Vegas, Baby!!!

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Are you looking for a buddy to watch the big game with you? Or maybe you need a fifth for that big poker game? How about someone to help with that home repair? Maybe somebody to tag along on that midnight fast food run? Or maybe you just need some muscle? If any of these apply, then Vegas is the cat for you.

Seldom has a cat had a more appropriate name than our Vegas. Our regular customers know him as the reason for the “please knock if door is locked” sign on our door. This big guy is ready to party and enjoy all that life has to offer. Sadly, here on North Decatur Road, that’s not always a good idea. Vegas would love to go live in a house with a sunroom or a big, screened-in porch where he can enjoy the breezes and watch the cars go by.

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We go for burgers now, right?

 

But don’t let that burly exterior fool you. Vegas also has his soft, sweet side. He loves his naps. Boy, does he love his naps. Any time, any place, he can nap. Although if given a chance, he’d much prefer to be right next to the heating vent.

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I’m too tired to care.

We have also discovered that this big boy is quite the lap cat. Perfect for those cool, fall evenings watching Thursday night football. Or that boring afternoon surfing the web. He also loves to be brushed. He’s one of those cats that turns into a puddle and may even start drooling when the brush comes out.

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Don’t worry. I’ll keep you safe.

Vegas would also be a great cat if you have a home business. He is a most excellent box inspector. He will never let a substandard box leave your house.

 

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Yup! This one passes!

While Vegas has been living here at camp with other cats, he would really prefer to be the only cat in his home. (He hasn’t ever really gone after the other kitties, but you will definitely hear him making his opinion of other cats known.) He also has been around dogs and has been fine. Please consider giving this handsome guy a chance. All he wants is a warm spot and some loving.

So tired of being at camp. Dreaming of my own home...

So tired of being at camp. Dreaming of my own home…

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Lucas Participates in Pet Dental Health Month

posted by Gwen

February is Pet Dental Health month.  One cat who got to take part in the festivities (and by “festivities” I mean dental surgery) was Lucas.  On February 5th Lucas went to Ormewood Animal Hospital to have what we thought was a routine dental cleaning with a few teeth extractions.  It turned out that Lucas’s mouth was in such bad shape that minor surgery turned into major surgery when most of his teeth had to be pulled due to cavities, gingivitis and severe stomatitis.

In the summer of 2014 I brought Lucas home with me because the busy season had started at Camp Kitty.  Lucas isn’t allowed to roam free at night because he gets himself stuck in places he can’t get out of and he will sometimes fight with the other cats.

IMG_7626With him at my house I noticed how awful his breath was.  It was beyond post-stinky-sardine-feast awful. When I was awoken by Lucas cleaning himself in the middle of the night next to my head I decided to make an appointment to get a pre-op dental exam because the stench was gag inducing!

"Acckk!"

“Acckk!”

Fast forward to the day of surgery.  I received a call from Dr. Annie Price at Ormewood Animal Hospital that afternoon to let me know that surgery went well and that the patient was recovering.  She then described the horror that was Lucas’s mouth. She said that when he was under anesthesia she could smell how bad his breath was and could feel the heat coming from his infected gums.  As she started pulling out teeth the teeth would actually crumble due to all the cavities.  If that wasn’t enough as soon as a tooth was pulled his gums would begin hemorrhaging.  All in all he has probably five teeth left.  I haven’t had the opportunity to count them yet.

I felt like the worst cat mom ever.  How could I let this go on for so long?  How much pain was he in?

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“My breath is so bad I have to hide.”

When I went to pick up Lucas, they suggested that I leave him there overnight because they had to force feed him and he was in a lot of pain.  They said that they didn’t want me to have to deal with that.  The truth is that I probably could not have taken care of him properly because I was an emotional wreck after seeing him.  He ended up staying two nights at the vet before I got to bring him home.  He requires pain killers for another week and good ol’ antibiotics for another 10 days.

Breaking my heart hours after surgery. His mouth was so swollen he couldn't shut it.

Breaking my heart hours after surgery. His mouth was so swollen he couldn’t shut it.

Back home two days after surgery.

Back home two days after surgery.

Sleeping soundly on the dogs' bed.

Sleeping soundly on the dogs’ bed.

I was assured by Dr. Annie that Lucas will feel so much better going forward.  Maybe he won’t be such a jerk.  She also said that whoever adopts him will never have to worry about his dental issues ever again.  But, they will have to feed him wet food for the rest of his life.  And, frankly, that’s a good thing.  Wet food will reduce his chances of getting a urinary tract infection and developing kidney failure.

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Why were his teeth so bad?  Since Lucas is an overall healthy cat and was FIV/FeLV negative Dr, Annie came to the conclusion that his body was hyperreactive to bacteria on his teeth.

Let this story be a lesson to everyone.  Take your cat in for a dental exam.  It could add years to your cat’s life.

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Snack Pack Holiday Vacation

post by: Gwen

Every holiday throughout the year brings an influx of boarders to Camp Kitty, which means some of our foster cats, like the Snack Pack and Lucas, get the boot from their cabins. Other camp staff members have taken the Snack Pack home over Labor Day and Thanksgiving. Well, Christmas and New Year’s was my turn to take home the remaining Snack Packers.

I have a toddler so two kittens couldn’t do much more damage to my Christmas tree or other holiday decorations.

Whatever this big green thing is that twinkles is I will finish it! Hmm...what is going into the wall?

Whatever this big green thing is that twinkles is I will finish it! Hmm…what is going into the wall?

Ooh, this tree skirt is soft.

Ooh, this tree skirt is soft.

When Toffee and Oreo first arrived they were nervous especially with a loud 3-ft-tall terror running around, a grumpy black cat and three dogs.  They spent their first 24 hours in the safety of the guestroom.

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Then Oreo’s curiosity got the best of him.  He was ready to come out and explore.

Just hanging out on the toddler table.

Just hanging out on the toddler table.

He was the first one to come out amongst the dogs.  He boldly walked through the cat opening of the pet gate into the living room and confidently hissed at any canine trying to get a good sniff of him.  Over the course of the week he grew comfortable around the dogs and even tried to play with one of them.  Toffee, on the other hand, was more suspicious of the canine set.  She eventually became comfortable around them while they were calm.  As soon as they got excited, she hissed and was gone back into the guestroom.

The resident feline, Birdie, was not as welcoming as the dogs.  Oreo loves other cats.  He must go to a home with another cat.  When he encountered Birdie he tried to head bump her, but she would have none of it.  Instead, Oreo got a swat to the head and a hiss.  Birdie don’t play that! Birdie also let Toffee know that she doesn’t share when she caught Toffee lounging in her mango box.

Don't get comfortable in that mango box Toffee.

Don’t get comfortable in that mango box Toffee.

Having Toffee and Oreo as my holiday guests gave me some insight into their personalities.  Oreo is outgoing, confident, snuggly and very cat friendly.  Toffee loves to be around and near people, but please don’t try to cuddle with her (she ain’t into that).  She’s not a huge fan of dogs.  She could probably live with an older, lazy dog, but never with an extremely active Jack Russell terrier puppy.

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They returned to Camp Kitty shortly after the new year when their cabin was vacant.  My Christmas tree survived.  And with them at my house my son learned how to say “two cats.”

Nothing to see here.  Not getting into mischief at all.

Nothing to see here. Not getting into mischief at all.

I'm just sitting on the table looking handsome.

I’m just sitting on the table looking handsome.

Here’s hoping that 2015 will be the year Toffee and Oreo go to a forever home.

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And Then There Were Two

This summer, Camp Kitty got its first foster kittens in quite some time.

The Snack Pack

The Snack Pack

They were dubbed The Snack Pack and were cute as anything. And oh so tiny. They were all different colors, and they all had their own unique personalities.

We are happy to report that Totino (the gray one) and Sundae (the tortoiseshell) have both been adopted and are both doing great in their new homes.

Somehow, though, Toffee and Oreo are still with us. I don’t think anyone at camp would have predicted this since those two were the friendliest, most curious of the bunch from day one.

Baby Toffee

Baby Toffee

Baby Ored

Baby Oreo

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I mean, just look at those little faces! How sweet are those?! And both of these little darlings are growing into amazing kitties.

Come play with me

Come play with me

From day one, Oreo has been Mr. Personality. He loves life and everything about it. This is a fellow who loves to play and plays hard, but at the same time also loves being cuddled and curling up on a soft lap. He was the first of the bunch who would climb on our laps for a mid-day nap.

 

Cat shaming

Cat shaming

(In the interest of full disclosure, Oreo is a bit of an imp. He is incredibly curious and sees everything around him as a possible toy. Fortunately, he is adorable and about the softest thing on the planet, so he gets away with quite a bit. He is also a serious chow-hound, so we have to watch what he eats.)

 

And then there is little Toffee.

Toffee just chilling

Toffee just chilling

With her pretty face and gorgeous tabby markings, she is something to behold. She also loves to play, but loves to nap in a lap or right by your side. She is also a fierce bug-catcher.

 

 

Much like her brother, Toffee also can make just about anything a toy. Lucky for her, Gizmo is very patient with the kittens. In fact, Gizmo wants to share that both Oreo and Toffee make good cuddle buddies!

What a fun toy!

What a fun toy!

These two little dolls are now almost six months old and ready to go to their furr-ever homes. They would do best either adopted together (so they can play together) or into homes with other cats who will accept them and play with them. Come on out to Camp and visit them. They have both told me that their only Christmas wish is to have a permanent home for the holidays.

(Note: During the heart of the Christmas holiday, they will likely go to a foster home since Camp will be crazy busy and kittens aren’t really helpful then. Call before visiting to make sure they are here.)

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A PSA from Camp

We interrupt our regularly (okay, erratically) scheduled foster news for this important message.

Do you find yourself scratching a lot?

Does it feel like something is crawling across your skin?

Do you have an itch that you just can’t seem to beat?

Sadly, you might have fleas. Yes, it’s embarrassing, but it happens to the best of us. Your two-leg family may be doing everything right – keeping you inside, using monthly preventative, brushing you daily, washing your bedding frequently – but you can still come down with a case of the fleas.

To understand why, it helps to know a little bit about the life cycle of a flea.

This is a flea.

Flea

Ugly, isn’t it? A female one of these can lay up to 50 eggs a day. And they can jump. So even if they fall off (unlikely, given that they have special hairs to help them hang on), they can jump back on. Which also means they can jump from one host to another. One way that inside-only cats can still get fleas.

These are flea eggs.

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Unlike with other parasites (like lice), flea eggs are not sticky. They typically fall off you and land on the ground or other surfaces. Places like carpet, the cracks in floorboards, your bedding, etc. And then these eggs hatch into flea larvae in anywhere from 2 to 10 days.

FleaLarvae

Over the next 5 – 14 days (roughly), these little fellows (and ladies) eat and grow. And they molt three times. They are less than 1/4 inch long and semi-transparent. You will likely never see them. And no, they aren’t biting. They get most of their nutrition from what we in the business like to call flea dirt. But let’s call it what it is – flea poop (basically undigested blood). (Here at camp, it’s usually pretty easy to tell if a camper has fleas within the first day or two of your stay because we will see this flea dirt on the shelves of our nice, white cabins.)

After the final molt, the larvae will spin cocoons and pupate. (Yes, that’s a word. I looked it up.)

These pupae are the last step before becoming adult fleas. (Serious artistic liberty taken here.)

FleaPupae

This is also the worst step for your two-legs to deal with. See, these pupae are almost impossible to kill. They are very tolerant of heat, drying out, and even insecticides. Oh, and they can stay in this state for months (maybe even as long as a year), waiting for the right conditions to come out. Those conditions include warm temperatures and higher humidity (“Oh, so some place like Georgia. Wonderful.”). They can also be triggered to hatch by vibrations and carbon dioxide. Like when an animal is walking around where they are. And all it takes is two and we’re right back at the start of this whole cycle.

So what do you (or your two-legs) do? First, keep doing what you have been doing. Keep up with your monthly preventative, but realize that like with any form of birth control, it isn’t 100% effective. (“WHAT!?! Not 100%?!!” Yes, read the fine print.) Talk with your vet about which ones seems to be the most effective. Regular vacuuming (“NOO!!! Not the Monster Vac-Oom!”) and washing of bedding will also help (dispose of the bag or empty the canister outside in the trash ASAP).  Consider using a flea comb instead of just a brush. (Rinse the comb between strokes in a bowl of warm, soapy water.) Food-grade diatomaceous earth came also help. This can be sprinkled on bedding/furniture/carpets and can even be rubbed right in the fur. (Make sure that the canister says Food-Grade!) They also make (or you can make your own – just Google it) flea traps. These alone won’t fix a flea problem, but they can help. For most of us we’ve found that, especially here in Georgia, a multi-pronged attack is the best approach.

Thank you for your time. We now (or soon) return you to your regular, erratic programming.

(Original artwork provided by Myra.)

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The Dog, I Mean Cat, Days of Summer

Late September is finally bringing cool breezes and some relaxation to Camp Kitty. To say that this summer was crazy is probably a bit of an understatement. Camp had it’s first SRO weekend on Mother’s Day weekend, and it pretty much didn’t stop until about three days ago.

In addition to this craziness, there has been a lot of action on the foster front. The summer started off rough with us dealing with a sick kitty. Our sassy Stella started acting oddly. She didn’t try to share our lunches and she didn’t ask to have the door between retail and boarding opened a zillion times a day. Plus we noticed she was losing weight. After a couple of very expensive trips to the vet (donations can be made at http://aarfatlanta.org/), we found out that she has GI lymphoma.  While there is no cure, she is now on medication and has improved greatly.

Why did they have to shave my belly? Why?

Why did they have to shave my belly? Why?

Next, our sweet Frittata finally found her forever home! We still don’t understand why this took so long since she is honestly one of the sweetest cats ever made, but her new family loves her. And I understand that her new ‘brother’ at least tolerates her.

Frittata leaves for her forever home!

Frittata leaves for her forever home!

We have also acquired some new fosters. Vegas and Gizmo are ‘brothers’ who boarded for a while. But due to unfortunate circumstances, they needed to find a new home. Well, despite owner warnings and notes from the vet to “Use Caution!!” with Gizmo, everyone at camp immediately fell for this round boy. Gizmo has not met an animal or person that he does not like. He has quickly become the greeter at camp.

Please come rub my belly.

Please come rub my belly.

And we weren’t going to take him without taking his ‘brother.’ Vegas is one dude with a lot of personality. He quickly declared himself guard cat and bouncer here at camp. While he does feel like he needs to be in control of everyone, he does manage to coexist in a mainly peaceful way. And he sure does love attention from us lowly humans.

I'm bringing sexy back

I’m bringing sexy back

And in case this wasn’t enough, this happened…

Oreo and Toffee

Oreo and Toffee

Totino and Sundae

Totino and Sundae

Yes, kittens. These little guys and gals were so tiny when we got them but are growing every day. They love hanging out with their older ‘brothers’ at camp and generally just being plain, old goofy.

So come on into camp and say hi to the gang!

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So. Bored.

This is Lucas. Lucas has been living here at camp for quite a while, waiting for his forever home. Usually, Lucas has no problems finding things to do to keep himself amused. There are things to sit in.

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Toys. Fun.

Toys. Fun.

And even buddies to wrestle.

7, 8, 9, 10. Knock out!

…7, 8, 9, 10. Knock out!

But then there are the days when it is just boring.

Bored.

Bored.

Just plain dull.

So bored.

So bored.

Nothing to do but sit in a box and yawn.

So, so bored.

So, so bored.

Maybe you can help Lucas out. Is your house more exciting? Do you have tons of toys and great views from your windows? How about laps? Lucas loves laps! Toys? Did I mention toys? Rolling balls, toy mice, whatever. Lucas isn’t too picky. How about treats? Lucas loves to chase after treats. Lucas would love to find his forever home. He even says that stinky Schroeder can come, too.

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