1-8-16 Friday

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It’s me: Susan. Co-founder (with Sherry), shelter manager, and litterqueen at Challenger’s House. I live in 2 rooms at the shelter and manage the daily goings on, volunteers, foster homes, Petsmart, you name it. We have so many wonderful people who help take care of the cats at the shelter, Petsmart, and a few very experienced foster homes. Fred and Robyn seem to always have foster babies (and/or adults) and you Love and Hisses followers/readers have certainly become friends of Challenger’s House.

Many of you jump right in with your contributions when called upon to help even though I know you probably have organizations in your own areas who are also benefiting from your generosity. I hope you know how much we appreciate your support. You guys are the greatest! So, keep reading and if you haven’t already, get one of those great calendars (I get one every year) so you can be reminded of some cute and cuddlies throughout the day.

Thanks again for loving and caring for animals in need and for (some of you) adopting Challenger’s House cats. Thanks to Fred and Robyn for raising sweet, healthy, totally adoptable kitties, and to their permanent residents who put up with a house(room)ful of little ruffians that invade their space.

I hope everyone had a nice holiday and wish all of you a very Happy New Year. Stay safe and take good care of your four legged friends.

I just wanted to make sure that everyone saw this!


Oh my gosh, I love that video with Tubby and Mister Boogers. I love his little “nub” switching back and forth. So Cute!!

YouTube link.

Boy, you can tell that video is old, can’t you? It’s from 2003, and Mister Boogers was a kitten. (For a brief period of time I called him “The Bean,” and then he revealed his true name to us.)


In the picture: “We have liftoff!” – oh my, the belleh and the back feetsies!!!


It also reminds me so much of Robyn’s great shot of baby Tommy, though with the quilt and shadows this one also has a kaleidoscopic feel.

I have to be honest, I didn’t even think of that picture of wee Tommy when I uploaded the one of Stefani and her brothers, but I definitely see the resemblance.

That picture of Tommy with Sugarbutt and their sister Little Cal on the floor encouraging him continues to be one of my favorite pictures of all time.


The part about Pharrell and the toilet paper made me think of this pattern I have!

I LOVE that! (I so need to get back to cross-stitching, I have a million pictures I want to get done!)


And was this a record for the number of house panther fosters you’ve had in a year?

Possibly! By my count, I had 11 house panthers – the only litter I fostered that didn’t have any house panthers at all was Lucy and her Fools (we had a tuxie, but no house panther). One day, I’m going to get organized and go through all my fosters and classify them by colors for each year, and then I’ll be able to tell you that I’ve had X number of house panthers/tuxes/brown tabbies, etc.

(Today is not the day I get organized and do that, and tomorrow’s not looking good, either.)


I hate to begin with a plea for help, but I need to boost the signal on this. It’s a 12 year old cat with a herniated disc, and their owner wants to do it but needs help affording it. If you can’t pitch in, I’d really appreciate a signal boost on this one.

I just went to the Go Fund Me page to see how much more Milton’s family needs, only to find out that, sadly, he passed away a few days ago. I’m sure they could still use help paying the vet bills he left behind, if anyone can spare a few dollars.


I ordered these sneakers today; aren’t they adorable?! Don’t you need a pair Robyn?!

They are, and I do! (No I don’t! Yes I do!)


All your photos of sunshine and kitties makes me smile. Here’s something to brighten your day:

YouTube link.

I LOVE this!


I love that you were THISclose to adopting Phelps. You are certainly more brave than I would be with letting the little darlings go. This reminds me again how much I would love a series that tells us which kittens were your favorites in all of the litters you’ve fostered. It would add a delightful new perspective to what you do. Any chance?

Mayyyybe… but probably not, to be honest, because I feel guilty for even having favorites!


Another interesting webpage for cat introductions is at The Way of Cats.

Thanks for sharing this!


Shecky sure has grown from his days as the one-eyed periscope!

He certainly has!


Hi Robyn. I noticed when you spoke of Alice, you at one time thought she may have FIP. Have you ever had a permanent or foster contract it?

2 weeks ago, I lost my beloved Sugarbutt look-alike 13 yr old Basil to what the vet figured was FIP.

He stopped eating and drinking on a Sunday, and was very dehydrated when we got to the vets Monday morning. They did bloodwork and found his white bloo cell count was through the roof. No fever or pain, and nothing really certain. They kept him overnight and called first thing to tell me he was having trouble breathing and that they had put him in an oxygen chamber to help him. By the time I got there, it was confirmed that his lungs and chest were filling with fluid, and I had to say goodbye to my sweet boy that I’d had since he was 5 weeks old.

It was so quick that I was in shock for the first couple of days and his brother Monkey-who had gotten outside and was missing for 7 weeks but came back,spent the first night without Basil walking from room to room crying, looking for him.

I had never heard of FIP before. Have any of your readers ever dealt with it?

Leanne, I’m so sorry for your loss of Basil, especially after having to deal with the stress of Monkey being gone so long.

Gretchen is right, we lost Elwood to FIP three years ago. As I understand it, there are two forms of FIP, wet and dry. I noticed that Elwood had lost some weight, and took him to the vet. We were able to keep him with us for about three more weeks using steroids; his lungs and abdomen didn’t fill with fluid, so I guess that he had the dry form.

I think that the average cat owner isn’t aware of FIP, there’s not a lot of information out there about it, and it’s hard to diagnose, because diagnosis comes through process of elimination. I know that Connie at Tails from the Foster Kittens lost a foster kitten to FIP – she has several posts referencing FIP that you might want to read, and Random Felines lost not only a foster to it recently, but also their beloved Coral in 2014.

There’s information about FIP here. If anyone out there has lost a cat or kitten to FIP and wants to share, I would love to hear from you.


“What you want, lady?”

Stefani loves to touch my nose with hers – all the Coaches do, actually.

Levine has about had enough of my shenanigans.

Stefani, snoopervising.

It’s a Shelton in a basket.

“MY basket, lady. You get your own!”


So, we put Stefani, Levine and Shelton in the closet for a few minutes, and let King Nubbs check out his future kingdom.

He checked out the scratching post.

He examined his castle.

He said “Lots of toys, as befitting a king. I could live here!”

I opened the closet door and let his three new friends out. I’d intended to take him right back downstairs and wait to introduce them face to face another time, but Shelton came barreling out across the room to see what the what.

That’s King Nubbs/Pharrell on the higher shelf, and Shelton on the lower. Shelton seemed to know SOMETHING was different, but not exactly what.

Today, the king meets his subjects. Pictures on Monday!


Poor Joe Bob. I got the carrier out of the closet the other day, because Dennis was going to the vet (just his usual yearly checkup, no problems at all). Joe Bob knows the sound of that closet door opening, and the ONLY thing it means to him is that the carrier is coming out (even though I open that door pretty regularly, since there are other things in there). Joe Bob did what he always does when he suspects there’s a carrier coming his way.

“You can’t get me!”

Eventually, once Fred headed off to the vet with Dennis, Joe Bob came back down. Silly boy.


2015: Teef. I see a little row of little teef.
2014: They looked at us and said “We never SAID we were stuck. You just assumed!”
2013: “What can I say? I’m lubbable.”
2012: No entry.
2011: No entry.
2010: They sure are kissable, these kittens.
2009: No entry.
2008: No entry.
2007: Moonman has seriously come out of his shell. (Note: “Moonman” is now “Joe Bob”!)
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



1-8-16 Friday — 33 Comments

  1. I lost my Bear to FIP about 5 years ago. It’s a rare mutation of a very common virus, but still so little is known about it. The Winn Feline Foundation recently released some interesting research on the subject. We got Bear into a trial program with Dr Al Legendre – it seems that they’ve had some success with polyprenyl immunostimulant in cats with the dry form of FIP. Bear lived about three months after his initial diagnosis, and the PI did seem to perk him up for a while, but there’s still much to be done about this devastating disease.

  2. Robyn, the 5010s are so glad that you’ve added nose touch training into the foster kittens’ academics. Our Princess Leia regularly demands a nose touch and Jethro Tull has now learned the joys of a daily nose touch.

    • You’re the one who gave me the idea – but I have to admit that the Coaches are the ones who initiated the nose touches, I just went with it. 🙂

  3. Shelton is looking at Nubbs like “Wait, aren’t you missing something back there?” 😀 Can’t wait to see the pictures on Monday!!

  4. FIP…
    Lost my girls Kuchi in July and Alice in September. Twelve year old sisters. Kuchi lost weight and seemed to have what looked like asthmatic breathing. Took her the vet and b.o.o.m. Dr. Z. said FIP and not a whole helluva lot they could do. Kuchis onset to death was maybe 10 days.
    Alice started breathing hard and fast. By the time I could get her to the vet the day after- Same diagnosis.
    Neither had any other symptoms other than breathing issues. No temperatures- nada.
    The vet showed me on each of their x-rays how their lungs and area around the hearts had filled up with fluid- pleural effusion and cardiac effusion. Other than oxygen cages and thoracentesis… not a lot they could do. And even with extra-ordinary intervention given their ages not really any hope for recovery.
    Kuchis loss was horrific and SO horribly fast.
    But losing my Alice almost killed me.
    Three and a half months later and if start to think about them, Alice especially, I almost can’t breathe.
    I still have their sister Babylon. And when she coughs I can’t take my eyes off her until she stops.
    My girl Jethro is still her usual Siamese nutty self.
    Hard to believe how much you can grieve and just MISS them…but I do. Just as you and Fred miss your precious babies you have lost.

  5. I f-ing hate FIP. Not only did I lose Kodi to it, but I have heard of a few others of my fosters who were put down because of it. I hate it not so much because it is fatal, but because there is *no* definitive test for it.. so if a vet lacks imagination they will assume your cat has FIP and not find the real cause of the problem – as was done a couple of times to my knowledge, so I imagine it happens all the freakin time.

    Fortunately there as just an announcement that there have been some breakthroughs in FIP research. I wish there were a boatload of information, but so far there is only this https://research.cornell.edu/video/veterinary-college-breakthrough-uncovers-key-fighting-deadliest-cat-virus-video

    I am sorry for your loss Leanne (and Jean Marie)

  6. ok – how did we just realized that Pharrell is a manx?? dang….

    FIP sucks. Just no other word for it. However, Winn Feline Foundation is working on it and we just saw on facebook the other day (and of course now can’t find it) that Cornell Vet University is making some breakthroughs as well. Paws crossed for a test and a cure.

    Oh Joe Bob….. MOL (and how funny that the 2007 link is to Moonman coming out of his shell…. bwahahaha)

    • Well, his tail (or lack thereof) is why we’re calling him Nubbs. 🙂 We don’t know if he started out with a normal tail and was in some sort of accident, but the end of his little tail-nub is still healing (which is why I’m pretty much avoiding sharing pictures of it, because it looks kind of scary). Luckily, he handles antibiotics well, and doesn’t mind having ointment put on his nub (hehe), so hopefully it’ll look a little less scary SOON.

  7. After five years of fostering I had my first personal experience with FIP a couple of months ago when I became the foster for a returned kitten who had (dry) FIP: http://mello-cat.livejournal.com/106251.html

    It’s the cruelest disease I know. Though this is my first direct encounter with it over the years I’ve heard of kittens we’ve lost to it both before and after adoption. The after adoption I find particularly hard to accept, since we try so hard to make sure our kittens are healthy before adoption; despite what may have been a rocky start in life (we focus on ferals, most of our kittens come from feral colonies), and FIP just defeats us.

    The genetic component adds to the cruelty. The very first case I heard of involved 3 littermates adopted into two homes, two (in different homes, apart for several months) became ill within days of each other. The third, who spent all of his life with one who died, so far as we know did not come down with it. Whenever it happens to one in a litter the rest of the litter are under this threatening cloud.

    I hope this Cornell research noted above soon leads to some prevention/treatment that can cure.

    • Karen, I’m so sorry. And I agree – it’s a horribly cruel disease, and I hope that Cornell’s research brings treatment/prevention.

  8. In 2014, I lost my kitten Truman to FIP. It was particularly devastating because we had only had him for three months (he was five months at his death). I adopted him from the pound after losing all three of my senior cats in 2013.

    He got into a scuffle with one of the older cats, and sustained an eye injury that wouldn’t heal. We were at the point of having the eye removed, and I was prepared to love him one-eyed for the rest of his life, but bloodwork revealed what I’d only just heard of a few months before and which I absolutely did not want it to be: FIP.

    It’s a filthy, awful disease, and losing him broke my heart. So any news of progress toward a possible cure is good news.

  9. We lost our beloved cat Simba on Thursday, very unexpectedly. On Tuesday night I saw him trying to poop outside the litter box, so I picked him up and put him in. He flopped over on his side, and almost seemed like he was having a seizure. He came around, but seemed a bit unsteady when walking-just a little bit. My husband works at a vet clinic, so Simba went in the next morning, they took Xrays-and he was constipated-they put him of fluids and gave him an enema. He came home at 4:00, seemed a bit better but not like I thought he would be. He did poop, but only a small nugget, and ate very little. I had a bad feeling, because I thought he should be more back to normal-but since he hadn’t really gone much-hoped all the fluids and the enema would take affect during the night.

    Thankfully he slept with my daughter who is on break from college, and his very favorite person in the world that night. I went in to get him in the morning, and he was curled around her head, purring like a motor. I was able to feed him half a jar of baby food from a spoon, he drank water, groomed himself, but went back to the vet with my husband because he was still wobbly when walking, and hadn’t used the litter box during the night.

    I got the call when I was at work, that he had crashed at the vet. The vet now thinks he had a blood clot that went to his brain Tuesday night, and then the fatal one on Thursday. The constipation wasn’t the problem at all. His heart had stopped, but they were able to start it-but he was brain dead (I hate to even type that, it sounds so awful). We were all able to go to the vet and say goodbye, and be there when they euthanized him.

    It is just so shocking, you know? He was fine until Tuesday night, being his usual self, full of personality. He was 16, and kind of a miracle cat so I feel we were lucky to have him as long as we did. I might have shared this already, but he was born with a chest deformity. He came from a pet store, they had brought him in to be euthanized, but one of the doctors decided to try and help him, so he had wires around his ribs, in a cast-and every week the doctor would expand his chest a little more. My husband fell in love with him at the clinic, he was there for several months, so we adopted him, and I can say he is been such a source of joy for our family. Because he was handled so much as a kitten, he was super outgoing, we called him the Supervisor because whatever you were doing, he was there to make sure you were working to his exacting expectations. All you had to do was pull out a tape measure and he came running-making sure you “measured twice, cut once”.

    Sorry this is so long, but I know you all would understand how we feel-and I read every one of your comments and cried about the loss of your own special cats.

    • Dear Maureen,
      I am so very sorry about your Simba. It is such a shock to the system to lose them so quickly. I will be thinking of you and hoping you can get over the pain quickly and just have good memories. Thank you for loving Simba, he was a lucky cat.

    • Simba sounds like a very special guy. And you and your family sound like the most loving and appreciative parents for this extra-ordinary ‘Supervisor’ boy…

      • To add to the chorus, Simba, along with all the cats shared in the comments above, sounded so special.

    • So sorry for your devastating loss. He sounds absolutely special…wow what a start in life. Even if our pets lived to be 40 yrs old, their passing would always be w-a-y too soon. Simba was obviously dearly loved. I wish that love for all of us!

      • I wanted to come back and say a big thank you for all your wonderful words of comfort. I especially loved how you all got a sense of what a special cat he was, he was such a character. I know all cats are special, but Simba was really something. I read your comments to my family, they were really touched by your words. I think GD hit the nail on the head, even if they lived to 40 years-the loss is devastating. I will say I am unbelievably grateful that our oldest cat (Sassy just turned 19) doesn’t seem to be showing horrible signs of grief. Simba was his brother for 16 years-they hit it off from the beginning, and slept, fought, and groomed each other. I have actually worried about this for years-what would happen when one of them died, they were so close. I am beyond grateful we had the very short time when Simba went downhill-that last morning I put him next to Sassy-and I really hope that in their way, Sassy might have been able to say goodbye.

        Thank you all so much.