Timber Howligan Secret Agent Cat is a book about saving animals, and I have celebrated that in many ways. When I finished my first draft, I went to the local animal shelter and adopted two cats. They were on sale, real cheap-$1 each! Since then I’ve paid thousands of dollars in vet bills for them, so the lesson here might be “you get what you pay for.” One came with the equivalent of “cat herpes virus,” which he spread to the other in the form of corneal ulcerations—now they get medicine every day in their wet food. They other has bladder stones and low-motility, so he has a special diet and is an all-around special needs kitties. But, you know, they’re great cats—very cuddly!
When I published Timber Howligan, I dedicated all the proceeds to the animal rescue organization Alley Cat Allies, and have been able to donate over $100 this year. Then, possibly because I needed motivation on Timber Howligan Book 2, possibly because I really am a Crazy Cat Lady, or possibly because my daughter asked me to, I decided we could foster kittens.
What better way to save lots of animals, I thought?
We’ve got a great home for it. We have an extra bedroom where we can quarantine new kittens. We have kids and cats and dogs so we can attest that the animals get along with EVERYONE. And we understand that foster cats are only here temporarily, until they find their forever homes.
The first pair of foster cats came and went. I staged a photo shoot. I wrote GREAT copy. Man, can I sell kittens. They were in and out within two weeks. Barely time to notice that Binx had a rash—no problem, he came with it, his owner said it was getting better, right?
Then another pair came into our lives, and everything fell apart. Because these were the BEST kittens in the world. They like to play. They like to snuggle. They like people, cats, and dogs. They almost had a home…and then the guy found out he had to pay for them. So we came back from Christmas break, and joy joy, the kittens are still here, still as cute as can be, and my husband says, “Wow, if I’d met these kittens first, I’d be a cat person.” And I swear he starts to think… “We’re inevitably going to end up adopting some of these cats, and these sure are better than the cats we already have.”
And I’m thinking, that’s not how fostering works.
But I got over-ruled, because these are the best kittens in the world.
So we adopt the kittens, and I’m thinking we can just foster the next pair and I can sell THOSE. Because I really like selling kittens. It’s kind of fun.
Then I find out I have ringworm. Remember Binx’s rash?
Fact: Ringworm is not fun. Fact: Ringworm is very contagious.
So my quarantine bedroom is now taken over by my special needs kitty, because he got ringworm, probably from me. And if you read about how to disinfect a house after a ringworm infestation, the take-home message is, you might as well use Napalm. Either that or bathe your cats twice a week, bleach every surface, vacuum, and then throw out your vacuum cleaner.
I like the website that say “this is a minor skin infection, here’s this cream” better, but which one do you believe?
Fact: I will most often pick the option that does not involve bathing cats.
In the mean time, the rest of us are healthy (so far), and I’m getting lots of inspiration from my new writing routine, which involves letting the junior secret agent cats sit in my lap while I work on the sequel. We have five cats. Six litter boxes. And an entire room quarantined due to fungal infection.
I may….MAY….have carried this cat thing a bit too far.
But when I finish the sequel, I’ll just have to start volunteering AT the shelter. That’s the solution….