Friday, April 24, 2009

She's Baaack! (Or, Damn, it's ugly. Can we keep it?)

Meet Strawberry, the out-of-focus foster. Not sure if her extremely unusual visage offends the sensibilities of my persnickity Olympus, or if she's simply not used to mugging for the media. Strawberry (as lovingly dubbed by my daughter, Smartypants, because her ears turn a pleased pink when she's pet) is a very rare Devon Rex, and a foster from the Humane Society of North Texas.
So... how did we get just here? Welcome back, by the way. After the unexpected return of two of the littermates from the prior fostering saga and a slew of health issues suffered by myself and the notorious Hugh, I've finally managed to recover enough from the storm to perhaps begin anew with CatUnderfoot. Periwinkle and Daisy returned from an unsucessful homing, and both were very sick. After three months of careful fostering, I was able to just today take them to the Humane Society Adoption Center for their official (and darn-well-better-be) final homing.
I couldn't leave two without hoping to at least take one with me, and I was angling very, so very hard for a litter of kittens who were being surrendered at the same time Peri and Daisy were being processed into Adoptions. However, I had already been assigned to Strawberry (unbeknownst to me). The volunteer coordinator kept referring to her as "that godawful ugly cat." She's not much of a cat person. As soon as I saw Strawberry's paperwork, I got goosebumps. A Devon Rex! They're so rare. How did one wind up, unwanted and sick at the H.S.? Seems unheard-of to me.
The assistant at the adoptions center desk explained that they tried to get the local Devon Rex rescue to take her, but they dropped her like a hot-potato claiming that she was "too old and fat" to be worth bothering with. She's, at maximum, 10 ounces overweight and six years old. C'mon people. You're letting a little upper-respiratory scare you off? Profit-mongering jackasses.
Strawberry is extremely lovable and enjoys company. She's currently in our "Cat Room," which is the front bedroom area that functions both as Sick Bay and office. She would very much like to roam the rest of the abode, but Darius and Solace do not need a cold right now. No, No, No and Hell No.
I called Guns to explain to him that there is a Devon Rex in our Cat Room.
"Not 'Who.' 'What!' A Devon Rex!"
"Who the hell is Devin Rex?"
"DEVON Rex. Like Devonshire, England? It's a specific cat breed."
"Why is there another cat in our house?"
"I took Daisy and Peri in to be adopted today, remember? I brought home another foster."
"Oh. Oh! The kittens are gone. Cool. New cat? Nifty. Ok."
So I sent him a picture, and he calls back with, "Awesome! Damn, it's ugly. Can we keep it?"
Over the course of the evening, I pulled up some information on Devon Rexs for Guns to peruse and we all spent time getting to know our odd-looking little charge a bit better. She's worse for the wear, that's for sure. The tip of her tail is kinked where someone slammed it in a door, and her upper teeth are rotten from a lifelong diet of low-quality canned food (which could also explain her pudginess). She explodes from the nasal region on a regular basis... she just couldn't kick the upper-respiratory infection, but who possibly could while residing in the infirmary at an animal shelter?
Guns is already trying to convince me that we should just keep her. She took to him right away, inviting herself into his lap and purring despite the goop clogging her motor. She tolerates Smartypants' nonsensical puttering and chattering and seems to like the attention. And her fur, as odd as it looks, is bunny-soft. Despite Guns' first impression, "Does she have mange?" (No, she's just different. Thanks), he surprised me by taking such an avid interest in her so quickly. Perhaps I'm just fated to find the unusual unwanteds.
Doesn't sound like such a bad rap to me.
If you're in the Fort Worth metropolitan area and would like to consider Daisy and Periwinkle for your family, please feel free to send me a comment or go to:

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thank You Artsy Catsy!!

Check out this awesome cell-phone leash! I got it from Artsy-Catsy and it's just wonderful. It's custom made, special just for me. I didn't know what I wanted it to look like, so I just sent them a link to a picture of my phone and asked them to make it nice. And they did! The pink and black stones are a perfect accent!
...and the cool thing is, they even sent me a free bookmark with green glass beads, and cat and fish charms. I'm allergic to all kinds of fish, so this is the first fish I've been able to hang out with for a long time. He's a good fish. I named him Ned.
In other news, Hughie the wondersick dog is doing incredibly well. He still has some problems, but he's steadily improving and as long as I wrap his meds in turkey bacon he takes them pretty regularly. He dropped to about 16 pounds at one point because he doesn't like the prescription diet he's on. He kept getting all shivery in the Texas air conditioning, and then one day the temperature dropped all the way down to 68 degrees and the a/c actually turned itself off!!! I didn't know this was possible in Texas. Poor Hugh's teeth nearly rattled out of his head. I figured that all the Hummers in the Metroplex have finally produced enough carbon dioxide to melt the glaciers, and we're headed for another ice age. So I ran to Petsmart real quick to get a doggie sweater- and guess what! They were on sale for 75% off. Who knew??

"I'm too sexy..."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Some of you may have noticed that my Mancat Darius sports a hot-pink heart-shaped I.D. tag, and has also been known to wear pink SoftClaws.
I would like to go on the record stating that these particular fashion choices are entirely of Darius' own volition. Please record Exhibit A:
Why have I chosen to out my lovely miniature puma so cruelly? To send a very strong message. No one-- NO ONE. Messes. With. My. Max. Time.

You've been warned.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hughie's Home!!

Hugh's Home!
Hugh's Home!!
Hugh is Home.
Ohh, he looks so good! I didn't even know the little guy could look so wonderful. The swelling in his face is gone, his eyes are clear and bright, and he's so trim through the abdomen I'd think he's a Whippet if I didn't know better.

He's definitely feeling better, too. The second I let him out into the back yard for what was supposed to be a sedate little potty break, he darted out behind the garden shed and started trying to dig under it! He's after that damn lizard that foiled him last Saturday, I know he is.

So, right now he's on a "Slow Kill" heartworm program, which means that they are giving him smaller doses of the arsenic-based medication in two session to limit the amount of worms that are eliminated at one time. This will reduce the short-term stress to his system that the worms' decomposition will impose. This is apparently a new treatment strategy; the vet explained that the protocol is so new that Hugh will be the first to be treated in this manner at her clinic. Which I think is pretty cool. I'm all for the "practice" of medicine, and I think it's great to support healthcare providers as they continue to learn.

I did, however, encounter some people at the office while waiting to discharge Hugh that gave me the heebie geebies. To wit:

"I told my six year old daughter that we'd get her a cat if she kept her room clean. She did, so now we have the cat. But, she knows that if she doesn't keep her room clean and keep getting good grades, I'll get rid of the cat. She's done pretty well so far, so we're getting the cat's hind paws declawed today. All ready had the front ones done..."

Huh? Since when is a cat a toy for a six year old that can be put in a closet when the child misbehaves? Oh, and here, hold still while I hack off the first digit of all ten of your toes...

This one was good too:

"I'm on to their little racket here, y'know. The vets that care for shelter animals, they take the money for the healthcare and never give the shots to the dogs. The dog we adopted from the shelter almost died of Parvo, and it's because they didn't give them the shots they said they did. But they know the owners will pay to save the dog's life, so they just make them healthy enough to bond, but make sure they keep getting sick so they have to come back to the vet."

Wow, I didn't know they could program a dog to break down like they could a Cadillac. Or that a VACCINE for Parvo is supposed to magically cure a dog that all ready has the disease. I'd like to live in that reality. Must be nice.

So, anyway, Hugh's on an antibiotic, a cardiac stimulant, a diuretic, an ointment for his eyes (minor upper-respiratory infection), and something else I can't remember, but I'm sure it's important. He's more of a walking pharmacy than I am! His kidneys are still having a hard time, and he's on a low-protein diet for the foreseeable future. But, he's home, he's sleek and lovely and in time he should have a good long-term prognosis.

Thank you all so kindly for your help and good thoughts. I really appreciate the health mojo, I do believe that Hugh and I wouldn't have gotten this far without all of you. I'll keep you posted, and I'll also post some actual cat-related stuff soon. Holy Cow! Could things be getting back to normal? *gasp*

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wow. My Little Buddy is Really, Really Broken

The Vet called. Let me see if I can put her report in the order of... say, um. Appearance. Order of appearance:

Cardiac Distress
Preliminary Kidney Failure
Bladder Infection


Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (which is zoonotic and I am FREAKING OUT)(Treated)
Hookworm (Treated)

So! Hughie contracted heartworm probably shortly after birth. He has a severe case. The heartworm has caused cardiac issues (duh), and has also surpressed his other organ function which has caused his kidneys to start throwing red blood cells and protien into his urinary systems, which are a smorgasbord for lovely bacteria. Hence, bladder infection.

The heartworm, if left untreated will surely kill him very soon. The mechanism of demise will likely be kidney failure if not preempted by cardiac arrest. The bladder infection itself has been treated and his urine is clear of bacteria although it is NOT clear of the red blood cells and protiens, which makes sense since his kidneys are malfunctioning and too overworked to properly filter these substances.


The Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is an incidental finding in that he may have contracted it at any time. It is treated with antibiotics, which is convenient because the drugs being administered for the bladder infection are also an appropriate treatment for Spotted Fever. Hookworm is a common condition for dogs, and is the reason why animal care providers admonish pet parents to worm ANNUALLY.

The vet's prognosis? GUARDED.

The reasoning? While the heartworm may be treatable (We're waiting to confirm with the cardiologist on that one), the problems that it has caused (damage to his heart, kidneys, etc), may be permanant. Hughie, if he survives all this, will likely be on supportive medication for the rest of his life.

I told the vet that I am comfortable with any medical procedures that are appropriate until Hugh's quality of life is more than moderately compromised. If at any time we discover that his ultimate outcome is one that will allow for less than a somewhat comfortable existence, well.

Death is nothing to be afraid of. Just because we don't know exactly what happens after we say goodbye doesn't mean it's bad.

And, most important of all, he'll have been loved and fought for until the very end.

I hope I'm not getting ahead of myself. As I look forward down either potential path, I know that I have one helluva tough row to hoe. In one outcome, I could have my dog, who is moderately healthy and hale, and who requires frequent medication and care. In the other, I'll have a little funky Rat Terrier shaped hole in my heart and a really good reason to go on the warpath.

The Beat Goes On...

Well, I didn't get to amend my blog post last night because when the vet called back...she didn't have much to report. Still waiting on blood test results, etc. I called again this morning and I guess she has to call me back again.

Tell me, Tesla (and thank you for responding regarding your bean's experiences with horrible pet owners. Sometimes I do need perspective), how many times can a client call about her pet in the ICU before she is deemed a nuisance by the office staff? I called before I visited yesterday, I called last night, then I called this morning and I plan to visit later today. Am I smothering the techs?? I don't want attention from the vet or the staff while I'm there, I just want to reassure Hugh that he does still have a home and a family who misses him and that we haven't forgotten about him.

Uh, oh. Forgot to put the turkey and the peaches in the fridge. HOLY COW, speaking of peaches, look at these suckers (Darius the thirteen-pound mancat inserted for reference):

"Lady, I know you put these cat treats here for me, but if you don't re-do these countertops PDQ I'm going to yak on your humongous produce."

God Bless Texas. Everything is bigger here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A So So SO Special Thank You From Ms. Hugh's Mom

...To Max and his Woman, for casting their love and sharing Hugh's story with his friends. Max, you also shared your friends with us, and that is sincerely one of the most generous gifts. Thank you kindly.

...And to everyone who followed Max over here to show us love and bring us healing strength. Your concern and comments really mean a lot to me and they support my spirits as the hours go by and Hugh gets better. There's nothing more wonderfull than purrs and purrayers when one is feeling poorly. Thank you so much!

Without further ado, an update...

Hugh threw the vet a curveball early this morning and decided to be allergic to a very common doggie antibiotic. The result:

A Bass-Rat Hound. *rimshot* Get it? Hee. Ok, brick. I know. Very punny. But I'm trying here.
I'm sure he didn't appreciate the on-the-verge-of-breaking-into-hysterical-laughter-but-still-sympathetic "Awww, Hughie!!!" he got when I saw him. The vet says he actually looks much better than he did when he first showed symptoms of reaction... I'll take her word for it.

Otherwise, he seems to be doing okay. He's stable, and they're running all kinds of blood tests and x-rays and ultrasounds and consultations with a cardiologist and... dang.

This dog has seen more medical care in two days than Guns' had since the Fifth grade. No foolin'!

For reference, here are some photos of Hugh's first night at home with us. As you can see, when he's not having an anaphylactic reaction to common intravenous medications, Hugh's quite the dapper little guy:

"How many pairs of shoes does your kid have, lady?"
"What is that flashy thing, anyways?"
"Erm... can I trust you?"

Guns and Hugh actually get along quite well now. As soon as Hugh came home I decreed that all food and treats would come from Guns or from no-one. It motivated Hugh to interact with a man on a positive level. Hugh happily obeys commands from Guns now, and enjoys cuddling and playing with him. However, Hugh makes it clear that he prefers to take walks with Mom.
Calling the Vet for an update...
Ok, mebbe not. She's going to call me back, I guess she gets really busy near closing time. I'll amend this post as soon as I get a chance to speak with her.
Coming soon: The Adventures of the Rescued Kitties, The Cat that All Ready Has a Home and How I Royally Ticked Off My Neighbors.