Friday, October 23, 2009

Update 2 on Kittens

Warning: Those of you sensitive to eye or cat neglect issues may not want to view this. It is very graphic. But you might!

As in Update 1, only good news! All of the second eight kittens (those we lovingly call the 'Space' kittens) were cleared for spay/neuter and given their first fvrcpc vaccine. As of tomorrow, they will have been here four weeks.

And there is increasing hope for three of these eight, Venus, Galaxy and Saturn.

Five have now, also been cleared for enucleation (removal) of a damaged or missing eye, four of these are 'Space' kittens, the fifth is Swiss (a 'cheese and nuts' kitten):

1. Mercury at vet 9-30-09:

Mercury at vet 10-22-09

This little black domestic shorthair is a fireball! He loves to play and is hardly the lethargic mop he was coming in. As for his eye, we never had ANY hope of saving this eye. The pupil has detached and pierced the cornea. He will be a one-eyed, healthy and happy kitty really soon!

2. Mars at vet 10-30-09

Mars at vet (pic taken on 10-22-09 did not turn out well)

This is a gorgeous and nice domestic medium haired kitten whose eye (in this case, hardly ANY eye) we knew we couldn't save. Nonetheless, he is now healthy and playing up a storm with his kitten buddies and soon will be a happy little one-eyed kitten.

3. Comet at vet 9-30-09

Comet at vet 10-22-09

Comet is a little shyer than most of the kittens, but is coming right along! Loves to play and will be a super little guy who will need a bit of understanding and a LOT of love at first. Like Mercury and Mars, there was never any hope of saving his eye, but he is a beautiful and healthy little guy now and will soon be going in for his eye surgery.

4. Black Hole at vet 9-30-09

Black Hole at vet 10-22-09

Black Hole is a wascally little guy and will make a great addition to a kind kitten family (hopefully with a sibling!). We knew up front we could not save his eye, so his release for surgery--meaning his good health--is wonderful. And look at his healthy and perfect left eye! Outstanding!

Now for OTHER great news!

1. Galaxy's R eye--one we were not even sure existed as we could not see it at all--has been saved! We are working to continue clearing the eye and have changed medications, as have we with Venus and Saturn, below. Galaxy's best eye (L) is getting better all the time and is now saved. We do need to continue to work on this eye, but Galaxy WILL be a sighted kitten, and unless something goes south, will have binocular vision!

Galaxy at vet 10-14-09 (two weeks after first visit, I cannot locate original photo, but it was dismal)

Galaxy at vet 10-22-09

2. Saturnphoto at vet 9-30-09

Saturn at vet 10-22-09

The change in Saturn's right eye is subtle, but enough to warrant a hold on removal and a change in medication. The vet was pleasantly surprised. This is a GREAT little kitten.

3. Venus at vet 10-14-09

Venus at vet 10-22-09

I don't know if you can appreciate the change in Venus's eyes fully, but the vet seemed cautiously excited. We think she sees something, and the eyes look very different from just a week earlier. Venus has a lot going on here. She is entropian in her right eye lid (lashes growing in, not out, which, if she keeps her eye has to be surgically changed), and on the left, we are not sure if her third eyelid has adhered to her cornea. But there is HOPE! If we can save even one eye, and that eye has partial sight, she will not have to live in darkness her entire life. This is a fabulous kitten the vet just fell in love with.

So please, keep up the prayers for these 'Space' kittens. Several still have a ways to go!

Jupiter, the glaucoma kitten, remains unchanged. He WILL have to have his right eye removed, but first we have to do an ultrasound of his heart given the loud IV/VI heart murmur. So, we're working on getting that set up. Jupiter is, perhaps, the most shy of the bunch.

And for tomorrow... UPDATE 3 and pics of the two healthy 4wo kittens that were born here from one of the hoarder mom cats, Little Star, the day after she arrived! Captain Greybeard and Captain White Blaze will charm your hearts!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Update 1 On Kittens

Warning: Those of you sensitive to eye or cat neglect issues may not want to view this. It is very graphic. But you might!

There is some really good news in here (and no bad news!) and you can see the difference in some of these kittens over the four week period of their treatment which says a great deal.

First, the good news. (No bad news in this post... horray!)

A total of 6 of the 15 hoarder kittens have been medically released (and given their first FvrCPC vaccinations) for both spay/neuter and enucleation (eye removal).

I know that doesn't sound all that great, but it IS!!!

Two of these, particularly, have had quite a massive change (you can click on the photos to go to the original and enlarge by zooming in):

Swiss: now 16wo, m, black domestic short hair (dsh):

Entry photo, 9-23-09 taken at vet:

While Swiss (one of the the seven cheese and nuts cats) will still have to have his right (OD) eye removed, he is healthy now and playing up a storm. This is a spirited and fun
little guy that will do JUST FINE when he gets the remainder of his vetting (neuter/microchip) a new, loving home, disabled or not! Coming in, he was sick and lethargic. What a change in this great little guy, not to mention the health of his good eye, now, ear mites under control, and no snotty nose.

Swiss photo 10-20-09 taken at vet:

Garganzola: now 16wo, m black DSH.

Entry photo, 9-23-09 taken at vet:

Garganzola photo 10-20-09 taken at vet:

You can see exactly how badly that kitten felt when he came in (went from pick up directly to vet with the others). Lethargic, (and what you can't see...) dirty, runny eyes, massive ear mites and a runny nose. This little guy, probably a brother of Swiss (but who knows: five moms and dozens of babies were living together in the hoarder's garage so she said) is healthy as a horse, loves to play and his eyes are beautifully perfect.

Perhaps you now see WHY I do this. A veterinarian, a mere mortal, a lot of prayers, a LOT of medication and a lot of time, love and attention (and in this case, quite a bit of money) makes a HUGE difference. Garganzola is ready to fly now after being neutered and microchipped. He's a great little guy.

The Hopeful News.


The more I watch this kitten, over time, the more I become convinced that her right eye (she is blind in her left eye) has some kind of sight.

This little kitten--in despicable condition coming in, lethargic, runny nose, filthy, full of ear mites and eyes a disaster--plays and seems to see some kind of light and image through her right micropthalmic (small, and in this case diseased) eye.

So, we are trying to raise enough money to get this little one to the kitty eye specialist to see if there is ANY hope that this wee one can keep her eye if, as we suspect, she uses it even a little.

Expensive, but well worth it if she can keep ANY kind of sight.

Mazarella at home (vet pics didn't turn out well) 9-23-09

Mazzi after clean up and a few days post entry at 9-23-09

10-20-09 at vet

This beautiful and loving (and fun! even mostly blind) little girl, Mazzarella, is a wonderful kitten that deserves the best.

One can cradle her in their arms, tummy up, and she purrs away...

None of this ever needed to happen. This is a case of massive neglect.

And you know what most amazes (and disgusts) me?

Given the horrid condition of these kittens, the hoarder asked me if we were going to change their names. As if that would somehow magically change the neglect of their lives.

That is a glimpse into the mind of a hoarder.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Eyes Have It

Thank you so much, friends, for being so understanding and sending thoughts and prayers my way.

The last three weeks have been weeks from hell. Not only did I have to deal with the horrid rescue (which allowed me just hours of sleep daily for the first week leaving me extremely tired), I then got the crud which I am trying to get over (eating better, trying to sleep more).

I want to WARN you that this post will be difficult for some of you to read. The photos are extremely disturbing and graphic, so if you are very sensitive, it might be best if you do not continue.

In a nutshell, we took in 23 hoarder cats from Lancaster, CA. 16 were kittens ranging in age from 9wo to about 17wo. All but four were in horrific condition as the photos will attest. The hoarder had kittens infected with the feline herpes virus and let the disease ravage these kitten's eyes. They didn't HAVE to turn out this way.

Here is a picture of a shelter cat I fostered for another group that came in without us being able to see the eye at all (though this was a short term problem in an adult cat, not kitten). With correct and aggressive treatment, this beautiful cat not only kept her eye, but just LOOK at him! I can see a tad of corneal scaring in the photo, but you probably can't.
Smokey Shelter cat healed

Again, you might want to stop here if photos of neglect are not tolerable to you.

Of the 16 kittens, we lost one on day five despite our best efforts. We lost this very sick little kitten, Baby Bell:

Of the remaining 15, 9 will have to have one eye removed, and two will have to have BOTH eyes removed.

Here is a quick slideshow (click on the healthy-eyed cat below, then on slideshow which is in the upper left area under the Picasa symbol):

Lancaster Kittens

We really bit off a lot with this one. The medical, food (we go through a case/day of food that is $25.00/case) and extraneous costs (e.g. litter... we go through about 30#/day) so far are extraordinary, and we havn't even reached surgery. I am madly writing grant requests, contacting anyone that might be able to help. I have gotten cover from a 501(c)(3) (we are so small, relatively speaking, we never did this... we were always able to self fund until this year--but you all know what is different about this year...), Helping Persian Cats who I help and have fostered for. They are a fabulous group and their Director is VERY helpful and so kind to help with this situation.

As you might imagine, the time involved in caring for these little ones has been extreme.

The first 14 days, each received oral meds 2x/day, had their ears flushed (they were LOADED with ear mites... I went through 1000 cotton tips in two days!) and ears cleaned 2x/day, and every single eye had to be treated 3x/day. That is a LOT of ears and eyes and it takes a LOT of time!

Their food was prepared with a second antibiotic included, plus L-Lysine (an amino acid that helps knock out the herpes virus in many cats).

Because we suspected a horrid disease as the cause of Baby Bell's death, panleukopenia, EVERYTHING had to be sterilized... from linen (I washed 7 loads/day w/10% bleach), to counters, to utensils (I had to switch to plastic), to floors, cages, laundry... me... every time I came in contact with a cat box, cat, linen, water bowl... gads. What a nightmare.

I switched to paper plates and bought a dozen cat scoops and gallons of bleach (something I don't like to use because it is also a poison and has to be used very carefully around animals, especially babies).

We didn't lose another cat or kitten. It probably wasn't panleuk (death rate is extremely high and the virus is resistant to freezing and heat up to 133 degrees C and persists in the environment for a VERY long time) but we had to do the incredible protocol nonetheless. My other rescues are in lock down.

To say I am tired is an understatement.

But as of today, we are three weeks out from the last of them coming, so I can relax a bit.

Nine of the kittens rather than being in iso kennels, are now having a blast in their playpen with a giant cardboard box with holes in it, a bunch of toys, food and neat-o bedding. The remaining six, including the two cats who are functionally blind, and those with extreme conditions such as Jupiter and Mercury (whose detatched pupil has pierced his cornea... argh) are not able to enjoy this fun and freedom just yet. I HAVE done all I can to make them comfortable and secure, but until they are stronger and get their surgeries, it is all I can do.

With kittens, you have to keep their nails cut short anyway as they are little razors, and these guys require constant attention to nails given their very fragile and sick eyes. I have honed my clipping skills to lightening speed--the upside.

Today, it only took me 4 hours to clean and feed and another couple to do the laundry and wash windows (a couple of very large cages are up against the large front window so they can watch the birdies). The afternoon feeding cleaning took about 1.5 hours. Evening was a cinch. I scoop boxes VERY frequently because, well you know how it is when you come across a dirty toilet... cats aren't any different.

Of the adults, two of the five females came in pregnant (of course!). We managed to spay all but one of the adults prior to birth, and she had five kittens the second night (a Sunday) she was here. She was SO stressed she ate three of her kittens. The remaining two are fine and appear herpes free, but I am quite concerned about one that is too thin. She is a very sensitive mom and I borrowed a huge crate from another rescue and set it up to allow her the utmost privacy.

The poor two males have gotten the least attention, and must be neutered... but first things first.

So... this is why you haven't seen me around much for a while!

The good news is that I have another group putting out a funding letter for me, and Best Friends is helping with a $1,000.00 grant which should get some eyes done quickly. I am also working with other groups hoping to get help for the spays/neuters and to help cover other costs. It's a full time job, and then some. We are also appealing to other national groups asking for help, but it's like taking on the Queen Mary in a row boat. So I just paddle as fast as I can.

All this because of a mental illness, hoarding.

It has been just heartbreaking.

Thank you for inquiring about me (and Fred, thanks for the note). I'm alive
(maybe not well), but at least things are now looking up!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I'm Alive and Well

I just wanted to let my friends know I am alive and well. I have been involved in a horrid hoarder cat rescue which I will write about soon. Been too busy to even pen a note... things are a little better now, but not much.

Anyway, God Bless you all and please say a lot of prayers for the Lancaster 23.