Girls, can’t we just all get along?

I’m having problems with the girls. I have never had problems with introducing new cats into multi-cat households…but it’s been almost two weeks and Tessie is unrelenting.

Like this morning. Tessie was stalking her. I even intervened a few times, but then I had to go to work. Sure enough, my husband sent me this email: After you left, Tessie attacked the Angel on the bed. She was hit violently 4 times on the head, she SCREAMED and then bolted away and I couldn’t find her.

It doesn’t help that Angel definitely a rescue. She’s very scared and hides and doesn’t have the confidence to assert herself at all. Tessie isn’t making it easier, either. She keeps on attacking her like this!

It also doesn’t help that she has a cold and is on Clavamox. She doesn’t like to have her claws trimmed or take any medicine and she fights like a holy terror when I try. She is the strongest cat I’ve ever known! She’s also wiry and slippery. I have a few wounds where she’s gotten me with her claws. I actually had to get one of those kitty straight jackets – the vet recommended it!

But once you give her the medicine and let her out of the bag, and comb her, she purrs and rubs and kneads and is just happy and loving. She also sleeps all night in the bed cuddled up with me. When you wake up and start petting her in the morning, she purrs and rubs and kneads…and she eats well.

There’s still some adjusting to be done. Tuesday I came home and she was up on the kitchen counter, and she’d pooped up there – I think she was afraid to jump down where the big girls were…no cat goes on a smooth surface like a marble countertop unless they don’t have a choice.

Yesterday I discovered that someone pooped in the cat tent that used to be Gun-Hee’s. I think that’s Angel too – Kylie plays a game where she waits outside the bathroom when someone’s in the litter box and pounces on them as they come out. She means nothing by it, it’s just her idea of a practical joke and she does it to every one. But I think it really spooked poor Angel and she’s afraid to go in there now, and the tent is safe and secure. No harm done; everything in the cat tent is washable. But it’s worrying.

I’ve ordered a bunch of Feliway refills – I have two of the plug-ins but since everyone was getting along I stopped using them when I ran out of refills and never bothered to get more. I don’t think I can wait for the order to come in the mail, though, so I’m going to Petco after work to get some to use now.

She’s so little and sweet though. But she’s a rescue, she’s may never be the swaggering self-confident cat that Gun-Hee was…although there are moments when her Aby personality shine through. She loves to play in the bathtub while I’m getting ready for work, and she loves to play with anything that moves. She’s very smart and very observent, too – she sees little reflections moving on the ceiling that other cats don’t notice.

Tessie really needs to get over this. That poor little girl – when she’s like she was this morning you can see how great a kitty she is and then Tessie pulls this and just undoes all the progress I’ve made with her. And it’s just Tess, too…apart from her litter box prank, Kylie’s been a sweetheart and has even licked Angel on the top of her head.

This is a new challenge for me. I’ve never had this problem before.

This is the dynamic I’m talking about…

Gun-Hee a Day/295 of 366

Gun-Hee, Kylie and me on the sofa…

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Even when he was sick, Gun-Hee would camp out and wait for treats.

Homer the Blind Cat

Homer the brave blind cat.

Homer’s backstory.

Since knowing Angel only a week and a half, I can appreciate the courage of this little cat. Also the strength and determination – Angel is the strongest little cat I’ve ever known. In fact, I’ve had to buy a Klaw Kontrol bag for her so I can give her her medications.

Let’s hear it for the vision-impaired kittehs!

Angel’s First Trip to the Vet

Angel went to the vet on Saturday because she was sneezing. I took a few photos while we were there.

I got lucky with this one.

Exploring the vet’s office…

Talking to me. I swear, Abys talk more than any Siamese I’ve ever known!

Close-up of her bad eye.

I think this is just an adorable pose. You can see she’s every inch an Abyssinian!

Sitting pretty…

As I am typing this, Angel is playing with a small piece of cheese I gave her. Most cats would recognise the cheese as a treat and eat it. Not Angel! She’s playing with it. It’s hilarious.

Rusty is a “long term FIP survivor”

I meant to post this last month, but somehow it got missed. Rusty, Gun-Hee’s brother, made it to his second birthday!

Woohoo!!! As of today, Rusty is considered a “long term FIP survivor” (according to FIP research studies by the Winn Feline Foundation). He has survived past the 3 month mark since signs of FIP (primarily the widening of the abdomen due to fluid) were first noticed on June 28.

It looks like all of the abdominal fluid has dissipated, although I think he still has some fluid in the chest cavity which causes him to cough up mucous on a daily basis. Hopefully that will all be gone soon too.

Rusty still needs some muscle and weight put back on him, but he continues to enjoy time hanging out with the other cats in the house and in our secured backyard. He can still jump up onto the counter when he smells something good cooking, and he can still put the chase to another cat, or squirrel, when so inclined 🙂

For his celebration dinner he enjoyed wild Pacific red salmon with organic brown and wild rice and organic cauliflower, and some T-Bone steak as an added treat, which he especially liked! One of the attached pictures was just taken of Rusty lounging on his new couch I just got for him yesterday. The outdoor photo was taken on September 14.

Of course, our goal is for Rusty to be a “really, really, really long term survivor” and we are working hard to get that miracle. The memory of his brother Gun-Hee, who went to the Rainbow Bridge on June 28 because of FIP, motivates us to beat this!

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Even when he was feeling bad, Gun-Hee still managed to look handsome and composed.

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Gun-Hee was always a wonderful subject for photos.

Angel Art

I just made my first art with Angel. I call this one “Timid Angel.”

Gun-Hees a Day/280 to 291 of 366

Between a trip to California and a nasty cold, I’ve missed doing the Gun-Hee a Day.

Here is what was missed:

Oct 9:

Gun-Hee loved Patrick.
Oct 10:

Gun-Hee on one of his first walks outside.
Oct 11:

Gun-Hee and Patrick again.
Oct 12:

Gun-Hee always had to monitor what we were doing.
Oct 13:

Gun-Hee and Kylie always had a special bond.
Oct 14:

When Gun-Hee was sick, he camped out on this blanket behind the sofa.
Oct 15:

I don’t know why he picked that as his spot, but he seemed very fond of it.
Oct 16:

Here he is making his trademark ball.
Oct 17:

Sometimes Kylie would keep him company.
Oct 18:

Kylie doesn’t look all that comfortable, but she puts up with it for Gun-Hee.
Oct 19:

Close-up of Gun-Hee on his blanket.

Angel’s First Week in Boston

I picked up Angel a week ago today, Friday, 10 October. and I drove to Pleasanton to meet Angel’s foster mom, Karen, and her cats. We got there at 7pm and Karen welcomed us into her home. First we met Karen’s resident cats, including her two Abys Megan (15 year old Ruddy Aby) and Cody (4 year old Ruddy Aby. Then we went upstairs to meet Angel and Tino, who were quarantined in one bedroom. Tino was a lover! We had to put him into the closet for a while as he wouldn’t let us give Angel any attention. We also saw Buffy, another Fawn Aby rescue and her two seven-week-old kittens Rusty (Red) and Lucy (Fawn). They were quarantined in the bathroom because of ringworm, but the kittens were so cute! And Buffy was so protective of them; when she saw us peeking over the “fence” into the bathroom, she’d glower at us and stand infront of her kittens. Karen also had another momma Fawn in another room who had one-week-old kittens, but we didn’t get to see her. We spent two hours there, looking at and playing with all the cats.

Finally we bundled Angel into the carrier I bought for her, made by PETote. I can honestly say that this is the best cat carrier I’ve ever used. We buckled her into the backseat and drove to my mom’s house. Angel talked during the entire trip.

Saturday, Angel explored my mom’s house, climbing up to the top of the cat tree and walking along the top of the sliding glass doors. I will post photos when I get a chance. I also managed to clip her claws with minimal bloodshed (she tried to launch off my solar plexus before I’d gotten to her back feet, so I got one good gouge from her).

On Sunday we flew back to Boston. The flight left at 2:30 so we were planning on leaving the house at 1, and I was planning to give Angel her Benedryl at 12:30. She did not want to take her Benedryl at 12:30 or any other time, and, let me tell you, Abys are strong. They’re also wiry and slippery. It took both my mom and I a few tries to get the half-pill a) in her mouth and b) down her throat – we managed a) about six times before we managed to achieve b), and I got another wicked gouge on the palm of my left hand. While clipped claws are less sharp than unclipped claws, they are still claws and, just as you can get a bad cut from a plastic butter knife (trust me on this one), they can do a bit of damage if they hit you just so. She also wailed like a banshee til my ears rang. Siamese have gotten a bad rap; I have never heard a Siamese howl the way Angel did when I was trying to give her her pill. Mom’s boycats, all twice her size, looked nervous, as males tend to do when confronted with a furious, screaming female. Of course, once she finally swallowed the pill, she was fine.

The Benedryl had absolutely no effect on her, which I’ll expand on later.

We went to the airport, Angel yelling the whole time that she was being kidnapped and OMG stranger danger! Seriously, Abys > Siamese in the screaming department. I went through security, which was fun; you have to take pets out of their carriers to go through the metal detector. At least she didn’t squirm out of my hands or anything dramatic like that…but she yelled in the waiting area, she yelled as I was boarding, and she yelled as I walked through the plane to my seat. I felt like I was running some sort of gauntlet, but at the same time, I felt like I was finally getting revenge for all those screaming babies and little kids kicking the backs of my seats all these years. Angel continued to yell during takeoff, but then quieted down and remained quiet until we started the landing approach in Denver, when she started yelling again.

She continued to yell as I got off the plane, and as I walked to the next gate. I had a little folding box and some litter so I set up on the changing table to see if she needed to go to the bathroom. She didn’t seem to, but she did like being out of the bag for a little bit. All too soon I had to put her back inside and when I did, the yelling started back up. She wasn’t so bad getting on in Sacto, but getting off and back on in Denver really upset her. She was YELLING (She is louder than any Siamese I’ve ever known when she wants to be), and trying to force her way out of the bag (she’s 7.5lbs and all muscle; I think she’s stronger than I am).

She was quiet under the seat while we were actually in flight, but not in the waiting area. Worse, all the other people waiting to board could hear her, and I was getting a lot of “Oh god, please don’t sit next to me” looks.

If there was ever a time I needed to get on board and get settled, this was it. So I went up and politely explained that I had this yelling, squirming cat who would quiet down as soon as she was back under the seat, so I was requesting the preboarding.

And the flight attendent told me I “couldn’t preboard.” Not because Angel was a cat and not a child, but because “I was in an aisle seat.”

WTF? I asked what difference that made, and didn’t get a very good response, other than they wanted to seat the window seats first. I asked what would happen if she were an infant and I was sitting in the aisle seat, and didn’t get an answer at all. While I waited for my group to board (we were Group 4 – out of 4!) Angel was telling everyone in earshot that she was being kidnapped and to call the FBI. Whee, fun.

When I finally got onto the plane and was making my way up the aisle to my seat, Angel decided to get herself tangled up in her harness and the inside of the carrier. As marvelous as it is, this carrier does have a design flaw; there’s an inside pocket and it’s only attached at top and bottom. The sides are open and an arm – or a cat – can go through it. So this + harness + inside hook to keep her inside in case the carrier is opened = really pissed off, scared kitty. I didn’t think it was possible, but she started yelling even louder and more frenzied. And I still had to walk past half the airplane. I tried to explain that she was just tangled up inside, and that once I got her free she’d quiet down, and the male flight attendent said, snottily, “Oh, we all hope so.”

(Oh, yes, I plan to write a letter to United.)

Luckily, I was seated near a pack of cat people. One helped me get Angel untangled (she’d done something with the clip and I wasn’t able to get it sorted on my own) and the couple sitting next to me were like, “Hey, beats a baby.” And she did calm down once we took off. But the Benedryl did absolutely nothing to calm her down.

After the traumatic trip, Angel’s settled in quite nicely. We’re taking her to the vet tomorrow (she’s been sneezing; I’m sure it’s a flare-up of her herpesvirus from the trip, but I want to make sure she’s all right) and then we can formally introduce her to Kylie and Tessie, which will be interesting.

Angel is a doll though. My husband fell in love with her the moment he saw her in person. She’s eating and drinking well, and she plays with toys and uses the box perfectly. When she’s happy, she purrs and rubs and headbutts with her whole body, and she’s slept in bed with us every night this week. She’s still a little skittish, and she still hides under furniture, but she’s blossoming more and more every day, and I have no doubt that by the end of the month it’ll be like she’s always lived with us.

I’ll try to post some photos of her this weekend.

Gun-Hee a Day/279 of 366

Gun-Hee loved looking at his photos and videos on the computer.

I Wanna Be Sedated

I was emailing Angel’s foster mom about tranquilizers and the flight from California to Massachusetts. She said, I talked with my vet last night and she said that she doesn’t like sedation, but gave two options. Rescue Remedy (which I would need to start right now) and Benedryl (1/2 tab day of travel). She said that the seditives lower blood pressure and on a plane that can produce problems. So what do you think?

I said that Bendryl is what I use when I need to sleep, so yeah, Benedryl.

I love that my new kitteh and I will be taking the same medication on the flight east.

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Gun-Hee with his first mom/breeder Sherry. I love this photo so hard.

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Guess which one is Gun-Hee?

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This judge, Marge Collier, awarded Gun-Hee a “Best Kitten” ribbon in her ring.

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Another photo of Gun-Hee at a cat show.
He didn’t do great at the shows, but he held his own.

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Gun-Hee at one of his four cat shows…he was always “Best Cat” in my books.

One Week Til Angel Comes Home!

Just over three months ago, my beloved Abyssinian Gun-Hee died from FIP. Since we were a home that needed an Aby, I decided to see if there was anything like an Abyssinian rescue out there, so that we could find an Aby that needed a home.

So I went on, started with my home zip code (in Boston) and went out from there. And I found Angel, a little red Aby girl.

When I saw her photo online, I knew it was destiny. Gun-Hee sent her to me, and he made sure I’d know it.

First off, we took him to Angell Animal Hospital in Boston when he was diagnosed with FIP.

Secondly, the rescue, Purebreds Plus, is headquartered in Vacaville, CA…about 20 miles from the town I grew up in, Davis, CA – where my mother still lives. Which means, despite the fact that we live in Boston, adopting a cat in Northern California would not be not impossible, but would actually be doable.

Finally, I had a good friend pass away in April. Her name was Angela.

So I had to at least try to adopt her. I emailed her foster mom, Karen, and asked if she was available and if it would be possible to adopt her. I could easily fly to California, stay with my mom, and come to get her (the rescue doesn’t ship animals and wants to meet all adoptive parents in person). I told her all about Gun-Hee and how we not only understand the unique Aby personality but enjoy it, sent her the link to his journal, and asked her what she thought. I filled out an adoption application, talked to her on the phone…and on July 15th she sent me an email saying: I wanted you to know that your references are approved and after watching Gun-Hee’s website 2 times and crying my eyes out, I feel that in spite of the travel that Angel would be one lucky kitty to be with you. You are approved to adopt her.

However, due to our travel schedules, the earliest we could arrange the meeting was Columbus Day weekend.

During the course of our correspondence, I learned the following about Angel:

Angel’s birthday is November 2007 (I’ll get the exact date, who her parents are and her history when I pick her up).

She weighs only 7½ lbs.

She eats anything.

Angel is best friends with two fosters that Karen adopted. The three of them are quite the trio. She calls the two girls “wild women.”

Angel likes anyone who will play with her.

She’s had her in the car and she seemed fine.

Angel was raised with small dog so seeing one shouldn’t be a problem. (Such a nice difference from Gun-Hee, who was fearless in the face of anything save canines!)

Angel plays the piano every day. All of a sudden one day Karen heard someone walking on the keys and it’s Angel. So cute. She knows she is making it happen.

She also likes to help type; another email Karen sent me said, “Angel is doing really well. She is typing whil00000000000 I write.” That’s going to be fun when I update this journal!

The story behind Angel’s eye and foster situation is sad; The breeder had a couple of tough years with her mother who was sick and dying and in the midst of this her pregnant females in December of 2006-January 2007 were getting sick. Almost ¾ of the kittens born were dead or died shortly after birth. She had never had this problem before and only when the pet food information came did she begin to put things together as she was feeding some of the recalled foods. When she bred her females (and a couple of the kittens born to them), health problems showed up in the lines – Herpes infections like none seen before with ulcerated eyes and very sick cats. Not being as careful as usual her numbers increased and unhealthy cats increased.

I met the breeder at a cat show in October 2007 and we talked about me taking some of her cats. I knew nothing about the situation. A week before Christmas she called me and we set January 1 as the day I would take 5 of her cats. The very next day she took 4 other cats to the Humane Society and asked that 3 be put down and the other (Angel) be put up for adoption. Two days later the Human Society paid a visit and found a house with over 60 cats, spotlessly clean. She gave up the sickest cats and others totaling 18. The Humane Society called us, and on Friday December 20th, we spent 3 hours there bathing cats/kittens eyes that were horribly stuck together and gave meds. They could only allow us to take the original 4 as there is a 72 hour rule in California. Sunday the 23rd we went back and took the other 16 (2 had died). Then at the breeder’s house we took 5 more cats – a total of 14 kittens and 11 others between 5 months and 14 months. We separated the kittens by illness levels and 9 of the healthiest kittens went to Southern California Aby Rescue. Unfortunately 5 of those died. Of the 5 that we kept, 2 died over the next 3 months, both of FIP. The other 3 were adopted. Of the other Abys 2 of the younger ones died and the others were adopted except Angel, who had many problems over the months finally with an eye ulcerating in April. She has been healthy since.

The problems:

· Upper Respiratory Infections that finally healed then eyes ulcerated. Some eyes were saved and a couple had the eye removed. This was different than the normal herpes infections that we had seen in rescue where the conjunctiva was swollen and goopy. The eyes ulcerated seemingly overnight and it was a relentless treatment regime that could save then (if it did).

· Bordatella – took 6 weeks of Doxy to go away

· Some of the cats were vaccinated (for FIP). Of the cats that died, they all had vaccines and 3-6 weeks after got sick and then died of FIP. The breeder begged us not to vaccinate because she had the same problem.

· Ringworm – Over the 7 months we have taken 35 cats and have about 10 more coming. The ones we have seen since April have not been as ill and that is what we expect of the remaining 10.

Gun-Hee (and my Siamese, Harri, before him) had Feline Herpes Virus, and I am familiar with how to deal with it. I also have a good supply of powdered L-Lysine left over that I bought for Gun-Hee; he didn’t like the taste of it mixed in food and wouldn’t eat it. I’m hoping Angel isn’t as finicky. It’s also very likely that she’s been exposed to the coronavirus that causes FIP so I won’t have to worry about going through that again. As Karen said, Since Angel has been around all these cats, I would think she was exposed and didn’t get it. Since it is a mutation there is usually a precipitating event and she has sure had enough of those. I watched her very carefully after she was spayed. She was also stressed when I first put her out with my cats and now fine – just the normal stuff once in a while.

Angel’s actually already had more health issues than our two girls, Tessie (5) and Kylie (3) have had in both their entire lives! Angel is quite the little survivor!

And her monocular vision doesn’t seem to bother her at all. As Karen told me, “Angel is an amazing cat. When her eye was first removed she did bump into a couple of things but now she just zooms around, completely unaware that she is a bit different than other cats. When I had her at the vet on Saturday, the vet said it never ceases to amaze her how well cats adjust to whatever handicap they have.”

So, next week, next Friday, Oct. 10th, my friend Tap and I will go and meet Karen and Angel in person. I can hardly wait!

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Gun-Hee in his parka riding in the front carrier I got for him. I think he was never happier than when I got that carrier out. He loved going places with me in it.