I did enjoy my 20 year high school reunion. That night was a welcome relief in a lot of it. Suffice to say that I saw some people I hadn't seen since graduating, some who I ONLY see at the reunions (even though some of them live in town...I've yet to see them in the local mall or the movie theatre), and others who I see regularly (and am glad to). This time out, the people who were there tended to be the people that I wanted to see. The ones who enjoy themselves at things like this. The ones who have become adults.
Also, it was the first time that Paul and I weren't the only out gay couple there. That was nice to see the continuity of the exceptance of my fellow gay students by the rest of my class.
The biggest stress has been the outside tribe of cats. Not that they were doing something on purpose.
Back in May, when Hermione went missing (and we luckily found her at the ASPCA), her brother, Prince, and her daughter, Cupcake, also went missing. They still haven't ever shown up. At that same time, Dusty (Hermione's eldest daughter), had a litter of five that all had died/been killed. It appeared that they'd been killed by a wild animal (there were possum AND raccoon seen in the neighborhood around that time).
Soon after, Dusty got pregnant seemingly right away again. At the same time, Tegan, her one year old daughter, also was showing signs of pregnancy. And so was Pal, her grandmother (Hermione's mother).
Meanwhile, we started to see five little kittens next door at Linda's. Three little completely black ones, one black and white male longhair and another little black and white female...this one looked exactly like Pal in miniature. Apparently, Velvet, the all black next door, who may or may not have been one of Tiny's babys or grandbabys was the mother of the three first ones, Tiny was the mother of the other two.
Tiny is Pal's daughter and was born in the same litter as Prince. She is four years old. We've never known her to have her litters to term. We've seen her pregnant in the past, but have never seen her with kittens. There has always been at least another female living next door whenever she might have had her litters and we may have in the past simply attributed previous year's litters to the others...for instance, before Velvet, there was Midnight, before her there was Isis...all completely black cats...were they the mothers of each in turn or was Tiny the mother/grandmother? Don't know now...
I don't know what happened to Tiny's little boy (who looked a lot like her brother Keyops) or the three black ones (at least one of which was run over by a car), but the little Pal kitty is living here with us now. I've named her Amelie. Pictures to come very soon. Want to get them while she's still a kitten.
Meanwhile, Princess, Prince and Shadow's daughter who is two years old, had a daughter...I've named her Duchess. I can't get too close to her, 'cause she was raised next door by Princess so she's going to be more feral. Long hair, tiger striped face, auburn fur.
Tegan had three kittens. Within days, Dusty had six more. Dusty pushed Tegan away and started taking care of all nine. She took them in shifts (moving them all to three different areas of the porch). However, the heat was just too horrible and they just weren't strong enough. So, every day, seemingly, Paul and I would have to come home, scoop up a dead kitten (with the shovel) and carry them to the backyard to dispose of them.
Pal had two kittens. Two little long hairs. One that looked like Prince, one that looked like Tiny (if she had long hair). Napoleon (the little Prince) and Josephine.
They were growing up, walking, running around, learning to maneuver the stairs on the porch, chasing their own and each other's tail. Then, last weekend, something horrible started. I stepped outside to find that Josephine was totally wet. Drenched in water. Meanwhile, it had barely rained the night before. None of the other cats was that wet. Her brother was on the porch fully dry.
When I got home from work, the same...she was totally wet, the others completely dry. Meanwhile, Pal's trying to clean her off and flies are swarming all over her. I managed to get the frighten the flies away temporarily, and saw that there was some kind of gook all over her.
I brought her in, to the kitchen sink. I tried to just rinse it off and then used some pet shampoo. She was frightened but I tried to sooth her. I knew she would trust me to take care of her 'cause she and her brother had bonded with me. As I started to wash her, I could see that the gook wouldn't come off...and discovered that the gook was some kind of insect eggs (flies, I guess).
I then realized that she wasn't crying because I had brought her inside or because I'd wet her or because I soaped her up, but because she was being eaten by bugs...possibly from the inside. The flys or whatever were hatching off of her or from inside of her.
As I was trying to dry her out, she was still crying a little bit and suddenly she just...stopped. She was still breathing, but she just...stopped making any more fuss.
Now, meanwhile, throughout all of this, Paul is on the phone, in the other room, where he can't see me or the kitten or any of what I'm seeing. He's trying to get information and advice for her care from his mother and from our friend, Kris. I yelled to him to just put down the phone and come in to me and her.
He saw that her breathing was slowing down and that she was probably dying at that point. We knew that we didn't want her to be alone and would want her mother to be able to be with her. As painful as it was for me, I brought her outside to the yard and laid her gently down. I brought Pal over to her and she tried to comfort her, but quickly turned away from her, leaving her to die (by this point, her eyes were closed and she was no longer crying).
I quickly inspected Amelie and Napoleon. No signs of the stuff. But, also, the flies weren't on any of the adults or these two kittens.
Then, Monday morning, we got up to find the same thing happening to Napoleon. We realized that if this was happening, it was already too late for him.
Pal is old, half-blind. She'd had them in the bushes next to the house instead of up on the porch. What Paul thinks happened is that she never completely got all of the afterbirth off of them when they were first born, attracting the insects. In fact, when I first discovered them (their eyes were already open by the time I found them) they were swarmed with flies down in the bushes and I'd swatted them away. I'd quickly moved them to the porch. That may already have been too late for these two sweet little babies. The flies probably already planted the eggs on them at that point. They were only suddenly visible at they were hatching out of their skin, tearing them apart from the inside.
Again, Pal tried to sooth him but abandoned him when his breathing got shallow and his crying stopped. I watched the others give the baby a WIDE berth.
Since we'd gotten an appointment for Thursday for Napoleon, who was now deceased, to go to the vet, we'd decided to keep the appointment and take whichever kitten/cat we could catch in this order: Amelie, Tegan, Dusty, Hermione, Pal.
Amelie wasn't having me come near her (she's slowly warming to me, but since her mother is very shy with me, this is not happening at the same degree that any of the others did), so I snatched Tegan, put her in the carrier and we took her to the vet. She got her rabies shot and we were given medication to put in her ears to attack ear mites (a drop in each ear for two weeks).
On Friday, I had a big red tape day. After an encounter with animal control coming to our neighborhood (we talked to the woman and assured her that they are all being fixed and getting their shots...and that Amelie WILL be the last kitten born here if we can help it (we won't be able to stop Princess and Duchess from having children, but they don't really live in our yard)), I went to work, got my check, went to the bank, cashed my check, went to the DMV, renewed my registration (now that I had my insurance card...oh, by the way, I saved lots of money by switching to Geico), went to the ASPCA to pick up another copy of Hermione's medical records from there (to show that she'd been spayed and recieved her rabies shot), went to City Hall, got licenses for T.C. (who needed to be renewed), Tegan AND Hermione...Dusty'll be next, went to the motor vehicle inspection place and my car passed inspection (though I spent an hour and a half in line there...!).
When I got home, I got a call from Paul that one of his mother's indoor cats had died. We knew another one had died the night before and a third had died about two weeks ago (in fact, I was the one who found her dead...she was a Maine coon, they don't have long life spans, she was old, she was completely black and probably absorbed a lot of heat). The other was another of the Maine coons and this third death was a cat who'd suffered from a weight condition (which probably put a strain on his heart, especially in this heat).
I was to go to his mother's and go with her to the vet with the last of the Maine Coons (who was actually in pretty good condition for the most part), Bonnie, to take a blood sample from her. Apparently, they had discovered that there was a spill of cleaning fluids in the room where the cats were (clorox 2 and mop & glo) and it was suspected that the cats may have been (hopefully accidentally) poisoned. Bonnie's blood toxicology won't be back until tomorrow (Monday). They did give her Advantage, 'cause Bonnie was suffering from fleas (so is T.C. in our house...we've just given her a treatment of Advantage).
All in all, not a fun day. Lots of sitting around and waiting and more sitting around and waiting and bureaucracy.