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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Empty Motor Home Syndrome

Haven't felt moved to post this month. As time seems to move faster, I find that I move slower, and I'm overwhelmed and exhausted, physically and emotionally. The symptoms that led to hospitalisation last summer with suspected heart failure, which turned out not to be heart failure, have started again, and I can't seem to find the energy to do the things I want to do (quilting, gardening, etc.), let alone those I don't want to (house cleaning). The doctors and I are working on plans to improve my health again (stopping the Lipitor removed the symptoms for several months, but now the Crestor, that took it's place, seems to be doing the same thing again). My Googling has shown me that some people just can't tolerate the Statins and that seems to run in my genes, since a cousin has the same problem. So what do we do about high cholesterol?

Which brings me to the subject I chose to write on tonight. A few months ago a cute, small, calico cat started coming to my back door for food. Soon she looked like she had swallowed a basketball. One day the basketball was gone and we assumed that she had had several kittens, probably under the house through the hole that had been dug by our visiting skunks or raccoons. One night a horrendous smell (like burning rubber) drove us out of the house, and after checking everything out, the police and volunteer firemen determined that nothing was burning; a skunk had evidently met Mamma Callie and her kittens under the house and when she attacked the skunk all stink let loose. We are still fighting the smell in our house, there simply is no product out there that will remove that particular scent, you just try to air it out, spray a lot of Febreeze to cover it, and let time take it's course.

The next morning I saw Mamma Callie walking through the back yard with something in her mouth, a kitten; she was moving them from the skunk and odor into the old motor home stored at the back of our lot, which we had hoped to fix up and use when we got around to it. (Joe has promised me that some day he will give me a Round To-it). I kept checking the inside of the motor home for evidence of kittens but saw and heard nothing. Finally, several days later when I checked again, I discovered Callie feeding 6, yes, six, kittens; a yellow striped, a silver gray. a solid black, a calico, and 2 black ones with white feet and tummies. They were quite shy and ran away and hid whenever I tried to visit them.

I kept waiting for Momma Callie to bring them with her to the cat bowl, and when she didn't, and I figured they were old enough to begin eating cat food, I took some dry kitten food with kitty tuna spread over the top to the home and left it in the middle of the floor while I sat on the back couch and watched. Callie started eating and calling the kittens who came out one at a time and started eating as if they had been eating cat food forever. Since my Aunt Emmy wanted 2 of them and the others will have to go to the Humane Society to be adopted out, I started spending time with them and playing with kitty toys with them each day after I fed them to socialize them. They still ran if I tried to pick them up, but if I kept still they would come around sniffing at my shoes and ankles. I was finally able to pet them while they ate and was even able to pick some of them up and pet them.

This week the kittens were 8 weeks old, and started coming out of the motor home to play around the garage/shop, lavender garden and back door patio, and even eat a bit at the back door cat dish. We decided they were ready to be adopted out so my cousin Verna brought Aunt Emmy down from Colorado Springs to pick up her two; she had chosen the yellow one and the gray one. In that way that cats have, they knew something was going on and I had to wait a long time for 3 of them to come out and start eating. Luckily, the yellow and gray ones were there as well as the little miniature calico cat, but they were wary and kept running to hide when I tried to pick them up. Finally, with Joe's help, I was able to get the little yellow one picked up, it was terrified, but when I took it to Aunt Emmy, who was sitting in the shade of the carport on her walker with a seat, she put it under her over shirt and petted it and it calmed down and went to sleep. The little gray one hid so well we could not find him, so yellow had to go home in the carrier by herself, until we can catch the gray one to join her in their happy new home.

So, this soft hearted cat lover, is beginning to feel Empty Motor Home Syndrome. The yellow was one of my favorites and there is a large void where she used to be. Momma Callie spent quite a bit of time calling around the carport (where she last saw little yellow) this afternoon and evening, so I'm sure she can tell that one is missing, also.

Verna and I figured that the other little kittens were huddled somewhere, quietly talking to each other about the horrible trolls that carried away their brother and were probably eating him.

I would love to adopt Mamma Callie, but from day one she has made it clear that she hates my cats, she attacks them any time she has a chance, and even tries to attack them through the glass or the screen of the doors. She is sweet and friendly, and would love to live in the house, but my cats are so terrified of her they are afraid to stick their noses out the door anymore, and any time she can she runs into the house to find them, so she needs to be adopted by a household that has no other cats; she also needs to be spayed, as much as I love kittens, I hate to see so many unwanted and abandoned cats roaming around creating more cats.


Kay said...

What a story! Those cats/kittens are adorable; I wish I were near enough to adopt Mama Callie myself. Sorry you're feeling poorly, Fran, and I hope you and the doctors can figure something out. There are alternatives to statins, aren't there?

Barbara C said...

Hi Fran, thanks for the great story. Your kitties are adorable, and I hope they all find good homes. If you decide to keep Mama Callie as your outdoor cat, you could probably borrow a cat trap from the humane society so that she can be neutered and then returned to your property.

I hope you feel better soon. It's terrible feel you can't do the things you love.

Rian said...

Great story. Hopefully you can get the cats neutered--they can multiply very quickly!

You can walk between our house and the next to get from the front to the back (easy for a small animal, not so easy for a human) and down the fairway to the wilds. So this is a path the feral cats (and skunks) often take. Riley goes ballistic when they walk under the bedroom window (I am unaware). Judging by the frequent powerful odors, there is quite a large population of skunks despite the efforts of the coyotes to eat them, so evidently that skunk squirt is effective at keeping the hungry coyotes away.

I am thinking of putting a fence across the path, although a cat could easily get over it.

I am sorry to hear you're not feeling well. I hope it soon passes.

Allison Ann Aller said...

I too hope you will feel better soon. In the meantime it is lovely that your cat family is keeping you entertained with their cuteness and little feline dramas.
Such cute pics you posted!
Thanks for a great story, Fran...xo