Sunday, May 15, 2011

New Cast Introductions (and Goodbyes) Part 2

We next called our vet, who told us that the kittens would possibly be all right provided we keep them confined in a room such as a bathroom, one with tile or linoleum floors that are frequently bleached. At their young age, they had some degree of mother's immunity still but would need the full compliment of vaccinations to be fully protected. So we rushed home and stuffed them back into their bathroom prison.

After some discussion, we decided to keep the kittens with us. After all, if Ruby was going to keep them in her bathroom for several weeks, they may as well be in ours. And we could at least take them out a few times a day for exercise and exploration outside, not to mention immediately get them their next set of shots.

We took Emma and D.J. to the vet that afternoon, where we were informed that Emma was actually a boy. Yep, big ol unmistakable set of cat junk on that guy. Also, the kittens weren’t siblings at all. In fact, “Emma” was at least a couple of weeks older than D.J., a fact that was mistakenly reported otherwise on the official forms from the animal shelter—you know, the same forms that said he was a girl. The vet also stressed that they could not guarantee any vaccinations given to the cats by the animal shelter, because much of the shelter's vaccine stock was donated or expired from the get go. They were also mainly staffed with volunteers and kids from juvie, so who knew what sort of accuracy their records had in the first place? (And if "Emma's" stated sex was any example, not much.) Still, the vet said that our plan to keep the cats sequestered in the can was probably the best given the circumstances. Pan leukopenia took two weeks to set in after exposure, so we would just have to be alert to changes in two weeks time and play it by ear from there.

We decided to rename Emma "Emmett," after one of my favorite characters from the film Silverado, played by Scott Glen. We also toyed with the idea of renaming D.J. "Jake," after Emmett's brother Jake, played by Kevin Costner.

On the way home, we phoned Ruby to let her know about the gender switch for Emma. We told her of our plan to rename him Emmett. We immediately called Ruby to let her know of our renaming scheme. We'd no sooner told her about Emmett's new name when she cheerfully piped up, “Oh, Emmett, like from Twilight?”

"Uh, no," we said. Ruby, you see, is a Stephanie Meyer fan. As card-carrying non-fans ourselves, we weren't even aware there was an Emmett in Twilight, but we didn't much like the association. We then told her about D.J.'s proposed new name.

“Oh, Jake like from Twilight?” Ruby said.

“No! Not Jake like from Twilight!” we screamed.

Instantly we knew that renaming D.J. to Jake was a bad idea, because everyone below the age of 30 would forever assume we meant to name the cats after Twilight characters and we just couldn’t handle that. He would have to stay D.J.--damn sparkling vampires.

Keeping the cats in the bathroom soon proved problematic. D.J. was a master escape artist, who would wait by the crack of the door whenever we approached and would be out in a flash. We took to just putting a hand at the bottom of the door to catch him each time. Emmett, on the other hand, was pretty mellow, though he wasn’t above fighting with D.J. when they got too stir crazy. We took them out twice a day, but they were getting bigger and more active by the minute, it seemed, and wanted out of the bathroom in a bad way. And to show this, they took to destroying as much of the bathroom as they could get their kitty claws into, including clawing down the shower curtain, shredding the toilet paper and generally spreading as much litter to the four winds as possible, when they weren’t busy stinking up the joint with impressively powerful kitten poops. At least they were pooping, though. The lack of pooping and peeing and appetite was a sure fire sign of medical trouble, but we saw none of that from them. They were feisty and hungry at all times and pissed and shit enough for six cats.

We made it to nearly the mid-way point of their immunization cycle before turning them loose. By then, three weeks had passed with no problems. We decided to take our chances and hope the vaccinations they’d already had would be enough. After all, Milo Soulpatch had come into our care from the brink of starvation and had other ailments beyond the pan leukopenia. We don’t even know that he acquired it in our care, just that he came down with it two weeks after he arrived. These kitties did fine, though. Soon they had made frenemies with the dogs—content to sweetly nuzzle them and even sleep spooned up against them when not actively being chased.

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