My Greek kitty crew

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy tally sheet


Unfortunately there were a few lives we couldn't save this year. BUT... there were many we did save from a certain death. Here's a little gallery of the most poignant stories - those that did face death. Above it's Benji who was rescued on a cold winter day last February. I found him badly mauled (if you don't know his story check out the huge abcess on the right side of his face) and with a bad flu. He was touch and go for three days (didn't eat or drink) but finally pulled through. Sometimes we endearingly call him Michael Oher (The Blind Side) - he scores very high on protective instincts :-) He does not have a mean bone in his body  - never never starts a fight and has taken lovingly care of each little newcomer. He has turned into a gentle giant.

A few images from December.

Then there's Emma who was drowning in our neighbors huge water tank (water is precious here and each drop is collected). The neighbors don't actually live there (so far they're just building a house) and it's unknown how she got into the water tank and how long she'd been paddling around. She suffered from a skin rash three months after her rescue.

But she turned out to be a wise little soul and she quickly adopted us (even though it took me an entire day to rescue her out of a complex piping system because she was so freaked out upon her initial rescue from the water tank). She is wise and deep and I am sure - has an old soul.

She soon struck up a tight knit friendship with Benji - actually they acted like soul mates.

They LOVED to snuggle when she was little...

- and they still LOVE to snuggle today. 

Noona's rescue is pretty difficult to forget. She was found in a pityful state in a typical Greek taverna. Lot's of cats fighting over the scraps people thew to them and Noona could never get to them because she was so heavy from a grotesque case of mamary hyperplasia. She was very underweight and I'm sure her swollen mamary glands actually weighed more than her entire body itself. Upon her rescue she suffered an abortion from the hormone treatment to treat the hyperplasia and she suffered horrible side-effects from the treatment. She had a swollen chin for several weeks and started eating the grit from the litter box. It's taken almost all year for her mamary glands to return to normal.

I am convinced Noona knows she was rescued from dying. Today - almost at any given moment - she can be found sat just quietly observing all her friends - purring loudly. She truly enjoys life. She loves to entertain everybody - she creeps under a blanket and gets everyone going chasing the "moving object" under the blanket - purring loudly naturally!

And dear dear Rosie... Rosie was found at deaths door.

She physically had to rest for 12 days before she stood upright after her rescue. She was so weakened from emaciation.  Today she has a V E R Y great love affair with her food. You can understand why!! She is a lovely cat but keeps herself to herself. She carries herself almost as someone who's known death. There's a look in her eyes where you almost feel as if she  knows what the rainbow bridge looks like - I swear!

And of course her sibling Rufus...

They were both in quite a chocking condition but initially Rufus seemed stronger. After about 12 days I scooped him too. 

Yes, above and below is the same cat, can you believe it!? Below is a recent image of Rufus on a gloriously sunny day.

Rufus and sis chilling on the porch!

And not to forget little Lilly...

She was such a sad little girl when I found her. Phychologically not a happy girl and covered in skin fungus.

But now she is a happy and content girl endearlingly known as "Darling Piglet"...


So there you have it, just a few of our "on the brink" rescues but there were as you know many more. 

From the entire crew -  wishing you a very happy and blessed New Year (and from left to right it's Maxi, Rufus, little Ellie in the background, Toddy, Emma and Benji. Oh... and bottom right it's Darling Piglet's happy tail!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Goodbye Charlie

As some of you will know already, Charlie sadly passed away on what I call Christmas morning (December 24th - the day Christmas is celebrated in Scandinavia). In spite of his multiple ailments it seemed that he initially made some good progress. Began to eat of his own volition (initially he had to be force fed due to painful ulcers on his tongue), did his toilet, purred and even sought our laps for cuddles and intimacy (he was a feral cat!) - and he seemed very present in his eyes. I knew though that it wasn't good with Charlie. He had many possible diagnoses - flu, clamydia, leukemia and feline aids. Two days after bringing him home he stopped eating again. His eyes went glazed and I could see he was suffering. I had told him that I would do all I could to help him - but I also told him that if he was in too much pain that it was ok to leave his little fur coat. DH and I did all we humanly could to encourage Charlie. We tried to make him as comfortable as possible and delighted in having him purring in our laps. In this image I am having a quiet moment with Charlie - brow to brow and he was purring.  

Unfortunately Charlie's suffering was to such an extent that he was beyond bodily repair.  When we brought him back to the vet he was examined by another vet who gave the diagnosis: diaphragmatic hernia (caused by being hit by a car, falling from a high place or being kicked - and making breathing extremely difficult). Or just simply a very bad virus. We agreed to try intravenous antibiotics and fluids in the hope he could recover again, but it turned out that it most proabably was the vets first diagnosis  This poor boy had suffered terribly - most likely with internal injuries plus a flu and the ulcers on his tongue. As you can imagine - I so badly wanted him to recover to experience a good life. If any cat deserved to experience it it would have been Charlie. I rest reassured that Chalie knew during the last days of his life that he was loved and cared for. He was seen. He did not go unnoted. He was a beautiful soul. One of God's little people.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Counting my blessings


Whilst the news on Bessie (who by the way now is Charlie - turns out Bessie is a boy!) is not the best (he is back in intensive veterinary care in a very serious condition), I still want to use this day counting my endless blessings from throughout this year. Last Christmas I had just taken on looking after Tiny and Ninja (and with some reluctance - I guess I knew where it would be headed from there!!) and I had no idea this Christmas would be more than 35 cats later. But what a year it's been - what beautiful souls have come my way. What gifts. What a development journey they have all offered me (inner and outer). Each cat has represented a new challenge and I can honestly say each cat individually has taught me new lessons and a whole lot about diseases and treatment. And I felt quite apprehensive when I took on this beauty - the irresistible Ellie. You might have watched the little video (a few posts ago) from the day I found her abandoned by kitty mom and in a state of hypothermia (only 10 days old). (These images are from a few days ago when she jumped a tree for the first time and I happened to have my camera at the ready).

How do you become a kitty mom?? Providing the baby kitten with a constantly balanced body temperature, making sure it does its toilet, keeping it engaged and basically knowing its survival depends on you. Well, Ellie is one among many of my lovely rescues this year and she has turned out just so perfectly perfect - I'm floored each day by her innoncent purity. It's very grounding.

And I feel so humbled by each little soul I've had the privilege of saving. They have saved me right back, they truly have. They call out every little bit of Godly humanity and compassion - is there a better place to be located in oneself? Not for me. 

And to you my lovely dear friends...
Thank you for all the loving sentiments you have expressed - and your beautiful encouraging words. And to those of you who have purchased cards - you all keep me going. And to my lovely blogging friend who generously donated towards these little lives - I know where your heart is!

Bless you splendid spirits! - and enjoy your holidays. 
Will you remember to keep Charlie in your thoughts - thank you.

- and a little haven full of grateful kitties.
Update: Sadly we said goodbye to Charlie Christmas morning. There will be a tribute to Charlie in my next post.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A prayer and a healing thought for Bessie


It is a busy time here. Not because of Christmas but because of sick cats. You are already familiar with the stories of the young dumpster cats Felix and Tiffy (the emaciated tabby girl). They have both recovered well - Tiffy just need to double her weight! But back at the dumpster there's still a couple of their feral friends recovering from flu. But at least I've managed to feed them tasty food with added antibitotics and it seems they're making progress (they've started eating again).  I've popped a padded polystyrene box in their field (fingers crossed no one removes it) which the recovering young cats have taken to - they all huddle together.

And then there's Bessie. I found Bessie last Saturday morning. I'd been looking for her for days (knew she needed help) and just as I was about to leave she appeared futher down the road restlessly walking around crying.  She was so weak I just picked her up and popped her in a transport box (she is feral!). She was taken straight to the vet who washed away layers from her almost closed eyes and completely stuffed nose. She wasn't lacking appetite because of a flu (which she also has) but she simpy could not eat (even though she badly wanted to) because her tounge was filled with painful ulcers. She was extremely emaciated and was basically dying from starvation because she couldn't eat. Later the same day we had a 24hour torrential down-pour and today (when I picked her of from intensive care) the vet deemed that she wouldn't have lasted the entire Saturday if she hadn't been found. 

Only yesterday did she begin to eat a little on her own - otherwise she has been force fed to ensure her survival. Today she ate entirely on her own, so we thougth to bring her home where she could recover and heal in complete quiet. She is by no means in the safe zone. Breathing is strenous for her and eating is very painful. I have told her that if she will try her best to survive (meaning that she will continue to eat on her own) then I will provide a loving home for life. She continually makes muted cries. I know she is letting me know she is doing all she can. She has eaten a little. A while ago I watched her eat a tiny bit more - and I saw how painful it is for her. But she wants to show me that she is really trying. 

If this beautiful girl is in more pain than than she can bear I don't mind her leaving her pained body. But I feel deeply within that she wants to live. She is so beautiful and she so deserves to know what a pain-free life can be like. 

Will you please pray for Bessie's recovery and send her healing thoughts.
Thank you - and I will keep you posted.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail

Sometimes I need to give myself a little pep-talk. Doing what I do I daily see cats and kittens in need of help. Some needs rescuing if they are to stand a chance at surviving. This was clearly the case with the young tabby in the second image from my last post. I was concerned when I first saw her some weeks back. She was awfully skinny (emaciated really) and she was so timid that it was difficult getting her to eat the food I left behind. She did eventually begin to eat a little but just as I was beginning to hope that she might gain some weight and strength, disaster struck - she caught a flu (just like Felix  - re. last post). She began to sit passively when the other cats would eat. I knew this was bad knews. No way could an emaciated feral cat like this withstand a bad flu. A few days later more doom set in. She was nowhere to be seen. I felt extremely concerned she had laid down in a weakened state to die. Well... this is where I needed my own pep-talk. To do with belief. Not giving up hope. I kept an internal image of her appearing on the wall - just like she'd before.

I hadn't seen her Friday, Saturday or Sunday. But...! This morning a miracle occured. She sat on the wall!! In a worse state - but she was there. I knew I had to act fast so I pulled out a cage that I had already prepared last week. No room for second thoughts - just a firm grab by the scruff of the neck and then off to the vet to give her an antibiotic shot, deworming and an examination of her eye. At the vet she went ballistic. The nurse held her firm with huge protective gloves whilst the vet examined her. Turned out she had a really bad case of conjunctivitis. I knew what that meant... several eyedrops during the day for an entire week. I knew I could feed her and keep her in a safe enclosure but I have to admit that I felt a little outside my wits as how to go about a ballistic cat needing eyedrops several times a day (and preferably eye-washes too).  Mmm - believe...

When my turn came I sat down and talked to her. Reminded of a few words from Albert Schweitzer's "Prayers for Animals"... a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kindly words. Then I put my hand in the cage (wrapped in gardening gloves and a towell not knowing what would come my way!). When she accepted my hand in there I gently let it rub her. When she accepted that I removed the towell and gently rubbed her side with my hand. After this I removed the gloves. Again gentle rubbing her on the side. Then gently stroking her head. Then gently pulling her out, washing her eye and popping in the eyedrop. I was AMAZED! Why would this girl let me do this?? Sometimes I sincerely feel so humbled in their presence. What makes them trust like this when all they've ever known is fight and flight??

Whatever it is I humbly proceed. I hope this girl will gain back her appetite soon at least that way I will be able to keep her in my care.

PS about Felix
Felix from my last post was eventually put into veterinary care last week. He didn't eat or drink at all (for many days) and had to be force fed.  And just today he showed signs of an eye ulcer due to the flu. He will stay there for another few days until he gets the ok from the vet. 

PPS The heading is a quote from Charles F. Kettering

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The less fortunate


Well, hello world! It's been a while. Our internet has been down for more than 10 days and living on a small Greek island, that's like being cut off from the rest of the world. 

Anyhow... the rescue stories continue and today I want to introduce you to some of my precious "dumpster friends." They are the less fortunate who all got born around a dumpster right by a road but who have taken up residence here because it's where they go in search for food. Also there's a field just on the other side of the wall (I'm standing on the road taking these photos) where people dump their garden rubbish. When enough straw, bamboo and dry stuff has accumulated the cats make little dens for sleep and shelter. Unfortunately - eventually, when the heap is real huge, the owner of the field comes to burn all the rubbish and the cats are back to square one (no one is interested in deliberately attracting the cats!).

Recently four new bigger kittens (4-5 months) appeared here. This one above appeared a few weeks ago. He has got a very shy mother, which might be why she waited such a long time to bring him to the dumpster. He is very emaciated (and extremely feral) and it took him a few days to get the idea of food. He has still got a long while to go to reach his normal weight but at least he now gets 2 or 3 daily servings of food. 

Some of the bigger cats have grown more resilient and shrewd - I'm sure they know which door-steps to appear on for food scraps.

I love when we have nice weather (no rain and not too cold) - it means these guys doesn't suffer the cold too much, especially at night time. But in spite of a recent spell of seriously beautiful weather one of these little guys has developed a bad flu. Felix - the white/ginger cat/kitten has lost his appetite (the above image is from last week). Unfortunately it is not an altogether easy task catching a feral cat for veterinary treatment but later today I am going to try to catch him.

Here Felix is enjoying a warm afternoon last week with one of his little snuggle-mates (isn't she gorgeously scruffy?) I need this boy to be well and healthy - he is a special one - so I need you to cross your fingers that I'll be able to get him the help he needs.

I promise to keep you posted!

P.s. Update - Felix was caught (unbelievably a cat trapping expert happened to be there the moment I arrived - what do you think about that!!!?). He is now in r&r for a few days.