Kitty Zen

Moments sharp, sweet and soft

A Fishtown Winter – One more Stray Found Cat (and a dog too!) pt 1

Posted by smallspark on February 24, 2009

Sick Kitty warming up

Sick Kitty warming up

As usual in Fishtown it’s stray kitty time. One found me last week and is currently holed up in my bathroom. I only took some quick snaps and they don’t show him at his best but isn’t he an absolute cutey! I haven’t come up with a name yet – the closest I have come is “Magical Forest Creature.”  His coloring and long fur,  and tiny tiny size has just charmed me. He looks like he’s from another world.

Not sure if he’s staying or going, but please let me know if you want to adopt him.

I checked the lost cat postings on every site I know of and found nothing. I posted a found ad on craigslist and on  So far, I haven’t found  the owners. But soon I’ll have posters out, and maybe they will turn up. Or maybe not.

First things first – I talked to Laura at FlatironWildcats  – one of the people who got me straw for my winter cat shelters  – and made an appointment at the feral/stray cat clinic at the PSPCA on Saturday for neutering, flv/fiv testing, rabies and felv vaccinations. I highly recommend them!

Day 1 (wed): So MFC or “Mags” came to my attention at 3 AM by his long, drawn out cries. I could hear him way before I could see him. They were the kind of cries you hate to hear from anything or anyone – total pure terror. I grabbed a bowl of food and ran outside. As soon as I got outside, he rounded the corned across the street and kept on running as fast as he could go – and that was pretty fast! I started shaking the cat food and saying hey Hey! c’mere c’mere and that got his attention. He did a 180 and ran full tilt, still wailing, over to me and my bowl of food.  He started gobbling and didn’t seem to care if I petted him or not so, after a minute of panic – what on earth will I do with him?! – I decided I’d figure it out as I went along and picked him up with the bowl of food.  He didn’t even struggle, and in we went.

All my cats came over and wanted to do their sniff thing but that’s a big no-no with a strange animal so we bypassed the hulabaloo and went right to the bathroom – one of the only enclosed spaces that would work. I got him food and water and and then started poking around my house for a box I could use for litter. It’s not a large bathroom, and it’s my only one, so it’s going to be interesting to have a cat there. That box ended up in my shower stall and then it was time to find him bedding.  Mags didn’t care, and wasn’t bothered by my coming or going; he was busy eating.

I grabbed a kitty bed heating pad and wrapped it in a towel, and put it near the window. Then I opened the window a bit because after Mags finished eating some food, he was starting to freak out a bit about being inside, with new smells and with other cat smells around him.   I can’t imagine the scents of my cats would have been comforting. Some petting of him had revealed fight scars – and by the amount of scarring, he hadn’t fared well. He didn’t smell that great when he got here, so neither did the bathroom. It quickly started smelling like Mags.  The fresh air calmed him down and aired out the place.

Although I have cats, they were all neutered quickly. I had no idea that Mags was unnuetered and scenting his area as his territory.  I expected him to relax and cuddle, as my other cats did, especially after his horrific evening, but he didn’t. He started kneading my tummy with his paws, which my cats do as well. No problem we’re just getting to know each other. I had just fed him and saved him from whatever freaked him out so that self-comforting move wasn’t unexpected. What I didn’t expect was the FOUR paw knead and the endless circles. To my mind, he couldn’t seem to get comfortable or feel balanced. This was the very weirdest kneading ever! I just let him go on circling- totally not understanding.

Comprehension dawned when i noticed my t-shirt was damp. ew and oops. Won’t miss that move again. ever. So apparently, he likes me and I’ve been christened. ok! Explains why all my cats avoided me afterward. lol.  Feliway and Rescue Remedy were immediately brought into the room and it seems to calm him down.

Mags hasn’t done it since then. I’m hopeful that it was because of extreme stress.  If I can keep him stress-less until he gets neutered, I feel more comfortable that it will  not become a habit.  From what I read neutering solves 87% of all spraying issues unless they are habitual, and sometimes even then.

Mags - Day 1

Mags - Day 1

Day 2 (thurs) : It was obvious Mags was once a housecat. He just knew the drill with no prompting. It was also obvious he was not well. Within a day of arriving at my house, his eye began to swell, it seemed like he had a UTI, and the poor thing was sneezing and snorting to clear his nose. I don’t think he slept, just dozed.  He was friendly, and welcoming to me but he wasn’t interested in playing or cuddling or even being petted much. All he really wanted was food, and water, and dim light. Bright lights seemed to bother him – the dark did as well. Until I put a nightlight in the bathroom, he cried.

He didn’t eat, he kept on gobbling! And the lessons for me on how to take care of a sick cat kept coming – lol.  I fed him every couple of hours, some dry some wet – unkowingly creating the pefect internal storm. Apparently Hills Science Diet brand dry and Wellness brand wet is rich food, and rich food and that – plus as much water as he could get –  into an empty empty tummy will take awhile to pass through but when it does, it really does – oh my!

Well, I didn’t want that again, so a quick google search I found that boiled chicken is the way to go for poor sensitive tummy’s.  MUCH better, as it turns out. And it must have helped settle him down because when I came in a couple of time to check on him after feeding that cat was so deeply asleep he didn’t even hear me come in.  Not a blink or a whisker twitch. That cat was OUT. This was most of day 2. Eat to deep sleep.

Day 3 (fri): Kitty’s Friday was a repeat of day 2 with a little less sleeping and a little more sitting, looking out the window. He’s calm and ok with being inside and warm.  His eye is a problem and it looks like it hurt, so I kept wiping it, and twice wrapped him in towels and rinsed his eye with saline. He didn’t like that – ya think?!-  but it seemed to make his eye better, if only for a short while.  He just wants to be quiet and his new diet is working for him. Good.  Phew.

Buddy is his name-o!

Buddy is his name-o!

And just to make my busy days, busier – I guess it’s stray week for me. A nice dog whose real name is Buddy, which coincidentally was what I was calling him.  He must have been very confused on why I didn’t just take him home if I knew his name. Buddy was so cold and lost he was shaking, poor thing.  He didn’t have a collar, so a nice passing bicicylist  lent me a cord and then helped me get him home.  I even brought him inside to get warm which resulted in a lot of kitty puffy tails and arched backs but fortunately for all of us, the dog was not interested in cats at all.

He is a big dog but the sweetest sweetest thing and very well trained to boot.  Understood sit, stay and give me your paw. Endless paw shaking – how do you do? Truly a love.  Buddy thought he was a lap dog and just wanted to curl up next to me or on me on the couch.  I love dogs.  They just plop down and breathe on you.  My neighbot Kristen lent me a collar so we could go for walks more safely.  I met a lot of my neighbors on Friday! I love dogs for that too.  They just make everyone more social and pleasant.  Buddy was happy to be taken care of but whining go home and we walked around the neighborhood a couple of different times to try to find them. And at the end of the day, we found them – for me, regretfully –  I now miss the big guy!  But it was really nice to know he was home and safe and loved.

The cats were very glad once they came out of hiding and realized he was gone;  watching kitty’s peeking around corners and slowly come out of hiding is very cute. Surprisingly, during all of this, Callie was the bravest cat in the house – she just made sure she was out of reach of him but let herself be seen.

Day 4 (sat): Time to get the kitty fixed! Or not, as it turns out.I took a cab to PSPCA, and found the feral cat clinic. Ohmygod. Mahem. They had 35 cats there that day, I found out later. I walked in and not really surprisingly, got upset.  As a rule, I avoid shelters and I even avoid pet stores.  Animals in cages, especially those whose life is threatened by space constraints, completely and totally horrify me because I can’t help them, nor take them all and have to leave them to their fate.  This location – the pspca – had all of the above plus about 40 people in a small space with cats being operated on.  Unbelieveably, there were Roosters, yes Roosters, fighting roosters awaiting a trial,  crowing crowing crowing in the background.  wow. It was awful (to me) and it hits you like a brick when you walk in. (and then, later, when I came back, it wasn’t so awful, and I was able to see the positive things.) So I gulped, and filled my paperwork,  knowing I was doing the right thing,  and left kitty there to wait his turn to get looked at. He was #28.  I didn’t go far – just around the corner and worked on my computer for awhile. I didn’t stay away long, either. After about an hour I was bored/unable to concentrate so I came back to see how things were going.

Someone said why don’t you stick around and started me on doing the release and rabies certificate paperwork. That’s fine, I liked having something useful to do, rather than get upset watching. I put my back to all the animals lying on the tables and all the cages, got busy and just started listening to all the different people talk, and all that was going on. It was definitely still mayhem, but the people there are good at what they do and have a really direct sense of humor too.  I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at some of the jokes and commentary.  How amazing their attitude is. I was glad I came back. Seeing and meeting all these people who work so hard for all these animals (plus being around to help my kitty out when he latched himself to the cage) helped calm me down about being in  a shelter environment with trapped animals.  I could see how much people were trying to make it be about life – not death. I even think I would like to go back and help, once my scooter is useable. I think.

Mags turn!  I knew kitty was sick but didn’t realized he was quite as sick as he is. I think the vet was pissed at me until she realized the cat had only been with me for 3 days and I hadn’t created that situation. She calmed down quickly but recomended waiting for his surgery until he got better.  ( I’m glad she got pissed. Kitty’s not being treated well need other people to be pissed. This helps protect them.) They did test him for felv/fiv and he’s negative which is a huge, huge relief. So it’s antibiotics and an eye cream for Mags and he’ll be all better soon! Then I’ll get to meet the real Mags.

Day 6 (Mon): It’s Monday as I write this and I’m beginning to see a little more bounce to kitty’s step.

Late Evening update:  It’s working! In fact – kitty now has his first toy and is playing happily -really happily – at chase the ever-circling-sometimes-hiding mouse.



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