Friday, February 12, 2016

Day Four--No Sign of Problem

Although distemper's typical incubation is 2 to 10 days after exposure, the most common incubation is 3 to 5 days.  It's been four days now, since the female with distemper was in my bathroom.

That only counts for initial contact.  Doesn't mean a cat still can't get it, from secondary surfaces where the virus can live up to a year if not killed.

But no problems here thus far and by now, the vaccines I bought would be kicking in protection anyhow.  I was only able to buy 10 of those intra ocular intra nasal vaccines, due to cost.  Also, I can only use them on the tame cats I can handle.

All my cats have been vaccinated at least once.  Some of the ferals have had just one, but only two of them.  I intend to try to net them today.  I give them injectible vaccines.  Through a fishing net.  I even clip the long hair feral, handling the cat with a net.   I discovered how useful fish nets are in handling cats a long time ago.  My nets are homemade because I don't like the stiff plastic netting mostly sold now.  I like cotton.

Miss Daisy naps
Clorox, My New Bestie
Clorox though stinkie is the cheapest most effective way to kill the distemper virus.  For an entire day, my bathroom was too toxic with clorox to enter without a face mask.

Char, who over-nighted in my car with Barney, (distemper afflicted kitty) the night before surgery, although he was in a covered trap and she in a carrier, did not get distemper and is now up for adoption at Heartland Humane in Corvallis.  He is a beautiful boy.

That's it for today.  The cleaning, loss of Barney, even though I didn't know her, the stress afterwards and worry, along with sadness over a phone call, left me worn out and in hide out mode.

The phone call was about a woman I'd helped years ago get cats she fed fixed, who had to move, and left them.  The call was from a neighbor across from her, who wanted the survivors removed, by me.  She will not even feed them, says her boyfriend won't let her.   It's her house though.  I said "So there's no one on the block with a big enough heart to help them out?"  (was not happy)  She won't even watch to see how many there are, living right across the street.  House has been sold now, in the hands of house flippers.   The woman moved over two months ago.   It breaks my fricking heart.  Does no one care anymore.  This brutal phone call coupled with what happened to Barney and the financial woes it also put me through was too much.

At last, the final holdouts at Malheur Wildlife Refuge have been arrested.  It was a circus down there, with people holding signs.  One lady held a sign that said "I'm not ISIS, I'm Honey Bear".   I have no idea what that meant.   She must have.  Another guy complete with three day beard, dressed in wannabe military garb, posed like a model with a flag in the back of a pickup.    He wore it well, but seemed more interested in looking good than anything else.  Mission accomplished!

I was labeled a mental case for years.   But....we witnessed a new breed of crazy in Oregon this winter.   Most of it migrated in from elsewhere too.  I still don't know why they settled here.  They now occupy a different federal facility.

And now there's this.  And it is funny!

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Day Two

The incubation period for distemper is 2 to 10 days after exposure.   The most common incubation for distemper is 3 to 5 days. By tomorrow morning, 48 hours will have passed since that poor doomed girl kitty was in my bathroom and vomited there.

In the meantime, I've been in flurry of disinfecting everything, over and over.   I threw out anything that came in contact with her or the bathroom floor.  Unfortunately this included clothing items that I have in limited supply, like my shoes, like my bras, which I had on the floor, with other clothes, to fold, from the dryer, just as she arrived.

Besides a pair of hiking boots and summer sandals, I have one other pair of shoes, that I save to wear like to appointments and when I go see my brother, so I don't look quite as bad.  I'll have to start wearing them day to day now.  At least I have them.

I had gone over and over in my mind, what I touched after touching her that morning in the bathroom, because whatever I touched, and whatever touched the clothes that touched her when I held her can become a viral transmission site.

I cleaned everything, even spraying down chairs and my computer keyboard, because I touched that I know.  I sprayed down my car too, anywhere I may have touched after touching her, like the steering wheel, the gear lever, brake lever, door handles, everything.   I must have mopped the floors with clorox solution six times by now throwing out mop heads, doing it again.

I've not let any cat back in the bathroom.  Maybe I never will.  The privacy is nice.   I've washed everything in the bathroom including all bedding that was on shelves in cupboards.  I discarded the litter box that was in the bathroom and the food and water dishes.  I exhausted myself yesterday, last night and this morning doing this and took a nap this afternoon, awakening after the normal time I go feed the farm colony cats.  So I was late and they were all milling, waiting, hoping.  I would not let them down.

Yesterday I went and bought ten intraocular intranasal vaccines and re-vaccinated the tame cats here with those, since they can provide protection within 48 hours.  I figure those most vulnerable are Miss Daisy and Vision, my oldest gals, Miss D being most vulnerable due to age and the fact she over grooms.  I had a half dozen injectible vaccines and vaccinated others with those.  I'm out now.  Everyone had already been vaccinated but some not for awhile.

I was so stressed then, after buying the vaccines in Lebanon, that I failed to notice my car was almost empty of gas and the yellow warning light on.   I had $4 cash left after buying the vaccines, and gas right now is very cheap so with $4 I could get over 2 gallons and saved myself from walking miles home with my car on the side of the road.

Maybe that would have been good for me, a very long walk, relieved some stress.

This has not been an easy or cheap thing and it could still get worse if anybody here gets sick.  It only takes one tiny virus cell I missed, still alive and clinging to something, and a cat steps on it, licks its paw and that's all it takes.  With all the corners and crooks and indentations of objects and materials and spaces, I can't be sure I killed every tiny bit of virus.   I wish it was something that glowed under black light, something I could see.  But its not so I can only do what I can do.

I don't know where that poor kitty was exposed to distemper.  I am sure she had no sign of it day of surgery because when I went to pick up Char, even though someone else was picking up Barney, the girl who got distemper, I peeked at her in her carrier and she had pooped and the poop was very normal and healthy.  But it doesn't mean she hadn't already been exposed.

Still hoping for the best.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Tragedy and the Next Ten Days

The female fixed last Thursday from Lebanon didn't eat after surgery.  Sunday morning the owner called me.  I then contacted Heartland and I told the woman she needed to be seen, and sooner rather than later, and that Heartland would see her but they closed at 6:00 p.m.

She didn't take her over.  This morning early before I was up, the owner texted me, saying she was going to drop her by my place on her way to work.  My head was spinning from this.  It was out of the ordinary.  Ordinarily an owner would take her in.

When she came, I took her, feeling otherwise she would not get care.  And I brought sweet Barney into my bathroom, against my better judgement.  But it was still cold in the garage and she was cold to the touch.  That should have been my big clue.  But I carried on cluelessly.

When she vomited yellow, I startled out of my clueless nature, got dressed, got her into a carrier and into the car.  She had distemper signs.  Lots of them.  Depressed body temp.  Lethargy.  Dehydration.  Yellow vomit.

Panoleukemia is feared for good reason.  It is highly contagious and can kill in 24 hours.   In this area, due to lack of vaccination, there are lots of pockets of distemper.  Its incubation period is 2 to 10 days.  The virus can remain alive in the environment for a long long time, and can be carried around on shoes, into homes, of indoor only cats whose owners may have decided not to vaccinate, and kill them.

 If Barney was positive for panoleukemia, did she catch it during surgery, with all those other unknown unvaccinated cats near her there and compromised due to stress and anesthesia?  Was she exposed before surgery at home?  Or even after she got home.

In a tizzy over it, worried I had compromised the health of my own cats, I poured clorox all over the bathroom floor before leaving and threw out the litter box and scoop that had been in the bathroom.   My cats are vaccinated, but a few of the ferals have been so only once.

Once at Heartland, they Parvo snap tested her for distemper.  She tested Positive.  Twice.  My heart sank.  I imagine they were worried also, knowing she had surgery there, and nobody knowing when or where she picked it up or from who.   Impossible to know that.  

They then tested Char, who was in the car with her overnight before surgery, he in a live trap.  Char tested negative.   Does that mean she got it after that night in the car with Char, last Wednesday night?  Not necessarily.  She was in a carrier facing the car door.  He was in a covered live trap.  She was not sneezing.

I remember she pooped after surgery, because I peeked at her when there to pick up Char, but then Heartland agreed to keep him.  I didn't transport her back to her owner after surgery, someone else did.  Her poop after surgery was normal.  That makes me think she did not have symptoms that day of surgery.

It doesn't mean she wasn't exposed that day.

Distemper is known for so badly irritating the intestinal track that a cat gets bloody sometimes yellow diarrhea and vomit.  They often die of secondary infection due to the gastrointestinal irritation.  But sometimes, a cat will show barely any sign, except maybe hanging its head lethargically over the water bowl as they expire.  Initially the cat usually endures a severe fever, but later, the cats body temp will be lower than normal.  When a pregnant cat survives the initial high fever, and her babies are born, some may be born as wobbles cats, brain damaged from their mom's high fever.

2 to 10 day incubation.

Barney is no longer with us.  She was in the process of dying by then.  R.I.P. Barney.   Let your death be a reminder that vaccination is important.

I came home and thought how do I protect mine.  Yes, they've been vaccinated, but that doesn't mean they won't get it.  I think what if the vaccines were no good, what if they were not recent enough, what if my old girls get it, and even though vaccinated, because they are old, they cannot overcome it.

But what ifs don't cut it.  All I an do is get rid of any threat inside the house.  Do the best I can.  I stripped off my clothes just inside the garage door.  All the clothes I was wearing are in the trash. My old shoes I've worn for years, almost daily, except in the summer, they're gone too because I wore them in the bathroom with her in there.  So are my socks and the pajamas I wore when the woman dropped her off.   All gone and gone with them, any threat they may harbor virus.

I've smothered the bathroom in clorox.  Over do?  Nope, not in my book.

For the next ten days, I'll be watching the cats here like a hawk, like a mother hen, like a tigress on the prowl.  There may be deaths.   Distemper is nothing to scoff about.  And the dodo's who don't vaccinate?  

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Cat Video Sunday---Why Not? Featuring Char, Miss D and Funny Face

Char is the big charcoal gray I trapped at the farm colony.  He stayed at Heartland, where he is on stray hold.  If no one claims him, he will be up for adoption.  Char is awesome!

I visited him today.

Also, when I do laundry, guess who claims dibs on the warm pile fresh out of my now working beautifully dryer?  Miss D of course.

And then there is Funny Face, the rather cantankerous male who comes around often.  I got him fixed years ago, and a couple years ago, took him in to the vet again, to have a bad tooth pulled.  In that little adventure, I had him recuperating in my bathroom.  He planted himself atop the toilet tank and hissed and growled anytime I came near, which forced me for a couple days, while he recovered, to use the "facilities" elsewhere.

He's older now but still comes around now and then to trash my catnip and give me his opinion.

The birds have come in force lately to eat at the feeder and the hummingbirds fight, for their right to the one feeder I have out for them.   They are warriors!

It is Super Bowl Sunday.  I'm not a football fan.  Lots of people are probably watching it somewhere.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Cat Wrangling at its Best

Last night, I went after the big boy once again!  It wasn't raining for a change.

45 minutes into it, a Lebanon woman drove into the location with her unfixed female I'd arranged to have fixed today.   She had had 3 cats show up in her barn.  All three were girls and Barney was the last needing fixed.  She was fixed today and is already back home.

Barney, fixed today. 
I'd set things up a bit differently out there to catch the male this time.  I clothes pinned a white plastic bag to the back of the drop trap, so I could better see who was under it.  There is no light out there.

I also propped up a small flashlight on a crate about 20 feet from the drop trap, to give me a view of who might be under it.  Many of the other cats came and went, eating under it, although they were nervous about it, having been caught that way before.

Just after the Lebanon woman left, I heard noises on the stacks of pallets against one building.   I knew it was going to be him, probably had been sleeping up top of the stack.  He never hesitated one moment when he saw the food under the trap.  He went straight under it, his back to me, and I yanked the cord.

Immediately, he bounced around so violently in that drop trap, he moved it four feet.  It was going up and down too and I thought I might lose him.  I ran over and covered it and held it down at the same time.  I'd caught my thumb on wire at some point and it was bleeding.

Helicopters were going over, time after time, in the dark.  I wondered what was up with that and I hoped they were not looking down with a zoom camera because they would wonder what in the world I was doing.

It's not that easy alone in the dark to manage a drop trap transfer, but I got it done.  I was jumping up and down in circles, there out in the pitch black darkness, alone, arms up in victory!

The moment he went into a live trap from the transfer door of the drop trap, he behaved like a mouse. I wondered, 'Is this cat tame, or a lost boy perhaps?"

I call boys who roam off looking for love and never make it home again "lost boys" and there are plenty of them out there, on their own for x number of months or years, before they somehow end up somewhere that allows them time with love to "remember" that they're tame and all the good things that come with house cat living.

Cats who free roam unfixed and are tame, are a dilemma for those trying to solve overpopulation.  Are they owned, or lost or have they been dumped or left behind?   It should not be the burden of those trying to stop overpopulation to figure this out.  All free roaming cats should have ID, either a collar or chip.  Period.  And no cat should free roam unfixed.  Too many cats already and too many diseases being spread fighting and breeding.

So I asked Heartland when I took the cats over if they'd consider keeping him, if he seemed tame enough to them.  Tonight they said they would, but if he turns out not to be tame enough, they'll call me and I'll go fetch him. That way, if he stays there, he can be on his legal stray hold time, in case someone is missing him.  I doubt they are, because he's been hanging at the colony for some time, but you never know.

The colony cats don't have to put up with him terrorizing them and beating them up and I don't have to feed another cat out there.  So it's all good!

So, after his stray hold is up, and if he's tame enough to stay there, go see one awesome cat!!! He's a dark charcoal smoke and that makes for a gorgeous color combo.  He gets the "smoke" add on color label because he's got the white undercoat.  It's quite dramatic looking. He's also massive and I know there are people who love the fabulous huge boys!

Char, protesting something

It was a wild night, but I love that sort of catch and it was a good catch, because this boy was beating up the other cats.  They were scared of him, for good reason.  His size and attitude, being unfixed in a colony of fixed cats, not a good mix.

I forgot to tell about the kittens.  I had seen them on craigslist, a pair of whites, boy and girl, brother and sister, being given away, owners moving.  So I asked my rescue friend with Animal Rescue and Care Fund, if thye could take them. She said Yes!  Emphatically.

I called the people up and they were very willing to turn them over.  I picked them up after dropping off Char and Barney.  And off to meet ARCF in Wilsonville with those two lovely young kitties.  They'll get a great home but first, they went straight to the vet.  Their new names are Andrew and Alexia.

Alexia up front with her brother, Andrew behind.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Autumn Needs Some Help, and, Another Big Bad Boy

Autumn, who lives in northern California, needs some help.  She has breast cancer, and was disabled to begin with.  She supplements her income working as a caregiver, but now can't do that, as she recovers from a mastectomy.  She feeds a lot of outside cats, besides having her own.  She got those cats all fixed herself, most originating from her own landlady.

She adopted two Albany girls, abandoned cruelly at a complex on Oak street.  Both are muted calicos.  I had gotten them fixed for the people who owned them when I had Poppa funds still and reluctantly returned them, because the people who owned them had no character at all.  The look one of those cats gave me, when I turned her loose back at her "home", filled me with grief.  She didn't want to go back.

Sure enough, a few months later, I received word from a tenant there they'd been left behind.  I was so angry I could have spit nails.  But also relieved.  Because I could now go get them out of that terrible life.  I did.   And Autumn drove all the way up from northern California to meet me in Bandon, to adopt them.

She wanted them to stay together.  And they are together still.

Mary Margaret and Butterscotch
Autumn was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and just had a mastectomy.  She could use help feeding the cats for awhile.    She's started a GofundMe to help.

Here's the link to Autumn's Gofundme page.

If you can help, even a tiny amount, THANK YOU.   I think it is important to help one another as we struggle.  It can be a big mental boost too, to know you're not alone, when you face something like cancer.

In other news, I was out at the farm colony last night, to feed, and didn't see a single cat.  I was disturbed, of course, and shone my light around.  Eyes glared back at me from a woodpile.  But they were not familiar eyes.  I knew immediately  what was going on.

A week ago, when I was out there, as I drove in, I'd heard growling and tiffing in a woodpile.  As I got out of the car, cats exited the area, staring back at me, eyes shining in the beam of my flashlight.  But I caught the eyes of someone I did not readily know.  My mind clicked back through the list of cats I knew of out there.  Nothing came up.   A newcomer.  But was he?

When I first started trapping that colony, the very first cat I saw was a big short hair black.  It was dark and that was the only time I saw him.  I mentioned it to the workers, but they said I'd caught them all and I must have seen the long hair black adult, and was mistaken on his hair length.

I should have trusted myself.  Last night, I saw him in full view.   I'd had this feeling when out there the last weeks, a presence unknown, that had been bothering me.  I'd been checking for ear tips in the dark.

The other cats finally emerged but were hyper alert.  And then out he marched, a HUGE male, and the cats vanished.  He was already growling at them, swatting, swaggering.  That poor little teen girl kitten who hurled herself at me, out of the dark, would have been his first "take" and that's probably how she sustained bite wounds and he is probably the reason little Benji was limping a couple weeks back.

Somebody needs neutered.  Badly.

And somebody is going to get neutered, too.

Guess who.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Surreal Slinko Sundays

Some time ago, I began a facebook page for Slinko, the big male I trapped in a feral colony that had to be removed.  I thought Slinko was a wild boy, until a year later, that is.  I call the page A Home for Slinko.

It was freezing out.  Until that time, Slinko spent his days in the cat yard and garage cat room.  But that day, he came in, and was milling next to super friendly Sam, whom Slinko adores.  When I approached, he turned his back to me and arched it.

This is a universal sign a cat gives---pet me!  So I petted him.

After that, he was all over me.  He's awkward with the other cats.  He wants to play and tumble but they mistake his overtures for aggression.  And he can be a bad boy.

Heartland was not impressed however, when I took him there, to have his second dental a year ago.  He'd began yawning then wincing in pain when he'd close his mouth.   These are mouth and tooth pain signs.   He went to one vet but she pulled only one tooth and his pain continued.  So Heartland helped me out with a second effort in which four more bad teeth were pulled.   I had bragged about how tame he had become, but he acted worse than any big feral male would act there.  

I'd been trying to find Slinko a house boy home.  After that, I realized it will not be.   So I turned Slinko's facebook page, into a weekly art photo of him that I post on Sunday.  I call the works Surreal Slinko Sunday, or SSS for short.  Here are some of my SSS creations.

Today's SSS post I entitled "On Fire"