Tag Archives: fostering pets

Cats and Mats

IMG_3813 Edited

The last few weeks have been quite an ordeal for Prissy, and really for the rest of us – my husband and me, and Prissy’s three siblings. One evening Prissy appeared to suddenly become very ill. When the other cats ran downstairs as they always did for the night, she stood alone on the stairs, almost like a statue, staring at me. At that point, I felt that something was really wrong. Since the vet’s office was already closed, we took her to the local animal emergency clinic. After initial x-rays showed her stomach was blown up like a balloon, which was indicative of a possible blockage, and after questioning the young vet as to how comfortable she felt in performing the exploratory surgery, we decided to go ahead with emergency surgery. At this point, my husband and I were very concerned for Prissy, but also very relieved that we had earlier decided to purchase pet insurance for all four cats, making the emotional decision not also a pricey one. Since the surgery was to be performed just after midnight, we reluctantly went home at the vet’s suggestion, and tried to get some sleep. The vet assured us she would call us after the surgery was completed. Shortly after 2:00 a.m. the home telephone rang. The tone of the vet’s voice immediately made me think that the surgery must have been a success. She proceeded to inform us that she had found a piece of a foam exercise mat in Prissy’s intestines. We had noticed that some of the cats were beginning to chew on the exercise mat a few weeks prior and had already thrown the mat away, but unfortunately our actions were too late to prevent Prissy’s problem. Apparently the foam mat had stayed inside her for a number of days and had finally lodged inside her intestines and ultimately causing her this immediately serious issue. Prissy had to continue her stay in the emergency clinic the following day and night. When we did bring her home, she had to be separated from the others because of her stitches and the fear that the others might try to bother them. She also wore an ‘Elizabethan collar’ in order to prevent any tampering of her own. For the next week Prissy was kept in a bathroom and had no contact with the others. We visited her several times a day to feed, medicate and give her some human affection, but she was basically in isolation for a week. After Prissy’s trip to the vet for removal of the stitches, we thought her ordeal was over — but not so fast. Once Prissy was home and we opened the door to the pet carrier, she was not greeted with an adoring welcome home by her siblings. Instead they hissed and growled and I honestly thought there was going to be a fight. How could it be that these loving cats who had been together since their birth now were treating Prissy like a stranger? Over the next few days, we tried many things, including the seemingly ridiculous suggestion of pouring tuna water on all their heads so they would all have the same scent. For several days Prissy continued to be partially isolated from her normal routine. She was able to see the others, but a windowed door kept her physically away from them. As time went by, it seemed that Pepe was going to be the best chance for some type of mediation. We began to divide Pepe’s time between Prissy and the other two. That was a success. Finding a way to transition Prissy back with the other two still presented quite a challenge. I’d like to say that the drama is all over, but it is not. There is still some hissing and slapping going on between the other two and Prissy. We still keep Prissy separated from them overnight. But things are getting better. At this point I do not believe there will be a serious fight between them. I had no idea that a week’s separation could have resulted in such a secondary issue, but I do believe the drama is almost over. As I finished this last sentence, I have just heard growling in the distance … oh the joys of cat ownership!

©2014 So Very Telling

Prissy’s Transformation

I don’t know what traumatic thing had happened to Prissy before she came to live with us, but my husband and I are sure something must have. She was only ten weeks old when we volunteered to foster her and the other remaining sibling along with the two kittens we were planning on adopting. The other kittens would scamper around the house, chasing each other and jumping on us. But Prissy … well Prissy just sat stiff and scared, always a safe distance away from us. After a few weeks, something traumatic really did happen to Prissy at our house. While she and Milo were chasing each other, she got spooked by a wire fence that had been placed next to the outer door to keep them safe until they learned the area. She then ran into the litter box room and wildly tore down a loosely constructed wall (which we did not realize was ‘loosely’ constructed until she tore it down). That did it for Prissy. Within minutes she had jumped on top of the Coke machine and would not come down the whole night. I worried whether she would eat, come down to use the litter box or ever be normal again.

The next day was not much better; in fact, it may have been a little worse. She had moved completely away from the others and spent her time on top of one of the two litter boxes in the litter box room. Poor Milo felt so badly that he sat on top of the second litter box, being such a supporting (and I believe worried) sibling. Prissy did eventually get off the litter box that evening, but several months went by and she still would swat at us if we tried to rub or even get near her. Despite, and partially because of these actions, we decided to adopt Prissy and the other female kitten, Misty, in addition to the two we had already adopted.  We had somehow developed an affection for Prissy. She was a beautiful kitten, and we felt that if another family adopted her, they might assume that she was a sweet kitten. If she were to lash out at someone, it might be to her detriment. So we were determined to love that kitten and treat her well even if she never reciprocated our affection as the other kittens were doing. We were determined to do the best for that kitten and take care of her just as we did for the others no matter how she reacted to us. Months passed. Then at about seven months of age, Prissy made a dramatic transformation that we still cannot believe. She started slowly, moving closer to us, then eventually stepping onto our laps. That led to actually sitting on my husband’s lap. She learned to jump into a chair and look at us with longing eyes, with an arched back that just begged to be rubbed.  Today at ten months, she is no longer timid or traumatized, Prissy never gives up on what she wants. She is the one who pulls the wooden plugs out of the furniture and hangs on to the play toys with her teeth so tightly that the other kittens hardly have a chance. Instead of looking like a scared cat, she now holds her tail up proudly and confidently. We would have cared for that cat anyway, but it sure is more pleasant that she’s decided to really be a happy part of the family!Image

©2014 So Very Telling