Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Spring is Here

For years I was a self employed pet sitter in the United States.  When I wasn't cleaning litter boxes and feeding cats I was walking dogs.  I walked dogs all day long 7 days a week!  Plus I had four of my own dogs at the time.  They had to be walked, too, because I had a tiny yard and a tiny house and they were a raucous bunch.

Mr. Chew was one of my raucous bunch of four dogs

Being out on the streets every day I could notice in tiny increments the minute changes that signaled the change of seasons, like the American Red-Breasted Robins on the lawn, those famous harbingers of spring.  I was privy to the whisperings of the subtle change in light from the sun, and most of all the from the budding wildflowers, in the parks, in the fields, and squeezing thorugh the cracks in the curb.

Robin Red Breast - The American Robin, I miss you!

Likewise here in Cyprus I am outside for hours every day, and after seven years, the first wildflowers of spring have become as familiar to me as they were back home.  Not only the kinds, but their exact location.  I know where each will spring up, in which crevice, in which sidewalk, on what street.  I know where they left their seeds!

These wildflowers in Cyprus tell me spring is here

About two weeks ago I noticed the first of the tall, pale yellow wildflowers, and I exclaimed to everyone around me, "Spring is here!"  "No, they said, not yet."  And then I saw the next batch of yellow wildflowers, golder, warmer, more daisy-like.  "Yes, yes, it's true," I said, "Spring is here!"  "No, no, you are wrong they said.  Not quite yet."  I doubted myself until I saw the first red poppy at the park, and then I knew, they were wrong, Spring is here!

I am so sorry, party poopers, but Spring is indeed here!

Oh, yes, and in case you are not sure, there is always this to remind you:

OH, dear.  Spooky courts Princess at the park

We can't stop them all at once. 

How about you?  Is it Spring where you are?  How can you tell?

King Comes Home

King came home last night. 

The first thing we had to do was take him out of the (vet's) carrier he came home in and transfer him to a larger carrier, where he will spend the next days. He has to be confined so he does not move around a lot and his hip can heal.

The carrier King came home in, with the larger one prepared for him behind

Nik gently lifted King out of the small carrier

And placed him in the larger one

King in the larger carrier with a fresh puppy pad
We brought him in through the window so we wouldn't have to carry him through the front door and by our dog, Muji, and all the cats.  We didn't want him getting excited or anymore scared than he likely was. 

We brought King in through the window to avoid a fuss
We placed him in the back room where the cats eat and play.  This room has a baby gate to protect the cats' food from Muji eating it all.  Because he would!

Here some of the cats checked out our new arrival. 

Left to right, Mikey, Cosmos, Pegs, Gini, and Minnow meet King

He ate last night, but didn't drink any water.  This morning he wouldn't have either and I was getting worried.  By the afternoon he began drinking a lot of water, a lot, and now this evening he is eating again. 

King drinking water earlier today

I am keeping the house very warm for him and I have put some hot water bottles in the carrier. He is very fragile.  His eye is still infected, and we will make our first attempt to put cream in it tonight.   He can't maneuver to eliminate, so this is a problem. 

Please send King your prayers.  He is fighting hard and needs all the help he can get.  Thank you.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Altering Slipper

We have altered many cats in between Topper and King, 18 to be exact.  I have told you about Glitter.  Now I will tell you about the rest, starting with Slipper.

Slipper got his name because of the way he slipped into our life.  It was so easy, so surprising.  He just followed Nik home one day on foot from the Maisonettes, when we still lived next door to them.  He quickly made friends with Hamlet

A then very young Slipper is watching us trap Hamlet

Little Slipper made friends with all the cats who came to eat outside our house.

Slipper pictured here in the center with friends Hamlet, left, Amber, right, and in the background, Jazzy

Slipper hung around outside, making himself at home in the garden, but slipping around the house every time I tried to get close to him.  He was a cat on a banana peel.

Slipper would slip around the house when I tried to get close to him

He started jumping up onto the window sills and curiously looking inside our house.  At the time it was a million degrees hot out and we had the windows and sliding glass doors open 24/7 with the screens closed.  It was in this manner he got to know every cat in the house.  They simply accepted him as one of them. They never protested his presence.  He was clever and smooth this way, like a vanilla shake.

Slipper would sit on the window sills and look through the screens at us

He was still very young then, mostly a kitten.  At the time I still thought he was a she. That happens a lot.  But when I took the following picture, it greatly clarified things for me:

Oh, dear, she is a he

But let's backtrack a little.  Where, specifically, did Slipper come from?  Besides the Maisonettes, I mean?

Well, we think we can trace him back to Morris and Bullet:

Morris, left, and Bullet, right

Morris and Bullet also came from the Maisonettes, but nearly a year earlier.  Morris and Bullet were the best of young chums. 

We picked them both up at the same time to take in for alteration. Morris was then altered, but the vets told us they discovered, upon examination, that Bullet had already been altered, that they could see her scar. So both were returned to us, one altered and one apparently previously altered, and they were both so friendly, they overnighted with us.

Morris and Bullet overnighted with us

Bullet on the bed

Morris and Bullet

We considered keeping them.  But learning that Bullet was already altered made us wonder, "Was Bullet someone's pet?"  That was our concern, and since we didn't want to keep Morris and have Bullet to be without her buddy, we returned both of them to the Maisonettes.

It was soon after that we one morning discovered Morris had been visciously bitten by another cat.  He was limping terribly.  Morris had to go back to the vet for treatment and antibiotics for his infected paw.  This meant he had to stay with us after he was released so we could administer the course of his antibiotics. So we fixed him up with his medicine and after about ten days returned him to the Maisonettes.  After that Morris wasn't too keen on other adult cats. 

Then both Morris and Bullet started to follow us home at night from the Maisonette feedings.  At first they followed us halfway.  Then a little farther, and a little farther, until they finally made it all the way to our garden.  They were both still very young then, not quite adults, so when they came face to face with the adult cats outside our house, they had some second thoughts.   Morris would scream bloody murder if the adult cats bullied him, well, actually, even if they looked at him, and yet he chose to stay and scream when he had to.  Bullet just ran away, back to the Maisonettes,  and went back to following us only halfway back each night. 

Fast forward a few months, and Morris had become a permanent resident outside our house.  He started sleeping in my car, and when Mandy arrived, she became his new bestest friend:

Morris slept in my car
Morris and his new BFF, Mandy

We still saw Bullet at the Maisonettes, and we had identified the house she apparently belonged to.  There was food outside on their veranda, and a little cat bed.  That warmed my heart.  But there were also some new kittens there, and at least one looked like her.  This is the kitten that followed Nik home one night and decided to move into our garden.  This was Slipper. 

Was Slipper Bullet's kitten?  Was Bullet not spayed afterall?  Or was she spayed, but incompletely, which I have heard of happening here?  We don't know.

What we do know is Slipper chose us and slipped around our house for a couple of months getting to know not only all our cats through the screened windows and sliding glass doors, but our dog, Muji, too.  He then slipped right through the front door one day, and took up residence on the sofa, like it was the most normal thing in the world. 

Our dog, Muji

Slipper loves other cats, he loves family.  He is no longer wild and loves attention.  He goes in and out as he chooses.  I have never seen him be ugly to another cat ever.  He is an amazing, gently tempered cat. 

And now you know how he got his name.

Here is Slipper when we took him in for alteration:


Here is Slipper now, pretty much all grown and absolutely precious:

Slipper over Cyprus

Slipper on my slippers!

Slipper the sweet tabby!
We still see Bullet at the Maisonettes; she's sweet as ever. Morris lives with us still, and still screams at other cats. And Slipper is still slipping in and out of the house at will, and has slipped into all of our hearts. No chance he's slipping out. :)

PS If you want to see what cats we have altered in close to real time, please go to our facebook page, Altered Cats! Cyprus, where I post each one on our timeline as a Milestone.  And if you like us, please "Like" us and tell your friends about us.  Thank you!

Monday, February 25, 2013

King Comes Home Tomorrow an Altered Cat


The vets say King can come home tomorrow.  He will have to stay in a large carrier for a while while his hip heals.  Barring any unseen developments, that is the plan.

They said he has been a very naughty patient, biting the vets' fingers and such, but he is afterall a feral cat, and I am just grateful they were willing to treat him. 

They also neutered him while he was under anesthesia for his x-rays.  That's good.  He was on our list of  the 'Big Fish' we wanted to catch.  I just hope he doesn't feel like we added insult to injury. 

Ever since I met King I noticed he had an eye injury that caused his pupil to be enlarged.  I never saw it infected but the day we caught him I noticed it was weeping a lot.  They sedated him and cleaned it out really well, and asked if we thought we would be able to give him eyedrops.  The answer to that is I don't know, it likely will be difficult.

You can see King's eye weeping in this picture

How hard is this going to be bringing home another cat with special needs especially since he is feral?  It's probably going to be hard, but I am just so happy he is alive.  My  hope is the injury will heal in time and he will be able to live out on the veranda and play in the olive grove with the others.

He always has a place here with us.

Wanna Get Some Sweet Corn

I am not sure how this happened:
or when:

but the price of Sweet Corn has gone up:

Sweet Corn: 3,80 euro per kilo

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Spotting Jazzy at Sammy's

I was very happy to spot Jazzy recently at Sammy's:

He was looking fine and nice and fat in his winter coat:

Jazzy's beautiful winter coat, which he does all himself.  That's Glitter just behind him.
I have spotted him there before, but it was nighttime, so I couldn't see too well.  In the daylight however, he took my breath away:

Looking beautiful
Good to see you, Jazzy. 

PS You can read about when we altered Jazzy here.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Mobile Vet Visit

We had some of the vets on our team come for a mobile visit to aminister a whole bunch of vaccinations.  This is actually the second time we have done this.  It's pretty harrowing...I just want to say....

It is harrowing for the vets and for us, and it is that rare occasion on which I have very little sympathy for the cats because they behave so atrociously.

Here was Sophie.  She was so bad.  SOOOO bad.  I could not believe it was my sweet little Sophie.  I am not even speaking to Sophie right now because I am so offended by her behavior, and still stinging from her scratches.

Sophie giving the vet a heckuva time
Sweet little Sophie, that light from the firmamant of the heavens...

Sophie, when her tiny light fell to earth
Sophie, who could do no wrong

Sophie, the one who puts her little paw on my face when she sleeps on my chest and then looks around as if to tell the other cats, "She's mine. Eat it."

Hmm,...well, come to think of it, that's not very nice either. 

Here Solo glances at Precious before the remains of the day: spent teabags, empty gourmet tins and Carrefour pate foils, and drained vaccine bottles:

"What world is this?"
"Τι κόσμο είναι?"

King Hit by a Car

Yesterday morning when I got to the park, I was just laying out the kibble when I heard a cat crying.  I followed the cry into the brush by the sea and found King.  I knew something was wrong.  He couldn't move. 

King was in the brush and couldn't move

I didn't know what to do.  I didn't have a carrier with me.  One was at the vet with Rex, also from the park, as he was being altered.  The other we lent to a friend.  The only other carriers were at home and were the large dog carriers in which I had brought my dogs to Cyprus.  A trap would not have helped because King could not walk.

He has been a lot friendlier lately, allowing me to pet him, and rubbing against my legs when I arrive, but yesterday morning he was feeling  vulnerable and frightened and he was in pain. He was hissing and spitting and I knew it would be hard to catch him. 

My phone was out of juice.  I got in a quick call to Nik before it died.  I decided to go on down to the lower park and feed the rest of the cats, then go home and get a large carrier, and ask Nik to meet me at the park on his lunch hour to try to catch King.

When I got down to the lower park I found Sose with a deep wound behind his ear, and Pookie was sick.  She was sneezing everywhere.

Sose with his injury

Pookie has a bad cold, I hope that is all it is
And I noticed Mustafa is losing patches of fur:

Mustafa has some bald spots.  What's up? 

But they both ate well along with the others, so I focused my concern on King's needs.

After feeding the other cats I went back up to check on King to see if he would eat. I had a pouch of something special in the car and he ate the whole thing.

King was very hungry and I was so happy he ate

Since he had dragged himself a ways toward the kibble and water bowls, I thought he might be thirsty and brought him some water.  He didn't drink any. 

He wouldn't drink any water

Nik met me at the park on his lunch break and went right to work trying to catch him.  It's times like these when what we really need is a net, but all we had was garden gloves, a gigantic carrier, and a towel.   We were both crawling around under the brush trying to corner him and he was pitifully hissing and spitting and dragging himself away from us. 

Nik goes into the brush where King is hiding

King made sure he dragged himself where we couldn't reach him

Nik in the brush closing in on King
Then we both lost sight of him.  A few minutes later we found that he had exited the brush and crawled between these large rocks by the sea.  He wedged himself in well.  It worked in our favor. 
That's King's hind side and tail sticking out from between the boulders
Thank goodness Nik had some jeans to change into
Nik is trying to get a grip on him here without getting bitten
And sure enough he pops up with King in his hands, I couldn't believe it
And there you have it, Nik comes through for us again.  He got a big kiss after this.

It took us Nik's entire lunch hour but we got him.  I couldn't believe it.  I was sure we would have to come back again later.

King's x-rays show his hip is broken.  We have to wait and see if he can eliminate by himself before we can fully understand his condition.  He has already done his peepee but we have to wait on the other.  If he can do that then it is just a matter of time like it was with Arsinoe to see if he can walk again.  If so, he will have to be contained for a long time so his hip can heal, which means keeping him in a large carrier here at home.  He can't go back to the park. 

It broke my heart to see this dignified, proud, and benevolent creature I have gotten to know so well and care about so much, crippled with pain and reduced to terror.  I hate cars.  I really do.  Thank God, he wasn't killed.

Please send King your prayers for a full and speedy recovery. 

We love you King and we pray you will heal

Nik, thanks for coming through for us.  Thank you. 

And thank you all for your prayers and your kind and loving thoughts. 

The majestic King when I first met him
King is still a king to us.