A Rescue Tale - By Smokey
Hello Capetonians. Smokey here. I heard about this Cat’s Chat Corner, where you can blog, and decided to check it out. Mom has been feeling a bit poorly, so I decided to give mom a break, and tell you a rescue story. This is my story and based on real events.
I was born with my three siblings, around February 2010, on a vacant bushy plot in an industrial area, right next to where daddy works. Our kitty momma did try her best to take care of us, but it was tough. With no shelter and having to scavenge for food, we just became one of the rescue statistics, of unsterilised, lost or abandoned kitties out there.
One day my kitty mommy left and did not return. Around the same time, daddy and some workers were busy investigating a break-in at their work and were looking for dumped property on the vacant land next door. We were about 4 to 6 weeks old at the time, when daddy stumbled across us, hiding in the bushes. We were some of the lucky statistics.
I bravely hissed at him. Daddy told Mom about us, and unknown to us, daddy chose one of my sisfurs as a friend to their new kitten, Gemma (now known as the Queen B). Dusty went home on the Friday, and the next day, daddy also fetched me and my other siblings. We were 3 girls and one boy. The idea was to find us homes too. This was the start of our new life and a journey of discovery for the humans.
Setting about cleaning us up and feeding us, Mom immediately noticed that my eyes were not normal. They were a bit ghunky, and it looked like skin was missing from around my eyes. Scary looking stuff! That Monday daddy took us to the kind animal doctor, and he declared, that though we were all healthy, I had no eyelids, and appeared to be blind in my left eye. I likely contracted Feline Herpes (FHV) in vitro. Eye infections and illness were what we had to prepare for, in the future.
I heard the doctor tell daddy that this could get very complicated and it might be better if they PTS me. I got such a fright! I did not want die! Luckily for daddy (so says mommy), he chose to first have a discussion with mom, and they decided to keep me. For better or worse, I now had a family, prepared to fight for me.
Mom left no stone unturned, to get the correct treatment for me. My other 2 siblings went to their new homes, and then we were three. Me, Dusty and Gemma. Whilst mom researched my condition, she learned about shelters, TNR (Trap neuter and release), rescue and Feline Herpes. This is a useful article on Feline Herpes. Once vaccinated, blood tests for FHV can be inconclusive. I tested positive for FHV, but Dusty’s test was inconclusive.
I did well for a few weeks and had no serious health issues. One morning, at 4 am in July 2010, Dusty woke mom up, it was clear she was battling to breathe. She went to the emergency room at Panorama Veterinary Clinic for treatment, and mom also spoke to the attending doctor about me.
He referred us to a very smart surgeon at the clinic and mom immediately made an appointment. The surgeon could not help us at the time, as I needed an ophthalmologist. He referred us to Dr Gary Bauer, at the Cape Animal Medical Centre. Dr Bauer has in the mean time moved on to other endeavours, but to this day, I owe my life and health to him and the wonderful staff at the clinic. Mom did not even blink at the price tag for my operation, and subsequent electrolysis treatment. She was actually a little bit jealous that I got to have electrolysis…. Muhaahaaaa. Cats are just too smart!
Early in August, my left eye was removed, and a blepharoplasty performed on the right eye. Dr Bauer created some beautiful eyelids for me, using the skin from my forehead. I was in hospital for three days. Mom says she was worried sick and phoned every day to find out how I was doing. Once I was home, I was watched like a hawk, and had to wear the “cone of shame” for 9 weeks! Gemma took one sniff of this cone thingie and declared that she did not need a new lampshade, and something “smelled” fishy. Imposter cat perhaps? Since then, she has basically shunned everyone, and put on lots of airs and graces. To this day, she is The Queen B and has even claimed the en- suite bathroom, as her beauty parlour.
After the procedure Mom and Dad took turns to medicate me, 5 to 6 times a day, for a few weeks. I had to be kept separate from the others, as they could not take a chance I would open the wound or injure my eye, before it was healed. I had short play-dates with Dusty, and Gemma, if she felt like it. Mostly she did not.
The first time I was allowed outside, still with the cone on, I rushed up the huge tree in our backyard! I was free!! Till mom saw me and almost had a heart attack. She insisted daddy go up the ladder and get me. My fun was over and the next time I went outside, the tree was wrapped with floor vinyl, making it impossible for us to get a grip to climb it. Humans can be such spoil sports.
Time whizzed past and before I knew it, I was ready to be sterilised. Due to my eye procedure, I could only be sterilised when I was 7 months old. On this point, mom has since learnt that kittens from as young as 8 to 9 weeks or weighing 500 - 600 grams, can be sterilised. At 4 months of age girl kitties can get pregnant already. Eeeew…. I never wanted to be a teenage momma anyway.
Naturally I had to keep the parents on their toes and pulled the spay stitches 24 hours after the operation. I gave mom and dad such a fright, and this time it was my turn to be rushed to Panorama to have the stitches put in again. Low and behold, with 3 days of being released from Panorama, I got snuffles! I gave Dusty and Gemma snuffles too. For 8 weeks we were coddled and pampered and medicated to the eye balls. One of the recurring symptoms of feline herpes, is chronic snuffles. Runny eyes, nose, sores in the mouth and a compromised immune system. Mom and dad thought that was surely the start of my health issues. But we all recovered and are doing well thus far. We all got snuffles once or twice since 2010, except Gemma. Gemma is like the Chuck Norris of cats. She just brushes off the snuffles or any other opportunistic disease.
We do not get any supplements and are all very fit…… well some of us more “fit” than others (insert rolling eyes here). We are lucky not to be bothered with some of the more chronic symptoms or FHV, such as runny eyes, runny noses and sores.
Our kitty family expanded in December 2012, when mom brought Maya home from her workplace. In February 2013, her sisfur Roxy joined us. Roxy and Maya were born feral and lived as such for 3 years. They adapted well to domestic bliss. We do have our squabbles, but all in all everyone is happy. We enjoy being out in the yard, but love being inside just as much. Daddy made sure that we cannot leave the yard, by raising the fence and topping it off with an electric fence, and that helps us stay healthy too. We are not exposed to other kitty’s disease or germs. Which is important if you have a compromised immune system. Though FHV is contagious, it does not appear that Gemma, Maya or Roxy got it from either me or Dusty.
With FHV, it is important to know, that a happy kitty, is a healthy kitty. We are spoilt rotten and all our whims and even the tiniest meow, attended too immediately. We eat only quality food and our needs are religiously pandered too. Do not tell mom, but we totally take advantage of our FHV status, to get what we want.
In 2013, mom told my story in a competition held by the CoGH SPCA, to raise funds for them. My rescue story won, and I was the CoGH SPCA Meow of the year for 2013. Gemma was soooo jealous. One of my prizes was a Scratzme Siesta Lounger - She immediately claimed it when we got home. They do have some awesome products to spoil your furries with. Click here to go shopping.
Daddy says we have too many blankies, beds and toys, even the large, king size bed in their room, belongs to us. We happily share our toys, blankies and beds with the orphan kitties mom and dad foster, weeell some of us. Gemma, drama queen, always has a grievance or two, she likes to air. Mom says we have enough room in our house, and love in hearts, for the foster kitties and we have no choice, but to share.
We have changed mom and dad’s life completely, with our arrival in 2010. But the road to helping orphan kitties, by fostering, is by far the most satisfying. Do you have a furry in your life, that changed you? Do tell us your story in the comment section.
For now, much love and hugs.