… was a giant, mean cat?
This is “Mr. Orange,” the newest addition to Food Lady’s Menagerie. He was an accident.
Mr. Orange was a “stray” dropped off at our shelter a while back. He is an enormous cat … not just fat (though he is that) but also just really damn big. And really damn mean too. His file said “fractious” because he was. Everyone was scared to handle him, as that involved getting scratched, or bitten, or both. Visitors to the community cat room exited the building at a high rate of speed citing terror of the “big orange guy.” Just meeting his gaze elicited hissing and yowling. Even the other cats were terrified of him.
Let’s put it this way. Mr. Orange is an asshole.
The Mr. Oranges of the world don’t have a lot of options. Cat rescues are beyond full and our shelter is not a refuge, or a sanctuary for unadoptable animals, or even a shelter for cats, really. We are primarily an impound facility operating within the bylaws of the District, and the District has bylaws for dogs, not for cats. What that means is that while we do take in and adopt out cats, they have to be cats that are likely to actually get adopted. And Mr. Orange really wasn’t making that a viable option with his behaviour.
Here on the farm we have at least one feral that we obtained for the purpose of helping to keep the rodent population under control. We actually got two, but one has long since vanished. So I offered to take Mr. Orange home, set him up in my garden shed for a couple of weeks to acclimate to his new surroundings, and then let him loose on the rats once he figured out he lived here.
It took two of us, and a big towel, to wrangle him into a carrier. It took 2 days of listening to him cry in the shed to bring him into my house.
Long story short, Mr. Orange is right now napping on my sofa and since settling into the household has been nothing but an affection orange beach ball, following me from room to room, rubbing against my face when I bend over to get something and just generally being the most pleasant, laid back, sociable kitty a gal could hope for. He has not tried to scratch or bite me even one time, not even when I pick him up. And while not in love with the dogs, he is at least mostly unperturbed by them and walks among them without fear.
He’d just rather you didn’t photograph him, please.
TWooie is most unimpressed.
Yesterday was his one year anniversary of coming to live with his brother Woo, his arch nemesis Dexter and the rest of the canine squad that makes up my four legged family.
Remember this shell-shocked tub o’lard that first flew in from Prince George?
He weighed over 40 lbs, couldn’t run more than 20 feet without collapsing in a big hairy pile of huff n’ puff, and had no connection to anything at all.
Now he’s a lean (25 lbs), mean hunting machine with a smile on his face!
I had planned to do a whole post waxing poetic about the many wonderful ways in which TWooie has blossomed in his one year with me – how he no longer bites me in the pants when something upsets him, how he plays the “I’m gonna getcha!” game with me outside and gets the most fabulous zoomies, and how just the other day he smiled at me for the very first time, teeth and everything, but it wasn’t fear or rage or submission … it was just smiling. He’s still a dink with other dogs, but he’s come so far along that he can go to the dog park now (on leash still) and look at me for guidance instead of trying to take down all the other dogs. TWooie has been a most rewarding journey, which I’ve shared with you all, and really wanted to talk about.
Alas, Piper’s very scary near-death experience derailed all my plans / consumed all my time this week. I am beyond pleased to tell you that she is back to her old self; a little filthier from the activated charcoal, but otherwise totally normal. After much research and discussion with professionals from a variety of medical and veterinary and animal care backgrounds, I think I’ve determined that she did NOT get into rat poison. I think she was poisoned by something in the plant variety, like a mushroom or some other toxic herb. I say this because her bloodwork showed nothing more than dehydration (possibly attributable to her excessive drooling) and the neurotoxic effects (including the seizures and tremors) are not so much associated with rat poison as plant toxins. Her liver and kidney values were just peachy, and there was and is no internal bleeding.
There is undoubtedly rat poison around here. In fact, I know there is rat bait in dog-proof boxes that we had the pest guy put down a few months ago. If in some *HIGHLY* unlikely event she HAD gotten into one of the steel boxes, she would already be dead (there is no antidote for that particular poison). If she ate a rat that had eaten the poison, she wouldn’t be harmed – that’s the nature of the kind of poison they use (it has no secondary or tertiary effects). I did discuss this more than carefully with the pest man at the time, because I have dogs, and I was concerned. There may be rat poison down in some of the locked sheds or trailers on the property but she doesn’t have access to those places. And I am generally always with her – it would be difficult for her to get into rat poison without me seeing it, but not at all difficult for her to eat a mushroom or grab a piece of toxic plant whilst hunting for her DumbBall etc. And she was so totally fine not a half hour before it all went to hell.
I was beyond terrified. I was sure she was dying. And I was well beyond overjoyed when I got her back unharmed. The very first thing she did when she walked in the house and run over to TWooie and snarl in his face until he moved off her favourite pillow. That’s my girl!
The only lasting effect the whole episode has had on my itty bitty girl is a deep distrust of “Brown Guys.” You see, the vet I used for this event (and also for the ear stitching the time she filleted her ear) is an East Indian man. He is not my regular vet, but he is the closest vet, and the Emergency clinic as well, so we have only ever used this clinic when time was of the essence. Thus Piper has had two Very Bad And Painful Experiences with the “Brown Guy” and has decided that all “Brown Guys” are bad. Who says dogs don’t generalize? Hogwash! “Brown Guys” who are now scary include my (Mexican) stepdad – her formerly much loved Grandad – and my (black) sister, who used to be Snuggly Auntie Tanus.
I know this because yesterday my parents had to drive me and Piper home from work, since the Waggin’ Wagon is not really drivable – not on the highway anyway. My sister came by to pick up a suitcase from my parents (she is now just about in Toronto, where she is styling the members of the band Hedley at the Junos! She’s so cool.) and Piper hid in a corner and wouldn’t go near her. And then when we stopped at the car dealership on the way home to drop off some paperwork for the loan I’m trying to get for my new-to-me Ford Escape (the KIA turned out to be a mechanical lemon, but that’s a story for another post), Piper was quite happy to snuzzle with all the (white) salesguys, and even the Asian one, but still refused to have anything to do with her Grandad. In fact, if he tries to touch her she screams and runs away.
How embarrassing. My dog is racist.
So that’s been my horrible, awful, bizarre week. And now I have to drive the loud Toyota to physio and pray it makes it there and back. But I wanted to thank you all, yet again, for pulling for my wee girlie. I’m not a real “woo-woo, out there” kind of person, but I have no doubt that your strength helped her pull through. Well, that and a little bit of the stubborn evil that resides inside my Bitch Princess ;-)
And here’s another way you can help us out, maybe. If you’ve been thinking about a photo shoot of your pooches but haven’t gotten around to inquiring with me, now would be a most excellent time to drop me a line. As you can well imagine, this experience was not cheap, and the timing was poor as I have to also drop a significant amount of cash on a down-payment for a new car. Dexter’s neuter surgery has to be postponed yet again because I used his surgery money on Piper … and while I am sure he is happy to hang onto his balls a little longer, cash flow is tight ’round these parts. I’m not asking for your charity – you have all been more than generous in the past when I needed help – but this photographer could use a few extra gigs right about now! So please, send me an email if you are thinking that now is the time to get your dogs photographed. In April I will also be working part time at the Delta Community Animal Shelter, so things are going to get better for us, monetarily speaking, but right now I wouldn’t say no to some legitimate income.
Lastly, but most definitely not least, TDBCR Sparky’s mum also needs your help. On Tuesday evening, someone broke into her pasture and stole 17 of her 34 lambs – trapped them in the barn and then pitched them over the fence into a waiting truck. The oldest would have been just 1 month and the youngest two were under a week. She says “It would be merciful if they were slaughtered for meat right away, although they wouldn’t make more than a mouthful, even in the aggeregate. Otherwise they will die, as they still need mothers’ milk. Besides the RCMP, I’ve contacted most of the shelters, abattoirs and auctions in the Lower Mainland. If you happen to hear of someone trying to dispose of very young lambs, either through your shelter work or through the border collie contacts, please call the Langley RCMP. They tell me that there is a lot of rustling going on right now and the thieves will most likely be back in a few days for the rest.” If you hear of anything that might point toward someone having a brand new bunch of ewe-less lambs in the Fraser Valley, or anywhere in BC actually, please contact the Langley RCMP. Poor little lambs :(
And Happy Gotcha Day TWooie. I’m sorry Piper stole your thunder ;-)