We are suckers for cats. They seem to know this and have spread the news amongst each other.
In the beginning (2007 or so), it was my husband and I living in a temporary rental home before purchasing our first home and property outside of the city of Willcox, Arizona (quite rural). At the time, we already had three (3) adult cats that we had rescued as kittens from the hot, dry desert. As you can see, they are all fat and happy.
Then one day while I was outside, a stray female kitty came up to me talking up a storm. She looked a little porky, so I figured she must have a home and did not feed her. Instead I just talked back and petted her. We noticed her hanging around often and began calling her “Mina”. We also noticed that parts of the rental home were “open” underneath where animals and pests could get under the house. I later sat on a quiet evening and swore that I heard kittens, but thought that I must be crazy.
Not long afterwards, my husband began befriending Mina too and we ended up putting a box on the porch with food to keep her sheltered from the rains we were having. Both of us still assumed she was a house cat because of her friendliness and fat belly but we were still not sure. Then, before leaving one night, my husband and I were on the front porch and noticed Mina was acting very strange and frightened. Then we saw why. All of a sudden we saw four (4) kittens in the box! OMG! Apparently these are the babies I was hearing…
These kittens were terrified of people and just little bitty kitties a few weeks old (eyes open and rambunctious). AWWW! Because we were on the main road, I told hubby we needed to get them inside the garage immediately for safety. What a job that was! So this is where Tammy, Lulu, Toni and Haley enter the story.
All five cats (kittens and Momma Mina) lived in our garage for a few days, and then they were relocated inside the rental home into one of the spare/unused bedrooms. We had Mina spayed and when the kittens were old enough, they were spayed as well (all females). When we moved into our home, we introduced everyone (Axle, Perfecta, Eloo to the new arrivals). Our original plan was to provide a safe environment with love and spoils until we could adopt the new arrivals out. My husband even said to me, “you know that no one will take care of them like we will.” We figured that with time, everyone would settle in, but that things might be difficult at first.
This have not gone as planned.
Our original cats (Eloo, Axle and Perfecta) each had a different reaction to the new arrivals. Perfecta hates anything new, but she eventually became used to the new cats. She is our oldest cat and has developed some health issues over the years (she is over 10 years old).
Axle is my “Mommas Boy” that used to jump in my arms and hug me, but he has developed some pretty severe behavioral issues and our whole dynamic changed. I cannot even describe how unhappy my Axle is; I have never seen a cat so cranky and upset.
Him and Mina did not get along at all and would attack each other frequently. This (for some reason) caused animosity between Axle and Eloo (who were brothers and buddies). Then things went downhill quickly for Eloo even though he loved his new harem.
We noticed that Eloo had something in his eye and started taking him to the vet. After numerous treatments and medications with no success, I took him back in to see another vet. This vet saw right away that Eloo had a tumor growing that was cancerous. Eloo is now chasing butterflies at the Rainbow Bridge (RIP buddy, we miss you!). This was beyond devastating for my husband and I so I won’t dwell on that for too long, except to note that things became worse between Mina and Axle afterwards.
Eventually, we were able to adopt Mina out, which did help some to settle the crazy dynamic we had taking place in the home (hissing, cattitudes, etc.). But no matter how hard we have tried, things just got harder…
The kittens have now become adults and it has been such a challenge to adopt them out due to being in a rural area. As if this was not difficult enough, we noticed that as they matured, some of them began to exhibit symptoms of Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome. We also remembered that Mina had seemed to have these same symptoms, so the disease may be genetic according to the vet. We thought that Mina had only been playing when we saw her “spooking” about the house, but with hindsight, it became obvious she had this issue as well.
Of these kitties, now adults, we would like to find homes for Toni, Lulu, Tammy and possibly Haley (We are pretty attached to Haley, but if we found the right person(s), we may adopt her out).
We have provided a safe home for these babies for approx. 3 years (including an outdoor enclosure for them to go in and out safe from predators). However, some changes have resulted in us not being able to carry this on much further (financially and emotionally) but neither one of us wants to take them to a shelter or have them euthanized.
We need some help! It is extremely difficult to organize pet adoptions when you live in a rural area so I will make a shout out to rescuers elsewhere.
We will ask questions to insure the cats go to the proper home with the proper adopted parents.
We will also ask for a $25 adoption fee since the cats have been well cared for and are spayed, but they may need updated shots.
All four are Calico females, and are all indoor cats (with exception of enclosure which allows them to be outside, but away from predators!)
Tammy shows the least symptoms (some back rolling, but she is a very healthy cat otherwise and this does not seem to bother her at all). She purrs and is a happy, social, very vocal cat. I think Tammy would do well in a household without children. She does well with other pets (may be spooked at first). Once she is comfortable, her motor runs.
Lulu is similar to Tammy in that she has little symptoms of the syndrome, but every once in a great while, does appear to be bothered by a “back-roll” but not for long. Lulu does not purr, is somewhat anti-social, easily spooked but a funny cat. She is the one that will require a one-two person household with no other pets, no children and a nice quiet environment. She is very easily spooked and only comes to you when SHE wants to rub on you. If you try to pet her, she runs away and looks at you as if you are evil. She does let us pet her with our feet :) Lulu is funny because she likes to drag things away. If I give her a scarf or pillow case, she tries to drag it off somewhere and it is just hilarious. She does have personality, even if she is a spooky cat. She just needs a quieter household without other animals.
Toni exhibits symptoms of FHS the worst. There are medications for this, but having a calm environment seems to help more than anything (even the vet said she is better off without meds since she does not exhibit severe symptoms such as biting). Touching her while the back-roll is happening seems to make it worse. However, Toni is very sociable, very talkative, but does not purr. She loves to cuddle with Axle and follows him around. She will require a household without children. But she may do well in a household with other pets.
Haley also exhibits symptoms frequently and licks herself continually. The episodes seem to last for a few minutes and then dissipate. Haley purrs very softly, she is very sociable, lovable, vocal and just an all around sweet cat. She is the one we are the most attached to. She has also really attached herself to me (we call her TP, short for “Toilet Paper” as if stuck to your shoe because she follows me around). For some unknown reason, Tammy and Lulu like to pick on Haley (stalk and stare at her), so this causes some strife between them.
It took forever to figure out how to get these images in here (glitches left and right) so even though I meant to type more, I am totally exhausted and hope that someone can help us and our babies!
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