March, 1998 - May, 2011
Meet Cali, the Rude Ranch version of
Calamity Jane, instigator, trouble maker and spoiled brat all rolled into one. If its true that cats
have nine lives, we're sure Cali has already used a couple of hers. If there is something going on
somewhere in the house, (especially something that the cats shouldn't be getting into) chances
are Cali's in the middle of it. A food dish has mysteriously flipped over, sending its contents
rolling all over the floor? Chances are it was the work of "Quick Paw" Cali.
Cali came to the Rude Ranch during the fall of 1998 as a foster kitten. She was one of several
kittens that had been living on the parking lot of a fast food restaurant in southern Maryland. A
member of another cat rescue group (Special Felines) had trapped this litter of four semi feral
kittens, but she
couldn't work with them.. (Unfortunately, the kittens were 5 -6 months old, meaning they would
be much more difficult to work with than younger kittens.) She asked Bob and Kathy if they
could tame the kittens and find homes for them. A quarantine room was set up and the kittens
moved in. What we didn't know at the time was that the adorable little calico - Cali - was a very
sick kitten. What Bob and Kathy originally thought was the typical reaction of a feral cat being
moved into a house, (hiding under furniture, not eating, etc) was actually symptoms of something
far worse -- severe infection and viral pneumonia.
We came home from work and found her sprawled out on the floor. Not only was she in a coma,
her body temperature had dropped so much that her paws and tail were cold. She was probably
only an hour from dying. We immediately took her to the emergency vet. (Ever notice cats
always wait to get really sick after your regular vet closes?) Once there, blood tests showed she
had a white blood cell count of 1000 (a cats normal white cell count is 6000 to 8000), indicating
massive internal infections. The doctors started pumping her full of antibiotics. They didn't
think she would survive the night. However, our little fighter not only pulled through, she started
trying to pull her IV's out just to spite the doctors.
Even though Cali made it through the night, she still wasn't out of the woods yet. The next few
days were spent shuttling Cali back and forth between our regular vet for around the clock care
during the day and the emergency vet, for hourly antibiotic injections. It was during one of these
shuttle missions that we also ended up with Boomer, our dog.
Eventually, the vet judged Cali to be well enough that she no longer needed antibiotic injections.
She could continue her convalescence at home, with antibiotic pills. However, there was just one
more problem Cali still wasn't eating on her own, meaning if she was going to continue to
recover, she would have to be force fed, three times a day. By now Cali was getting quite tired
of having pills and such put down her throat. Therefore she wanted no part of having syringes of
food shoved down her throat, and she made that quite clear three times a day. Bob and Kathy
soon started wearing clothes that were the same color as the Science Diet /AD that we were
trying to feed Cali. Fortunately, we only had to tube feed Cali for a few days before she decided
to start eating on her own.
Cali has since completely recovered from her ordeal. To watch her run and play now, its hard to
believe that the doctors didn't think she would live. Cali seems to realize she had a close call,
now she does everything to the fullest. She eats with gusto, and she plays longer and harder
than the other cats. She also fully believes she is the "baby" of our cat family, and will easily go
up to any of the other cats expecting them to start grooming her, and usually they will.
Additionally, because of all the special attention she needed while she was sick, Cali has also
gotten somewhat spoiled. She now expects to be fed before the other cats, and makes her point
by eating the food as its coming out of the can. Of course, after going through so much with
Cali, there was no way we could put her up for adoption, so Cali has become cat #7 in our
Cali's Story: That Pesky Tail
Hi I'm Cali, the darling of the Rude Ranch kitties. I know I'm adorable and everyone else
should know that too. I like to play a lot with my toys (all the kitty toys in the house are my
toys), with the other cats living here, especially Maggie and Ghost, and with Kathy and Bob. As
far as I'm concerned, if something can be pried loose, batted around or even moves on its own
(such as a human foot or a small dog) its fair game as a toy. And its mine. I also firmly believe
in vertical types of play such as climbing furniture and curtains. Why else would they be there?
One day I was busy playing with everything I could find, including Ghost's tail. After a while
Ghost yelled at me and told me to stop biting her tail. Boomer also yelled at me and told to stop
pouncing on him. All the pens I had stolen were stuck under the couch. I was getting bored.
Then I saw it out of the corner of my eye! There was something behind me, and it was moving!
I had to catch it. The thing was no matter how fast I turned around, it stayed behind me. Now I
was on a quest, I had to catch this thing. I started spinning around in circles trying to catch it, but
this furry string like toy kept moving just out of my reach. I was chasing this new toy so much I
stopped for a minute to catch my breath. Then it hit me! I'm a cat, I can jump straight up, and
flip back over on this toy. So I started doing that. But no matter how much I jumped, that
sneaky toy kept getting away from me. Now I really had to catch it. So I went after it with extra
vigor. I was doing spin moves, I was running from one side of the room to the other. At one
point, I even crashed into the wall (Mental Note: Unexpected collisions with solid objects can be
painful). I still couldn't catch this toy. I had no other choice, I had to use my last, patented
move: the backwards one and a half flip. So without any warning, I suddenly flipped my rear
end over my head, rolled once and landed on my back. That hapless toy didn't know what to do
and ended up between my front paws. It was only after I got up to do my victory pounce that I
realized I was chasing my own tail. Oh well, by then it was time to go find another cat to take a
nap on anyway.