Wool's Happenin'

Caring for Cats , Rug Hooking, Cooking, & Updating Our Home

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Celebrating Lawrence’s Gotcha Day

October 22nd, 2017 · cats

This is Lawrence (formerly known as Tootie), and he’s new here.

On Friday, Mark, Pat, and I made him a permanent part of our family, and we are so thankful to all of the people who have helped us along the way.

Lawrence is a man of mystery, but we do know part of his story.  A Good Samaritan found him on State Road 39 near Monrovia and thought maybe he’d been hit by a car, so the Good Samaritan brought him to the Morgan County Humane Society (MCHS) in Martinsville.   At first, the staff thought maybe he had vision issues because his pupils were dilated.  He also crouched and walked on the back of his legs, which led them to believe that maybe he had some neurological deficit.  Because the shelter environment isn’t the best for a tiny kitten who has been through some kind of trauma, Morgan County’s number one cat lady (at least in my mind), Alicia Fouty, took Lawrence home with her.  After a few days with Alicia and Doug, her husband, fostering him at their home, Lawrence became less fearful and started to get a little more comfortable with people.  He was examined by the shelter’s veterinarian, who thought maybe Lawrence was recovering from a concussion and would continue to improve.  He still had a strange gait, though.

Mark and I got involved when Alicia shared Lawrence’s story on the Morgan County Community Cats Facebook page.  We were instantly smitten with this little brown tabby guy.  Because of his suspected neurological issues, Alicia was looking for a home with people who have some experience with cats with special needs.  After some discussion, Mark and I decided to offer to take Lawrence to see Dr. Johnny Cross, a neurologist at VCA Advanced Veterinary Care Center.  Dr. Cross is wonderful and had worked with our George and Jud in the past, so we knew what to expect with a neurological consult.  After Alicia arranged with MCHS for us to take Lawrence for his consultation, we made the appointment and brought him to our house.

We got Lawrence home, fed him his evening meal, and then”fasted” him (withheld food for 12 hours) overnight.  This was not a great way to start our journey together, but we also wanted him to be ready for any diagnostic tests Dr. Cross would want to perform.  Alicia sent his favorite toy with him, and we were able to play a little bit.  By the time he had settled in with us that first night, we weren’t really noticing anything “different” about him.

He REALLY loves his toy!

We took him to VCA, and after a short recitation of his history and a weigh-in (2.7 lbs) by his tech, Dr. Cross examined him.  We had brought Lawrence’s toy, and he was curious and active.  Dr. Cross did a full neurological examination—checking his front legs, back legs, turning his neck from side to side, using his light to look at his pupil reaction, palpating and talking with him, saying “hey, friend” to Lawrence quite a bit, as I remember him doing with George and Jud in previous visits.

Waiting to see Dr. Cross

Ultimately, Dr. Cross decided against doing any further testing because he thought that it’s most likely that Lawrence did experience some kind of trauma.  Perhaps he was hit by a car.  Or maybe he fell out of a vehicle he’d climbed up into.  He may have been thrown from a car.  Some trauma likely occurred that caused his brain to swell, and as the swelling went down over time, the people who were with Lawrence noticed he was improving.  He also might have improved because he began to become less fearful as he was in a home environment and began to trust people more.  Dr. Cross also explained that we should watch for any odd behavior as Lawrence gets older because sometimes cats can develop neurological symptoms much later after a trauma.  So, for instance, he may have seizures someday.  If that happens, we’ll be certain to film the incident and take Lawrence back to see Dr. Cross.

After the visit, Mark and I discussed whether we felt like we can care for Lawrence.  We are both working outside of our home full time, so we’re not well-positioned to care for a cat who needs extra care with bath rooming, insulin injections, or long-term feeding assistance.  Since Lawrence is using the litter box with no issues and is eating on his own, we decided we can care for him and see if any issues appear in the future.

Lawrence is making new friends, including Grace.

I called Alicia to discuss, and after consultation with the shelter director at MCHS, we were allowed to adopt Lawrence with the agreement that our veterinarian, Dr. Susanna Aldridge at Tender Loving Care Animal Hospital, will direct his vaccination and neuter schedule because she is in the best position to assess his needs due to his neurological history.  So, on Friday, Mark and I went to MCHS, returned the foster equipment and supplies, completed the paperwork, paid the fee, and we officially welcomed Lawrence Carnell into our family.

We are beyond smitten with this tiny kitten.

Happy Gotcha Day, Lawrence!  We couldn’t have gotten to this happy occasion without the help of the Good Samaritan who found this tiny kitten, the great team at MCHS, Alicia and Doug Fouty, Dr. Cross and his team at VCA, and Dr. Aldridge and her team at TLC.  Thank you from the very bottom of our hearts for doing your part to help our Lawrence!


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November 13th, 2015 · cats

One of the hardest decisions to make when working with community cats is to relocate them.  Luckily for us, we don’t ever have to make that decision. Our role is to provide homes for displaced cats who have luckily found one of the organizations we work with, such as FACE or the Morgan County Humane Society.

So what are some of the reasons that community cats are relocated?  In our personal experience, we’ve rehomed cats for the following reasons:

  • The caretaker of the cats had to enter hospice care, and the owner of the property where the cats lived wanted the cats moved.
  • The cats were trapped for sterilization, but it wasn’t safe for them to return to their home because of threats of animal cruelty.
  • When the cat was trapped for sterilization, the vet found a birth defect, and the cat wasn’t physically able to return to his home.
  • The cats were previously kept in a rabbit hutch and seized by animal control. They were unsocialized and needed a new outdoor environment to call home.
  • The cat was pulled from animal control, and either entered the shelter as a stray or owner surrender. The cat either wasn’t thriving or wasn’t getting along with others in the community cat room and needed a change of scenery.

Today, we brought home three cats from a trailer park who are very bonded and were abandoned. There are two males and a female.

Clark & Ima Jean

Clark (gray) & Ima Jean (tabby)

Shy male

Shy male we haven’t named yet

We have set up the relocation kennels in our garage, right next to each other. This two-week period is a best practice for acclimating the cats to their new home. It gives the new cats a chance to learn that we feed them and care for them.  It also gives our current outside cats time to get to know the new cats before we release them.

Honestly, this process isn’t my favorite. The cats often aren’t thrilled to be contained in the kennels. They can get messy with the food, water, and litter box in the small space, which adds to the workload of caring for our guys. And then when the two weeks is over, there’s no guarantee that when you open the door, the cat you’ve gotten attached to over the last two weeks isn’t going to bolt and never be seen again. (That happened on our first relocation.)  It is a necessary step in the relocation process and is the best shot at a good outcome.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll document the acclimation of Clark, Ima Jean, and the soon-to-be named white cat.

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WIP (Work In Progress)

October 26th, 2015 · cats


In the knitting and crochet world, we often talked about WIPs, also known as Works In Progress. My life is one giant WIP, with a heap of sub-WIPs.  We are currently engaged in a WIP on this blog. We’re rearranging, updating, and relaunching. While we complete our work, please enjoy this picture of our very special kitten, Jud. We’ll share his story in the coming days!


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