Sunday, August 20, 2017

Doubly unfair...

On the heels of losing Beatrice, this is extra heartbreaking...

On Friday, I took Millicent the vet because she had suddenly lost a lot of weight. On top of that, the other day, I felt a disturbing lump on the side of her abdomen.

I had a bad feeling as soon as I felt that, but I tried to tell myself it could be hyperthyroidism (like Mootie has) or maybe her dewormer hadn't been effective, or...

but no. Millicent has a huge, aggressive tumour in her abdomen that will take her life, probably in a matter of weeks but you never know.

You can see the mass sticking up from her side (top) in the photo. It came out of nowhere and now fills most of her abdominal cavity. Her x-ray was appalling. As soon as I saw Dr. Dave's face as he palpated the lump, I knew we were f*cked.

So far, she is not experiencing any pain, and she is eating quite well (feeding the tumour, losing her healthy weight.) The most likely progression will be for the tumour to begin to block her digestive tract, so we will be watching her closely for vomiting or any other signs of a blockage, at which point we will have to have her euthanized. For now, she is taking prednisone twice a day, in the hopes that it will stimulate her appetite (which right now is good) and also possibly shrink the tumour a bit. I will take any time it gives us, but it is unlikely to be much. At the same time, she's tolerating the prednisone well and seems her usual self, apart from suddenly being bone-thin.

Millicent is only 3 years old and perhaps the sweetest cat I own. She gets along with all of our other cats and is just so special to us. Here is the bio I wrote about her for our farm website:

This sweetheart of a cat sticks her tongue out and drools when you pet her. Millicent was abandoned at a nearby farm when her elderly owner was sent to a nursing home. Sometime after that, another neighbour noticed a starving cat at the empty property and began feeding her. Over the next three months, this woman (a senior citizen herself) fattened Millicent up nicely, but she couldn't offer her a home, so she asked a mutual friend of ours if Gordon and I would take Millicent as a barn cat. She kindly offered to pay for her spay surgery as well. So now Millicent moved in.

She is very shy but she is also very affectionate, and loves to be cuddled. She has been slowly coming out of her shell, but when humans have left you to starve, it takes a while to trust them again. We couldn't be happier having Millicent with us. She was born sometime in 2015 and that mark on her forehead is a patch of grey, not dirt. We adopted Millicent on September 9, 2016.

I am angry and sad. I wanted Millicent to have a long life with us, just as I wanted foster kitty Beatrice to have a couple of beautiful years in her new home with our friends  Sharron and David. I know this is just how life works, but it sucks. I have some other lovely things to post about (we have eight foster kittens here right now!) and I will, but today I am just hurting for our sweet cat. All we can do now is give her as much love as possible for whatever time she has left to us. And then she will go join Beatrice, and our old fluffy orange guy Julius, and all the other beloved pets on the other side.

Just a beautiful little kitty soul.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Damn it...

Beatrice went to the Rainbow Bridge today...

Beatrice soaking up some sun in her new home.

This summer, I fostered Beatrice for a while for a local rescue organization, then my friends Sharron and David adopted her a few weeks ago, and gave her the most wonderful, loving home a cat could ever imagine. We all thought that this blind, geriatric feline would squeeze a few years out of life yet (her initial veterinary check-up went very well!) I was thrilled to think about her enjoying the kind of love and care she was clearly being denied when she was taken from her previous owners with her fur so matted, it clung to her like a turtle shell and hampered her movement.

Sharron came to visit Beatrice regularly while she was with me, then made me the happiest kitty-fosterer around when she said they were going to adopt this old gal. At her new home, Beatrice was given a comfy new bed in a patch of sunshine, walks in the grass, and so much more. Most of all, she was given love. I consider myself a poet, but I can't find the words to describe how touched I was by Sharron and David offering to adopt this cat. I could see what a beautiful, affectionate little soul she was, but not many people are going to be willing to take on a 16-year-old blind cat. But then, Sharron and David are special that way. They did not overlook this dear little cat.

Whispering in Beatrice's ear about the great things about to happen to her!

Sharron got to work figuring out how she would introduce Beatrice to their other two kitties, and how she would keep this blind cat safe as she wandered around her new home. Sharron took Beatrice for a "spa day" at the groomer's. We talked about how gorgeous her coat would be once it grew back in (when she was rescued, most of her fur was shaved to remove the mats.) I loved hearing Sharron tell me about how well Beatrice was settling into her new abode. She was quite fearless about jumping on and off the couch!

Then a few days ago, Beatrice started throwing up bile and began turning up her nose at food. Long story short, and after a lot of veterinary care, today they discovered a large tumour in her stomach that was spreading. She was having trouble eating and had lost a substantial amount of weight in a very short time, and the prognosis was poor. So my friends made the difficult decision to put Beatrice to sleep this afternoon.

So many hearts are broken tonight! Some people will never understand how a pet can become a beloved part of your family, but I certainly do, and I know how quickly Sharron and David became attached to this little beauty; she certainly charmed me in the time she was with us. They had planned to give her everything she had previously been denied, but in this case, life has been cruel. The one thing I can say is that, while I know this is so sad for my friends, and I wish I could spare them the pain of losing their kitty, and I question myself, (I wonder if I missed a sign? Should I just have kept her knowing how old she was?) part of me is just so glad they took her home. Because for a few weeks, she had it all, and she truly knew what it was to be cherished and loved by humans. I could not be more grateful to Sharron and David for that.

And that's why I keep doing this rescue work, even though it can be heart-breaking, emotionally and financially draining, and painful. I do it because I believe every animal deserves love, respect and decent care. And Beatrice finally got that! I just wish with all my heart that she had been able to stick around to enjoy it a bit longer.

I love animals and I always will, but they sure do smash your heart into pieces sometimes. Please send kind thoughts to Sharron and David, who are grieving tis sweet cat.

I hope she is chasing butterflies through fields of catnip now, eyesight completely restored.

Beatrice, you were loved. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

I love me a happy ending!


...has now been adopted into the most amazing fur-ever home!

And she doesn't miss our barn one bit!

She is now living with a family of four that includes two lovely little girls who dote on their new kitty. And she has a Jampup and a Potcake (adopted from Eastern Ontario Potcake Rescue, like our three!) as siblings. :)

Cocotte's new family has fallen in love with her, and the feeling is mutual. I could not have asked for a better home for her. Cocotte sleeps with one of the little girls and has taken up residence on the pillow next to her head. 

And in other amazing news....

...blind senior kitty Beatrice is going to her new home with my friends Sharron and David next Saturday! It takes someone special to adopt a cat most people would overlook. But this girl is so lucky. She is going to a home where she will be loved and cared for with the greatest attention until the end of her days (so long as she gets along with the two resident cats, LOL!) Sharron has been visiting Beatrice regularly, and Beatrice clearly adores her (well, I'm pretty sure it's mutual.) This poor cat (who has suffered through declawing, blindness, and mats so tight to her skin that most of her fur had to be shaved off) is going off to a wonderful life. I wish her many years of happiness in her new home. Our vet thinks she is quite healthy for an old gal. If anyone can squeeze a few more quality years out of a geriatric cat, it's Sharron. 

Let me just say, adopting out animals was never my goal at Bee Meadow Farm. I feel like it is a huge responsibility to find the right home for an animal in my care, and nerve-wracking to boot. But so far I have adopted out six cats and touch wood, they have all gone to amazing homes. Which is just as well, because otherwise I would have 23 cats...  which I don't need, because I spend too much time worrying about animals as it is.

Speaking of cats, on Saturday Chloe jumped up on the bed next to Alex. His face tells you exactly what he thinks of that...

Alex always liked our dogs Sophie and Tristan, but he thinks the Jampups are a vision from hell. They aren't mean to him or anything, but they are a lot more, er, energetic that our other dogs were, and Alex has mostly been avoiding them. Usually when they jump on the bed, he jumps off. But this time he stayed, and eventually settled down next to Chloe, which was amazing. Chloe is the dog who most wants to play with the cats. Her idea of playing involves putting the cat's head (gently!) in her mouth. Not surprisingly, most of the cats don't appreciate this. Okay, well, NONE of the cats appreciate this, but strangely enough, Mimi tolerates it and seems to like Chloe. Anyway, I know Chloe is growing up because she was able to lie quietly next to Alex for quite some time without wrapping her jaws around his noggin.

And Gigi...

Gigi likes cats too. And Honey has figured out that Gigi  respects cats. All she has to do is give her a whack on the nose and Gigi stands down. We all had a nice cuddle in bed the other morning (those are Dodger's feet on the right.)

Down in the barn...

...Missy likes to watch me from the hay chute when I am working in the box stall area.

And in a further thawing of dog-cat relations...

...Archie surprised me last night when he umped up on the bed and curled up next to Dodger, using the dog's butt as a pillow.

Initially, Dodger was alarmed. 

But eventually he relaxed.

And the two of them fell asleep together. I was amazed, because Archie was not impressed by the pups when they arrived. But as the months have gone by and the dogs have calmed down a bit (emphasis on "a bit"), the cats seem to have realized that they can rule the dogs quite easily, and that the dogs, while rambunctious, mean them no harm. That said, Chloe needs to learn that she can't play with cats like they are squeaky toys! But the cats do a good job of setting her straight on that themselves.

Hope you all have a great week!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Here we go again...

We are fostering two cats for a rescue in Hawkesbury that is full to the gills. 





Sigh. I am pretty sad about these two. The other day, the rescue was notified that these cats would be euthanized or tossed in the street that night if they weren't taken away immediately.

They belonged to a pair of elderly sisters who hadn't told the landlord about the cats. When he found out, he said they had to go. Apparently the options were "toss in street" or "euthanize." The whole story is a little sketchy.

Operation Spay & Neuter in Hawkesbury asked me if I would foster them (I had previously offered up an empty "room" in our downstairs barn.) So they are with us for now. Gordon took them to our vet tonight for vaccines and exams.

Cocotte is 7 - 8 years old, spayed and in good health. She could stand to lose a couple of pounds!

I really like her. She's got backbone and personality! She loves to be petted and brushed. She has a playful demeanour, but is calm and quiet. She'll tolerate some lap time but she would rather sit next to you. She's a pretty dilute calico. She was a bit despondent the first few days she was here, but she is coming out of her shell now. She was a very good girl at the vet's this evening. 

But Beatrice, poor Beatrice... She is a long-haired calico. When the ladies from OSN picked her up, she was so matted it was like she has a turtle shell on. It was just a hard mass all around her body, and she could barely move. On top of that, she is almost completely blind. The ladies who had her said she has "shown up" two months prior and apparently did not know or did not care that she was blind and badly matted. The OSN ladies spent two hours shaving off Beatrice's mats... she is moving around well now! I can only imagine how much better she feels.

Our vets says she is 15 - 16 years old. She so reminds me of our Julius when he was in renal failure (the blindness, funny gait, etc) It would not surprise me if she turns out to have kidney problems. The vet is running some blood tests on her.

Clearly Beatrice may not be the most highly adoptable cat but the people who have met her this week have really fallen for her. She is no shrinking violet! She gets around well without her sight, eats like a horse, and likes fresh catnip and catnip toys. She enjoys being petted and gently brushed. My friend Sharron picked her up and cuddled her to her chest for some time and Beatrice was very happy with that. I've been enlisting people to come to spend time interacting with the cats. It is so good for cats and humans alike!

Poor Beatrice has  been declawed on the front. Both cats are spayed, and as of this evening, vaccinated.

So here I am, hoping against hope that someone will adopt these girls. They are not at all bonded so they don't have to go together! Cocotte hisses at Beatrice any time she comes near here, and Beatrice could not give a rat's ass about Cocotte... trust me on this! :)

It all makes me (more) despondent about humanity and how awful people can be to animals. I mean, who tossed out Beatrice two months ago before she came to the elderly sisters? ANd Cocotte is just a sweetheart. And you know these two are a drop in the buckets. There is a ridiculous number of unwanted cats (not to mention other animals!)

Still, I am trying to focus on the good people, like the ones who have come this week to cuddle and play with these two. My friend Christine brought her son Finn and they gave gentle attention to both girls (and brought toys and treats!) My friend Tina, Sharron and Kathleen have all come to spend time with these two cats so they aren't so lonely in the barn room. There are lots of good people in the world.

So I guess I'm hoping these two both find the loving homes they deserve. At 17, we really have all the cats we can manage/afford, and I would love to see these two in their dream homes. Sigh...

Saturday, June 24, 2017

When your best friend is an ass (literally!)

So, Finney the pony and Saul the donkey are the best of buddies, and Saul LOVES to whack Finney with stuff... rubber feed pan, horse ball, whatever. And Finney loves to be whacked!

So here are 10,000 of the 40,000 shots I took the other night (I may be exaggerating slightly!)

Their facial expressions crack me up!

Saul has two feet off the ground. He's really getting into it!

"Don't hit me with that thing."
"Aww come on!"

"How about I just push it against you?"
"Come on, just a bit!"

"Well, that does feel kind of nice!"

"WTF? Hey! You bastard!"

"Dude, watch the mane! I have a date with Ella tonight!"

"Sorry little man, I only have eyes for Roo. I like a REAL horse!"

"Bahahaha! She shut you down, buddy!"

"Hey boys, I'm available!"

"Big blonde and beautiful, that's me."

"I'll pay for the hay!"

"Fine, you bastards..."

"Oh well, what are you doing tonight?"

"Bashing you with the pan, bro!"

"Dude! Stings!"

"Hey! HEY!"

"Sorry man. I love you, dude."

"Boys. I'm still free tonight."


"Quick, let's go watch the goats ram each other off Goat Mountain."

"Don't hit me with that."
"I'm not!"
"Don't hit me!"
"Not hitting, just touching!"


Friday, June 23, 2017

From Greece with Love

We have five Greek cats on the farm including these two...

Daisy and Buttercup!

They were lolling around together today.

Daisy is a foodaholic and spends a lot of time stealing or attempting to steal everyone else's food.

Still, she's not quite as plump as she looks in this picture. The camera adds ten pounds, right?

And here's Millicent peeking in the kitchen window. She rarely shows any desire to go outside, but today she stepped out onto the window box, regarded the world for a bit, then came back inside. After living her life entirely outdoors before coming here, then being left to starve, I think she has decided that indoors is where it's at. She is an incredibly sweet cat who is always asking for cuddles. She gets along so well the others, too.

And I got another poem published in Mused...

Flamboyant Goat. Check it out! I am just finishing up a book of poems which I will soon start flogging to published. My poetry teacher helped edit it and I am really pleased with the result. All the poems are about animals. We'll see how many rejection letters it takes before I get a "yes" somewhere. :)

Have a great weekend!