Friday, December 07, 2012

That Time I Almost Got Rabies (but not really)

For the past four weeks, Gamerboy and I have had a project: there's a litter of semi-feral kittens that lives in our parking lot, and we've been catching them, socializing them, and taking them to the shelter to be adopted. The first three were little silver tabbies, all girls, and various amounts of adorable.

Seriously, look at these faces!

(We didn't get pictures of the rest of them, since my camera is currently AWOL and has taken my phone with it)

So this had been working out fairly well for us, and the kittens are now around 10 weeks old. Wednesday night before work, I put out a trap and some tuna for the two remaining kittens, who are both dark grey, and caught the larger of the two, who for reasons that will be made aware, is now called Nips.

Nips, of course, was terrified when I released her into our bathroom. While outside with me, she had approached me for food, and allowed me to give her light strokes, so I thought that she would calm down quicker than her siblings. Eager to see what sex she was, I swooped in to pick her up, and like any scared little creature, she bit me (She also peed on me, but I blame that on the entire can of tuna she ate in the trap).

Now, with rabies being at epidemic levels in Texas, I did what any good citizen would do, and I called Animal Control to report the bite. I figured they'd quarantine her for a little bit, and then let me know if I should be going to the hospital.

WELL. As it turns out? The state doesn't like to pay for quarantines when it doesn't have to - so the person on the phone with me let me know that if I didn't manage to scrape up $250, Nips would be euthanized, and her brain checked for rabies. Of course, I was heartbroken. Gamerboy and I left messages with his Aunt Awesomevet and his parents, hoping that we could either quarantine her with Aunt Awesomevet or borrow money from his folks. Since I knew that the folks over on LSG are kind and caring, I started a chip-in and posted it on the Mojo (the cat) thread, then fell asleep so Gamerboy and I could run errands and try to arrange things for Nips in the afternoon.

By the time I woke up - a mere 5 hours later! - the chip-in was fully funded and more. The Hoar Collective had decided that BiteyKitten (as she was then known) would get a chance at life, and I was completely blown away by the generosity. Seriously, the folks on LSG are the best bunch of people I have ever had the joy to meet.

Animal Control had let us have a whole day to get things sorted, and we spent as much time as we could working with Nips, to get her used to people. I did most of the handling, since I'd already been bitten, and Gamerboy was a little wary about picking her up (he just reached down for his loving on her). After only one night of rest, she was letting herself be pet and handled, turned upside down like a baby, have her toes messed with, her ears cleaned, and even let me open her mouth and check out her gums. I'm not a vet, so I have no idea what I was looking at, but I figure giving me access to her mouth without chomping has to be a good thing. By the next morning, she was leaning into the scritches, eating out of my hand, and falling asleep snuggled up in my shirt.

The animal control officer who picked her up this morning was really nice, confirming that she wasn't showing any signs of rabies, and that the quarantine will probably be fine. He noticed Gamerboy's Warhammer tattoo, and we all talked nerdery for a while. On the 17th, we go to pick up our little grey girl, and see if we can find her a good home - the animal control officer I talked to on the phone had said that with "a history of biting" the shelter can't adopt her out, but we're going to confirm that with the folks who actually work there just in case.

Oh, and the name? Simple evolution. Bitey became Nibbles, which became Nipples, which became Nips. We told the nice officer that she was called Nips because she'd nipped me, and we think he bought it ;)