No, we didn’t fall into a black hole. But as our summer of radio silence may have suggested, we haven’t been fostering either.
Our sad experience with the Princes litter in May most likely contaminated the 50K villa with the hard-to-eradicate parvo virus. Even though we bleached everything in the room, we still didn’t want to bring unvaccinated kittens into an environment where they might develop panleukopenia.
So we decided to do short-term fostering of vaccinated adult cats whose normal foster parents had to leave town for a week or two. We hosted Minnie in late June, used the villa for a house guest in August, and… that’s been it. We didn’t plan a sabbatical year, but 2016 has essentially turned into that.
Since we began fostering in the fall of 2005 and never had more than a few dead-of-winter weeks off, we needed a break. We just didn’t realize it until the break washed over us.
During our sabbatical, we’ve had more bandwidth to devote to our canine and feline staff.
In early August, we noticed Yogi acting unusually lethargic. Then Martha saw him leave the litter box after trying unsuccessfully to pee. Alarm bells rang. We took him to the vet, where they diagnosed a blocked urinary tract. Based on his blood values, he’d probably been blocked for two or three days. Five or six days of blockage will kill a healthy male cat.
While he was blocked, Yogi was still purring when we palpated his belly, so we’d suspected he had some kind of virus. And with three cats sharing litterboxes, it was impossible to tell he hadn’t peed. We’re very thankful it didn’t happen while we were away, since our housesitter would have had little reason to think anything was wrong until he was near death.
Three days of hospitalization and $2K later, Yogi was back home and feeling better, and now he’s completely recovered. A close call. If your male cat ever seems unable to pee, take him straight to the vet. Hours count.
Elsewise we’re busy with minor house repairs, ticking them off a list that never seems to shrink. And we’re getting close (we hope) to breaking ground on our house in Colorado, where we plan to move next year.
The county shelter is well regarded, which may lure us back into fostering. And we hear some much bigger cats occasionally frequent the hills behind our property. Those and other critters will keep our canine staff on their toes.
filed by: TS