February 2nd 2013 10:23 am
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Early Saturday morning, May 28 2011, six little kittens in a box were dumped at a sanitation plant. Four of the kittens were approximately 6 weeks old, two of the kittens were only 4 weeks old. Five of the kittens were white, one was black. The 6 week old kittens were all shorthairs. The one and only longhair in the group was Uno's white litter sister. A small bag of dry cat food was left sitting uselessly alongside the box. There the kittens sat in an open cardboard box throughout the long Memorial Day holiday weekend until Tuesday May 31 2011 when the sanitation plant employees returned to work and discovered the box of kittens.
One of the sanitation workers immediately called my best friend, a veterinarian who lives in the same town and told her about the kittens and asked her if she could take them and try to save them. She agreed and he took the box of kittens to her house.
Upon inspection, all six of the kittens were remarkably healthy, no herpes virus, no upper respiratory problems, no ear mites, although they did have a lot of fleas and of course were in very bad condition from starvation and dehydration after going 4 days without anything to eat or drink. Being the youngest, the little 4 week old kittens were in such bad shape it was feared neither would survive. The black 4 week old kitten was the smallest and in the worst condition of all. The kittens all survived and as told in her own diary, the little black kitten became Uno.
Two of the 6 week old white kittens also had eye damage caused by some kind of sharp object. One of the white kitten's left eye was so damaged there was no sight left in it and her right eye was damaged too although she seemed to have some vision left in the right eye. One of the 6 week white kittens had damage to her right eye but not to her left eye. Luckily the two white kittens eye damage wasn't severe enough to warrant enucleation. The other two 6 week old white kittens and the 4-week old white longhaired littermate to the little black kitten had no eye damage at all.
When offered solid food, it immediately was clear that none of the kittens had any idea at all what food even was. Obviously none of them had even begun to be weaned yet when they were taken from their mothers and dumped. My best friend tube fed the kittens, rehydrated them, got rid of the fleas, and gave them other supportive care. The kittens survived, learned how to eat solid food, and began to regain condition. All of the kittens had social temperaments and liked human attention, amazing considering how brutal their first experiences with human beings had been.
My best friend had kept Uno's litter sister, who was longhaired and white and although larger than Uno, had the same slender oriental body type as Uno. I of course, had Uno. Two of the older white kittens had found new homes but nobody wanted the two older white kittens with damaged eyes. So on 7-29-2011, Lefty and Righty joined my feline family. At this time, I changed Uno's name from Dynamo to Uno because the name Uno fit together with Lefty and Righty to make a theme of three names that aptly described the most distinguishing characteristics of the three kittens. The three little kittens, having been together since their earliest days, all three forced to share the unimaginably awful experience of having their eyes damaged by sharp objects; Righty with her obviously damaged right eye and Lefty with her obviously damaged blind left eye and both being white, and Uno being black and having only one eye, just seem destined to go together and belong together.Their three names, Righty, Lefty, and Uno all go together too.
As soon as I brought Lefty and Righty home, all three-Lefty, Righty, and Uno-made it clear they were very much all bonded and very glad to see each other. The instant they came together, all three greeted each other with the familiarity you only see in cats who know each other well and like each other. Lefty and Righty in particular are very bonded to each other and usually sleep together and groom each other.
Lefty's left eye is severely scarred and she has no vision in that eye. Righty's right eye is scarred and obviously damaged more than Lefty's right eye but much less severely damaged than Lefty's left eye. Except for their eye damage, both Lefty and Righty are in excellent health and condition. Their hearing and other sense, etc are all normal. Righty does have partial vision in her right eye and tends not to open her right eye as fully as normal. Her left eye appears to be totally normal without any damage at all.
Lefty and Righty have temperaments that are totally different from Uno's temperament. Righty is more active than Lefty. She spends more time interacting and playing with the other cats whereas Lefty usually can be found on my bed. Unlike Lefty, Righty likes to play hard and usually can be found right in the middle of the wildly energetic sometimes rough games the younger cats play. When all the doors are open it creates an unbroken pathway through the master bedroom, the living room, the kitchen, and two hallways and the younger cats turn this into an oval track and race around it at high speed. It can sound like horses galloping through the house.
The tube is a long fabric tube with a lightweight frame probably made for young children to play in that I saw and bought at a Goodwill store once because I thought it would be great fun for the cats to play with. It offers endless ways to play games and have fun. There is a game of chicken where one cat enters the tube at each end and then engage in a play wrestling match to get past each other. From what I can tell, first one through to the opposite end is the winner. There's another game where one cat sits in the tube and one or more cats slowly walk along the tube on the outside and lightly paw at the tube or rub against it. The cat on the inside is supposed to notice the movement on the tube wall and pounce at it before the movement stops. There's another game where one cat sits inside the tube and another sneaks up on him/her from one end. The cat in the tube pretends not to notice what's happening until the last minute. Variations on this include two trying to sneak up on the cat in the tube from both ends or a cat blocking one end while another sneaks up on the cat in the tube from the opposite end. Then there are games of tag that involve one or more cats inside the tube and one or more cats outside the tube racing in and out of the tube and pouncing on each other and staging feline versions of WWE wrestling matches. I haven't yet figured out the structure, organization or rules of this game.
There's a feline form of "king of the hill" that is played on the cat trees. One cat is on a high perch while one or more others come up and try to oust the cat on the perch. If the cat on the perch is ousted, he//she will land on one of the lower perches and take a turn trying to oust whoever now is on the top perch. Cats really LOVE the cat trees with sisal wrapped posts and carpeted shelves These cat trees although not cheap, offer the cats many hours of fun and a place to sharpen their claws that they prefer to use over furniture. Cats really like the sisal ropes that are wound around the posts on these trees. Problem is that now some of the sisal has been worn through and parts have come unwrapped and while I try to tie them back together, what I need to do is buy more sisal rope and completely rewrap the posts. But I haven't yet found anyplace that sells sisal rope by itself. The best cat trees I ever had and that my cats loved most, were some I used to have that were made from natural tree branches and carpeted wooden shelves. Those cat trees lasted over 20 years of being constantly used by many cats before they were worn out. They were so much sturdier than the cardboard core cat trees commonly sold now.
Another game that the cats occasionally like to play but that I don't appreciate, is the game that seems to consist of simply dumping all their toys out of the toy basket and then sending anything that's able to roll, under furniture, etc, until the toys are all stuck under something. Then one of the cats will come meow at me and lead me to a piece of furniture where toys are stuck and swipe a paw under it as if attempting to reach the toy. I don't know how the cats decide who will be the one to come get me to rescue their toys. I'll get a broom and retrieve the toys and return them to the toy basket. Then if I'm lucky, it'll be some time before the cats decide to play that game again.
One note of caution, don't waste your money buying one of those floor to ceiling cat trees that are held in place by a spring at the top of the tree (they are sold at stores such as WalMart and average around 40 dollars price) . They have thick cardboard cores, flimsy plastic at the ends of the sections, usually designed with a bolt and threaded receptacle end in the center of the plastic end pieces so the sections can be screwed together to form the main piece of the cat tree. The shelves sit at the point where two sections of the main pole meet. I bought one of these and started to set it up. When I set it up, the tension was too great on the spring against the ceiling and the tree would just come apart near the top and topple over from the force of the tension. I then cut several inches off the bottom of the top section of the main pole, the only piece that could be cut without ruining the tree. This time the tree held firmly in place as it was supposed to do until a cat jumped on one of the upper shelves. When a cat jumped on a middle shelf, the plastic at the end of the cardboard cores where a bolt is screwed into the receptacle on the joining section, broke and once again the tree came tumbling down. The top and bottom sections of the tree were stable but the areas where the sections met in the middle heights of the tree were obviously weak. I got creative and reinforced all the ends where the tree sections joined each other, with additional bolts etc. This time the tree lasted three days before a cat jumped on a shelf and the cardboard core itself broke apart near the middle shelf. I haven't yet found any way to rig the tree back together. Years ago I had one of these trees and it was designed so the thick cardboard tubes would slide together at the ends, one inside the other. That tree lasted many years before the ends started to wear out. Because that design of tree was hollow from the bottom almost to the top (where a block of wood inside the tree supported the spring that secured it against the ceiling), I was able to repair that tree and get more years of use out of it by running a piece of pcv pipe up through all middle of all the sections from bottom to top and bolting the sections into the pcv pipe and let the pcv pipe serve as the central frame. With this current design I can't do that unless I figure out a way to break and remove all the plastic end pieces from the sections and I haven't yet been motivated to fight with it. Besides I feel that when I paid $40 for it, the floor to ceiling cat tree should have been able to withstand a cat jumping onto one of its shelves without breaking apart!
Cats like a rough surface to sharpen their claws on. Cats also want to use something that's solid and stable, that won't sway too much or tip over when the cat uses it, and that offers enough height or length for the cat to stretch out when sharpening claws. One exception I've found to this is the Turbo Scratcher. You can see it in some of my cat photos. It's a plastic toy with a ball that runs around an outside track and a coil of cardboard fits into the center area. It comes with catnip you can sprinkle into the cardboard center to encourage the cats to use it. Replacement cardboard centers are sold separately so when the cardboard center wears out, you just simply put a replacement one in. The cats love this toy, with or without catnip. It gets a lot of use.
I'll get back to Righty, the actual subject of this diary, in the next chapter.
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