Friday, August 05, 2005

The attic project

My house has a very large, carpeted attic that served as a playroom and an office space for previous owners. I've never let my cats up there because at the top, the stairway is protected by two half-walls that I could easily see my cats jumping on and, after a nap or during a fight, falling off. Falling off, that is, down a stairwell that must be 10-15 feet deep. I didn't like that idea, despite cats' much-lauded ability to right themselves when they fall. Some cats still manage to break bones, etc.

So with the help of my cat-sitter, I fixed up a little netting/board thing, so now my cats can jump to their hearts' content.

However, the more immediate motivation was to provide a safe haven for a foster kitten who will be joining us in the next day or so. And having a kitten up there has made me even more cautious: I've been combing the floor, looking for the stray things I sometimes find and that somehow allude my vacuum. Today I found a child's tooth. (It was formerly a playroom, remember.)

And here's the kitten:


And if, perchance, he and Gabe turn into playmates after a few weeks of careful, slow introductions--well, he might just stay for good.

Update 08/11: We brought the kitten home Saturday. Very playful over the weekend, started acting lethargic on Monday. Test yesterday for Feline Leukemia Virus came back positive. This is not good. Not only for this sweet little guy, but also for our resident cats, none of whom have been vaccinated for this. They're all indoor cats, and the kitten had tested negative at the shelter, so it hadn't seemed necessary. (And I'm loathe to give my cats unnecessary anything.) Turns out there's a 60-day period from time of contact with an infected cat during which false negatives can turn up. The kitten is going to be retested again, but right now I'm feeling pretty blue.


Becky Howard said...

Woot woot! Blog all the details, SVP.

rhubarb said...

Sorry to hear about your kitten. I had a young cat die of feline leukemia when I was in high school. This was back in the 1980s before the tests were very reliable (if there even was a test--I don't remember). It doesn't seem like the reliability has increased all too much. Hope your other cats are ok, and who knows--maybe your kitten will be retested and be ok.

Donna said...

Thanks for writing, rhubarb. The test came in at the end of the 1970s or beginning of the 1980s, I think, so it was probably pretty rudimentary then. The problem (at least now) is that you need to test sixty days after the last possible contact a cat could have with an infected cat in order to be reasonably sure it isn't infected. I guess a cat who comes into a shelter and tests negative upon arrival *usually* really is negative. But not necessarily or, as I've learned the hard way, always. I'm pretty informed about cat health issues, but I didn't know about this.

The kitten tested positive again. My recommendation was that he be isolated for a week to see if he could fight it off (which is one possible scenario after being infected). But because he wasn't officially my kitten (but a foster kitten), and because I couldn't risk continuing to keep an infected kitten in my house, I wasn't allowed to make that call. He was euthanized last night, to my deep sadness.

Marcia said...

I am sorry about the kitten. It's so sad.