last days with Skinny

  • Sep. 9th, 2011 at 10:22 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
I took Skinny to the vet last Saturday because although his cold seemed to be gone, he still had that awful hacking cough. She gave me another round of the usual antibiotics, but also a dewormer, because there's apparently a type of worm that can get into the LUNGS and cause coughing. I looked this up, and it's called "verminous cough" and happens when roundworm larvae burrow themselves into the lungs, are coughed up, and are then swallowed, only to mature in the cat's digestive system and start the life cycle again. HORRIFYING, right? *shudder*

Anyway, I think that's what Skinny must have had because a couple of days into the five-day dewormer course, he stopped coughing completely and now seems to be a very healthy kitty. Which is good, but also means I have to give him back soon. :(

I've become pretty attached to him and I think Kate has too, because he's so sweet and purrs and makes little meepy noises and wants attention and loves to play. I won't miss the deep scratches on my legs and arms from his overenthusiastic playing, or his tendency to pounce on my head when I'm trying to sleep, but other than that I'll be sad to see him go. He's such a sweetheart and has so much kitty energy.

My attempts to integrate Skinny with Hypatia have been a failure. Hypatia just hisses at him, and he runs and hides under the couch. She never did like the boy-kittens.

I've been feeling guilty for disrupting her world so much with this fostering project. I think she'd be happier if I stopped, and she could have full run of the house and the attention of both of her humans. But on the other hand, every kitten I take in means one more empty cage at the Humane Society, which means one more cat that can be rescued from Animal Control and given a second chance.

Plus, I love discovering all the different cat personalities, as well as fascinating medical things like lung-worms. (What? I like the parasite chapters in Peeps, too.) And there are few things better than a sleepy, affectionate kitten.

(Also this is the only thing I do in my life right now that has actual Purpose and Meaning, so maybe I should keep doing it so as not to devolve into existential despair any more often than I actually do.)

In which Skinny shows off

  • Aug. 19th, 2011 at 11:51 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
Finally we have photos and video of Skinny! Click to embiggen.

Skinny shows off his ability to be round:

ball of Skinny

[Image description: A young black cat curled up in a ball-like formation.]


Skinny shows off his ability to get to high places:



[Video description: A young black cat sits on a windowsill and meows. He tries to jump up to the top of the window sash, scrambles for a moment trying to hold on (including trying to grab the blinds for leverage), before finally climbing all the way up. Then I tell him "good job, Skinny!"]

I hope that works; I've never tried to embed a flickr video on DW/LJ before.

What a goofy kitten. He continues to be ridiculously affectionate and always craves attention. He meows constantly when I leave the room, but he ALSO meows constantly when I'm IN the room and not paying enough attention to him. He LOVES the Cat Dancer, to the point that his other toys are now boring. At least I can tire him out with it when he's being a bottomless pit of energy.

I THINK his coughing fits are getting less frequent, but they come and go so it's hard to tell. He's definitely still coughing though. I've noticed that his nose is no longer always wet, which is a good sign, I think. And also nicer when he sticks it in my face.

Miscellaneous personality stuff: He likes to find new places to sleep when I'm not in the room, preferably sheltered places where I can't immediately see him. So far he's tried: in the basket where I keep my spare blankets (under the bed), in the kitten bed (which I shoved under my bed after he showed little interest in it), under my dresser, IN one of my dresser drawers, and at the back of my nightstand shelf. He blends in to the darkness so well it's hard to see him even if you know where he is. I don't know if he likes to be hidden because he's sick and wants to be protected from predators, or if it's just his way. He doesn't mind sleeping out in the open when I'm there, though, so long as he is near me.

It's harder to entertain just one kitty, but it's also easier to get attached to him, especially one as endearing as Skinny. He's one of the most trusting, least standoffish cats I've met.

More photos and video of Skinny can be found here at his flickr set. There's not much there yet, but I'll add more in the days to come.

Skinny's first checkup

  • Aug. 14th, 2011 at 10:02 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
Well, I took Skinny to the Humane Society vet yesterday, and he'll be with me for another week at least. He's still sneezing and coughing. The vet switched him to Clavamox (from Doxycycline) to see if that works better, but honestly I think he's getting worse.

The thing is, I ran out of Doxy because they only gave me a week's worth and because of scheduling issues it took me another half a week to get him to the vet. So he has been off antibiotics for a few days now, and his sneezing and coughing are getting more frequent. The Clavamox doesn't seem to be helping.

I found this blog post that says Clavamox will go bad in five seconds if you don't keep it in the fridge all the time, and I forgot to put it in the fridge for a couple of hours when I got home from the vet yesterday. That site says it should be almost white in color; mine is an ugly yellow and kind of gluey in consistency (it's pretty gross). I don't know if this means it's gone bad, and I should call the HS and tell them to give me another bottle, or if it's supposed to be like that. It seems kind of ridiculous that a couple of hours out of the fridge would ruin it, but what do I know about antibiotics.

Anyway, what really worries me is that Skinny is sleeping a lot. Yesterday I thought it was because he was overwhelmed with the vet visit, but today he's just been sleeping the day away instead of being his usual frisky and annoying self. He's still eating, although he's never been a big eater, but he should be running around and chasing bugs and trying to climb my windows like usual. Kate suggested that it could be a side effect of the Clavamox, but the only side effects I could find listed were gastrointestinal.

I'm not TOO worried because Skinny is an older kitten and his immune system isn't as fragile as the babies', but I still think he should be getting better instead of worse. He has these awful hacking coughing fits that go on for a while and sound like there is something stuck in his throat.

I'm growing attached to this lil guy. I hope he improves soon.

Skinny should have been called "Needy"

  • Aug. 4th, 2011 at 8:12 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
Skinny is such a sweetie. He has more of a need for affection than any cat I've met. Today I held him in my arms like a baby while he purred at me, and he actually fell asleep that way. (Hypatia tolerates being held that way with barely-suppressed rage, no matter what Kate might tell you.) He likes to try and knead on my face and neck while I pet him (ouch claws sharp ouch), and he will knead the air if a surface is not available. He has a lot of love to give, and needs a lot in return.

I feel like that's my main job as a foster caretaker. Food, fresh water, and a clean litter box are all things kitties can get at the Humane Society, but they can't get round-the-clock love, because there are just too many of them. Their life is uncertain and they don't know what will happen to them next. Whereas when I take one home, he is in a stable, loving environment where he can relax. A small room, to be sure, but not as small as the cage he would be in otherwise.

So far, besides demanding that I pet him as much as possible, Skinny enjoys sitting in my windowsill and looking out, entertaining himself by chasing toy mice for hours, and obsessive bug-hunting. He also seems fascinated whenever there's an animated gif on my computer, which makes me wonder about his environment before this one and if he's never seen moving-things-on-screens before. Man, I wish cats could talk just so I could get their stories.

The Pets on Death Row Facebook page is really depressing me right now because there are a ton of kittens set to be euthanized tomorrow, almost all with the reason "too young." Summertime is kitten season and there are so many more born than can ever find homes. PLEASE spay & neuter your cats!

Glad to be doing my part, even if it's with just one kitty.

Skinny, day 2

  • Aug. 3rd, 2011 at 8:17 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (ravenclaw)
Poor Skinny. He's just lonely, I think. He wants a littermate, or his mama, or both. Last night he slept on me or next to me, and if I moved, he would move to be closer. This morning I took a nap and he slept back-to-back with me. He purrs up a storm and kneads the air when you pet him. I wish he had a companion, but obviously the HS wouldn't want to let another kitten catch his cold.

He still walks around meowing a lot, like he just can't settle down or be satisfied with anything. The only time he was truly calm was last night, sleeping on my bed. He's been eating a little, but not much, and not drinking too much either, which is bad, especially in this heat. He probably doesn't have much of an appetite because of his cold, but I'm used to kittens being like YES GIVE ME THE FOOD, GIVE ME ALL OF IT so this is unusual for me.

I was worried that he hadn't used the litter box much, but I can hear him digging around in there as I type this. Good kitty. It's kind of nice to have an older kitten who (probably) won't have an accident on my bed. Less laundry, for one thing.

Speaking of laundry, I was carrying a full laundry basket and so had to keep my bedroom door open for a longer amount of time than usual. Skinny escaped briefly, and in his haste to explore he almost walked into Hypatia, without giving her the proper respect/caution she deserves as Queen Of The House. He got a hiss for that.

I have a feeling he'll be trying to escape a lot, because he's not like the tiny ones I usually get who are satisfied with just my room for a couple of weeks before they want to see what's in the rest of the house. He's already too big for this room! But he has to stay in here to keep from getting Hypatia sick.

Also, he just leapt up enthusiastically to chase a bug that's crawling up my wall, landed on a pile of library books, and promptly slid off the nightstand and onto the floor with the books. And then jumped back up again, ready for hunting. Silly kitty.

(It's fun to try and translate his constant meows. Right now he's looking up at the bug going "THERE'S A BUG ON THE WALL! A BUG! DO YOU SEE IT! IT'S A BUG! A BUG!! IT'S RIGHT THERE!!")

Skinny!

  • Aug. 3rd, 2011 at 12:41 AM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
So, Skinny (not Kimi) is a black adolescent kitty (four months old or so) with a couple of white splotches on his belly. He's got a cold and keeps sneezing, he's very active and energetic, he rubs up on you to be petted, and he is TALKATIVE. Mao! Mao! Mao!

It's getting kind of distressing actually. It's like when a baby is crying and you're like "I have fed you and changed your diaper and sang you a song, WHAT DO YOU WANT??" I played with him and gave him food and water and petted him, and he's still going MAO! MAO! MAO! all the time. I wonder if maybe he's teething, since he's about the age when adult teeth start to come in. But I would think then he'd be biting everything in sight, and he's not. He's just… stressed out for some reason.

I think what he really needs is a littermate to play and wrestle with, but I can't give him that. I've been giving him toys to bite and wrestle instead, but he loses interest in them fairly quickly.

If I didn't know he was a (neutered) male, I'd think he was in heat. He's got the same insistent meow, constant need for petting, and aura of dissatisfaction.

I don't know his story--maybe he was with his littermates, but they got adopted already or something, and now he's alone and he doesn't know where they went and he's calling for them? Or for his mama? They usually don't come to me with names, not to mention already fixed, so I have to wonder if he was a surrender, or what. Maybe the humane society fixed and named him, and THEN realized he had a cold? I dunno. He also doesn't have one of those paper collars they put on their kitties. He is a mystery.

I'm hoping his distress will lessen as he gets used to his new environment, and that it's not something more serious like he's in pain or something. I was going to have him sleep in the cage while I slept out on the couch with Hypatia tonight, but that's not going to happen. He HATES being in the cage, and has already knocked his food bowl over once, so I don't want to leave him in there all night. (What if he knocks his water bowl over and then has nothing to drink?) I'll have to sleep in here so I can keep an eye on him. Silly cat.

Hypatia is mad at me, but she didn't hiss when she caught sight of Skinny, which I consider a vast improvement on her previous reactions, especially since she usually hates males. Maybe his being neutered makes him less offensive to her. Skinny is sick, so I can't properly introduce them and probably won't be able to, since he just needs to get better and doesn't need to make weight or anything. Once he gets better, he's gone.

A bit later:

Okay, apparently what Skinny needs is… lots of cuddling? Maybe he just wanted some comfort. He's calmed down a bit now, although he still MAOs at me when I stop petting him for too long. However, now Hypatia is standing outside my door crying because I won't let her in. I CAN'T WIN WITH YOU PEOPLE.

I do feel bad about disrupting Hypatia's life every couple of months, especially since she's been settling in so well to our new apartment, but on the other hand I don't want to quit fostering. Sigh.

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