Sunday, 7 October 2012

Mending Hurt Paws

At the beginning of the week Genevieve was jumping around in the creek when she cut her paw.  Although she was limping she wasn't bleeding and it wasn't until we got home that she laid on her side and gave me her paw to look at.  She had a look on her face that said, 'Mom look at my broken foot.'  Upon examining her paw I could see a very deep slice in the main pad of her foot as well as a chunk missing out of it!  Nothing was bleeding but it looked very painful.

Genevieve's bandaged up footie.

Since then we have been soaking her foot 2-3 times a day in warm water and epsom salts.  We leave the wound open during the day to let it breathe, then when I get home from work and after the soak I spray some of the spray bandage for animals on it to help keep it sealed.  Once I've let that dry, I apply some of Dr. Maggie's healing ointment on it (it's basically polysporin but for animals) and finally apply a gauze pad to the area and use some gauze to bandage it all up.  To stop her from ripping it apart I cover her foot with a stylish sock.  Of course if you let her out of your sight for more than 2 minutes, the sock is in pieces and she's got the bandage in her mouth which is also why we don't bother when we're not home.

Genevieve sporting her most stylish sock.

It's been about 5 days and although she still walks slow, she's finally stopped limping and can go further distances (which is great since we don't let the dogs in the backyard).  Also the gash is definitely healing as it doesn't split open anymore although I think the chunk missing out of her paw pad will take a while to heal.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Kittens Week 7!

Didn't take any photos this week but I did film a video! Cali has just had her first set of vaccinations and we've booked her spay which is very exciting! Next weekend is Thanksgiving here in Canada and the kittens will be 8 weeks old so we'll be bringing them with us when we go to my Dad's for the holiday. 

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Kittens Week 6!

We can't believe how quickly the time has gone!  Hubby and I have purposely been spending less time with the kittens only because they are so adorable that it's impossible not to get attached! Now that they are full of beans though, they have become pretty overwhelming! 

Jumping, climbing, pouncing and bouncing - I don't think these guys ever sleep! Even Cali looks stressed! They are both eating solid food, drinking on their own and using their litterbox which is great! Most importantly though, we have found them good homes! 

An Aunt and Uncle of mine will be taking Pudge. My Dad and Stepmom will be taking Like Her Mama. It is tearing at my heartstrings to know they only have a few weeks left with us but it's comforting to know that they'll be going to good homes and that I'll be able to visit every once in a while!

Now that they are fully weened, we are going to book an appointment to get Cali properly vet checked and vaccinated so she can become a proper part of our family! 

I'm really going to miss these little balls of crazy!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Kittens Week 2!

The kittens eyes have opened! They continue to gain weight and are crawling around a lot more! 

Eyes Open! 

 Like Her Mama has quite the personality! She hates to sit still and is constantly crawling all over Cali, sometimes even batting at her face! We think she's going to be the little trouble maker!

Like Her Mama Getting A Bath!

Pudge on the other hand is as darling as can be. She loves to eat, sleep and cuddle!

Mmmm Mommy your footie tastes yummy!

We are thoroughly enjoying watching them grow and change every week!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Losing Little B

It breaks my heart to write this, but Little B is no longer with us.  We began weighing the kittens Tuesday morning and although he weighed the least of the trio it was only by a few grams.  He was active and vocal and moving around a lot so we just thought we'd keep our eye on him.  As Cali only had three kittens they were also fairly big compared to other newborns from larger litters.  On Wednesday he had lost 3g.  Nothing too drastic but kittens are delicate and in their first week should gain on average about 10g daily.  The other two were well surpassing that.  We took it to mean he was the runt of the litter and began giving him time alone with Cali to feed so the other two couldn't push him away.  I did notice however that he seemed to be having a hard time latching on.

On Thursday he stayed the same in weight so we began bottle feeding him a supplement.  It's hard because Hubby and I both work full-time but we were determined to help Little B out.  Of course the other two continued to gain weight  and get stronger and bigger.  By Friday he was noticeably smaller.  Even with us bottle feeding him continually and trying to give him the time he needed with Cali he dropped 8g over Thursday evening.  My heart sank when I weighed him Friday morning but he was still moving around and crying so I mixed up fresh formula and fed him twice before I left.  Hubby was working the afternoon shift and fed him twice before he went to work as well.

When I came home from work Friday evening Little B had passed away.  I held him in my arms and cried, frustrated that we couldn't help him.  I was angry.  Angry that Cali had been left to wander the neighbourhood unfixed and angry that for at least 4 weeks before she came in to our lives she had gone hungry and pregnant.  I had felt all of this had been meant to be so why had we lost one of those precious kittens?  And after the anger came the What Ifs.  What if I hadn't brought Cali inside that first night?  What if I had started feeding him the minute I noticed his weight wasn't increasing?  It's hard to not let the anger and the What Ifs overcome you.

In the end I try to push these thoughts from my head and instead believe it was for the best.  Something had been wrong with him and it was best that he didn't suffer any longer than he had to.  I know animals have multiple babies because of this and so the chance of their species' survival is higher but it doesn't make the pain I feel in my heart any less profound.  And I try to remind myself that Cali and her two kittens are strong, healthy and still need our love and support to keep them that way.

Before taking Little B from Cali I let her sniff him.  She made a little meow and nuzzled his cheek and then I wrapped him in a blanket and took him away.  When Hubby came home from work he brought a box he had made to put Little B in.  He had even made a nice label on it that said L'il B on it (the box wasn't that big so he'd shortened the name to make it fit).  Then we said our goodbyes and laid him to rest down the side of our house.  And cried.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Kittens Week 1

Cali has 3 beautiful kittens!

We tell them apart by their markings.
One is getting beautiful Calico colouring so we call her Like Her Mama.
The second is roly-poly and mostly black with a little white near her neck and lower stomach.  
This one we call Pudge.
The third is all black.  We call him Little B as he is the smallest of the three.

We don't want to give them real names because they won't be staying with us.

They are all beautiful and doing well!  

Cali is being an excellent mother!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The Kittens Are Here!

Well we certainly underestimated Cali's due date!  Hubby and I had thought by her size that kittens would be coming around the beginning of September so we were shocked when she delivered so early!

Our area got a lot of rain last week so we started leaving the bottom of our garage door up just a little bit so Cali could run in and out as she pleased.  At night we were closing it completely to keep her safe.  We didn't think the garage would be suitable when she had the kittens as we couldn't control the temperature and it's windowless so we decided we would put her in the office when the time came.  That way she was safe but we could keep the door shut and her safely away from our other pets.  At this point we're pretty convinced that she isn't carrying anything but we'd rather be safe than sorry.

Friday night the skies were finally clearing up and Cali was enjoying our front porch when Hubby and I left to go out for dinner and a movie.  He asked me if we should close her up in the garage for the night but it was still pretty early and I knew she'd be antsy to get some fresh air so I said to leave it open and we'd put her in the garage when we got home.  She hadn't left our house in 3 weeks so I wasn't concerned.

During the movie, we got another round of thunderstorms and when we came home, Cali wasn't in the garage.  We went around the neighbourhood looking for her but it was late and pouring rain so we thought she'd taken shelter somewhere and would come back in the morning.  Well it rained all day Saturday and even though we went looking for her, called her, left the garage opened a bit with soft food for her and kept checking to see if she had shown up, she didn't.  I was having panic attacks about the awful things that could have happened to her so to keep my mind off it, I began cleaning and organizing the office and upstairs closets.  The office always becomes my junk room - when I can't figure out where to put something it gets tossed in there.

By the end of the weekend I was finished my cleaning and there was still no sign of Cali.  After dinner Sunday night I told Hubby I wanted to take a drive around the neighbourhood to make sure she wasn't on the side of the road somewhere.  I was terrified to do it, but also wanted the peace of mind.  We were just about to get in the truck when up walks Cali, noticeably thinner.  She started rubbing up against our legs and purring like crazy so we led her in to the garage so she could have some food and water.

Then we debated on what to do.  The first thing we thought was - it's too early for her to have the kittens and if she did have them why haven't we been able to find them?  The next thing was that she didn't look like she'd given birth and her nipples looked normal.  Also she hadn't gotten big, just a little tubby which could have easily been explained by the proper meals she'd been getting.  And since she'd been gone for 48 hours it was possible if she didn't eat and had been roaming around she could have lost the weight easily.  Although it's rare she could have also had a false pregnancy or a miscarriage.

At first we didn't force her to stay but after about 4 hours of her sitting outside our house we decided to bring her in to the office.  We didn't think she would have left the kittens for so long if she'd had any and it was looking more and more like she hadn't.  We were thinking we should take advantage of the fact that she wasn't pregnant, bring her somewhere safe and call the vet to book her vaccinations and spay before she did end up pregnant.  We were both so glad to have her back and she was happy to be indoors.  She snuggled up to me on the bed, purring and fell asleep.

Then today after work, some neighbours across the street popped over to our house to tell us they had crying kittens in their backyard!  Hubby had previously told them about Cali and how we thought she was pregnant.  We ran upstairs and grabbed Cali, then brought her to their daughter's playhouse in their backyard where 3 beautiful kittens were squeaking!  I gently laid Cali beside them and they all snuggled in, eager to get the meal they'd missed in the last day while she purred away.  I have never felt so bad in my entire life but am so grateful that everything worked itself out.  After leaving her there for about an hour we decided the safest thing to do would be to bring them all back to our office.  Our neighbour lent us some gloves and we ran back home and got a large cardboard box to put everyone in.  We were nervous about touching the kittens but Cali has been great with us.  She watches what we do, but seems to know that we're there to help them and her.  She had a small litter that we are so grateful for as it means there will be less homes to find for them and that hopefully they will all be healthy and strong.

Hubby has never really believed in fate like I do but tonight he told me this has made him believe that everything happens for a reason.  I was meant to find Cali in those bushes that day so that she could find a good home and so that she got the nourishment she needed while she was pregnant.  He was meant to tell those neighbours in passing that she was pregnant so they knew who to come to when they found the kittens.  And although it seems less important than the miracle of birth I had that office ready at just the right moment to become a safe haven for a cat and her babies.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

On Cats, Kittens & Responsibility

So much has happened since I last blogged about the little stray cat who we now call Cali.  After that day we didn't see her for almost a week.  I continued to change her water every morning and night but the food went untouched day after day.  I was worried about her but Hubby reminded me that she was a stray and probably did a lot of roaming around.  He also said it was likely she had other homes she visited who fed her and maybe even gave her shelter like we did.

The more I thought about her the more distressed I was getting.  My area of the city is heavily populated and we don't see many strays hanging around although our two cats Charlie and Indie came from a litter born to a stray cat in my friend's backyard.  Being the animal lover I am I couldn't sit by and do nothing, it just didn't seem right.  Hubby and I started talking about building her an outdoor shelter down the side of her house and as my birthday is coming up at the end of the month I told him the only thing I wanted was to have her fixed and vaccinated so I knew she had some protection while living outdoors.  We asked friends and family to spread the word about this poor little kitty but we seem to know a lot of dog people or people who already live in a multiple cat household.  We didn't even want to think about what would happen in winter.

When Cali was waiting for me when I came home from work one afternoon I was overjoyed to see her!  It brought me such relief to know she was safe - although I sassed her through snuggles about leaving us for so long!  To entice her to stay around I started feeding her soft food every morning before work.  I have yet to meet a cat who can resist the sweet temptation of canned food.  At night we would let her stay in the garage and when I took the dogs out in the morning she would saunter out and hide in my garden.

Hubby agreed we could look in to getting her vaccinated in fixed but we both agreed we should check with some neighbours and make sure she didn't belong to anyone.  We were convinced she wasn't as we'd seen her outdoors in all kinds of weather and at all hours of the night but sure enough one neighbour told me she belonged to the house at the end of our street.  Hubby and I weren't sure how to react to this news.  Clearly she wasn't getting the nourishment, affection or attention she needed otherwise what was she doing being an outside kitty and coming to us for proper meals?  I asked the neighbour who lived beside the woman to find out more details for me.  I didn't want to go over there myself as my emotions can frequently get the best of me and I didn't want to start a neighbourhood rivalry.

A few days later I ran in to my neighbour again who said she had talked to the woman at the end of the road.  Her daughter had brought home the cat who was to be euthanized at a shelter.  She wanted to save the cat but neither of them wanted to take responsibility for her so they put her on the streets, which is where I'm sure she came from in the beginning.  She wasn't fixed or vaccinated (which I felt was the least they could have done for her) but was very sweet and loving (well obviously). We left our conversation at that and Hubby and I were once again to ponder Cali's fate.

Unfortunately calling Animal Control wasn't an option as it was inevitable Cali would be put down.  All local shelters and our humane society are full and if we brought her to one she would either be put down or just turned away and we didn't want to see that happen either.  And Cali was getting bigger.  At first we thought it was because she was getting proper meals but she was growing at an alarming rate and her nipples were pink and swollen.

I have been on vacation this week and spent a lot of time with Cali.  She never leaves our property.  At night she sleeps in a box full of blankets in our garage and during the day she hangs out at the front of our house or in our dense gardens in the back.  We've been keeping her food and water in the backyard under our patio set with the umbrella up for extra shade.  We prefer her in the backyard during the day because we don't have to worry about traffic.

This past Thursday Hubby came home and told me he had been doing a lot of thinking.  He wanted to help Cali raise her kittens, find them good homes and then we would have her vaccinated, spayed and keep her.  He said he'd fallen in love with her just as I had and that our home was the best place for her.  I couldn't agree more.  I had him stop by the woman's house at the end of the street and tell her.  I didn't think she would care but I also didn't want it to become an issue in the future.  Plus if Cali ever got out and went back to her place we wanted her on our side.  She said she was glad someone was willing to look after her and that was about it.  The important thing though is that Cali will now have a loving home and somewhere safe to raise her kittens.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Cat Days of Summer

Yesterday set a record for being the hottest day of the year in our area, reaching over 45C.  I felt bad bringing the dogs around the block after work but they had to go outside to do their business!

We were walking back through our subdivision when Murray started wagging his tail and trying to dive in to the hedges.  I saw a flash of little green eyes and knew he had found the little stray cat we see hanging around the neighbourhood occasionally.

Taking pity on the poor thing, I brought the dogs home, fed them dinner and then ran outside with a container of cat food and one with icy cold water.  When I found her in the bushes however, I knew something wasn't right.  Not only was she panting, she seemed unresponsive and couldn't keep her focus on me.  I put down the dishes and gently picked her up.  She seemed hesitant but didn't have the energy to fight me so I carried her back to the house.

Since she's a stray I couldn't bring her inside in case she was carrying a disease that could easily spread to our pets but our garage was significantly cooler than being out in the heat so I shut her in there.  I brought down a spare fan we weren't using and turned it on to keep the air moving.  Then I brought her more food and water.  I didn't have an ice pack so I brought down a frozen pack of freezies wrapped in a dishtowel and set her on it.  She didn't even budge.  I tried to get her to drink some water but she wouldn't, so I resorted to syringing it down her mouth.  I also soaked her with cold water from a spray bottle I keep around for my bird.  I didn't know if what I was doing was right but I didn't have time to go browsing the internet in fear that I might lose her and figured anything would be better than just leaving her in that hedge.

After about an hour she started coming around.  This is about the time Hubby came home from work and agreed we could keep her in the garage overnight, then let her go in the morning.  The first thing she did was drink half of the water in the bowl I had out and then she finished off the food!  The poor thing was thirsty, starving and skin and bones.  However she didn't seem infested with fleas or mites and also didn't have any wounds or anything to be concerned about.  That being said we still made sure to wash our hands and change clothes before going back in the house.

I continued to fill up her food and water dish throughout the evening and spent some time with her.  She seemed to realize we were there to help and even hopped in my lap purring.  When I took the dogs out before bedtime we let her choose whether or not she wanted to leave the garage.  She initially left but hung around our front door so we ended up putting her back inside for the night like we had originally planned.  With the humidity they had also been calling for thunderstorms and I didn't think I'd be able to sleep knowing she was out in that.

I let her out this morning and she was happy to be outdoors again although she spent all day hanging around our front yard.  We've put food and water down the side of our house for her so we know she's getting the nourishment she needs and are hoping to find a home for her as she is a beautiful and sweet little thing.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Introducing Sir Sampson McSqueakerbox

3 weeks ago we added Sir Sampson to our family.  Phinni has been an amazing Guinea Pig but I knew he was lonely.  Every website and book made it clear that guinea pigs should always have a friend but it was convincing my husband that I was worried about.  I brought it up one night and surprisingly Hubby said he had already been looking!  I immediately set to work calling some places and checking ads online and the next day we came home with Sammi!

Of course Phinni had to show Sammi he was the boss so there was some rumble-strutting and mounting but overall it went fairly well.  I introduced them in a neutral spot and gave them each a bath so they would smell the same.  I cleaned out their cage, washed all plastic toys and took out anything I couldn't wash so when I placed them in there Phinni wouldn't feel like Sammi was in his territory.  Phinni was also a little bossy with the food at first so I put a second small litterbox at the opposite end of the cage with an extra water and food dish and hay.  We knew it would all work out though, whenever I took Sammi out of the cage, Phinni would start wheeking for him!

And now they're best buds!  Sammi follows Phinni everywhere he goes.  You will hear them making their little noises in the cage or calling to one another if the other finds something exciting!  Sammi is pretty quiet still but coming out of his shell, he wheeked for veggies for the first time the other day!  We're pretty excited, especially that Phinni seems very happy now that he has a little friend.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Introducing Sir Phinneus Fluffytocks

Hubby and I talked about getting another hamster.  I think they are adorable and cute and initially we thought when we found the right one we would bring it home.  But then I stumbled upon this adorable little guinea pig.  Hubby and I had a talk about the pros and cons of getting a guinea pig instead.  It ended up the pros were a lot more than the cons.  Of course a guinea pig needs more attention and more space but when it came down to it I liked the idea of having an animal that wasn't nocturnal (there were many nights I wouldn't see one of our hamsters at all because they wouldn't be up before we went to bed), one that had a longer lifespan (as I felt I would just be getting to know my hammy and they were taken away from us) and also an animal I had researched, watched countless adorable videos on but had never owned myself.

A few days later I brought home Mr. Fluffytocks.  He was this giant ball of adorable floofiness that I couldn't ignore!  At first he was very squeamish which immediately had me thinking 'Oh no I'm going to have to go through socializing and taming all over again' but within minutes he had stopped frantically squealing and was sitting in my lap while I rubbed his back making soft wheeking noises.  My husband laughed and made a comment about me really having a difficult time with this one.  I'm known as Dr. Dolittle or the Animal Lady around here.  Animals seem to gravitate to me wherever I go and know I'm not a threat.

Now it's been a week and what a turn in this little cutie!  He still gets nervous around me, but he happily lets me cuddle him (once I've caught him that is!).  I haven't gotten him to eat out of my hands but he gets pretty excited about the fresh greens I've been giving him.

The most exciting was when I set up a pen for him to play in, in the rabbit room.  He likes the rabbits, especially Ollie, who stares at him through his cage bars.  Phinni frequently calls to him which brings Ollie running.  Although Phinni is a lone guinea pig he has the bunnies to keep him company, although I don't want to put them in the same pen.

Anyways at first Phinni was a little nervous and hid behind his litterbox (which he is very good at using) until he saw the basket of hay I had put out for him.  Before I knew it he was wheeking and burrowing his way through the hay basket, munching and squeaking all at once in excitement.  About a half hour later he started exploring and then suddenly, a popcorn!  His first after being brought home!  I guess he realized how much space he had because then he was popcorning and bouncing around like a crazypants, chattering away.  And then he had made himself a little piggy run and began running laps!  So as you can see we are quite smitten with the little cutie!

Here is a video of him being silly in his pen!  Make sure you listen to it with the sound up, it's hilarious!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Farewell Lucy

It is with a heavy heart that I write this and say goodbye to our Syrian Hamster Lucy.  Lucy joined the Zoo in January of 2010 when I stumbled upon her while shopping and instantly fell in love with her cute mannerisms and look.  She was extremely skittish at first but quickly warmed up to me and my husband.  She was always a late sleeper and many nights we wouldn't see her at all.  Occasionally I would wake up in the middle of the night and hear her running miles on her wheel.  She never got used to her hamster ball - whenever we put her in it, she preferred to take a nap or groom herself instead of exploring.  Lucy was a little pokey, never trying to escape the homemade cage we built her and never curious to check out the surroundings beyond her home.  She contentedly cuddled in the crook of our arms, our lap or just in the palm of our hand while we pet and kissed her.  She was also an amazing model for many of my animal photography feats as I would put her where I wanted and she would wait patiently for me to take the shot.  In the last few months we knew her life was coming to an end - she was sleeping more - sometimes to the point where I was waking her up to make sure she was still with us.  She rarely went on her wheel and was eating less and less.  Finally at just over 2 years of age, the time came when Lucy was ready to peacefully go to the Rainbow Bridge.  She is joining our first hammy Calvin.  We will miss her dearly but are very grateful that she passed on so calmly.  We gave her the best hammy life we could on this Earth and now wish her nothing but everlasting peace and happiness wherever her soul has taken her. <3