Hmmm.... How to describe Thursday's events in Teeny Tiny Tabby Town? Newsworthy? Interesting? Odd? Unbelievable? All of the above? Sure, why not?
After a very late night of neighborhood fireworks that shook up the animal population here, I made the groggy trip to the vet first thing Thursday morning with Penny and the munchkins in tow. Our not-so-pregnant princess Penny was due to be spayed and receive her vaccinations, taking her next step to adoption.
You remember Penny's story, right? She came to our rescue "pregnant" from an Up North animal shelter. When our vet couldn't detect the pregnancy, we had them shave her belly and look for a spay scar. Finding none, Penny came back home for a 4-week waiting period to either deliver her kittens or prove herself not-so-pregnant. Since her month was up and we were still kitten-free, I scheduled the spay and vaccines for Thursday.
Showing off her shaved, non-pregnant belly
My normally quiet and reserved Penelope became an opera singer on the way to the vet clinic. I should have known she was trying to tell me something... something important. But since I don't speak fluent feline, we kept driving to the clinic and checked in for her procedure.
A few hours later, while I was in the physical therapy clinic rehabbing my elbow, my cell phone rang. It was the vet office. "The doctor was wondering how long you've had Penny," she asked, "Has Penny ever gone into heat while she's been with you?" After answering "Since Memorial Day weekend" and "No, she's never gone into heat here," the vet tech dropped a bombshell.... "Well, we're in the middle of Penny's spay and the doctor didn't find a uterus."
Um... what??? Insert a photo of me looking shocked here.
"Well, I tried telling you..." PS... this is not me ;-)
Our dear sweet darling Penelope, who everyone thought was pregnant in May, was not only NOT pregnant but she has already been spayed. It's mystifying. There was absolutely no visible spay scar. There was also no uterus, no ovaries, and nothing left to remove. The vet stitched our girl back up (I imagine she will definitely have a visible spay scar now), gave her the vaccinations and pain medications, and sent her to recovery.
My opera singer was completely silent on the way home. She's still groggy and a bit unsteady on her feet (it's an hour after arriving home as I write this), but she's resting comfortably at home. We're going to take it very easy this weekend.
"Why is everything tilted?"
"I can't believe this is happening to me."
"I think I need to lie down for a while... maybe until next Tuesday."
The kittens had an entirely different kind of adventure. Tuesday afternoon, after I had them home for just under 24 hours and was ready to declare them flea free and all systems go for recovery, I received a phone call from my fearless foster leader Paula. She had taken the remaining kittens from the home where my trouble triplets were rescued. The remaining babies had ringworm, which I have since learned is neither a worm nor necessarily in the shape of a ring. My kittens needed to be checked for this highly contagious fungus. They were put on the vet schedule for immediately following the holiday, which coincidentally was when Penny was headed to the clinic herself.
"Hey! I just got here! I don't think I like where this story is going..."
"I'm quite comfy here, thank you. I don't need to go to the vet."
"Okay, I'll go. But can we take the window with us? This is my most favorite spot ever."
I held onto hope on Tuesday and Wednesday... the kittens with ringworm amazingly did not have fleas, which seemed impossible since my babies were so completely infested with them. While I was careful to make certain I kept clean and avoided cross-contamination with the other animals in the house, I told myself that my kittens couldn't have been infected, that they probably were kept isolated from these others and everything would turn out just fine.
I received a second call from the vet clinic Thursday afternoon with the news on my kittens. They went under the black light... and they glowed. ARG!!!!!!!!! I was still savoring being flea free and now we had fungus. That will bring you back down to earth quickly. Each kitten has a small infection... Eloise and Henry on their ears; Porter on his muzzle. I brought them home and let them loose in the foster room to run off a day's worth of pent up energy.
If I thought the treatment for fleas pushed all the buttons of my OCD tendencies, the treatment of the ringworm just might shove me over the cliff. Bathing each kitten in medicated shampoo once per day for 14-21 days (Say, what????? If I had a photo of myself looking shocked, I would insert it again right here) and applying ointment to the infected spots. It's a very good thing that I already love them very much.
Ringworm is completely unknown territory for me. If you have experience dealing with it, please feel free to give advice as often as you like. The kittens are under strict quarantine and I am enforcing strenuous handling and hand-washing rules with the rest of the family to avoid contaminating the other critters in the house.
I'm heading to the store to purchase anti-fungal medications to treat my hands this month. In an excellent stroke of luck, my husband is leaving on Saturday with the kids for a week's vacation to North Carolina so there will be more control over the kittens' environment and their health regimen. I'm hoping that they're mostly healed by the time the family returns.
***I've always called this week "Sanity Restoration". My husband is frequently deployed and away from home. One week per year, he plans a trip (usually camping, but this time meeting family at the beach) and takes the kids away without mom so I can get a much needed break. I'm not sure how relaxing this week will be with Operation Destroy Fungus underway, but at least I'll have extra time to concentrate on the battle.
"Hey, wait a minute! I have a complaint!! I was supposed to be today!! Henry got his day. Eloise got her day. How come I have to wait all the way until Monday?"
FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE
After talking with Paula, I've learned that out of all the kittens taken from that house our babies are the healthiest (isn't that frightening?) and have the least amount of ringworm "glow". I had noticed a spot on each of them... Eloise and Henry on the tip of the ears and Porter near his nose. But (and here is the great news) after one application of the medication, the spots have cleared up! I'm not naive enough to believe that the ringworm is gone... we'll keep up with the program and be careful about contamination. But it gives me hope and that's good enough for today.
Penny is much like herself this morning. She's eating, drinking, purring, and seeking out affection. Her information is being put on the website this weekend, so she's officially adoptable now. If you know of anyone in southeastern Michigan who's looking for a fabulous cat, send them our way please :-)