So we’re pretty much back to what counts as normal for us following the building work. Even whilst still decorating and covered in dust sheets the gang had moved in.
The race was on to get the house straight again before my lovely friend J visited from Singapore. Despite putting every spare minute into cleaning and tidying and swearing there would be no more cats until after her visit, I ended up racing over to Doncaster to pick up little Karis and missing half of our Charity Status Celebration fundraiser a few days before J arrived.
I’m glad I did it now, but after a full day at work, in Friday tea time traffic when I should have been at the event it seemed a little crazy. It had to be that Friday night because the following day was D Day with Albie. He was booked in for his second vaccs and then off back to his garden to live. All I needed to do was get him in the carrier …. ahem.
After a lot of fretting I’d come up with not only a Plan B but also C. In the end it was more cunning than courage that got him. A one in a million chance proved successful. He’d been hunkered down in the cave in his cat tree every time I went near his room for a couple of weeks and I’d worried about how to get him out of it when the time came. By a fluke on D Day -1 I went into his room and he was up on a high shelf. I took my chance, removed the cat tree from his room, and replaced it with a covered over cat carrier in the same place. There was no way he was just going to go into that to hide instead …. was there?
I went into his room Saturday morning and to my amazement that’s exactly where he was. I gently slid the carrier towards the wall and slotted the door into place. Couldn’t believe it! Called the back up troops to cancel, brought his vet appointment forward and off we went.
He was gone in a flash
The good news is that he’s settling happily back into his garden. Hopefully with him now being neutered he’ll be less at risk of straying and fights.
Then J arrived. Don’t get me wrong, we had a lovely time and had a couple of full day trips out … however ……
It made me realise how ‘not normal’ we are. When you live ‘alone’ its easy to just go from cat to cat to kitten, constantly watching them, responding to their needs, not even realising the extent of it. When you have a visitor it all becomes more apparent: “just a tick, I think Rufus wants to come in and he can’t use the flap”, “sorry, just need to check Amber has enough food”, “hang on … think Henderson is about to pee up the wall” … “ah … sorry … need to reply to this cat rescue email”. Not to mention the multiple eye and ear drops that needed to be administered in addition to normal care.
The minute J left I was shuffling rooms around and within half an hour off to collect the next gang of kittens. Wakefield this time … a bit of a change from endless Doncaster runs. As I’d had company I’d not fully read the info about them … other than there were 4 of them, at risk of being handed out to strangers to rehome. It was only as they were going into the carrier I started to register it. Not that it would have changed our decision to take them.
On the journey home one of them wailed a loud West Yorkshire lament pretty much the whole way. When I picked the carrier off the back seat once we were home three of them were messing around as young kittens do, whilst the fourth was lying on the floor fairly lifeless. We were home just in time to take Caramel and her kits for their vet appointment so called our long suffering vet and arranged to take collapsed little one in along with the C Team.
The collapsed one stumbled out of her carrier. Nothing physiologically wrong. Vet thought neurological ….. probably cerebellar hypoplasia (CH). He not very optimistic but talked about the main factor being whether cats like this had a spark. She went back in her carrier whilst the little Cs had their first vaccs and chips. The W Yorks lament kicked off again and I realised it had been her yelling all the way down the M1. She kicked at the side of the carrier, as though to demonstrate that she did indeed have the necessary spark the vet mentioned. The nurse who had come in to help examine Caramel (we think she may be pregnant with another litter) suggested we name her Sparkle. Purrfect
That was a couple of weeks ago today. It’s not been the easiest couple of weeks. We’ve been learning what she can and can”t do and trying to help her manage it. She can run (in a fashion) and play football, but her right arm turns in on itself and she has a general tremor. She can’t jump but compensates by climbing. She’s very efficient at climbing up my leg, digging her claws in as she goes. I’m proud to have completed an official call to the bank about our rescue account without screaming as she shinned her way up from my toes to my shoulder. More concerning than her mobility is her ability to eat. I realised after a couple of days that although she’s good at giving the illusion of eating she struggles to get food into her mouth. We’ve had numerous stressed experiments with everything from kitten formula bottle feeds, through syringe feeding liquidised food, spoon feeding mousse /pate textured food, and hand feeding tiny bits of chicken. Most successful have been the bottles and very carefully torn pieces of chicken (eek … as a veggie I shrink from touching the stuff but needs must). It’s like threading a needle …. the pieces have to be not too wide to go easily into her mouth, but not so narrow that the end flops over. We now have it pretty much down to an art form …… kittipoultrigami?
Despite her challenges she’s managed learn to use the litter tray (Henderson take note!). The big saving grace has been her relationship with little Karis. I could cry when I see how kind Karis is to her …. she’s only about 16 weeks old herself but is taking on some mothering of Sparkle. She plays with her in a way that appears adjusted to not be too rough, cuddles her, and washes her. They make a very sweet pair.