Orphaned Kittens

A couple weeks ago, I was asked to care for 5 orphaned kittens that were left in a box on the steps of a church in a nearby town. Most of my experience is with adult and feral cats, but I am okay with hand feeding for a few days. My time caring for the kittens got longer until, starting last Monday, July 1st, I ended up with them full time.

Within a day or two, one of the kittens stopped taking the bottle. Because they are right about 4 weeks old, I offered her canned food, which she gobbled up. After that, she refused the bottle altogether. This was well and good, as she was eating well, until I ran out of the canned food she loved so much. The shelter I volunteer for provides the food, and replaced the food with a completely different brand and flavor. She refused that as well. A day later, I managed to get cans of the original food she had loved (which is going out little by little and getting hard to find), but she refused it as well.

The next thing I knew, this little tiny life that was in my hands was in danger. And I did not have the experience to save her.

I contacted the shelter owner, and she came over with Lactated Ringers (bag of fluids, like what you see hanging on IV hooks in the hospital) and needles. We gave her some fluids subcutaneously (this I am familiar with, as I have done it a million times with adult cats). The difference was, this little thing was much harder to get some loose skin on and way too small for a line running down; hence we used a needle and syringe and gave the fluids like a shot.

Two days and she was not getting any better. She had diarrhea severely, refused any food other than a tiny bit of human meat flavored baby food (chicken flavor to be exact), and I was force feeding her formula. Even with the formula, the fluids several times a day and some baby food, plus some appetite stimulants and tummy settling meds, she was just not getting better!

At this point, I knew I needed extra help. The shelter owner had provided me with all the information she could, so I contacted a friend whom I know is an expert at caring for kittens. She came over and took a look at the kitten. She said she has seen worse. She brought with her all sorts of “weapons” to cure whatever might be ailing this little cutie, including dewormers, anti-diarrheals, Nutri-Cal and special prescription foods. She explained that first we need to get rid of her diarrhea and that this kitten was not too bad off… her gums were still pink and I had given her fluids so she was hydrated.

I talked to her, asking if she could maybe take the kitten for a day to get her “jump started.” I knew she could do more for her than I could, and I was moving my horse to a new barn (third barn in a week… long story) and was stressed enough and was not going to be home. Since it was weekend, she would be home, so she agreed.

This is where we stand now. I will get the kitten back tomorrow night, hopefully in a better state and on her way to eating once again.


Binx came home

After two and a half weeks of major stress and worry, I was finally able to trap Binx. He was injured slightly above his left eye, but a vet visit and time have healed all. We are so grateful to have him home! I bought him a huge cat tree with multiple platforms and all of the cats absolutely love it. But, the top “bunk” is for Binx. He sleeps up there often where he can still see out despite the air conditioner in that window. Binx has definitely decided he prefers to look out, rather than to be out!


My Indoor Cat is Missing; Diary of Binx

Binx is missing

Binx is missing.

Day One, Friday, May 17th 2013: I woke up late because I had to drive a long distance and spend three days doing a horse show photo shoot. When I awoke, my mother came in my room and told me she “saw a cat who looks just like Binx” on the porch and then up by the fireplace in the back yard. It was then she informed me she couldn’t find Binx in the house. I got up and we searched. The back door would, if not closed properly, not latch all the way. The cat she saw was Binx, not a cat who looked like him.

Now we had a major problem. Not only was Binx an indoor-only cat his entire adult life (three and a half years), he was born a feral kitten who had had no contact with humans in the first 8 weeks of his life. A cat who has not had that contact never fully accepts humans. Binx accepted us, as he lived in our house and let us pet him, slept on my bed and would even rub against my leg. However, if even I–the person he most trusted–made a move he found suspicious, he would always run. “Can I really trust you?” lived forever in his eyes, as it does with all cats born feral.

I searched the woods behind our house, the neighbor’s yards, up trees, everywhere I could. No sign of him. As a volunteer for a cat shelter, I was able to borrow a cat trap, which I baited and set on the porch in case Binx came home during the night looking for food. I also brushed Binx’s best cat friend, Jake, and placed his fur around the parameter of the yard.

I slept on the sofa on the porch, hoping my scent would help, or at least I would spot him.

Day Two, Saturday, May 18th: Had to do the photo shoot, so I spent most of the day away. Caught nothing in the trap. I borrowed a second trap to put up in the back near the woods. I needed to expand my search. I also made up a bunch of flyers and went door to door in the areas that surrounded the woods, talking to people and asking if they would contact me if they saw Binx. Everyone was very nice. But no one had seen him.

Binx’s un-trusting nature towards humans, I knew, would make this much more difficult than a trusting house pet. I slept on the porch again. At the very least it helped keep the raccoons away from my trap.

Day Three, Sunday, May 19th: Expanded my search area and tried to spread my scent to lead Binx back home. He had to be getting hungry. Still nothing in the traps. I made more flyers, including a large one for telephone poles, and brought the files to be professionally printed at Staples. I had the large ones laminated so they would be waterproof. It rained, which made me wonder how Binx was handling this, as he had not seen rain in his entire adult life. The rain did not frighten me, however, the thunder did. It would scare Binx. Would he run farther away?

Day Four, Monday, May 20th: Caught a raccoon in the trap nearest the house, but no cat. I reset the trap. The rain just didn’t want to stop! Thunderstorms, heat and humidity every day. Ninety one degrees!

I am still having trouble eating, my stomach is in so many knots. I walked all around the woods within a mile of my house. But the woods are dense and vast. He could be anywhere. I passed out more flyers. I tacked a bunch of the big laminated flyers on telephone poles at every intersection within a two mile radius.

Day Five, Tuesday, May 21st: More of the same today. Cooler temperatures, but still rainy and thunderstorms. As I had done daily, I walked the woods when it wasn’t raining, talked to people, passed out flyers and put lost cat ads on the internet and in papers.

Day Six, Wednesday, May 22nd: Continued looking through the woods and adding flyers to my search area. It was rainy today so I didn’t get as much searching done through the woods, but I did walk up back and look under a few porches and sheds of neighboring properties. By now, people are pretty used to seeing me searching through their yards.

Both traps were tripped, food was gone from one, yet nothing was inside. The neighbor’s cat (Tigger) is a tiny little girl, so I am assuming it was her. Later in the day, I was proven correct when I came home and a neighbor drove by with his ATV to tell me there was a grey cat in the trap behind his house. I asked him “Dark grey or light grey?” When he said light grey, I knew it was Tigger. She was scared, I let her go.

Got a call from a lady who lives about 5 miles away, swearing she saw Binx. She said she would try to feed and lure the cat in. I have big doubts Binx would be that far in the opposite direction that he had gone, plus he would have had to cross a highway and several roads to get there. Not that I am dismissing any lead. I told her to call me if she sees the cat again.

I started a Facebook page to raise awareness of Binx in hopes more people will keep their eyes open for him, regardless where they live. I just want my Binx home!

Day Seven, Thursday, May 23rd: 7am, my mother wakes me to tell me there’s a raccoon in the trap closest to the woods. She can’t climb the fence to get out there, so I went out, in the rain, in my PJs, climbed the fence, and had to pick up the trap and dump the frightened raccoon out. He scrambled up a tree.

Seriously thinking about hiring a pet detective to help me find Binx. The problem is that I am poor and not sure I can afford one. I looked up quite a few online today. I just want my baby home. I don’t know how long I can handle this stress, fear and anguish.


Five Tips for a Happy New Kitten

Kittens need friends

Kittens

When you adopt or acquire a new kitten, you become responsible for an innocent life that fully relies on you for its utmost and thorough care, for the animals’ ENTIRE life, however long that may be. Use the guidelines below to make your kitten’s life a good one and so he/she will grow to be a happy and healthy cat.

  1. Introductions: Whether or not you have other pets in your home, introduce your new kitten(s) to your home or pets slowly. Keep the little tyke confined to one room if possible, for the first day. Make sure he/she has fresh, cool water and plenty of kitten food. Know what your kitten was eating before you acquired it, so you can match the diet, at least temporarily. If you will be switching foods, mix the old with the new over time until the kitten’s digestive system is accustomed to the new food. (generally, with kittens, you will feed 3 times a day up until 6 months of age and then down to twice a day). You can keep dry food down at all times as a snack and feed small amounts of canned food if you wish. This is recommended, as kittens have enough energy to burn fat fast and one or the other can cause a skinny kitten. Though, like any of us, each kitten’s metabolism varies, so keep an eye on your kitten’s weight. Introduce everything very slowly and be patient. Make sure you pet knows where the litter box, food and water is located at all times. And make sure your kitten has LOTS of love and attention. He/she will be very frightened in this new environment, especially is adopted alone. It is fine to carry your kitten around the house in your arms to see the sights, making sure other animals do not come into direct contact, not right away. Acclimate slowly using scent, as cats are very scent oriented. Give your new kitten a cozy fleece blanket or a soft towel to sleep on and get his/her scent all over. Do the same with your resident pet(s). Switch after a day or two. Get them used to one another’s scent. Please take your time. It will be worth it in the long run and could prevent bad experiences that might lead a lifetime of trouble. You can try feeding them near one another when you are ready, providing your resident pet is not food dominant!! A dog, particularly, might snap at a cat that is near its food. So, please use utmost caution. Even a small dog can cause a little kitten harm….

READ THE REST >>> http://www.examiner.com/article/five-tips-for-a-happy-new-kitten


Cyber Cat Monday

Join your cat online for a great online auction every Monday and Friday nights featuring animal gifts and products at low prices

It’s Black Friday Weekend (and Cyber Monday) and I still don’t know why it’s called Black Friday! Perhaps because the stores “wake up” in the middle of the night so people can shop in the dark?

In any event, Black Friday is the start of the holiday shopping season… ie, hectic! So, save your gas and save time. Shop online. For your cat!

Cyber Monday is also Cyber Cat Day! This is the day you can go to an online auction (yep, a LIVE online auction), bid on extremely nice products at super low prices and get all your shopping done for your animal loving friends and pets at the Animal Lovers 6 Auction, Monday night at 9PM EST.

Some of the great items you will find there? Hand made cat toys, as well as great interactive toys like the original Cat Dancer (activity helps keep cats from becoming obese). You will find fantastic gift items for your animal loving people too. Items so unique you will not find them in a store. Fantastic for that hard-to-buy-for person! Such items include dancing cat picture frames, kids animal winter accessories, beautiful jewelry depicting animals of every kind, pet t-shirts and so much more!

You will also find the one-of-a-kind art of extremely talented wildlife artist Lucie Theroux from Quebec, who will be offering a gift of a custom painting! Imagine the glee on an animal lover’s face when they see a painting custom made by hand in water color from one of the most talented artists on this planet!

So, mark your calendars for EVERY Monday and Friday nights at 9PM for the Animal Lovers auctions!


Cat Agility: The New American Sport

Back in the 1980’s, I used to train and show my Doberman pinscher in obedience. Agility was on the high end of the obedience scale, and we never got that far due to my dog’s back issues, but it was always fun to watch.

Though I love all animals, I have always been more of a cat person than a dog person, and now I can enjoy watching cats in agility, which, in my opinion, they are much more suited for than most dogs. Cats are lithe and flexible in ways that dogs are not. This makes them absolutely amazing in running obstacles and flying about in agility competitions.

Cat agility is becoming more and more popular at cat shows around the country. One such cat agility trainer is Anthony Hutcherson, who trains the Bagel cats he breeds in Maryland.

Modeled after canine agility competitions, the tournaments feature a ring in which cat owners — some of whom have trained their pets from kittenhood — brandish a feather or sparkly wand to try to coax a cat to climb stairs, weave around poles and leap through hoops in as little time as possible.

“You have to get the cat to focus on the toy,” said Hutcherson, who raises his cats in Port Tobacco, Md., and whose oldest cat, Justin, has run the course in nine seconds. “Cats will pretty much chase a feather on a string anywhere.” [source]

Cats are reputed to be un-trainable, but this is untrue. Cats are simply not trained in the same manner as dogs. Cats do not respond to a simple pat on the head as a reward. Usually, food is used as an enticement and fun interactive toys such a feathers.

Cats love to jump high, play hard and run fast. I have a feeling cat agility is the sport of the future. Please click here for Photos and slideshows of  cats in action!


Doctor’s Hero Cat Rescued from Fire

Satin was one cat rescued from a large Missouri apartment building fire

An apartment fire in St. Louis took the lives of many pets, but for Dr. Elizabeth Schmidt, relief came four days later when her rescued, one-eyed cat named Satin was reunited with her thanks to the Humane Society of Missouri.

The fire broke out Tuesday night at the four-story, 197-unit apartment complex on Lindell Boulevard in the city’s Central West End. No residents were injured but two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion. The cause of the fire has not been determined. The building has been deemed a total loss. [source]
Schmidt was coming home from dinner with friend last Tuesday night when she saw the fire. Many animals, particularly cats, were trapped inside the building and unfortunately many did not make it, some are still missing. A memorial outside the building told the sad tale of the unlucky ones.

Keep Free Roaming Cats off the Streets

When I wrote my book, House Cat, How to Keep Your Indoor Cat Sane & Sound, it was the mid-1990’s and the movement to keep cats indoors was not completely new (believe it or not, people have been keeping indoor cats since the beginning of the domestication of cats), but was spreading throughout the world.

My book at the time was innovative. The whole point was to create an environment perfect to the cat’s needs based on the cat’s nature, thinking and desires.

Since the publication of the first book (the Revised Edition came out in 2005), keeping cats indoors has become extremely popular, and those who believed cats needed free roam have become the minority. This is good for cats, as there are less disasters from outdoor dangers.

But what many “outdoor cat” advocates do not realize is that this is good for humans as well. Back in 2009, I wrote an article about cats being “mini ecological disasters.” This was simply one observation based on a few words quoted by a TV chanracter, however the truth behind it is astonishing.

Read the Rest: http://www.examiner.com/article/keep-free-roaming-cats-off-the-street