It has been a while. Months have passed since the last entry, with sadly the demise of Frankendrolleke mentioned. The Mistress had to deal with elections (she is a minor politician for a right-wing libertarian party in Belgium), work (two part-time jobs: one of 18 hours, one of 6 to 9 hours…) and home improvement (Grumpy Man is working on the extra veranda which will become his work-den and Bouncing Psycho finally left to live on his own). And she would have wanted to bring good tidings, of a new arrival who quickly stole our hearts, of kitties doing well… and yet…
When Frankendrolleke was still alive and frolicking, he had a play-mate, possibly a litter-mate but we weren’t sure. It might have been a member of the Frankenclan, with its distinctive markings, were it not that the black-and-white of the Frankenclan was in his case grey-and-white. Grumpy Man has seen a magnificint grey tom in the Neighbourhood of Chaos, who might have been the sire, who might even have been Isegrim’s sire, thus linking Freya and Isegrim to the Frankenclan. After ‘Drolleke’s demise this tyke came in, more and more frank, in order to eat, in order to have a warm, dry and safe spot to sleep, and gradually he got used to having simians around and would permit us to pet him.
His name was Frankenschwartz. (If you really want to know the reference… look up “Spaceballs”.) He was tiny. He was, like Frankendrolleke, not really healthy. He had this diarrhea that would scare off angels. But we allowed him in and tried to nurse him to better health.
I gained his trust well enough to be able to put him into the travel basked and bring him over to the Man In White. Who gave the tyke a shot against the diarrhea, with some antibiotics mixed in, and prescribed a de-worming med and anti-biotics. “How much should he weigh (for the correct amount of antibiotics)?” the MIW mused, “he’s a lovely fellow for a 3-months old…”
“But”, I responded, “he’s not 3 months old.”
“He’s been around from before Christmas !”
The MIW quickly grabbed Frankenschwartz, worked open his tiny mouth, gazed inside and turned towards me with an unbelieving expression: “He has a yearling’s teeth !!”
He allowed me to have a look. Ever seen an ancient graveyard ? Tombstones crooked and swaying ? Schwartzie’s teeth.
“But,” the MIW said with a bemused expression on his bearded face, “he’s so little…”
I smiled sadly and said: “One word. Inbreeding.”
I had told him about the Frankenclan. He was touched that we would try and take care of kitties not our own, to gain their trust and have them neutered. He has given me a discount at times when I brought in a Frankenkitty. And he agreed that inbreeding would play a major factor in the bad health of the Frankenclan members.
In any event, Frankenschwartz was brought home again, given the meds and got well. More or less. He didn’t like the meds, you know, the kind that has “special flavour” for the pets. He refused it. Until I brought out the ham and wrapped the pill in a piece of it. I couldn’t give it to him fast enough. Before I knew it his teeth were at my elbow. But they caused the diarrhea to stop. Only, the filth had built up, beyond his ability to clean himself, and had started to cake around his behiney and tail. So I was forced to catch and wrap him up in a towel, carry him over to the washing basin in the bathroom, turn on the tap with nice warm water, position his behiney under it, pick up a cleaning cloth and start with a hearthy “sop-sop-sop” in order to try and remove the filth. The water turned brown. The tyke started screaming his little head of. But the filth gradually started to come loose and disappear down the drain. Then the water turned brown again, but not of me cleaning him, oh no, but because Mister Schwartzkins had started to panic. *sigh* Fortunately that dissolves nicely in water as well.
When I let him go he was 95 % clean and could get on with doing the rest of the job himself. But he was a bit angry, and wouldn’t let me near him for at least an hour or so. He did allow two other -female- members of the Frankenclan to approach and clean him though. Frankinneke had come to live with us, but Frankeminneke remained elusive and skittish. Until her pregnancy got close to its end and she discovered that the House of Chaos would make a safe place to have kittens in. We even offered her a cardboard box lined with old towels, which she promptly made her bed. All was going well. The poor thing was as thin as a rake, and I tried to fatten her up a bit which she heartedly approved of. When I saw her munching happily away I noticed some bloody discharge coming from her behind. Birth due for any time now, I figured.
She disappeared and was never seen again.
And a few weeks later Frankenschwartz too went and vanished.
Then, two weeks ago, we noticed Frankinneke sniffling and sneezing. She had always had a kind of cough, whenever she got exited, like when purring: “pur pur pur AHIE! pur pur”. We never really saw her running fast, and she slept a lot. But now she became positively lethargic, sneezing and sniffling, emitting a sound like a vacuum-cleaner under water. Her nose was caked shut with discharge, which means she couldn’t smell any more. Now, a cat who can’t smell won’t eat. It’s instinct. They won’t trust food they can’t smell and check out. Frankinneke started getting thinner, she would refuse stinky goodness, she would sit near the water bowl with a disgusted expression, trying from time to time to take a sip but then finding it impossible. It was MIW-time again. And she didn’t even struggle when I put her in the travel basket.
The MIW gave his verdict immediately: “serious infection of the upper respiratory system”. Meds were prescribed, a shot was administered, and off we went again. After two days I was to give antibiotic pills with the “special flavour”. But she refused with a vengeance, spitting out the forced pill with a massive amount of saliva. She also started to have diarrhea. I tried to crush the pills and put it in some stinky goodness she had started to eat again, but at first she refused it, then started eating with long teeth (as we call it, eating with a thoroughly disgusted expression and wagging her head as if to get rid of the taste). After a few days, and with the diarrhea getting worse, we decided she reacted badly to the antibiotics and stopped it. The sniffling and wheezing had stopped anyway, and she was eating and drinking again.
We visited the Strong Woman Of Flanders on Saturday morning, came home Sunday evening, and found Frankinneke immobile with serious hypothermia, lying on the tiled floor near the cat-flap in the (unheated) veranda. When I gingerly touched her in order to check for lifesigns she yolwed. Grumpy Man swiftly wrapped her into a big towel and put her in the travel basked while I checked whether the Man In White was home. He was, and though it wasn’t his weekend to be on stand-by, he told us to come over immediately.
He heated a pouch with intravenous fluids in warm water and injected that straight into her body, in an effort to warm her up from inside. He dribbled warm water into her mouth with a contraption that looks like a bulb with a tapering end (which he gave to us). He gave her a painkiller and checked her heart-beat and breathing. There were no obvious injuries, he couldn’t tell what had happened to her and neither could we. He told us to take her home and put her between two bottles with hot water. “She would have a 50 % chance to make it”, he said.
Grumpy Man, working night shifts, would wake with her. I had to go to bed because a full-time working day was looming. I said goodbye to the dearling kitty and went to bed. When I woke up in the morning Grumpy Man told me what had happened.
He checked the warm water every 10 minutes or so, having the travel box on the couch behind his chair at the computer. At a certain moment he noticed Frankinneke dragging herself out of the box, dragging herself over to him, and the poor kitty begged to be picked up. When he took her into his strong yet gentle, warm, loving hands she snuggled down with a sigh and… died.
He buried her on a quiet spot. That was all he could do. And he has vowed we wouldn’t take in strays anymore. Ever.
So, yes, you might say that so far 2010 has been a horrible year for our feline friends.
And now it is All Hallow’s Day and I remember…
I remember my feline friends: Bar-Choc, Rhuarhi, Rhuarhuss, Ragnar, Rabauw, Misj Masj, Rataplan the Mobile Disaster Area, Zorro, Franky, Frankendrolleke, Frankenschwartz and Frankinneke.
I remember my canine friend: Critter.
I remember the feline friends of the Strong Woman Of Flanders: Monsieur Balthazar, Pinnochio, Poesie, Loup-Garou, Pinocchio II and Brass Balls.
I remember the canine friends of the Strong Woman Of Flanders: Sandy, Wodanovitch, Kaffer, Thor, Cora, Spock, Imboua and Fenris.
And her equine friend: Nuba.
I remember the feline and canine friends whom I’ve met through family and friends: Sheba, Twiggy, Babette.
And I’m praying for the canine friend Cartouche, who learned the bad way that horses are not always friendly, and is fighting for her life as I type this.