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      Monday, May 24, 2004



06:09 PM - 05/24/2004

The topic: Boy, oh, boy, oh, boy.

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Monday, May 24, 2004  *sigh* 

Well, there’s been a little drama around the old homestead the past week.  It started last Thursday.  It was an ordinary day.  Brian wasn’t working, he and his brother were taking some tractor parts up to the property.  I knew he was going to be home late.  The day progressed normally, I took pictures of the kittens, gave them another dose of Strongid (dewormer). 

The week before, I was able to spend an afternoon in the sun and I moved the park bench.  I put it in front of the little rock planter that Brian made last year.  Closer to the fence.  I did this so that I could pull my lounge chair closer to the fence so that the neighbors wouldn’t be able to see me laying out.  It was pretty nice out, but last week wasn’t so nice.  Cloudy and icky, I’d call it.  Not much good for anything.  But then, I’ve still been fighting the headaches and being so tired off and on. I still don’t know what the problem is, it comes and goes.  Stress maybe?  Money is still pretty tight.  Anyway….

That afternoon, I heard an awful squawking out front.  It was those big black birds.  They were hopping around on the lower branches of the trees and one was on the bank.  I went up to see what the deal was, and it hopped/flew down to the lawn.  It looked like maybe there was something wrong with one of its wings.  I walked around to the other side to see where the ferals were and when I went back, KittyMeeze had gotten the bird!  Dang!  This bird was almost as big as KittyMeeze!  He had it by the neck and dragged it under the Mustang.  I didn’t see any of the other cats, didn’t quite know what I should do, so I figured I’d let Meeze take care of it.  I went back out a little later and the bird was gone and Meeze was alone.  I suspect Little Bit did the initial damage to the bird, it got away, KittyMeeze got it and she came and took it away.

So, around 7:30, I close all the screen doors and set the cat door to in only.  I feed the cats, thinking they’ll gradually be coming in.  Around eight, I went outside to get the rest of them in.  I couldn’t find Richie.  I called and I called.  I looked everywhere.  I looked in the house, under the sofas.  I pulled out the ladder and I shined the flashlight up into the rafters.  No Richie.  Usually, he’s either by the pool pump, under the palm tree (that’s planted in the rock planter) or at the side of the shop, watching bugs or whatever they watch in the Italian cypress tree in the neighbor’s yard.  I thought maybe he’d gone into the shop when I’d opened the door, but he wasn’t to be found in there.  Close to nine, I could swear I saw him in the neighbor’s yard.  I went over there with the flashlight and knocked on the door (their daughter and son-in-law had just come by with the work van and dropped it off).  I was escorted to the backyard and I told the son-in-law that if it was Richie I had seen (and I was having my doubts, there was a stripey cat in their driveway when I went over there, it was dusk, entirely possible I couldn’t see the proper color; as they say “all cats are grey in the dark”), then it would be best if he not come out with me.  I checked around and didn’t see anything. I called him, but there was no answer.  The neighbor came out and I told her that I was going home, if I saw or heard anything, I’d be back, but I’d let myself in to their backyard and please don’t be alarmed.  She said “okay”.

So, I obsess.  I wish Brian was home.  He could help, he would find Richie.  Just last week I’d freaked out because I saw two red cats in the yard behind us, went tearing into the house yelling “Richie and Opie are in the yard behind us!”  He came out, Richie and Opie were in our yard by the pool.  So, of course, I’m thinking it’s just me being silly.  I had gotten all of the cats in and thought maybe if Opie were out, Richie would show up from wherever he was hiding.  Around a quarter to ten, I heard a cat fight in the yard behind the neighbor’s house.  Now, that’s not an usual place to hear a fight, so I went back over there.  I walked to the back of the yard, heard growling.  I called out softly “Richie?”  The cats scattered.  I walked along the fence, dodging oleander plants and shined the flashlight into the yard.  Nothing, no cats in sight.  Then I called him again.  I heard a cat meow.  I heard some noise at the fence behind our house.  I aimed the flashlight over there.  And I saw him.  On the top of the fence, at the very corner, trying to get into our yard. 

I walked over, had to duck under some sort of wire at the corner of the fence and I called him to me.  He made his way over, I held my finger out for him to smell me (our nightly ritual) and he came closer, close enough for me to give him a few little scritches behind his ears.  Real close to where I’d need to have my hand to scruff him and haul him over to me.  Within a minute, I was trying to hold Richie and the flashlight.  I knew I’d have to go out to the street to get home with him, since the barrier is done so well.  Richie’s head at my left shoulder, my right hand grabbing the back of his neck, his butt cradled in my left forearm, trying to hold the flashlight in my left hand.  I knew I’d have to move it, because I had two gates and two doors to open.  I moved the flashlight to under my arm and held it against my body that way.  Luckily, Richie wasn’t being squirmy at all, he was relaxed and glad to be in my arms.  I kept nuzzling him and telling him what an adventure he must have had.  When I got in the front door, I set him down and he didn’t run off, he just walked off, into the garage to see if there was any food left. 

I went outside and got Opie in the house.

When Brian got home, he couldn’t believe it.  The next morning, I didn’t let the cats out at four like I usually do. They had to stay in. When we both got up and dressed, we walked in the backyard, looking at the fence.  We just couldn’t see how he got out.  There was just no way the fence was breached.  But it had been.  In the coming days, Richie showed absolutely no interest in leaving.  And I finally figured out how he’d gotten out, although it had been a lot of work.  He got out by standing on the back of the park bench, jumping up (Richie is an awesome jumper, it’s always been something that amazes me), grabbing on to the wire and really pulling to get himself up.  Once he had jumped up, it was too scary to let go and just drop, too far down, so he had no option but to climb.  And climb he did.

He was none the worse for wear, I did find a scrape on his chin this weekend.  Not from a cat fight.  He must have done it leaving or trying to get back in.

The park bench has been moved.

The past few weeks, Ciara really sounded bad.  Coughing and all around not looking well at all.  Last Friday, I started her on the Orbax I got back in January for the colds they all had and she started doing much better before the day was out.  She’s still coughing a little, but not nearly as badly as she had been.  Poor baby.

And something weird was going on with Bart’s right eye last week.  The only way I can describe it is eye snot.  And it only affected his right eye, which told me that it wasn’t something systemic.  Something was going on with just that eye.  So, Friday, I started him on the triple antibiotic ointment I got from Becky when we first got Oliver and he went after Junior.  By the end of the weekend, the snot was gone, but I saw something on the cornea that didn’t belong.  At first, I thought it was from the ointment, but it was in the same place and I couldn’t wipe it off.  I told Brian this morning that I thought Bart should go the vet (and with money as tight as it is, I’m really reluctant to spend anymore money that I really need to).  Brian said he thought Bart’s eye looked better.  I said “yeah, it does, but it looks like there’s some sort of scratch or something on it and it’s not getting any better”.  He said “then you’d better take him in”, saying that this wasn’t something to take chances with.  The appointment was made for 10:15.

Turns out that Bart has a corneal erosion.  He said there’s really not a clear reason for it, could be a scratch (Bart likes to sleep in the same area as Oliver and Oliver thinks he’s the king of everything), or an ulcer because of the herpes virus.  The vet had to debride the cornea because dead corneal cells were where the wound was and it wasn’t healing properly.  Debriding meant scraping the dead cells off of it with a needle.  Bart got some ointment and eye drops and he has an appointment for next Tuesday morning for a recheck.  The vet said it was small and it most likely would heal without any problems.  Boy, was Bart glad to be home.

And yesterday, I got really weirded out by Rachel’s poop.  I was just finishing in the shower and saw her getting in the litter box.  Now, Rachel hasn’t had a firm stool in weeks.  Saturday, they got looser and yesterday, they were really nasty.  I watched her go and gave a closer look to the runny pile when she was finished.  I saw something strange in it, wondered what it was.  Naked, and holding the towel around my body with one hand, I searched for something disposable to dig in that little runny pile.  I found an emery board and started in.  It looked like there was a string (!) in the stool.  Crud, where did she get a string that long?  No wonder she’s had the poops.  I washed the string off and pulled on it.  It snapped.  This warnt no stinking string! This was a roundworm!  Ick!  Ick!  Ick!Ick!ICK!  I ran out to the family room and showed it to Brian. Then I threw it in the trash and thoroughly washed my hands. 

I’d never seen a roundworm and I’ve seen more this past twenty four hours than I ever want to see again.  I asked about them on a messageboard and was warned not to be surprised if she also vomited them up.  Which she’s done.  I was also told that the medication doesn’t kill the worm, but anesthesizes them so that they let loose their grip and they leave the system, that they can’t live in the outside environment.  Oh, gawd!  That thing was alive?  This is just too gross.  But, this should only last a few more days.  Then, I’ll give her another dose of Strongid in two weeks and that should do it for her.  Luckily, Ross didn’t have them quite so badly as she did.

Marco has taken over raising the kittens.  He’s a surrogate mother.  Funniest thing I’ve ever seen.  He just lays there and lets them suckle.  He’ll clean them and cover their poops.  And he growls at the other cats who come a little too close, the cats he doesn’t trust.  I got a picture of him in the carrier with the kittens at his breast this morning.  It’s over in the gallery.

And I’m also in the process of getting ready to move this website.  This past weekend, I moved catler.org, where I had all of my guestbooks and messageboards for the cats.  But those are very inactive and I just couldn’t justify spending $34.95 a month for something that was rarely used.  One of the things that has been holding me back from moving was that these scripts run on the original Miva engine, which you just don’t find anymore.  The new engine uses scripts that have been compiled and mine aren’t.  But I figure I’ll just bite the bullet.  I saved all of the data and will archive it in the months to come.  Yesterday and today I searched for new guestbook scripts, found a couple that are acceptable.  So, the catcam page has a new forum and guestbook and I’ve made one guestbook for all of the cats, where they each used to have their own messageboard. But, recently, the most active board was Ciara’s with kids each saying they were the first to have the name.  No big loss.  I’m doing this all now so that the move next week will be as clean as possible. 

I did the math and by moving two of my sites, I’ll be saving over five hundred and fifty dollars a year.  That’s worth it, in my book.  The refund I get from the host of catler (I pay by the year) will offset all of the charges I’ve made paying for two years each of three domains.  I should have done this sooner.  I just didn’t want to lose those messageboards, but reality set in.  And for what I’m getting, I certainly can’t complain.

Well, that’s it for now.  I’ve got to go start dinner and fold the last load of laundry I did this weekend (I got everything in all of the baskets washed and got the jeans in the dryer late last night, the last load).


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lisaviolet is sixty something, married with no kids, takes care of lots of cats, likes taking photographs, loves Southern California weather and spends altogether too much time avoiding her responsibilities.

In her spare time, she makes pretty things to sell in her store.

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