Wednesday, May 2, 2012

When It Rains, It Pours - Baby's Emergency

I almost called this post, "When Feral Cats Ail, and Emergency Vets Fail."

I woke up this morning to find Nik dragging all the slipcovers, blankets and laundry that was outside into the shed.  But I should have known yesterday when I washed the sofa slipcovers that it would rain.  It is Murphy's law.

The shed piled high inside with slipcovers

We were both running late, so I quickly loaded up the bag for the park feeding.  I had the hunch to clean the litter boxes before I left. Thank goodness! Because it turned into a very long and nerve-wracking morning.

It was still raining and consequently very muddy when I got to the park.  I was just filling the plates at the upper level, when I heard some insistent mewing. I hadn't seen Bugsy yet, so when I caught a glimpse of black and white fur, I assumed it was him.  But then I noticed how drenched he was, oh dear, so I took a closer look and was shocked to find it was Baby.

Baby!?  Baby is never at the top of the park! Once last winter she followed me up the stairs.  That was when she was in trouble and couldn't eat, so I thought, "Wow, she must be really hungry!"  I hadn't seen her yesterday so, maybe, yes, that was it, but what I found when I tried to feed her was a similar problem to this past winter: she couldn't eat!  

I remembered I had a trap in the back of the car.  We didn't have a trap last time we tried to catch Baby, so I wasn't sure she would go for it.  But I hustled back up to the car to get it, and found Strike waiting for me.  I hurried to put something delicious down for Strike, when I turned around and found Baby had followed me!  Unheard of!!  So she was pretty desperate.  Well, so was I!  I put some of Strike's gourmet in the trap and sure enough Baby went in.  She was attracted to food, she just couldn't eat it, (Earlier she kept trying different bowls to see if that would make a difference for her.)

The trap didn't spring, so I tip-toed over and closed the door myself.  Then she went crazy like they do when they are caught.  I popped her in the back of the car:

I quickly finished feeding Strike, spending less time with her than I would have liked:

And I rushed home to call Nik to find an emergency vet. 

One concern was time: getting Baby back to her kittens as quickly as possible.  We don't have any vets close by, just the farm vet I told you about here, but I thought we would give him a second chance since the long drive to Nicosia, Larnaca, or Limassol seemed not in the best interests of Baby or her kittens.  He said he could meet me at his office at 9 AM.  Well that was hours away!  Too long! 

So we called a vet we once went to in Larnaca for an emergency when Greyboy got cat flu last winter.  He said he would meet us at his office between 7-7:30 AM.  I made the drive.  He didn't show at all.  Instead he sent his veterinary assistant.  She asked me the problem, and then she said she had heard it was a poisoning.  "No!" I said, "Not poisoning!  It's her mouth, her teeth perhaps.  Where is the doctor?"  She said I would have to leave Baby there until the vet came in at 10 AM.  I went crazy.  I gave her a piece of my mind to give to the doctor and went out to find another emergency vet.  I then called my husband for help.

Nik was a real hero and found  Dr George Artemiou just ten minutes away.  The young doctor met me and Baby at his office about a half hour later.  Good man. 

Our new emergency vet, Dr. George Artmiou - Thank you, Dr. George!

 Baby in the trap while we wait for the doctor to arrive

He had to give Baby a sedative because Baby is 100% feral, and there is no other way he could have looked into her mouth:

 Baby under sedation

He checked her teeth and found they were OK, but there was a sharp bird part lodged in her teeth which he pulled out:

 Let's hope that was it

He gave Baby a good exam and ruled out other problems, then woke her up.   He instructed me to wait until she was less drowsy before I released her, a couple of hours or so.  So I made the long journey home to find poor Mandy and Morris trying to keep out of the rain on the doorstep.  (I wish they would use the shed, but I guess they are afraid of feeling cornered should other unfriendly cats come in.)

Morris and Mandy trying to keep dry

 Morris ran over and hopped in the car and gave me a super close up:

 I almost got to see if his teeth were OK

He crawled nonchalantly in back to check out the stranger, and then parked himself in the passenger seat.  My car is kind of Morris' house, so I am sure he missed it in the rain.

 Wonderful Morris

I left Baby in the back of the car while I went in to get Muji for his long overdue morning ablutions.

 Muji was waiting for his morning walk - "Human Mom, why are thee so late?"

We didn't go far because Muji wasn't too happy about the wet streets. 

After we got back I took Baby to the park to release her.  She was still a little unsteady, so I should have waited longer.  After orienting herself, she nixed my meal offering, and headed straight back to her territory:

 Baby heads off in the rain without eating

Let's hope she went to eat something.  I am going to go back down there in a while to check on her and Strike.

When I got back in the car.  It was still raining, my boots were caked with mud, and my camera and I were drenched.

We have been feeding Baby for over a year now.  We were so worried about her this past winter when days and days went by where she couldn't eat.  We didn't have traps at the time and we tried many different ways to catch her, unsuccessfully,  including a blanket.

She is one of the oldest cats we feed, the doctor estimated between 2-3 years old, which is what we guessed. 

We have one of her babies living with us, Bashful, a name which he outgrew, so we now call him Bashers.  It fits him perfectly as he loves to ram us lovingly with his head. We brought him home this past winter when he was very sick with gastroenteritis.  Thankfully he was not feral, just very shy.

Baby's baby, "Bashers"

He has his mom's feet

I hope Baby is OK.  And I hope her kittens are well, too.  Baby has had a hard life. I wish there was something more we could do to help her. Please keep her and her kittens in your thoughts, and pray for their safety and well being.  Baby is such a sensitive cat, and she was very sickly when we first started feeding her.  She has improved so much, let's hope this is just a small setback.

When the sun comes out again, things will look better for all of us, I am sure. The rain just makes everything harder.

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