There's a new addition to our house - we have a kitten. It's pretty doggone adorable, and if I ever attain some level of ability I'll try and uplood pics for you to awwwwww ever. It's very friendly too, kneading and purriing and being as sweet as can be.
As always with us, there is a wrinkle.
I wrote earlier about Casper dying. He died of feline leukemia, and at the time I thought that was very hard to catch, and since Casper had been old and crotchety and not really interacting with the other cats they were pretty safe. But when I brought in the new cat for her checkup, the vets told me that FLe was actually very easy to catch - almost as easy as we humans (if I may make that assumption) catch a cold. They can catch it by eating after one another, by sneezing, by grooming.
So, not only did I have to worry that our other four cats were sick, we have to keep Gizmo completely apart from the other cats. We do that anyway with new additions to the house, keeping them locked up in a bathroom to let the smell out but no actual contact for a few days, then letting them out for short excursions or locked in the carrier for safe interactions with the others, etc. etc. But because of that wrinkle, we haven't been able to let her out at all until all the other cats gets cleared so there's no chance of her getting FLe. (Even if one of the other cats has it, we'd be able to let her out once her boosters kicked in, about 6-8 weeks, making sure to keep her immunizations up to date thereafter.)
I'll go ahead and give a spoiler - the two cats I've been able to get to the vet were cleared, and that gives me hope for the other two. I was figuring it would be all or nothing, given all the cats share food and play and etc. So I have hope that the other two will be okay, and as soon as I can get them checked we may be able to let Gizmo out and see her new feline family.
(Tracy named her Gizmo for her high-pitched little trills when she mews and purrs - it reminded her of the good Mogwai from the Gremlin movies.)
I had planned to ferry the cats down to the vets in a two-a-day deal, getting the news and cost over with as fast as possible. But, things didn't work out.
The first time went well. I dropped off the first one and came back two hours later to pick him up. Xander is still out of school and I didn't relish the idea of having to handle him and a cat at the vet's for what could have been a long time. He's done it before, but if it takes a while he gets either antsy to leave or angry he can't. So I figured do a dropoff in the morning, come back two hours later, drop another off. Easy, right?
Well, the other two carriers I thought I had available turned out to be messed up in one way or another, so I was down to one, which meant a pick-up, a return home, get another cat, another drop off. Hassle, but not real problem.
But when we went to drop off the second cat, Shadow, things went wrong.
Xander got upset. VERY upset. One eyelash away from a meltdown upset. He didn't want to leave, jumping and yelling and crying and not listening and tapping his head against mine in that way that means he was REALLY feeling something.
Thankfully, the people at Animal Medical Center
were very kind and rushed the tests as fast as they could, so I could get Shadow and go home. Once we got Shadow, Xander was better. Still upset - I had a few hours of crying and yelling at home as his emotions drained away - but better.
I have some guesses why this happened.
He may have simply been tired of the back and forth and expressed himself there instead of at home. Maybe. But usually when that's the case the problem is getting him to STAY somewhere - he demands to go home. Here he wouldn't leave. I offered TV and food and he STILL refused to go.
I think he began to be afraid we were having to put another cat to sleep. He may have been remembering Casper. Shadow, the cat at the vet when Xander had his moment, is one of his favorites. He's a huge cat, nineteen pounds of muscle, sheer sleek black fur and one of the most demonstrative loving cats ever. He'll hop up and knead you anytime, pushes his nose in your face for a kiss, and purrs all the time. Xander will come up behind him and try to give him what we call fur blurbles, where he blows on the fur.
Maybe he was afraid one of his friends was going to die.
That's new, showing that kind of connection and empathy. He's not made of ice, showing his love for mommy and the cats pretty regularly, but that kind of caring, compassion, and fear for a friend's life is kinda a big deal. I'm sorry it came out the way it did, I really wish he could have told me about it and I may have been able to help more, and I hate the fact he had to be upset about this.
Needless to say the vet visits have been suspended for a bit. We still have two to go, and while I'm hopeful for them we're still not letting Gizmo out yet. We will move her from room to room, giving her more space and things to do, and let her smell out now to get the others used to her.
It's a bit of hassle and extra trouble, but sometimes that's how new things start.