Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Sick Ward

I've been SO sick all week!  It happens every year - always the worst time of the year.  It's probably just a cold - but holy crap - it's a cold that has really knocked me on my ass for the past 4 days. 

I'm not half as sick as the poor souls we recently rescued from the high kill shelter last weekend.  Every goddamn time we rescue from that place I throw my hands in the air and say, "I'm *DONE*"  But how could I ever say "no" to a volunteer who wants to help one, two or more from there?

The majority of these cats are brought into this shelter healthy.  If they don't leave the shelter dead, they  usually are  brewing some sort of virus or infection.  Here's the picture I received this morning from a distraught foster parent who chose "Zeke" a week ago.

  Zeke has been to the vets twice in 7 days.  He was left at the vets today to be on IV, and get more intensive care.  He's going to die unless he receives this care.  He stopped eating a week ago - right after rescue.  The blood you see in his nose is due to Calici virus - ulcers are all over his tongue. 
If I lost my cat and picked it up at this shelter 2 days later (they are able to kill them on day #4) and I got stuck with $1000.00+ vet bills  because of a f*cking virus that runs rampant at that shelter, I'd be royally pissed. 

Truthfully?  I *am* royally pissed.  So are the other rescues who want to help the  cats at this shelter.   I received a  lovely donation recently and every dime of it is going to go to help this one cat. 

I feel like billing The City for the care of this cat.  Ha. 

It's been a while since I  vented about this  shelter.  Maybe I was due.  We've rescued 30+ cats and kittens in the past 14 days from the low-kill shelter.  The majority of them were adopted IMMEDIATELY because they were healthy.

Why can't this shelter stop this constant barrage of sickness?  I want to help them.  I desperately want to be on their side.   I want to be enthusiastic when a volunteer wants to rescue a cat from this facility.   There are DOZENS of sweet cats like Zeke in this Animal Services that need rescue.  I don't want to walk away because "I can't afford it."  



Random Felines said...

rant away - you are right - there is no reason for it. Vaccination on entry and certain low tech cleaning protocols and these animals wouldn't be getting sick like this. Animal control, shelter, rescue, whatever, the health of the animals needs to be a priority - I don't care if the holding period is 24 hours or 4 days or forever..... it isn't fair to the animal or to the rescue. Purrs to you and the fosters and to Zeke....

Sparkle said...

That's awful that kitties get sick the moment they are dropped off at the high kill shelter. I wish something could be done to fix that.

Anonymous said...

OK let's slam this high kill shelter once again. Maybe your foster homes have no idea on how to provide supportive care for sick cats. There is no reason why one cat should cost you $1000. A couple of tins of AD is only $5. Try force feeding them and not let them crash or get to the point where they need to be hospitalized. You definitely are not helping this shelter and if you feel so adamant about slamming them stay away please!!!!!

House of the Discarded said...

Anonymous: You have no idea what you're talking about. Move on to a different blog, please.


Anonymous said...

Holy crap....nasty person! Why is everone so sick there? Aren't they doing the vaccinations as soon as the cats come in and aren't they cleaning well? It always seems clean when I go there and they were segregating the sick ones....what is the problem? It's true though....almost all the cats I used to foster that came from there were quite sick....the cats I foster now are much healthier. I would also like to say that your foster parents are some of the most knowledgeable people I have met in regards to cat health care.

I hope you feel better soon. Everyone seems sick lately and I know it took me a long time to kick my cold.


Renee said...

Oh, look, an anonymous griper. And a wise one, too! Oh, it's so simple - some AD is the cure for all illnesses! I feel so foolish not knowing that. Tsk tsk. And Beth, in your years in rescue, nobody ever told you that? Don't you feel silly, too?

I've had foster cats that got really sick. One lost the will to live, pretty much. She refused to eat or drink, and had a high fever. Bleeding nose, ulcered mouth, inflamed eyes. All that good stuff. My vet - who I adore - recommended subcutaneous fluids three times a day, force-feeding four times a day, and of course the variety of medications to prevent secondary bacterial infections and diarrhea. Oh, and the steaming/misting to try to help her breathe. I was lucky, and happened to be in a situation where I could adjust my work schedule to accommodate her needs, and I happen to have experience with subcutaneous therapy and had kits on hand. She went through about $250 in fluid kits ALONE. Then about $50 in meds and $25 in AD (In case you have a little trouble with math, that's $325 in fixed costs, which represents - go ahead, work it out on paper if you need to - a bit under a third of a thousand bucks, right there). And I'd guess about 20 hours of my dedicated time before she started to improve enough to eat and drink on her own. If I hadn't been able to adjust my work schedule - like many to most people can't - she would have had to stay at a vet. That's just a fact. What do you think 20 hours of vet care costs? Hint: It's rarely free! And there's also tax on top of it.

So, I assume you emailed Beth your contact information, yes? You ARE willing to stay home and give meds, fluids, medications, and food to the really sick cats she rescues, yes? You're not just bitching out your ass, right? Pfft. No, because if you weren't just a pissy little jerk, you wouldn't post anonymously, picking on unpaid, kind volunteer foster homes instead of a crappily-managed, taxpayer-funded, indiscriminately-cat-killing institution. You're all class.

So, Anonymous, put up or shut up, m'kay?

Melissa W said...

Listen anonymous, you have no idea obviously how a rescue works. That is my foster and I am quite experienced, especially with sick cats and kittens. I love rescuing from the high volume shelter as I feel I am helping one at a time. Beth is an amazing director that doesn't hold back on the proper vet care required for her cats. I have force fed kittens, shoved eye drops every two hours in little kittens in order not to lose their eyesight and much more. Would YOU set your alarm to do this when also working full time and raise two little children. I doubt it. So, get over yourself and understand that if a cat needs to have medical attention that our director will never say no. Instead of trashing on Beth maybe you should commend how dedicated she is to the group and spares no expense for the health and safety of the fosters.
To all others thank you for the positive thoughts for my Zeke who was already surrendered and unwanted once in his life. Hopefully he will be put soon and find his forever home.

Shannon said...

Annonymous - you clearly don't know what you're talking about. Beth has said and done things in the past that I have not agreed with but I would never question her dedication to doing right by 'her' cats and by extension, I would never question the dedication of the volunteers of Forever Home Cat Rescue. Your belief that no cat should cost you $1000 paints you as someone who either doesn't have pets or doesn't do it responsibly. Lets consider for a second my own pack - which deals with shoddy hips, heart conditions and most recently kidney disease. All of whom have cost me more than $1000 over the course of them owning me and each of whom will hopefully cost me much more as they are barely middle age and I have to keep them alive as long as I can be confident in their quality of life - whatever that entails. After all, when I adopted them I agreed that they would be my responsibility and providing proper health care is just a small part of that. Let's consider the cats that come out of this shelter, receive the best in vet care and the most support a foster parent can offer and still die, like the barely 6 week old kitten who stopped breathing while being cradled on my chest. One of the hardest things I ever had to do was wrap that little body in a blanket and put it in my freezer while I figured out a respectful way to get rid of her remains. I have hopes that Zeke will feel better soon. I commend the foster mom who manages to do everything in her power to help him get there despite everything else in her life. And I celebrate Beth, both for spending the money necessary on this cat to keep it alive and for rescuing from a shelter that she than 'slams' publicly. Because if we don't (by we I mean all the cat rescue volunteers that have been involved in rescues from that shelter) who will? And aren't all those little lives worth our effort?

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous, it sounds like you are quite invested in that high kill shelter if you are upset when it receives negative feedback and you advise a rescue to "stay away". If you work there then congrats. Your lack of effective cleaning tactics and adoptive programs have caused many rescues to walk away because they cannot bear the inefficencies and heartbreak your team produces and maintains on a daily basis. You must also be aware that it is in your best interest for the rescues to continue rescuing since it allows you to post decreased killing rates on the City of Hamilton website and salaries can be spent coordinating adoption outreach programs. Without dedicated rescues and foster parents none of this would exist and more questions would be raised about why no one wants to work with your facility. I would think twice before asking a rescue to stay away since they are covering your a$$. -JB.

Anonymous said...

To Zeke's Mom hang in there!

My August kitten came from that shelter and promptly infected my 13 yr old cat with calici. I thought I'd killed him!

Took 5 days of subQ fluids and transdermal codeine [applied to his ears] and then he was good. $250 later.

Sadly my kitten scummed to dry FIP and was put to sleep this month - still kind of raw... and $1500 poorer.

Found an excellent website for all you fosters who have lost a kitten to FIP. This Vet has spent 4 decades studying FIP. Good overview of disease and care.

Niels C. Pedersen, DVM, PhD
Director, Center for Companion Animal Health

RESEARCH INTERESTS include infectious diseases of cats in shelter and multi-animal environments;

SERVICE: Director, Center for Companion Animal Health

International authority on retrovirology and immunological disorders in small animals, comparative genetics. Past chair, Department of Medicine at School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis

What Hamilton needs is a review by a "Shelter Medicine VET" like this one.

Sandra - was Tiger Lily's Mom

Anonymous said...

Just wondering - could the fosters be listed as new adoptive owner to access the free pet insurance? Might help with the bills.

Also if you could choose older kittens, say 4 or 5 months when they arrive in the shelter that likely will reduce infection.

Bottom line they need a better way of isolating new animals, or require proof of 1st vaccine being given prior to admission.


Julie said...

Beth, I too have thrown my hands up at that shelter and said "never again" over and over - every single time a cat/kitten comes from there. I'm sure many of your foster homes say this. Not only the cost to your rescue, but the cost to the well being of the foster person. The stress of dealing with a sick cat/kitten is simply too difficult, and as many have said, the time to shuffle back and forth to vets is nearly impossible to find when working.
I force-fed one rescue cat from that shelter for 13 solid days before she began eating on her own. So ya, I don't think a few cans of A/D is going to do the trick.
Trust me anonymous…fosters who've been doing this for years and years have seen most of the sickness that comes with these cats/kittens out of that shelter, even if they've only been there a day or two.
The place is rampant with sickness and disease. It appears clean, but I think it needs a major bleach dousing every minute to keep up. Maybe the ventilation/lack of adequate ventilation is the cause…what I know is something's wrong.

Caroline said...

To Zeke's Mom, I hope your baby gets better soon, he looks like such a trooper! My foster kittens from that animal control (let's not call it a shelter as it traps and euthanises, it does not shelter nor care) have always come down with the flu but with antibiotics given as soon as the first sneeze starts, I' haven't lost any yet. I know all you foster parents work hard so that these cats have a second chance. Keep up the great work!

Lory and Co. said...

Anonymous - wow, talk about words of wisdom. What exactly do you think we foster parents do with the sick cats from your shelter? Last cat I fostered from there was half dead when I got her, just fur and bones after having spent only 2 weeks there. Force fed her A/D for 2.5 weeks!

How about you get yourself some cleaning supplies and make yourself useful at the shelter instead of attacking Beth and us foster parents. We're doing our part to help these cats, what are you doing???