Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The road goes on forever..

and the party never ends. ~Robert Earl Keen

Well, it is officially spring here at Casa de Stella.

Just in case anyone is inclined to debate the issue, I submit the first in a short series of posts that have little to do with raising dogs and everything to do with cats and nature and so-called "animal rescue". Before we move on to the good stuff, I should say that although I've occasionally managed to tease out the negative aspects of various local pet owners on this page, that doesn't always translate to them being bad people. There are most certainly other factors involved, things I don't personally know about in their lives and things that they themselves can't control so I'd like to go on record as saying this isn't about them so much as it is about things moving forward, whether you're ready for them to or not, whether you're qualified to handle it or not and whether you like it or not. One day you're bored out of your mind and the next day it's your turn to get thrown into the swamp; you swim, you get out and you clean up the mess and maybe you're still alive and wiser than you were when you started. Maybe.

With that in mind, somewhere in the neighborhood of last Thursday, a light bulb went off over my head. It blew out immediately because of a little thing called denial. I think my exact words at the time were: "Oh God, no".

Domino, our (catnip junkie) squatter from the neighborhood recently took up what seems to be permanent residence here. My original cat Gigi isn't that crazy about her but she and Stella are sweet on each other so I decided to extend her lease. Her owner still leaves food out on the porch (presumably for the one cat that stayed on) but all of the cats and probably a raccoon or two, stop by regularly for a meal. They eat here at my house too, so life is pretty good. I noticed the other day that both Gigi and Domino had put on a couple of pounds and I threatened to cut them off if they weren't able to regulate their own impulses. Gigi is going on nine years old and according to Domino's (former) owner, she's about three, a "rescue cat" who lived in an apartment prior to their moving here sometime the middle of last summer.

So one morning not long ago, we all get up and Domino stays in bed half a day and I didn't think much of it. Then for a couple of weeks she takes to napping at my feet when I'm sitting at the computer and I don't think anything of that either. Then one day she starts drinking water and she does it probably five times that same day and now I'm worried. My last cat died of kidney disease and excessive water drinking was one of the first symptoms. Domino isn't losing weight though, in fact, quite the opposite. In my mind that rocks the boat back to another wonderful cat I lost to a strange illness that causes cats to retain fluids until they literally drown in them. So I ponder this for a couple of days and while I don't have a lot of experience with dogs I tend to think I'm fully proficient when it comes to felines and therein lies the problem. With those two exceptions, my cats have lived long and carefree lives. No diabetes, no cancer, no seizures, nothing - save a few scrappy tom cat encounters and the occasional hairball.

Last Thursday, Domino threw up in the living room. I picked it up in a napkin and when I walked back into the room I found she was relaxed but lying flat on her stomach with her chin stretched way out in front of her. I hadn't ever seen a cat lie down in this position. She looked like the top of a long, fat exclamation point.

"Domino" I said,"it might be time for you to go to the vet little girl."

And with that I reached down and picked her up. There it was: "Oh God, no!" I set her down immediately, like she'd caught fire or something and studied her with a disbelief that would last two more days. Her girl parts were engaged.

Colorful words followed. All this time I assumed she'd been spayed because she was "a rescue cat." She stayed out all summer and fall and now that she is living with me and her real parents are (oh did I forget to mention?) moving out of state - she's managed to go out and get herself in trouble. Suddenly I remembered a day back in early January when she bitched me out at the back door. At the time, I compared it to a cat in heat but without all the rolling around on the ground. A day later, she was fine. If you all will please excuse me I have to go now and hack up a hairball myself.

That was then
Today is Tuesday.. I'll be very surprised if we make it forty-eight more hours. Meanwhile, she's busy practicing her new mama skill on a pit bull. I'll keep you posted on the state of the white bedspread. (Update: I removed the bedspread for now and replaced it with a giant towel)


Colleen - the AmAzINg Mrs. B said...

but..she is such a pretty girl,huh?
You are a good pet-mamma-neighbor-rescue-er..

susan said...

She IS a pretty girl for sure and has a super sweet disposition too. Her kittens will be adorable.

Susan Rose said...

Here you go again with finding good homes for kittens. I'll bet Auntie Stella goes all out to guard and protect the newbies.

I think I've mentioned before that I'm feeding a beige/orange, striped, female feral cat. This began last summer. Now another feral female comes to dinner every evening. She's very pregnant, so I feel compelled to set out plenty of quality food. I see this spiraling out of control in the coming weeks and months.

The orange-striped kitty is the one I want to tame and keep long-term. (She's progressed from keeping 25 feet between us to keeping 5 feet between us.)

Any suggestions?

susan said...

>I see this spiraling out of control in the coming weeks and months.
Haha!! I can't believe you said that! Kitten food (I'm told) is what the mama cat really needs (and probably a place to have her kittens. As for the other one you might try making a cat house for her to lie around in/on. There are a million videos on YouTube with directions and different designs and if you want to pet her, I'd try raw chicken livers or mackerel. Kind of stinky but very effective. She'll think you're the best friend she ever had. After reading this post over I think I may have sounded kind of negative about the whole situation. Actually I'm kind of excited now that it's inevitable but was looking forward to having a few less responsibilities instead of more. Luckily, because of my former foster kitties, I can adopt them out through the Nashville Cat Rescue and they'll absorb the cost of vet care but the whole process takes ten weeks! Stella is probably going to pee herself the first time one of those kittens ventures out.

Beverly said...

Great post! Have fun with the kitties. I may have to come see 'em. Maybe we need another kitty to "train" Kat to be more social? Or not.

Susan Rose said...

Ha! Great minds DO think alike! These two feral cats are already getting Purina Kitten Chow, canned mackerel and raw chicken liver cut into bite-sized pieces. (They don't like canned cat food.)

When summer arrives with longer days, I'll have more time to sit on the porch and lure the orange cat close enough to touch.