wee ones popped through the fence. The black one, and two B&W ones.

Vickie is still very scared, so has run to be safe behind the fence. At this point, the kittens are warming to me via the blue bowl of noms. This also tells me that Vickie is being a good aunt to these babies by helping keep them warm and guarding them. They trust and follow her.

Piggy Peggy shows up and we do our usual cuddle greeting. I get a second bowl so she can eat, too.

Then… Big Boy arrives. I get tense as I know male cats kill kittens sometimes. He goes to the now-empty first bowl. The kittens have moved to the closer one to steal from momma.

Piggy…doesn’t care?

What is going on here?

I dole out more wet food.

Big Boy is actually sharing it with the kittens. Piggy isn’t worried at all. I’m baffled.

He actually turns away and stops eating to let the wee ones have their fill. Exactly the way Peggy and Vickie do.

All this time I’m sitting quite still and trying to remember to talk to the cats, getting them used to my sounds and calls so they associate my voice with food. I’m also checking to see if Big Boy is deaf like so many white cats – he isn’t. But he does have a raging case of ear mites; I can see the dirt they leave. Yuck.

He backs off when I get more food. He actually sits to the side and proceeds to groom himself. I’m thinking he’s pretty comfortable with me if he can do that.

I’m feeling sorry for Peggy who has given all her food to the babies. Still trying to get them closer to me, I fill the closer bowl. That’s when I get to touch two of kittens! They came at a run to momma’s call. I gave them gentle strokes on the head and back, one finger only, while they ate even more.

These are the two I made contact with. The all black one, and one of the black and whites. I think my efforts are paying off and I’m taking the feral out of them with Piggy’s help.

I’m only up to Monday. I have more!

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.

So – Lumi Wasn’t Well…

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He was very lethargic when we came home from work on the 12th. He had also possibly vomited blood, and had the squitters. I felt his belly and it seemed…lumpy. Not the smooth fat kitten tummy I was used to. 

It was a Thursday and well after walk-in hours, but when I rang the vet looking for an emergency after hours number, one of the vets answered (yes, one was still there and answering the phone after 7pm) and when I explained what was going on he said to bring Lumi in. Thank you!

Lumi had just had his nuts off the weekend before, so our worry was that he had accidentally picked up a bug when at the vets, or maybe he ate a plant that disagreed with him (my indoor plants should all be safe for cats, but…), or he ate the rubber band that went missing, or one of the many, many hair ties that iDJ loses, or ate something from the Christmas tree … he is still just seven months old, so who the hell knows what he has been chewing on!

The vet didn’t seem too concerned about the lumpy belly. Which was good. He didn’t want to give antibiotics yet, either – also good in my mind. Lumi did get a shot to settle his tummy and some pills to do the same.

And it worked, for a few days. By Monday evening, he was back to not being part of the household by sleeping upstairs on the bed, not coming to say hello to me or himself, and there was a big, wet, smelly, bloody poop in the litterbox. Dammit.

Tuesday morning I took him to the vet again. The other doc this time, and three young observers. He looked at Lumi’s history, checked and felt him all over, and listened to my concerns. He said that cats don’t normally get intestinal blockages – but when they do? It’s right around Christmas when all the tempting tinsel, etc, is there to nom upon.

He wanted to do a barium run and X-ray my wee man as it progressed through his system, in case there was a blockage or another issue. I was hesitant, having flashbacks of leaving Spot in and never getting him back again. But I agreed in the end.

24 to 36 hours was the estimate for how long this would take! I was sad, hubby was sad. Worst of all, Lokii broke our hearts by walking around looking in all of Lumi’s favourite napping places to no avail. He loves his brother so much.


Next morning at 9am, the office told me that the barium had raced through to his intestines in only 4 hours. Way too fast! But as of yet, no sign of a blockage. I’d have to wait and see, as once it his his guts it slowed right down. At 11:30, they still didn’t want to release him – more X-rays. By 4, they said I could come get him. Of course I left work (I work until 6:30) to go get my wee boy.

He came home with a ‘cocktail’ of medicine. The dreaded Pink Stuff. I can pill a cat with ease, but this gag-worthy pink liquid is nearly impossible to get into a Bengal after they have tasted it once. Twice a day this time! Suffice to say that by now, the meds are gone but I’m still finding pink drool spattered everywhere: I have to wash the couch cover, and probably the curtains.

The cocktail consisted of Betamox (amoxicillin) and Flagyl (metronidazole); both are antibiotics. Also Imodium (loperamide), which is for helping stop diarrhoea and slows down the digestive process. No actual diagnosis, unfortunately. He is also on a dry gastrointestinal specialty food. He was disappointed in it at first, but is back to gobbling it down like a mad thing. We got him gastrointestinal wet pouches last Saturday, and he loves those – as does Lokii!

So far he has been fine, back to his mad tricks. Last night and the night before he projectile vomited food that was very much on its way to being digested (brown liquid basically, not the normal cat puke which is easily identifiable as kibble or treats, etc). Tonight we are on lock down to make sure he gets nothing at all other than the special food. Hope it works. 


He is definitely interested in the flower arrangement I got today! 

Say Goodbye to Ballywood; Say Goodbye My Baby

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I do work with mostly men. And of the ones I talk to all the time? To a man they cringed when I told them my wee man is having his nuts removed tomorrow.

Say goodbye! Bye to attempted rapes of his brother, and bye (hopefully) for deciding the litter boxes are too nasty and peeing on my pillow!

Update on Methos

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Please, help Methos. My friend would never have asked for help herself. Someone else who loves her made the GoFundMe. If you can’t give a little, please share. I give my own guarantee this is a real person who honestly does need a helping hand.

alienredqueen

I’m just going to copy and paste the update I put on FB.  This weekend has been exhausting and I am going to give the cat his meds and go to bed.

Yesterday was a long and exhausting day, and the outcome was not as positive as I was hoping. My beloved boycat Methos has an enlarged heart and fluid in his chest; essentially he is in early congestive heart failure, resulting froma  condition called HCM. They put him in an oxygen tent to help him breathe better and wanted to keep him overnight, but ( I will be completely frank because I know no other way) we could not afford the $1000 deposit, so they gave him more oxygen and because his distress is only mild right now, they gave him lasix to help get rid of the fluid on his chest and they allowed us to take him…

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Lightning flashes

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An old story that needs retelling. One of the highlights of my life.

heretherebespiders

I was reminded tonight of something that happened to me once. Something that might fill most people with immense fear. I suppose I technically could add it to the list of times that I’ve almost died, but for me (and one complete stranger), I don’t think of it that way at all – and it was one of the most incredible mornings of my life.

I lived in Florida at the time. I grew up there, but had gone away for many years. I came back, helped a bit, and screwed up a bit. I was still trying to find a place to fit back in, in the place that used to be my home, and I had found a job at a horse stable – the kind of place that keeps stalls that other people rent to keep their horses. It was rather far away from where I lived…

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