Mittens and Co.

Meet the gang …


These are the best you’ll get for now of mama!

Bonus shot:

Check out Cashmere’s extra toes! She has them on the back feet, too.
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I have a bunch of fun photos that don’t go together in any theme or order. And they need more explanation than “Wordless Wednesday” allows. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So, here they are, just a bunch of fun photos in no particular order …

Heading to the bus stop one morning there was this bit of rainbow. After I got on the bus, it got much larger (almost a half rainbow) and clearer.
Breakfast time! From before Dani and Brody left. L-R: Brody, Blue, Dani, Jonesy
Quality control inspector for the Bowlathon tails.
Quality control expert for the catnip (for the Bowlathon tails).
Murphy loves his “containers”. I’d left this carrier on the counter for just a few minutes and he was in. You can see by the angle it’s sitting, it couldn’t have been that easy to maneuver himself around the edge and in!
My sister brought me a whole bunch of canning she’d done in this very sturdy box. Someone claimed it immediately. But …
Someone else came along and asserted his seniority.

The next one requires some explanation. Mittens and Co. are free in the foster room. Mittens is kind of done with being a mom. She does the bare minimum but spends most of her time trying to stay away from the kittens. Last week Tegan joined us (that’s for another post). She needs to be separated from the family for a while, at least, so she’s been living in the upper section of the cage. On the weekend, I finally got around to putting down new titles (the old ones did NOT survive the summer) and had to confine the family to the bottom of the cage. I usually wash the floor in sections. As I was in the other room, waiting for a section to dry, I heard a weird noise. I went in and Mittens was in the upper section! She’d easily pushed aside the piece of cardboard I use to separate them. So I put her back down in the bottom and fed her. I also rearranged the piece of cardboard so it was harder to push aside and put some cat food cans on it — the nearest “heavy” thing I could grab. She did it again! So I added more cans. She did it a third time and I added more cans. What you see here is how determined she was to get away from the kittens! I don’t think she could have pushed all those cans completely out of the way, but who knows! She figured out awfully fast how to use the ladder as leverage. I quickly finished and let her out. (Yes, we’re going with primary colours — plus green — this time. They were on sale. )

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So this happened last week …

This little cutie is … drumroll please … my 300th foster!


She comes with mama Mittens, who I did NOT name, and three sibling, whom I did.

Someone asked me “how do you know she’s the 300th?” Hee. In this case, when they arrived, I wrote their descriptions on the white board in the foster room and numbered them 1 – 4. When I entered them in my keeping-track spreadsheet, Mittens was first and then the kittens, 1-4 as I’d put them on the whiteboard. Little Cashmere landed on spot number 300.

They are a LOVELY family. Mittens just wants attention. She loves to be held. The kittens already run to meet me and also are affectionate and purr-y.

(I had hoped to have photos of the whole family but alas, it’s been a bit of a week! I’ll try on the weekend but it’s rapidly filling up, too!)

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Bowlathon 2022

First, thank you to everyone who donated!!

It was an early start to go pick up tables and the weather forecast was not fantastic; rain in the morning and rain late afternoon. Indeed, it “spit” on us (enough to need the windshield wipers) a few times during our driving around. But when we arrived at the venue, all was dry*. In fact, not only did we not have rain, the sun came out! Though it was a bit hot and humid.

Many vehicles, many hands, and everything got unloaded and set up with time to spare. Our leader had everything planned, knew where everything should be and did a great job of directing traffic.

By all accounts, people had a great time and the setting really was lovely. Here are some of our professional [volunteered] photos. I’ve tried to use ones that show the venue but she was asked to photograph the event, not the venue. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The venue is located in a valley, near part of the city’s network of ravine walking trails. This photo shows how one side of the club is nestled up against a hill of trees.
This shows the tennis courts on one side (way in the background) and the access road on another (the left). Behind the camera is the parking lot and entrance.

The club was formed in 1912 (!) has operated out of this location ever since. The current clubhouse (the building furthest to the left in the first photo) was built in 1951. Yonge and Lawrence, where the club is located, is now considered mid-town Toronto. In 1912, this would have been faaaaarrr from downtown. Really far. I tried to find maps from that time. A 1912 map of streetcar routes didn’t even have Lawrence Ave on it. I found a couple of maps from 1913 (one, a geological map, and the other a “Toronto Fire Insurance” map!) but neither show buildings so no way to know how close houses were to the club. This article has some cool historical photos, though none of that location. At the turn of the 20th century it was, apparently, still mostly farmland. Not much seemed to happen until the ’20s. And then, of course, like everywhere else in the city, lots happened after World War II.

Coincidentally, my grandparents were big lawn bowlers and belonged to this club! They lived about a 20 minute walk away. I remember them bowling when I was a kid so they definitely used this clubhouse! I may have even watched them bowl — there is a vague memory stirring somewhere. ๐Ÿ˜‰

To top off a great day, it looks like we will make our goal of $30,000! Between the cash collected on the day and two more weeks in the campaign it’s looking good.

Once again, thanks to everyone who donated and thanks to those who support us in all kinds of ways all year long.

*there is often an advantage to living in a spread out city that can be weirdly affected by being next to a huge lake. We can get very, very isolated weather. One day a friend was coming and called from about 8km (5mi) away to say she was stopped on the highway because it was raining so hard. At my place? The sun was shining. She was amazed when she finally arrived and everything was completely dry. It’s also often very changeable. One minute it’s pouring and the next the sun is out.

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Dani and Brody

So. Last we knew Dani and Brody were all set with an adopter lined up.

On the day of their scheduled neuter I could tell Dani wasn’t feeling well. He was quite low energy that morning but I decided to send him anyway; at least he’d see a vet.

He didn’t end up getting neutered. The vet (one our favourites at Toronto Animal Services) found him to be quite “congested”. This was a surprise to me as Dani had never had any of the normal signs; no discharge, no sneezing. Though I had noted concerns about his breathing to our health care team. The vet had a suspicion but sent him to one of our clinics for x-rays to be safe. They showed nothing except the good news that he didn’t have pneumonia. He was sent home.

They wanted to do a sort of exploratory/diagnostic surgery on him but unfortunately, he continued to decline, losing weight, no energy, terrible diarrhea. Back we went to another vet and got Clavamox. She also noted his blocked nose but, again, he had no discharge! The Clavamox worked it’s magic on his diarrhea and he re-bounded. He was perkier, eating better, gaining weight. We booked another visit to the TAS clinic, this time for his diagnostic surgery. Three days before the date, he started losing weight again. Luckily, he managed to stay above a kilogram (2.2 pounds), though not by much! (Note: by this time, Dani was 13 weeks old and weighed about what an eight or nine week old kitten would!)

One of our wonderful drivers picked him up. Typically, Dani won him over immediately and he threatened to kidnap him. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It was a looooong day of waiting for one of three outcomes: find a problem and fix it, find no problem (which is a problem!), Dani doesn’t survive the anesthetic or something unfixable is found.

Finally, I got word. All was well. Dani was on his way back. He had a 1cm x 2cm (.39″ x .78″) Nasopharyngeal Polyp removed!! No wonder the little peanut couldn’t breath! It gave the vet a hard time and didn’t come out easily. There is a chance it could come back and, worse, he could eventually need a bulla osteotomy; a fairly serious surgery that involves “creating an opening into to the middle ear cavity by way of an incision of the tympanic bulla (the rounded part of the skull just behind the ear). This approach allows removal of the source of the polyp making recurrence unlikely. This is the most effective treatment for preventing nasopharyngeal polyp recurrence, but it is a major surgical procedure and surgical complications can occur.” — Krista Williams, BSc, DVM; Ernest Ward, DVM, for VCA Hospitals website

They let me know that he had eaten at the clinic. I put him back in the “hospital” cage to keep him quiet. He was having none of that, rampaging against the bars until I fed him. He polished off all I gave him — more than I’d seen him eat in one sitting for weeks. I gave him more. He finished that! And it quieted him down and made him sleepy. ๐Ÿ˜‰ He also ate a full dinner, a wet food snack at bedtime, and polished off about a 1/3 c. of kibble overnight!

He still hasn’t been gaining as much or as quickly as I’d like but he’s eating like a champ! And is playful and mischievous and all the things a regular kitten should be.

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A Weird Mix …

We’ve had a weird mix of chaos and … not, as this incredibly busy period winds down.

It turns out my “tendonitis” is actually a pinched nerve in my neck. My brother-in-law (retired GP) diagnosed it and a physiotherapist confirmed. My BIL told me that he once had a patient who he had to hospitalize and put on morphine because the pain was so bad. That actually made me feel better. I consider myself pretty stoic and my pain threshold is high. But with this? All I wanted to do was sit around and cry. A number of times I woke up in the night sobbing. I tried a number of over-the-counter pain relievers (before I consulted anyone) and none of them made a dent in the pain. I wanted to saw my arm off! Even though the trouble starts in my neck, the worst pain is the pain that radiates down my arm. And my forearm and thumb are numb which is just annoying! ANYWAY, I’m getting treatment (physio) now and she was wonderful. I still hope to get some better pain relief from my doctor (who has been closed!) Best of all, I slept through the night last night for the first time in almost a month. (The absolute worst of all this was not sleeping. For three weeks, the longest period of sleep I got was two hours. How to lose your mind in one easy step.)

Through all that, lots of cat stuff has been happening. Emmy was, indeed, adopted; I cried. Partly because of my “weakened” state but I think I would have cried anyway. Then I cried all over again the next day because:

Emmy cried a lot last night, but itโ€™s because sheโ€™s really excited to be best friends with our two cats. [cat 1] and [cat 2] have been hissing occasionally but have no desire to attack her. Theyโ€™ve met each other face to face a few times and sniffed without hissing. Still keeping her in her own room, and sheโ€™s been hiding a bit, but she accepts snacks and has been eatingย 

She even sat against [human] and let her pet her a bit last night lolย 

You always hope, with a cat like Emmy, that the progress you make will happen again, though more quickly, when they get to their forever home. You always expect some backsliding. I NEVER would have expected petting on the first night! I’m so proud of Emmy and so grateful to her adopters. And they (the humans) deserved that “gift” for taking a chance on her. I knew she was special but I never managed to take good photos of her and I just couldn’t make her bio do her justice.

And sweet Inara is adopted and being picked up in a couple of days! A very nice woman who will give her a quiet home with all the attention. Just what she deserved.

Blue and Brody outside Dani’s cage. (More on that to come.)
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How is it more than two weeks since I posted? There’s certainly been a lot happening.

The Fireflys had their surgery on the 9th. All went well.

The four tabbies had theirs on the 11th. Ditto.

On Saturday morning I loaded up NINE kittens and took them off to one of our partner stores. Seven were adopted within 48 hours and the other two before the week was up. Unfortunately, River was just returned last night. I gather she was too high energy for her adopter. The Adoption Counsellors will find her a more suitable home, I’m sure.

But wait, you say. Wasn’t there eleven kittens? Why yes, yes there was. The other two are being adopted by one of my neighbours. Not someone actually in my building but apparently my notoriety is spreading to the wider neighbourhood! Hee. The adopter has one older cat (she lost one last year to saddle thrombus) and is wise enough to know that two kittens is kinder than just one. So she came to visit while I still had all eleven. Of course, she chose Dani first! And while she briefly thought about one of the ginger boys, she settled on Brody because he was so sweet and attentive. More about that later.

Wait … I never even introduced the four tabbies!

I have been struggling with tendonitis in my arm/shoulder, so it was a relief to move the nine out and off to their forever homes. But that still left eight. Wait … Murphy, Jonesy, Blue, Emmy, Inara, Dani, Brody … and Clamato!!

Photo courtesy Pet Valu 2301 store staff

Clamato came to TCR and went straight to one of our partner vets. She needed to be spayed and she had to have a bot fly larvae removed from her neck!! So gross. It must have been a huge larvae because she needed stitches to close the wound. She was sent from the clinic to a store but, unfortunately, some of her stitches pulled out. She went back to the clinic for a re-do and then just needed a place for a couple of days before going back to the store. She was adopted in 48 hours, despite still having a shaved neck and stitches. Sweet girl.

Anyway … even eight seemed like so few after the chaos of eleven kittens! Then we were down to seven. I finally got Inara’s bio written and submitted and was trying to get to re-working Emmy’s bio — again — when … drumroll please … I got a referral email for Emmy!!! A lovely couple who already have two cats, one of whom is a TCR cat from a hoard! So they are familiar with the issues. We had Emmy’s meet ‘n’ greet last night and she’ll be picked up in a couple of days.

To add icing to the cake, I woke to an inquiry email for Inara. I’m not as sure about this one, but we’ll see. The Adoption Counsellor will see how the screening goes.

Which leaves Dani and Brody. And of course there’s a story. For another day! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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The Bowlathon is back!

After now-so-common two year COVID gap, we’re trying something a little different. We doing lawn bowling! At the historic Lawrence Park Lawn Bowling & Croquet Club. It’s a beautiful oasis right in the middle of the city! We’re hoping for an afternoon of fun and fresh air, food and frolicking. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Everything will be COVID protocol friendly. If you’d like to sign up, you can do that here.

I’m, of course, making ears and tails again for the event. This year I got a lot of offers of help from other volunteers so it won’t be a huge job to get them done.

We know it’s been a tough couple of years and people are facing ongoing challenges. But if you can make a donation and, help me reach my ambitious goal, it’s appreciated more than you know!

You can donate here.

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Introducing …

Finally! Here are the Fireflys:

Mama Inara; she’s sweet and a little shy.
Kaylee; you can’t seen it here; she’s actually a torbie.
Mal; when he’s finally tired of playing is a snuggler.
River; is always on the move!
Simon: handsome boy.
Wash (photo courtesy Brendan O.); purry boy.
Zoe; like her twin, River, always on the move.
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Sweet Dani is the cutest little guy! But he can’t seem to catch a break.

(Warning, potentially upsetting photo below; he’s fine.)

I know nothing about his origin but I’m guessing it was rough. The only bit I know is that his previous foster had to syringe feed him.

He is the happiest, gentlest kitten who doesn’t seem to let anything bother him or get him down. That sad, sad photo breaks my heart but it really doesn’t seem to phase him. He goes happily along whatever befalls him.

He didn’t get much attention when he first arrived because outgoing and goofy Lucky stole it all. Then the Fireflys arrived and he really got lost in the crowd. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been taking him to work. That, and I had some concerns. He was so tiny and gaining weight so slowly. And I’ve never been happy with his breathing. I can’t put my finger on it but it just seems “off”. I submitted videos to our health care team but they never really captured what I was seeing.

Last weekend, he came down with a goopy eye. I thought, here it is, he’s finally breaking with a URI that we can treat! But only one eye was affected and nothing else seemed to happen; no sneezing, no coughing, no stuffed up nose. Even the second eye stayed clear and bright. I began to suspect that he’d injured his eye, not a cold. On Monday, at work, my co-worked noticed something about his eye. In certain lights, it looked really bad. In others, it looked ok (still squinty, but ok). She helped me get some good photos and, sure enough, ulcerated cornea. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I suspect a tussle with one of the other kittens. Fortunately, the treatment is the same as for a URI — eye drops — so we were already doing that!) But again, he’s acting like there’s nothing wrong, though he’s not a fan of the drops. He gives no indication of pain; in fact, his eating is back up! (I was unhappy with his rate of weight gain but the last few days have been much better.) He runs and plays and is happily normal. However, I’m still not thrilled with his breathing and he tires easily (though a bit hard to tell since he’s so much smaller than the others. We’re trying him on a round of Doxycycline to see if that clears up his lungs any. Poor mite. Doxy is nasty stuff.

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