Cats Update 2020-02-21

Mama Is Top Cat

“If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

Old Saying

(WordPress thinks if I’m going to have a quote, it needs a citation.)

Peppercorn, Little Mama, Miss Thang, is a semi-feral kitty, petite in everything but personality. If she thinks any other cat is too close to her kittens or too much of a threat or too close to the food, any food, then little mama growls and fusses, and she means it. She will chase if she thinks it’s too serious. She will give me a warning growl if she doesn’t immediately recognize me or if I’m very quiet. Yet she accepts me with the kittens and mostly with her, if I don’t get too personal, suchh as picking her up and carrying her. She has let me do that a few times, though. I think she’s gradually learning to trust me more. But because I’ve been feeding her so well and now she has a good home indoors, she thinks I must be pretty good, and she’s OK with me around the kittens, picking them up, and so on. I haven’t handled them a whole lot yet, but now they are warming up to me too, and I can be a little more easygoing and handle them, pet them, play with them, so they learn some humans are friends and loving, and so the kittens may get adopted by loving homes as pets, not feral.

However, there is a complication: I’m vision-impaired, plus cats tend to get underfoot without realizing we have trouble with that. So sometimes there’s a misstep and she fusses, and once, overnight, she just couldn’t keep from getting right underfoot, and so we fussed our way from one room back to the kitchen for food, but she still needs to learn I don’t mean any harm, I just can’t always see, or I miss because I’m doing something else.

Well, she woke me overnight by having a spat with Goober or Mystic, probably only one or two swipes, but it woke me and I hard one, so I presume there was another.

She wants to take Goober’s and Mystic’s food, even if she’s just had her can and they are being fed in the other room. This is a problem I haven’t fixed yet. Tonight, after she tried this, I got her back to the kitchen, set out a little more dry, and hustled Goober and Mystic into the two bedrooms, fed them there, and closed the doors. Whew. So they had peace and safety. These two boys are mild-mannered, for the most part. Goober is old and neutered and the most non-assertive cat in the universe, almost. Mystic is around one or two, not yet neutered because I just adopted him recently and he’s still awaiting clearance after his first vet appointment. Mystic is also very mild, and I think he has some depression or other issues going on, maybe former abuse. Yet he must have had a loving home at some point, because he loves attention, even lap sitting sometimes. But he hasn’t gotten on the bed much.

Peppercorn has been running the two boys ragged. It was when Mystic went to the back door wanting out again, when I knew he wanted food and hadn’t had moist since he got in at 6 or so yesterday evening, after being out since last night — I then fed the boys separately, with closed doors. Both of them felt better, but didn’t eat all their can.

So I am going oto have to get through this. I need her to make friends, so she trusts them with her babies. I need Goober and Mystic to make friends too. Goober made a list overture, but didn’t stick with it because I was there, or he chickened out. Mystic is just about as meek. They are not above passive-aggressive, or jealousy of someone else getting my attention, and you can only push a cat so far, after all. (Mystic would not let the vet Asst. draw blood, so they will do that when he’s sedated for neutering.)

The kittens, meanwhile, have gone from only in the box to very short distances out to be with mama and eat, to…within one day, first some nearby exploring, then deciding the carrier I had put out was a good kitten den for snoozing, then playing with the ottoman I put there and a few homemade toys and one ball, to…they decided I was not quite so scary, I might be OK to approach or play with, to…by yesterday evening (1st day) to overnight, I am mostly OK, they think, and they were down the hall to look at the bathroom and hallway, discover they could try to hog the male cats’ food, and two did a very brief foray into one of the bedrooms. I expect they will be everywhere by the end of tomorrow.

I am already being extra cautious where I step or sit and how I move. Old experience dealing with kittens is kicking back in, but oh, it’s been years since I last dealt with kittens daily, back when Goober and the Smokey were kittens, years apart. Before that, years more.

The kittens and mama are all-black, and the kittens are still very small, growing fast now, and active when they are awake, and very, very still when they are sleeping. So I don’t want to hurt a kitten by mistake.

Overnight was very challenging for a bit, but now all is settled as the cats are asleep, except for Goober, who is grooming.

Mystic came back after hours outside with it raining or misting and the temp dropping from the 50’s to 37 for our expected low. I heard Curry, I think, but didn’t see him, and I put out food.

If all goes well and I can finally get ahold of either cabbie, then mama can get to the vet and be treated for parasites and maybe ear mites, plus basic shots and checkup. And just in case, I think it’s too soon for her to be pregnant again, but could she be? They’ll check. Aside from diarrhea / loose stool, maybe ear mites too, she seems very healthy. The family sheltering her outside before had not taken her and the kittens to the vet. So far, the three strays around the complex, Curry, Mystic, and Peppercornhave all had this going on, so somewhere around the grounds, they can get to worms and bacteria that cause this, and the mites, and potentially fleas. Sigh. The pooping problem is the worst. I hope I don’t have to give her oral meds, but I will try if so. I got Curry to put up with that for the required time, but no more.

So, it has been quite something. — I will need to dump any old litter and clean heir boxes, plus mop to disinfect, before the vet appointment. I may not get to all of int, but should be OK enough before we go, if we get to go today.

I am trying to get Mystic used to a brush, because he’s having a lot of issues with longhair fur matting way too easily. Poor guy. I thin this is related to depression or old habits. I’m hoping with help and with patience, he’ll get past most of that and will groom better soon.

I’m going to lower the amount of moist in favor of dry kitten food with a little water for a while, but the kittens eat a little dry kibble anyway, already, and are fine with the moist. The kitten food hasn’t gotten here yet. Mama is so starved and defensive because of the parasites. All her energy is going to that instead of fueling herself and milk production for her babies. Once that starts healing up, she can get full food value for the first time in however long it’s been, and maybe she won’t be so grouchy.

I still have some hopes there might be a tamer, not-quite-feral kitty under all that. She does have a loving affectionate side. I can tell she has some manners, more so than Curry.

So, so far, so good. No major battles. No one’s gotten hurt, and I hope no one will.

If Goober and Mystic make friends, it will help. If mama Peppercorn can learn to trust them as her babies get older, it sure would help more.

The kittens should be 3+ weeks old by now, more like 3-1/2, so in three to five weeks, they should be ready to give away. That will be just enough time to locate a shelter to adopt them out, or homes, I hope. Mama herself will need to be spayed after she’s weaned them, and depending on how tame she is, where to place he. I like her feisty attitude, but it gets old when she fusses at the boys constantly, when they don’t show any signs of wanting to hurt anyone. And I can only have two pets in the apartment. (Having the two guys plus a mama and five babies is stretching it for me in all senses, budget, time, frustration versus enjoyment, food and litter. But I am in this for the duration. It’s not as bad as it could be, and in many ways, it’s nothing new or too unexpected. I am just not used to it, after so long, and not used to semi-feral inside. But I am learning again.)

The kittens are, of course, a joy. Few accidents so far. They are really good about the litterbox, which is a real blessing. But kittens and adults do have accidents once in a while, and cats have hairball or other issues at times. So I know the drill.

No new pics as of yet. I need desperately to tidy up and reduce down. Once I have some of that done, there should be pics again. The kittens are wonderful and still so new, I don’t know who’s who or what genders. One kitten though, is going to be named Squeaker, temporarily or full-time. He or she has a very high squeak for a meow, and is getting friendly. All of the kittens are getting friendly as they interact with me, and that’s great, that’s the idea, to get them tamed and adoptable to good homes. Three cats is about my maximum, but of course, mama and kittens need care until they are ready to be adopted out.

I should have an update tonight after the vet appointment, or news that I couldn’t get a cab and had to reschedule.

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Cat Care, Behavior, Plus Thoughts

Longhair Care

Mystic got out once after his first vet appointment and he got very anxious to go out Wednesday morning, and sprayed a small burst at the headboard. Fortunately or unfortunately, I was there, so I cleaned it up, Clorox Wipes. Tonight, after feeding and a rest and wanting attention, which I gave extra, he went to the door and asked expressively to go out. So I let him. I hope he’ll be back soon, and I’ll check in the morning and during the day. Last time, he was back in around 24 hours or 36. So he is not yet used to being a full-time inside cat, if he ever was. I have hopes. But I can also understand he wants a break and feels pressured by Peppercorn and Goober. At least he got good attention before going, so he should know he’s welcome and loved. He was grateful last night and this afternoon for the love.

He is a longhair with very fine hair, and it gets matted easily. Plus I suspect he has lingering depression and anxiety from having been outside so long before I found me. So when a cat is feeling down or is ill, they may not always groom adequately or in their usual more careful habits. I tried a warm washcloth before, and a new cat brush, but he didn’t care fror either and got anxious both times. I will keep trying. He needs occasional spot-care help. But I found I wasn’t sure how best to deal with his fur. I don’t want to create mats or pull too hard, and I know that snipping out any tangles with scissors is a tricky thing, because cats have loose, thin skin, like an old person’s, so you can’t cut too close to the skin and risk cutting them. I believe that experimenting with combing / washing from the top down to the tips of the hair, or from the underside, again out to the tips, should give the desired results, clean and separated fur to dry nicely neat. I’ve heard some cats love being brushed. I’ve never done this much, but the only two longhair cats I’ve had were once, an outside cat when I was a young teen, and my mom’s favorite, a sweet stray longhair who stayed happily an indoor kitty thereafter. So cat grooming tips would be welcome. I know one friend online has a similar problem with her longhair cat, and so combs her regularly.

After Mystic went out, I heard a meowing call a while later and thought it was he, but no, it was Curry. Luckily, just in case, I’d closed the door inside and had brought out a food bowl. So Curry got fed, but Mystic is still out.

Behavior Notes – Why, Kitty?

In my preivious post, I talked about how Mystic got scared and his reactions, after Peppercorn and Goober(!) fussed at him over the food bowls. I think he is still depressed and anxious after being so long outside. I think he had a loving home at one time and lost it, was outside so long that he became fearful and sad, and now is still not used to the idea that he could have a real home and real love again, the abiding kind. I think he may have had some trauma regarding being shut in somewhere, , and I wonder if his previous owner got sick or passed away, due to another clue.

Wednesday morning, pre-dawn, he wanted out or wanted attention and he sprayed the headboard as I’d said. I cleaned that up and didn’t do more than tell him no, firmly. But when I got up, prepared to let him out, and I gave him attention, he sat on the bed and calmed and went to his spot, problem solved. He wanted attention and reassurance more than he wanted out. Before he’d sprayed, I thought he was just wanting out, and I was in bed and had been asleep, so I was ignoring it to let him get used to being in. At one point, he lay down a minute with me and with Goober curled up with me. But then he resumed it and then sprayed. I got the odd feeling he thought something was wrong, as if maybe he thought I wasn’t responding because I was sick or worse. I wasn’t. It made me wonder if he had something like that happen before, and was anxious, scared, because of it. The attention seemed to help that time..

Overnight tonight, he liked the attention, I held him, let him be in my lap, which he likes. He wanted out a bit after. So I let him out. While he was at the windows, before I got up and let him out, he went from my bed, jumped to try to get in (or out) of the window by my bed, and the blinds and his jump and the lack of much window sill stopped him. Thankfully, he didn’t break the window, but his jump or lunge was strong and he’s a decent-sized, strong young cat. So I wondered if this was another clue to what he’s been through. He got the attention after that, it helped, but he still wanted out, and then asked nicely but expressively.

Peppercorn — She gets hissy/growly if Goober or Mystic get too close to her kittens. She will give me a warning low, but light, growl when she first sees me, but calms down when she recognizes it’s just me, the friendly human who feeds her and let her and her babies. in. So she is still wary and partly feral, but getting better. She may be getting more tolerant of Goober and Mystic, I’m nt sure. She still would chase Curry off, but she hasn’t had contact with him since I took her in the other day.

However, Peppercorn (and Mystic) both use Goober’s litterbox in the bathroom. Peppercorn has also used the guest litterbox in the living room (the only other place except carpeted bedrooms it could go). So I wonder what this says about who is dominant or about cooperation or making do with what’s available. So far, she has not had an accident; she’s only used the boxes. She seems the alpha in all else, but in this, she holds it in and gets along. I wonder what it says about them all.

Goober was very relieved. He thought he was going to be punished or taken to the vet, earlier, when I took him to the bathroom to feed him. Then when I intervened another time, so he and Peppercorn didn’t clash, after I fed him, I took him to the bedroom and we went to bed. He hadn’t been to bed with me earlier with Peppercorn and the kittens and Mystic all here. So he was very, very glad he was still welcome with me and loved.I wonder what thee things say about how cats act and why, or about human nature by comparison and contrast.

It has occurred to me, I am not sure if Peppercorn knows her name yet. But cats do learn their names. That means they learn there is a word, a sound sequence, that means them as a specific cat. So doesn’t the ability to recognize a name, and to have a sense of self-awareness, indicate a higher degree of intelligence than we humans admit? Or how intelligent must a creature be to know it is an individual, and to know it has a name, a symbol to represent oneself? Both concepts seem fairly high up there, to me, on the level f a human baby or small child. I am not sure of the answers or implications, but the question sure is interesting.

Those were my bits of philosophy or scientific inquiry this night. How do these compare with how we humans act? I wonder if a human mother or kid would be any different, deep down, than how the cats act, roughly speaking. How much are we the same, and how much are we different?

The kittens got a rolled-up sock without a mate, elastic top rolled inward so it can’t hurt them or be swallowed. They got a paper towel tube cut into thirds for a toy, and I had put out a cat ball for them earlier. I still intend to get them a string toy or make one, something like a fishing pole or a chase-me-while-I-drag-it-for-you toy.

I switched out the folding chair with a gaudy stuffed ottoman, which is too “busy” visually for my tastes. (I may opt for the other one, due to tassels on this one). But the kittens all decided that was a great place to nap or to play king-of-the-mountain and climb. Haha, they’re very cute about it. At one point, all five were there. So this was a winner, but now I have to look before I sit! Tiny black balls of fluff and life, I really don’t want to step on them or wind up booting into one with my foot by accident, and I don’t want to sit on one either. The ottoman is a real crowd pleaser.

Funny thing, Peppercorn mostly seems to trust me about her kittens.

I have gone through the guest litterbox and the main one two or three times now. Maybe four.

Peppercorn really will need de-worming or medicine for a material thing. She has a very loose stool, something similar to what Curry had. I do hope I don’t have to give her oral meds. Mystic is in the middle of treatment, no oral med yet, and I think Goober needs to be rechecked for this and ear mites, last done in October. Once Peppercorn has that resolved, it should make a big difference. All her food energy can then go to fueling herself and to milk production for her kittens. Naturally, when she’s tested and treated, the kittens will get what the vet recommends, so everybody can be well again. (Yes, I wash their food and water bowls, and check their letterboxes daily.) I am likely to empty their letterboxes and scrub them and let them dry, after Peppercorn and the kittens get back from the vet. (No, before they go.) Oh, do I have a second spare litterbox? No, I don’t think so. Oops. Gotta get one.

So all is well, but Mystic is out for a bit. We are all adjusting to each other. And I need to do another round of housecleaning, organizing, and getting rid of excess stuff, minimizing.

Vet appt. is set for Friday afternoon, if we can get a cab there. Otherwise, I will have to postpone again, and my friend is too busy right now.

Kitten Update 2020-02-19

The first night with the kittens and mama indoors went mostly well. Before bedtime, I hung out with them and mostly sat, talked to them, wiggled my fingers as if my hand were another kitten near them, and got a little interest and play, but they are still wary of me, the big scary human.

Peppercorn, their mama, will give a little warning hiss or growl if I’m approaching when I first show up, but then when I say something and she knows it’s me, she is mostly OK with me, including around her kittens, and is getting more attention.

She is very protective of them towards Mystic and Goober, and will give a low, warning growl or chase them if they get too near for her liking. Nobody feline gets close to the food for her and her kittens. She’ll growl, swipe, chase away. She’s a fierce mama, used to being outside, and this is wh she got the name Peppercorn, black pepper, so spicy.

However, she has that mothering side, and because I’d fed her, she kept coming back, then brought her kittens repeatedly, and so yesterday afternoon, José came by and said his family had talked, and if I wanted fo foster the kittens and mama, that was OK with them. I thanked him and said I’d take good care of them.

I think with enough time, Peppercorn will decide Goober and Mystic are OK. She has let them stay off at a distance, mild as they are, without an argument or a fight. Once last night, Mystic, hoping for more food, dared to sit couchant and trade stares while she gave that low, warning growl. He just sat, unmoving, as if unperturbed, wanting permission. A very good kitty.

Goober has chittered at them. He wants to make friends, is curious about the kittens, and is dismayed and gets his feelings hurt that Peppercorn gets mad at him and makes him keep his distance. Gober is also passive aggressive jealous or pouting a little, because everyone else is getting attention and he’s my cat and I’m his person and he was here first. Rightfully so. However, I don’t think that extends at all to wanting to hurt Peppercorn or her kittens or Mystic.

Goober and Mystic, both fended off by Little Mama and not yet used to eating in the hall or bathroom, are figuring out who’s boss or if they can share. A rare thing: Goober got desperate enough to fuss at Mystic over who got to the food bowls (they ae side by side, but the hall / bathroom space is just limited enough that, to the cats, it feels “cornered”) and Goober was hungry enough and insistent enough, Mystic moved off. Goober almost never stands up for himself like that. He is very non-assertive, mild, will sooner back off and maybe come back later, than fight. Mystic also seems to be like this. After Mystic had been fussed at and retreated from Peppercorn and then Goober, poor Mystic turned very meek and afraid, so that when Goober was done, and I took Mystic back into the bathroom to eat his share of moist from either bowl, Mystic mewed and was actively scared, wanted to get down, was begging me and mewing, as though scared he would be punished or maybe locked in the bathroom. From what I’ve seen, I think he had a loving home at one time, is a loving, gentle cat, but has been outside so much after losing his home, that he has become depressed. His fur is very fine, longhair, and gets small mats way too easily. I have bought a brush, but on the first try, he was fearful of it, or of it tugging, so I had to stop. So Mystic and Goober both had run-ins with Peppercorn and each other, and the two boys both are sensitive about it. I brought Goober into my room when I tried to sleep the second time, and poor Goober thought he was in trouble. When he saw instead he was going to get to be with me, get petting, and sleep with me, oh, that was heaven, he thought, and relaxed and enjoyed it.

Yeah, the two boys are not alpha cats. Peppercorn is an alpha female, at least so far as her babies go. I respect that in all three. But I think because of it, they can get along.

I didn’t separate them all, except their feeding stations. I would need to redo the spare bedroom, which is carpeted and therefore not the best choice for the kittens. I have too much stuff and need to get rid of some again. The only enclosed areas are the bedrooms and the bathroom, which is very small for a litterbox and a mama and five kittens. Knowing Goober and Mystic, I chanced this. It went OK. I think it may work, once mama gets more used to the two boys. She already knows Mystic, of course, and he had defended her once before, in a neat bit of smarts and quiet sense by him.She has seen Goober checking them out through the window for the past week and a half or so. So I felt I could do this, and could confine Goober and Mystic with me in the bedroom if need be.

Curry will remain outside or he can spend some time in the spare bedroom, if the weather gets nasty or freezing. He has come by twice since I brought in the kittens. — I heard another stray but didn’t see her, and I think that is a she, based on the quality of the meow.

This morning before dawn, between 4 and 6 am, Mystic thought he’d been in too long and meowed at the windows, wanting out. Darn cat also sprayed the headboard while doing this, while I was right there. I did not get irate this time, but told him no. I wiped it down with Clorox Wipes. Either his scent / urine doesn’t smell strongly yet, or else he has something going on with his maturity / testosterone absorption level (more boyish, less manly) or else my nose is off-kilter. I didn’t smell a strong scent like a mature tomcat would have, and the vet estimated Mystic is 1 to 2 years old. Ah, but I will have him neutered ahead of schedule, if we can get him in earlier. As mild as he is, I don’t expect a behavioral problem will develop.

Feeding at noon worked better, but Goober and Mystic are still wary of eating in the bathroom, so I have their dishes in the hall. Peppercorn and the kittens, oh, they need a lot of food. One can of moist was gone in noting flat, with mama and kittens eating. So they got two. But aha, the kittens will also try dry, I discovered. Anyway, I have ordered kitten food, dry and wet, and I will try water with some dry to extend things, and because they are still going from mother’s milk to solid food.

I had to postpone the vet appt. for them. One, I couldn’t get ahold of either cabbie yesterday afternoon, and two, I slept in this morning, because I got almost no sleep last night, only a couple of one or two hour snatches. But I was OK with that. Taking care of kittens again for the first time in many years, and being a caregiver for so many years, I guess it doesn’t faze me as much anymore. I loved spending time with the kittens.

Side benefit: The kittens all think the carrier is great, a nice den to sleep in, all piled together.Mama slept by them. This has happened three times since they were in. So I know I won’t have a problem getting the kittens in the carrier. mama may be another story. — The big plastic storage box I had set up when they were outside, I brought in and set up. But the towel and hoodie had been in there for a week, and so was busy/gritty (grounds maintenance) and damp (dew, kittens, maybe other cats). But I made the mistake of putting in a new bath mat, and they haven’t been in it since then. So I will change that out for something washed enough that it doesn’t smell funny. I think that’s what the problem was. But I’m glad they like the carrier.

So all is well. Mystic is back in his bedroom spot and Goober is, I think, in retreat on top of the warm cable router box, and mama and kittens are napping.

I’m going to break for lunch, then do what suits me, since I’m still tired. Then housecleaning maybe tomorrow.

Hoping to get Peppercorn and the kittens in to see the vet on Friday, the reschedule. — Oh, and good news: mama and kittens all know how to use the litterbox. The kittens may also view it as play, but they know what to do, so I’m very glad. Only one accident: one kitten got over-excited and maybe anxious because I was there, so he or she pooped a tiny amount in the corner by the door. Luckily, I saw this happen, then clued in what it was, so I cleaned up immediately. Mama used the litterbox, and oh, I think she will need at least the usual deworming. I hope I don’t have to give her oral meds, as I am not sure she’d accept that. She may or may not be semi-feral. She is tame to a degree and improving, and being a mother nursing, she’s more friendly. But the oral med for that, worming, is awful, and I hope I don’t have to do that. (Clarification: that oral med is if/when there’s a severe bacterial or viral infection causing diarrhea or a loose stool. Metronidazole is the medicine. Curry hated it. The vet says it tastes bad to them, they never like it.)

I have to order tags for Peppercorn, and Mystic’s tags are still not here yet.

All in all, a good start, could be much worse. Five healthy kittens, and I’m still elated the fifth one is safe.

Until last night, I’ve noticed two of the kittens are more active and adventuresome, while three sleep more. I am not sure if this is because they are still so young and maybe underdeveloped and catching up, or if it’s a health issue, or if it’s personality. I can’t tell the kittens apart;, they are all-black and look alike so far. I haven’t yet learned the personality and physical features yet to tell them apart.

I’m happy we’ve had a good start.

I fel bad for Curry not getting to come in the past few days, but I am relieved he didn’t actually harm the kitten I’d thought was lost. I still think he’s the one Miss Thang, Peppercorn, fought off a week ago, which was why I’d thought the kitten was gone. So it’s still good the kitten is safe, and good I don’t have to think Curry did something dastardly vile.

Ah, the stray I heard…I am hip-deep in cats. I can’t save everyone. Wish I could. But she is likely to be met and get food when Curry comes by to eat. I am undecided on whether I want to risk letting Curry stay in the spare bedroom if he comes by. But if the weather gets bad enough, I would do that. He’s back to being merely too aggressive, no longer guilty or suspect in the disappearance of a kitten, who is no longer gone.

Time for lunch for me. — I need to break out a couple of cat toys for the kittens. A rolled up old sock may join the fun. Not sure what I have for them besides the cat toy balls I keep for Goober. I’ll make up something and may buy a toy or two.

Eye Appointment

I have an eye appointment scheduled now for March 10th. I still haven’t found where the old report got moved to. By now, I need a reassessment anyway. So I will be going to the Low Vision Eye Clinic to see how my eyes are doing (not great), with the goals of getting signed up with Social Security and Medicaid, SSI and Insurance for my Eyes, Teeth, and General Health; and a referral appointment to see a Retinal Specialist, to see if I can have cataract surgery, or if there is too much risk of retinal detachment.

I’ve asked a friend to go with me, both in case I miss something and so he can learn about my condition. and about being vision-impaired / low-vision / legally blind in general.

The clinic is partnered with the local Lighthouse for the Blind, which is an American non-profit organization for blind and impaired persons, and which serves the and their families, including people with other handicaps or disabilities. Oh, the buzzwords change every few years. The name of the clinic and its location have changed a few times in my lifetime.

I’m legally blind, vision-impaired, low-vision. I was a premature baby. Both now and back when I was born, neonatal ICU care is to save the baby first, and to do that, the baby’s eyes, which are typically still developing, are at risk for oxygen damage, from the heightened oxygen level, because they pump oxygen into the islet unit, since the baby is too small for a respirator mask. They shield the baby’s eyes, but that still doesn’t typically keep the baby’s eyes free from some effects.

So I grew up with this. Every person’s case is unique and varies quite a lot on all sorts of factors. Some people become vision-impaired due to injury or trauma at some point in their lives, so it’s new to them, and the adjustment can be rough. Others, like me, are bon this way and don’t know quite what “normal” vision is really like. I don’t really know what ranges a normally sighted person can see things at, or the level of detail. I can’t drive or do a few things sighted people take for granted. Being right there, but not being able to fix something simple, which you know how to fix, but can’t see it to do it, and therefore you have to ask a friend or get a repair person.

I don’t know Braille, I don’t know how to use a cane, and I have never been trained with a seeing eye dog, because even as a young adult, my condition was not expected to change much as I got older.

But real life intervened, with an added eye condition, and then cataracts developing, right during the time my grandmother’s health went down and she passed away, and after.

But now, I will need the regular periodic assessment, plus a referral to a retinal specialist, who hopefully will see me despite a lack of insurance.

The last time I went in, 2016, the specialist referral never got to me despite repeated calls. I think this was because I didn’t have insurance.

Hopefully, we can get this done. The prognosis last time was that they couldn’t guarantee anything at all, but that it was possible that with cataract surgery, I might recover some or all of my former level of sight, or a bit better. I would still be just as legal blind as before, but maybe slightly better or worse. I’d be happy to get that back. I’d be much better able to get around and do things.

We’ll know more after March 10th and the retinal specialist’s appointment, and then social security / medicare plus the state-level agency. Oh, joy. Bureaucray is always a pain.

The eye appointment will be paid out of pocket, since I don’t have insurance. Likewise the referral assessment, and possibly the cataract surgery too. Ideally, maybe I can get insurance I can afford during the process, although that’s not likely to be during the assessment phase.

Yeah, American health care has become badly against the ordinary person during my lifetime.

So, I hope it will turn out OK after all. I sure would like to have what vision I had back again.

Kittens Update 2020-02-18

Ins and Outs, Risks and Opportunities

I heard Peppercorn calling before dawn outside the parking lot door. So I went out the front door (inner patio/pool square) with food and – she was not there yet, but her four kittens were. Then she was, and when I opened the door to go back in, Mystic got out, but also got squeezed b the door, with Goober right behind him, but still inside.

So Mystic is roaming outside, temporarily, I hope. Really hoping he will return. I think once he gets over the mood, he will.

Then just to stir the pot, Curry showed up and there was nearly a confrontation. I got him in, so he wouldn’t bother the kittens. He ate leftovers from Goober and Mystic.

I went back out to see if I could get Mystic and came back in, and Peppercorn came in with me. Oh, good grief. Near confrontation again while trying to herd Peppercorn back outside. She wanted a drink of water. I guess what’s out there wasn’t as fresh and appealing as the water inside, and she must not have expected to see Curry. I did get her outside, but should not have tried to pick up and move Curry. He objected, thankfully before I’d picked him up. So I let him be, and did get Peppercorn outside safely with her babies.

I then did other usual morning stuff, took trash to the dumpster and went to my P.O. Box. I didn’t find Mystic, and his tags have still not arrived in the mail, but are due any day now. I tried taking a couple of photos of Curry and of Peppercorn and her kittens, but I don’t know if they took, in the dark, if the flash was set right and did enough.

But hurray, those four kittens are fine, still hand-sized, and two ate moist food with mama while two napped. If the fifth kitten is around, he/she hasn’t been moved in yet. I think the fifth kitten is gone. But the four are doing fine. Today will be a week since I saw José. With all the kittens there, I want to take them inside, but Curry is in and I’ll have to schedule a cab and a vet appt. if so.

I wish I got get Curry moved somewhere. He still needs to be neutered.

I will look again for Mystic when its good daylight, after people have gotten to school and work.

I also have another repair to report: the gate handle for the little privacy fence has come unfastened and will have to be repaired or replaced.

Goober keeps wanting in and out of the bedroom, but I don’t want him near Curry at this point. I think Goober is concerned or curious about Peppercorn and the kittens, and possibly about Mystic, although they are not buddies yet.

I will have photos and descriptions on ,y main site fairly soon.

This feels like an opportunity to resolve a little if I can. I’m going to look for a cat sanctuary that takes ferals. That is a better outcome for Curry than merely TNR, trap-neuter-release, back here where he can still cause trouble for Peppercorn and her kittens and other cats, including Goober and Mystic.

If I can be assured of something, I could confine Curry, get him in a carrier and away. But without that, I can’t risk having mama and kittens inside too, without knowing Curry couldn’t get at them.

More news when I have something.

5th Kitten Is OK!

Fantastic good news: The fifth kitten is with the others in the box and mama is still hanging around outside. So the kitten has been somewhere else for six days, and was not there this morning, but now they are all together, safe and sound, albeit outside my apartment. I am so, so very glad to know that fifth kitten was not lost, gone forever. They are all OK. Thank God. The five kittens and their mama are all-black. I have not tried to check the kittens to know how many are boys or girls. I’m going to spend a little time with them after posting the update, and I may know then. Right now, they are sleeping, mama is eating, and I didn’t want to disturb them. But I was so surprised and happy to find all five, not just the four from this morning.

Curry, the semi-feral cat, is still inside. Mystic, who got out this morning, is still out. I will look for him again, and I hope he’ll be back soon.

I still have the dilemma of not having a place to take Curry, to relocate him permanently. Now is a good opportunity to get mama and the babies a checkup and get them inside and safe, but for now, they have to be out. I have only the apartment number for the other family and the boy’s given name, no family name, no phone number, and no word since a week ago.

The vet won’t be in until later this afternoon, with appointments available tomorrow afternoon and most times the day after. But that means scheduling the vet and a cab and handling either Curry or else Peppercorn and kittens, and really Goober needs a checkup in case he’s picked up anything from the outside cats. I think I can get mama and kittens into a carrier. I think I can still get Curry into a carrier; good luck with him; it might not be doable.

But I don’t have an option except neutering for him, if he’s well enough to get it done; and for mama and kittens. I don’t really want to bring them in or take them to the vet without the OK of their nominal owners. I am sure she’s been over here more than she is there, and the kittens have been here since before dawn.

They can’t be seen until this afternoon. I wonder if she will keep them here overnight, or if her people will take them back to their apartment.

The Universe Has a Weird Sense of Humor…

This afternoon, things got really interesting! While wondering what to do about Curry, and about Peppercorn and her Kittens, back outside — Along came José, the neighbor boy or young man.

He said they’d seen me with the mama and her kittens, and José’s family (and girlfriend) had said if I wanted to keep and foster the cat and kittens, that was OK. I said I’d take good care of them and he and his family were welcome any time. I asked and they have not had a vet appt. before. We talked a little more, I got his last name, an old spelling, with history I think.

I then had to get Curry out the other door so I could bring in Peppercorn and her kittens. So oh my, the little family are in the living room, and this is not ideal, but neither would be the spare bedroom or the bathroom. I am dismayed at the clutter that’s accumulated, and need to clean a lot out.

We had a spat after I brought Mystic back in, since I found him. So all but Curry are inside, and so far, so good, aside from a little very serious warning noises from Little Mama. Mystic only sat there, couchant, and mostly politely withstood it.

Goober also passed by before that and provoked no serious fuss, and didn’t get too close, but was chittering, which seems to be his default greeting, either friendly or questioning or fussing.

I will keep the two boys in my room tonight, door closed.

The five kittens have been good so far, and one used the litter box, so I was most appreciative.

I scheduled a vet appt. for tomorrow for Peppercorn and kittens. I haven’t gotten either possible cabbie yet, but I’m hoping this will work out fine.

So I am fostering everyone, but Curry is out, and dealing with I’m will be a challenge, plus reworking the whole apartment for the kitten nursery.

So…Wow. A big new set of responsibilities there.

I think she is around a year or two old, and the kittens are supposed to be around three weeks old. So I have three to five weeks or so before they are ready to give away; time enough to socialize them and maybe mama too. She was very tolerant today of my time there, giving her attention and petting, but some space too.

Pre-planning, I have put a carrier in the living room, open, so she and her babies can get used to it before tomorrow. That won’t be enough, but it might ease things.

I probably don’t want to know the size of the vet bill, to neuter Curry and to treat mama and babies for initial exam and treatment. But anything they are carrying has to e resolved.

In just a bit of work and heart, I may solve a pretty good portion of the stray cat problem at least for now. Good, because all that feline fussing was getting to me.

Whew. Gotta feed myself and tidy up more.

Good thoughts and prayers would be welcome, for no great fights. I am so far surprised they are getting along, but Peppercorn and Mystic and even Curry must know each other, and Goober has seem them for weeks. Hoping for good things.

Oh, what a full day. This and the eye appt., good progress.

Yay again, 5th kitten is OK, the whole little family are OK, and maybe we can get everyone looked after. If we can get me situated too, that’s super. More income would be vitally appreciated.

Curry at the Door

Late evening, after a computer check, seeing the kittens again – and I hear Curry meow at the door. This is quite rare. His voice is lower or hoarse. I can’t let him in where mama and kittens are. Mama and he would have a fight. (She probably wants child support; they might be his, but they’re not brown tabbies, they got the dominant black from their mama.)

I went around back and after a second try, because he was still meowing hoarsely at the front door, he came around and got fed.

And darned if there wasn’t some cat, maybe female, in the parking lot, whom I didn’t see, but heard. No, kitty, I’m filled to capacity, sorry. Mama’s kittens will be fostered and given away. Mama may be given away too.

Cross that bridge when we get to it.

So, Goober and Mystic are being reluctant and bemused but gentle onlookers, so far, all evening, with Peppercorn admonishing them if they get too close for her.

The kittens are starting oto explore the living room. One of the adults used Goobers’ litterbox, copiously; perhaps Mystic, who was in yesterday for his appointment, with (ick) deworming.)

I am chagrined at how much clutter is in the apartment since my last bout of cleaning and organizing. It needs to be gone through and cleaned again, but I can do so.

Mama and kittens are fine, and the kittens and maybe mama have used the guest litterbox. I will check the computer again before bedtime.

I’m being entertained while “socializing” the kittens, mostly just hanging around, interacting very little, but enough.

I’ll take Goober and Mystic with me to bed, and keep them in the bedroom with me tonight, so we don’t have a squabble while I’m asleep, until I’m sure everyone’s fine with each other. If it goes this well, we’ll be fine soon.

(I will check on the commenting process again before bed.)

Cats Update 2020-02-17


Mystic did better than expected at the vet’s, so far, except for a couple of points.

Young sir is mild-mannered, but ya can’t push a guy too far, and getting stuffed into a cat carrier is one step tooo far, but getting a blood sample is much, much too far indeed, said he. He objected strenuously, and loudly. But hey, most of us are not thrilled by that either.

Therefore, he’ll need blood tests on his next visit in two weeks, to be sure of whether he’s carrying anything and how to stop it.

But the best news is something I should have seen if I had checked more closely.

Mystic does not have a growth or tumor on his tail. That was, however, one humongous snarl of matted fur, requiring clipping, which was done, so no surgery and no recovery issues forthcoming. Oh, thank goodness.

He got most of his vaccinations, including the important Rabies vaccination. He’s been treated for all the usual unwanted passengers, with a repeat dose for one in two weeks. (Goober will also need a checkup to be sure he’s not affected.)

In two weeks, we have an appointment scheduled to follow-up, with blood tests, any further vaccinations due from that, any news from that, good or bad, told me, and he’ll stay for neutering. (Sorry, fellow.)

Although he wouldn’t let them take a blood sample and was not happy about one or two other things, he did fine. He thought he was in trouble with me for one response, but I understood that happens sometimes.He had an accident after one part of the testing.

So he arrived back home safe and sound, if a bit rattled by it all.

He did not want to go in the carrier at all, but I got him in. He was worried, scared, at sitting, waiting for the cab with cars going in and out of the parking lot around him. Quite understandable, little guy I’m not too crazy about that part either.

He settled down for the trip and the ride back. I think he may have been afraid he was going to be dumped. He did manage to be curious at the vet’s office. He wanted out once we got back, normal for any cat, but settled down once he got over being spooked, and now is napping in his spot, glad it’s over.

He’s now a somewhat more expensive cat, but he had to have help.

I’m going to keep him in as much as I can over the next couple of weeks. It may work. I think he may have understood that he’s welcome home and I’m not mad at him. Maybe he’ll figure out this is his permanent home, that he has a home and family again.

His behavior again makes me think he had a home at some point, but lost it, and is still recovering from the loss.

Overall, good news, and oh it’s good to see no big blob bothering his tail,. It may be a bit sparse where the hair was clipped, but that is a much easier and momentary thing than surgery and recovery.

Mystic is estimated to be about 1 or 2 years old. He’s 11 pounds, so not too heavy. I’ll await when he has his blood tests to find out if he’s got anything worrisome going on, but Curry did not, so I take it there’s some good chance Mystic might not.


Curry showed up and let himself in when I opened the door to take Mystic out to wait for the cab. So he didn’t go to the vet’s for a checkup or clearance for neutering. He stayed in while we went to the vet and when I got back, I had to lure him out with cat food. He was very hungry, as it’s been five days since I saw him last. Before any of us get too sympathetic, I suspect, but am not certain because I couldn’t see well enough, that he was the cat whom Peppercorn chased off, who was therefore involved in that kitten’s disappearance. I have only seen one of the kittens since, and I don’t know for sure if the lost or missing kitten returned to the other apartment. So I am not so enamored with Curry. He was glad as usual to be let in and fed. I am careful about him, because he too often misreads human cues and wants to be aggressive without cause. You know that handsome, charming, can be sweet, but can be hair-triggered, bad relationship boyfriend or buddy? Yeah, that’s Curry, and I wish he would quit that. I can’t figure out why I am still attached. I think I shouldn’t be and ordinarily wouldn’t be. But I am not so quick to want him staying in. Poor fool cat, you don’t know what you’re missing, among humans, at least this human, or among fellow cats.


She showed up later last night and then didn’t show up until later this morning, but oh, she heads for the door when she does. I should have time to greet her tonight when I see her. She didn’t have her kittens tagging along either time.

I discussed with the new vet what I’d done for Peppercorn and my misgivings about the neighboring family not contacting me. The vet’s advice was that I’d done about all I could and more. She didn’t approve or reject the idea of me trying to talk to the other family in person. But she didn’t seem to think I was a crazy idiot for how I’ve handled things or for wanting to talk to the family. I gave José contact info for me and for my vet. So they really could have responded if they’d wanted.


Goober was naturally unsettled by the day’s unseemly events, to his way of thinking. But he seems to be OK with seeing Mystic is back, despite how Mystic smells. Now if they have contact, there is less chance of trading unwanted tiny passengers.

Other News..

Thanks to a friend’s help, I now have names and numbers for two local cabbies who might become regular cabbies for me. At least now they know the drill and can get to me and back, without the cancellations or confusion from past tries, and without the great frustration it was causing me, from having scheduled appointments, then missing, because a cab didn’t arrive. I was supposed to get a round-trip, but the first cabbie had taken an airport trip, and so couldn’t be back in time to get me. Both cabbies were scheduled by the friend, but the company managed to give partially wrong information both times to the drivers, so it was fortunate someone was at his address for one, and that I knew who had scheduled the ride for the second, or I could have missed both. The company gave the drivers the wrong address for the first trip and the wrong name for the second trip. My friend paid for the first trip, in which the cab was sent to his address by mistake, before going to mine. The second trip, if I hadn’t known my friend’s name, such as, if it had been scheduled by a company employee, then I would have missed it. Fortunately, the cabbie, who had arrived far quicker than normal, came in and asked if someone (my friend’s first name) had ordered a cab. I was still paying the vet bill. That cabbie must have been right around there to have arrived so fast. So, it worked out, and two contacts are better than one. This way, I have a chance with either one.

So all in all, a pretty good outcome.

I will have photos on my main site soon.

Cats Update 2020-02-16

It’s Sunday, it’s early, and I’m likely to try to catch up on sleep this morning.

Peppercorn showed up this morning, right on time. She may be hanging around, or it may be a quick dash from the other apartment to here. She did not have kittens in tow this morning. I will likely check later. I know the kittens are taking soft / moist food and probably are not yet weaned. I haven’t ordered kitten food, so I am still putting out moist for her benefit and theirs if they come by. It was good to see the one kitten yesterday, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, following mama and getting exercise and experience that way, and perhaps a little socialization too. As long as they’re safe.

Mystic also showed up, for which I’m thankful, and I’ll try to persuade him to stay in, so I can take him to his first vet appt. tomorrow. I can’t tell if he’s an old fellow or a youngun, so to speak, but with that tail and with his long hair and occasional grooming annoyances because of it, he has something going on. I still think he was a housecat who was abandoned or dumped and became both depressed and used to being outside, which would explain a few things. He is mild and likes being in, but then asks to go out and stays out for more than a day. No one ever claimed him when I put out flyers, nor have they come by since he’s had a collar on for over a week now. I ordered tags for him, but they haven’t yet arrived. I am especially hoping the vet can tell me the state of the growth or tumor along part of the length of his tail. I would guess it’s operable without too much complication, but I don’t know what sort of recovery care he’ll need, or the cost. But first, he needs his shots, tests for any diseases or parasites, treatment in case of such parasite, and neutering scheduled. Possibly, he can get his tail surgery when he’s neutered. He’s gentle and not prone to aggression; at least not unless provoked. I hope for good news. First he has to get to the vet, though.

I haven’t seen Curry since the incident between Wednesday and Thursday overnight, which resulted in one of Peppercorn’s kittens being lost, presumably permanently. I am not sure if it was Curry or if he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. But his recurring aggression has made me less favorable towards him, and I am not sure if I will continue letting him in casually, except when the weather is very cold or rainy or foul. I’m still disappointed by the news no local group will take him to be an outside or barn cat. Trap-Neuter-Release is the only option for a semi-feral cat I can find, after going through the entire list from the vet, plus a number of Google hits. It looks like he won’t get a vet visit soon. He’ll need to be re-treated for parasites, tested for illnesses, such as a possible respiratory problem he’s had going on, before he can be in to be neutered.

Goober remains his usual self, and has been a little frisky yesterday and today, as though happy and curious about Peppercorn and Mystic. He tried to get out last night when I checked on Peppercorn and fed her. She didn’t go after him to argue or fight, which again surprised me, the second time, but again, without ther kittens there, and while she was eating and he wasn’t trying to take her food. I got him back in and explained what a lot of trouble he nearly got himself into. Not that he understood the talk, but maybe he got the emotional content. He and Mystic are still at arm’s length, but peaceable about it. I keep hoping they’ll make friends. Goober was running around, as though showboating or inviting play, but Mystic was unmoved. I, however, praised Goober for it, and am glad he feels so spry as an old gentleman of 13+.

So, going well, and we’ll see if we can convince Mystic to stay in and go to the vet tomorrow.

If I could get Peppercorn and all her kittens, at least the four I know of who are still safe, then I’d likely get them to the vet for a checkup. I’d be happy for them to stay, and stay in, for fostering, if she would accept that. But no word from José and his family since Tuesday. I don’t know if they know the kitten’s status. So Peppercorn’s little family status is still unresolved, but she’s visiting me several times a day, any time I open the door, and occasionally with one of her kittens tagging along.

Welcome to New Visitors

…And to returning visitors re-establishing themselves. Also welcome to lurkers and guests.

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Welcome to members who are confirmed, new and/or returning. I’m keeping track of these manually until I figure things out better.