Friday, November 5, 2010

The Back Stories

We got to the shelter, and Miss Kay was there. I got a couple of back stories and some info about the caretaker job. (That's our title, shelter caretakers.)

First, she was there to pick up Cali. Cali and Sebastian were brought to us when their owner's two-year-old son got cancer and the whole family had to move to be near St. Jude's Hospital. We knew from the beginning, even though Sebastian was sweet and loving and playful for being an elderly cat, that he was ill. There was a question about whether to even treat or not. The verdict is in, Cali will be kept in a foster home until she can be adopted, and Sebastian is receiving palliative care in another foster home. It seems several people shared my Bigger Girl's love for him, and fought for the right to take of him. He cannot get well, but will receive comfort care until he is either no longer comfortable, or simply crosses that bridge by himself. The fluid in his lungs and other problems cannot be fully cured.

Then, the rest of the story on Ms. Baby. It seems she was a nice, normal, not ready to take the skin off anyone who came near her cat when she was adopted from us a few years ago. The adopter noticed her personality changing over a year ago, and never once took her to the vet! They let her get worse and worse, for "no reason" in their words, and when they got to where they couldn't even go near her they insisted we take her back, as per the adoption agreement.

So, the original plan was to try to tame her down until we could get her to the vet. It isn't happening. She will come out, walk around among people sometimes, seem okay, but if you try to touch her you could lose a hand. She is living in the kitchen/store room because there is no way to clean a cage if she is confined to it. The new plan is to put her food in one of the humane traps we use to catch ferals for trap/neuter/release, catch her, and get her to the vet. Although she eats and uses the litter box, we know something is going on, she might even be diabetic for all we know -- she is very big, after all. There has to be a reason she has become this way, cat's personalities don't become like this for no reason.

There was a note, and a huge ream of paperwork, on one of the rooms, and that led to another back story, about Dora, and her identical triplet brothers Heathcliff, Peepers, and Squirt. The boys seriously look so much alike someone put their initials in their ears with a pen so we can tell the difference! They were a bottle feed group back after Hurricane Katrina, and the feeder who raised them decided she couldn't let them go and adopted all 4 together.

Well, now she is pregnant with her first baby, and she has other cats, and can't take care of so many, and.... Ridiculous. When you adopt, you adopt for life, unless your own life is at stake. Yet here we are. It would be like taking one of the cats we bottle raised and adopted, who has never been out of our house or lived anywhere else, Little Girlie or Badlands Blackie or Hope, and just sticking that poor animal in a shelter, although a nice one. The typical result, except for Dora, who is like her namesake and is outgoing and friendly and finishes her portion each day, they are not eating much.

It is because of the concern over their eating that we now have a ream of paper to deal with. We have to note if any of the food bowls seem to have been nibbled, and how much, and which bowl, and each cat has two bowls, one with dry and one with canned. We set out 4 bowls of dry food and 4 of Science Diet A/D (a/k/a kitten crack, if you wean a kitten onto it, you will never get it off), noting if any of the canned A/D has been eaten either. Because Peepers and Squirt will not get down off the top shelves of their room, their food has to be put up there.

Nacho, well, he has been moved to the big room with Grady, Clint, Ginny, and Prissy, and boy does he love it! It turns out the smaller colony room, well, he was bouncing off the walls, and thus scratching his neck into oblivion in frustration. He now seems to be healing, and him being in there seems to have mellowed Grady. He didn't even try to escape once! Clint was easily found, and Ginny and Prissy hissed at each other, but separated to their own favorite food bowl location as soon as there was anything available.

Frieda is doing okay, but Iggy seems to have dandruff! Zoe has gotten as huge as a moose, and T-Boy has become Ms. Baby's best friend forever. We leave his cage open so he can come in to eat and use the box, and the rest of the time he spends with her.

Lulu is done with her medication after the dose I gave her, and Cherry, Corrie, JuJu, Muffin, Tiffany, Roxanne, Sofia, Allie, Rallie, and Francie are doing well.

Gidget is back in a cage until a room opens up, as she was overwhelmed with her former roomies. She needs calm friends.

Dustie is doing great, but poor Angel has bleeding sores on her paw pads. They are being treated, and we think it is the stuff we clean with. Thus their room is to be cleaned with water only by the caretakers, and will be both cleaned and double rinsed during deep cleaning on Saturdays.

Which brings me to what I found out about the caretaker job. We were taught to do seven things in each room: feed, water, scoop the box, wipe down lower shelves with trifectant, sweep the area around the box or the whole room if it is very messy, clean anything else that needs it, and interact with the cats. Turns out, we are the only ones that consistently do it all.

I noted to Miss Kay that we needed to put a note on the door of Angel and Dustie's room so the others wouldn't use trifectant to clean in there, but would use only water. She said not to bother, the others usually don't clean shelves, and half the time don't sweep, either. Well. It explains why sometimes the footprints on the shelves look pretty thick.

So, those are the back stories from the cat shelter this week.


Today is:

Burning of the Tar Barrels -- Ottery St. Mary, Devon, UK (17 barrels soaked in tar are lit outside 17 taverns and carried through the town

Diwali -- Hindu, Jain, Sikh

Egyptian Day -- Medieval Europe day of bad forturne (common saying on this day was, "Notwithstanding, I will trust the Lord.")

Guy Fawkes' Day -- Canadian province of Newfoundland & Labrador; New Zealand; UK a/k/a Gunpowder Day, bonfires celebrate that Guy Fawkes plot did not succeed

Lewes Bonfire Night -- Lewes, East Sussex, UK

National Doughnut Day

National Men Make Dinner Day

Nones of November -- Ancient Roman Calendar

Popes Day -- US name for the remembrance of Guy Fawkes' Day

St. Elizabeth's Day and St. Zechariah's Day -- parents of John the Baptist (Elizabeth is patron of pregnant women)

Turning the Devil's Stone -- Shebbear, Devon, UK (erratic stone, possibly from an Ice Age deposit, turned every year on this day to assure good forturne)

Wuwuchim Fire Ceremonies begin -- Hopi Native American (celebration of Masaw, god of death, and Spider Woman, the earth mother)


Birthdays Today:

Judy Reyes, 1967
Tatum O'Neal, 1963
Tilda Swinton, 1960
Bryan Adams, 1959
Peter Noone, 1947
Sam Shepard, 1943
Art Garfunkel, 1941
Elke Sommer, 1940
Ike Turner, 1931
Vivien Leigh, 1913
Roy Rogers, 1911
Joel McCrea, 1905
Strom Thurmond, 1902


Today in History:

Wu MeKuan, a collection of 48 Zen koans, compiled in China, 1228
Publication of the Catholicon in Treguier (Brittany); it is the first Breton dictionary as well as the first French dictionary, 1499
St. Felix's Flood ravages the Dutch coast and destroys the city of Reimerswaal in the Netherlands, 1530
The Gunpowder Plot, in which Catholics were trying to blow up the English Parliament, is foiled, 1605
Susan B. Anthony is arrested for trying to vote in Rochester, NY, 1871
The first US patent for a gasoline driven motor car is granted to George B. Selden, 1895
Calbraith Rodgers arrives in Pasadena from Sheepshead Bay, NY, completing the first transcontinental plane flight, in 49 days, 1911
Colombia joins the United Nations, 1945
USS Rentz, USS Reeves and USS Oldendorf visit Qingdao (Tsing Tao) China — the first US Naval visit to China since 1949, 1986
André Dallaire attempts to assassinate Prime Minister Jean Chrétien of Canada, but is thwarted when the Prime Minister's wife locks the door, 1995
Saddam Hussein, former president of Iraq, and his co-defendants Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and Awad Hamed al-Bandar are sentenced to death in the al-Dujail trial, 2006
China's first lunar satellite, Chang'e 1 goes into orbit around the Moon, 2007

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