Happy Friday, friends! This has been a crazy week! I’m going to do a sort of combined favs/catch-up post.
1. As you already know, I am a gold star Cat Lady. I had literally been back in Missouri for 2 weeks after moving back from Florida when a cat jumped the fence in my back yard and was like, “I live here now.” My outdoor cat adopted two stray kittens when I was in Florida once, and when one of them popped out five babies before she looked old enough to get pregnant, I “totally was not going to keep any of them”… LOL FOREVER.
You could probably drop me off on Mars and a tiny space cat would wander up and curl up in my lap. Life, uh, finds a way.
10000% my life.
So the other night, I kept hearing what I thought was a bird, but when I went into the kitchen it became clear that it was a cat. On my back deck. I did a quick glance around like, “Did someone manage to get outside??” but nope. I slipped out the door and there was a little kitten with a white tip on his tail. He freaked out and ran, and then JUMPED OFF THE DECK. After getting over the, “Oh shit, did he just commit kitty suicide?” I went down and checked and he was ok. Little dude was clearly in a panic so I got a can of food and took him a plate. It took a minute, but hunger overcame fear and he came up and ate. If I’d even move a hand, he’d run off a few feet, but then come back to the food.
Since I already have indoor cats, there’s no way I could bring a strange cat in for the night, so I figured the best I could do was fill his belly up, make sure there was water, and then see what I could do for him if he was still there in the morning.
Long story short…
He came back the next night, so apparently this was a thing I was dealing with now. The morning after that, I posted on the local yard sale group and regional lost and found page on FB to see if anyone had lost a kitten. He’s so clean and floofy and after getting over his initial fear, was loving and wanted in the house. Definitely an indoor guy. I also posted on my personal Facebook to see if anyone local might be interested in him if I didn’t find his owner.
Day 4, he’s already on the back porch for breakfast. This was the first time he’d been up before like 9 p.m. I called the local shelter to see if I could bring him in, but they have a THREE MONTH waiting list. I asked the guy on the phone if he knew any other local shelters or rescues, and he told me to just Google it. Thanks, dude.
There’s a large ASPCA up in Springfield, but they aren’t no-kill. Between being you and cute and polydactyl (he has thumbs!) I had a feeling this guy would get adopted quick, but the idea of chancing it worried me. I contacted a cat rescue there, too, but they already had 200 cats in foster homes they were trying to find homes for, so no luck. I reached out to a friend who is a vet at a fairly large practice there, and she said they sometimes have a couple of kittens up for adoption in their waiting room. She said I could bring him up and as long as he was negative for feline leukemia and FIV, he could stay there until he found a forever home. YAY!!!
That brings us to yesterday It was super stormy in the morning, so I drove him up around noon. I spent quite a bit of time that morning playing with him and basically saying goodbye. Even though it’s only been a few days, I got attached quickly. It’s just how I roll. He threw about a five-minute temper tantrum in the car, and then slept the rest of the hour drive. GOOD BOY.
My friend gave him a quick physical exam, agreed with my guess that he’s about 4-5 months old, and then took him back to get a blood sample for his tests. That took about 10 minutes, and then I waited with him in the exam room for about 10 more while we waited for the results. He was thrilled just to be held and cuddled for so long, so he had zero complaints.
But then the FIV test came back positive. My vet friend said that sometimes running them a certain way can cause a false positive, so she took another blood sample to be sure, and we had that 10 minute wait again, but this one felt super long.
Positive again. They couldn’t put him in with the other adoptable kittens, he’d have to come back home with me.
The good news is that FIV has a way worse reputation than the reality. It’s mainly transmitted by biting, and there’s very little chance this tiny guy is going to go bite one of my big outdoor cats. (I showed him to them when I got home to establish “This is a friend, we like him.” and the boys gave him a quick sniff and then walked away uninterested.) I put up a temporary door across the deck stairs so that he’s kind of barricaded in, and nothing else can get it. It’s not ideal by any means, but it’s the best I can do for now. He has about 80 square feet to himself with food and water and a litter box (which he was smart enough to use already!), so hopefully it will work until I can find him a new home.
The other good thing I discovered is that often, if the mother of a cat had FIV, the kitten can test positive for it until the antibodies clear out of their system at around 6 months of age. So there’s a solid chance he’s not carrying it at all, and if we retest him in a month or two he’ll be clear. That’s *fantastic* news, but it also means I might be taking care of him for significantly longer than I planned. And that means getting way more attached.
On one hand, I am so, so thankful that this little guy was smart enough to find me. I’m about 95% convinced that someone just dumped him nearby, possibly after learning his diagnosis and not wanting to deal with it. There is a special place in hell for that kind of person. That said, when you live in an area with ONE animal shelter that has a three month waiting list, there’s a deeper problem. We have one local vet that offers a low cost neuter and rabies shot once a year, but I wish more places did that, and more often. If I find a stray kitten and I’m willing to drive like two hours to take him to a shelter/rescue and also happy to pay them to take him, I shouldn’t be met with all closed doors. This little guy deserves so much more than the hand he’s been dealt. Every kitty deserves a safe home and someone to pet them. I will find this guy his, even if it means keeping him for a couple of months.
Oh, and yeah, when we were at the vet I was about 10 minutes away from the Walmart Neighborhood Market where an off duty officer tackled a dude who was loading up a rifle for a shooting spree.
2. We have two free range donkeys where I work trail rides, and it always cracks me up when we run across them while riding. Right after we passsed by them here, Hershey (the big one in the foreground) started rolling in the dirt. Guests loved it. Good job, donkey!
I’m working there tomorrow, but the forecast is for rain and storms so who knows? I love my horses but I am so over this heat and humidity.
3. I posted about enjoying Iliza Shlesinger’s Netflix specials on a Friday Favs a month or so ago, but now I’m hooked on her podcast, Ask Iliza Anything. Definitely recommend if you want something to listen to in the car as a way to de-stress after work or something!
4. I got to ride my instructor’s Endurance horse, Targa, for my lesson on Monday. It was like 90 degrees, and by the time we finished (in the indoor arena no less!) my t-shirt was totally soaked in sweat. We worked hard! But I’m improving. I pulled up a video of Charlotte Dujardin riding at the FEI finals and studied, and that definitely made some lightbulbs go off. THAT’s what my elbows are supposed to be doing! THAT’s what she means by “knees back and down”. 487435 more years of this and I might get it!
On that note, one of my New Years Resolutions was to spend 100 hours in the saddle this year. Of course, at the time I thought I’d be going back to my trial ride job in March, and instead I ended up not finding a new one until June. As a result, I’m currently at like 27 hours of riding so far this year, which will probably be 30 by the end of the weekend since I work tomorrow. It’s funny – I feel like I’m riding all the dang time, but I guess that I only rode once or twice before May? Time goes too fast. I’ll probably be working even less after labor day, so there’s a good chance I won’t come close to my goal, but it has been interesting to track!
5. I gave myself an “off” day last week and spent an hour or so just hanging out by the lake. I go to the lake all the time, but I usually either go for a long walk or sit by the water to write – I never just spread out a towel and get some sun on my pale legs. (Side note – it’s so rocky down there that laying by the water is generally not comfy! I had to pick out the least rocky spot I could find and still had a couple poking me through the towel.) (Side note of a side note – I recently got into an argument with a friend when we were watching The Office and they talk about having a beach day and then go to the lake. I was obviously like WTF, the lake does not count as a beach. That is crazy talk. He argued that it does count. Clearly he is unhinged. Beach = Ocean. Sand. Waves. Not lake. Please take my side in this and validate me.)
I laughed so hard because after like 45 minutes of laying there, I finally looked up and there were vultures circling overhead. They were probably after a fish someone left lying around or something, but I found it hilarious to think that I’d been lying there like a blob for so long that they assumed I was dead.
Busy weekend ahead as usual, but hopefully next week will be a little more chill? Maybe? Who knows.