cats

Cat Update (with bonus guinea pig)

Meeko and Panther hold hands
Panther sleeps in the towels
Pumba is extra cute today

Haven’t given a cat update in awhile because all is well and normal, and noting noteworthy has happened. Still. I believe the internet cannot have too many cute cat pictures, and I have been remiss in adding mine.

Plus I took this photo of Pumba a few days ago and it’s just adorable. You’re welcome.

cats · crafty things · crochet · Uncategorized

Tiny Granny Square Afghan for the Cat Couch

Meeko on the Cat couch with the new afghan

I think it maybe could have stood one more row to make it a little longer, but it’s still cute. I never made a granny square before, so it was a fun thing to learn without getting embroiled in a big, time consuming project. The colors don’t show all that great, but you get the idea. I used a D hook ,and the smallest bay yarn I could find in my stash.

Cat Couch with tiny granny square afghan
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More Handmade Gifts (this time for me!)

My girls made Christmas gifts for me this past year as well. An adorable little wooden TARDIS – the door really open and everything. I’m trying to decide what to keep in there. And the cute black cat keychain. The cat has green eyes just like our Meeko kitty. I’m undecided where to keep that one too. The bag I use the most is also black and I’m afraid it won’t show up well. So I suppose it would be best on my small purple purse. The downside is that I don’t use it as much, but maybe that would make me worry less, because if I break it I would be super sad.
These kids have leveled up in a major way this year in their crafting skills. I’m just so – Wow! about these.

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The Mouse

Our kitten, panther, who recently turned one year old has a favorite mouse toy. It used to be Meeko’s favorite mouse toy, but when Panther arrived, one of the first things she did was tear the feather tail off it, and ever since he has ignored the thing and it has been hers.

Panther’s mice toys. Photo by Kara Hartz

It reminds me of how attached a child gets to a favorite object. She has all but destroyed the mouse. Perhaps if I hadn’t told you it was a mouse, would you have been able to tell? The feather tail is gone, as I already mentioned, and the seams have been ripped open, and most of the stuffing is gone. The threads embrodering the face are a mess, or missing is places. Yet she still loves it.

Sometimes she knocks it under a piece of furniture, or behind something, or whatever, and can’t get to it. Later, sometimes weeks I believe, we will come across it and give it back to her, and the sheer delight on her little kitty face is amazing. She plays with extra joy when she gets it back. This isn’t to say she will never play with any other toy, but there is no doubt what her favorite is.

Also, like a child though, she will accept no substitutes to her lovey. When the stuffing kept coming out I worried about the mouse. I happened to be at the pet store buying her food and thought I’d get her a new one. I bought the pink mouse also in the photo. They didn’t have anything exactly like her older mouse, but this was similar in size and fabric to the original, so I thought she’d enjoy it. I don’t think I’ve personally seen her ever play with the pink mouse even once.

Very briefly I considered repairing the favorite mouse by re-stuffing it, and resewing its seams, but after the rejection of the new mouse, I’m afraid she would be insulted at my attempts. If she loves it the way it is, I will not be interfering
.

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Cute Kitten Pictures

Because the world always needs more cute kitten pictures, especially lately, I feel.

My husband and I go for an evening walk most nights. A couple weeks ago he heard a kitten crying in distress. He has great ears. After spotting the kitten and pointing her out, I could hear her at last too. She was across a four lane road, sitting on the sidewalk, just screaming. We crossed to her, and she tried to dart away in fear, but came up to the side of a building after a couple feet. The wall confused her and she just sat and stared at it instead of turning and continuing to run. Or perhaps she didn’t have any more energy to run, because when I picked her up she was fluff and bone. She fit curled up in one hand and I held her against my chest that way for the walk home, after we looked around for any people or other cats (mama cat specifically) she might belong with.

Kitten. photo by Kara Hartz

One eye was crusted shut, she was covered with dirt, foxtails and fleas. She relaxed within moments of my holding her, closed her eyes and sighed a tiny kitten sigh, snuggling into me. We posted on all the found pet places, online and in out community, and no one stepped forward to claim her. This didn’t surprise me considering her condition. We cleaned her up, fed her, and she has been coming to work with me for weight checks, and at last, yesterday, she was deemed old enough for viral testing, and starting her kitten vaccine series.

While we aren’t keeping her long term she has been cleared to meet our cats, which she is enjoying a lot, and they are enjoying her somewhat less so. Here she is delighting in playing with Meeko’s tail, and he in his infinite patience, is tolerating it. Until he didn’t. He did at last give her a hiss and a smack after she bit too hard. I wouldn’t have lasted as long as he did. He’s a great big kitty brother.

Soon, once they are done with some things that are keeping them busy and out of the house a lot, my parents will be adopting her. So, happy ending.

Kitten Mystic biting Meeko’s tail. Photo by Kara Hartz
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I Now Know What I Want to Say About Bob

A story:

When Bob was brought in by Animal Control to the veterinary hospital where I was working he was badly injured. They said he had been trapped ‘under something’. His tail was dead – he couldn’t move or feel it, and he would step on it because he didn’t know where it was. It was also degloved, meaning the skin was all removed, as if removing a glove. He was also saturated with urine from the waist down.

Now, when Animal Services brought injured pets to us they were not doing so so that we could care for them. The policy was that we were to examine them and make sure they were stable enough to go to the pound until their person came to get them, or they moved into adoption after the holding period. So we were not allowed to take xrays or give him any sort of treatment. Naturally, we still cleaned him up as best we could without funds, and fed him.

He was, of course, very distressed. When alone in his cage he would pace and yowl, and appear miserable, tripping over his own dead tail. It was sad. But if I sat next to his cage, he would calm down. If I opened his cage and pet him, he even started to seem happy, despite his injuries. So I sat with him a lot, and I fell in love.

Later in the afternoon, when the Animal Control officer came back to get him, I asked what would happen to him. He explained that he would be held for five days, then if no one claimed him he would go up for adoption. He told me that if I wanted him, that I should call each day to check in because he might be considered unadoptable due to his injuries and euthanized unless they knew someone was waiting for him.

So I called every day. I asked if he had been claimed. I told them that when his hold was up, I was going to come take him. When could I come get him? They told me to call tomorrow.

Until the fifth day. I asked if he’d been claimed.
No.
OK, I’m going to come adopt him today.
Oh, no you can’t. He isn’t neutered, and he’s too sick to neuter now, so he can’t be adopted. Only a rescue organization can take an unneutered pet.
But I’ve called every day – why am I just learning this now?
Not my problem.

I had until the end of the day to get a rescue organization to vouch for him. I made so many calls. I don’t remember how many. I hate talking on the phone – but I was mad, and I was afraid. Only two rescue organizations ever bothered to call me back. One, the Contra Costa Humane society and a wonderful woman whos name I am ashamed I don’t remember, but it was maybe Lori, or Lauren, drove up from Lafayatte to Martinez to meet me at the shelter and get Bob out for me. After she helped me, she stayed to look around the pound to see if there were other animals she could get out while she was there.

We took Bob straight to surgery. Needless to say, five days sitting in a cage without care had not done him any favors. He did need another follow up surgery, and as anyone who has ever met me knows, he still had a lifetime of medical problems, but he was greatly loved, and made my life better, and much more interesting.

So, for anyone looking for end of the year charitable donations to make, might I suggest supporting the fine work of the folks at the Contra Costa Humane society? I am making a donation to them in Bob’s honor and memory, and would not be upset if you were to join in.

I feel like I should add, here at the end of my story, that all this took place over 18 years ago. I have have had numerous dealings with both the Animal Shelter and various rescue groups over the years, and they have all improved greatly on all counts. Our new kitty, who I will be posting about soon, came from the Shelter, and looking through her history, I see she received excellent care in their hands.

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Mirtazapine in Cats

Bob in his Gryffindor scarf. photo by Kara Hartz

Mirtazapine is a common appetite stimulant used for cats. Over the past couple weeks I’ve given Bob two doses, and he is eating great. Mirtazapine is used because it works really well. Cats who take it, eat. When you have a sick cat that refuses food for significant lengths of time, despite being offered many tempting options, cat people get frustrated and hopeless feeling. Something that gets the cats eating again is a godsend.

Another plus, for anyone who has tried to pill a cat is that it only needs to be given every 3 days. The hospital where I work now carries a new form of Mirtazapine that isn’t a pill, but is a soft dissolving tab. So it dissolves quickly in the cat’s mouth as opposed to them needing to swallow it. However, it needs to be given every day.

What is talked about less is a common side affect of Mirtazapine. ¬†Even some of the doctors I work with didn’t know about this. Most cats I know who have taken Mirtazapine has some degree of behavior changes. Agitation, restlessness, increased vocalizations and similar behaviors are what I’ve mostly seen or had reported to me. Knowing to expect, or at least not to be startled by these changes when they happen can keep cat people from worrying that something new has gone wrong with their beloved.

For Bob, the restless is the worst on the first day of his pill and decreases over time. I haven’t tried the dissolving tabs with him, but since they don’t last as long, I wonder if the side affects would be lessened too. I’d be interested to hear your experience if your cat has taken the daily form.

Bob’s level of agitation was so bad yesterday that I started rethinking if I would continue using it with him, but today he is his usual happy self, ad I’m torn. The old dude really needs to eat. *sigh* The stressful life of the elderly kitty guardian.