Just over a year ago, Sherbertte, the wandering kitten, presented us with an unlooked for Hannukah gift: five baby bundles of fur born under my dining-room deck ...
Despair! What were we to do? We already had three indoor cats of our own, plus a selection of local strays to feed occasionally ... the kitty food bill was already over $200 a week ... but, look at them ... what can you do?
Then there was shy granny Lollipop, mother to Sherbertte and also, we suspect, her incestuous brother ... and the 'midnight raider' ...
Of course, the 'outside' kitties soon found their way 'inside'.... what could you do?
But help was around the corner. Our Countdown cashout lady, noticing our vast purchases of kittyfood, gently inquired .. how many? And out poured the story. What were we to do with all these wee creatures. Ah, she replied, there's a lady in my street who re-homes kittens.
And so, we met the marvellous Karen of Kitty Kingdom. Karen's establishment is a miracle. She gets the kittens speyed, innoculated (and microchipped if wished) and rehomes them ...
Well, the first thing to do was to cage the strays. And the 'strays' had to include Lolly, and Herbert and Sherbertte ...
But I had one wee qualm. Lolly had been a Gerolstein outside kitty for three years. A quiet girl, always a little distant, never crossing the threshold, never demanding. Only raped once that we know of. We would, we decided, have Lolly back once she had been made safe from the marauding Tom(s) ..
And then there were the babies ... playing together on the lawn ... snuggling up together on the rug ... we couldn't possibly keep them all ...
But, well, you couldn't break up the family ... if they (4 boys, one girl) were speyed and 'made safe' ... could we ...? Maybe ... Karen and the cages came to our aid ... and off they went to see the doctor man ..
All went well ... soon the kitties were out of post-operative quarantine, and the happy family were all back together on our front porch ...
Happy outdoors, happy indoors ... and Lolly watching them like a good granny from a distance.
The one girl, Tibby, appointed herself immediately an 'indoor' cat.
But Hec (aka Blackie) seemed a little lethargic. He curled up on the hearth-rug alongside his sister-companion, or in the baby bed, with his doll ..
Wendy began to worry that something was wrong. His stomach seemed awfully distended ... So off to the Rangiora Vet Centre. And ... Hec was diagnosed with Feline Infectious Peritonitis. Incurable. He would have to be put down. Well, apparently it was 'incurable' up to last month, when a researcher found that a drug used in the recent flu epidemics seemed to help. At a price. What price? GULP! That much? But there was never any question. Hec began his treatment .. four daily visits to the vet for intravenous injections. Then a pack of pills. $800 more. Day one, muffled up in rugs from which his huge claws flailed weakly (but accurately), he took his pill. Well, we're up to day 20 now. My arms are decorated with little bloody puncture holes, for each day he gets stronger ... BUT ..
The stomach is shrinking slowly. And, unbelieveably he and Tibby are playing chasings round the drawing room ..
They have set up a watchpoint by my bedroom door, to keep an eye on the world ..
We are a long way from being out of the forest. 80 more days of the daily pill. But the signs are positive ... so, kitties of the world -- Cleo and Cato, Annabelle, Thatch and Stella in NYC, Philip in Ireland -- clap your paws if you believe in miracles, and send some positive thoughts to your little cousin ... we are doing everything we can!
Postscriptum: Day 45. Still not absolutely out of danger. He still sleeps a lot. But the stomach is way down. And he has periods of intense activity. Mostly when we try to give him his pill. He's a little bigger than tiny Tibby, but much much smaller than his brothers ... But Vet-internet says the disease is fatal in between 5 days and a month ... Hec is still looking very alive! CLAP YOUR PAWS, O ye feline ones!
Hec and Tibby on Day 47. Birdwatching from my bedroom. DO NOT DISTURB!
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