It's the run-up to kitten season: shouldn't be taking in so many, but...I'm not ordering the universe. Two Siamese mix boys came in from (as always) a bad situation. One, bless him, had infected feet, pads, "pillow pad", which is torture: Can't walk without pain, pads actually burst...can't compete for food then. NOT fun; not fair! Fortunately, not too common either, although I've had my share. The brother had a very large abcess on his neck, not as hard to fix. And not on his FEET! They were comfortable with their feeder, who must move, but not so much here with me. The pillow pad takes months to completely heal. These photos are the best I could get of them. the handsome guy in the bed is the one with the pillow pad. Ears back still, but he stays in his bed when I enter the room. At first he'd flee to the safety of the tunnel, in the next photo, where his brother is.
Rodney, below, came in yesterday, from a (much) worse situation. Abuse. Nuff said. No, Terrible Abuse. I can't get him to my holistic vet this weekend, begged for an appt. asap. He's skeletal, with missing fur, and weak. He drags his back legs. He does eat!! small amounts. No stool passed for a week, eek. gave an enema. TMI? Gave a bath; he's incontinent. He has a lot of healing to do. Send prayers! On the good side, he is The Sweetest cat ever. And a loving caretaker who for good reasons relating to the abuse, can't keep him where he was. giving fluids, hand feeding, keeping him close and loved.
Yes he's a mess...but not for long! He still won't let me pick him up, but when he's eating I can work on his mats a bit...he's calmer than when he arrived, traumatized, two days ago. He had an unwelcome vet appointment, got neutered, given antibiotics (his mouth needs attention badly) and got micro-chipped. His saving grace is that he's eating well! And he's responding positively to my touch now! Raises his back end. He's thin and dehydrated (got fluids at the vet; wish I could give him more: maybe in a day or two) he's an older guy, and lord only knows what all he's been through. Jerome!! You're save and loved now! His rescuer has come to visit him... a friend and husband of one of our board members.
Day two: looking a little better! Getting the lay of the land here. Isn't he gorgeous??
This is the text from Gloria's first fundraiser...she had come far, and this is how she began:
I'm Cynthia at Bee Holistic Cat Rescue and Care in Richmond, CA. I'm raising funds for the on-going treatment of Gloria, to help her walk again after a head injury. She has seen several doctors, and they agree that she had suffered a head injury. Gloria was brought to me by a concerned man, who had found her in his warehouse. She was three months old, and not afraid of humans, which means that she had been in a home. It's sad to think, but someone must have abandoned her, as she could not have gotten there on her own. She would just fall over whenever she tried to move. She has a sunny disposition, and lets us know what she needs at all times! She's quite the gal! AND!! She has improved under the care of Drs. Anne Reed for general care and acupuncture, and of Dr. Margaret Holiday, the chiropractor Gloria can now manage to stand for minutes at a time, and to get around a bit. She is keeping her balance better, and recovering more quickly from her falls. Her treatments are expensive, and will be on-going for some time, but a full recovery is expected! This little one someone threw away is deserving of a great life. We are thrilled at her progress, and will be grateful for any help you can give to get her well again!
Gloria has been with us almost four years now...and, hard as it is to see her fall, and fall, and fall again, sometimes backwards, sometimes hard, she has been a joy and an inspiration to us. She is other wise sturdy and robust. We have never had her spayed, as the sedation would be too risky, they say. We go through the heat cycles with her, which have interestingly become less frequent. At the moment, I will be talking with her main doctor to see about getting her teeth cleaned without sedation...
I posted this photo first, as Bina is reclusive. She came late to my colony on Wildcat Creek, just south of San Pablo Dam Road, where the creek goes under San Pablo Ave and comes out on the other side, behind Tulare Ave. I came to this colony and its twin inside the Alvarado Apartments, when a pair of twins called me about a kitten in a tree there. Long story short, the kitten came down, and I discovered that there were sixty-plus cats and babies there. Thirteen years later now, and Bina is, I think, the last. I'm not sure, as the wise management, after I'd trapped and neutered all the others, and, over the years, found homes for them or lost them by attrition, decided that they didn't want me there any more. Bina and her brother showed up at the creekside south of the apartments maybe five years ago. There were a few others there too, notably Summer, who was incredibly hard to trap. It took several springs and several beautiful litters before she went into a drop trap. The drop trap took two weeks...another story. Here's Summer:
Summer produced the most beautiful babies...many long-haired. They all found great homes, in pairs. I don't know how old she was, but one day I found her body down in the creek. Fortunately, my husband could crawl down the bank and bring her body up. She had a service and is buried here...
One by one, the few others with Bina, got sick and came home to die peacefully. One, I felt, preferred to die there, and he is buried here too. Bina's brother disappeared a few years ago. One little friendly tiger male showed up, was taken home with me and adopted. Since then, Bina has been the only one there. She comes out of the bushes now when I arrive, and cries hello. The bank has eroded so much that I can't get into the trees where no one could see us. But I keep a low profile, clear water dish close by the fence, and a flat green plate. Bina has been healthy, and may have friends down the creek a way, near Montoya Gardens apartments. I hear there are cats there....more work looming, I think.
Yes, they're all different...and some more different than others...Layna is here with us after her three siblings were adopted years back...she sprays. Yes..females do! Layna here doesn't spray often; just when we start to think she's over doing it...
We're fearful that a new guardian might not be sufficiently understanding, and that she'd be at risk. Our adoption agreement states that the adoptee be returned to us if for any reason, it "doesn't work out"...our human families don't abandoned their kids, (usually) when problems crop up, thankfully...but in humans' defense,with their animals, they often just don't know how to manage a problem, get bad advice, or no useful advice, feel inadequate to the care of the animaland give up.
So Layna stays here!! She is gorgeous, easy-going, no trouble at all...what's a bit of spraying now and again, eh?
Gorgeous here came to us on April 3 of 2019, very pregnant...and delivered five lovely, healthy babies two days later. She was a great mother, as virtually all of them are, and the babies thrived. They were soon joined by Eliza and her three, with whom, unusually, she was reluctant to share a room. Eliza and her three were moved immediately! Usually the feral mothers co-exist peacefully.
Bruna let us into her room, wary but understanding that she and the babies were safe.
Time went on, babies found homes, after twelve months old or older, with two remaining to this day..Bruna stayed in the back three rooms of the house. One other mom and five were there, and the babies all mixed and mingled. Bruna got spayed...see the eartip in the first photo. I had thought of releasing her, as she had had a caretaker, but when he came to visit, she did not want to say hello, and we decided she'd be better off here. He had been feeding her at the edge of a shopping center..dangerous and who knows how permanent a situation. We were right: the man never called again.
Bruna finally moved out of the back bathroom (it's big, with lots of windows) into the middle room with the other mother. Fun was had, at least for the babies. The other mother was not trusting of humans. I had to put a barrier between the babies when they were too little to jump down onto the condo from the cage, as they needed to be handled in order to learn to trust humans...
Bruna spent a LOT of time on this counter...but slowly, at a glacial pace, started to move around, to use the window seat, to come to the door to the rest of the house...still unfolding,her blossoming. The other cats, including her kittens, come into her space, and one sits with her on the window seat a lot...I can pet him, and thus come closer to being able to pet her...
After she got spayed, and before it got cold, I left the door from the back bathroom to the yard open, but she never ventured out...Will do again when it warms up...I like to be able to pick them up, to not have them run from me, before I let them out, but....we'll see how things unfold. Love you, Bruna!!
These two stick together! They were born here on April 3, 2019, to a mom from the streets. They grew up with humans, and the other kittens we took in during the 2019 'kitten season'. We had four mothers, and between their babies and the orphaned kittens these great moms took in, about 20 little ones. Wheee!! They were all in three rooms on one side of the house, and co-existed fine, as cats always do...
Miller and Maybelline are now 14 months old. Miller is huge! Big and soft...with a brownish tinge to his fur. Maybelline is more solid black, and a bit smaller. They don't put themselves forward: quiet and unassuming, they are. But they are always responsive when we stroke them...and purr at a touch. the still stick together, and often join other members of the Black Cat Club.
Heather! Hard to top her for amazing resilience and recuperative powers...
I have not written about her anywhere: how to relate her story, how to explain the inexplicable?
Heather was brought to me by a dear friend and intrepid cat lady this last May. She came from a colony in Tara Hills; had slipped through the cracks of a big trapping/neutering effort there. She was tiny (first photo) and had, despite being badly crippled, had managed to creep onto the steps of a house there. I take in difficult cases, and she proved to be one of the most amazing ever!
Heather was about four weeks old: she could eat on her own. But she was tiny! And she had bent, stiff legs, with a big knob on one elbow. No one ever diagnosed her fully. Here initial x-rays (now ‘rads’) were startling. She had no femoral knob on one back leg, and no hip socked there either. Okay...and the rest of her skeleton wasn't perfect either :-) But she was a happy, otherwise healthy, little one.
Heather managed well, grew, got to be friends with the others, and saw our holistic vet for supplements to her diet. She couldn’t jump, but she could get around well.
One day she started to exhibit signs of dying. She stopped eating or drinking, producing urine or stool, extended her neck, as they do. (Gail Pope at Brighthaven has a lot of great info on the dying process: brighthaven.org. I’ve learned about hospice and natural death from her. I very infrequently euthanize a cat) As with us humans, a natural death is usually painless, or made so with pain meds. Heather, however, showed signs of having pain, she cried out at times, and I was very close to having her euthanized. She was in this condition for three days, sleeping with me.
On day four, she woke up. I have seen miracles, lots of them, though none quite like this.
She started eating, and acted as if she'd just taken a nap. No more crying...
One thing however: she had completely lost the use of her legs! All four. She stayed on the couch, pretty much immobile. But she ATE!
By the way, Heather had been tested and examined in pretty much every way possible, and nothing was found to explain her condition. Inbreeding, congenital deformities...there were theories.
It was obvious that Heather was extremely displeased with her situation! She was and is an independent, strong-willed cat. Neither she nor I fancied twenty years of this!
Our cats’ chiropractor worked with her, and had the best grip on the situation (no pun) and on her future development. She told me about how ‘workarounds’ are developed from muscle and calcium, and lots more! The orthopedic surgeon said to just wait and see how things went.
I have friends, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, and her daughter, Basha. They run the School for Body-Mind Centering® (do yourself a favor and check it out) Basha is on our board of directors, and is wise in the ways of the body and mind. She sat with Heather, hands on, for about ninety minutes one day. At our board meeting some time later, Heather was on the table with us, and started to push herself up onto her legs. And then slowly started to walk. I just lost it!
There is so much more to relate…but let’s just say that Heather is one of my many miracles. She now runs like the wind, jumps and plays…is growing normally, and of course, is the love of our lives.
Needless to say, she'll be staying with us!
GREAT DAY for VALIANT!!
Well!! Yesterday, Val got down off the couch on his own! Somehow. I didn't see him do it, but found him in the back of the kitchen on a cat tree! He had till now been unable to judge distance; was not able to get off the couch for that reason. He just went back and forth on the couch...and could get into the tree touching it, but his vision had not come back to the point where he could evaluate distances. NOW HE CAN!! Yesterday he was able to go from the greenhouse window down to the sideboard below, feeling gingerly below him. He could sense, partly see, how far it was, and made it down! Later, he was all over!! Up on other cat trees, climbing happily, playing with Little Maggie: All Over The Place!! Liberated! and happy! At the slightest touch! It's been a long journey for him, and in typical cat fashion, he breezed through it! He and I thank you for your help! (Need more hint hint) It's a bright day for Valiant...taking his place in the world after the world's worst infection in his head!
For the rest of his incredible story, here's his gofundme link:
This is Bruna. She came to us from the streets on April 3, 2019, just in time to deliver her five healthy (!) babies. We had three other mothers with us, one quite "feral" one sort of feral, and one friendly. They were all in the back part of the house, and the babies mingled. Bruna was a great mother: any and all babies were welcome at her breasts. Bruna stayed hidden various places in 'her' two rooms, in or behind her box, or on the cat tree in the back bathroom. Her babies grew and thrived, were adopted in pairs, and Bruna stayed on. She got spayed and chipped. It is now late September, as the song goes, and she is still in one of the back rooms, on the counter. There is a window seat, and she's there a lot, or behind this little chest. Once in a while she goes onto the cat tree in the adjacent back bathroom. Ears go back when I'm too close. I touch her gently with a wand, and she's getting used to it. The back door has been open a lot, but she's not yet ventured out. Bless her heart. Stay tuned.
Meet Celeste. she came to us from the streets. She had been called Shadow. We thought "Celeste" would serve her better. Her human had died, and she'd been hanging around the senior complex where he had lived (often pets of the deceased are just thrown outdoors) and was being fed by another resident. I was called when she developed a horrible rash/raw area around her neck. She was sweet and gentle from the start (how much they put up with and stay sane and trusting is amazing)
The awful rash seemed to be the result of a toxic flea collar...don't ever buy Hartz products...and healed up well over a matter of weeks. She was in the big cage in the living room initially, but found her way to the middle bathroom and stayed, yes, on the top of the toilet, for weeks. We put a bed in there but the tank was just fine, thank you. And litter and water...fed her there. ...Well! Wow, she moved to the foot of my bed eventually, and has been happy there for another couple of weeks. Has also gone to the window seat by the bed. WOO! She's happy, and if I bring her to my pillow with me, she'll stay and purr. Safety trumps adventure, in many cases, for a long time! She's a bit wary of the other cats, too; may have been an only cat. We love her, and look forward to her gaining confidence and branching out! We know she will...Isn't she a love?
And now Rosemary! she was found by a good Samaritan staying at a hotel in Hercules, CA. The folks at the hotel were planning to call Animal Services, but this nice guy called me. He brought this mature, very affectionate and agreeable cat to us. That was on June 6th, 2019. Another case of extreme tolerance of a bad situation! She was fine in the new environment here, with all the others...also stayed in the living room cage for a few days to get the lay of the land. After the cage door opened, she stayed on top of it, or right next to it, for a few weeks. she was a happy, friendly cat, but wanted to play it safe: she had a nice place, and she was sticking to it! However! She branched out faster that the other two here mentioned...was in the bed in the bookcase, then on top of the tree in the Middle of the Room,on to the Table, then Out Onto the Deck...and even onto the patio a time of two. Rosemary is coming to feel safe here, is coming into her own. She's a happy lady!
But what is Hikikomori? Thanks for asking. It's a phenomenon, mostly occurring in Japan, where young folk, usually men, just do not leave home. Do not leave their rooms. Ever, in many cases. Stay put. Are fed and watered by their parents. Look it up. With cats, it is really more of a cautionary behavior. "It's fine here; why risk a move?". They come to trust over time. Cat time is not our time. Glacial pace of change. I think that, in a lot of cases, they feel that if they go outside, they might not ever be let back in...it is touching.
We'll see what the future brings for Bruna and Celeste. Rosemary is on her way!
The founder of Bee Holistic, Cynthia Burke, has been caring for cats most of her life, volunteering with such groups as the wonderful Animal Balance, and Fix Our Ferals. In 2011 the non-profit was formed, with the help of a freind who was invaluable in that process.