Saturday, March 29, 2014

Coq a Vin & The Broody Hen


On Thursday we culled our two Speckled Sussex roosters. Esa and two of our friends did the deed while I waited inside ready to scald and pluck. One friend was able to share some useful tips with Esa, who'd only helped me with the one rooster previous to this, while the other friend was learning the whole process fresh. We got a late start but things went well.
I improved my scalding and plucking techniques this time, scalding hotter and getting the hot water into all the feathers by dunking the bird repeatedly, then only quickly dipping into the ice bath before plucking. I did half of one bird, taught our two friends how to pluck and then finally ate my dinner and went to bed. I giggled in bed, listening to my friends talk while getting sleepier and sleepier over their plucking work.



So, now that her two boyfriends are gone, we've found our Speckled Sussex hen, Ora (short for The Oracle), sitting on a clutch of eggs. Well, Esa found her actually. Last night after putting the hens away for the night, he brought in a bucket of 25 eggs!! I got my flashlight and did some rough candling. 5 looked like newer eggs or just yolks, 13 looked like truly half-baked chicks, and the rest I wasn't sure about. We put the 5 newer ones in the fridge and fretted over what to do with the rest. I looked up ideas on Backyard Chickens, but it was 1am and I had limited options. We put the 20 eggs in my wool hat and went out to put them back under the mama hen. Since she had them hidden in the yard and we don't want the rats to take them, we moved her & the eggs into a separate box in the coop to basically force her to sit on them again and keep the other three hens from bugging her.
This morning when I went out to let the hens out and feed them, Ora had rearranged the eggs, half of them across the box from the others. She was fussing with them even as I opened the lid to give her food. I decided to prop the box open to let her out for a bit.
I am a little worried she won't sit on all the eggs now that things have been moved. So, since the stores are open now that it's day time, I am going to grab a few supplies and make a nesting hen simulator type of incubator. (Thank you Backyard Chickens).


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Vet Check Up Day


Today we took Kuro and Sparkle back to the vet to check on Sparkle's eye and to get Kuro's pain meds patch removed. Just before we got the cats in their boxes, Kuro got the cone off of herself. She used the time in the car to thoroughly bathe.

Inside the vet office, we took each cat out to be weighed (they've both lost weight, understandably). Afterwards, Sparkle was still on the table when she noticed the painting of a cat hanging on the wall. She hid behind her carrier, wide eyed, before slowly peeking up over the top. Then she slowly crept around the side of the carrier, watching that cat on the wall very closely. Well, as closely as she could, considering she probably can only see clearly out of one eye. Her right eye has been full of blood intermittently, and today she actually had it open fully so we could see how bad the rest of it still looked. The doctor gave us more pain meds for her as well as a round of antibiotic eye ointment.

Kuro, in the short time she'd had her cone off, managed to pull a couple stitches open, but not too bad. The clinic staff got the cone back on her. We got more pain meds for her as well. She has 9 days left till stitches are removed.

Our vet bill has now passed $1500 total.

Today I finally got the chance to talk to the Oakland PD sergeant who handles animal violence investigations, so progress is being made on that front now too. Right now I have paperwork to file an official report, as I guess the vet clinic didn't do that part.




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Operation: Inside Cat Enticements

Now that things are slowing down and we have a better idea of all of this will play out for our kitties, it's time to focus on keeping them inside and happy. Sparkle and Twitch have been inside cats since they came to live with us last summer, but Inari and Kuro are used to having lots of outside time and are both rather cranky with the new arrangement.

Our long term plan is to build an outside cat enclosure, or catuary, that they can access through a window. But, until then, we needed something. So we found some really great windowsill cat perches. First we just bought one and put it up today. Inari and Kuro both tested it out and completely approved. So, then, we went back and got two more. They attach to the windowsill with a velcro strip that you stick onto the sill. They also have removable washable covers. (Bonus points!) They were also cheaper than the carpet covered window perches that require putting holes in the walls. Then we bought them more treats, catnip, and those cardboard scratchers. Twitch loves the scratchers!

I know it's going to be hard for Inari and Kuro to adjust, but I think they'll be happy with the catuary.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Pictures - One Week Later

Twitch perched on the kitchen window sill, enjoying the fresh air.

Sparkle is recovering quite well.

Kuro says "no pictures, please."

Here's Inari, who feels left out of all the excitement.



Saturday, March 22, 2014

On The Mend


I took a small break from updating here because I got a little overwhelmed when the week caught up with me and all I could do Friday was cry and cry and cry even more.

Kuro had urgent eye surgery on Friday because the swelling had gotten worse and there was a high risk of infection. She's now home and resting in her box (the cat carrier). She mostly sleeps, but is also eating and drinking water. She purrs when she's touched and really just wants peace and quiet. She will be our one-eyed cat. Perhaps we will call her Captain Kuro...

Sparkle is still doing a lot of sleeping but she is looking so much better. When she looks at me now, I see two clear eyes peering out, though she seems to still be working on focusing. She walks around the house, insists on eating in the bathroom and talks and enjoys the love we give her. We still have her on pain meds & anti-inflammatories but I suspect she won't need them much longer. I am wondering if this incident might have mellowed out her high and mighty diva personality just a bit.

Twitch is beginning to be up to her old tricks. She knocks things off the kitchen counter and tries to jump into the cat food bin. She cuddles up with me and has her incredibly adorable whisper-meow back! We almost have our crazy, chip-fiending, lunatic kitten again! She hasn't wanted to play with Nutmeg, her bunny friend, and he seems a bit put off by her absence, but I suspect she'll be ready to play again soon. She's off the pain meds and definitely out of the shock state where she spent most of the week.

On Friday when we picked up Kuro, the nurse told us she had sent a picture of the bullet taken out of Sparkle's face to a friend of hers in forensics (and animal services maybe?). Her friend said it was from a .22 rifle with a scope, shot from long range. I've done a little research online and had confirmation from a friend that this seems to be true. Our house happens to sit on a hill that goes down towards Peralta Creek. On the other side of the creek is a shady neighborhood that gives me the creeps. The way that everything sits, parts of our house and backyard (and our neighbors' houses and yards) are in view of the apartments across the creek. The rest is blocked by trees. I am wondering if the shots came from over there. That brings the creepy neighborhood a bit closer.

It's getting too close. We need to move.

The nurse also congratulated me on my blog. The clinic is proud of us for finding a way to pay for our cat's care. This wouldn't have been so successful without all of you. My gratitude is abundant.

Friday night we finally headed out to get some dinner away from the house and do our laundry. We had our first nice dinner date out in months, which unfortunately ended with getting in a fight with a gas station attendant who seemingly enjoys picking on disabled people. The laundry didn't get done. But bit by bit everything is getting better. I can't wait to get entirely past this horrid episode, take with me the lessons, and have more years with our sweet feline companions. I shudder to think what we would have had to do without your help.

I will update with pictures soon. Maybe not of Kuro yet, even though she is looking better.

Blessings & love to all of you...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Bit About Love


Some horrible disturbed person or people hurt my family's beloved kitties. The rage you and I both feel over this comes from a place of love. That love is why you are helping us pay for the kitties' care and recovery. The love we feel for our kitties will guide them through the healing process. They all came home knowing they were safe here in our love. Whoever is responsible for their pain and injuries isn't getting this kind of love and community support that we have.


Imagine what could transform if we all turned our rage to love and sent that energy to their attacker(s).


I've always done my best to lead a life guided by love and compassion. Not as a weakness, but as a strength. As others offered violence as resolution, I struggled inside to come to terms with everything. Yes, my fur-babies are hurting. Yes, whoever did this needs serious help. But the most effective help won't be an eye for an eye. It will be the flower placed in the barrel of the gun. It will be love.

Thursday Morning Update


Blog Post Recap:
Our Sad Kitty Story
Sparkle & Twitch
Kuro
Wednesday Morning
Waiting For Sparkle
X-Rays


We picked up Sparkle (mama cat) from the vet last night and I didn't get a chance to post a full update on how that went.

They gave her fluids since she hasn't been drinking water. The bloodwork all looked good and the only abnormalities were in line with her being dehydrated. The nurses said she was "feisty" and fought with them, but would relax when she got pets. (We warned them that she prefers to be called "fabulous" and "beautiful" - not "pretty" - and loves to be admired.)

They sedated her for the x-ray. The x-ray showed a metal pellet just under the skin in her right cheek, so they made a small incision to remove it. The doctor showed it to us and said they'd hold onto it for the report to OPD's animal services. The dr explained that the pellet went in the top of her head, through the bone, around her eyeball and landed in the cheek. There's blood actually inside her eyeball, so we have to wait and see how that heals to know if she'll need it removed or not and if she'll be able to see ok or not. They've got her on antibiotics, pain meds, and anti-inflammatory meds.

We'll find out Wednesday next week what the long term prognosis is for Sparkle, but we're definitely out of the waters of whether or not she's going to live through this (huge sigh of relief). It also doesn't appear that she's significantly brain damaged, but she obviously can't see well and is still confused and not eating.

As we said goodbye to the vet, she said to Sparkle "Congratulations, you just survived a gunshot to the head."

On our way out we made the appointment for Kuro's eye surgery for next Tuesday. The estimate for the surgery is $650-800. Until then we need to watch Kuro for any signs of infection.

I just did the round of pain meds for the morning. Sparkle can tell when I'm approaching but doesn't seem to have a clear view of what is coming at her. She sniffs at food and relaxes when I pet her, but still no eating. I'm going to try some syringe feeding with her today. Kuro is staying solidly put in her carrier but received pets and meds graciously. Twitch has been wandering around the house like she's just checking where everything is, but prefers her spot on my suitcase under our bed. She fought as Esa & I teamed up to give her pain meds and the fresh scratches she put on my arm still sting.

The donations made directly to Esa & I or directly to the vet clinic have totaled $2300. Kuro's previous daddies have raised an additional $485 on their gofundme page. Some of you have told us to go ahead and use the money as we see fit, so here's our plan: All vet costs will be paid, easy to eat/ premade foods on busy days, gas to and from the clinic, a couple trips to the laundromat since our dryer broke right before all this happened and kitties need clean towels, and whatever the kitties will need for long term comfort and care as a result of this incident. We plan to donate the excess funds back to the SPCA or put them towards any other neighborhood cats that are targeted by whoever did this. (If anyone else's cats are victimized, we will add them to our fundraiser and updates.)

Much love and gratitude to all of you.

(Sparkle enjoying a bellyrub from Esa this morning.)