Tuesday, September 25, 2012



To catch up from the past few blogs...

Zoie had two veterinarian visits and took over my office as her living quarters.  It was already kitty-proofed from Ebbie and London.  While Ebbie had no contact with Zoie, although we washed our hands constantly, Ebbie's eye began to run though Zoie's were clearing.  The vet prescribed L-lysine for both, determining they had the Feline Herpes Virus in their systems.  The best management technique was to limit stress and give the antiviral treatment L-lysine.  This was the first time Ebbie was under this kind of stress since we adopted her.


Ebbie took liquid medicine easily as the sick baby we brought home on a snowy day.  But now she's particular.  She can always taste it in her food or smell it and will have nothing to do with it.  When she had digestive problems a few years ago and the vet prescribed a quarter of a crushed Pepcid, she did accept that in a dab of Reddi-Wip.  A few months ago Ebbie hurt her back and the vet recommended pet variety glucosamine.  I use heavy cream, whip it and empty some of the capsule into it.  As long as I don't go overboard, she eats it.

I didn't have to be concerned about Zoie taking medicine, especially in food form.  She gobbled up the L-lysine snacks.  But Ebbie wouldn't try them.  So we got an alternate choice--L-lysine gel and I mixed that in the whipped cream.  Success.  Ebbie didn't seem to smell or taste that.  I also started mixing a few of the L-lysine snack pieces with her food at night.  They were a different color from her food so I could tell if she was eating them.  Slowly, one piece started disappearing and then another.  London doesn't eat out of that dish, so I could keep my eye on exactly who was eating what.  Both were on the road to recovery, yet I know that the Feline Herpes Virus can never be cured...just managed.

Zoie's digestive problems cleared up with the anti-inflammatory medication the vet prescribed, but her second test for round worms was still positive.  Thank goodness we'd kept the cats separated.  So we had to worm her again.  When those results were clear after our third vet visit--she received her last vaccination that time--we could start to integrate our family.  (This was over a month after finding Zoie in our backyard.) During the time Zoie was in my office, Ebbie and London knew another cat was in the house.  London would sit by the closed door, watching it.  Ebbie was still trying to deny what she was hearing and scenting and it was obviously stressing her out. She was afraid without knowing what she was afraid of.


We had used an introduction technique when Ebbie and London were babies that I detail in my mystery.  (My amateur sleuth takes in stray animals and finds them homes.)  When we introduced London to Ebbie over eleven years ago, this is how we did it.  Ebbie was upstairs.  We brought in London in her carrier and set her in my office.  Then we went upstairs with Ebbie, let her out of the bedroom and went downstairs with her to "find" London.  Ebbie smelled around her carrier for about a half hour.  With no adverse reaction, she seemed ready to meet her new sister.  We let London out, they began chasing each other, then settled near each other looking out the window.  Easy, right?  They were both kittens with about six months age difference.  They were also half sisters.


I was excited as the time came to introduce Ebbie and London to Zoie.  After we got the all-clear from the vet on Zoie, we put her in her carrier and set her in the kitchen, a central location.  That day London walked up to the carrier and realized a cat was inside.  She hissed and ran.  Ebbie heard Zoie's meows, went to her steps by the window without even being tempted by going to the kitchen, curled into a ball with her head on her paws and wouldn't come down.

Maybe not so easy this time!

More of the kitty integration next week.

I'd love to hear your cat introduction stories.  Feel free to comment and share.

©2012 Karen Rose Smith

Karen Rose Smith's Website

Karen Rose Smith's Mystery Website 



Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Before I continue Zoie's saga, I want to tell you a little about Ebbie, one of our eleven-year-old cats, another black beauty.  I've always believed my mom sent Ebbie to me.  She was one very sick kitty when I rescued her from a friend's farm.  My mom had died and even years later, I was still missing her terribly.  So that snowy Christmas week when I picked up some galleys my friend was proofreading, I brought Ebbie home.  I stayed up nights with her while she was sick, massaging her sinuses so she could breathe.  And ever since that day, she's filled a hole in my heart and given me unconditional love and affection.  So I knew the process of taking in Zoie wasn't going to be a simple one.  Yet I was in it...and committed...and that was that.

Less than a week had passed since we'd rescued Zoie Joy from inside a bush in our backyard.  She was only about six weeks old.   No one had claimed her and we'd already taken her to the veterinarian once.  We had a second visit in three weeks.  Zoie's eyes were still running after a week so I called the vet and she ordered antibiotic drops for her eyes.

We kept Zoie in the sunroom for ten days then decided to bring her into my office in the main part of the house, yet keep her separated from Ebbie and London.  My office has a hall and a double door leading into our kitchen, so this was easily possible.  In my office I didn't have to worry about Zoie hurting herself on a concrete floor because scattered rugs dotted the wood floor.  My office already had a kitty condo, scratching tree and litter boxes.  There was also one in the main part of the house. We started a new litter box to have two for Ebbie and London outside of my office.  Our vet had recommended one more litter box than we had cats. 

 A few days before Zoie's next appointment, she developed diarrhea probably from too much dry food and too much water.  After another call to the vet, I watched her carefully to make sure she was still eating and drinking and playful until our vet visit. Dry food makes animals drink more than they would with wet food.  I'd been trying to leave a scoop between wet food feedings so she'd have food on demand when we weren't with her.  I was feeding her about every hour and a half except during the night and in the afternoons when she slept.  We still had her separated from our two older cats, Ebbie and London.

During the second vet visit, the doctor prescribed an anti-inflammatory medicine twice a day for the stomach disruption, gave her the second distemper vaccine, and rabies injection.  She said to continue to feed her on demand, but no dry food, just wet, until the medicine was finished and she seemed well.  Then we could start the dry food again, little by little.  For Zoie, the dry food was like candy to a child.  She would stop eating her wet food when full.  But the dry...  She would keep gobbling it until it was gone.  The doctor said to keep her separated from the other cats until both the eyes and digestive issues were resolved.

Zoie didn't mind noise from weather like rain or thunder or outside noises like vehicles or mowers.  But she was afraid of voices and anyone other than us.  She became familiar with my office, one section at a time, exploring thoroughly before proceeding to the next.  We supplied her with toy mice, balls with jingle bells, her beanie baby bear, and a wand with a flannel strip that we put away every time we left so she didn't get tangled in it.  Oh, and those mice?  I pulled off their eyes and ears which didn't seem to be attached very well and cut off their tails.  One of our other cats choked on one when it came apart.  There are no standards for animal toys so they have to be checked.  I found a couple of chew toys that Zoie could chew to her heart's content and I knew they would be safe.  I spent most of my days in the office with her with the television turned on to HGTV.  No explosively loud commercials!!

To add a bit of complication to this story, Ebbie had a virus when we rescued her that I was told would stay recessive in her system although we'd cleared up the secondary infection.  I also knew stress could make it reemerge, though it never had.  In the midst of our Zoie adventure, Ebbie had an appointment for a rabies injection.  I give our cats homeopathic remedies before and after treatment that a holistic vet had recommended and prescribed.  Even so, after a rabies injection a few years ago, Ebbie lost her hair at the site of the injection in a three-inch circle for about six months.  Afterward, I discovered the agent the company used to distribute the vaccine was mercury.  That vet wasn't concerned when I called to discuss it, so we changed vets.  Our new more-concerned, better-informed vet told us about other companies' vaccines that aren't as harmful.  But this time, I was worried.

Ebbie is my intuitive cat and we have a sister-like bond.  She knows when I'm hurting and always consoles.  She's my constant companion, sweet, and would never hurt me or anyone else.  She's a pacifist!  Even though she hadn't seen Zoie, she knew she was around.  Even though I washed thoroughly and changed clothes, she knew.  She began withdrawing.  I think it was a case of fearing the unknown.  Without any physical contact with Zoie, Ebbie's eye began running a week after her rabies shot.  So she had another visit to the vet.  He prescribed L-lysine snack pellets...or a powder or a gel.  He felt the conjunctivitis in her eye stemmed from the feline herpes virus that is one of the most common causes of upper respiratory infection and eye problems in cats. It had laid dormant in Ebbie's system all these years.  The L-lysine is an amino acid that helps suppress virus replication.  In other words, it breaks the cycle.  But Ebbie is not and has never been a pill taker or kitty snack consumer.  I would have to be inventive.  He suggested that it would also be a good idea to treat Zoie, too, with half the dose. I would have to check that out with her vet.

More about meds and cats next week along with how the first face-to-face (or nose-to-nose) meeting between Zoie and Ebbie and Zoie and London progressed.

© 2012 Karen Rose Smith

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IN TOUCH with Karen Rose Smith Newsletter

Sunday, September 9, 2012

IN TOUCH with KAREN ROSE SMITH newsletter posted

Yep, I'm late getting my September newsletter/ezine posted. But I was waiting for a few things to happen first. My webmistress and I redesigned the front page to my website, as well as reorganizing some of the other pages. I now also have a printable book list. So I wanted to make sure all that was finished and in place before I sent out September's ezine. I also added a newsletter sign-up on the front page to make it easy for readers to subscribe. I'd like to have comments from you so I know if I have made finding my books and series easier. I also added my new cover for ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE, my October Samhain retro release.

My September newsletter/ezine has a new contest, pictures of my kitties and gardens, plus info on my latest projects. If you don't follow me on Facebook or Twitter, the newsletter can catch you up with what's happening in one place.  If you do follow me on social media, you'll be able to enter contests and see more pictures about my cats, gardens and cooking projects.

I have a lot of fun putting the newsletter together each month. I hope you enjoy it!

IN TOUCH with KAREN ROSE SMITH, September Newsletter

Karen's Romance Website

Saturday, September 8, 2012


So Zoie Joy had her first vet appointment the day after we found her.  The vet had given her a flea treatment along with a dose of worming medicine and distemper vaccine.  We took her home expecting her to sleep.  She did much of the day, still eating every hour and a half or so.  But that night...

About six hours after the flea treatment, we began seeing them.  Oh, my!  The fleas were especially fleeing around her face and neck and she was miserable.  She kept scratching her face and ears.  I knew she wouldn't be able to sleep with the evacuation going on so I held her and stroked her, trying to make her more comfortable. At midnight, my husband made a quick trip to WalMart for a flea comb!

So for the next couple of hours, I removed the fleas with the fine-pronged comb, dropping them into a dish of water.  They were affected by the medication and slower than usual.  Finally Zoie fell asleep.  The flea medication not only kills the fleas and their reproductive capacity on her but any that escaped couldn't propagate.  The next morning we replaced her towel bedding and washed down the area.  The concrete floor made it easier.

This was definitely a bonding time for me and Zoie.  When she was sleeping, I stroked her all over to get her used to being handled.  We held her whenever she let us.  The day after the vet visit, she slept a lot.  We began leaving more dry food in her dish to give her access between feedings.  We left a tablespoon of the milk substitute at night.

Have you ever given a cat a bath?  The vet advised us to do that with baby shampoo 48 hours after the flea treatment to wash the flea dirt away.  Where did we go for help on the subject?  To the Internet.  We found a video about how to give a cat a bath.  The most important tip was not to wash her head, keeping water away from her eyes.  Surprisingly, the bath wasn't the traumatic event I expected it to be.  The video suggested using the sink, but we didn't have her in the house yet.  So we used a plastic basin , putting a washcloth in the bottom.  The water was warm, but not too warm and, thank goodness, the day was hot.  We gave her the bath in the morning.  Filling two pitchers for rinsing with luke-warm water, we kept them close by.

Two of us made this process easier.  My husband held Zoie in the basin while I poured water from the pitcher to wet her fur.  Then I put a small amount of the shampoo in my hands, made a lather and skimmed it over her quickly.  We gently poured water over her several times to rinse her, then held her in a towel to dry her as much as we could.  Then we let her loose to wash herself in the sun.  It wasn't long before she was playing and drying, though it took several hours for that undercoat of fur to dry.

For the next few days, my husband and I alternated spending time with her, taking work to the sunroom to do.  She became more lively each day and stole our hearts even more.  But after a few days, her eyes were still seeping and a new problem developed...diarrhea.  We had another vet appointment a week from the first and I watched her closely, stopping the dry food.

Next blog--the second appointment and the joy in Zoie Joy!

© 2012 Karen Rose Smith

Karen's Romance Website
Karen's Mystery Website