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Our furkids are family members and we care for them very deeply. We currently have 9 cats and a bunny living indoors with us. Life does get interesting at times!
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Ken Albin
68 years old
St. Augustine, Florida
Born Mar-18-1955
I have taught high school Biology and Anatomy since 1979. My wife and I live with a house full of furkids we have adopted or rescued over the years. I think that the lightning strike website is a wonderful expression of people's caring for each other and love for our furkids, both here and in our hearts.
Joined: 30-April 05
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Last Seen: 4th June 2011 - 04:32 PM
Local Time: Mar 22 2023, 10:19 PM
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Ken Albin

Pet Lovers

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29 Mar 2011
Sorry I am a little late with this update but my wildlife photography photoshoots have cut into my time a lot. A month ago I came home to find a little black cat sitting in the driveway waiting for me. She rolled over on her back and let me stroke her belly, then snuggled up against me. I thought she was a neighborhood cat since she was so friendly towards me so I canvassed the area looking for an owner. I finally found out she was a "barn cat" who was feral with no contact with humans before me. I took her in and fed her, then took her to the vet. She is about 8 months old and was in the very early stage of pregnancy at that time. We had no room for more cats, not even really for her, so we had her spayed. She was dewormed and had shots. At that point I decided she would be a new member of our home, hopefully the last for awhile since we now have 13 indoor cats. Several are geriatric.

I named her Laila, which means 'dark beauty', and have been working to tame her since then. She has come a long ways but still has some issues here with a couple of the other cats here. They try to bully her because of her newness and small size so we have to watch for that. She is very affectionate to humans and getting her over her shyness towards the other cats has been the main impetus here. This is a photo of our little Laila. wub.gif

Ken Albin
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27 Dec 2010
About 10 weeks ago I got a call from a former coworker at school. Her neighbor had found 3 kittens living in a backhoe cab in their back yard. She only wanted to keep one cat and, the usual story, was going to dump the other two cats at a kill shelter. The shelter already told her they were full and if she brought them in they would be euthanized. She knew I rescued cats and I suppose some sense of guilt drove her to ask me if I could help try to find them a home before she dumped them. I ran up with a carrier and took them home with me. Of course they instantly bonded with me and we kept them. They are two bundles of energy who love to chase each other and play. Clint and Charles get along great with the others here and give the older cats lots of exercise! laugh.gif Charles is on the left in the photo.

Ken Albin

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13 Sep 2010
I have started a new channel on YouTube for cat lovers called the Cat Wrangler channel. So far I have 11 videos there. They include music videos, funny videos, and a short serious video on how to turn feral cats into house cats. I am trying to especially include all of my more recent furkids in these videos. My cat Sam the Man has his own cute video there and he actually enjoys watching himself on the computer. He thinks he is a star and looks very ##y and proud when I say, "Who's the Man? Sam's the man!". I have a lot of fun making these little videos and hope you all will get a chuckle watching them. wub.gif

The URL is http://www.youtube.com/user/albink?feature=mhum

All the best,
Ken Albin, AKA "The Cat Wrangler"
18 Jul 2010
My 13 year old Sebastian has had a history of stomatitis. Most of his teeth have been removed over the years. A month ago his eating tapered off and his stomach was bloated. Our vet ran him through the usual xrays and then an ultrasound and tentatively diagnosed IBD or continued stomatitis. His symptoms didn't quite fit either of these completely so he went to a specialist in internal medicine. More xrays showed a developing lung infection. By this time he was wheezing. They put him on a heavy course of IV antibiotics there. They also sent off a full set of blood cultures and did another ultrasound. They ruled out pancreatitis and IBD. A throat xray shoed a potential blockage so they did an endoscopic procedure and found a mass in his thymus gland that was calcified. They sent off samples of the mass, which turned out not to be blocking anything. They also found a lot of mucus in the lungs and sent off a sample for a complete bacterial workup.

The results all came in and showed pneumonia in the lungs. There were three germs, one of which was resistant to most antibiotics. From the tests the germs all were sensitive to Zeniquin antibiotic so they switched him to that. They also found the rear of the mouth was very inflamed and the results came back positive for calicivirus. There isn't a cure for that virus. It was probably picked up years ago when he was feral and though he has been vaccinated for it for years it flared up. This led to a dilemma. Steroids were the best choice to reduce the mouth inflammation but they might reduce the effectiveness of the lung antibiotic. The specialist and my vet jointly decided to give a series of short acting steroids and to raise the antibiotic level. They also started him on Buprenex narcotic for the mouth pain.

Sebastian has been on the antibiotic for 1 1/2 weeks now. New xrays show a reduction in the lung congestion of about 50%. He was taken off of steroids and pain med since his mouth now looks better and he is eating more on his own. His mouth still bothers him some so he eats very soft foods and he occasionally needs an appetite pill to spur him to eat. He is more feisty at the vet now so I know he feels better. I have been loving on him a lot. He stays on the antibiotic for 2 more weeks.

Here is my little old man now. He is always tired after each vet trip and is resting. He is slowly getting better now but the calicivirus will be an ongoing concern that will have to be treated with steroids when necessary. It has been a very long and expensive recovery but he is worth every penny. He is our little tough guy who doesn't realize he is only 6 pounds. I knew if spirit could help pull him through he would be fine but we had to go to extremes this time.

Ken Albin

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25 Apr 2010
It's been 4 months since the horrible blow of Iona's death. The wife Karen called and asked if she could bring home a cat for the evening who she was taking to a foster parent in our rescue group the next day. I told her absolutely do not bring this cat home because we already had 9 cats here and I was still in shock over Iona. Karen did what long term married people usually do and she completely ignored what I said and brought this cat home. After some griping I reluctantly went into the cat;s room and promptly got hissed at before he dove under the table. He would passively let me touch him while he buried his head and looked away.

Here is his story. He was one of 6 cats in a local feral colony. Someone had complained and animal control was trying to trap and euithanize the group. He was trapped by our local rescue group and put up for adoption after neutering. Our group's vet, whom I do not have any trust in, lopped off a big part of an ear to mark him as feral when he was neutered. He was shown for adoption but was so timid he would probably never be adopted without a lot of work. The foster was new to ferals and was not working much with him. When I heard all of this I looked at Karen and told her she would regret bringing him home because he was now a mamber of the family and would be staying forever with us.

The foster had named him Funny Face, which I thought sounded like he was being made fun of. Karen, being a fan of the show the A Team, said the character Templeton Peck was nicknamed "Face" so why not call him Templeton.

Templeton turned out to be a lot more feral than I originally thought. What I thought was shyness was just abject fear resulting in a passive submission to being touched and petted. After a couple of days when he became a little more self assured I discovered he was totally feral. As he came out of his passive shell he began greeting me with hissing, spitting, growling, hiding, and then clawing my hands when I got close. to him. I had to back off treating him as semi-feral and go to my full "Doctor Doolittle" approach I use to tame completely feral cats. I very slowly have been gaining Templeton's trust though he still hisses at me occasionally. It's been 3 weeks now and he is out with the others. Templeton is shy but he is curious and follows me around watching me. He is finally starting to realize I am not going to eat him so he is beginning to relax more around us. He is learning how to play with toys and is also playing chase with our cat Sam. I have him at the point now where I would call him semi-feral. It will take another few months of work before Templeton will be a reasonably tame house cat but he has already come a long way from the terrified guy who arrived. Here he is stretched out relaxing. He seems to finally be enjoying being here and is just starting to trust me a little bit. I am working a lot with Templeton each day and I think that one day soon he is going to be a real snuggle cat (just not quite yet!).

Ken Albin
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