Progress Within The Clowder

It has been awhile since I’ve posted about our kitties.  I’m terribly sorry for that.  Life has been a little crazy right now.  But without further ado –

Orion - comfy in his bed that Daddy bought him!

Orion – comfy in his bed that Daddy bought him!

Orion had another visit at the vet on August 2nd.  Dr. O requested more x-rays and blood work, hoping the imaging would show better once Orion put on weight.  We saw Dr. May (he’s so special, he has two doctors attending him!).

When we arrived in the exam room, the attending vet tech immediately weighed Orion.  I held my breath.  His last weigh-in was 6.9 lbs.  Well, we’re doing something right because Orion was 7.7 lbs!  Dr. May came in and commented on his weight first and about how happy she was he was putting weight on.  I was ecstatic!  Sometimes it’s difficult to tell by touch alone.  I thought his belly area felt a little fuller, but wasn’t really sure.  His back is still bony.  But, it wasn’t my imagination.  He really is slowly putting on the weight. 🙂  He’s got 2.3 lbs to go to reach his goal!

Orion’s physical exam revealed a slight heart murmur.  Dr. May said it was difficult to tell what was causing it at this point, without going through a series of different tests.  She suggested that focus on getting Orion’s weight to his goal first before we proceed.  However, if he started showing any signs that were not of his character to bring him in immediately.

He had another x-ray and blood work.  Unfortunately, the x-ray wasn’t clear like the first one taken.  Orion hadn’t put on enough weight yet.  Dr. May said that to perform an ultrasound at this point would be a waste because it would garner the same results.  And it would be a waste of money.  She suggested another follow-up visit in a month.  Other than the unclear x-rays and slight anemia (his blood work came back slightly anemic still), Orion received a clean bill of health!

We have been introducing Orion slowly to our other cats.  They get “supervised visits” for now.  So far introductions have been going as follows:

Orlox is curious about Orion, but when Orlox gets in Orion’s face, he hisses and swats at Orlox.  So far, Orlox hasn’t made a peep at Orion and backs off when Orion starts hissing.

Castiel is also curious, not so much about Orion, but more so regarding the room that has been closed off for the past month.  He walks around investigating everything.  When he finally sees Orion, he stares at him for a few minutes then leaves the room.  No hissing or swatting from either cats!

Boots just wants the window perch in Orion’s room.  That’s where he came out of his shell, and it’s Boots’ favorite place to nap.  Boots hissed at Orion when he tried smelling Boots’ tail.  Orion hid in the corner of the room until Boots left.  Orion didn’t make a peep.

Ishtar is curious.  When Boots, Prometheus, and Icarus were introduced, she was hissing the longest at them.  However, Orion is different.  She goes into the room with her tail high in the air, sniffs around, spots him, and stares at Orion for a little.  She gets within two feet from Orion, sits down, and stays there for a few minutes.  Then she leaves.  Orion hasn’t hissed at her.  His body language tells me his is comfortable when she is within two feet from him, but I have a feeling that he would be hissing if she came closer.  That’s okay.  It’s something we could work with!

Pandora was only interested in meeting Orion once.  And it involved treats.  She laid down  at the threshold of his room and just watched him go about his business.  Orion, in turn, ate and made himself comfy on one of his beds.  They watched each other for some time, their body language relaxed.  I was so proud of Pandora (she’s the cranky old lady of the house), that I awarded them with treats.

Prometheus wants to play with Orion.  But Orion has no interest in playing with anyone.  Prometheus makes his rounds in the room and runs up to Orion.  This kinda spooks Orion and he hides under the desk.  I think Orion is having a difficult time comprehending that Prometheus is a cat, because Prometheus doesn’t walk like a normal cat.  I was expecting this to happen, unless, of course, Orion grew up around CH cats.  When Prometheus was introduced, our kitties took a little longer to adjust to him and get used to the way he moved.  I’ll be putting special time aside to make Orion and Prometheus feel comfortable around each other.

And finally, Icarus – he is naturally mellow to begin with, so we started introductions with him.  Icarus is curious about Orion, but just loves hanging out in his room.  Orion doesn’t mind Icarus’ company unless Icarus decides to get within one foot of him.  The Orion hisses, but it’s soft hiss.  I think he feels most comfortable around Icarus so far.  Icarus visits Orion daily for lengthy periods and I’ve kept them in the same room together with the door shut without any problems.  Very promising, indeed!

I can’t believe tomorrow will be one month since Orion’s arrival.  It seems like he’s been here longer, and surprises me each day with the progress he makes.  I look forward to seeing what his weight will be in a month at his next exam!

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Sebastian

Sebastian

Sebastian

Sebastian came to us earlier in the year (late January or early February, I think).  He was a mess.  I remember when I first looked in his cage, I was horrified.  Sebastian was curled up in a puffy pink bed, head resting over the side.  He looked up at me and let out a silent meow.  I opened the cage door and he barely moved.  His fur was falling out in patches and dark scabs littered his skin.  When I pet him, all I felt was bone.  Sebastian’s hips protruded grotesquely, skin taunt.  I felt tears well in my eyes looking at him.  I could never understand how anyone could starve their pet (or their children).  Seriously.  You have a responsibility.  Anyway…

We fed Sebastian special “recover” wet food several times a day and gave him sub q fluids.  He scarfed down the food with each feeding and eventually began eating dry food.  We didn’t want Sebastian to become ill from feeding him too quickly.  Afterall, who knows how long it had been since he last ate on a regular basis.  Slow and steady, as they say.  Sebastian showed signs of improvement within a week.

I was extremely worried about him.  I held my breath each time he visited the vet.  Ask anyone at the shelter.  Sebastian needed lots of TLC, which he had been deprived of for so long.  We gave it to him.  During this time, I was cleaning cat cages 3-4 days a week.  I made sure I set time aside to spoil Sebastian.  I would carry on one-sided conversations, give him pets, give him treats, the whole kit-n-kaboodle.  He didn’t move around his cage much.  Mostly, he remained curled in his bed.  We thought this was because of weakness or muscular atrophy.

Sebastian

Sebastian

About a week after his arrival, Sebastian hopped out of his cage.  We noticed that he had a limp.  When we touched an area of his hip, it was warm and caused Sebastian discomfort.  He bought himself another vet visit.

It turned out that Sebastian was bitten by another animal before we rescued him, which caused an abscess.  The abscess was drained and Sebastian was placed on a regime of antibiotics.  When I saw him a few days later, he was being a little freshie and played rough, biting and bunny-kicking my hand.  I knew Sebastian was feeling better.

The change in Sebastian over the course of a month was incredible.  He put on a substantial amount of weight, his eyes were bright, and he was more outgoing.  Don’t get me wrong – he was far from fully recovered.  However, Sebastian’s face filled out nicely, his missing fur was growing back, and he looked “underweight” rather than emaciated.

Sebastian enjoyed the attention during his photoshoot for Petfinder.com.  ♥  He totally hammed it up for my camera!

He’s still available for adoption, as of today.  If you are interested, here’s his Petfinder profile.  And you could always follow Save The Animals Rescue Team, II on Facebook and Twitter. 🙂

Sebastian

Sebastian

Food Intolerance and Fan Club

So, Castiel was back at the vet on Tuesday.  Since his last visit, he started puking every time he ate.  I started his diet the same evening, so his feeding schedule went something along the lines of:

6:30AM – nom-nom-nom; 7:00AM – barf meal he just ate.

This was happening 2-3 times a day (with three pukes per session).  Needless to say, I was worried and frustrated.

The vet said that there could be several things wrong, but an x-ray would show what she suspected… constipation or a lodged foreign body.  At first she thought he was doing a “scarf-n-barf” because he rapidly ate his food during meal times.  However, the only food he was puking was the Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach / Healthy Skin formula.  If he ate the regular Indoor Cat Chow, he was fine.

X-ray showed nothing of concern.  There was a small pocket of gas in his small intestine.  That was it.  And the pockets of gas show up now and then (according to the doc).  Dr. O also worried that maybe the giardia didn’t really go away because sometimes the fecal floatation can show up negative several times before a positive confirmation is made.  However, because he was keeping one food down and not another, she thought it was a food intolerance.

And this is weird… because he was eating a higher quality of food which caused vomiting.  But the low-end food he kept down.  Castiel was put on a special bland diet and flagyl.  I’ve ended up feeding all the cats the special GI health food I had to buy at the vet.  Castiel didn’t want to eat it from his bowl.  So, if everyone was eating it, he had to eat it.  Gotta say, no funky poops in the litter boxes now!

Before I left, all the vet-techs were sure to tell me how Castiel is so handsome and so well-behaved in the back room.  He got a complimentary mani-pedi and we were on our way home.  When I was leaving, two women stopped me just outside the vet’s office.  They asked to see Castiel.  So, I lifted the carrier a little higher so they could peek inside.

Castiel started talking to them, which made the women laugh.

“Oh my, he’s a big boy,” the older lady said.

“Yes, he is.”

“How much does he weigh?” the younger asked.

“18.4 pounds.  And the Doc says he wears it well.”

“That’s a big cat!  What’s his name?” Again, the older woman.

“Castiel.  Named after one of the angels on Supernatural.”

“What a beautiful name for such a beautiful cat!”

“Thank you!”  When my cat gets compliments, it’s better than me getting a compliment.

“Bless you, Castiel!” both women said.

And throughout this conversation, Castiel is talking away the entire time.

I was still laughing about it when I got home.  I told volunteers I work with about it and how he had his own little fan club.

Adoptables and Adoptions

We had a great weekend for adoptions.  Seven cats and three dogs found forever homes!  Two more dogs were being looked at yesterday and today.  If they are adopted, then we only have three dogs left at the shelter.  Cats are starting to come in steady, but its nothing like it was last year.  It seemed kitten season started pretty early for us in 2012, and our shelter was flooded with kittens and teenagers by the beginning of March.

Harmony and her newborns are doing well in foster care.  When she is finished nursing, the kittens will be adopted out and Harmony will be spayed and adopted.

The shelter manager was able to pick up Girlfriend and bring her inside.  On Sunday she looked terrified.  Girlfriend mewed the entire morning and acted a little skittish.  I am sure the move inside was stressful for her, but we were afraid that one of the dogs were going to get her.  She started hanging out up in the front yard on the roof of the dog runs.  A couple of our pooches aren’t so cat friendly and go ballistic when they see Handsome walking in the street outside of the shelter.

Girlfriend was a bit better on Monday.  She was purring, talking, and marking me as her property.  She’s so cute.  I was giving her lots of cheek scratches and Girlfriend flopped over and showed her belly.  Soooo adoptable!  She misses being around other cats.  When Girlfriend sees Romeo in the cage next to her, she stops meowing and starts purr-meowing and chirping.  We were contemplating putting her in a large cage with Wobbles (aka April) since they were buddies outside.  We’ll have to reintroduce them first and see how they fare.

Houdini and Lucky spent a lot of time with me Monday morning.  Lucky is doing great – he put on a healthy amount of weight.  When he came in from Paterson, he was all bone, weighing in at 4 pounds.  When he got neutered a couple of weeks ago, he weighed 10 pounds.  He’s trying to play with the other cats, but it’s like he doesn’t quite know how.  Boots went through the same thing.  Maybe if we put Lucky in the playroom with some teenagers, they can teach him.  I’m sure he’ll learn fairly quick.

Houdini is such an awesome cat.  There’s no other way to describe him.  He loves to play and loves being around people.  Houdini curled up next to me and demanded belly rubs Monday.  Then he would jump over my shoulders (using my shoulders as a springboard) and ham it up on my other side.  Several weeks in a row, Houdini has won the START II Post Caturday Shelter Award for Cleanest Cage.  I think he would do best in a home with children (about 5+).  And, he would also be great for a family who has never experienced the joys of cat guardianship.  He’s easy to care for, has plenty of love to give, and just wants to be around people.

Houdini Talking

Houdini Talking

Castiel’s Vet Visit

Friday, we took Castiel to the vet. He has been having some loose stools marked with blood.  This has been going on for about a week to two weeks. Initially, I switched to a better quality, sensitive stomach food.  Still, his digestional upset presisted.

Dr. M looked him over.  I held my breath for bad news.  After Morpheus exhibiting similar symptoms a few months before he became severely ill, I worried until the vet eased my mind.  Castiel immediately was put on a diet.  The sensitive stomach food that I started him on was fine.  But he needed to drop three pounds.

Castiel weighed in at 18lbs.  “And he wears it well,” said Dr. M. 

Honestly, I thought he weighed upward toward 20-25lbs.  Still, his weight issue is something I need to tackle now, while he’s young.  I really don’t want to see him become diabetic in a few years.

Dr. M suspects that Prometheus gave Castiel giardia in November.  She said that sometimes it doesn’t display symptoms right away.  The fecal flotations in November tested negative after Prometheus finished his meds.  That included a selection from our non-quarentined cats.

So, I’ve been following Castiel to the litter box nonstop for the past few days trying to get a stool sample.  He always manages to poop when I’m not around.  And with litter boxes shared by seven cats… Well, lets just its hard to differentiate between shape and size according to each cat.  By now his stool is probably normal looking, since he’s been on meds for a few days.

Wish Cas luck.  If his diet doesn’t work, he’s gotta go on prescription diet food!  We’re aiming for 15lbs right now, but Dr. M would feel comfortable if he were 13-14lbs.