Thursday, June 25, 2009

They keep us hopping

I can't remember ever having the number of issues with animal health in Canada that we have here. Last year it was the death of Jimmy (our Lab) and Chaquiste (Minina's twin brother). Then the arrival of Maya, a 3-week old kitten found tucked into the grass behind the garbage can across the street.

Maya was a challenge - constant diarrhea for 4 months as her immature digestive system learned how to handle normal cat food. I boiled chicken and rice for her, and to this day (she's now 10 months old) she thinks the beep of the microwave signals a reheating of her special concoction. Maya is now a little pork, no problems digesting her food or the food of the other cats either.

Last fall Negra was diagnosed with heart worm and tick-born disease. An injection for the tick-born disease resulted in a neck abscess, which persisted and ended up in visits to the vet in Cancun, where she managed to escape custody and explore downtown. Seemingly lost for good, her semi-owners went over on the ferry to search for her, and I have no idea how, but they found her! Hundreds of dollars later, Negra is now a picture of good health and good food (maybe a little too much good food).

Luna proceeded to tear out her fur along one side. Tufts of yellow fur floated across the living room floor. I waited it out, and it's now growing back - sort of like that fur just bothered her and she needed it gone.

Just as we seemed settled, along came Smokey, and with Smokey came Patitas. And where Smokey is everything a kitten should be, Patitas failed to thrive and succumbed to something that the vet and I do not agree on. Doesn't matter, I guess - the poor baby didn't survive. Three animal deaths in just over a year - each one making a scar on our hearts.

The Miguel found Libertad - a young dove lying in the road - broken and unable to stand or fly. He took the bird to his house and put it in a box, where it laid for a week. And then it stood, and then walked, and then tried to fly. And then it did fly, and last week (after about 6 weeks) it flew up into the trees and never came back. Libertad is finally free to do whatever doves do.

Near the end of Libertad's time in the box, Miguel found a baby pigeon strolling down our side passage. The passage where Luna, Cheech, and Chong sit in ambush of lizards and birds. He took the pigeon to his house and placed it in the box with the dove. The two birds sat and stared at each other for a couple of days, and then seemed to be friends, but ended up not liking each other and having 'conflicts' (according to Miguel). The baby pigeon did not know how to fly, but after Libertad's release it must have been practicing, because yesterday they let the bird out on the terrace to practice, and it flew up into the trees and found its freedom as well.

But now Minina is needing attention. For the last several days she has been vomiting, just liquid - and other than that has seemed normal (running and eating and looking fine), so I put it down to a hairball. Last night I noticed the hair under her chin looked a little funny, and when I took a close look, I found a mass of sores and inflammation - looked like an abscess either taking hold or in the process of draining.

I admit I panicked a little as it was 7 pm and I knew Delfino would be closing up shop shortly, if not already closed. I called him on his usual number and that was unanswered, just went to voice mail. So I called his 24 hr emergency number and told him that I needed him to come and see Minina. And so, just before 9 pm last night, Delfino came by.

It appears that Minina is allergic to something - an insect bite, or the new canned food she's been tasting (bought for Smokey but all the cats are begging for it) - and she has scratched up a mess around her neck and got it infected. That would explain why I found her and Maya lying behind the plant pots yesterday afternoon and Maya licking Minina's head area - Maya was cleaning up the infection for her.

I had put Minina in the downstairs bedroom to prevent her from disappearing when Delfino showed up - she hates him as he is always poking her with something (thermometers, needles), and the last time he gave her the yearly shot (just last month), she actually bit him. Sweet little Minina has an aggressive side when it comes to being poked.

But last night Minina seemed to know she needed a doctor. She was on top of the armoire and she allowed Delfino to reach up and take her down. We placed her on the bed and she just sat there and let Delfino examine her. And then he did the poking she hates - he gave her a shot of Cortisone - and she did not move. Today the sores look dry, and I will clean her neck a little later and call Delfino with the report and then we'll take it from there. I will stop the canned cat food for her and try to get her to eat my homemade chicken and rice. Which will get Maya's attention and once again the microwave beep will be the clue that food is on its way.

While here Delfino visited with Smokey, and reminded me that she needs to be spayed. Yes, I know - I've been waiting for her to hit 4 months old, and I think she's about there now. But let me get through Minina first, and then maybe we'll get Smokey spayed next week. One animal issue at a time, if possible.

I told Delfino that I don't know how we will afford the care of these animals once I'm not working. He commented that he has 6 cats, and other than their yearly shots, they never have any health problems. Yeah, well - that was pretty much my experience with Canadian cats too (until they reached senior-citizen status), but these Mexican cats are a bit of a challenge. Maybe being separated from their mothers at too young an age makes them more prone to health issues? Don't know, but I am waiting for everyone to be healthy and stay that way for at least a couple of months.

5 comments:

Islagringo said...

I have two Mexican cats. The oldest I "inherited" when the previous owners of this house just left her behind. (after 11 years of her living with them!) I had her spayed but no shots. Been 6 years and still no problems. Simon I got at 4 weeks. He has been neutered and gets all of his shots. Two different cats, two different health care regimes. I think it is just up to genetics.

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KfromMichigan said...

You sure have excitement in your house with the little furry friends. But don't you just love them to pieces! I hope all is better soon.

Bennie said...

The cats are very lucky to have you as a momma. That's great news about the dove and pigeon too. So nice to know people with big kind hearts.

How is Minina now? I assume OK from a later post you put up.

Sue said...

Wayne - the strays out in the garden seem to be quite healthy, without shots or anything. We do need to catch them to get them neutered though - for no other reason that to help control the kitty population.

Marshall - I checked out your site and wasn't sure that my post belonged there since I was talking about cat food, but in any case - thanks! Nice site.

K - Yes, we do love them to pieces, they are all very adorable and generally well-behaved. And I hope all is better soon too!

Bennie - Minina is not better, although I think she's better than she was. She has more sores, the other side is affected now, as is under one arm, and she is licking and seems itchy. But she is not throwing up like she was (I think it was hair irritation), and she seems to feel better, so I'm hoping she will heal herself. The vet thinks it's a food allergy but that doesn't make sense to us - it seems more like she got bitten, maybe by an army of ants. He wants to put her on Prednisone, I'm hesitant unless we get into something that cannot be controlled. Since she generally seems ok, I can't believe it is anything really serious and hope that time will heal all.