Tuesday, May 12, 2009

positively gutted

I just finished decontaminating my bathroom. I was overdue for a thorough Spring cleaning, but didn't expect to have to do one this week...

Yesterday I got a call from the DDFL asking if I could foster a couple of kittens. Apparently they've had a glut of kittens lately and are in need of people to care for them until they're old enough to be put up for adoption. I got two sisters: Princess and Queenie (a calico and the other was smoky black) 8 week old kittens. The plan was to keep them for a week, fatten them up, and then they'd go up for adoption. I don't need to say how cute they were... it's a given. Kittens are goddamn adorable. When I got these guys home I decided to acclimate them to The Dude and a new environment by letting them have my master bathroom... they were so tiny but they tore up the bathroom soon after I liberated them from the cat carrier. Ernie was freaking out; he was really interested in the kittens, not in an "mmm, tasty" kind of way and that's encouraging. I already decided that I wasn't going to try to adopt either of these kittens; but it was nice to know that I could probably bring another cat into the house for The Dude and he'd be alright with it.

So, the calico was clearly fighting an URI. This meant that her sister would be sick within a couple of days, but I wasn't too worried. I planned on calling the DDFL first thing in the morning and getting them in to be seen and leaving with some antibiotics. Well, the DDFL beat me to the punch. I got a call that I should bring the kittens back as soon as possible since their mother had tested positive for ringworm. I was upset that every foster I've had from the DDFL has required at least two trips before returning them, but whatever, I was planning on taking these guys back anyway. I told myself to check the cats out before I bring them home next time; had I just taken the kittens out of the carrier before leaving, I would've noticed that they had colds.

So, I get to the vet and am told that the kittens most likely had been exposed -- that their mother had horrible lesions on her and had to be euthanized. I was devastated, but still hopeful that I could keep the fosters. They then told me that I might end up having to care for the kittens for months... up to 4 months until they cleared the ringworm. The vet tech explained that they don't treat ringworm at the shelter; that it's highly contagious; that they're dealing with 54 cats who have been exposed at the shelter and that if I didn't take the kittens home that they'd most likely be destroyed. I was gutted. I didn't have a strong emotional attachment to the kittens; I'd only met them 18 hours earlier, but it devastated me that they would be killed... they were just kittens. The vet tech also explained that their immune systems were already compromised by the URIs and that treating that on top of dealing with the ringworm might make them miserable... and that at the end of it, they might end up having to be destroyed anyway. The poor vet tech had to deal with me bawling in the exam room... she looked no older than 24 and here I was, a grown-ass woman breaking down over two little kittens.

I have concern about my own cat; a foster I adopted and made my forever companion less than a month ago... I'm still waiting for them to tell me what they'll do to help me deal with this if he's infected. I've also done a little online research and it's not as devastating as I thought; it's essentially athlete's foot -- a fungus, however it's really difficult to eliminate. So, I just scrubbed down my entire bathroom with bleachy water... I don't really have the energy to vacuum my bedroom, but I'm glad I made the decision to cordon-off my bedroom and bathroom yesterday -- even if it's only because I didn't want my cat to catch a cold off the kittens.

Now I'm on quarantine for 60 days and will have to take more cultures from my house before I get the all-clear and am able to foster again. I don't know that I want to foster anymore, though. I'll also know in 2 weeks if the kittens and my house tested positive for spores... sometimes I feel like I'm being punished for something, you know? OK, the laundry is ready for it's second wash.


aemcdraw said...

Oh Ang,
I am so sorry. You're not being punished. When you open you heart up, you know it can get broken, but you also know it makes you stronger and wiser! You are a wonderful foster Mom. And it's ok to not want to foster again. You already saved one beautiful cat from the shelter, and that is all anyone can ask from one person.

Susanna a.k.a. Cheap Like Me said...

Oh good God. Animals. Maybe once you're decontaminated, you can start a spay-neuter clinic in your bathroom to keep people from breeding all these pets that face these problems!!