A bit about a bunch of formerly feral felines...

     This is Co-calico.  She lives the good life now, but it wasn't always so easy for her.  She got lucky.  She found the Kelly Cat Conservatory when she was pregnant with a litter of kittens.  She and her kittens hung around the Conservatory for about a year until space opened up.  It wasn't easy protecting 5 kittens from dogs, eagles, owls, and cars, but she did it successfully, even while dealing with her own issues. Co-calico is horribly allergic to mosquitoes so, in the summer, the backs of her ears would get really raw and bloody with a cycle of getting bit, scratching, developing scabs, scratching, getting bit some more...  Even now, after 15 years of living inside at the Conservatory, the fur on the backs of her ears has not regrown.

     Many years ago, one night, Greedo was not acting like his normal greedy self when dinner was served.  One look at the pads on his toes told me something was seriously wrong.  They weren't pink, but were very, very pale-- almost white.  We rushed to the vet.  Greedo had haemobartonella, a blood parasite.  This disease can be fatal but, luckily, we caught it early, sought treatment, and Greedo was able to come home in just a couple of days. 

     Years ago, our neighbors told us they had been feeding a feral cat, who they called Sam, in their backyard and  they believed that he now had 3 broken legs.  We were able to catch Sam and take him to the vet for treatment.  He did indeed have 3 injured limbs, though none was broken.  Sam was really lucky we found him that weekend.  After a couple of days of hospitalization and treatment for his leg wounds, they didn't seem to be healing.  He had almost no red blood cells, so not only could his wounds not heal but he was on the verge of death.  He was given blood transfusions, but that didn't help.  Our vet, who is absolutely amazing (shout-out to Dr. Andersen at Animal Medical Hospital!), thought it possible that Sam had a very rare blood disorder that prevented his body from retaining red blood cells.  When she began to treat him for the disorder, his body immediately began to heal.

      After he completed 6 months of twice daily meds, we released Sam from isolation to see if he would like to interact with other cats.  Maybe they could show him how to play, and he could learn from them that people weren't really all that scary.  Sam loves being around other cats!   He loves nothing more than to snuggle up with other cats!  He learned to play and even warmed up to people.  He will flop down, roll over, and expose his belly for a big belly rub.  He has turned into a real cuddle-kitty and purr-machine!

     Stripedy-doo-dah (SDD, for short), who is FIV+, has had his own space since his  pal Hydrox (also FIV+) died.  We were a bit concerned about Sam and SDD living together because Sam has some dermatological issues that cause him to frequently have scabs on his face (kitty acne) and, of course, FIV is transmitted through bodily fluids (similar to HIV).  

      But quality of life is key.  So, we thought we'd see how those two got along together.  As you can see in the picture above, they're getting along quite well.  (AndSam continues to test negative for FIV.)

 

     We have known Co-calico and her kittens since 2007 and they have been  been able to stay together as a familyall these years.  They snuggle up together, play together, eat together... 

Greedo lived for years following treatment for thymoma, but finally succumbed to it.

Pumpkin developed cancer at age 14 and went the way of Greedo at age 15. 

Cocalico's IBD has developed into a small cell intestinal cancer, but is being well-managed with a special diet and medications. 

Patches, Copy, and Carbon are still going strong, having lived for 17 years as of March 2024!

       After a few weeks at the vet, Sam was brought to the Conservatory where he was kept in his own room and needed medication twice daily.  He was so afraid of people that medicating him was quite the ordeal. There was evidence that he moved around the room to eat and use the litter box, but we only ever saw him cowering in the corner.  We would try to get him to play, but he didn't seem to know how.  

      Sam lived happily with his brothers Barnaby, Slinky, and Oroclees for many years, and his sister Oreo (pictured with him above) even tolerated his snuggles after a while.  Sadly, in the past few years, all of the brothers and sister with whom Sam had shared a living space have now left us, at ages ranging from 15-17 due to cancers and/or neurological issues.  Sam really loves being around other cats, so we tried to integrate him into Co-calico's family's living space, but Carbon is not willing to accept Sam as part of the gang.  Being 17 years old himself, we figure Carbon should have whatever he wants, so if he is aggravated by having around a 12-yr-old young whippersnapper, then the whippersnapper must go!  (We've found that, many times, cats are not so accepting of cats that look like them!)

      Our cats Microbe and Goldie are each "only" cat-kinds of gals, each having a space to themselves, and neither was excited about living with Sam. 

     

All of our cats get top-notch veterinary care for whatever ails them, as well as companionship and personalized TLC, for as long as they continue to enjoy life.  As you can imagine, the vet bills add up quite quickly.

If you'd like to contribute towards the care of all the cats at the Kelly Cat Conservatory, you may do so using the Venmo code here.