Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley

These handsome boys started out on the euthanasia list at Animal Services. I drove over and picked them up. I just can't stand perfectly healthy kittens meeting such a dire end.

It turned out that they are perfect little gentlemen. Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy has a whole lot of personality. He's well turned out in a tux and is a delightfully handsome lad that loved cuddling with the ladies. Mr Charles Bingley is more dressed for casual time. He's funny, quirky, silly and loves pretty much everyone.

Mr. Darcy was much larger than Mr. Bingley and has already been fixed and vetted. My Bingley was just too small and still needs to go back to be fixed and vetted. He made weight yesterday so now I'll be scheduling his appointment.

These boys need to stay together as they are a very bonded pair and should be ready for adoption in less than two weeks!

Mr Bingley: Purse Kitten

Mr Darcy and Kitler. No, they are not related, why do you ask?

Auggie Pullman and the Cleft Lip

I got a call from a friend who works at a local produce stand that someone had dumped a small, grey kitten there and that it seemed to have something wrong with its mouth. After a somewhat harrowing (and yowling) session of 'Catch the Wild Kitten' I had a filthy ball of fur in a carrier that snarled angrily and then settled into several hours of silence.

Jill and I pulled him out of the carrier a few hours later, and we discovered what seemed to be an entirely changed (but still filthy), tiny kitten. He was a thing of bones and sharp angles and filthy fur... but oh, could he purr. The tiny ball of hissing and snarling had become a kitten desperate for love, and food.

Cleft Lips and Birth Defects

I checked him out, and sure enough, he did have something wrong with his mouth. What I discovered was a mild birth defect called a cleft lip. The cleft was not severe and just shows as one side of the lip being a bit shorter than the other. The other side of his lip had been injured, was swollen, scabbed and still oozing a bit of blood. I checked inside his mouth, and was happy to find that the birth defect was only external and that he did not seem to have a cleft in his palate.

Cleft lips are not uncommon as far as birth defects go, but they can be of varying severity. A mild cleft like on Auggie is mostly just a cosmetic issue. In more severe cases, the entire lip and sometimes parts of the nose can be missing. The most dangerous is a cleft palate. This is an oral malformation where the inside of the mouth does not fully meet in the upper palate, leaving a hole inside the mouth. Kittens with this sort of birth defect may not thrive and may even die if it is severe enough. A cleft palate can keep a kitten from being able to suckle and eat.

Cleaning Up Auggie

I took him home for food and relaxing time, then de-worming meds, flea treatment and a painfully necessary bath. He was so filthy that I bathed him twice before the water ran clean. It's been a long time since I found a kitten so dirty and flea covered.

After bath time I worked on some wound care for his lip and a great deal of drying, floofing, styling
Auggie on the left.
and cuddling. This adorable grey kitten lacked facial symmetry, felt like holding a tiny car crash of sharp angles and had a meow like a 40 year chain-smoker and dedicated whiskey consumer. In short, I was in love.

The last few weeks have seen the healing of his 'good lip' and the decrease in swelling makes the cleft lip even less obvious. He's incredibly sweet. Auggies loves to be held, cuddled, petted, snuggled and otherwise next to a human. As I type this, he is sleeping on top of my right foot. He's putting weight on well but is still on the skinny side. He has about 6 ounces left to go before he can go to the vet and be fixed and get shots.

On the Naming of Cats

Auggie is named for August 'Auggie' Pullman, the main character from Wonder, a children's novel by Raquel Jaramillo, under the pen name of R. J. Palacio. Auggie is an 11 year old boy with severe facial deformities who was home schooled through his early life. The book covers Auggie's transition into attending school and the changes that happen in his life and the lives of those who love him.

Here's how our Auggie started out:

We've come a long way...  

On to the biggest news of the day: We have a family who would like to adopt Auggie!

June 2016: State of the Kittens

  • Peter Cratchit: fixed and vetted. Still being socialized. Allows petting while eating, will stay in same room as people.
  • Belinda Cratchit: fixed and vetted. Still being socialized. Allows petting while eating, will stay in same room as people.
  • Bob Cratchit: heart murmur found at vetting. needs to return for re-test, fixing and vetting, Still being socialized. Allows petting while eating, will stay in same room as people. (Going to ACT for vetting)
  • Tiny Tim Cratchit: Too small for fixing. Has 4 ounces left to gain. Still being socialized. Runs away from all touch, even when food is offered (Going to ACT for vetting)
  • Mr Darcy: fixed and vetted. Well socialized. Waiting for Mr. Bingley.
  • Mr Bingley: Well socialized. Makes weight for fixing as of today! (Going to Animal Services for vetting) I'll need my car back before I can make that happen
  • Auggie Pullman: Too small for fixing, Has 3 ounces left to gain. Well socialized. Loves attention. (Maybe going to ACT with Bob and Tiny Tim for vetting)
  • Nameless orange floof girl: Weighs in at 1lb. Will eat a slurry of wet food and formula. De-worming and de-fleaing meds given. Probable 4 weeks? Needs a name at some point. Allows pets and cuddles but she's had a long day. I'll be looking for personality and extent of socialization in next few day

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

April and May Adoptions

Grace O'Malley
Grace went to help a feral kitten learn how to be a house kitten and then headed on to her forever home with her new human, Bev.

Atticus and Scout Finch
Atticus and Scout headed to Leesburg to fill a cat shaped hole in the hearts of Denise and Angel. The pair had lost their cat of many years a few months ago and found themselves ready to open their hearts again, this time to a pair of kittens.

Irene Addler
Irene will be getting picked up by her new human, Chris, this upcoming Friday night. She's made a lot of progress in her months with me. She eats treats from my hand, sits next to me on the couch and even lets me sneak in the occasional petting. She also now loves to play and can amuse herself with a catnip mouse for hours.

Allen Quatermain 
This shy fellow finally found just the right home with Lisa and Daryle and their kitty Thor. Thor is also very shy and needed a kitty that wouldn't bully him. Things are working out nicely as you can see in the picture above. Thor and Allen have found that having a friend can be pretty great.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Spa Day

Ah, "Spa Day".  This is where we tell the kitties they are going as we cram them into carriers and rumple their dignity. Often times, my best friend Jennie helps me with transport since drop off and pickup times occur while I need to be at work. Usually it's just 2 or 3 kittens per trip... but not today.

Today saw the transporting and orchestration of Spa Day for 9 cats and catlings. Jennie spent the night last night and helped me catch and cram wiggly kittens into carriers. See, carriers are fascinating until the moment you want the kitten to go inside. Then they become objects that induce terror.

The image above is seven pet carriers in Jennie's car as she heads to Humane Society of Tampa Bay with seven kitties. This should be an advertisement for the Nissan Versa. Versa: All the Space for All the Cats.

Since we had split locations today, I then took off with Mr Bingley and Mr. Darcy to Hillsborough County Animal Services. (They came from there so they get fixed there.) Of course these locations are on opposite sides of town, so today needed teamwork.

So here's the rundown for what shall forever after be known as "Super Spa Day"
Bingley plays office kitten after being denied service.
It's a hard knock life.

  • Belinda Cratchit: Spayed, shots, microchip
  • Bob Cratchit: Teasted with possible heart murmur. Needs re-check at another facility.
  • Peter Cratchit: Neutered, shots, microchip
  • Tiny Tim  Cratchit: Too small at weigh in. Spending the day with Jennie

  • Atticus Finch: Neutered, shots, microchip- being adopted on Friday
  • Scout Finch: Spayed, shots, microchip- being adopted on Friday

  • Mr Darcy: Neutered, shots, microchip
  • Mr Bingley: Too small at weigh in. Spending the day with Kristen

  • Scully: Fixed, shots, microchip
And at this moment we are both preparing to do it all over again, just in reverse. Tonight will be a lot of dopey kittens wandering around and two tired cat ladies eating leftover pizza.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Atticus and Scout

Atticus Finch and Jean Louise 'Scout' Finch joined me this week. They'd been living with their mom under a decaying mattress and box spring in the side yard of an abandoned home. This wasn't the best place to be with upcoming storms and interested free roaming neighborhood dogs.

Atticus is a short hair black male American bobtail mix with a half length tail. Scout is a black and white bicolor female with medium length fur. Both kittens were of a feral disposition at first, hissing and spitting whenever they were approached.

48 hours has changed their minds about life on the inside. Atticus is fearless. He sees not obstacles, only challenges to conquer. Scout is sweet of disposition but has a lot to say. She's a bit of a talker and if she is not getting what she wants, she will merrily let you know about it. These two should make weight in the next week or two and can then be taken for their vetting and fixing. By then, I imagine they will be champ indoor kitties.

They have already been wooed by the delicacies of turkey goo, the never ending bowl o' kibble, the pillow bed and the wonders of fleece. On demand clean water and the litter box that they don't have to clean also seem to be appreciated.

I'll post more about them soon, including when they will be available for adoption.

Grace O'Malley

Grace O'Malley is a tiny kitten that found herself dumped in a restaurant parking lot. Some nice staff folks took her and her two siblings into the offices for the day. Two were instantly adopted by folks who worked there, but little Grace needed a place to go. As one of my friends works at the restaurant, I was contacted and gave my usual answer: "Sure, why not?"

Grace was an instant sweetheart and it was easy to tell that she had been dumped and had never been feral. She was very clean, free of fleas and loved to be petted. I posted a few photos of her on my Facebook page, and a friend of mine fell in love with her and sent in an adoption request.

Grace went with Duchess Josiana for her "spa day" at Humane Society of Tampa Bay where she was spayed and vetted. She then headed to the home of another foster to see if she could help coax a feral kitten into being more social with people. She'll stay at this foster home until her new house is ready in a week or two and hopefully, she will be an excellent role model for the other kitten until then.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Current Cats: April 2016

Irene Addler

Although she still does not like to be touched, Irene has come a long way from the growling and unseen monster in the back of my closet. She is now a lovely girl cat that has received all of her initial vet work and has been spayed. Regular eating and not being in the shelter have changed her for the better. Irene is a curious girl, ready to follow you around the house, watch over your shoulder and stare balefully at you as you cook and don't give her morsels. She'll hang out and nap next to you on the couch, but pet her at your own risk. You'll likely be shanked in response.

She is extremely food driven and wet food and all kinds of human foods are of interest to her. Including cookies. Seriously, she will swipe a cookie from you with hilarious alacrity. She may even helpfully open the package for you. The one way she will merrily approach a human is is the have a handful of treats and are seated on the floor. In this case she comes skidding to a halt in front of you the moment she hears the treat bag and will delicately take the treats from your hand. She's quite the dainty lady when she wants something.

It's a long way she has come, but she still has a way to go. She'd make a great companion for someone who isn't too interested with having a cat that wants your attention all of the time but doesn't want to be entirely alone.

Allen Quatermain

This kitten has gone from skittish to sweet. Each morning he waits for me to wake so that I may pet him. Quatermain is deferential to all other cats and is certainly not an alpha cat. He enjoys sleeping in baskets, watching television, squishy food and being petting in two minute increments. Q is a sweet, soft and beautiful boy who has all his initial vetting done and is fixed. Although we had a few people interested in him, they seem to have wandered off in favor of other cats.

Quatermain started life as a feral street cat, but has become a happy house cat. He is a bit shy with new people, but once they settle down and are quiet, he will begin to explore the new humans. Q does have an upcoming meet and greet date this Saturday. I'm really hoping it will go well. He's such a good boy and I want him to have a great life.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Duchess Josiana, the odd-eyed cat

Duchess Josiana was a stray living in a local park. She and her already weaned kittens were all rather friendly, so they were trapped and have been taken to foster homes. I knew with the first sight of her, Duchess Josiana would find a home very, very soon.

Duchess Josiana has a lot going on genetically and health wise so this will be a somewhat long post with a lot of topics.

Odd Eyes

Duchess Josiana is an odd-eyed cat. Her most outstanding feature are her mismatched eyes, one blue and one gold. This eye color difference is a genetic mutation referred to as Heterochromia iridis. This mutation is most often seen in cats that are entirely white but can also be found in cats with the gene for white spotting.

Odd Eyes and a Name

In the case of this kitty, her name was entirely inspired by her eyes. She is named for Duchess Josiana, a character from the Victor Hugo novel L'Homme qui rit or The Man Who Laughs. In the novel, the character of the Duchess is described as having one brown and one blue eye. To be honest, I could only think of just one female character from literature that is described as having heterochromia. So, that nicely helped to limit my literary naming pool.

White Coat

White cats have a particular set of genes that creates their spotless coat: namely the white masking gene. The W gene, when found in cats, prevents the production of pigment-producing cells during embryologic development. No matter what other color genes the cat may have, if they are W/W (white masking dominant / white masking dominant) or W/w (white masking dominant / white masking recessive), they will have a lack of melanin producing cells and thus have a white coat. Some cats with the W allele are also deaf. In odd eyed cats, they may be deaf in one or both ears.


Duchess Josiana tested positive for FIV. Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is found in about 2.5 to 4.4 percent of cats world wide. The virus is a retrovirus that causes immunodeficiency in cats, meaning that cats with the virus can be more susceptible to secondary infections, especially respiratory infections. Each infected cat is unique. Based on their overall health and the care they receive, they may live very long lives relatively free from trouble. If they are street cats exposed to more diseases and prone to more fighting/aggression they will be more likely to become ill due to their reduced immune system being less able to fight off various bacteria and infections.

FIV+ kitties are those who have tested positive for the FIV antibody. Cats who have had an FIV immunization will forever test as FIV+, so if your cat is immunized, make sure they have a microchip and that their chip file explains their immunization. Many shelters will immediately euthanize cats that test positive with FIV even though the disease has a fairly mild transmission rate. FIV is generally passed through one cat biting another and the FIV+ cat's saliva entering the wound of the other cat. Transmission is most common in unaltered male cats that are fighting for territory, resources and mating rights.

A Home for Her Grace

Because Duchess Josiana tested positive for FIV, we try to find her a home where she will be the only cat or where the family may have another cat with FIV. We found a winner! Leana and her family have one cat who is FIV+ and is 16. They know how to take care of FIV+ kitties and live in a nice rural place where Duchess Josiana can enjoy life and be well loved, especially by a little girl who is very anxiously waiting for her to arrived. The Duchess will be spayed tomorrow and goes to her new home on Friday

Learn more:

Monday, February 22, 2016

Irene Unwinds

She started coiled like a tight spring, full of fear and anger. Now, Irene has begun to slowly uncoil and show some personality. She likes to sprawl and roll. She likes comfy places and is quick to steal the warm spot on the couch as soon as you vacate a seat. Irene is enamored of squishy food and comfy places.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Sherlock and Mycroft: Adopt Us This Weekend!

We're at the Petsmart in Citrus Park Tampa. We're so cute it hurts! Come take us away to your home and we promise we shall thoroughly investigate it and then make it more interesting.

Sherlock Holmes and Mycroft Holmes are currently in our 
Petsmart adoption center located 

Irene Addler

Irene starts as a sad story. She was seized along with a number of other animals from an animal hoarding case and taken to the high-kill county shelter. She was sick and not well socialized so she went straight to isolation where her health issues were treated, but this, of course, didn't help her socialize.

Irene got mean. She was a terror in a cage. Tooth, claw and rage. She hissed and spat at anyone who approached her cage and thus she was slated for euthanasia. I'm a sucker for a hard case.

Irene is an approximately 8 month old, short coat black female. She came to me already fixed and fully vetted but was essentially feral. And she was mad. She'd been in a cage for a *very* long time and she was super pissed about that life.

I arrived to pick her up. The staff person looked at my paperwork and said "That one? Really?". I said "Yes, that one". The staff woman sighed and headed off, looking like the was readying herself to do battle. Fifteen minutes later my carrier was brought back with what sounded like a demon inside. I really never had heard such growling from a cat before.

The shelter was loud. It smells funny. There's people and animals just everywhere. People kept grabbing her to take her blood, or do surgery, or give her medicine, or stick her with needles... and she was just done.

I took the carrier out to the car and put it on the passenger seat. Inside, there was a towel with a small lump in the center and silence. I got in the car and started driving. Figuring this kitten could use some down time, I didn't put on the radio. Instead, I sang. A few slow and quiet songs later, a nose and pair of eyes appeared from under the towel to regard me.

Upon arriving home, I took her to the Bathroom of Isolation so she could have a couple of chill days realizing that no one here wanted to murder her. After a few days, I just stopped shutting the bathroom door. Irene was going to live in my closet. That was that. She'd come out to cautiously eat and then would be gone again, shimmied under a shoe rack or jammed behind a sweater box. For about a week there was no change.

Then she moved under the bed, displacing Kit and Allen Quatermain, which was actually good for both of them to get more socialization time. Since then, under my bed has become her den and she guards it well. If any other cat attempts to enter, they are quickly shown the headboard. If my feet venture too far under the quilt while I am making the bed, I receive a swat of warning or occasionally a light nibble.

In the last few days, things have started to change. She ventures out around the house. She's learning how to lounge about on the furniture and steal the warm spot on the sofa. Irene has discovered her great passion for squishy food and watching things on "Cat TV", also known as through the screen on the back porch. She's approached me for a sniff and does not run from me when I go about the business of filling food bowls. She still has zero interest in having my hands on her, but she'll sit companionably beside me and Quatermain to eat her plate full of cod in cheesy bacon sauce.

Irene Addler has lost her hate. Now we'll just see if she can find some trust. Until then, she'll be savaging this stick toy. It's hers now.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Mina and Dorian in their new home

Thanks to their new mom Angela, I have some pictures of Mina and Dorian all settled into their new home. These look like some seriously happy kitties. They are reported to be the most loving and sweet cats this couple has ever known.

Soft Kitty, a photo essay with Alan Quatermain

Soft kitty

Warm kitty

Little ball of fur

Happy kitty

Sleepy kitty

Purr, purr, purr.

Wait... you tricks me lady! I no like dis soft life of warms!

But... it is so warms here. Bah...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Clever Holmes Brothers

Sherlock Holmes is a brown tabby with white, short hair male. His tweedy looks and penchant for being a snoop landed him this moniker.

This is a very curious young man, who, when not exploring prefers to carefully consider his investigations from atop the toy basket. Here, he lets his mind work over cases while he indulges his recreational catnip hobby.

Sherlock does not favor being held, but apparently thinks much better while his chin and cheeks are being delicately scratched. Should he notice you, he may even purr in thanks.

The fastest way to Sherlock's heart is through his stomach. At any inkling that food might be happening somewhere, he is most attentive and bends all of his investigatory might toward finding the source of that food and capturing it.

Mycroft Holmes is a black and white tuxedo short hair male. Mycoft is Sherlock's much more snappy dressing brother. Always in the best of suits with a neat mustache and beard, this is a gentleman that knows his finery.

Mycroft is a fierce hunter, and his dangerously sharp mind is always plotting how best to spring his trap upon unsuspecting catnip mice. Whereas his brother mostly ignores the humans around him, Mycroft prefers a more indolent and indulgent life, eschewing the uncomfortable chaos of the toy basket for a good stretching out spot on a couch. His favorite spot for napping is atop a large purple floor pillow where he snoozes like royalty.

Mycroft is also the more human-centric of the brothers. He greatly enjoys a good cuddle and scratch and has even been know to do so cat yoga while he is being so cosseted by his human servants.