There isn't a veterinary clinic in the world that doesn't have a few special clients who take it upon themselves to be the responsible party in a world of many irresponsible people.
They are the clients who see a pet in need and do something about it.
The people who pull over to help a pet along the side of the road. Who find a cat near their home and put out food for it, provide it shelter, and even take them to the vet.
Today was a perfect example of the amazing acts of generosity and kindness these people provide.
Today Jackson, Franny, and Lovey came into the clinic.
Jackson and Franny were found in an abandoned dairy farm barn. They arrived separately and stayed because they were allowed to. They were provided shelter, food and kind words. They are not the first, and surely they will not be the last. Each cat that has arrived, or been left, has been cared for and provided for. Over the year a few have ended up at the clinic and been placed for adoption. The woman who watches the small colony at the farm does so out of the sheer goodness in her heart and the knowledge that if she doesn't these cats will be at the peril of the closest hungry predator. Their lifespan will be short and hard. Every day she checks on them, feeds them, and tries to tame them into trusting her enough to be vetted and placed in a suitable home. It is an act of compassion and dedication.
A year ago one little affectionate orange kitten was found in the barn. She arrived to be examined, vaccinated, and micro-chipped a few weeks later. With her little inquisitive, charming face, and her unstoppable even in a strangers arms purr, she was so endearing that I couldn't get her out of my mind even days after she left. A week later I called my client, and now very good friend, and asked if she could come stay at our home. Oriole may have started as on orphan but she's one of our family now.
This is the text I received about him from his original mom.
"I need some advice..I got an email from the lady who adopted one of the black and white kittens I had 18 months ago. She tells me she lost her job and her house and is living in an apartment now and the litter box smell has become a problem. I asked if she has had him neutered and she responds "No."
Wow! Big surprise it smells!! She says she cannot afford it and has not been able to find him a home...Should I offer to pay to neuter him or just take him back? I guess I'm questioning her responsibility. She promised she wouldn't do anything until she heard from me. My thoughts are the litter box smell problem is because he is not neutered."
"Offer to neuter the cat. I will do if for free. He is two now and it will be harder to find him a home, and there are still cats at the barn who need homes. At least he is safe and warm and cared for. If he has to go somewhere else we will deal with that later."
Jackson was neutered and I was told that his owner decided to keep him and was very grateful for the help.
Although he is a big stern-faced boy, he is gentle, calm and reserved. He is a perfect cat.
Henry is my own tale to tell.
On December 27, 2013 with a house full of guests for the holidays that included four boys between the ages of three and eleven, two additional dogs to add to our three, and our three very frightened indoor cats, I opened the front door to our home to try to coax our indoor-outdoor cat Jitterbug to seek refuge inside where it is warm and safe.
I fret everyday when I let him outside. He is a demanding boy with clear opinions, and the lungs and vocal cords to put a cat cry to center stage at the Met. He is a cat that found us. He came to us years ago as a stray. I let him in and he has graced us with his intermittent presence since.
Whenever company is present he becomes elusive. I had spent all day calling for him. Begging him to come in, knowing that he was likely just a few hundred feet away cowering in the barn waiting for company to leave his house. When nightfall began to appoach I beckoned longer and more forcefully. At about 7 pm I opened the door called a few times and saw him dart in the door. As I closed out the winter cold I turned and looked down at him with my typical cursory, veterinary eye to make sure he looked OK, knowing full well that I won't see him for many more hours until he calls for his freedom at 4 am. When I glanced at him I noticed his chin looked dirty. A second quick glance a split second later and I realized he wasn't Jitterbug.
In that split second I looked at him I thought, "You aren't my cat!"
And, in that split second he looked at me and thought, "This isn't my house!"
And there we were trapped. I wasn't letting him back out into the cold, I had a dozen creatures in the house that were about to come forward, likely causing him to hit his critical escape threshold and run to find the smallest least accessible hiding spot he could, and I had to decide in this split second what to do.
I bent down faster than a Ninja and scruffed him with my full intent to not let him escape.
Advice from the vet; "NEVER EVER DO THIS!" If a cat bites you, and has no vaccine history that cat will either have to go into a 6 month quarantine OR be put to sleep to check rabies status. Because rabies WILL KILL YOU.
But here I am now with a scruffed unknown cat in my hand and a house full of people. Thankfully he didn't go crazy on me so I placed a blanket around him and carried him to the garage where also thankfully I have a cat carrier. In he went and off I went to set up his temporary home and find Jitterbug.
I found Jitterbug hours later, with a large abscess on his neck and every sign that he had already met his impersonator and gotten his lunch handed to him.
Inside Jitterbug came. I shaved his wound and started antibiotics. Back to company I went with all my critters safe and sound and an extra guest also warm and safe in the garage
On January 2nd, 2014, after littering my neighborhood with inquiries Henry came to the clinic with me. He had no microchip, but had two tiny scabs indicating he had been recently neutered. I called all of the loal vets, sent his picture and got no leads.
Within two days of our Facebook post we found his dad. We then learned that his name was Henry. He had left his dads house about a month ago and traveled over 5 miles to get to me. He was an affectionate hearty sweet boy and must have met a few other kind people along the way.
His dad consented to microchipping him and keeping him inside the house to try to diminish his wanderlust. Henry's dad promised to bring him back for a visit and call me should he escape again so I can cage Jitterbug and save him another whooping from the kid down the road.
Thanks to all of my wonderful kind clients, and all of you, for helping to take care of the cats in need. You all inspire me everyday!