Just as I was remembering Lakota and Emeraude yesterday along comes another cat in need. Really, they don’t always have to be black!
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Often rescue stories begin like this:
“Need suggestions on what to do. My friend in Kennedy Twp. called me. Sick cat laying on her road. It got up and walked real slow up neighbor’s driveway and plopped back down. Now just laying there. I am at work and can not go help. Should she call animal control or what can I tell her. Can anyone from group go have a look?”
She gave the address and in the ensuing conversation in our Facebook group she mentioned she was at work and he friend was crying because the cat was apparently having a seizure but it seemed to have survived. No one who read it could bear the thought of a cat suffering like that.
On a sunny day nearing 90 degrees any animal is compromised and the cat needed to get out of the hot sun and to a veterinarian as soon as anyone could get there. Tarra and Margo, members of the rescue group, agreed to meet there and see what they could do. Never knowing the attitude of a cat from the street, Margo mentioned welding gloves—it’s best to be prepared.
Within 90 minutes of the initial post Tarra had found the cat and said he meowed and walked toward her and ate the food she had. She had him in a carrier, and Margo arrived with a plan to get him to her vet, who understands her rescue of cats—they named him Kennedy for the area where he was found. At the vet he was scanned for a chip, tested for FIV/FeLV and had a few xrays. No chip, negative for FIV/FeLV, but positive for a mass near his heart. More tests would be needed.
When any cat is rescued by this group, a plan is formed among everyone involved for where the cat will go for foster and how veterinary care will be arranged and paid before anyone even goes to get the cat. Help with veterinary bills was offered but no one could foster him. Margo agreed to take him home temporarily, but she has more kittens than I can remember plus a mom cat.
I had missed the initial posting and only caught it when they posted a photo of him at the vet. Thinking, yesterday, of Lakota and Emeraude the day they came to me, I saw a black cat who appeared elderly and was in need of a quiet place for rest and healing, or perhaps hospice care. I held back as long as I could, but I couldn’t see Margo taking another cat into her house with so many cats already. And I know I am probably uniquely qualified to handle elderly cats and hospice care, so I told her that if no one else could foster, he could hang out in my bathroom, and to just stop here on the way back from the vet. And so she did.
Everyone else has kittens right now and I’ve held off with fostering, choosing to transport or support where I can, because I know the time kittens take. Kittens’ needs are constant, whether it’s bottle-feeding orphans or playing with and observing slightly older kittens to make sure they are progressing as expected, socializing tiny feral kittens who’ve never known a human touch, or working with an unfriendly, protective or outright feral mother cat to convince her to let a human touch her kittens. The time they need to be fostered passes quickly, but my schedule is too chaotic and my house is so small.
And because of the overwhelming numbers of kittens in need at this time of the year, people forget about the adult cats who still need to be rescued and fostered. These adult cats with special needs are abandoned every day, in every season, in every neighborhood. Sometimes they show up just in time to die in loving hands, and sometimes just in time to be healed and go on to live a good life. Animals have that intuition that we humans have forgotten, and they seem to know where to magically appear.
So Margo brought him here and we met at the door so she could brief me on the vet visit, saying he should just rest and eat and be observed, the next 24 hours would determine what would happen with him. Right behind me was Jelly Bean, though all five cats had been upstairs supervising me as I prepared the bathroom (I love how they lie around and watch critically as I crawl around on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor, it really makes me feel as if I’m Cinderella). Jelly Bean came right down, walked over to the carrier and got on top, looking in the holes, then sat and purred, doing a little kitty meditation, turning around from us, crouching, blinking eyes and purring sonorously. He’s greeted each new cat this way, no contact, but close enough to give purr energy.
I left Kennedy where he was and finished setting up the bathroom, then took him up with Bean as an escort. I didn’t hear a sound from outside the door, but I knew the scene…
I’d have left him in the carrier to come out on his own, but the bathroom is quite small and the carrier took up all the open space—he wouldn’t have been able to get to his dishes, and even though the door is a bifold I could barely get past the carrier when I opened it. I held a can of Recovery food in front of his face and he licked about a tablespoon of food from the can, then I moved it away and got him up and walking, mixed water with a little more, and showed him his dish.
He ate most of the food then oriented himself by wandering a bit then lying down. Jelly Bean stationed himself outside the bathroom door ready to let me know if he heard anything bad while I got back to work.
Kennedy’s right eye is completely cataracted and enlarged, his left is normal but with limited vision. A little bit of food and hydration, quiet and rest and he could lift his head and look at me. Though his face appears old, especially with his bristly whiskers, his body does not. His fur is soft and shiny, his skin is sound and elastic and his body his fairly muscular even though he’s very thin. It’s just hard to tell.
He had his first seizure about an hour later as I heard a commotion in the bathroom and heard a cat land on the floor and paws coming down the steps—Bean. Glad that I’d earned my Pet First Aid Certification I knew what to do while watching him writhe on the floor, kicking his hind legs and cycling his front paws and panting, which was to keep my hands off of him and toss a towel over him for warmth. He managed to stuff the towel into his own face, so I pulled on the corner of it and worked it out of his paws. About a minute later the activity ceased and he howled four or five times and laid on his side, panting, slowly getting himself upright as his respiration returned to normal. He had let loose of his urine in the process and it was all over the floor and all over him. I wiped up the floor, wiped him down, cleaned everything up and got him new food. About 15 minutes later he was very hungry.
He recovered and wandered around and rested and was actually quite alert—the food and hydration were working well for him. There’s not very far to go in there, but he was looking up over the tub bobbing his nose trying to figure it out, later I heard some sneezing or coughing in there and found him exploring the furnace vent in the corner, which may be a little dusty. He continued eating well and I checked him 2:00, then again about 4:30 and he’d apparently had another seizure guessing by the rolled up bathmat and food bowls pushed around, but I cleaned up again and gave him more food and he gobbled it–the seizure must leave him hungry.
He’s more active today and between seizures his left eye sees fine. This morning he was walking extremely well, sitting up, talking, and even put his paws on the side of the tub to look in. He knows where the litterbox is and actually used it, sort of—he was in it but peed over the edge onto the mat. That’s okay. And he finally produced stool, on the bath mat, but that’s okay too.
He’s had two seizures so far during the day today, though, at about 1:30 and 5:30, and the second one really seemed to tire him out. I just checked on him now, at 6:30, and saw that he was up and walking around, checked the water bowl and had a sip, then found the food bowl, and he’s having dinner, one quarter can of Recovery with water added in about three minutes.
I am ready to run with him to a veterinarian during the day, or the emergency hospital at night, if he ever seems to be suffering so badly we should make it stop. He goes to the vet for blood tests tomorrow, Wednesday, and we will probably know more after that.
*”Recovery” is a prescription diet made by Royal Canin for cats who need extra nutrition when recovering from surgery or illness, or who are elderly and need an extra boost. Science Diet A/D is another brand of prescription diet recovery food. It’s high in fat and made with liver so it’s rich in iron and other minerals as well, in fact it’s rich in general, not something to feed a cat on a regular basis. I don’t necessarily give approval by mentioning it or prefer one over the other. This was what I had fed Emeraude while she was in hospice care and had a few cans left, deciding to keep it for the next cat who came along who needed it.
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How you can help the cats and the rescuers
These rescuers go far out of their way to get cats to safety and we all work hard to keep them healthy and find them loving forever homes through the Animal Rescue League, FosterCat, Frankie’s Friends and on our own. Obviously it takes money to do this and many rescuers pay out of their own pockets for food and veterinary care. Here are two ways you can contribute directly to helping these cats.
Our Amazon Wish List
Rescuer Margo set up this Amazon Wish List
We may have dozens of kittens in over a dozen foster homes, many of them being treated for serious infections, but we also have adults like Kennedy who need critical care. The season has only just begun. Part of the mission with TNR is to not return the kittens and any friendly cats—once we’ve rescued them we socialize them and put them up for adoption through the ARL Foster Finder program or through FosterCat or Frankie’s Friends.
Many rescuers pay out of pocket for veterinary care and food but the costs of raising even the average litter of four healthy kittens is more than many people have, and many rescues have greater needs, like the kittens in this story. If you can help with just one purchase from the kitten wish list on Amazon.com you’d make some kittens and a rescuer very happy.
Tee Shirts Show Your Support of Spaying and Neutering Your Pets
Rescuer Tarra designed this shirt and set up the sales page.
Help us raise money to spay and neuter homeless cats and control the population!!
Homeless Cat Management Team needs your help! Without donations, we simply cannot provide low-cost/free spay and neuter clinics to homeless cats in Pittsburgh and the surrounding 9 counties at the rate in which we need them to help control the cat population.
You have until the end of June to buy a shirt and support Homeless Cat Management Team. www.booster.com/
A few weeks ago I transported two cats from the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society to my house after they’d been fixed through the shelter’s TNR program. Tarra picked them up from me to hold overnight until release to their outdoor home. We noticed the pale orange cat was drooling, and overnight she noticed he wasn’t eating anything. She took him to the clinic where he was examined and found to have a fever and a mass in his throat. It was removed, not cancerous, and Martin himself has recovered fine and is quite friendly and handsome—and not going back outside. So who wants to give a nice big orange cat named Martin a good home?
And if you’d just rather buy a gift card or make a donation, I have a reward for you, below—follow the instructions to make a donation to HCMT or Frankie’s Friends and I’ll send you a gift certificate to my shop.
Can’t adopt? Foster! Can’t foster? Donate or volunteer.
There are so many ways you can help cats who need homes and care. You may not have room to adopt another cat, but can foster a cat or kitten for a few weeks. If not that, you can volunteer at a shelter or with a rescue, or donate. You do this because you love your cat, and by doing so you help all cats. No matter which of these actions you take, you help to save a life, and make life better for all cats.
- Adopt one of the cats I’ve posted here, or from any shelter or rescue near you, or from Petfinder, to open up a space for another cat to be rescued and fostered.
- Offer to foster cats or kittens for a shelter or rescue near you.
- Volunteer at a shelter or rescue.
- Find a group of volunteers who work with homeless cats and help them with their efforts.
- Donate to a shelter or rescue near you.
If you can foster kittens or adults cats to help prepare them for a forever home, please run to your nearest shelter and find a cat who needs you! Anyone can help with this effort at any level, even if all you do is donate to a shelter or rescue so they can help to pay for the food or medications needed for their foster, or the spay/neuter/veterinary care during a clinic.
Read more stories in my weekly Rescue Stories series.
Nominate every day in June.
Best Cat Blog: www.TheCreativeCat.net
- Petties 2014
Read more about the Petties in this post.
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