Blog Paws or Bust!

If you haven’t been following me on Twitter @writeandrescue or Instagram, you probably aren’t aware that I am headed off to THE pet blogging conference in the world tomorrow.

Blog Paws 2018 is the 10th Anniversary of this amazing conference and the first time I am actually attending.  I have wanted to go since 2014, but have never actually been able to swing it. This year, I planned ahead to make it happen!

I can’t wait to meet experts in the pet blogging field, other bloggers and all the amazing brands who will be there. I am looking forward to learning all the tips and tricks to turn my blog into a full time enterprise, and not just an occasional exercise.

I am also terrified. I feel like this is the defining moment guys; like this is when I decide if I can make it as a full time blogger or if it is time to put those dreams away in favor of more lucrative avenues. I am also nervous about traveling, networking, being away from my own fur-babies, etc.

Tonight, I am snuggling with Sneakers as much as possible.  I am double checking the cat care directions I am leaving behind. I am doing laundry and making sure everything is properly packed. Tomorrow I get up early, go to work  then head home with enough time to grab my suitcase and rush to the airport. Then begins the adventure of a lifetime and three days being way outside my comfort zone.  I will be posting all about it on Instagram and Twitter. So scroll over to the right and follow Instagram, or head over to Twitter to keep up to date!

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Sneakers is unimpressed by Flat Sneakers and Flat Fuzzy George, who will be accompanying me to Blog Paws.

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Now What?

After a false start on Wednesday, I managed to trap Little Black and get her to the vet on Thursday. She had a full exam, blood and urine, fecal test and even a nail trim (because she likes to swat at me and those daggers of her tear my hands to pieces).

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Waiting at the vet, growling.

But let’s back up a bit. Wednesday I gave the girls a tiny breakfast so Little Black would be hungry when it was time for trapping. I started work nice and late, which meant I had plenty of time to try and trap her. I set the newspaper up, put a plate of food in the trap and waited.  Both Mamma Kitty and Little Black circled the trap, trying to get the food. I had to go out a few times to smoosh down the newspaper that kept blowing in the wind.  Since I was outside, she was much more interested in flirting with me.

We spent a good five minutes with her rubbing back and forth along my side, meowing at me. I crouched down and she continued to rub and yell. I got severely reprimanded when I tried to touch her. I was only to touch with my eyes, not my hands. She rubs on the trap a few times, making the door fall shut and scaring herself in the process. I finally gave up on her and went back inside. I made sure to stay away from the windows so she wouldn’t come look at me through the windows.

As I was about to give up my mom looks out the window and says “Is she in the trap?” I look out and the first thing I see is the trap door wide open. I start to say no, then realize she is indeed in the trap. All the way in. Eating the food at the back of the trap. And not stepping on the trip plate. She finishes eating, backs herself out of the trap, and walks away. Damn cat. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, she didn’t survive ten years outside by being pretty.

I tried again Thursday, simply because the schedule at work was super light. I had a half hour window in which to trap her. I tried again, not really expecting to catch her. I go out, get the trap set then come back inside to get myself ready for work. In the time it took me to brush my teeth, she trapped herself. I look out the window and was shocked to see her calmly trying to get herself out of the trap. If she could talk she would have been saying “Umm, excuse me!? A little help here, you can let me out now!” Instead I tossed the towel over her all the way, picked her up and put her in the car. Poor Mommy was running around the deck, torn between trying to help her friend and running in terror so I didn’t do the same to her.

After I popped Little Black in the car, I ran inside and grabbed everything I would need for a super long day of work. I felt a bit like I was on a 90’s game show-grab as much as you can, as quick as you can. I raced out of the house and in to work. By this point Little Black is NOT a happy camper. She meowed and yowled the whole way in.

Once at the vet she got a complete work up from the best team around. They sedated her to do a full exam. She got several different topical anti-parasite and anti-flea treatments. Surprisingly my little girl did not have any obvious fleas!  She was super skinny- only 5lbs!-and has some severe diarrhea, but otherwise nothing was obviously wrong with her.

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“Satellite Dish” to make sure she didn’t try to bite if she woke up from anesthesia early.

 

I spent all day yesterday worrying about her, and all morning today fretting about her lab results. Thankfully everything came back really quickly and I was able to get a diagnosis. Hyperthyroidism.

My feral cat is hyperthyroid.  This is a completely treatable disease, I treated Crash for over 5 years.  Unfortunately, the most common medication is a twice daily pill.  Also unfortunately, it requires regular blood work. There is also I-131, or radioactive iodine treatment (the only known cure for the disease). I would take a cure over a treatment any day. Unfortunately, I can’t justify spending the 15k and keeping her locked up in a cage for two weeks. I just can’t justify it when she lives outside-she would hate, hate, HATE being in a cage for that long. Mamma Kitty would be lost without her buddy.

So, for now, we go the  tablet route. I figured it wouldn’t be an issue giving her a treat with a pill in it. She is super food motivated. She laughed in my face, eating the treat and flicking the pill out the side of her mouth. I was able to give it to her later in her food, but making sure she gets the right plate of food is going to be tricky.

I have answers. And I have options. And Little Black is happy to be home, prancing around her yard and snuggling with Mamma Kitty. I am going to do my best to not worry about the future, instead focusing on the day to day treatments. I have so many questions though. There are so many variables and so much I don’t have control over for her. And it scares me.

After my last post, I realized I wasn’t ready to give up on Little Black and Mama just yet. I was concerned because I was unable to get Little Black in to the vet right away. I justified it by saying she has waited this long, what’s another week. Really, I know this is just an excuse and a way to make myself feel better. However it has been too busy at work for me to squeeze her in. Between shortage of staff due to spring break, and injury plagued staff, I just couldn’t justify forcing her into the schedule.

So I spent the past week and a half acclimating Little Black to the humane trap. It has been ages since I tried trapping anyone, and as such the trap has not been out much. I wanted to make sure Little Black did not feel threatened by the trap before trying to catch her. I  started by setting up the trap on the deck and rigging it so it won’t shut behind anyone that walks inside.  Then I started feeding the girls most of their meals next to the trap.   I put the food right at the side of the trap, so they had to accept the trap without actually going in the trap for food.

After a few days of this, I started trap rehearsals.  I find trap rehearsals to be so important and a great way to get reluctant kitties used to the trap. Of course it is not always a feasible option-if you don’t know the cats’ schedule, or it is imperative the cat be removed right away.   Since the trap was already out and rigged to not close, I simply had to add a plate of stinky wet food. Then I went inside and waited.

Since Little Black is somewhat familiar with the trap, and somewhat fearless, I put the plate pretty far in. If you are rehearsing with a nervous kitty, it is best to start by putting the food close to the front of the trap.  As usual, both cats circled the trap, trying to find a way to get the food without going in the trap. After a few moments of this Little Black pops herself into the trap, eats unmolested and then backs herself out.  Check out the slideshow below to see how trap rehearsal works.

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Everything is in place for me to trap Little Black and take her to the vet on Wednesday. With any luck, this will all be happening while you are reading this.  Please cross your fingers, toes and paws for us.  I am very stressed about trying to trap her and managing a to get myself out the door for work at the same time.