Sunday, April 07, 2019

Kwazii

To paraphrase Monty Python, I'm not dead; I'm just resting. Although really I'm not even resting... I keep meaning to blog, then my day goes by and it's time for bed. But here I am!

This cutie-pie is Kwazii...


Last August, my friend Elizabeth from Furr get Me Knot Cat Haven took Kwazii in. He was an absolute wreck. He'd been living rough outside for some time. Someone had taken him in at some point and shaved him (likely he was covered in mats and this was likely an act of kindness.)

Here's how he looked when Liz got him:


Skinny, flea-infested, bad upper respiratory infection, explosive diarrhea, ear mites, a crumpled ear due to haematomas, rotten teeth... he was not at his best. But he was SUPER sweet and just happy to be in a safe place with lots of food. He was so affectionate and laid-back and just plain happy. This cat deserved a chance!

Kwazii became our joint project. Liz found him a foster home, but would send him down to me for vet care. Our friend Debs volunteered to courier Kwazii back and forth to the farm (Liz lives about 45 minutes away from me.)


The day of our first vet visit, we got the sad news that Kwazii is FIV+. But happily, he didn't have FelV.  And FIV need not be a death sentence! Cats can live long lives with this illness, and they can live with non-FIV cats so long as they all get along. (FIV is transmitted mainly through deep bite wounds.)

So we got to work on Kwazii. We cleared up his URI with antibiotics. He started on weekly B12 injections. He started on a diet of special gastro food.


His coat started to grow back and things slowly began to improve for him.

We had him vaccinated and dewormed. We had him neutered, and had all his bad teeth removed and the remaining ones scaled.

Amazingly, the GoFundMe account we set up for Kwazii covered all these bills. People were really generous! Kwaz is an easy cat to fall in love with.



Kwazii was doing great except for one thing: he continued to be afflicted with explosive diarrhea. Nothing really seemed to help for long. And Kwazii LOVES to poop in his crate and roll in it, so he was getting a lot of baths....

Finally the vet suggested a comprehensive diarrhea panel. So we went ahead with that. Turned out the Kwazii had clostridium in his feces, despite repeated treatments with Flagyl. Dr. Barb was suspicious. He also had coronavirus in his poop. Was is FIP? We sure hope not; FIP is deadly and awful. But we had kind of reached the end of the road with diagnostics, unless we were willing to have Dr. Barb perform exploratory surgery on Kwazii, and take some tissues. This, we were told, would yield a definitive diagnosis. But if something WAS going on, it could also make Kwazii crash.

Still, without a concrete diagnosis, we wondered if we'd ever be able to stop Kwazii's terrible diarrhea  (which not only were uncomfortable for and detrimental to him, but made him a less-suitable candidate for adoption!)
Liz and I talked. We decided to go ahead with the surgery. Happily, Kwazii came through it like a pro and charmed everybody at the clinic. His abdomen was sliced open, and Dr. Barb investigated everything and took tissue samples. She found that a section of his intestine and some lymph nodes were enlarged but otherwise, things looked okay. She closed him up and sent the samples to the lab.

When she called to update me, she was laughing. When she went to check on Kwazii the evening, he was "face down in his food bowl" eating like he'd never seen food before. Apparently cats are often uninterested in food after abdominal surgery. Not our Kwazii! Hours after surgery, he had bounced back like nothing had happened.


He came home with a delightful cone. We decided that Kwaz would stay with me for the foreseeable future. If he had a terminal illness, I would keep him, but if it was something treatable, I'd fix him up and do my best to find him a home or long-term foster home.

The next week, we got the diagnosis: Kwazii had lymphoma in his intestines, with a tiny amount in his liver: a low-grade, small-cell carcinoma that not aggressive and was very treatable. There are no guarantees, of course, but with treatment he could live years with this. It is not uncommon for cats with FIV to develop lymphoma. I was actually happy about the diagnosis because (a) now we had an answer and (b) it wasn't FIP!

We decided to go ahead and put Kwazii on chemo. Cats do a lot better with this than humans. So a week ago, Kwazii began his regimen of Chlorambucil and Prednisolone. So far, he's acting like nothing has changed. He could possibly lose his magnificent whiskers, but not his fur. I've been keeping a close eye on him and so far, touch wood, he is doing great!


And he loves to snuggle.

We'll see how he does, but my hope is that when the chemo ends, I'll be able to find him a loving home. Of course I would always take care of him here, but it would be so much nicer for him to be in a home with fewer cats where he can get all the love and attention he deserves.

Some people would think it crazy to spend so much time  and money on one cat but I say WHY NOT? I can never save all the cats, as much as I want to. I have to pick and choose my battles in fostering. This six-year-old boy is a truly lovely fellow who deserves a chance, and a loving home. And there really are no guarantees with any cat. In a year, I lost my Millicent, Mootie and Keaton, and none of them was particularly old. They'd all been seemingly healthy until they all died suddenly of different kinds of cancer. It was just bad luck. Kwazii could live for years. Or maybe he won't, but he has a much better chance of it now that we've taken him in and improved his quality of life.



And he has so much love to give! Plus he's devastingly handsome.

HUGE thanks to all the vets who have cared for Kwazii, especially Dr. Barbara Tomlinson of St. Lawrence Valley Animal Hospital and the Cat Clinic of Cornwall. You've all been so wonderful to this guy.

The BIGGEST thanks goes to Elizabeth, though. She took this sad and ragged boy in when no one else could or would. If it weren't for Liz, Kwazii would surely be dead by now; he could not have made it through another winter outside. Liz is an angel to kitties.

Go Kwazii Go! We are all rooting for you.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Jampups at play

Yes, I am still heeeere!!

We got over 30 cm (a foot) of snow the other day. Yesterday I took some pics of the Jampups frolicking in it. They play hard!


Some interesting dog body language going on here! Chloe, Dodger and Gigi.


Chloe and Gigi having fun




Dodger, a gracefull gazelle. LOL!


Hmmm not sure what Chloe is saying here.



There are a lot of teeth involved when they play, but it's all in the name of fun.





My handsome boy!


Gigi, the brains of the outfit.


Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry merry!


Yeah I know, I'm on a roll! Three posts in a week... what is the world coming to? Wishing all of you who celebrate it a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2018

They were not impressed

Happy Christmas eve! The equines are not feeling it, lol...


Sandy refused to look at me.



Gen was patient about it all.




Jimmy was rocking it.



Roo preferred a hat.



Saul was long-suffering.


Whatever you celebrate this holiday season, hope it's a good one for you! 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Ash



 Ash

The year is drawing to a close, and I am reflecting on all the cats I have adopted out this year. It is MADNESS! I was a bit shocked to add up the numbers and discover I took in 60 cats and kittens, and have adopted out 55 (and that doesn't count the 13 kittens that died in April!) This is why I am now my veterinary practice's second biggest client after the OSPCA, lol.

 The five felines  that haven't left are Taya, (failed foster, now a permanent resident!) Peaches  (being fostered by my friend Sharron), Lucy, (in a room in my house while we deal with her medical issues), Artemis (5-month-old kitten who was shot in the leg and will be here for the foreseeable future; it looks like she will need her front right leg amputated), and Oliver (who was returned to me after a year and a half because... don't get me started! He is my idea of the perfect cat and everyone who has met him here agrees with me.)

At the start of 2018, I took in five kittens with absolutely no intention of taking in another 55 felines in the ensuing months. This year has been insane, but I have learned so much. I have been sorely tested and disappointed by a couple of people, but for the most part, I have dealt with a lot of really amazing human beings who have given me help along the way, not to mention the fantastic people who have adopted all these beautiful cats. It was never my goal in life to run a cat shelter, and yet here I am, doing what I thought I could never do, and finding it very satisfying.

 My goal for next year is to do a better job of balancing everything so that I can spend more time doing the other things I love: writing, making art, and riding my horse. Also there have been times this year when I have been exhausted, which is not something I need at my age. So I am working on that too. You need really strong boundaries to do this cat rescue work, and I am getting better at defending my boundaries all the time, but it can be really difficult to say "no" to a cat in need, But you must! A person can only do so much. It's tough for an introvert like me to be dealing with people all the time, but at the same time, I have been so amazed and touch by the support and kindness I have received from so many in 2018. 

And then there's my friend and right-hand cat-woman, Sharron. I can't say enough good things about this beautiful being, Sharron has been there every step of the way this year, volunteering her time to help the cats she loves. She comes to the farm many times a week to clean litter-boxes, wash cat bowls, clean up the granary, and most importantly, to spend time with the cats. She has the most amazing way with them, and I truly believe her love for and care of this kitties is a large part of the reason I do so well adopting out these cats to great homes. She is amazing at socializing them!  She understands cats so very well, and  is an absolute godsend to me. She will even do things like surprise me with tacos and chai lattes and all manner of things that brighten my days. She is also the person who adopted the Georgie, the one-eyed kitten I fostered for the OSPCA in 2017. I told Sharron the other day that I couldn't do this without her. She said I could. Well, maybe I could, but it would be a lot more difficult.  I am so grateful to have her in my life.

There have been some beautiful adoption stories this year. Let me tell you about Ash...



Ash was found shivering on a porch in Cornwall. He had lost weight and has a nasty bite wound on his leg. The person concerned for him contacted me. It's funny; I didn't really have space at the time. On top of that, I hate talking on the phone (introvert!) and usually let it go to call answer unless it's someone I know. Yet on this one particular day,  I picked up the phone when it was a number I didn't know. It turned out to be the call about Ash. It was a nurse who worked at the nearby hospital. She wanted to help him, but couldn't keep him because she was in a rental and already had a cat. My first impulse was to say no, but as she talked, my resolve weakened and I agreed to take him in.

I'm so glad I did!



I got Ash off the vet asap. Sadly, he tested positive for FIV (not the end of the world, but he would need some special care.) And the vet took one look at the deep hole in his rear leg and scheduled surgery. While Ash was under, he was also neutered, then sent home with a fine set of sutures along his back leg...


I really wasn't sure how easy it would be to adopt out a FIV-positive cat but I figured I'd give it a shot! And within a week, I'd received a message about Ash from an older gentleman who had lost his beloved wife to cancer last year.

He owned two geriatric dogs, and was looking for a cat to keep him company. Would Ash fit the bill? I invited him to come for a visit. And it turned out the man shared my last name and was from England,  like my parents. His accent so reminded me of my father's.

Mr. Rowe and Ash hit it off immediately. Mr. Rowe used to rescue ferals, had a good understanding of FIV and was undaunted by it. Ash would be an indoor, only cat, so no worries about transmission of the virus. While he sat cuddling Ash, I learned a bit about Mr. Rowe.  He was a former RAF fighter pilot who flew Spitfires. At some point he had lost his leg and walked with "a stick." His lovely wife had succumbed to a genetic breast cancer at the age of 65, and it was clear to me how much he loved and missed her. Now he was looking for a feline buddy to keep him company on the couch while he watched TV, and bring a bit of kitty personality to the household.

Mr. Rowe left with Ash that day.

The dogs and Ash needed a bit of time to get used to each other, but they have worked things out in short order. Ash now sits next to Mr. Rowe at night while they enjoy their favourite shows, and he sleeps on Mr. Rowe's bed (and sometimes chest!) at night. I could not be happier with how life has worked out for this big, affectionate grey cat.

Stories like this are what keep me going; for every nutjob you meet in cat rescue, there are 100 kind, caring, fantastic people to make up for it. 

And happy endings like this one.


Update: Oliver's former owner took exception to my characterization here of her relationship with him,  and sarcastically called me "Saint Natalie", so I have removed the offending reference. For all of you who are interested, I am not and have never claimed to be a saint. I just like cats. I do, however, think Oliver is a perfect cat and I stand by that statement. Clearly he was not the right cat for his previous owners. Also, yes, I want to take cats back if their owners no longer want them, and it's in the adoption contract, but that doesn't mean I have to be happy about it. Oliver was in his home for a year and a half, and now he's back here, while his feline sister got to stay. I am sad for Oliver, not for Oliver's human.






Sunday, November 25, 2018

Kitties 'n' stuff

My friend Debs of Deborah Wilson Photography came yesterday to take photos. Here's a teaser! :) Emerson was SO into it!!


Deborah can make anyone look great... it's amazing! And she takes such beautiful photographs. I can't wait to see the rest of the pictures from yesterday. She took photos of us with the goats, the dogs, the horses, the foster kitties...

Speaking of foster kitties, James is still looking for a home...



He was born here at the farm to foster kitty Valerie on July 11. He's a very sweet little boy with a wonderful purr. Just a happy, well-socialized little soul.

And I took this poor lad in last week...


Ash was freezing on someone's porch for a week before he came here. As it turned out, he had a deep bite wound to his rear leg, plus an upper respiratory infection. He was also in possession of a large pair of nuts, and unfortunately he has tested positive for FIV, but he can live with other non-FIV cats so long as they get along (no biting!)

I took Ash in Thursday for his first check-up. On Friday he was neutered,  and his bite wound was cleaned out and stitched up. Poor guy has to wear a cone for two weeks. He's the sweetest cat! 13 pounds of mellowed-out loooove. I am looking forward to finding him the purrfect home.


I have eye drops for that winky eye!



What a sweetheart!


Meanwhile, I need to get cracking on Molly....




Molly is a sweet, quiet, affectionate brown tabby girl about three years old. She has been spayed and just needs her final booster shots. She's in the granary with my "tabby trifecta" right now (Pip, Fanny, Taya) but Fanny is a bit of a bully towards Molly, so Molly tends to hang out upstairs. She is a perfect little cat! Just such a nice girl. She would probably be fine with other cats if they aren't pushy beeyotches like Fanny! LOL

And little Lucy...


...Lucy is off the market for now while I get her health issues sorted out. She is being treated for toxoplasmosis and we are crossing our fingers that that is all that's wrong with her... she has responded extremely well to the Clindamycin she is on, and has not had a seizure since we began that treatment. It will be another couple of months before we have the full story on Lucy, but for now she has a big room to herself in my house, with a view of the birdfeeder. We try to give her lots of attention; she can't be with other kitties right now. She is the sweetest kitten and if her health checks out,  my friend Beccy will be adopting her.



James, Michael and Jack (rear.) Aren't these three the cutest? James and Michael are brothers born to Valerie and Jack is their adopted brother, who was taken on by Valerie when he was just a little fellow. Jack and Michael both have great homes lined up. Now I just need to find one for James!

Hope you are enjoying your weekend. We are going to "Cats on Your Mats" yoga today in support of the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry OSPCA.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Second annual Spay Café at Bee Meadow Farm!


Our 2nd annual SPAY CAFÉ is Saturday, November 17, 2018 from 2 pm to 4 pm at the farm! Delicious lattes served up by baristas Viv and Ang, along with baked goods. Gift basket raffle! All proceeds go to the spay/neuter fund for our foster cats!


My beautiful failed-foster cat Fanny will be keeping a close eye on the baked goods!


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Crumpets 'n' stuff

My Dad was a big crumpet fan. He made me a big crumpet fan.


There's not too much to them, so I don't know why I like them so much. But I do, along with a cuppa tea. Maybe because it's an excuse to eat butter.

I was toasting crumpets yesterday and I heard my Dad's voice telling me to make them "nice and crispy!" As in almost burned. Of course, he was the one who left his Marks & Spencer Extra-strong teabag in the mug as he drank his extra-EXTRA strong tea! He liked things well-done, except for his meat, which he preferred medium-rare. He was an excellent cook, and I can still taste his chili and his split-pea soup. 

My Dad's been gone for 26 year; I still miss him. My parents split up when I was eight, but I spoke to my Dad on the phone every single day (in the days before cell phones!) until I was well into high school. As I grew older, he was the one person I could turn to for support and advice when I had a problem, and I always knew he would listen well and give me the help I needed. I knew he had my best interests at heart. Sometimes I still want to call him up to talk to him... we always used to start out conversations talking about what we were having or had just had for supper. Food was important to both of us! I still have his phone number memorized, even though he died when I was 28. He lived in the same apartment for the last 18 years of his life. I had a dream about him the other night. I was trying to call him, but I couldn't get through. I often have that dream about him and I just see it as my desire to talk to him coming out in my subconscious.

Meanwhile in foster-kitten land...


...Jack thought he'd sample a power tool.

And this week I have gotten in some horseback riding...


...the best place to be!


Everybody had burrs in their tails and manes when we got back from our trip. but I have them all sorted out now. I wish my hair look as good as Roo's!




Saturday, October 20, 2018

Back to reality....

Not that reality is so terrible, but I could have done with two more weeks in Spain. The trip was great; I love Spain, plus we get to visit our friends Mitchell and Jerry (of Mitchell is Moving) which is always wonderful. And as Mitchell notes in a recent blog post, we all forgot to take pictures of each other. Instead we just photographed the delicious rice pudding cake three of the four of us had for dessert! :)

I met Mitchell through blogging and met him (and Jerry!) in person for the first time on our last trip to Spain two years ago. It's amazing how it can feel like you have known someone forever, when you've only met each other in person twice! I wish we were geographically closer, but we'll definitely be visiting them again the next time we are Spain.

I loved every part of our trip, but our two horseback riding trips were the highlight for me. Here are pics from my very favourite ride....



We went with an outfit called Riding Fun in the Sun, led by Jo. It was fantastic! One of my fav holiday rides ever.


Wind turbines in the distance


We rode through these herds of cows, which I found just hilarious. Because the cows are herded by men on horseback, they are  inclined to walk or run away from horses, and so don't cause problems on rides. Occasionally a young, curious cow will come up to the horses, but they are easily shooed away.



That said, near the end of the ride, one of the cows actually wanted to play with one of the horses! The cow was jumping and frolicking, until he got sent packing by Jo. it was pretty cute.

Riding makes me extremely happy. I came home vowing to make it more of a priority in my life, particularly since I was so burnt-out and exhausted at the start of the trip. My goal is not to let that happen again. I love rescuing cats and kittens, but I also need to be more careful about looking after myself, because I'm no spring chicken anymore! :) One of the things I have let slide is writing on my blog, which is something I really enjoy, so I am also going to try to make sure I make time for that!


Another two weeks in Spain would have been great, but we were both definitely more relaxed by the time we got on the plane home Thursday.

Have a great weekend!