Saturday, December 21, 2013

Kitten season in the winter?

We moved out of town after the shelter closed so we could get away from people dumping unwanted animals in our yard. Well, some have found us, it seems. There aren't as many now, but we still get a few, and I can't be sure if it's on purpose or just random because some town people toss pets out of their cars in the country, thinking they'll find a fun life on a farm.

Typically, they need veterinary care as they haven't been altered, vaccinated or well cared for. So, along that vein, we've had two pregnant females left here in the last few months. (The others abandoned here happened to be fixed, at least.)

Sable and Leo are doing very well and are healthy. Leo is growing fast and is a delightful little boy. He will be neutered as soon as he's old enough, and his mother will be spayed.

The nameless one (help me out, if you like) gave birth in October to a wriggly, tiny one and left him on the cold concrete behind some boxes in the garage. I only found them because the little guy was crying so loudly. Good thing, or I never would have gotten to him. But I hope it isn't too late. He's not as healthy as our other kitten, possibly a premie? At the least, he's badly neglected by his own mother and I've had to step in and take over feedings. Even the vet is nervous about treating him because he's "frail" and too young for drugs or other treatments (such as, what?). That doesn't leave much but love to sustain him. And he's getting plenty of that.

Now 8 weeks old, he's still like a 4-week-old. And we're worried about his eyes. He was born with some infection, apparently, but we couldn't tell yet, because he didn't open his eyes at 10 days, as usual, but at 21 days, with help. Thanks to our vet, we are using a product I hadn't heard of before...Vetericyn. It's a non-drug natural product that fights infection. And it's working, but we won't know for a while if his eyes will normalize.

Here he is, with mama, who won't let him nurse. At least she lets him be close to her for warmth and comfort. She's probably too young to have kittens and just doesn't know what to do.Being half wild herself, I can't do much with her yet. But she's gradually learning to trust me.

Contrast with Leo, who's growing like crazy:

His mama, Sable, is very devoted and caring and looks after him diligently. She even plays with him as he gets into everything in the house! They have so much fun!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Farewell to Rufus as he crosses over the Bridge

Rufus said good-bye to his earthly companions today and departed for the Rainbow Bridge after a long life, half in a horrible home, half here in my shelter. He was about 20, but we can't be sure. Coming from a hoarding situation, I'm sure his birth wasn't given any significance and he joined the dozens of other cats there. They all looked alike: pale orange, long hair, 6 or 7 toes on the front paws. There could have been some Persian in the mix, judging by his looks. He was here for 10 years and was possibly 10 when we rescued him and his "extended family."

Rufus' face Rufus

With little or no socialization during those critical first few months, nor indeed, the ensuing years in that environment, he was not a cuddler. But he loved attention. This past week he was my constant companion, never letting me out of his sight. He followed me on my rounds as I did kitty chores, and he sat by my chair while I worked on the computer, staring at me.

I didn't allow myself to notice this slight change in his behavior, or I might have realized he knew he was winding down and was gathering memories to hold in his paws on that final journey.

Thus, it was somewhat of a surprise to see him reclining on the floor by my chair this morning and his inability to even raise his head. However, I'd been surprised daily by the fact that he was still here and eating well, and prancing about with no sign of slowing down. Today, he slowed down, and then he left.

I put him into a basket, as I always do for those in their final hours, and set him on the back deck in a sun puddle. It was as if the sun had come out for 2 hours just for him, and then disappeared into the overcast sky again as the temperatures dipped on the leading edge of our next storm.

Rufus was the last survivor from his family of 40 siblings, cousins and probably some offspring. The rest have all gone, and now Rufus is with them at last.

I miss him, as I do every cat who has graced my home and enriched my life.

Thanks so much to @ChatteMuse for a wonderful image of Mr. Rufus on his journey:

A very creative and lovely image to keep in mind in his absence. I appreciate the effort and loving gesture.