Thursday, December 14, 2017


Karen Jo:  It's been nearly two years since I last blogged.  Lots has happened and I will try to explain what happened as best I can.  A couple of weeks after Bentley went to the Rainbow Bridge, Oja just plain disappeared.  Above is the first picture that I ever took of her and below is the last.  She had been acting strangely since before Bentley got sick.  She wasn't friendly toward the other cats any more, she stopped sleeping on the bed with me and she got so aggressive toward Missy that Spyro and Bambino smacked her to make her stop.  That's when Missy moved in with Jonny.  Then she was gone.  I couldn't believe that fat cat Oja could have gotten out of the house unnoticed, so I spent five days tearing the house apart trying to find her.  Yes, I did look outside for her the first day that she was gone, but she had never, ever left the yard and there was no sign of her.  I put up a lost cat notice and got several mistaken sightings.  Finally I had to accept that she was gone.  My theory is that her changed behavior was the result of an flare-up of her FeLV and being the Alpha, she didn't want anyone, including me, to know about it, so she found a way to sneak out, somehow.  Then she ran off to find a place to die.  She was never found.  This was quite a blow.  Oja was part of the happy threesome that I had for quite a while: Herman, Spyro and Oja.  When Herman left, Oja took his place on the bed, so I wouldn't be so lonely and she loved the attention.  She adored getting attention from me from the very beginning.  I still miss her a lot.

A couple of months after Oja left, Jonny left, too.  He was getting bolder and letting me see him more.  He loved having Missy in his room and I sometimes saw the two of them cuddled up together on the couch when I peeked in.  I used to leave his door open while I got his and Missy's food, because sometimes Bambino or Spyro wanted to drop in for a little visit.  One night I came down the hall with Missy's food bowl and Jonny was actually out in the hall, looking around.  He dashed right back in again when he saw me, but I thought that it was tremendous progress.  Unfortunately, when I opened the door the next morning for breakfast, Missy came tearing out like her tail was on fire.  Jonny was dead, next to his food bowl.  It looked like he was waiting to be fed, until I got close up and found that he had run off to the Bridge.
I can't seem to get between the two pictures above.  The top one is Sea Shell.  She never got blogged about at all.  I only had her a few months.  She came to live here March 2016 at 5 months old.  That made her one month younger than Maddie and Maddie loved it.  Because Missy and Jonny were in the safe room, I put Sea Shell in the computer room and let the other cats visit, as Sea Shell didn't object.  Maddie found her right away and decided to move in.  The two of them became fast friends almost instantly.  In a week, they were romping all over the house together.  They had a wonderful time for six months, then Sea Shell got sick.  It was a FeLV flare-up.  There is a new drug that came out just in time for me to try it on Brody and Cissy, but it didn't help them.  I decided to try it on Sea Shell and it seemed to be working.  Sea Shell was getting stronger and gaining back some of the weight she had lost and was even showing interest in Maddie again.  Then she just crashed.  I rushed her into the vet and discovered that her spleen was very inflamed and she had some weird growths on her foreleg.  The vet kept her and removed her spleen and the growths and sent them off for analysis.  Sea Shell didn't get any better and we helped her to the Bridge.  She was 13 months old.  The analysis showed that she had developed cancer of the blood vessels.

The picture immediately above is Missy Mysterious.  With Oja and Jonny both gone, Missy moved out of the safe room and mostly hung out in my room and the computer room.  About a month after Sea Shell went to the Bridge, I went into the kitchen to get breakfast for the kitties and found her on the floor, crying pitifully.  I immediately called the vet and was told that there were no openings, but I could bring her in and leave her and a vet would look at her when one of them got a chance, so off we went.  She was so weak that I didn't even put her in a PTU, just carried her in wrapped in a warm towel.  The receptionist took one look at her and whisked her off to the back room, where the surgeon who operated on Sea Shell examined her.  They called me back there.  Something really bad had happened really quickly and she needed to be helped to the Bridge, because whatever had happened was causing her pain.
Now for some departures of a different kind.  I don't remember if I ever said this before, but if a FeLV+ cat lives for over four years without a flare-up, there is a chance that they have beaten the disease and are completely healthy again.  Here are a couple of success stories.  Spyro, above, Horus and Bambino had all gone their four years with no problems, so they were all retested.  All three of them tested negative on the first round.  Then we wait at least three months and try again.  Spyro and Horus tested negative on the second round and Bambino tested positive.  Spyro and Horus got whisked off back to Feline and Friends of Santa Fe to be adopted as normal cats.  They both found forever homes.  Spyro got a home with a cat buddy, which made him very happy.  Bambino is still here with me.
Horus, above, got adopted as an only cat, which is what he had always wanted.  They are both very happy in their new homes.  This happened about a year ago.

Losing so many cats in what has seemed such a short period of time really floored me.  All of the happy threesome that I had for so long are gone now, though I am delighted that Spyro is well and happy now in a new home.  So that's why I haven't been blogging.  I didn't feel like reporting on death after death, then I just got out of the habit.

There are always arrivals as well as departures.  I will tell you about them next time.


Summer at said...

My human and I have been thinking about you and the cats lately, so I am glad you checked in with all this news. It is sad to lose these kitties, but you know what? You do great work helping these FeLV cats, and not a lot of fosters do that! I am sad, but not surprised that so many of these kitties are gone, but you gave them good lives and the best care possible... and a chance at a normal life and possible adoption down the line, as what happened with Spyro and Horus.

I hope you won't be a stranger, and I look forward to hearing more about your newer arrivals!

The Island Cats said...

We're glad to hear the sad as some are. We didn't know that about FeLV cats...that if they make it past 4 years they have beaten the disease. We're happy for Spyro and Horus...that they can have normal lives now. We know what you do, taking in and caring for FeLV cats isn't easy, but we give you big props for it.

Mark's Mews (Ayla, Marley, and Laz) said...

TBT here: Karen Jo, you have gone on such a great journey from writing kitty limericks to caring for FeLV+ cats over the years. I honor your care for them.

Angel, Kirby and Max said...

Karen, you have a heart of gold loving all these kitties. I know it hurts when you lose so many in such a short time, but remember, we all love you and your gentle kitties

Mickey's Musings said...

So good to hear this update. It is very sad to hear about the ones crossing the Bridge.
Just remember that because of you, they were happy.
Caring for cats with health issues is often very hard because it takes a toll on your psyche.
We hope that for a while, you will have some happiness with the cats you love so much.
Purrs for all you do <3
Purrs Georgia,Julie and JJ

Memories of Eric and Flynn said...

Thank you for the update. It is hard to lose so many of the sweet kitties, but you gave them the chance of love and a life they would not otherwise have had.I am glad Spyro and Horus got their forever homes.

Ivan and Izzy from WMD said...

What an enormous amount of loss you have experienced. We've thought of you often.

pilch92 said...

I am so sorry for all these losses. XO

Savannah's Paw Tracks said...

Karen Jo, I adored Oja and am so very sad that she disappeared. Your commitment to caring for FeLV cats is heart warming and in my book courageous. You start out knowing you will be facing losses. But, so many in a short time , that's gotta hurt. Thank you ever so much for sharing this update and please do come back with more about your new cats.

Jans Funny Farm said...

So much sadness, yet so much joy that they were part of your life for a time and two are now healthy and have a good home. So sorry about your losses. Each one is hard.