Kitten Season Update

One of the awkward admissions of rescue is that at some point you or something you care about will be peed upon. I’m the last person who should be offering relationship advice, but it seems to me that Amber Heard established that ending an argument by using your partner’s side of the bed as a litter box may get the world’s attention but has reputational downside, and if you’re trying to tell the other lifers that I’m YOUR bestie, a snuggle and purr are better choices than a urine spritz. Unfortunately, my opinion rarely factors into real-time decision-making at House Kirkland, and as a result, my jackets, sweatshirts, jeans, t-shirts, towels, bedding, briefcase, luggage, work papers, car keys and cell phone have all fallen victim to a KF lifer’s loving or petulant squat. My suits remain unsullied but only because I hang the damn things up.
To my non-rescue friends, the obvious solution would be to run the furry horde off the property, but our PetSmart commitments says that’s not an option, so when I pick up items inadvertently left within reach of the lifers, I’ve taken to screening them with a sniff. The Sniff is exactly as it sounds—pick the item up, sniff a couple of places, and if you don’t smell urine, proceed. Sniff the towel, if ok, then dry. Sniff the sweatshirt, if ok, don. Sniff the pillow, if ok, sleep. You get the idea. But sometimes in the scramble to get out of the house, I forget.
Last week, I was at a physical therapy appointment following the third rebuild of my rickety left shoulder. The session starts with a heating pad, and as soon as the warmth kicked in, I realized I had neglected The Sniff in my dressing routine. The aroma wasn’t as intense as the Floor Duct Incident, and as I took a few hearty whiffs of my KF jacket to narrow the location, I noticed an older woman watching me with disgust. From the look on her face, she concluded I was checking my body odor, and my attempted sell-through, “Someone peed on this jacket…” didn’t restore my credibility. Whatever. Amber Heard went from soiling Johnny Depp’s pillow to dating the richest guy on the planet. If I’m a little Musky in the morning, so be it.
But enough about my funky smells. We’re overdue for an update, and Mama Su insists that “It’s Kitten Season and no one thinks we’re doing anything.” To me, that means everyone thinks we’re doing something, but I’m not grammar-policing a sleep-deprived Mama Bear with a bottle baby in one hand and a Yeti full of cabernet in another. My pillow could be at risk.
First, we’ve packed our facility and fosters with new moms and little ones and more desperate families arrive daily. Our FaceBook story—Mama Su’s outlet—is littered with kittens, and you can’t open a door onsite without a furball tumbling out. It’s the House Kirkland version of The Trouble with Tribbles and if you don’t know the reference, YouTube “Tribble Infestation” to understand Kitten Season in two minutes and fifteen seconds.
If you follow Brandi Can and Fresno T.N.R., you know we’ve ramped up assistance to TNR efforts. It’s not our focus, but with other TNR support in retreat, we’ve tried to pick up the slack. Our role is limited to sharing vet capacity, treating the injured and pulling friendlies for adoption, but we know how draining TNR is, so we help. Some highlights…
Princess, a feral from a Visalia colony with a bulge on the side of her neck that turned out to be a tumor wrapped around her jugular and trachea. We greenlit the removal and tossed in a spay and vaccines because we’re nothing if not optimistic. Likewise, Orange, a ginger with a mangled paw, is now repaired, neutered and back with his colony and reportedly “Doing great!”.
Fluff, a Maine Coon polydactyl with six toes on one paw and seven on another came to us scuffed up, emaciated and covered with mats and urine. We don’t know the source of his trauma, but after a few days of treatment Fluff is now beefing up, peeing on his own and strutting around like he owns the joint. He’s FIV+ but super-friendly, and if you’re looking for a guy with oven mitts for paws who will listen to your day or just keep another FIV+ company, he’s your guy.
Edward, a chatty yellow and white long-hair who showed up with lacerations to his butt since stitched up. We were shocked to find Eddie was FIV/FELV- given his tomcat roots, and once his butt heals and has a proper bath, he’s perfect for family looking for a conversational cat.
Mamas, a new mom with eight little ones and pneumonia(!) has since been treated and reunited with her brood under the care of a foster. And we helped a nameless grungy ginger with mites, both from Brandi Can because she likes stuff like that.
Phoebe, an older calico pulled from a colony with leg damage, is now a tripod and an office cat at work. Recovered and super sweet, Phoebe’s perfected her balance and spends her days coating the admin staff with fur and her evenings organizing my paperwork.
Fiona, another feral tripod, has realized after four months of relentless attention that if you stop hissing and swatting at those helping you, you’ll be rewarded with ongoing ear and back rubs. There's a lesson in that for all of us.
We helped Tiny, a fluffy tabby with a botched spay, get back on track for adoption and treated Storm, Nash and Murray, all subjects of prior posts, for diarrhea/kidney, chronic congestions/gingivitis and kidney issues, respectively.
We pulled plastic trash from Pecan’s belly, started treating Blue’s mycoplasma felis and fixed Joaquin, a vocal ginger tom found by a local conservation group. And greenlit an amazing fix for Charlie (polyps), subject of another post.
Dean, a scruffy gray and white FIV+ male has fully recovered from his facial wounds and has camped out on my bed for the last five weeks policing those who might foul my pillow.
Louie, part Buddha, part bully, is an ongoing source of squishy awesomeness, Jackpot, the only dog onsite, fell victim of a home-brew haircut, and paraplegic Kirk caught the World’s Most Incompetent Mouse on an unapproved romp outside.
We lost Serena, Sarge and Lucy to old age, kidney, liver and anemia issues, Mr. Pink to feline pemphigus, Shania (@Brandi Can again) to trauma—eye, internal—and Ash, a kitten with pneumonia who passed before antibiotics kicked in. They came to us rough but knew comfort and love before they left.
We can’t end on a downbeat, so we’ll add the positive news that our donate button has been fixed and is working great. For those of you who have helped when our hearts overruled our accountant, we appreciate your support, and if you haven’t, give it a click. All this fixin’ ain’t cheap!
Princess, Orange, Fluff, Edward, Mamas, Phoebe, Fiona, Tiny, Storm, Nash, Murray, Pecan, Blue, Joaquin, Dean, Louie, Serena, Sarge, Lucy, Shania and Ash.
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