Monday, November 13, 2006

Fostering Cats and Losing Sanity

I should update on the previously mentioned cats...

First, they got sick. I mean SICK. Upper respiratory infection, or "URI" as they apparently call it in the vet business. When I brought one of the foster cats home, I noticed a couple sneezes. I thought it was from the sprinkly stuff I put on the carpets to help lift the pet hair and make sure it ends up in the vacuum cleaner instead of buried in the carpet fibers. So I stopped using the sprinkly stuff for awhile. Coincidentally, the cat also stopped sneezing.

But then, another cat started to sneeze. And eventually another. Soon, all four were sneezing and wheezing, and then, yes then, my Chloe got very ill. Visibly ill. She's a big, fluffy calico who is 18 years old. And she was sick to the point of seeming half dead. She went from fine to horrid in less than 24 hours.

So off to the vet we went. All four of them. Two at a time, because I have two cat carriers. So two trips. Examinations and medication all around. Grand total for that first visit? $400. No kidding. Chloe had subcutaneous fluids and everything. The vet was not surprised it hit her harder than the rest, or that it happened so quickly with her.

For well over a week, I had Chloe with me every waking hour I was home, and thankfully, her spot to sleep is next to my pillow, so she wasn't far when I was asleep. Every morning I'd clean her eyes and nose, and hold her in the bathroom for at least an hour in the steam. Every night - same thing. After about a week, she started to improve.

Twice a day I separated doses of canned cat food with smashed pills mixed in. I haven't had time for bubble baths in over 6 months, and here I was trying to make time for 3 hours a day of cat duty.

It was so entirely possible that Chloe wouldn't make it through that. I'm so glad she did.

What happened, in case anyone is curious, is one of the cats either had or was just carrying the cooties for the infection. Bacteria. Nasty. This cat came to me on anti-biotics. So the cooties were likely almost killed entirely, but not far enough along yet so as not to pass them on to others.

I won't even discuss the total of vet costs at this point in time. However...

Guess what else happened at the vet?

It was discovered that the pregnant cat that caused all the commotion - isn't really pregnant after all.

I hear this is common. And in this case, two vets and three vet techs said she was pregnant. They had to put an ultrasound on her to see what was going on in there. She had swollen organs and some other issues that had been overlooked by everyone until that point because it was believed it was all symptoms of pregnancy, not a treatable issue. So we got her all taken care of.

I am still with all the cats. Unfortunately. They eat me out of house and home, I tell you. I still haven't managed to partner with a rescue to show them and adopt them out. I had several snarky calls and emails from the person who initially covered the neutering of one of the cats, which incidentally, I think is likely equivalent to a week and a half of food for this cat, before we even talk about what the cooties cost to rid. I'm likely out a good $700 by now. And no prospective homes for the cats to boot. Great, eh?

But wait, it gets better. Are you sitting down? All the contact information for the people I've dealt with in all of this, including the snarky woman who covered the cost of the sterilization for one cat, were in my corporate phone and computer. Both of which have been turned in. I have no idea how to find this woman ever again. And now? The odds are I'm moving out of Michigan. Soon. I can't very well waste time searching for her, she can't foster anyway, and I have no way to just leave the cats behind, so it looks like these cats may be heading for future adoption in another state.

A special note for MyQuestioningMind - Go ahead and laugh. I'm laughing with you. This is all hysterical. And I'm not surprised that they do that with rabbits. In fact, I'm less surprised by the rabbits than I was about doing that with cats. But as you said, if someone came and offered to take the babies, it would likely be an okay thing. That makes all the difference in the world.


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