9-29-05

Warning: This entry contains much poop talk. Not that I describe the stuff in loving detail or show pictures or anything, but if the talk of poop grosses you out, you’ll want to skip down to the pictures and call it a day, ‘k? Also, it’s far longer than it needs to be.

So, yesterday. What a day, I tells ya. I thought I was going to have a chance to sit down and write an entry, but round about 11:00, it became clear that that wasn’t going to happen.

The night before last, I was sitting in the kitten room snuggling with kittens when I watched Sugarbutt get into the litter box, pee, and then get out, sit down, stick his hind legs in front of him, and pull himself along the carpet with his front legs. It was simultaneously amusing and horrifying, because if you’ve never seen an animal “scoot”, as they call it, it’s a funny sight. On the other hand, he was, basically, using my carpet for toilet paper, and suddenly it explained all those brown streaks on the carpet.

Nas. Tay.

I kind of shrugged it off, thought that maybe there was an itchy butt issue, so I gave him a quick bath and put a dab of Preparation H on his behind. Later that same evening, the spud and I were sitting in the kitten room, and he did it again. Clearly, it wasn’t a one-time thing. I emailed the shelter manager and told her what was going on, and asked if there was something I should be doing. Then I did a Google search, and most of the links I found indicated that scooting is caused by itching due to worms. I gave him Drontal last Wednesday as a deworming medication, though, so surely that wasn’t the problem…?

While I was Googling around, I got an email from the shelter manager. She told me that scooting is usually caused by either worms or an inability to get clean. She said that since Sugarbutt’s got a prolapsed rectum, it might be due to that, but if I was worried, I could run him to the vet.

So I got up around 7:30 with the intention of showering and getting dressed, running to Target for litter (I’ve bought my weight in litter lately, I swear), then being home so I could call the vet shortly after they opened at 9, to see if I could get an appointment for Sugarbutt. What actually happened is that I started some laundry, cleaned out our cats’ litter box, went in and let Callie and Bear out of the cage, cleaned out the litter boxes in the kittens’ room, did some kitten snuggling, and by the time I stepped into the shower, it was 8:30. Once out of the shower, I got dressed and decided to wait to hit Target until later. I ran to McDonald’s for a Diet Coke (mmmm, fountain soda. Nectah of the gahds.), did some more laundry, and then called the vet’s office.

They had an appointment available at 4:30, so I took that, went upstairs to check on the kittens, and then headed out to Target.

I know y’all know the issues with Callie and her suckling urges, and how I feel too bad to keep her in the cage all the time. My idea at first was to get a webcam set up, and let her stay out of the cage as long as she was behaving herself; I’d keep an eye on the situation via webcam, and when I saw her rooting around I could run upstairs and put her in the cage. Only, webcams can be kind of expensive and Fred wasn’t showing much interest in setting something like that up for me, so I got a better idea.

While I was at Target, I went into the baby section. Did you know that they make video baby monitors? Target only had one kind of video baby monitor (not this one, but very similar to it), and it wasn’t priced too badly, so I bought it. I got home, got it out of the box, and plugged it in only to find that it wouldn’t work. I fiddled with it for half an hour before giving up, putting it back in the box, and calling Fred to whine about it.

“I’m over this,” I told him. “I’m just going to let her into the house to run around, and her brothers can stay in the kitten room, and then I won’t have to worry about her causing irreversible damage to him.”

But you know what letting her out to run around the house means, don’t you? It means that I’d have to set up another litter box for her to use, because the litter box we use for our cats is kind of big and hard for a little kitten to climb into, I already feel like I spend my entire day dealing with poop. Kittens, in case you’ve never been told, are little poop machines. They will poop and pee all the live long day, secure in the knowledge that someone else will clean out the litter box.

While I was pondering the situation, I went upstairs, where I cleaned out the litter box in the kittens room for the second time. And I sat down to get some kitten snuggles, and as soon as I sat down, the kittens lined up to use the litter box. I got a firsthand view of how everyone’s bowels were moving.

AND THEN I CALLED FRED TO REPORT WHO HAD DIARRHEA AND WHO DIDN’T.

What have I turned into? I wasn’t this fascinated by my own child’s bowel movements when she was three months old, but with these kittens I can barely tear my eyes away while they squat in the litter box.

So I scooped out the litter box again (good thing they’re so cute), and snuggled with them some more, and then I decided to go back to Target to return the baby monitor, then run to WalMart to see what they had for baby monitors.

So I did, and when I got to the baby section of WalMart, would you like to hear what I found in the way of video baby monitors? Nothing. Nada. ZIP. I couldn’t believe it, because if you go on their webpage, they have scads and scads of them. Okay, scads or ONE. You choose. I thought about it for a while, tossed a couple of cheap fleece baby blankets in the cart (I’m going to make a cat bed for Spot because he’s getting old and creaky, and deserves some extra comfort), and then headed over to the electronics department. My thinking was that since a video baby monitor is an electronic gadget, maybe that’s where they’d keep them. They had all kinds of monitors, actually. They had a webcam! Alas, it wasn’t a wireless webcam and I’m not up for 60 feet of cable running through my house, so I kept looking.

What I eventually ended up with was a monitor that consists of a camera and a little tv-looking monitor (which can actually be used as a TV if you so choose to use it that way), and basically it was the same exact thing as the baby monitor I’d bought at Target, only it was cheaper. It wasn’t as pretty, but who needs pretty? The kittens don’t care what the camera looks like. As long as it did the job, I was going to be happy.

It was a Homeland Security camera and monitor, by the way.

(Here’s where I’d make an inappropriate joke about keeping Smitty’s homeland secure, but… oh, wait. I just did, didn’t I? I imagined it being funnier. Or even funny at all.)

So I left Wal-Mart, went home, and ate lunch before dealing with the damn thing. I got the camera and monitor plugged in and set up… and no picture. NO PICTURE. I was royally pissed off, and looked over the incredibly unhelpful instructions and swore and stomped and swore some more. And then I realized that there was a cap on the camera.

SIGH.

I took the cap off the camera, and instantly got a picture. I plugged the monitor in by my desk (but I can carry it from room to room with me, as long as there’s a plug nearby) and went upstairs to set up the camera. I got it set up, had it knocked over by the kittens, set it up again, and then a third time before they lost interest in it. I went back downstairs and read for a little while, glancing over at the monitor every once in a while to see what was going on. They played for a while, then settled down to snooze. I watched, wondering if Callie was going to do her thing, but she fell asleep on top of the condo, and I didn’t have to go up and toss her in the cage.

Later, right before I left for the vet, they settled down to sleep again, and Callie jumped on Smitty and started sniffing around, and I ran upstairs, put her in the cage, put Sugarbutt in the cat carrier, and left.

My appointment, as I mentioned, was at 4:30, and I got there a few minutes early. The woman who runs the front desk saw Sugarbutt and oohed and aahed over him, and told me how cute he was, and asked if she could hold him. He was so good – the entire time he was in the carrier, he just looked around and checked everything out. When she took him out of the carrier, he purred and looked around. She took him over to weigh him – 2 pounds, 4 ounces, which means he’s gained 5 ounces this week – and we discussed the fact that he doesn’t look anything like a three month-old kitten usually looks (but then, he IS the runt), and then I sat for a while waiting for an exam room to open up.

Sugarbutt continued to be his sweet self. I’d glance down at him, and he’d be looking up at me, his head tilted to one side, and when I’d speak to him, he’d start purring and kneading. After about half an hour, an exam room opened up, and we went in. I opened the carrier, and he came to the door of the carrier, checked out the table, and decided that instead of walking around on the cold exam table, he’d stay in the carrier.

The vet came in, asked what the problem was, and said he’d take a stool sample to check for… oh, all the stuff they always check for. But he got a look at Sugarbutt’s butt, grabbed a baby wipe and said that he thought Sugarbutt might have infected anal glands. He did something with the baby wipe that probably involved squeezing of said anal glands, and Sugarbutt’s response was to cry and claw his way up the front of my shirt.

“Infected anal glands,” said the vet. “I’m going to take him in here and” something. Squeeze them, I guess. I called Fred to let him know what was going on, and I could hear Sugarbutt crying loudly in the other room.

Poor baby.

A few minutes later the vet and his assistant came back in the room with poor traumatized Sugarbutt, who immediately ran into the carrier and hid at the far end. The vet told me that he’d squeezed Sugarbutt’s external anal glands, but because Sugarbutt’s so small, he couldn’t get ( ::shudder:: ) inside to do the internal ones. He prescribed antibiotics, gave Sugarbutt an anti-inflammatory shot, and after talking to the shelter manager who was at the store to do Wednesday night adoptions, I picked up some cat food for our cats, and we headed for home.

I got home around 6:10, and Fred immediately came out to get Sugarbutt and take him up to the kitten room. Apparently while I was gone, he’d let Callie, Bear, and Smitty out of the kitten room for a while and let them sniff around the upstairs. When I went into the kitten room to see how Sugarbutt was, Bear ran out, and I just shut the door behind him, figuring I’d let him run around while I was hanging out in the kitten room.

Sugarbutt was belly-up to the food bowl, and there was a trail of little poo drops from the cat carrier to the food dish. I cleaned them up, and then gently used a Tuck’s pad to clean his behind. I went up again to check on him a few minutes before 7, and there were still more poo drops, and his butt needed to be cleaned.

“Do you think the universe thinks I don’t deal with enough poop already?” I asked Fred, who had no good response.

I cleaned up the drops, cleaned up Sugarbutt, and hoped aloud that the poo drops would STOP ALREADY. I went downstairs to check my email one last time before we started watching The Amazing Race, and glanced at the monitor to see Callie attempting to misbehave. I ran up, put her in the cage – and she sat looking at me with an expression that clearly said “HOW does she know?” – and went back downstairs to watch TV.

After The Amazing Race was over, Fred and I headed upstairs. I leaned over to turn the monitor off before I went upstairs, and saw Fred’s legs cross the kitten room. When I went up, he was standing there holding Smitty, and I saw…

I can’t possibly do justice to the sight.

Take a large handful of cat food, toss it up in the air so that it lands in a scattered fashion on the floor. Now imagine that each piece of cat food is actually a DROPLET OF POOP. There was poop EVERYWHERE. STINKY poop.I spent the next half hour using rags soaked in bleach and hot water to clean up all the droplets. I thought about giving Sugarbutt a bath, but settled for wiping off as much poo as I could with Tuck’s pads. When I was almost done wiping up the droplets – and make no mistake, I wasn’t actually getting the carpet CLEAN, I was just wiping up as much as I could, with the knowledge that this morning I was going to have to bundle them up into the carrier and spend an hour spot-cleaning the carpet – Sugarbutt jumped into the litter box, did his business, and then dipped his butt down into the litter so that it would coat just about his entire hind end. THEN he jumped out and ran around the room, dropping litter-encrusted pieces of poop wherever he ran.

I thought about putting him in the cage for the night so his nastiness would at least be a little bit contained, but then I’d have to leave Callie out with her brothers, and over the past few days it’s become clear that if she can’t get to Smitty, Bear will do –

I am an evil woman, who put poor little Bear in a cage with a very aggressive penis-sucking kitten.

– so that wasn’t an option.

I considered putting Callie in the cage by herself, and putting Sugarbutt in the downstairs bathroom, since poop is – I imagine – much easier to clean off a hardwood floor than a carpet, but I felt like it would be mean to separate him when he’s feeling (PUN INTENDED) poopy. I decided to wait and see if he was continuing with the poo droplets when I went in after Fred went to bed (I wait until as late as possible to put Callie in the cage, because I feel mean doing it). When I went in, there were a few droplets, but not nearly as many as I’d been worried there would be. I cleaned them up, cleaned Sugarbutt’s butt, snuggled with all of them for a while, and then when Callie started sniffing around Bear’s butt, I put her in the cage, gave each of the kittens a kiss goodnight, and went to bed, hoping that I’d get up this morning to find that the poo dropletting was done and over with.

Believe it or not, rather than spending the entire night waking up every hour or so to think about the fact that a potential poo bomb was going off in the other room, I slept like a rock and actually forgot about the whole situation until I woke up a little after 7:00. I thought about going back to sleep until 8, but the more I lay there, the more awake I got, and I finally rolled out of bed and put my cleaning clothes on (a bleach-stained t-shirt and a pair of shorts) and went in to see what was going on.

The drops of poo weren’t as numerous as the night before, but there was poo all OVER the cat bed (actually, the towel I’d put on top of the cat bed) and smears all over the floor. And in a corner of the room, one of the kittens (not, I assume, Sugarbutt) had left a pile of poo. The kittens gathered around my feet and squeaked at me, and I picked up Sugarbutt to assess (ha! ASSess!) the situation, and found that his back end was covered in poo. Smitty had poo on his tail, and (ugh) on his whiskers. I had to step out of the room to catch my breath and decide what I was going to do.

I decided to get Sugarbutt clean first, so I gave him a bath – and let me tell you, dried poo? So easy and simple to get out of a cat’s fur. NOT. – and then put him in the cat carrier and put him to one side of the landing. Then I put the other three in the cage and half-carried half-dragged it out to the landing. Then I went in and sprayed every single spot of poo with a good soaking of Oxi-Clean and water. While I let that soak in, I carried out the litter boxes and dumped them, dumped the bowls of food, carried all the towels and cat beds into the laundry room, and during all that I had to shoo Mister Boogers away from the cage of kittens, because he kept running over to them, sniffing at them, and then hissing/ growling at them.

He’s such a pain.

Once the Oxi-Clean had had a chance to soak in, I got the carpet steam cleaner out of Fred’s room (Fred’s room is basically the place where we put all our stuff that has no other place to go), went into the kitten room, shut the door (so the noise wouldn’t hurt their ears) and spent the next hour and a half going from spot to spot with the hand attachment and cleaning every single spot. Some of those spots were extremely difficult to get up and required numerous soakings with Oxi-Clean. After an hour and half of cleaning, the rug looks pretty good. Not perfect, but MUCH better, and it smells a lot better in there.

When I checked on Sugarbutt, there were three or four little piles of poo in the carrier with him. I felt bad for him, but there was just no way I could put him in the cage with the other kittens while he was pooping everywhere. I cleaned him up with a wet rag and left him in the carrier.

By this time, the vet’s office was open, so I called Fred and said “If the vet wants to see Sugarbutt, can you come get me?”, and we embarked upon a five minute coversation wherein it was discovered that Fred was in the middle of a crisis and then that there was a misunderstanding in that he’d thought I wanted him to come get me, go to the vet with me, and then bring me home, whereas what I’d really meant is that he should come get me, I’d take him back to the office, and use his car.

So I called the vet and told the woman at the front desk what was going on, wildly exaggerating the number of poo drops I’d had to clean up (I said 300, because it sure FELT like 300, but in actuality I’m sure it was no more than 75). She sounded shocked and went to talk to the vet, came back to ask me a few questions, then finally told me that the vet said he thought the problem was that Sugarbutt hadn’t been pooping because it hurt to poop, and now that it didn’t hurt so much, the poop was coming out. She said that it might continue for a few more days, and that I should put him in a confined area until it was done. If he wasn’t better in a few days, bring him back in.

I was, to say the least, relieved. Because I’d worried that he’d just lost control of his bowels, and who is going to adopt a kitten who has no bowel control?

I called Fred again to let him know what the vet had said, and we talked about what we could do. Clearly I had to put Sugarbutt in the cage, but I couldn’t put the other kittens in the cage with him, and I couldn’t put them back in their room, because the carpet was still damp from the cleaning I’d done. Finally, we decided that I’d put Sugarbutt in the cage, in the kitten room (the cage has a bottom to it, so he wouldn’t be on damp carpet), and we’d put the other three in the guest bedroom for the time being.

I spent another 45 minutes setting up the guest bedroom for Bear, Callie, and Smitty, and cleaning out the cage, dragging it back into the kitten room, and setting it up for Sugarbutt. And then giving Sugarbutt another bath, which he didn’t care for, holding him (wrapped in a towel) for a little while, and finally putting him in the cage.

While he got settled, I scrubbed out the litter boxes, scrubbed out the cat carrier, and started a load of poopy towels (on hot, with bleach). I checked on Smitty, Bear, and Callie – they were fine – and came downstairs to eat breakfast.

Sugarbutt seems okay in the cage, though he’s not thrilled to be there. If I keep the door to the room closed, he howls, but if I leave the door open he’s quiet. Mostly because our cats – especially Mister Boogers – keep going in there to check on him, and he’s very interested in the big cats.

Now I have to go vacuum the entire upstairs, throw the cat beds in the washer, and take a shower.

Did anyone actually read this entire thing? If so, bless your heart. You must be really bored today, eh?

Edited to add: I went in to check on Smitty, Callie, and Bear, and she was misbehavin’, so I let her out into the house to run around. She ran around and explored while I took my shower and did some laundry, and then Sugarbutt was howling so loudly and incessantly that I took her into the room with him (the carpet’s mostly dry) to see if that would quiet him down. It did, so I made sure she had litter, food, water, and toys, and closed the door. So now Sugarbutt’s in the cage, Callie’s in the room, the door is shut, and Bear and Smitty are in the guest bedroom. It keeps Sugarbutt quiet and Callie away from temptation, so I guess I’d say it’s working out well for the time being.

Please send happy healing un-pooping thoughts to Sugarbutt, won’t you?


Uh, yeah. THIS doesn’t make me feel mean or anything.


Callie jumping down from the end of the bed to attack her brothers.


Fightin’ brudders.


Smitty finds the most comfortable spot in the room. (Does that afghan look familiar, Nance?)

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