Guest Star: Weebles the Wild

As someone actively involved in rescue I often come across animals in need and am sought out to handle animals others have found. Dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, horses, and mice have all found their way to my place. I generally adopt out as many as possible, keeping only those I’m unsure will find homes or be adoptable.

One of the last kittens I fostered stayed because he has a rare genetic condition called Congenital Hypothyroidism (it’s actually fairly common in humans and puppies, but kittens rarely live long enough to be diagnosed and are often misdiagnosed). Most veterinarians will go their entire career without seeing a case. All that to say of course a congenital hypothyroidism kitten would come my way. Meet Wee Baby Seamus!

He appeared to be a normal, if very weak, 4-week old kitten. The previous owner had waited at least 2 days (during which she had not been able to get him to eat or drink anything) to let me know he was not well. I assumed he was a runt that had not been cared for properly and after rushing the completely unresponsive little guy to a vet, we went home with subcutaneous fluids and vitamin supplements after a mad scramble by the vet to bring him around. The veterinarian, the animal rescue I work with (Southern Cross Animal Rescue – SCAR), and I all assumed he would be ready for life as a kitten in the rescue’s cat facilities in a few weeks.

Wee Baby Seamus (AKA: WBS, Weebs, Weebles, etc) was able to go to work with me and due to his precarious state, I fed him every 1-2 hours rather than the 3-5 I generally use with 4-week old kittens.  Having gone through such a long period without food or water I was not surprised that my new little friend was sluggish and slept the majority of the time.  In the next couple days a follow-up exam by the veterinarian was positive, he seemed to have pulled through and no longer needed subcutaneous fluids. We all anticipated a normal recovery.

After a week I started to have doubts. Despite constant nourishment, WBS was not very active. Even though he should have been about 5 weeks old (and kittens that young can vary a little, especially after such a rough start), he still seemed to need to feed every 1-2 hours. He was starting to try and crawl a bit but his joints seemed strange. His legs seemed to sink down behind his feet rather than sit on top of them as a normal cats joints align. He wanted to play but his little legs chased my fingers in slow motion. He spent the vast majority of his time eating or asleep, sometimes falling asleep mid meals. I wondered if the lack of sleep was making me a bit paranoid and the veterinarian thought he was probably a munchkin cat of some sort. His short little legs and pot belly made that feasible.

 

Weeks later WBS was finally able to eat wet food mixed with formula (as he should have been able to do much sooner). He even ate strangely, he would take huge mouthfuls, let most dribble out of his mouth as he tilted his head to the side and ground down with one side of his molars. I noticed his claws hadn’t grown out from the first trimming on the night I’d gotten him. The hair above his little nose was starting to look thin. His coat was rough and thin. I felt he did not look good and I knew he was not developing normally. He was so ridiculously adorable, but I was getting extremely nervous.

Luckily I had worked at a vet school and was active with a rescue run through the school and still had friends who worked/volunteered there. A wonderful vet tech who has a huge heart for cats watched Weeble on Facebook (he has his own facebook page and I regularly uploaded videos/pictures) and sent me a message to tell me she thought he had a congenital defect. I took WBS to the vet school (3 hours each way) and her initial diagnosis was confirmed. None of the veterinarians there had ever had a congenital hypothyroid kitten case. Weebs was “borrowed” by the vet school for hours as they ran tests and most of the internal medicine (or cat crazy folks) checked him out. Weebs had become a minor celebrity back home (people would come into the store where I was working and demand kitten time) and he received the same treatment at the clinic of the vet school. After the diagnosis, he was put on a thyroid hormone supplement twice a day, and the cat trapped in the kitten started to emerge! Below you can see the little Ewok start to look more like a kitten.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once his body started receiving the hormones it had desperately needed he matured incredibly fast. He started moving at a more normal rate (zoomies down the hallway were his favorite when he first figured out he could run), his joints solidified and he was able to walk/run normally (although he does have a gunslinger gait), and he was able to transition to strictly solid foods. Unfortunately, the diagnosis and medicine were too late to prevent being mentally stunted. Weebs is extremely unique, he responds to stimuli slowly if at all. Until you know what to watch for he seems to be deaf. He has OCD tendencies and a few strange neurologic symptoms.

However, despite all of that, Weebles is always happy. He’s filled with wonder, everything is always new and exciting. The slightly crazed (or high) expressions below are the way he watches everything. Someone walking across the room is fascinating and fun. Going up and down stairs is one of the best parts of his day even though he does it multiple times every single day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

<- He got sucked into the couch and couldn’t figure out what to do about it. So he just stayed there until I finished taking pictures and laughing.

I never adopted WBS out because I was scared that his new owners would not be compliant with his medication and he must have that medication to survive. He requires blood tests and veterinarian visits to make sure his dosage is correct. He can never go outside. We are currently in the middle of an adventure to get him integrated with the rest of the animals in the house. It’s a constant adventure and is very often frustrating, but he is the most fun. Everyone loves him (well…except for the other animals at this point) and he keeps us laughing. He’s a great example for the kids (and adults who have perhaps forgotten) that different doesn’t mean less.

Sign-up to our FREE Katzenworld Newslettter
Get the latest content directly to your inbox.
We respect your privacy and will never pass your data to third parties.

Advertisements

Guest Star: Gizmos Gotch ANNIVERSARY

Hi everyone,

Today’s guest post comes from Gizmo and his forever human:

On the 14th of February 2017 was exactly a year since Gizmo came into my life. I can’t believe how fast the last year has gone!? When Gizmo first arrived, he was 5 months old, and so scared that he used to hide in the dark under the dining room table if he heard a noise, or if anyone dared breathe too loud.

12710720_10153403425122423_7294185590009172297_o

What a transformation from that timid little kitty, to the boisterous, mischievous (and blatantly naughty) kitty that I now share my house with?! He has almost completed his first mission, and destroyed my curtains. He is also making progress with the redecoration plans and is steadily stripping the wallpaper up to 1m from the floor as well?! As much as I do not encourage this behaviour, he cannot fail to make me laugh every single day and my life would feel much emptier without him!

He is still making good progress recovering from pancreatitis last year, but he still hasn’t fully regrown the fur that was shaved off…but each week he is looking slightly more like a normal kitty!

Admittedly, we didn’t do much in the way of celebrating the one year anniversary of Gizmos arrival, but we did have nice cuddles on the sofa, and lots of playing with his toys, until he decided it was nap time…. again!

So in the past year, Gizmo has helped to mend my broken heart, and also destroy my house?! And despite all this, I wouldn’t change a thing about him… I hope we have many more adventures together in the coming years…

We hope you enjoyed their story and don’t forget to subscribe to our Newsletter!

Thanks,

Marc

Two Red Cats 17 – Hard Times

Vitali began to feel ill at about the same time that Cat started to get closer to Lily.
He seemed to know it … seemed to know that Vitali would not survive.

——————————-

Want to see more adventures (and photos!) of the Two Red Cats? Follow them on Facebook! Every day new photos and every week new comic strips! (And we are also on Tapastic!)

Brutus and the VET

I dread this time of year almost as much as Brutus, our cat, does. But not quite. Brutus was due to have his annual booster vaccination; it’s something he hates for a variety of reasons.

Our gorgeous, cuddly boy was born in a barn. His parents, both ferals, were as wild as can be. When the kittens were born we took Brutus and his five siblings in, with the intention of finding homes for them once they were weaned.

Luckily for us, none of our friends showed the slightest interest in Brutus. Aside from being big and gangly, he was incredibly timid. So much so, that when anyone came to the house he’d hide in a corner, wide-eyed and terrified in case someone tried to touch him. Our friends declared him true a wild cat and unsuitable for living in a home. But Jack, my husband, and I knew better.

Gradually Brutus developed from a bat-eared kid into a gorgeous, green-eyed, adult. His richly coloured tabby coat shone with health, and he moved with the grace of a tiger.

Progressively his confidence began to build, but it was always only with us. Pretty much anyone else caused him instant panic, as did any kind of loud noise. Brutus has just turned seven now and is still the same.

With that background you can imagine how traumatic it is for the poor boy to be put in a carrier and taken by car to the vet. It absolutely terrifies him. Nevertheless, it has to be done. But there’s another, more practical, problem.

Brutus is almost the length of a double bed. He’s also a little bit overweight.

We have had endless battles trying to squash him into an ordinary car carrier, but he’s just too big. He never ever bites or scratches. Instead, he grows extra-long, stiff limbs and somehow manages to pin each of them to the frame of the carrier opening, making it nigh on impossible to shove him in. Equally, he can also morph into toothpaste. Just when we think we’ve got him trapped he’ll slither through our fingers and dart off to safety.

It’s got to such a state now that the moment I appear with the carrier he’ll do a disappearing act. I’ve even tried leaving one in his room with food inside for a few days prior to the vet visit, but he’s not stupid. He’ll eat anything you like, but not the food in that carrier!

Still, he had to go. He needed the booster.

I called the vet to make the appointment, taking the precaution to warn them we might not be able to catch him at all this time. They were very understanding and said I shouldn’t worry, I should just bring him in when I could.

Easier said than done.

We had finally come to the conclusion that the standard cat carrier wasn’t going to work anymore. Our only options were a large cardboard box and a dog cage (crate). In desperation I posted on my Facebook page for other ideas and had some great advice from my friends. One said, ‘put him in a pillow case, that works every time for my cat’. Others suggested ways of capturing and placing him securely into different types of cat carrier. Everyone sympathised with our plight. It seems we’re not the only ones who have this problem.

The night before Brutus’ appointment Jack and I had a conference. We decided the pillowcase technique, effective though it may be, probably wouldn’t work for Brutus. He’d bulge over the top. We dismissed the cat carrier idea completely, concluding that ours is just too small. The cardboard box we felt would be shredded in seconds, so it was the dog cage. One of my friends said her Siamese cats bent the metal bars. That was a worry. But we didn’t think our gentle Brutus would do that. And even if he did, it should hold for the journey.

Decision made, we were going with the cage.

Early in the morning, Jack erected the cage on our bed – next to Brutus’ lair. The TV volume had to be turned right up during this procedure. Any suspicious sounds would send the furry scamp scurrying under the bed. (And, by the way, pulling him out of inaccessible spaces is like stretching elastic.)

So far so good.

At the appointed hour Jack gently scooped up our sleepy feline and made his approach. A minor scuffle ensued as Brutus, eyes wide open now, saw through my expert efforts at camouflage, and made an impressive attempt at escape. But Jack hadn’t been called ‘safe-hands Haslam’ for nothing. His rugby skills came to the fore and Brutus was swiftly passed into the cage before he could unfurl his extensible limbs. Slam dunk! The door was closed.

My journey to the vet was a noisy one, and it had nothing to do with the radio. Our poor Brutus made it clear he was extremely unhappy and wailed pitifully all the way there. I felt terrible.

I enrolled the help of a veterinary nurse and we carried him into the waiting area. Here, he continued to howl horrifically loudly. This upset everyone including one poorly dog, which started to whine even louder.

Fortunately for all concerned, we didn’t have to wait long for Dr. Arnaud. He’s our vet here in France. He’s always been incredibly good with our animals, and is especially kind with Brutus. I knew we were in good hands.

I gently extracted our petrified bundle of fur and the examination began.

We solemnly agreed that, as well as being extremely long, Brutus is also a little weighty. The fact that it took quite a while to load all his limbs onto the cat scales bore testament to that. However, there had been no overall gain, which I considered a great result.

Brutus tried his best to become a very small thing and bore a hole in my tummy – small, he is not, and he was never going to disappear. Dr. Arnaud continued his check-up, and then it was time for the needle. By this stage I think our victimised kitty was past caring about piffling matters such as vaccinations, all he wanted to do was get back into the cage. The irony of it!

Finally it was all over. Brutus was pronounced bien en forme – very healthy. I sped home feeling racked with guilt at what I’d put him through. I released him to the sanctuary of his bedroom, worrying whether that was it for him. Would he ever forgive me this time? Well, it took a while.

At around 3 am the next morning I awoke to the sensation of something jumping on the bed. It was Brutus. He mewed gently and padded up the bedclothes. He nuzzled my face and settled down on the pillow next to me – his body a vibrating mass of purrs. Yes, I had been forgiven – I love my wonderful, cuddly wildcat.

Beth Haslam

June, 2017

Guest Star: The Bombay Cats that flew from the US to Paris

Hi everyone,

Today’s guest post comes from Deborah via our friend Doug (originally posted on his blog here) The re-post was inspired by our travelling cats posts as Doug shared this story with us from it.

Enjoy the story!

Dear Doug,

This is a pretty good story about my cats.

I was going to Paris to help a friend (Ralph). Of course the cats were coming with.

deborah's cats 1

So I booked passage on the Queen Mary and made reservations in the QM kennel for the cats.  After my non-refundable passage was paid for, the cats got bumped by a dog — undoubtedly a dog accompanying a first class customer is my surmise.  I did check out the kennel while onboard, and ALL the occupants were canines.  The kennel master obviously discriminated against felines because according to him the kennel was fully booked for eternity.

Anyway, I was in a pickle.  How to get the cats to France?  Fly them as unaccompanied cargo was the only choice. But they would have to leave eight days after me because I would be on the Atlantic Ocean for that long.

deborah's cats 2My son was the hero who got them the necessary paperwork, retrofitted the cages to meet airline requirements, and delivered them to Logan airport in the middle of the night for their flight to Paris.  The paperwork was a nightmare requiring the State vet to certify their health exam which had to be done by a special state certified vet within 48 hours of the flight and that certification can only be done via the post.  To say timing was tight is an understatement.  Also the airline could refuse them for any reason (even with reservations) and the temperature at departure and arrival had to both be within certain ranges.  BTW, it is lucky they were not Persians because Persians are on the no fly list along with Himalayans.  Bombays are also “pug faced” but apparently they still fly under the radar so to speak.

Anyway, they flew on a Saturday and presumably arrived on a Sunday morning.  (They don’t have cell phones yet.). I went to the Air France counter at Charles De Gaulle airport and after being sent hither and yon was finally informed that they would be at a cargo center several kilometers away if in fact they had been on the plane.  Cats do not make the manifest list.

None of the taxis wanted to take me there because they preferred the much more lucrative fare into Paris.  An Air France employee finally tipped me off to say I was going to Paris but making a “short stop” on the way.

deborah's cats in taxi

The “short stop” will be one of the punch lines of this tale.

A very nice taxi driver of African origin finally agreed to take me.  When we got to the cargo area everything seemed to be closed: it was Sunday after all and the French take Sunday very seriously.  We knocked on doors, drove to any building where there were signs if life, were sent hither and yon yet again until after an hour or so, we located someone who knew where the cats were.  But of course!  Their paperwork had to be stamped by some official and an import fee paid.  We were dispatched to another building (that was closed) and so started yet another hunt for the mysterious official.  Another hour or two later I had the stamped documents in hand and my purse was lightened of a few hundred euros.  Meanwhile the taxi meter had rolled over and was starting its climb toward 999 again.

deborah's cats 5

I took the papers back to the man who knew where the cats were and he reluctantly got up from his card game.  Obviously not that many cats get imported on Sundays.  He fetched the three carriers on his warehouse truck and I finally heard the cries if my kids.

deborah's cats 4

The taxi driver seemed invested in their welfare at this point and carried two of the carriers to his taxi.  We finally got on the road and arrived in Paris about eight hours after I had left for the airport.  The question in my mind was: how much is this going to cost?  I had reason to worry: a sleight of hand ATM artist had tricked me into believing the bank ATM had eaten my only two cards the day before and that I would have to get them from the bank when it reopened on Monday.  Meanwhile, he and his gang were busy making charges all over Corsica — but that is a story for another day.  The result was that I only had the cash I already had on hand for the weekend and the import fee (which is not stated anywhere) had made a serious dent in that.  The taxi driver had me basically empty my wallet — a couple of hundred euros –as payment for his several hours on the great cat mystery tour through the warren of the CDG cargo area.  I would have gladly paid him more if I had been able to do so.

You would think that standing on the sidewalk in front of Ralph’s place on the beautiful rue de la Montagne Sainte Genviéve finally reunited with my kids would be the happy end of the tale, but no, there is more.

deborah's cats 7

I relayed the three carriers into the building and decided the safest thing to do was send them up in the elevator together since I could only carry two at a time up the five flights of stairs.  So I stacked them into the very tiny corner elevator — no room for me — pressed the 5th floor and raced up the stairs.  When I got to the top I heard a banging sound coming from the elevator.  I raced back down and found that the inside elevator door was banging against a carrier and couldn’t close.  Meanwhile the outside door was locked as the elevator was presumed occupied.  The cats could not rearrange their carriers, smart though they be.

So my friend had to call the Otis elevator repair person on a Sunday.  The dispatcher asked if there was anyone trapped inside the elevator — obviously those cases get first priority.  My friend replied that there were three cats but no people.  “Trois chats, Monsieur?  Vous avez dites trois chats?  Seulement trois chats?  Mais dis donc!  Ça c’est un peu incroyable!”   [“Three cats, sir? You say three cats? Only three cats? But tell me! That’s just amazing!]”The dispatcher was obviously a little incredulous.

deborah's cats 3

Meanwhile, the cats were obviously distressed by the banging door constantly hitting the carriers as evidenced by their cries.  Another tenant in the building who wanted to use the elevator for his suitcases treated me to a refresher course in French swear words.  After a wait of an hour or so, the repairman appeared and quickly solved the problem.  Then he helped me carry the cats up the five flights of stairs.  Chivalry is not dead.  Fortunately he did not ask for payment for the rescue on the spot.

I opened the carriers and out came Charles, André, and Serena, a little the worse for the wear, but basically fine.  What’s for lunch, they asked in unison.  Why paté of course.  Actually the French make a very gourmet wet cat food that has identifiable bits of seafood in a tasty sauce that all three of them loved.

And that was the start of our French adventure.  It actually got much easier after this rather bumpy start: the French allow cats on trains for a mere 5 euros, I found a fantastic rolling carrier with mesh windows that was roomy enough for all three to travel in together, and Charles joined me for lunch at The Brasserie on the Isle Saint Louis several times — cats are welcome in French restaurants! [My emphasis! Doug]

three cats

I purchased this painting in a tiny shop nearby — two black cats and a sable cat at Cluny, the medieval cloister also nearby.  The artist, Pouchelon aka Pouch, was an illustrator for Le Monde.  Most of his paintings feature cats!  He obviously anticipated the arrival of my two black kids and my sable kid.  Even the proportions are perfect: hefty Charles in the lead, wiry André in the middle and dainty Serena bringing up the rear.

=(^+^)=

Wasn’t that fun?

We hope you enjoyed their story and don’t forget to subscribe to our Newsletter!

Thanks,

Marc

Buddy

I haven’t done a blog post about Buddy before, so I thought I ought to introduce him properly. Spotted on Facebook two years ago, the painfully thin little scrap was living on the streets of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Someone had already damaged his tail beyond repair and either they, or someone else had picked him up a short while later to burn off part of his left ear. Knowing that if he wasn’t taken away from there soon, there wouldn’t be a kitten left to rescue, I contacted a friend and arranged transport to a vet in Sofia, 150 km away.

He was originally supposed to be adopted by a lovely lady from a pet forum I used to frequent. Sadly, not long after we delivered him to her, I received an e-mail saying her health had taken a turn for the worse and could we take him instead. Fortunately he has fitted in perfectly with our other cats and is a joy to have around.

His favourite game is playing in the cardboard box pile that I leave on the dining room floor, as can be seen in the featured image above. The photograph below was taken as he was playing in the late afternoon sun at the top of the stairs.

The final image was taken a couple of days ago in a patch of sun on the bedroom carpet.

Guest Tribute: Goodnight, Sweet Prince

Hi everyone,

Today’s guest post comes from Living Life Forte and is a Tribute to Richard Parker. Tissues will be a necessity for this story I am afraid. 🙁:

Goodnight, Sweet Prince

Richard Parker was acting out of sorts when I visited my adopted family at Christmas.  His mom was worried about his lethargy. He simply wasn’t his usual commanding self.  I went in to see my buddy, and he lifted his head for few pets and gave me a purr.  He looked at me through slitted eyes and nuzzled my hand. But his usual robustness was gone.  This was the fellow who always gave me a purr-rumph and came quickly when I called, “Where’s my Friend?”  He was the one who sat on his Stanford blanket between us when we ate spaghetti off tv trays and watched The Walking Dead.  When I stayed the night on a cot in the living room, it was Parker who slept alongside me, moving up to bump my hand should I awake from a curious dream. He was his momma’s boy, but he made sure to care for me as well.  And at Christmas he seemed to have simply caught a cold.

With the holidays and then rough weather, it was three weeks before I made it out to visit again.  When I entered the house through the kitchen, something was different.  Parker’s tuna dish was not there by the refrigerator, and his beautiful orange face did not come to greet me. I thought perhaps he was upset at my long absence.  But then my friend’s husband came quickly in and said quietly, “Parker had to be put down on Friday.”  The air left me.  I walked into the living room where my friend sat on the couch.  Her grief was visible on her face.  She told me how his health had rallied after Christmas but then he fell horribly ill.  A trip to the small town vet and then the state-of-the-art animal hospital yielded no answers.  He was failing fast and the devastating decision had to be made.  My friend had to say goodbye to her dear boy.  I hugged my friend and felt the heartbreak.  He was the one who cared for her when she was sad, and now he was gone.

For a few days, the other cats were subdued by Parker’s physical absence, and it would be several weeks before they came out to sit with us during our Sunday tv ritual.  And last week Bubba took a seat on the couch.

But I know that Parker’s spirit is still there among them.  My friends have heard his distinct call in the quiet of the house.  I envy them that.

We hope you enjoyed her story and don’t forget to check out her Blog.

Thanks,

Marc