Thursday, December 3, 2009

Farewell to Kiki (aka Coffee Cat)

On April 8, 2008, Kiki was handed over to us by friends of a woman dying of cancer. What wonderful friends.

In times of crisis, families are often overwhelmed and/or careless about placing the beloved companions of those dying or recently deceased. Sadly, many are driven to the local shelter almost immediately which--especially for cats--almost guarantees their death(s).

Kiki was taken to our vet and diagnosed at that time with renal failure (chronic renal failure, or CRF) and stomatitis (which is a very painful mouth disease). Our job was to do the best we possibly could for her to keep her comfortable and as healthy as we could for the remainder of her life given she was obviously unadoptable.

What a gift this little cat was! She loved everyone and everything that came near her. She was perfectly fitted to be a rescue house cat!

On meds and given specific foods, Kiki did very well until the last several days of her life. She had her ups and downs but always came through. This time it was not to be.

So, on Tuesday, we sent Kiki--aka Coffee Cat--to the bridge holding and reassuring her as she departed this world for another.

The bell tolls for Kiki. Godspeed little Coffee Cat. We sure miss you.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Timmy Finds His Furrever Family! It's ALL About The Dogs!

About a year ago, we took in a little shelter dog, then about 5yo or so, who we named Timmy who became The Timmy.

The Timmy weighs a wee 12 lbs. and is a Min Pin mix. (note in this pic, the usually perky prick (up) ears and demeanor is missing. Poor guy, he just had a dental and hey, the vet? Ugh!).

Timmy came in very thin making his little head look WAY too big for his body. When we were at the Pet Expo, it was sad to see people laughing at him. I really wanted to slap them silly. Hey, so you are what? A glamour queen/king? Poor guy. WHY we always dwell on looks versus heart--in people and animals--escapes me.

Timmy is also a mostly black dog, the very hardest type to photograph well. I took hundreds of pictures of Timmy and barely eked out three that were somewhat acceptable.

Timmy's story was truly one of luck and caring. The very day the shelter scout was at the shelter (she only goes there once a week), she was approached by a shelter staffer who said they had a nice little dog that for some reason was still alive given he was to have been killed the evening before. He survived due to some kind of error. Okay. The Timmy, The Living error. I take a different view but whatever.

The shelter scout checked Timmy out--then bailed him out--then checked me out. "Yes," I said. "Get him out we will take him."

So, for the next year plus, Timmy became part of the family. And The Timmy (eh-hem) got VERY spoiled, sleeping under the covers and (eh-hem) going about everywhere with me for quite a while. And The Timmy gained weight, and The Timmy got healthy.

No matter what I did--from showing to making him the poster boy--I never got even ONE application to adopt The Timmy. Until last week.

The young late twenty something couple that applied--a really mellow and sweet couple with a WONDERFUL application (I get tons that are just awful and are rejected on sight and even more rejected because they don't really have a clue, or lie, or the match is just all wrong) fell in love with his story--and him when they met him. (We do home inspections for the safety of the dog (and often potential adopters HAVE to make safety changes to trash cans, fencing, gates and if puppies are involved the list is VERY long) , so we took The Timmy to them to meet once we approved their app). They loved him. We walked him around their condo complex and he met other doggies and they were SO impressed that even when other dogs tried to get snarky with him, The Timmy just didn't react.

The Timmy is really SO above all that.

So I called The Timmy's new companions today to see how he is doing. Well... he was laying on the male companion's feet. I asked, "You are at your computer? (The Timmy liked to lay at my feet when I was typing.)

"Nope. We're on the bed watching a movie." (Big smile on my end of the phone...)

"Is he being a gentleman and good?" I asked.

"He is perfect," came the reply. (Another big smile on my end of the phone. Just as I suspected!)

When we adopt a dog out, we adopt them out as perfect as we can get them. They leave with clean teeth (The Timmy's were cleaned the very day he left thus the bit spacey look in the photo, and he had his second blood panel done that day also, make sure all vaccinations are up to date (to good protocoal) and if any other problems are suspected or found that we cover them, and we pass along all the veterinary information in a packet for the owners and the dogs/cats are all microchipped each one kept in my OWN personal name for very good reason), and we do an exit exam with the owners present with the vet so they can ask any questions they have all of us together with the vet so we ALL know the condition the dog left in. I do this so if ANYTHING goes wrong, my butt is covered, legally, morally and ethically plus it is good for the dog and the new owners.

And if they have ANY problems within some reasonable period, the dog is taken back to my vet, free of charge to the dog's/cat's new companions, and we deal with it.

If a groomed dog, the dog either leaves perfectly groomed, or if the owner wants a specific groom, we allow for that in adoption fee.

So, you might ask, what was the fee for Timmy? $200.00 ($25.00 cheaper than the shelter which often releases sick dogs with no such blood tests or clean teeth or experience with other cats/dogs to unknown people who may or may not take care of the dog).

We ate probably $500.00 on The Timmy which is hardly unusual. It's not about the money, it's about the dog. So whenever I hear people bad-mouthing rescues for their fees, I go nuts. Sure, some rescues are lousy and should just plain get out of it. This isn't a business, it's a RESCUE. But most break their fannies to do right by the dogs.

Yes, we are probably in the go-to-extremes category, but that is how we do it and that is what I can live with. I know many rescues, likewise, that spend thousands of dollars on a dog's behavior training. I don't take behavior cases anymore just because I don't have the time and am older and don't feel confident enough--especially given the amount of stairs here--in properly and safely handling a wild 100 lb. dog and keeping that dog under control to do that extremely precious and VERY hard work, but I used to do that. I hold great respect for those that do.

And, yeah, the new owners get the big lecture on nutrition and WHY good food makes a difference (DUH!) (and, um yes, in dogs anyway, human food is fine--often better than dog stuff--for snacks as long as... long list), and everything else you can imagine including, importantly, efficacy of vaccines and new vaccine recommendations, blood titers for parvo and distemper versus auto vaccinations and we near insist they go to a vet we know and approve of given we know a LOT of them and some are absolutely terrible and some are remarkable.

So, when someone clears our application, interview and home visit they have to be pretty damn good!

THEN, they sign a contract that the dog is returned to us, regardless of age or location of the dog, should the adopter not be able to keep the dog for WHATEVER reason. We provide lifetime protection for the dog which is why the dogs are kept in MY PERSONAL name. If a shelter or group sees a first contact rescue name on a microchip, they often ignore it. That's why I don't do it that way. We get the call, we get the dog/cat out, and we wait for a call from the owners.

Given our screening process and the emphasis on calling us immediately if a dog is lost, we rarely have to go through this. It has, in fact, happened only once in the last five years. And I personally found the dog. Long story.

Is this great or what?

And more of The Timmy...

We miss The Timmy, he had become a part of our family.

But in rescue--as in foster--one thinks or really must think differently. The more we release to good homes, the more we can save.

There is just so much space.

God Bless The Timmy and his new and wonderful companions.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Long Hard Road Of Blessings

Note: Major cuteness at end!

These last several weeks since my last update on the hoarder cats has been an emotional fruit cake. These weeks have included wild ups and downs, but overall I am doing okay. Just tired and trying to raise funds for the remaining surgeries/care for the Lancaster hoarder cats. This rescue has been extremely expensive (even with discounts and help) and we have a long way to go to pay for everything.

During this time we have learned quite a bit more about the eye problems in these cats and the pieces of the puzzle are beginning to come together. I had to know. I needed and need to understand.

Feline Herpes Virus-1

The entire Lancaster hoarder population (a total of 24 cats/kittens) is either an active feline herpes virus-1 (FHV1 or FHV-1) cat/kitten or a possible carrier. So, we must assume they are all carriers.

Feline herpes virus infection
Clinical signs

Feline herpes virus 1 (FHV-1) infection is a very common infection in cats. FHV-1 is an alpha herpes virus. It has been associated with many ocular diseases in cats including conjunctivitis, keratitis, corneal ulceration, symblepharon formation, chronic epiphora, eosinophilic keratitis, sequestrum formation, keratoconjunctivitis sicca and anterior uveitis. Primary infection with feline herpes virus manifests itself usually in the respiratory tract and the eyes. FHV-1 replicates in epithelium of nasal mucosa, conjunctiva, tonsil and nasal turbinates. Tissue damage during active infection is due to viral cytolisis.1 Clinical signs include lethargy, fever, sneezing, nasal and ocular discharge, conjunctival hyperemia and chemosis. One or both eyes may be affected. In more severe cases, the corneal epithelium is affected as well leading to corneal ulceration. Dendritic corneal ulcerations represent viral replication within the corneal epithelium. Corneal lesions are most common on days 3 and 12 of the primary infection. Lysis of conjunctival epithelium cells with subsequent virus release is responsible for the corneal lesions seen around day 12 of the primary infection.1 Dendritic ulcers may coalesce to form larger geographic ulcerations. Secondary bacterial infection may lead to deep corneal ulceration or corneal perforation. Iris prolaps and anterior synechiae may form after corneal perforation. Adhesions between third eyelid and the cornea or eyelids may lead to permanent protrusion of the third eyelid. The corneal epithelium may be replaced by conjunctival-like epithelium that contains blood vessels and is not completely transparent. Approximately 80% of cats infected with FHV-1 will become carriers of the virus after the initial infection. [edited by author to fit subject; bolding represents issues seen in these cats/kittens]

Source: Alexandra van der Woerdt, DVM, MS, DACVO, DECVO here.

NOTE: In these kittens, symblepharon formation is represented by the adhesion of the third eyelid to the cornea.

As you cat folks know, stress brings active herpes outbreaks. So every trip to the vet (we are sure hoping the last will be coming soon!) stalls containment.

Many of these cats--in fact a remarkably high number--also have microphthalmia (tiny eye) (and here, page through for several discussions, but warning the photos on this site which is about feline ophthalmology may be too rough to view for some of you) and even micro microphthalmia. This is a congenital condition where the eyeball, at some points, ceases to further develop. NONE of the adults in our possession have this disorder.

ALL of the kittens, and all but two of the adults, also suffered from secondary eye infections.

So while some of this is congenital, complete lack of care (aka neglect) took the several compounding factors and made them much worse. Iris prolapse, for instance, doesn't just 'happen'. It is the result of a herpes sick eye, left untreated, which ruptures.

, who I discussed in my last post, will be getting her spay staples out tomorrow and the very last of her vaccines. She is now blind, but doing pretty well. Here is a photo of her taken approximately 7 days after her surgery:
Mazzie's left eye is microphthalmic with secondary infection. This eye is still being treated. The eye removed included infection, herpes corneal ulceration and iris prolapse.

Mercury also had his eye removed, but his sighted eye is getting much better. The eye removed, like Mazzi, included infection, herpes, corneal ulceration and iris prolapse. Merc is a spirited little boy and will do just fine as a monocular kitty. He plays just like the others and with the exception of the missing eye, one can tell little if any difference between him and his normal-sighted siblings.

has glaucoma as a result of a ruptured herpes eye. Nothing genetic here. Her normal eye is doing well. Jupiter's most recent (11/11) exam indicated that her eye is less sore and perhaps a tiny bit less enlarged and less infected. Though this condition is NOT reversible, and the eye will require removal, this is at least temporary good news for Jup while we raise the money for her ultrasound to address her loud and rather severe IV/VI heart murmur which must be done prior to surgery. Photo taken 10/22.

Mars, Comet, Black Hole and Swiss
were scheduled for single enucleation (eye removal), but in the end, the opthalmologist advised leaving the eyes in place. Each has a microphthalmic eye, and each is blind in this eye. We have treated for infection and for herpes, and continue to treat. Each is now fully vetted except for their microchip. I am working on getting some good pictures of each of these kittens at play. The veterinary photos no longer reflect their reality.

Venus has a number of problems. She is right eye entropian, bilateral symblepharon (see above):

Entropion is the inward rolling of all or part of an eyelid. The cornea and conjunctiva are irritated by hairs on the eyelid causing problems from mild discomfort and tearing to chronic pain and eye injury. Entropion is more common in dogs than cats, but may be under-recognized in cats. In this study from the U.K., 50 cats with entropion were examined. About 1/3 of the cats had a mean age of 4 years, while the remainder of the cats were relatively older, with a mean age of 11 years. Among the younger cats, entropion was likely to be caused by a pre-existing irritative disorder, such as conjunctivitis or corneal ulceration. [my bolding]
Source: Wynn Foundation, here.

Here is Venus on 10/22 at the vet. The difference between her entry photos and this photo is drastic, but still, it appears she will have to have both eyes removed. The jury is still out though. She is being spayed this week, and has all other vetting complete except for microchipping. We continue to treat her eyes 3x/daily.

is a success story. While we might not be able to save her right eye (jury still out, she is symblepharon R eye, we HAVE saved her left eye so she will remain sighted. This is a huge relief given we could not even tell if she HAD eyes when she arrived. She is being spayed this week, and all other vetting except for microchipping is complete. We continue to treat her eyes 3x/daily.
Photo at vet 11/11/09

Moo, Brie, Mixed Nuts, Jack and Garganzola
while still undergoing medication, all have saved eyes and will be normal visioned for the most part. There is corneal scaring on some, and Jack has corneal plaque. But they are otherwise healthy and happy cats. Moo and Mixed nuts are now fully vetted except for microchipping, and Brie, Jack and Garganzola will be spayed/neutered, respectively, this and next week. If they react to this stress as the then-healthy-eyed Mixed Nuts and Moo did, we can expect the stress to bring on active herpes--again, which we will treat until they are again stable. Sigh.

Now for the Blessings!

Some very good friends, and some new ones, are helping us raise money and get help. I cannot--absolutely cannot--do this alone. The time alone in caring for these cats/kittens is huge.

We go through 1400 lbs. of litter/month
1.5 cases (and rising as they get older) of food/day
Medication includes treating 60 eyes/day plus other care
Cleaning and laundry, well... we never stop!

So this help in raising funds and getting necessary supplies is greatly appreciated. The help and support of other rescue friends has been critical to keeping me sane. This is extremely hard work and, as you can imagine, extremely time consuming. We have also received help from Best Friends (Utah) and United Animal Nations. Actors and Others have helped with a small discount off spay/neuter fees. Saddleback Valley Humane will be paying for Jupiter's spay. Ruff donated $50.00 to the general veterinary bill. Every penny helps and is deeply appreciated.

And here are two more blessings.

Meet Captain Whitebeard and Captain Greyblaze who are now 7wo and healthy as little horses! They were born here the day after their very preggers mom, Little Star, arrived:
Captain Whitebeard

Captain Greyblaze
While resistant to weaning (mmmpff!), these two balls of cuteness are doing just great. Mom will be vetted when they leave to go to kitten rescue to find their furrever homes in about a week. We have been careful in the extreme with these little ones and they will soon be in the arms of fosters who will do likewise in a disease-free environment as their mom's immunity begins to wane and they become more vulnerable. We are grateful for the help of other rescues who have agreed to take a few kittens for us as they are releasable.

AND Mazzie has a home. Another excellent rescuer with herpes cats will be taking the very precious little Mazzie! Horray for Mazzie!

Another blessing is knowing that while many kittens died (her admittance) a rather terrible death at the hands of this hoarder, these kittens didn't. And thankfully we got to many of them in time to save their sight. They will have a future now.

So amid the darkness and the oft disappointment, I have to remind myself that I was given the privilege of caring for these cats and kittens.

I really and truly believe that God gifts each one of us in some way. I know my true gift and have been using it for several decades. I'm really glad that God gave me the gift he/she did.

And for Baby Bell who did not make it, Godspeed little one. She has been cremated and her ashes spread in a wildlife sanctuary.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm SO Disappointed...

Those of you following the fate of the 24 Lancaster cats/kittens know that we have been holding out GREAT hope for one wee kitten, only 17wo, Mazarella, to keep one eye. We KNOW she can see something. Cat's don't chase things like she does (well, chase is too grand a word... perhaps bat-at) if they are completely blind.

Sadly, it turns out that the untreated herpes caused a prolapsed Iris (Iris bomb), and she has to have the only seeing eye (be that as it may) removed. So, Mazzie, as of tonight, is now blind.

I'm really heartbroken, actually. And I am madder than hell at the woman that caused all this.

Blind kittens, like puppies, learn differently about the world, and she will adjust. But my dear God, WHY did this have to turn out this way? (rhetorical question)

I'm not mad at God. God didn't do this. An emotionally unstable and perhaps psychologically unbalanced human caused this.

I am so terribly disappointed.

Mazzie will come home to total darkness. Instead of needing to be by the window to watch the hummingbirds (yes, we still have them), she could as well live in a cave.

I know she will do better than I will with this. Nonetheless, I feel terrible.

This is a beautiful and sweet little girl kitten that just didn't deserve this.

I am bouncing between near rage and deep, deep sorrow.

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.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rep. Weiner (D-NY9) On The Bad Baucus Bill: Thanks, But No Thanks

Now, you MAY (as I did) need to watch that clip more than once as there is a LOT of info in there (both speakers are rapid-fire verbalists!).

And from Dr. Howard Dean, STERN and alarming words on the Baucus bill (hat tip to slinkerwink at dKos):

Howard Dean, former Democratic National Committee chairman, minced no words about Sen. Max Baucus's healthcare proposal, unveiled to the public this morning. "The Baucus bill is the worst piece of healthcare legislation I've seen in 30 years," Dean said last night at a healthcare town hall and book signing in Washington. "In fact, it's a $60 billion giveaway to the health insurance industry every year," he said. "It was written by healthcare lobbyists, so that's not a surprise. It's an outrage."

"I'm glad Senator Rockefeller is not going to vote for it. I wouldn't vote for it at all under any circumstances," Dean added. Instead, Dean said Senate Democrats should and would end up using the reconciliation process to pass a plan with the public option. "It can be done, and that's how it will be done," Dean said, pointing out that a majority of Senate Democrats still support a more robust bill.


One important thing Weiner mentioned as getting traction: Buy ins to Medicare by age-chunks over some time period.

Wyden and Weiner have bills that will be heard/voted on on the house floor soon.

Tomorrow I will be discussing these.

In the meantime... PLEASE continue to call your senators and reps. You can use the FREE 866 number: 866-338-1015. If you do not know your reps/senators, go here.

Here's what to tell your senators and reps (this is simple, really it is!):
  1. Hello: my name is _____ and I am a constituent of yours from __(your city)__.
  2. I am calling to tell you to support a health care reform bill that has all of the following:
  • No triggers. And, BTW, we need to have a bill that kicks in prior to 2013.With 50 people/day going into medical bankruptcy, 1400/day losing their insurance because of job loss or personal income issues, we simply cannot wait. One American dies every 12 minutes because they cannot get health care help. That is immoral and wrong and it MUST change immediately.
  • No co-ops. As Senator Rockefeller (D-WV) has noted after investigation, and as the CBO (PDF) has indicated, there are NO successful health care co-ops in the nation and their impact would be unsubstantial.. (go here for info on Rockefeller's co-op information.)
  • MUST have a competitive medicare-like public option given there is a MANDATE to be insured. This will cause increased competition and keep costs down.
  • NO "Pilot Programs". All these do is delay what we need.
PLEASE call.

It is only pressure that gets things done. Be that squeak that gets things done!

Permission given to copy this post with no attribution necessary. PLEASE put on your blogs, or link this post to your friends/family who are interested in health care reform. We ONLY get things done BY doing them.

As Thom Hartmann says, "Tag... you're it."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kaiser Outlines Future of Health Ins. And It Ain't Pretty

For those who are confused about what the future means in terms of health care costs (as well as the past relative to income), you need to read the new information from Kaiser Family Foundation (if you don't know, Kaiser is the largest non-profit health care provider in California).

The first number was the average cost of a family health insurance policy in 2009: $13,375. To put that number in context, if you are an employer, you can hire an employee at the minimum wage for about $15,000 per year. If you are a consumer, you can rent an average two-bedroom apartment nationwide for $11,136 per year (though it is quite a bit more here in Menlo Park, California where our Foundation is based). You can also buy a new Chevy Aveo for $12,000, and it gets 35 miles per gallon on the highway.

Let's do some very simple arithmetic. Start with a fairly conservative assumption: If we assume that premium increases over the next ten years will average what they did over the last five (about 6.1% per year), the average premium for a family policy in 2019 will be $24,180. That's a big number. On the other hand, if we assume increases revert to the average of the last ten years—an average annual increase of about 8.7% and a very plausible scenario—premiums in 2019 will average a whopping $30,803, a very scary number (Figure 1).

Now I know some of you may not even blink at this information, but most of you will probably be aghast. When my health insurance costs would be double that of my mortgage, something is dreadfully wrong.

Here's another nifty video on United Health Group. Think their CEO will take a nice hefty pay cut just to help? Yeah... right.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

US Physicians Across All Specialties and Geography Support Public Option

Well, now. It would appear that those physicians claiming that doctors not only don't like Medicare but don't support a public option are incorrect.

A new study released today shows they do, in fact, support both:

Overall, a majority of physicians (62.9%) supported public and private options (see Panel A of graph). Only 27.3% supported offering private options only. Respondents — across all demographic subgroups, specialties, practice locations, and practice types — showed majority support (>57.4%) for the inclusion of a public option (see Table 1). Primary care providers were the most likely to support a public option (65.2%); among the other specialty groups, the “other” physicians — those in fields that generally have less regular direct contact with patients, such as radiology, anesthesiology, and nuclear medicine — were the least likely to support a public option, though 57.4% did so. Physicians in every census region showed majority support for a public option, with percentages in favor ranging from 58.9% in the South to 69.7% in the Northeast. Practice owners were less likely than nonowners to support a public option (59.7% vs. 67.1%, P<0.001),> it. Finally, there was also majority support for a public option among AMA members (62.2%). [emphasis mine]

I strongly suggest that you read then take the journal report with you to town hall meetings, and also send it to your representatives and senators.

This is very powerful stuff.

Hat tip: Helenann dKos

Saturday, September 12, 2009

President Obama's Saturday Address On Healthcare

First, here's Robert Reich on the Public Option, this is about 2:25, and he breaks it down into the most simple of terms. Very helpful.

Here's President Obama. This is about 4 minutes long and wonderful.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure...

Link is here. (very photo heavy)

BTW, when the link comes up, click of full screen. Nicer that way:)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Shelter Animals Need Adopting

The fires in CA recently stuffed every single shelter, boarding facility and wildlife rehab center. In addition to animals who have lost their families because of the economy and/or home foreclosure--and in addition to those being born to animals not spayed and neutered--more than ever, dogs, cats and bunnies need help.

Here are a couple of really neat videos on the topic. The first is from HSUS... a little sad at first, but has a happy ending!

This one, Ode to the Station Fire, is a shortie (you tube)... The scene inside a local shelter is pretty amazing.

Adopt Some Love! Adopt a shelter or rescue animal! Don't breed or buy while shelter animals die.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pres. Obama Kicks In On Health Care

This is but an intro to what he might talk about on Wednesday (BE SURE and watch it Wednesday).

Here ya go, and he is just warming up. From Cincinnati today:

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Health Care Reform and "Triggers": No, And Why

As many of you know, the issue of triggers--a mechanism for compelling the institution of a public plan for health care after we give insurance company giants one more chance to be good--are being talked about again.

This is a short and well done piece from Firedog Lake explaining what triggers are, and why they are bad, with extensive linking. As you may or may not be aware, Olympia Snowe (R-ME) has proposed the idea in the ongoing mess that is the US Senate Gang of Six (3 dems, 3 republicans) from the Finance Committee working on the remaining congressional bill.

This is important to know in light of Obama's upcoming Wednesday talk on health care. Knowing the basics will help you to discern what is going on and why.

The stakes are very, very high. If we cannot provide a good, medicare-like public option that is affordable (some suggest no more than 2.5% of income), we will not have this chance again for decades. The poor, the uninsured will remain so and out of range for health care.

For those with insurance, the costs are rising an average 4.4 times faster than pay. That is obviously unsustainable for everyone but the very rich.

We are facing the multi-headed hydra on health care and unless we knock down every additional compromise as they spit and hiss at us, we won't win. And we have to win.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Shame That is American Health Care

This video says it all. It needs no introduction. It does, however, need to be thought about. This is ONE woman and there are thousands more out there just like her.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Breaking the Myths: 14 Lies and 14 Truths

NOTE: There are two parts to this post. The first is on the Media Matters Lies/Truths and the second is a two-part video (and the second part is absolutely killer) between John Steward and insurance company shill Betsy McCaughey on the health care bill. If you don't know who Betsy McCaughey is, she was trotted out during Clinton's campaign to shut down the health care bill then, which she succeeded in doing. But Stewart, who is a really bright guy, eats her up. McCaughey resigned today from the medical device (read really profitable) company she works for to work on healthcare to "avoid" the appearance of impropriety. Gee, Betsy, a little late, isn't it?

Media Matters has taken on 14 of the top myths about health care. Not only is their piece well written including some historical perspective on how many of the myths got started, it is helpful in understanding the truth AND is a great source to be able to send to others.

You can view it here.

Hat tip to mcjoan/dKos.

Now, on to John Stewart.

I attached these at the last minute to give you a flavor of how the discussion has become so absurd, especially after reading Media Matters. You'll get it.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Betsy McCaughey Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

and part two, which is especially yummy:

Exclusive - Betsy McCaughey Extended Interview Pt. 2
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Mom Needs Your Prayers, and So Do I and So Do The Rescue Animals

I received a giant jolt today. They believe my 95yo mom may have multiple myeloma.

I don't have the time right now to post much more about it than to send you here.

I have asked other rescues to take my animal rescues off my hands so I can clear my plate. I have gotten a few responses and sure hope to get more. In this economic environment, for every one animal I place well, I have at least 60 requests (and these would make you cry) to take animals that have no place to go because of death, foreclosure, homelessness... The list is long.

Every day that I open my e-mail, I pray to God that things will change. And I open my e-mail a lot. So, I pray a lot.

I have always lived on the edge, emotionally, as this is what people in rescue do every minute of their lives. If you have not done it, you have no idea.

Rescue is emotionally painful to the max. The suffering we see--both animal and human--is over the top. Many of us become shells of people. Some of us become suffering saints. Some work their abilities to brave new worlds (like Best Friends in Utah). Some fall to the depths of despair (and this is usually really awful and involves dead animals). With the exception of the last, most of us are a combination of all of these to one extent or another. And there are lots of dark spots in that mix as life intercedes as it always does.

I have three cats coming in this week. The people are depending on me as their last resort and I have made a commitment. What a mess. The cats will, indeed, come in and be safe even if they have to stay at the vet until I can get my feet on some kind of land again. If I do not do that, they will be taken to the shelter where, right now, over 80% of cats are being killed. It's kitten season. These little ones are being killed too.

So please, will you... will you PLEASE say a prayer for my mom? I am her only caregiver and I am scared shitless right now. My life is even more upside-down than it was six months ago.

Hard to believe that is even possible.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dr. Howard Dean on Public Option (video)

There are two three outstanding interviews done today with Dr. Gov. Chairman (!) Howard Dean on health care reform and the public option, etc.

Please note... if you REALLY want to understand what is going on after the whipsaw weekend, go to my first post from today, below, and see the shake out from yesterday which was rather incredible.

Here are the three videos and they are VERY telling about how not only health care reform will get passed, but passed with the public option and WHY the public option is necessary.

If you don't understand the public option OR co-ops, this will help you.

He also addresses:

Co Ops (excellent discussion, second video)
Economies of Scale
Public Option (third video and others)

The first video, from MSNBC's Morning Joe 8/17 (today):

Dr. Dean on Dr. Nancy's Show on Co-ops etc. 8/17 (today):

From the Today Show (8/17 (today):

My goal in doing all of this is to help you sort out the wheat/chaff and to sort of distill some of the arguments of the day. The postings will be getting far more frequent now as this is becoming a battle of lines and lies drawn.

I hope this is helpful to you. This is the most important legislation since Civil Rights Legislation of the 1960s and is now or never.