Esteban’s Last Days as a Foster

Sorry! I know I’ve been absent for a while! I’ve been busy at work as my own boss 🙂

As you may have seen on the Tripawds Facebook page or on Steve’s Facebook page, I received two emails about adopting Esteban last week!! One was from three guys who live together and have one cat who they rescued when their neighbor let her go after moving. The other was from a girl who lives with her cat, Watson, who is blind in one eye.

The three guys seemed to be a little intimidated by Esteban’s Tripawd-ness after I got a little into it. The girl, Jenny, still seemed interested. She really understands how special differently abled pets are! She has a lot of love to give. Esteban and I are meeting her on Friday. If all goes well, Esteban will go home with her that night!!

I’ll be sure to let Jenny know all about the Tripawds community. Hopefully, she’ll sign up and we’ll all be able to follow Esteban’s continuing adventures!

How about a Steve update?!

You may recall Steve had GI troubles that were mostly resolved with a change in diet and a little bit of laxative. I don’t want to jinx anything, but Steve has been doing really well lately. I used to say that no matter what happened, as long as she pooped, I was happy. Even if it was diarrhea and it was all stuck in her fur and she got all gross, at least she pooped! For several weeks now, Steve has been having totally normal poops! What a weird thing to celebrate! I’m sure she’s happy because she doesn’t have to get locked in the bathroom for hours and hours and hours while her stomach settles!

Esteban hopes his new home has all of the premium channels…or at least Netflix!
I’m trying to soak in moments like this as much as I can while I still can! I keep reminding myself, “He’s not my cat!!”
I don’t pose them! They just do this!!



Esteban the Troublemaker

Esteban has been happily making himself at home. He enjoys relaxing on our bed. He plays with Steve and Saxon when he’s in the mood. He does zoomies more and more often and has unhappy outbursts less and less often. Saxon was grooming him tonight!

Jay told me a couple of weeks ago that someone – some cat – was chewing on one of the spider plants. I didn’t think too much of it because spider plants aren’t harmful to cats. That’s why we have them. Whichever cat apparently kept it up because Jay bugged me about it again. I didn’t really take note until I saw spider plant leaves all over the kitchen floor. I asked Jay about it, and he pointed at his spider plant, Simon, on top of the fridge. Yup, we name everything in this house. 🙂 Simon had been chewed to almost nothing. Jay was almost positive it was Esteban doing it. He said that he had seen Esteban chewing lower leaves before. It was a fair assumption. I’ve seen Spyder chewing on some low hanging babies from the spider plant we have hanging in the window above Yorrick’s cage (that one is named Eisenhower), but none of the other cats seem to care. Also, none of our cats can jump as high as I’ve seen Esteban jump, and I had to guess that Esteban was jumping from the mini cat tree under the window across from the fridge up onto the fridge. So, I removed the cat tree. Jay was skeptical. He thought Esteban was jumping onto the counter, jumping up onto the elevated toaster, then up onto the fridge.

That night, Nebula, our newest foster, woke me up when she started crying. As I laid there listening to her, I heard the coffee mugs on the counter *tink tink* together. ESTEBAN!!! I ran into the kitchen and caught him up on top of the fridge!! Boy, did I scare the you-know-what out of him!!! I grabbed him and put him on the ground before he could jump down. I was so mad!!!!

The next day I put obstacles up on the counter and toaster to keep Esteban from climbing up onto the fridge, then put foil up under and around Simon – both to scare him and to alert us if we don’t hear him climbing again. I went to PetSmart (in yet another snow storm) and bought a little pot of that grass they sell that is safe for pets to chew on. I put it in a spot that is safer for Esteban to climb to. It’s fine if you chew plants! Just chew this plant that is lower and doesn’t belong to Jay!!

Jay heard coffee mugs *tink tinking* again this morning and caught Esteban before he got any higher than the counter. It seems my obstacles worked. The plant from PetSmart, who has yet to be named, has been chewed a teeny tiny bit. I guess it doesn’t taste as good as a spider plant.

Poor Simon
The troublemaker


Seriously, This Vet Appointment is Never Happening

Esteban’s vet appointment got cancelled today. The vet wasn’t in again. I don’t know why, but I assume her back is still not well. We continue to get snow and if she’s shoveling it, she’s not doing herself any favors! I think I’m going to give up on rescheduling and just have Esteban swing through the vet room before he goes to his new home.

His episodes and outbursts have been fewer and further between. He’s more likely to be running around and goofing off (like he’s doing right now, actually), than to be scrunching up in pain or biting at the air…or me. I was just thinking a couple of days ago about how it had been awhile since he’d had a painful outburst. Then he jumped on the couch to get attention from me and I could just see it coming. I could tell by the way he was acting; I saw it in the way he paced or something. Then SNAP! He didn’t get me though! I pulled away before he could bite me!! The more he plays and the less he has these reactive episodes, the more hopeful I am that he’ll succeed in a new home.

I got an email today saying someone was interested in Esteban. The interested party sent a short email asking that we call him because he doesn’t use his email much. I gave him a call this evening. He said that he had already adopted another cat, but new cat wasn’t getting along with existing cat. He said that he was going to give it a little time, but he wasn’t too hopeful. I told him about how Steve was when she first came to live here (nasty to everyone) and how she’s now the welcoming party for all of our foster cats. That gave him more hope. He said he’d call me in a week to let me know if it didn’t work out and if he was still interested in Esteban. Call me crazy, but the vibe I got from him over the phone suggested that he wasn’t the right fit for Esteban.

He can stay here as long as he needs to, though. Preferably not forever, but I’m not sending him to just any old home just to get rid of him!

Zissou is doing well in her new home! She’s settling in and slowly getting to know her new kitty siblings. She likes to lay with her new owner and read, which is no surprise since she did that here with Jay a lot.

Here are two pictures I took the other day when it was -13 degrees at night (with a -30ish windchill), and about -2 degrees when I took the picture. The high for the day was 6, I think. We never open our bedroom door because we (I say we, I mean Jay) don’t want the cats on the bed; but it was so cold in the apartment, the only way to warm up the bedroom was to leave the door open. I don’t know if Esteban has ever laid on a bed before, but he made himself comfy really quick! I called the pictures “2 cats, 6 legs, 1 bed, 3 blankets, -2 degrees”

IMAG3277 IMAG3278

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Just a quick post to let you all know that Zissou met her Valentine today! She got adopted!! She went to a home with two other cats and a very patient and understanding mom! Her new mom, who was actually looking specifically to adopt a tuxedo cat with a stub tail, “speaks cat” – as in she can read their eyes, ears, and tails really well. That was what sold me on her because Zissou is so vocal, but so often she doesn’t mean what she says.

Of course, I told the adopter that if things don’t work out, Zissou can always come back here to be fostered again, no questions asked and no hard feelings. Paws crossed that things do work out and she stays, though!! I really think they will. This woman was so pawsome and so perfect for Zissou!

Now it’s Esteban’s turn! He’s been made available for adoption pending his vet visit!

zissou's gotcha day
The last picture I took of Zissou before she went home!!



The Vet Appointment That Wasn’t Meant To Be

So today was Esteban and Zissou’s vet appointment. The plan was to leave Zissou to go up for adoption and to get the vet’s input on Esteban’s phantom limb pain. Depending on what she said, and with the understanding that resources are limited at the humane society, I was going to offer to continue fostering Esteban and put him up for adoption from foster so that I can personally counsel any potential adopters.

BUT…. When I showed up for the appointment, the vet wasn’t there! It turned out she had thrown her back out (probably shoveling snow) and went home early. They were supposed to call and cancel my appointment, but no one did. The tech and tech assistant looked Esteban and Zissou over, weighed them, and looked over their paperwork to make sure they were set on vaccines. The tech agreed with me (and all of you who gave me advice) that it sounds like Esteban has phantom limb pain and that it would be best to adopt him from foster if the animal welfare manager is ok with it. Turned out that they also felt Zissou should be adopted from foster since I felt she should go to an experienced home without young kids and apparently that’s too much to ask of some of our adoption counselors! Everyone in the vet room agreed that Esteban looked really good, though! A lot of them hadn’t seen him since surgery. They said his coat looked and felt better (except where he is stress grooming, but Steve did that for a year after her amputation so whatever) and that he was a healthy weight! He was being really sweet and purring a lot, too. Even Zissou was in a better mood than the last time they all saw her!

On my way out, I checked with the animal welfare manager to make sure the kids could go up for adoption from foster. She was totally fine with Zissou doing it. She asked me what Esteban was doing that made us think it was phantom limb pain. She agreed, as well, that it sounded like phantom limb pain; but she asked me to reschedule his vet appointment to make sure that it is, in fact, phantom limb pain. I went to the front desk, made another appointment for next Monday and headed home.

I got halfway home and realized that the time I had scheduled the appointment for overlapped with the appointment I made to try on wedding dresses! Aaaarrrggghhh!!!! So when I got home, I rescheduled yet another vet appointment for Esteban!! If it snows next Tuesday, I think I’m just going to give up, adopt him, and take him to my own vet!!!

I seriously cannot thank you all enough for the advice and input on phantom limb pain. It will help so much when I counsel Esteban’s potential furever family. I will absolutely 100% refer them here so they are able to handle any concerns that arise throughout his life!

Both are technically available for adoption, but only Zissou is officially available. Here are the pictures I submitted for their adoption profiles:

zissou adoption photo 2
I love this one because you can see her one pink paw pad! All the rest are black!!

esteban adoption photo 3 esteban adoption photo 2 esteban adoption photo 1 zissou adoption photo 3 zissou adoption photo 1

Bumps in the Road

So we’ve hit a few bumps in the road. Both Zissou and Esteban seem to be showing signs of sensitive tummies and, as some of you may have read on the forums, Esteban seems to be showing signs of phantom limb pain. We even thought for a little bit that maybe Zissou was experiencing phantom pain in her tail.

The sensitive tummy issue has been the easiest bump to smooth out. I went to PetSmart and comparison shopped for a sensitive stomach diet for Zissou as hers was the first to manifest in mild vomiting and diarrhea. I wasn’t super impressed with the options in my budget range. I was trying to keep a future home in mind, knowing that they may not want to spend as much as I would. When I think sensitive stomach diet, I think fish as a first ingredient. A lot of the “cheaper” sensitive stomach diets had poultry as first ingredients. I left with Purina Pro Plan sensitive skin and stomach, which has herring as a first ingredient. I feed all of my own pets Pro Plan, so I was very happy with the purchase I made. I’ll just be holding out hope that her new home is willing to spend a little more to keep her belly happy because so far, we’ve had great success feeding her this food. Today is the first day I’ve fed Esteban this food as his sensitive tummy issues have just started to manifest in the form of …errr…gas heh heh.

Our theory on Zissou’s phantom pain is still up in the air. When she first came to us, she was super growly. She became more friendly with us quickly, but continued to be growly and moody with all of the other animals. Jay speculated that losing her tail was causing the rapid mood swings as her tail is technically part of her spinal column. Lately, though, she’s been less growly and more social with everyone. Steve was the first of our own pets to stand up to Zissou and hang out with her, even when she was growling and hissing, so we absolutely have Steve to thank for Zissou’s turn around. Steve taught Zissou how to play! Zissou now plays with Steve, Saxon, Spyder, and Esteban! It’s so funny to see them all zooming around the kitchen! Really, we hear them banging around more than we see them!! Still, though, she has moments where she lashes out for no reason. She was just laying with Jay while he studied and he said that she was biting his hand out of nowhere.

Esteban’s phantom pain is my biggest worry. He will jump onto my lap to snuggle, ask for attention, then bite and yell at me out of nowhere. I’ve also seen him be eating, then yell and bite at the air in the direction of his amputated leg when no one was there touching him. He has days – or even hours – where he’s irritable for seemingly no reason, then days – or hours – where he’s super sweet and cuddly and nothing bothers him. He can go from laying on the couch in that crouched pose that makes it look like he’s in pain to running from room to room doing cat zoomies!

The weather here in Upstate NY has not been conducive to getting out of the house much. I called the humane society last week to set up a vet appointment for first thing this coming week. Ten minutes after I hung up the phone, the forecast came on the news saying we were going to have a “long term snow event” lasting from Saturday through Monday night. Ugh!! I don’t mind the snow but I need to get things done!! I called the humane society back and rescheduled for Tuesday! (So far there’s something like 7 inches on the ground on top of last week’s foot and we’re expecting another foot by the end of the day tomorrow I think.)

So fingers are crossed for good news on Tuesday. I don’t know what kind of experience the vet has with phantom limb pain, so I really appreciate all of the input I’ve gotten here. It means that I can go into the appointment prepared. I’m really glad that I decided to keep Esteban in foster care longer. If he had gone to a home and bitten somebody (god forbid a child) because of phantom limb pain, he could have been returned to the shelter and been put on a bite hold! His future would have been so uncertain after that! This is why foster homes are so important!!

Here are some silly pictures of Zissou since Esteban has escaped my camera recently:

This was the first day Steve taught Zissou how to play!
From the first day of Steve teaching Zissou how to play
zissou vanity 3
Zissou is working on her beauty routine!!

zissou vanity 1 zissou vanity 2

Esteban and the Gang

Looks like Esteban figured out how to get on top of the dog crate! Look what adorable scene I happened upon when I went to get a snack in the kitchen!

L to R: Esteban, Steve, Spyder
L to R: Esteban, Steve, Spyder, Saxon
L to R: Esteban, Steve, Spyder, Yorrick (found out pictures were being taken and had to insert himself!), Saxon (running off!)
L to R: Esteban, Steve, Spyder, Yorrick (making a great face!!)

I don’t know how he got up there, and I don’t know how he got down! What I do know is that if I were to put something there for him to use to get up or down, he would ignore it! I’ve totally given up on any of that. Last night he jumped up into shelving that we have built into our bathroom. I removed a few things that probably made it easier for him to get up there, but I knew that really if he wanted to get back up there, he would. I’m glad that he’s at least settling in with the crew!!


Figuring Things Out

Everyone is in gen pop now and it’s a circus! Zissou still sleeps in the foster closet because she isn’t really getting along with everyone too well. She’s hissing and spitting and growling. She’s won the prize for being the first foster to get squirted with the spray bottle. Steve, just now, decided she was sick of the BS and cornered Zissou in a closet. I let her do it because no one is going to teach Zissou to get over herself except one of the other cats!! Zissou does have something going for her though. She’s the snuggliest cat EVER! I thought Gigglepuss was snuggly. If I let Zissou hang out in the bedroom while I’m sleeping, she comes right up to my face and rubs up on it. She paws at my nose and tries to get as close as possible! She even tried to sleep on my face!!

Esteban is making himself at home. He goes where he pleases (and where we don’t please). He ignores anything we’ve placed for him to step on so he doesn’t have to jump. He zooms in and out of rooms like a cat should. I realized last night while he was eating that he has a different challenge there than Steve does. He looked awkward bent over his bowl. Steve usually just hunches at her bowl and eats. Esteban looked uncomfortable. I raised his bowl up maybe 8 or 9 inches and it seemed to improve the situation. I think maybe I’m feeding him out of too deep a bowl, too. Unfortunately, it’s the only spare bowl I have.

Today, Esteban got a case of the goofies and ran into the bathroom to play. He jumped into the tub and started grooming. Steve then went into the bathroom and watched Esteban in her favorite spot. Then she jumped in with him. He chirped at her and did a weird goofy twisty thing with his body that I can’t even describe! Then he jumped out and ran off!! The two of them in the bathroom and the tub was too cute, though.

I added a couple of more DVDs after this
Esteban and Steve tub 1
Hey, Esteban! Isn’t the tub fun?
esteban and steve tub 2
Mom? Is it ok if I get in the tub with Esteban?
esteban and steve tub 3
Just a couple of Tripawds hangin’ out in the tub!!


Time to Just Be Foster Cats

Esteban and Zissou had visits with their surgeons on Monday. Both received good reports! Zissou has dissolving sutures and Esteban had his removed, so no more e-collars for anyone! Zissou is still fighting her upper respiratory infection – though she sounds a lot better – and is in quarantine until the end of the week.

Esteban no longer spends nights in the bedroom with us. He has earned his freedom 100%! He has found a few places where he feels safe to hide when it gets a little too chaotic in the apartment; but for the most part, he’s not afraid to stand up for himself and just hang out. He seems to enjoy Steve’s favorite hang out spot on the Rubbermaid bins we have under the kitchen table. He also likes to sit on the perch in the window and snuggles up in the tunnel underneath it. The other day he leaped right up onto Jay’s desk! That was a big no no!!

Steve seems to like to follow him around. I don’t know if she’s keeping tabs on him or is just really interested in him. Saxon no longer hisses at him. He laid down on the couch next to him a little bit ago. Spyder and Esteban finally really crossed paths today. One of them hissed, but I’m not sure who!

The plan now is to put just a little bit of weight on Esteban (I know it’s better for him to be thin, but he’s stick thin right now) and to improve his coat. His fur is very patchy and I’d like to see it fill out before he goes to his furever home. I’d also like to see him gain a little bit more confidence. Zissou will have to learn to tolerate other cats when she’s done with her quarantine. I’d also like to get her over her food aggression. They’ll be here a few more weeks!

esteban no sutures
Esteban feels much better without those pesky sutures!

I should also mention that Esteban isn’t the only Tripawd available for adoption from my humane society (Mohawk Hudson Humane Society in Menands, NY)!! Danni just came up here from the south and is available!


Welcome to Gen Pop, Esteban!

Esteban is officially a member of Gen Pop! Yesterday, while I was at work, Jay tried putting Esteban back into the foster closet just to see what would happen. Within minutes he heard Esteban jump the “door.” Jay said that there was no point in trying to keep him in there. Esteban sleeps with us in the bedroom at night, and gets to roam the apartment during the day. He’s clearly proud of himself for taking a stand!

Steve has accepted her foster brother as a member of the pack. She doesn’t hiss at him anymore. She kind of follows him around and keeps tabs on him. Earlier, he was laying on the sofa between Jay and I with his tail hanging over the edge, and she came over and swatted at it! He didn’t care at all. He’s so easy going! He will be so easy to adopt out!

Saxon still hisses at him, and Spyder is pretty indifferent. I think Spyder actually just noticed him for the first time today. Esteban was drinking from the community water bowl and Spyder went over to take a drink but stopped a few feet away when he saw the unfamiliar cat. Then he just turned around and went back to his bed. I don’t think Spyder cares.

Esteban is making himself right at home. He settles into the couch when I’m watching TV. He snuggles up between Jay and I when we’re both on the couch. He loves to lay on Jay’s lap! He’s found a safe spot inside the tunnel on the cat perch. He’s not afraid to check anything out. He’s such a talker, too! He’ll tell us everything that’s on his mind!!

Zissou has five more days in quarantine, then we’ll start to work on her socialization skills. She’s gonna get a rude awakening when she meets the rest of the pack!

I think he likes it here
Zissou loves to hang out on my shoulders!
She was standing on my arm right under my face!
Esteban says, “Thanks for letting me hang out in the apartment!”