Mews & Views

Mews & Views -- A blog for cat lovers everywhere with a focus on the low-income pet cats of northern and central New Mexico.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cat Spay of Santa Fe Celebrates Its 100th Spay/Neuter

Since we launched our free spay/neuter program last spring we’ve often felt like we’re watching water boil. We’ve filled the pot and put it on the stove and are now painfully waiting for the burner to do its job. The burner is inertia -- that momentum that takes so long to build and  apparently even longer to stop.

You see, we have the unique position of watching our Santa Fe spay/neuter program ramp up while our Washtenaw County program ramps down. Yes – almost a year after we officially discontinued our TLC spay/neuter programs we’re still getting calls and applications for spay/neuter help from Michigan.  Despite the fact that our 2010 application says in bright red letters that you have to live in the Santa Fe area to participate. That’s how strong the desire to get a cat fixed is when you love your cat but live on a limited budget. And, as much as we’d like to help Michigan residents get their cats fixed, we simply can’t. All we can do is refer them to other programs.

So when we posted our spay/neuter invoices today and found we’ve completed 100 surgeries in our new community we exhaled. Half of these surgeries were done in August – twice as many as were done in July and three times as many as in June. That’s how inertia works. In the near term we’ll continue to show steady increases in applications as our program gets better known through word-of-mouth and the area cat organizations and vets start to recognize that our funding is there for the cats that need it most. Our newspaper ads and bulletin board posters will kick in too.

While inertia keeps building in Santa Fe, the opposite is happening in Michigan. So it won’t be too much longer before our Washtenaw County phone requests and applications fade out entirely being replaced by similar -- and fillable --  Santa Fe requests.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Saying Goodbye To Gloria -- A Great Friend and Companion Cat

I had the pleasure of living with Gloria for less than 5 of her 19 years. We don’t know much about her early years other than her guardian died leaving her alone in the home. When she was discovered – scared and crouching under the bed – she was live-trapped and taken to animal control where she was mistaken for a feral cat (because of the live trap) and almost euthanized on arrival. While preparing her for euthanasia the staff noticed she was declawed so called us to see if we wanted to take her which we did. She was one of the 70 teenaged cats we admitted to our TLC Older Cat Program and one of the luckier ones who fostered out quickly to an elderly Ann Arbor woman in 2002 – only four months after we rescued her.

Gloria was reluctantly returned to us in 2005 because – as sweet as she was 99.9% of the time -- she had a gnarly habit of biting without warning. Twice her foster mom made a midnight trip to the emergency room to be treated for the bites – and one of those times was hospitalized overnight. Much to her foster mom’s dismay, we made the unpopular decision of retrieving Gloria before her biting had any more serious consequences. (Next to human bites, cat bites can be the most serious as the mouth of the cat is a breeding ground for some pretty potent bacteria.) Yet in spite of her intermittent biting, Gloria proved a great lap cat and – although she kept mostly to herself –adjusted well to group living with the other TLC cats in our care.

Yesterday afternoon Gloria sat on my lap for the last time. Not at home but at our vet clinic. We had made another painful decision for Gloria -- to euthanize her. She had had an abrupt downturn to her life quality brought on by an antibiotic-resistant ecoli infection in her kidneys that greatly exacerbated their already degenerative state. Once the infection was identified we started her on Imipenem – an antibiotic that is not commonly used on cats but had a broad enough spectrum to treat her resistant infection. At first it seemed to work – she perked up after the first two days of treatment. But over the weekend she slid downhill fast. By Monday she was limp and weak – even having trouble walking any distance. We hospitalized her where she received IV fluids and medications and a blood transfusion. But – after 48 hours of treatment – she was weaker than when it began. We brought her home hoping she’d perk up but it was soon obvious she wasn’t going to recover. So back she went to the clinic and passed peacefully with their help.

We don’t know if Gloria’s death was brought on by an allergic reaction to the antibiotic or just to a 19-year old cat’s kidneys being stressed beyond their limits. We do know the infection was cured and that her kidneys were pretty bad even before the infection was found. She had been on daily SQ fluids for most of this year. I guess in the end it doesn’t matter. We did all we could to keep her going but nothing could prevent the inevitable. She’s on her way now to the Rainbow Bridge – where many of other her TLC cat friends will be to greet her. RIP.