While I am doing other things in my life, like working, climbing, eating, showering, scheming and socializing, the fostering project is currently the newest, the cutest, the most photogenic, and probably what I’m learning the most from right now. It’s extremely rewarding. The little kits are all growed up (about ten weeks, give or take) and we’ve had ups and downs with them — parasites, learning to live with claws, giving meds, litter-box training, and even a dip into the world of the Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) that took little P. Earl. We tried really hard to keep him fed and watered and warm and healthy, but in the end, the poor little guy couldn’t keep food or water in his tummy for more than a few minutes. He’s in a better place now.
Oh, right, and we got some of their genders wrong — turns out Pearl was a boy, so we renamed him Prince Earl. Hector is a lady, so now we call her Hectorina (I’m advertising her as Calypso because she’s a deep gray-blue, but we can’t bring ourselves to call her that at home). Since the name Jack is super popular right now for kittens, and has a few other drawbacks, our vocal little captain has been renamed to BartholoMEW Jackson.
Even though they were all exposed to FeLV, Princess, Ziggy, Hectorina and Bartholomew all tested NEGATIVE for it last week at the vet, so in theory they are ready for desexing and adoption. But because they were exposed, they’re not allowed to go to events, and still might end up going to a rescue organization. Rescues are more specialized animal care facilities that are prepared to take in animals with special needs (either medical, like diabetes, or behavioral, or any other issue you can think of).
Even though cats with FeLV generally live normal lives, because the virus is contagious, they shouldn’t live with other FeLV negative cats in case the infection spreads and causes leukemia in another cat. Cats with FeLV can either fight off the virus and become immune, remain healthy but be carriers of the disease, or at some point in their lives (usually when they are first infected but sometimes later on) develop complications from the virus — basically cancer of any/all parts of their body. Not awesome, but definitely not an automatic death sentence. Since these guys have been exposed, and the tests are not very accurate, they have to get some special attention and anyone we adopt them out to should be aware that they could still be carrying the virus. They’re our first fosters, so it’s been a little confusing trying to navigate through this process, but everything is a learning experience, and the folks over at BARCS have for the most part been extremely supportive.
In light of all this, today I finally posted a craigslist ad for these furry little monsters. Fingers crossed we get find an amazing forever home for each of these guys! It’s going to be so hard to see them go.