Monday, February 12, 2007

Napping might help heart!

Woohooo!!!!!!! According to this article, a study has shown that a 30 minute nap a couple of times a week might reduce the risk of fatal heart problems.

Sure, I'm not a stressed out male in my 50's (which is the main group that have issues), but I have a dodgy heart, so I think this is a perfectly good reason for me to nap on a regular basis!

I love my afternoon naps, but we're so busy these days on weekends I haven't had a chance to nap in aaaaaages. At work though, there's massive beanbags which are so comfy, so maybe I'll have to start having lunch time naps... Someone else in the section actually did tell me recently that beanbag naps during the day were perfectly acceptable :)

Monday, February 05, 2007

What's one more cat?

I got guilted into fostering Smudge when I was taking Lily in for her shots one day. Kittens that come in to the shelter are supposed to be over a certain weight for us to take them, and if whoever brought them in can't take them back and look after them themselves, they get euthanised.

I know it sounds horrible, but if they're too small, they generally can't eat on their own, and require someone to bottle feed them every 4 hours, and stimulate their genitals and backside to make them go to the toilet, and they need to find people willing to do this and take the kitten in immediately because the shelter staff don't have time to do all that for every teeny, weeny kitten all day, and frankly it's not fair on the kitten.

Well, Smudge was under the recommended weight, but she was too cute, they could tell she was a fighter, and she was eating and using a litter tray on her own. So they decided to give her a chance - providing they found a foster home straight away. In comes me to get Lily's shots... So the animal attendant saw me and shepherded me into the back room before I knew what was going on and plopped this into my hands, and told me she'd probably have to be euthanised if I couldn't take her. Who can say no to that????

She weighed about 350 grams, and was such a sweetheart. This tiny little thing melted our hearts. A kitten generally gains 4 ounces (115g) a week, and this little thing lost an ounce in the week, and was also dehydrated. The vets said she may not make it, and she may have a genetic problem causing her not to gain weight.

She loved her food though:

And always needed a bath after she ate! So we had hope. I changed her food to a mush I made up with Pedialyte (human children's electrolyte replacement), Gerber baby food, top quality kitten wet and dry food, high calorie supplement for cats, and some extra water, made batches of it, and warmed up a couple of spoonfuls in the microwave 3 times a day and gave her that (as well as leaving "baby kitten" dry food out for her). With her new mush, she started gaining weight finally, and kept nice and hydrated, and looked so much brighter for it.

We could tell she had eye problems, and were constantly cleaning gunk out of her eyes. So I wasn't tempted to keep her though, I found her a permanent home. But because of her eye problems, she couldn't be put up for adoption until her eyes were fixed. Her new mum didn't want to keep waiting, and was also having some health problems with her own cat, so decided it probably wasn't the time to adopt another cat anyway.

By this time we were completely in love with her. She got on really well with our other cats - her and Lily in particular are such good buddies.

As well as that, she needed surgery to fix her eyes and we weren't sure if the shelter would want us to keep fostering her for 2-3 more months while we waited for her to be big enough for surgery. We weren't sure if they'd put her up for adoption and expect a future adopter to pay themselves for eye surgery - and we were pretty sure nobody would want to adopt a kitten with eye problems!

And Smudge knew who she had to convince if she wanted to stay...

She absolutely adores Andrew. She always sleeps on the bed with us, and whenever we're awake, she's on his chest, as close to as his face as she can possibly be, purring up a storm, nuzzling him. She'll occasionally come and sit on me, but usually it's to just chew my fingers! When Andrew was away in Spain, she barely even came near the bed at night time - she preferred to sleep downstairs on her own!

Anyway, so the shelter set up an appointment with an animal eye doctor, and they agreed to do the surgery free of charge, and the shelter would just pay for the anaesthesia fees. So Smudge has eyelid agenesis - her upper eyelid on one eye is missing, and the other upper eyelid is mostly missing. So the fur around her eyes is touching her eyeballs. She also has small eyeballs, which doesn't help.

She just had her cryosurgery last week to remove the fur from around her eyes and she looks sooooo much better for it. She can open her eyes a lot more wide now, and she also seems to be having a lot more fun playing, so I imagine it's always been very uncomfortable for her, and now she's a lot more comfortable - her eyes hurt less, and the cloudiness she had in her eyes is clearing, so she can probably see better now as well.

This is Smudge before the surgery:

And after!!

You can see over the photos how she's grown into a tiny little sickly thing, to a big, healthy kitten. Her coat is silky soft, she has a big, fluffy tail, she absolutely adores people, she's playful, and she's cuddly. And to have raised her from a 3 week old kitten weighing 350 g, and have her grow into a beautiful kitty now weighing nearly 3kg, there's just no way we can give her up!

We also officially adopted her last Thursday - what's one more cat? :)

And what does she think of the other 2 cats? I think they like each other!