Sunday, December 28, 2014

FREEDOM!

Not long ago I introduced you to the SureFlap Pet Door, a programmable cat door that I installed on the back porch to keep Oliver and his family secure at night. All was going well for a time, until I started coming out in the morning to feed them breakfast and discovered Oliver was gone.

It took some time to figure out how he achieved his escape. The video tells the story.


With Oliver escaping whenever he wants to, he's been getting in more fights. Oddly, I haven't heard the fights, but he's covered in cuts, scratches, and scabs. With the SureFlap Pet Door rendered useless, now I need to come up with another plan! Mouses!!

That Oliver is one clever cat! Since he's perfected his technique, he's gone on to teach Pierre and MK how to open it. So now all of them can come and go as they please. I plan to ask the manufacturer for recommendations on tips to keep clever cats from using their claws to open the door. I hope they have an answer! Oliver!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Gromit crosses the bridge

A few weeks ago I shared that my dear friend Lisa's chocolate lab, Gromit was battling cancer. I'm very sad to report that Gromit crossed the rainbow bridge late last night.

Gromit and Lisa
He passed surrounded by many friends who loved him dearly. The time was like an active lovefest - both beautiful to celebrate his life and heart wrenching to say that final goodbye.

Please keep purring and praying for Lisa as she grieves. Her heart is shattered.

Gromit - Thank you for your beautiful heart and kind spirit. You had such a love for life and a delightful soul. Your ability to make Lisa's face beam with joy was a true gift. I can picture you now, pain-free in heaven with your tail wagging like mad as you try so hard to patiently wait to be reunited with your beloved Lisa. Rest now Gromit and know you are loved and missed by many.

Monday, December 15, 2014

mighty Rose

Rose claimed the stack of my sweaters on the dining room table as her throne. She didn't even move when I sat down at the table to have breakfast! She never lets humans get that close! Every so often we see signs of her coming around.


A few years ago, Rose spent about 6-months working on her hiss. She would go into the kitchen or another room that was empty and she would hiss - over and over again, hiss... hiss... hiss... She tried out different sounds and volumes until she got the one she wanted. She would also try out the various hisses on the other cats after dinner. She would finish her dinner and hang out in the middle of the living room and wait. Any cat that walked near was subjected to her terrifying hiss.

All that practice has really paid off, as now her mighty hiss has the power to keep Theo from stealing her food.


Rose is the only cat in our colony who successfully keeps Theo from stealing her food and she does it with her mighty, well practiced hiss. 


Practice makes perfect!! Go Rose!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

homes still wanted

Tramp, Patches and Bert all went back to the weekend adoption event on Friday. Tramp and Patches are looking a tad less frightened. Bert is still pretty chill. May this be the weekend they all find their forever homes!




I'm so in love with Mork and Mindy!! How in the world are these two adorable kittens still in need of a home?! I sooooo want to take them home!


It took everything I had to resist Mork's tummy!

And on a completely different note, someone had some fun painting on the back of my garage Thursday night. Not very original if you ask me, rather plain. Who wants something so boring facing the alley? Not me. 


I thought it might look better if I spruced it up a bit. So I scavenged in my garage for spray paint and then letter my inner-grafitti artist out. Sadly, I only had a "holiday" green and a tiny bit of gray. I really wish I had some holiday red to go with the green so I could have done something more festive.


Happy Weekend!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

I heart my cardiologist

Thank you everyone for your kind comments and purrs for Buddy - they have warmed my heart and helped me hang on in the time of unknowing. Thank you, thank you!!

Since my Wednesday schedule was light and I wasn't feeling all that great, I decided to work from home for a little bit. Willow decided she would assist me in my work.




Even though she zonked out on the job, the purrs never stopped.


Everyday Willow gets more affectionate.


After over an hour of Willow's hard work, I had to get up so I could take Buddy to the cardiologist. Willow wasn't happy about ending her work day so early, but she managed.

The cardiologist's office is a good distance away, so I left really early and thus got there early. Buddy got to hang out with me in the car as we waited. He doesn't get frightened by unfamiliar space (or much of anything for that matter). So, he was happy to get to leave his carrier and explore the car while  we waited.


Then the time came to meet with the cardiologist, Dr. Woodfield. He explained to me how things were going to go and then we got down to business. He first listened to Buddy's heart.

Listening to the heart sounds
Then came time to look at Buddy's heart using the magic probe. I'm thrilled that he didn't need to shave Buddy's soft tummy furs. My regular vet always shaves off a bunch of furs to do an ultrasound. Maybe the extra schooling required to become a cardiologist teaches them how to work the ultrasound over the furs?! Maybe next time I'll request for my vet not to shave and see what happens.

Dr. Woodfield, using his magic wand to peek into Buddy's inner-workings
The results showed that Buddy's heart is in good shape. He doesn't suspect heart disease but believes the murmur is coming from old age. Apparently, it's not all that uncommon for older cats to develop a murmur as the heart ages. I'm so happy to hear this news! We don't need to do anything unless something changes in his vitals or his symptoms! Yahoo!!!

I really liked this vet, in fact, I liked him a lot. He's really down to earth and there is no hidden magic. I loved that he did the exam and ultrasound with me helping out. I got to be there to hold Buddy and comfort him, although, I'm not sure he needed any comforting, he was more curious and not the least bit frightened. As the cardiologist worked the ultrasound, he explained to me what he was seeing, which was quite different than what I saw. He saw various chambers of the heart and flowing blood, I saw psychedelic abstract art in motion.

I learned Dr. Woodfield's wife, Dr. Wilford, was the founder of Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project (our local amazing low-cost, high volume cat spay/neuter clinic). How awesome is that!! She's since moved on to do TNR advocacy on a nationwide level and is assisting with TNR research.

Full disclosure: the last two pictures of Buddy getting examined were a reenactment. Dr. Woodfield graciously cooperated with reenacting the exciting parts of the examination for the sake of you, all my devoted blog followers. Even though the actions occurring in these images were staged, the images on the ultrasound screen are authentic.

Thank you again everyone for your purrs and kind words. You all are an amazingly awesome community, thank you.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

wait with hope

Knowing that Buddy has a heart problem that could cause him to experience a life threatening blood clot at anytime has left me feeling uneasy. I don't have enough information about the problem or any possible solutions to do anything to help him. As much as I have been working on surrendering such things, feeling powerless to help my cats causes me great distress.


All weekend, I felt like my anxiety was being held in check due to needing to wait to get more information from further diagnostics. The cardiologist I was referred to has a private practice and works out of several offices in nearby cities. First thing Monday morning I called to make an appointment and got voicemail, so I left a message and waited for a return call.

Tuesday morning Buddy turned up his nose at his breakfast. That combined with not having received a return call from the clinic boosted my anxiety level as I had to face the familiar feeling of being powerlessness over these matters. Not wanting to accept that powerlessness, I started doing research on other cardiologist options but learned from other rescuers, the specialist my vet recommended is indeed the best one around. This meant more waiting and each hour of waiting brought more acute feelings of anxiety - rapid, shallow breathing and tension in my chest. Even though I was working my calming strategies, the anxiety stayed near.

Late afternoon on Tuesday, I received the call I had been waiting for and amazingly, the cardiologist had an opening for Wednesday afternoon, so I jumped on it. Buddy's going to visit the best cardiologist in the area later today. Yea! Instantly my anxiety level dropped. I'm still worried about him, but knowing there is a plan gives me hope.

Interesting that the theme of Tuesday morning's devotion was "wait with hope", something that does not come easy for me. Waiting in the face of feeling powerlessness over something really important to me causes me distress, not hope. The longer the waiting time, the greater the distress. Also interesting that Monday morning, my Wednesday afternoon schedule completely cleared out. I went from having several meetings to no meetings, which of course caused me stress due to the reduction of income. Little did I know at that time that those meetings would have conflicted with the only cardiology appointment available this week. Maybe someday my faith will grow to the level where I can wait with hope.

Meanwhile, please purr for Buddy as we learn more about what's going on. I'll let you know what we find out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Buddy's health update

Buddy keeps losing weight, even after starting his thyroid medication. He's lost nearly half a pound in a month, and the poor guy doesn't have much more to loose, he's pretty frail. I took him in last Friday for a followup so we could see if we had the right thyroid medication dose. The blood work results indicated his thyroid and kidney values are both good. Yea!


The vet listened to his heart and heard a murmur. This is new. She's now suspecting he might have heart disease - probably cuz he insists on only eating junk food! He'll only eat Friskies! We've tried all sorts of fancy, expensive, high end wet food and he refuses to eat any of it! Friskies and only Friskies! So, now Friskies lovin Buddy has got a referral to visit the cardiologist, for an ultrasound and further diagnostics. I'm incredibly thankful that Buddy's got good kitty health insurance. Buddy, you are worrying me.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Home for the Holidays

It's that time of the year again, the time when I spend my weekends at the annual Home for the Holidays cat adoption event, hosted by the Community Cat Coalition. This year I have three cats who are looking for their forever homes.

This year we are in a different, much smaller space. The event organizer somehow gets prime vacant storefront space donated for us to use for the month of December. This year we actually have two store fronts, one for cats only and the other has dogs and santa photos.

the cat adoption space

My two cages
As usual, there are lots of cute kittens and adorable cats looking for their forever homes! It's hard not to take home more cats!! All the cats are rescues, usually from independent trappers doing TNR. The CCC hosts this annual event to give the independent trappers an additional avenue for placing rescued cats. 



These two siblings, Mork & Mindy captured my attention. They are shy and gorgeous! 
Mork
Mindy
Rollo - looks like Bert!
A basket full of love!
I need to build me a shelf like this!
I brought Bert, Tramp and his pal Patches. Tramp and Patches were the scaredy cats of the event. Tramp is timid, but poor Patches did her best to hide behind Tramp! These two are bonded and thus being adopted out together.
Tramp and Patches hiding under their blanket
 Over the course of the day, I slowly pulled the blanket back.
Tramp with Patches hiding behind him
Bert was totally chill. He was more bored than anything. It was nice finally having a cat that wasn't freaked out. The first year I did this event, I had Hershey and then last year it was the six kittens - all of which were terrified. This year, Bert, was a rock star!

By Sunday, Bert was quite bored!
Bert catching up on his sleep
Tramp did noticeably better the second day, he even allowed me to pet him without hissing!
Tramp loves!
I love Tramp's copper-collered eyes!
 And here is pretty Patches, she's adorable! and shy!
Tramp and Patches have become best buds
There were only a few adoptions over this weekend, but I was very pleased with how Tramp and Patches acclimated to the space. They will return next weekend as veterans and will present much better.
Gorgeous markings and oh so soft!
I am an introvert by nature, so going to these events is usually pretty draining for me. There are lots of people to talk with about their cats and what kind of cat they are looking for. I do like talking about cats, so that's a plus, but it's just a lot of being "on" and my day job, where I get to hear a lot of hard stories of people hurting people, requires that I be "on" all the time too. So, it was refreshing to come away from this weekend with a bunch of positive energy after meeting some amazingly awesome people.

Who knew Fourwhitepaws' cats had a fan club?! A few families who had come to last years event, searched to find the new location of this years event and surprised me! They love cats and wanted to stop in to check out the kitties and to visit me and hear updates on last years kittens. One couple last year had expressed interest in Felix (now known as Bear), but after talking more, we realized he wasn't the best fit for them at the time. Even though they didn't get the kitten that had captured their heart, they wanted to support my cat rescue work by gifting me with a generous donation and this year they gifted me with an even more generous donation. Wow! I learned they are faithful blog followers, as they knew all about Bert! (Hello - you know who you are! Thank you!! Thank you!!) Meeting such kindhearted, generous people really does a lot to restore my faith in humanity.

And the family that first adopted Felix and another kitten from last years event but ended up returning them after realizing they weren't really ready for kittens, also stopped by to visit me. The kids had really fallen in love with the kittens and have been asking about them all year, so the parents tracked down the location of this years event and hoped I might be there to give them an update! What fun! And again, some very kindhearted, lovely people. Kind, generous, fun cat-people rock!
Bert was happy to be home again after the event!
Even though none of my cats got adopted, it was a fun weekend of hanging out with a bunch of cat-loving people! I'll be back next weekend and maybe more kitties will find their forever homes!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hoping for a home

Bert's going to light up the Home for the Holidays adoption event this weekend!


The more time he gets in the general population of cats, the more bold and dominate he becomes. This boy wants to run the house!


I'll be spending the weekend at the annual Home for the Holidays adoption event hoping someone falls in love with Bert. What's not to love?!

I'll also be bringing Tramp and his new kitten buddy. His foster mom rescued two kittens and one of them has bonded well with Tramp, so hopefully they can find a home together!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Monday, December 1, 2014

Gromit update

Thank you everyone for your ongoing purrs for Gromit and Lisa. You all are so kind. Please keep the purrs coming.

I had the opportunity to go with Lisa to the vet appointment today. Gromit's liver values are higher than we would like, but the recommendation is to try another round of chemo. Considering the other options, it's the best option out of a bunch of not great options. Gromit is being a good sport about all this stuff, he's such a gentle, sweet dog.

This is Oliver, not Gromit!
And a quick a rant about the veterinarian speciality center that we went to. I've been to a speciality vet clinic with several of my cats and it was very similar to my regular vet experience, only more expensive. But Lisa's vet specialty center does things very differently than what I've been used to, upon entering there is a large open waiting room. After checking in, the vet tech meets you in the waiting room, gets the update about the dog and then takes the dog back and leaves you in the waiting room. After some time, the vet comes out and discusses the situation about your dog, right there in the waiting room in front of the world. Once that conversation is complete, they finish up the paperwork and the vet tech returns your dog. Lisa tells me if they have bad news to deliver they will bring you to a room to talk with the vet, or you can request a private room, but my guess is such a request would probably bring about an additional charge.

I was absolutely shocked at the lack of privacy, it felt overtly cruel and extremely dishonoring. I know for me, talking with my vet about the wellbeing of my cats and making difficult end of life choices feels very vulnerable to me, so to do this in a loud waiting room with lots of other people listening in would be horrifying. This type of service is what I would expect from an automobile service center, not a medical or veterinary establishment.

Sadly, it would be difficult for Lisa to change oncologists now, with Gromit near the end of his battle with cancer. She's going to stick it out with this place for now, but next time she needs a specialist, I'll be happy to introduce her to a place that in my opinion, respects the intimate relationship between pet and human. Before today, I had no idea this kind of place existed, has anyone else experienced a place that does things like this?

Gromit needs purrs

My dear friend Lisa's beloved Chocolate Lab, Gromit, is in need of some purrs.

As you can see, Gromit has an amazing power,
he can make Lisa's face beam with joy.
Gromit's been battling cancer for some time and after a short remission, things doesn't appear to be going so well. He's had several rounds of chemo and now there are signs his liver is not holding up, while the skin lesions appear to be returning. They go back to visit the oncologist this morning.  Please pray and purr for their well-being.

Longtime blog followers may remember Gromit, he's shown up in many posts over the years. And did you know that Theo and Gromit are old friends? Yep, back in the days when Theo would travel, he would come with us to visit Lisa and Gromit at their house and Lisa always brought Gromit to our place when she visited.

Theo, eating treats off of Gromit's paw
Theo, preforming a quality control audit of Gromit's food dish
Gromit playing ball in our yard, while Theo snoopervises
Gromit loves to eat corn on the cob!
Theo loves to eat corn on the cob!
Gromit's a good-sized Chocolate Lab but that doesn't stop him from being a lap dog!
love
Rose daringly checks out Gromit
Harmony
Gromit                                    Nov. 29, 2014
Don't tell Theo, but Gromit's favorite toy is a stuffed cat. He's loved on this toy so much that Lisa has had to patch it back up, thus it has become known as Franken-kitty.
Franken-kitty, Gromit's favorite toy
Please send your purrs for Gromit and Lisa, we are all so worried about them.