Friday, May 7, 2010

Blackie - R.I.P.

Unfortunately, not all good stories have a happy ending.  Mom took Blackie to the vet and the first thing they did was a Feline Leukemia/AIDS test, and he failed the AIDS part.  So they will be putting Blackie to sleep today.  He provided an entertaining week for mom and me and although this isn't a happy ending per se, it's for the best.


Of course, Feline AIDS is highly contagious, so now we'll need to take everyone else to the vet to make sure all are well.  And mom plans on scrubbing the porch, carriers and food bowls down with bleach this afternoon. 


I had been planning on getting Gizmo in to the vet for a well check anyway, now that Sophie is all well, so I've made an appointment to take him in tomorrow and will have them do a test to be sure.  Meanwhile, I'll also get to take Merle and Winifred in for testing and shots. 


I'm going to assume that during all of Sophie's ordeal earlier this year they tested her.  I'll confirm that with the vet, but that's my assumption until told otherwise. 


Either way, tomorrow will be an exciting day for Rose.  The best part is that if I'm busy taking cats to various vets, I won't be at home weed-eating more of the lawn!

Blackie... part two

So I'm happy to say that we have an update on Mange, er.. Harry, er… Blackie! 


Yesterday when I got home, mom advised me that she had a cunning plan.  This morning, when it came time to feed the boys outdoor, she'd put the food inside the kitty carrier and, assuming all went well, when Blackie slunk in to get some Meow Mix, we'd hop on him and shut him inside!  It was a marvelous, if rather simple, plan.  I did not have high hopes.  Nevertheless, we put the carrier outside before going to bed last night so they could get used to its presence.


This morning, mom put the food inside the carrier and we lurked outside around it.  I'm thinking that this cat is smart enough to know that something was afoot, but enticing aroma of chicken, turkey, salmon & ocean fish flavors kept luring him back only to find that we kept pushing the food bowl farther and farther inside the carrier.


Finally, the time came and we sprung into action!  Mom shoved his boney butt all the way into the carrier and I slammed and held the door shut while mom zipped it shut.  Then I ran the carrier to the van while mom nabbed her keys and purse.  She was off like a flash! 


Observations from this experience: 

1) I kept thinking the problem is that Blackie doesn't trust us, but Mom pointed out that during this whole week-long ordeal, he never ran off or even too far away.  And he kept going INSIDE THE CAGE!  So I've decided that he does trust us AND was just enjoying the attention.  Although he may not enjoy the attention the vet gives him, especially if (as I suggested) mom has the vet keep him long enough to fix him. 

2) You may not believe in miracles, but then you've obviously never tried to get a semi-ferral, 10-lb (approximately) cat wielding paper shredder sharp claws into a cat carrier against his will.  We were praying the entire time this morning and then I was thanking God as I ran Blackie to the van.  God loves even mangy, skin and bones, snotty/snorty critters and obviously wants this one to get better.


When I hear from mom, assuming Blackie didn't bust out of the carrier and hijack the van on the way to Fort Branch, I'll post the final part of Blackie's saga.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

That Wascally Cat!

Let me introduce you to Mange.  Well, his official name is Blackie and he, along with Merle, is an outside cat at the ol'homestead.  As you might infer from his name, he is a solid black cat.  He just roamed up and joined the crew a couple of years ago, and while he has recently become a little more friendly with me and mom (mostly because he's figured out that we feed him), he's never been overly comfortable with us. 


His nickname is "Mange" because last summer, about the time Dad died, Blackie was looking really bad, losing big patches of fur and on a solid black cat, that look just isn't good because the underlying skin is stark white.  And he had a variety of raw patches on him.  Holly and I tried to get him in the carrier to take him to the vet, but he's a very slippery dude and always managed to elude us.  Between us, though, we had enough cat experience to diagnose him as having fleas and being highly allergic to them.  So we managed to treat him for fleas and the fur grew back.  Crisis resolved.


We've never managed to get him fixed, either.  Mom had an appointment scheduled, but, again, could not get him in a carrier.


Now I love cats.  I come home from work and Merle and Blackie always meet me either on the sidewalk or the porch.  Merle immediately flops on his back so I can scritch his tummy and Blackie, well, you can tell that he wants some love too, but he's leery of getting too close.  I can usually scritch his head for a second before he jumps just out of reach.  My heart breaks for poor Mange.  I want to love him, but there's BIG problem.


He's one sick puppy!  Since the day he showed up, he's has this upper respiratory funk – he snots and snuffles around.  He's a sick cat.  We can get the flea stuff on him, usually.  And we can put the worm medicine on his food, so we can treat him for that.  But the boy needs some antibiotics!  There is no doubt in my mind that ultimately Blackie was Patient Zero for the sickness that Sophie and Gizmo got this past winter.   Although the outdoor boys and the inside gang never co-mingle, they do sit and stare at each other through the glass front door and I can easily see germies crawling under the door and jumping on Sophie and Gizmo and their virgin immune systems.


Lately, he's gotten worse.  There's the usual snotting and sneezing, but his breathing is so loud and labored.  If I have my bedroom window open at night, I can hear him breathing on the front porch!  Mom and I talked about it over the weekend and we decided that since he was getting more friendly, we'd shove him in the carrier so mom could take him to the vet.  Of course, the down side to this is we'll probably never get him there again, so they'd have to keep him long enough to diagnose him and get him on the road to being treated or we'd have to have them put him to sleep.  But he really has the makings of a loving loyal cat, if he weren't so sick and wheezy.  Anyway that's the plan… Yeah.. hmm..


Ok, so Monday morning, mom gets up early so we can try to get Blackie in the carrier before I leave, and it'll definitely be a two-man effort.  We started out by putting the carrier out on the porch Sunday afternoon, so the boys could get used to its presence and not be scared of it.  Well, that plan worked.  When I woke up and looked out the window, there was a cat sound asleep inside the carrier.  Only it was the WRONG CAT!  Yup, Merle was asleep in the carrier and Blackie was sleeping on the porch beside the carrier.  Not a problem.


We go outside and put down their breakfast and fresh water and attempted to sneak up on him and shove him in the carrier… he runs.  But he stays on the porch, so this is a positive development.  Now, I could bore you with details here, but suffice it to say that we tried for about 30-45 minutes to get him in that carrier, and by the end of that time, my shoes and the bottom two inches of my pant legs were soaked from the extremely heavy dew we'd had the night before… and I had to go to work.  Back to the drawing board.


Tuesday, mom realized that we had a sturdy wire cage in the garage that my dog-owning aunt and uncle had lent us.  So she dragged it up on the porch and put some food in it to try to snare Blackie.  Surprisingly, we got Blackie in the cage pretty easily, too easily.  With Blackie in the cage, mom went back inside the house and I was outside weed-eating the front bank and I turn around and notice Blackie isn't in the cage anymore.  I go inside and ask mom, "Why did you let him out?" and she replied, "I didn't."  Well, he managed to get himself out of the cage.  Back to the drawing board.


Last night, we again easily get him inside the cage and in order to avoid his getting the door open again, I used one of those plastic pull-tie thingees that Dad seemed to have in abundance in the junk drawer in the kitchen.  And we put the cage, with the door to the wall, smack in the corner, AND I put a heavy flower planter that was full of dirt on top of it, so he couldn't move the thing.  Blackie was spending the night in that cage!


So this morning, the plan is that I'll get the cage in the van before I leave for work and mom'll be up and ready to go.  She's all dressed.  I get ready.  We open the front door and there's Blackie, on the front porch.  We don't know how, but the little scrounger got himself out of the cage!  Obviously we should have named him Harry Houdini!  Upon further investigation, we see that he managed, despite the absence of opposable thumbs, to rip one of the metal bars off and open a space for him to squeeze out.  Cats, of course, have the ability to squeeze their bodies through the tiniest of spaces – this space was, at the most, 2 x 3 inches big.


As you can see, I'm beginning to feel like Elmer Fudd and I'm going to have to apologize to Tom for my comments regarding him and the birdfeeder/raccoon incident… and you know I don't want to have to apologize to Tom!


The good thing is, as Mom pointed out, Blackie doesn't seem to be holding our attempts to catch him against us. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Does anyone know where I can get one of these signs?  I got home yesterday afternoon only to discover that Ms. Sophie had spent the afternoon hoarking up a hairball and there were several little damp spots of carpet around the house where mom had followed her cleaning it up.  The good news is that the hairball was successfully hoarked and Sophie is none the worse for wear.  The bad news is that I found the hairball by touching it with my bare foot.  THANK GOD that I didn't actually step on it, or I'd have probably hoarked up beside the remains.  Ug!

Election Day - Small Town Style

 So I voted in the Indiana primary this morning.  Since I moved back in with Mom, I again vote at the firehouse in Wadesville.  I haven't voted there for about 15 years, ever since I moved to Blairsville back in 1995.  That being said, I walk into the firehouse and I'm immediately hit with "Well, Rosemary! Long time no see!" and "How's your mother doing?" and "We're glad you moved back home."  The entire time, I'm standing there thinking, "Who the heck are you people!?"  I always find it scary when total strangers seem to know about my life... but such is life in a small town.
When I originally registered to vote, I didn't sign up as either Republican or Democrat, so I get to choose which ballot to vote on in the primary.  Frankly, it's a Democrat county, so I generally choose the Democrat ballot because otherwise there's not many contested elections on the Republican side.  But this time, there's actually a contest for US Senator on the Republican side, and mom really wanted me to vote for John Hostettler, so, what the heck!
Next, I had to wait in line.  Ok, there was one person in front of me, and before I could put my driver's license away, he was at a booth.  But still, this is Grand Central Station for Wadesville!
So I get to the booth and there's a blue hair standing there ready to give me instructions on how to use the electronic touch screen ballot.  Really?  It's a touch screen.  When I told her I'd used them before in Vanderburgh County, she was very impressed.
The ballot... as expected, there were 7 or 8 people listed for US Senator and like 5 people I've never heard of running for the US Representative seat that is being vacated to run for Senator on the Democrat ballot.  That's where the fun ended.  There were at least 6 races with no one running at all and another 3-5 with only one person running.  Oh, and don't forget the one where we were to vote for 11 people... but only 5 were running.... one of whom I know.  Needless to say, I voted for them all but the one I know... (don't ask).
All in all, another successful exercise of my civic duty.  Don't get me wrong, I'm proud to be an American and thank God that of all the places I could have been born, I was born here.  And I've never missed voting in an election.. well, maybe there was a particularly uneventful primary about 20 years ago, but I always go vote.  However, much like the way I picked my choices for that NCAA pool that I won several years ago, there's no real rhyme/reason or method to my madness.
Then I get to work and am reminded that today is the first time that Angelli (a newly oathed American citizen) gets to vote in an election and she's so happy and proud. 
I can't help but wonder if today's primary will be discussed on either the Daily Show or the Colbert Report... then I laugh so hard I almost pee in my pants!