Today is #Caturday, a weekly day to celebrate and honor cats in our lives.
I am fortunate enough to work with a slew of cat folx who have pet cats, community cats, foster cats, and more. I work with the #PghCatFolx projects to address gaps and needs. We aren’t a rescue or foster. We do things like:
- Connect community members who want to help with colonies via online wishlists. A few bags of food or some litter can go a long way both financially and emotionally for folx doing pretty lonely work.
- Use the ‘Buy Not a Thing’ groups to redirect gently used items such as towels, takeaway containers, blankets, and pet items.
- Help neighbors in a financial bind access veterinary care and encourage neighbors to donate to offset those expenses.
- Take care of the Fort Faulsey colony
- Work with a ten year old volunteer, Annie, who is creating an educational activity sheet for other kids about community cats.
This week, we are featuring Ashford, a 5-6 month old male kitten. He was found on the Northside by a neighbor who fed him, but could not take him in. She connected with me and we scooped him up. He had a serious bite wound on his tail that required immediate surgery – as in, whisking him out of my hands – and while he was under, they neutered him, tested him (negative), vaccinated him, etc.
I name our foster and community cats after soap opera characters – they are typically unique and recognizable and not often repeated. Surnames are good. Ashford is named after a family on General Hospital Curtis Ashford, ex-wife Commissioner Jordan Ashford, Jordan’s son Dr. TJ Ashford, Curtis’ father Marshall Ashford, Aunt Stella, and TJ’s domestic partner Molly Lansing-Davis. We have a Molly Lansing-Davis already living here so that works. Then there’s Curtis estranged bride Portia Robinson and his might-be daughter Trina Robertson.
While his tail was healing beautifully, I noticed that Ashford wasn’t bouncing back to the usual level of activity of a kitten his age. For a few days, I wrote it off to the anesthesia and pain medication. Then he stopped eating and I knew we had to call the vet. He’s there now and while his main indicators are normal – temp, physical exam, healing of his bite wound – the vet said something is off. He’s going to have more testing. They suspect a GI issue which could be as simple as worms that resisted his first round of dewormer. He has lost a full pound since Friday which is not good – he only weighed 5 lbs to begin with.
That’s the thing with kittens who lived outdoors as community cats for any length of time – they are so vulnerable to all the things from worms to viruses and worse. Two of our adopted cats who were outside during their early weeks have chronic URIs. Two other get viruses at the drop of a hat and need fluids. Even our 15-year-old Precious has permanent skin allergies and reactions. Every foster kitten we’ve ever had was rushed to Urgent Care at least once.
People have kitten/can super powers – they are great at trapping reticent cats, they bottle feed, they can administer fluids. My superpower is detecting when a cat or kitten is sick. Part of that is training from our foster group, Pittsburgh CAT. Part of that is just intuition. That’s why I think we do so well with weaned kittens. They are past that first hurdle and seem fine. And if they aren’t, we catch it most times. We’ve never lost a kittend.
So this #Caturday, I’m asking for donations of the things that Ashford will need – disposable litter pans, new scoops, rugs – he prefers the coolness of a rug to a bed, new toys that we can keep separate from the household toys – you get the idea. If this is worms, depending on the type, he’ll be cooped up in the bathroom for awhile.
We have a “pet linen closet” where we store towels, blankets, rags, etc. I also keep the extra littpans, the disposable roasting pans, gloves, syringes, wipes, booties, the whole nine yards. Just last week, I went through and packed everything up to send to other folx. So my supplies are lower than usual.
Ashford’s wishlist is https://bit.ly/CaturdayPgh
You can also donate directly through Pittsburgh LGBTQ Charities that coordinates Fort Faulsey cats
Facebook.com/PittsburghLGBTQ and click Donate button
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