Starlight’s Escapade

February 23, 2013 by  
Filed under Animals and Nature Kingdoms, Nedda, New Posts

“Ethical Products, Inc.” –

Just how “ethical” are they?

Last summer I purchased a very expensive (for me) pet carrier that was light weight, with shoulder strap and several other nifty features. I did this because I was having my usual set of physical issues, and carrying my adults cats in their regular carriers had become difficult if not impossible.

Ethical Products "Fashion Pet Travel Gear"

The carrier was beautiful, although a bit snug for Sakhara, who is OK with it for short trips. I used it maybe 6 or 7 times and it remained in perfect, as new, condition.

Then Starlight went to the vet last week to be spayed. She’s about 6 months old and weighs only 5.2 pounds. I cut her nails the day before, and she was as prepared physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually as any kitten could be.

Starlight at 5 months.

Starlight came through the spaying surgery with flying colors, but being a healthy, active kitten, she was frustrated with a full day of confinement that had begun when we left home at 7 a.m. that morning.

When I picked Starlight up at 6 p.m. that evening, I carefully checked all the zippers on the new carrier to make sure they were completely closed. I belted the carrier into the car seat, and started for the interstate.

Although I had greeted her lovingly while still at the vet, Starlight was protesting being confined. After turning onto the highway entry ramp, which is at least a mile long, I placed my right hand near the mesh at the front door of the carrier so she could scent it and hopefully calm down. To my great horror and surprise, I suddenly felt a cat head butting up against the palm of my hand.

STARLIGHT HAD ESCAPED!!

 

I grabbed Starlight by the scruff of the neck and looked for a place to pull the car over.

It was night.  There were orange glowing streetlights lining the mile-long entry ramp. When the ramp split off in two directions, I was supposed to take the left lane.  Instead, I pulled into the space between the two lanes – not exactly a safe spot, in retrospect, but better than continuing on while holding a wiggling, escaped kitten in my right hand.

I turned on the light inside the car and discovered that Starlight had completely pulled the nylon mesh out of the stitching on one side of the front door of the carrier.  The zipper was still closed and in good condition.

What a strong kitten!! And she was so proud of her achievement! Unfortunately, I was less than happy.  Also unfortunately, I didn’t have any duct tape in the car, as after trying one or two ideas very quickly, it became very clear that there was no way to seal Starlight back into the carrier.

My only option was to hold the mesh closed with my right hand. This is not a safe way to drive.  Furthermore, it was dark. The roads were still lined with plowed up piles of snow from a blizzard just a few days before that had left 36+ inches everywhere. It was 6 p.m. and the temperature was falling. I really prefer to drive with two hands under these circumstances.

Still, I had no choice. It’s not safe to allow a curious kitten to run loose where she can crawl under the brake pedal or go flying into the windshield if a sudden stop is required.

Thanks to Mother/Father Source and the entire Upstairs Department we made it home safely.  Starlight had quieted down about half-way home, but I wasn’t taking any chances and kept holding the mesh closed.  Once in the garage with the overhead door shut, I took her out of the carrier, and made it into the house.

Before I left for the vets to pick Starlight up, Violet and Sakhara and I had discussed that Starlight would need to spend the night in the cat meditation room.  Now I unceremoniously, and without consulting anyone, carried Starlight into that room, shut the door tightly behind me, put Starlight on the floor, and proceeded to remove Violet from the cat meditation cave.

Violet was a bit dazed.  She was more out of her body than in it.  “Sorry,” I told her.  I wasn’t exactly calm, and because I know that cats after surgery often smell strange to other cats because of the drugs and antiseptics, I didn’t want to leave Violet and Star together until I could be present to supervise.  I still had to go back to the car, turn out all the lights, and bring everything inside from the trip.

As soon as I could, I took some (read LOTS OF)  5 Flower Formula (same as Bach’s Rescue Remedy) to calm myself down.  Then I had to settle everyone else down.   Starlight hadn’t eaten since 11:30 p.m. the night before and had refused food at the vets, so getting her to eat was a high priority.

So now my question was:

“What is the company that

sells this product going to do?”

 

It took several attempts to  reach their Customer Service department at Ethical Products, Inc., but I finally got through.  Persistence matters!!

I have been promised a brand new carrier!

 

Hand stitched repair to carrier door. The thread is VERY strong.

Meanwhile, I used my sewing skills and ingenuity to repair the carrier.  Violet and Sakhara would never think of trying get to out, so I feel it’s safe to use this old one for them, and since they are both receiving Advanced Allergy Therapeutics treatments, I still needed a functioning carrier.

The new carrier hasn’t arrived yet, and I keep wondering:  Is this a design flaw?  Or was this individual carrier defective?  I’ve asked the company and am waiting for a response.

I’ll definitely let you know what I find out, as safety is important when our animals need to travel.

Starlight has recovered nicely from her surgery.  Perhaps she’ll tell you all about it sometime.

Namaste,
Nedda

P.S.  The company, Ethical Products Inc., sent me a brand new carrier.  The materials it’s made with are different from the original one, but the company was unwilling to say whether this carrier is safe for Starlight.  I appreciate their sending me a new carrier, but I’m not very confident about putting a physically strong, strong-minded kitten into it.  So for now, Violet and Sakhara get to use these, and Starlight gets the big plastic box with metal mesh.  I’m taking no chances!

An Unexpected Guest

June 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Animals and Nature Kingdoms, New Posts

 

What do you do when someone needing help drops in?

 

Yesterday proved to be a very intense day.  It started out normally enough, but when I went outside to take my morning walk, I was greeted by a very small, about 8 week old calico kitten.  She looked me straight in the eyes and cried, “I’m lost and hungry.  I miss my mommy.  Help me, please.”  She was crying and looked disoriented and miserable.

So, naturally, I tried to approach her, but she was so terrified that she ran.   Fortunately, she ran into my back yard and hid under the sun room which has no basement and is the home of Hattie, the semi-feral cat who has been living in my yard for more than 4 years now.

So I went inside and got more of Hattie’s food and lured the kitten onto the back stoop where she ravenously ate.  I was able to touch her – all skin and bone.   But I wasn’t sure it was a good idea to try to pick her up.  I wasn’t interested in being scratched or bitten, and I didn’t have a plan about what to do with her.

Violet and Sakhara have made it very clear over the years that this is a 2-cat household inside.  Unfortunately, this baby kitten needed to be inside.  This was not a matter of just putting out extra food for a stray.  Eight week old kittens do not know how to hunt and need to eat 4-5 times a day.   Not only that, but she was clearly traumatized and exhausted.  After eating, she collapsed onto the grass and slept.

I asked Hattie to help out.  Hattie is not a mean cat.  She will tolerate other cats without injuring them, but she is also very clear about her boundaries.  All day she kept telling the kitten  “Don’t get close to me.  I’m not your mother.  I don’t want you so near me.  Stay away from me.”   A 2-foot personal space was an absolute minimal requirement.

Of course, this baby just wanted a warm furry moma who would lick it and comfort it.  Not in Hattie’s vocabulary.  And when Hattie would hiss and growl and cuff the baby to make her point, the frightened kitten would cower and cry.  Once she even fell over in a stooper. 

This was not a good situation.  Something seriously needed to be done.

Of course, I was working and could only keep an eye on things sporatically.  But I was also distracted by the situation.  I felt deep in my body that there was no time to lose – 24 hours was too long to wait to get this baby caught.

By late afternoon, I had bought extra cat food and litter.  I had found the extra litterbox in the basement.  I decided I had to catch this kid if she was going to have any chance of surviving at all.  I knew she’d be hungry again very soon, so around 4 p.m. I went out onto the back stoop with more food and lured her over to me again.  Very, very tentatively, she came to the bowl.  (I had to give Hattie extra food a distance away so she’d let the kitten eat.)  Again, I was able to stroke her fur with just a finger or two, exceedingly gently.  I made my decision.

I had put a cat carrier on the other side of the sliding door, which I left open.  I figured that if I grabbed her by the scruff of the neck, like a mother cat would, she’d probably just go limp and I could shove her into the carrier, followed quickly by the food dish.

IT WORKED!!!!  

But now I had a new challenge.  It was 4 p.m. and I had a kitten whose health was unknown.  Even if I put her upstairs in a separate room, the door doesn’t go all the way to the floor and Violet, the Supervisor, along with Sakhara, my Assistant and Yoga Buddy, would be there to check things out.  Aside from the emotional upset for them, they might also catch something under the door (I don’t have a large enough cat carrier or a cat cage).  What to do?

I started calling veterinarians.  My good friend Allys has a specialty practice and no test kits for FIV and FELV.  My vet in Manchester, a 30 minute drive in good traffic, was willing to give me an appointment for 6:30 and agreed to just do a basic exam and take blood for the tests.  (I didn’t want any vaccinations shoved into this stressed out baby.)  But then they would send the tests out and the results wouldn’t be here until tomorrow.  I made the appointment, but decided to keep calling around.  I found another vet, closer to home, who had the tests you could do in the office, but they required that I wait until the next day to bring the kitten in. 

I talked to the Humane Society, but they had no spaces and I’d have to call them the next morning at 9:45 to see if any had opened.  I called 2 other animal rescue organizations and got answering machines.  I got a call back from Our Companions Animal Rescue which I had called in the morning because I knew they had Have-A-Heart Traps.   Good thing I didn’t actually need the trap, as they weren’t able to get one to me right away.

At 5 p.m., a van pulled into my driveway.  Danny had been at my house last Friday to clean the chimney flue for the furnace.  He had left a mess in the basement, and was returning at my request to clean up after himself.  He’s basically a nice guy who likes animals, including cats.  So when he pulled in, I immediately said, “Hi.  Would you like a kitten?”

His response was “No.  My neighbors already think I have too many cats.”  But then he came right over to look at her.  As I said, he likes animals.   After cleaning up the basement, Danny decided to make a few phone calls.  To my utter amazement and profound relief, Danny found someone in his office willing to take the kitten sight-unseen. 

Off she went in my cat carrier with extra cat food to make sure she got plenty to eat until her new people could get to a store.

Was this the best solution?  Who knows?  At least the kitten is inside in a warm place with food, water, and hope for a future.  Hattie is happy to have her yard back to herself.  Violet and Sakhara are relieved that I didn’t bring the kitten into the house.  I’m relieved that I didn’t expose my cats to anything.  I cancelled the appointment with my vet.

I don’t know what the moral of this story is, or even if there is one.  I do know that we bring everything into our lives.  I can’t blame anyone else for manifesting this kitten.  I did it.  I own responsiblity for that. 

But I have to ask myself, “Nedda, what were you thinking??????”

I hope to get an answer sometime soon.

Namaste,
Nedda