joules_burn: (Tailwags)
[personal profile] joules_burn
I really don't share things on the internet anymore. I've covered this many times and sworn not to keep doing it, but a well learned lesson is a hard thing to ignore. But there are a few easy things to talk about and convey. And one of those is pets.

With one last e-mail today, all of my adoptees from last year are accounted for. So I'm going to take this moment for a gloat and a round up, so I remember the lessons learned this year. So not entirely happy.

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Meet Aiden. He's the biggest lesson for the year. But let's get back to depressing things later. Because I really am sick of animals. I love them. I love taking care of them. I love having them. But my whole family acts like I'm always asking for it just by picking kittens up. (This is their opinion on everything, just about, and yeah, that's just as problematic as it sounds) I don't go looking for strays. I really don't.

I wasn't looking for anything two years ago when I heard a tiny meowing outside while I was putting out the trash. It took me five minutes to spot a 6 week old kitten hiding in the bushes two doors down, and I was already late for work. No. I give it my cop out attempt. Very simply, I didn't have time to dally. If this kitten ran and hid, then I'd have to worry about it later.

Unfortunately, I made a mew sound and it came bounding across grass it could barely see over. There was a lot of toss ups and upsets, then, however, and this kitten was obviously wormy. My neighbor heard what I was doing and said she'd take it after work if I didn't want it. And that's what I did.

Lesson one. That cat is let outside. A lot. Left to wander, and I found out a few months ago, left to get pregnant because my neighbor didn't think they could get pregnant so young. Good job. Lesson learned. They finally fixed her, at least.

I wasn't looking for cats when I was moving out of my apartment before this and came across 8 week old kittens skittering in the hallways in the middle of the night. But that's certainly what I found. To my great exasperation. I had just bought a house. Fuck these kittens. But one of them came up to me, so it was my problem now. Luckily, I managed to con a friend into taking her temporarily, and that's where she's been ever since. Crooked tooth and all, she became Mika. And to my friends great broke fortune, an already fixed TNR drop out.

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I actually managed to go through a bit of a stretch without cats for a little while there. Maybe even almost a year for once. When a feral bombed my neighbors yard with a litter. I saw one, first, crying right on my porch in the middle of a tropical storm. It ran as soon as I opened the door and I cussed about as much as it probably did because, like a horror flick, I knew there would be no escaping. Their mother was slightly friendly, so we caught her up. Unfortunately, she wouldn't call to her kittens, so we eventually had to set her free to make sure they didn't starve.

She led us right to them, and absolutely did not appreciate being chased down by monsters. They were completely feral, and what a pain in the ass that is. I now had a batch of caged six week olds that I had to try and tame. Lesson two was the homing of Dulce.

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I went through a friend who is very, very social first. He knows half this damn city. And he's a Transformers fan. Unfortunately, not all his friends can apparently follow directions. I let his friend, who owns a cake shop, take her in. Because they had apparently had a cat who looked much like she had and had been named Dulce as I had theme named her, she was enamored. Or, so I thought.

Despite all of my insistence that I would take the kitten back if there were issues. Despite the wishes I conveyed on how she would be kept, and everything I outlined about her being still half feral (she was converting the FASTEST), this idiot botched it. Told me that they'd had a cat, but failed to mention the dogs. Didn't contact me when they had issues and eventually tossed her outside to live with the outdoors they keep around (also failed to mention). Let me convey that this kitten was the QUICKEST of them to warm up to people. And had the prettiest face. I only found out this had happened because her roommate had posted responding to someone in a photo of her as a kitten, saying it hadn't worked out.

Pissed is putting it lightly. But by now, I still had plenty of kittens to contend with and couldn't risk whatever she might have picked up. Not even mentioning how badly she'd likely regressed. At the very least, I found out later that she was properly spayed, vaccinated and was staying there and in apparent love with the outdoor Siamese who used to belong to her father.

Just to compare. Her sister, who was much smarter, cautious, prone to biting and defensive became a house cat who sleeps on her back. That was Tres (for the spanish themed litter) and she was also rehomed with a friend of both Josh and the one who had taken Dulce. Luckily, they lived in an apartment and wanted to keep her inside with their current cat, Charlie. Unfortunately, she didn't mention that declawing was a requirement of her apartment complex and didn't mention it to me until after it was actually done. Not that I'm sure what I would have done had I known ahead of time. She's still in a good home, and doesn't seem to have suffered any behavioral alterations due to it. But she'll also likely get terrible arthritis from it when she's older. I don't like declawing.

Less awful, but still unfortunate, she renamed her Angel. To match Charlie. Yeah.

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This was the last time I have (and probably will) go through friends of friends when it comes to rehoming. Too many automatic expectations. Which, basically, was an issue with my lack of rescue bitterness and inherent suspicion. You can't deal with rehoming and not become embittered. Well. Maybe if you pat yourself on the back and tell yourself that young couple you gave a random kitten for free to will love it like family instead of feeding it to a snake.

But back on topic.

Still thinking that Dulce was unfixed, I finally got mad enough to start doing vet care out of pocket rather than just trying to find them a 'good' home. I did a LOT of work to find non-profit ways of getting vaccinations and (most importantly) sputer. In my new opinion, if someone isn't willing to pay a cheap adoption fee to cover vet costs, they can fuck off because they probably aren't going to take great care of the pet.

This was justified almost immediately as I got plenty of e-mails outlining how they liked the look of a kitten, but why should they pay when they can get them for free.

To backtrack, I didn't just have the ferals. Two weeks into trying to tame them, I realized that having around some tame kittens might help them get over their issues since their mother had run and never come back during the scuffle to try and catch them all back up. Also a lesson learned in tactics for... hopefully never. No one was around to show them that people weren't horrid monsters, and my own cats are a bag of dicks.

So I ended up with two kittens a lady up the road was going to have picked up by animal control the next morning. She told me they were brown. But they were black. A let down because it's hard as fuck to find homes for solid black kittens. Impossible to do anything about because I knew they would have been put to sleep at ACAC.

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Despite being feral, the fluffy calicos went quick. No one had time for black kittens, so I was wondering if I was gonna be stuck. Luckily. After a while, I managed to sucker convince [livejournal.com profile] ladydragon76 to think about taking one. These two were easy. Born to a stray that the lady had let have them in her bathroom, they'd been plenty socialized and had no fear. The little bastards. I can't complain too much, however, because they played with my dog who is still an equally obnoxious puppy.

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One day, I need to mention how over baby animals I am.

That day is right now.

LD had met the kittens by now and was tentatively interested in one already. So I redoubled my efforts for his brother. The best kitten who ever existed (outside of ones with illness).

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Purrbox purred so much that [livejournal.com profile] konora is probably crying ugly tears right now. And purred in the mobile vet clinic after he'd been neutered. And, for all I know, while he was being neutered. They wrote comments on his paperwork all about how accurate the name was.

Being perfect, I advertised him as such, still not expecting too much because of his solid color. Surprise on me when a work from home manager from an hour away drove here for him, cash in hand and vet checks completed perfect. I still don't know why she drove here from the next town over just to get a black kitten, but I'm not complaining, and she renamed him Joey Jingles.

Unfortunately, she's never sent me any updated pics of him, but for Christmas, she told me 'For Christmas he got from Santa a round thing with a ball in it and a mouse on top - he chases it all over.' She also says he's full of piss and vinegar. Cheer up, Kon. By now, I don't know if you're crying because he was awesome and you wanted him or because he gets to live in a house on a golf course in a historical city.

Having properly offered brother kitten in front of a certain someone's kids, [livejournal.com profile] ladydragon76 was eventually beggedobligated to take on the role of kitten mommy. And Nitro found a home. (Still one of the best names. And so damn accurate. Also, blatantly stolen pic)

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Overlapping with rehoming these two, I found a home for one of my own cats. Not something I would do, under normal circumstances. I don't ditch pets. But this guy had mental issues and anxiety and I knew he'd be better off as an only cat. As you can see above, he was gorgeous. One of the most beautiful cats I've ever seen. And he was just a cast off that I kept because I'd just had to put one of my own cats to sleep because of a kidney problem. When I say mental. It was diagnosed. He was on anti-depressants. But he and Kisa fought until I had to cage him. I got him a big condo, but it was not the way I wanted a 15 lb Maine Coon to be forced to live. So I'd always kept an eye out. Always tried to find him a home periodically. One where he would be an only cat. And where he would be taken care of someone with some experience with sick cats.

I thought I'd found it with a lady who was helping with the TNR program in Gainesville. I spoke with her extensively. For weeks. She'd dealt with ferals so I felt confident she could get through the massive curve he took to trust people. I gave her as much information as I could, offered to take him back for always and finally met her so she could try to give him a better home.

Biggest lesson. Never think some fucker who works with animals is any good at actually taking care of one.

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The week before I tried to find my cat a better life, only to condemn him to die. That's your warning


She answered my e-mail a few weeks later to tell me he was doing ok. That he'd been reluctant to eat his medication ground into food as I'd shown her so she'd started to pill him and that he'd started to let her pet him a little bit. Heartened by this fast (for him) progress, I thought he'd gone to a good place.

An e-mail I sent two weeks later, however, went unanswered. I didn't think too much of it at first because she'd been having computer problems before. I eventually tried to text her. Call her. I started to wonder if something had happened to her. She hadn't felt well and she was older. I watched every kill shelter's intake lists for weeks to see if I saw his picture, knowing they don't all get uploaded. I knew the general area she was in, but I hadn't been given her address. I tried to contact the coordinator of the TNR event I went to, but she'd been there for a friend and they didn't have her listed. I put out ads trying to find out if anyone had seen him.

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He'd had UTI issues before, something I'd also explained to this lady. He'd even blocked once, and I stressed how important him getting proper amounts of water was. I figured he was dead. But what I figured was that he'd perhaps blocked again and she'd had to have him put to sleep. Since the cost of a blockage is so huge.

I finally sent her a last e-mail. It had been more than three months since she'd taken him in. I told her I wouldn't blame her if she'd had to have him put down. I just wanted to know what had happened to him so I wouldn't have to keep looking.

What she sent me back was a sob story I don't give a shit about. Because fuck her. No. Really. Fuck this lady. To the utmost. She'd lost her job. She'd been too ashamed to tell me that things weren't going well. Too ashamed to tell me things I had explicitly warned her about were happening. Too proud to ask for help. She knew about caring for sick cats. So she was too fucking assured of her own and her friends' knowledge in trying to help him. They force fed him, she said. Because he refused to eat. He hid constantly. There was something strangely wrong with him, she said in her e-mail. And neither her or her friends who had dealt with animals who had normal illnesses could figure out how to help him. She couldn't afford to take him to the vet because she'd lost her job. Still. Too fucking proud to contact me.

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Because I could have told her she was a douchefuck. Her well intentions of dealing with normal dehydration and run of the mill sickness wasn't helping because this cat had a motherfucking mental problem. So she followed what she'd known instead of what I'd told her. She'd only contacted me to tell me anything because she felt so bad seeing me beg for information. And seriously. Fuck this lady.

He'd starved himself for weeks while she'd ignored my messages in shame. Hiding away. She found him dead in a cabinet only a few weeks before she'd finally responded to me. I tried not to blame her. I tried to respond kindly. I really fucking did. Because she'd had her problems. But I'd told her to contact me if she couldn't handle him. If he didn't let her handle him. And I knew by her descriptions what the fuck had happened. Because she'd described the way he cried when she tried to pick him up by the end. The way he refused to come out of his hiding. Because she described the way he acted when he was in extreme pain, and he'd been refusing to feed and drink. I read and knew she'd let him die, ultimately, of a UTI blockage after weeks of starvation, force feeding and fear.

He was depressed without me, she'd written. Fuck you, lady. I don't know how many times I had to write and say 'I'm not trying to get rid of him' for someone to not be a dumb, proud fucker. All things considered, I was civil as I could be since she was torn up about it. But I made a point to tell her not to be too proud to ask for help. I would have taken him back, AS I'D SAID. I would have taken him to the vet. I would have saved his fucking life and I would have kept him for the rest of his life because by then I knew for sure he wouldn't take the care of anyone else. So, fuck you, well meaning old douchebag. You fucking fuck. Oh, he's so pretty! I thought it was a scam because he's so beautiful! Fuck you, lady. Forever.

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Two days before she sent me that own up of honesty, I'd found the dumbest siamese on the planet. I'd seen her slinking in my neighborhood while Kon and I were walking the dog. Found it out of place because I hadn't seen her before. She was scared and hiding, but watching us hopefully, and on the way back home, I saw her hiding in the bushes of another house. Watching us hopefully. I really, really hoped she wasn't a stray. But she wasn't acting like a self assured outdoor cat, and she was full of milk. When I made noises at her, she almost came right up despite the dog, and there went that damn feeling in the pit of my stomach again. There goes another round of my family going 'hahaha this is what my daughter does for a hobby'. Like I want nothing more than to be spending money and time cleaning and house training kittens all the damn time.

She was following me around like a dog herself, weaving around my feet while I tried to figure out where she'd come from. I saw a neighbor outside the house I'd seen her at originally and asked them about her. My rude ass neighbor said she'd been around for a while and no one owned her. If I wanted a cat, there she was. Kon was back by then, dogless, and in irritation I started to walk in the direction this cat had been headed. She followed dutifully, not at all acting like a cat should. I seriously don't know how she survived anything. She's as smart as a pile of pebbles. But when we got in front of a certain house, she veered off and called out two kittens.

Still having Nitro around and sick as shit of kittens, I really didn't want to deal with it. I asked that neighbor. They'd felt sorry for her and were feeding them all, but weren't going to do anything with them. Her husband thought cats were a waste of space and already hated how many dogs she had, so she couldn't keep them. Didn't plan to do anything else with them, either. I was still railing against the idea of taking them home when she told me that there used to be three kittens, but now there were two. No one knows what happened to the third one.

People say this shit. Just. Absolutely straight faced with ignorance. I can't call the nonchalance anything else because anyone who speaks like that who I've ever confronted with even the mere possibility that 'lost' is probably 'dead' looks on in disbelief. 'Oh, the neighbor down the street released a pair of easter ducks into the pond! One of them disappeared, but I'm sure it's fine.' Yeah. Perma-clipped, domestic young ducks left to fend for themselves in a pond by the woods. You fucking feel good asshole. I'm sure they've just wandered off. Sure.

So, there I was again. These guys weren't feral, but they weren't quite socialized, either. But we managed to catch them. And then not two days later I get that lovely e-mail. I may have also allowed myself some feel sorry additions to the reply about how I'd just found another litter and this really made me want to have nothing to do with rescuing anything, if someone else who does rescue could let this happen to a cat I'd tried to support into a better life.

I don't even care. She seriously deserved to feel awful. Her whole e-mail was full of 'it's terrible that he was so sick, things were hard and I just felt too bad to contact you! But this ultimately isn't anyone's fault!' You fuck.

I don't know why. But everyone kitten I've found in this neighborhood has been female. All of them. Mary, Tres, Dulce, Leche, Poppy, Pepper, Pumpkin. All female. Nitro and Purrbox don't count because I didn't find them.

For these guys, I worked with a rescue in the area. They wouldn't take them in. And they couldn't help me out directly, but they let me buy FVRCP vaccinations at cost and let me go through their vet for the spays. Then the greatest news of ever.

Siamese mommy had FIV. Or, she'd been vaccinated against it, ever, but the expensive Western Blot test can't tell the difference. So there's no real point in having it done. I already had someone interested in the dainty, white faced kitten (Pumpkin) and I was pretty sure she'd back out when she found out. There was no point in trying to test the kittens till they were at least six months old because of the antibodies they could be carrying from their mom.

My first bit of luck. She didn't care. Knew what it was and still wanted her, and her vet checks and everything else had checked out. This also was when I started to suspect. All the good homes are in fucking St Augustine. True story. She renamed her Alley, because she'd been a stray when I found her several weeks before. Really.

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Pepper and her mother, I kept for more than six months. There was interest, but everyone would fuck off as soon as I reminded them of what they hadn't read. She could be FIV+ (or was probably, in her motehr's case). When she turned 6 months, I tested her. She was negative. Her mom was still positive, though (the test has a pretty high false positive rate).

Still took some weeks, however. And Pepper went to a cute young waitress (also in St Augustine, seriously) who just finally sent me an update on her. She hadn't been responding, so I'd been worried. But she'd covered the vet fee for adoption (which is what I do now), so I figured she couldn't be that irresponsible. She's getting along fine.

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FIV+ Poppy. I almost kept. She is seriously so sweet and so dumb that Kisa can't even start fights with her. It all fell flat. The dog loves her. I was extremely close to trying to get her on pet insurance and calling it done. Finally, last week, I was contacted by a lady who used to be a vet tech and has her own chronic illness. She's passed 47 kidney stones in a year. She's in lots of pain and can't work and she wanted a companion.

I told her if I could confirm she'd been a tech, I'd waive the fee, so I did. She still gave me a good bit of cash for her, though. Didn't cover it all. But I can't feel bad about it when it was that dumbass cat.

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In the midst of rehoming the siamese litter, everyone got bordatella from my dog. She may have been vaccinated, but that didn't stop them from picking it up from her. Everyone was fine, but my roommate (Princess)'s cat didn't fare well for a long while. I told him that he needed to take Kitty Kitty to the vet. He's been out of work for a while and didn't have the money. I have no sympathy, though. His parents are doctors. If he really cared, he could get money from them.

He didn't. Kon and I kept setting up boxes with heating pads for him and he never stopped eating and drinking, so I didn't have to do anything drastic. But I was done. I asked him if I could rehome his cat. He hadn't taken care of the guy since we'd moved into the same apartment years ago. I didn't want him as my own and was pretty sure I'd end up with him if he finally moved out. He didn't interact very kindly with him, though I knew he liked him. Kind of. Barely kind of.

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I did find someone who wanted him. Surprisingly fast! Vet check went well, they'd apparently had a cat in their youth who looked like him. They were quite excited. Unfortunately, her cat was fighting with him bad and she had to give him back. But apparently the seriousness actually knocked Princess into doing something for once, because he found a family friend to take him in not long after. Rock on, Kitty Kitty. He'd better not be fucking lying and have dumped you somewhere.

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And that's the story of how I overcame being a crazy cat lady and found homes for all the damn kittens I found in my lame neighborhood. Until this year. Except I hope not. Also the story of how I realized everyone is probably a lying fuck who I hate.

Seriously, lady. Hate.

Unfortunately, my dog spent her first year surrounded by kittens and now think she's a cat. She's very lonely because my own two cats are a bag of dicks. She wants to run free forever and writes bad poetry about how dull her life with us is.

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The end.

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