Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Our Shining Golden Boy That Refuses to Give Up

Taking in a cat or a kitten with an unknown past is habitual for cat lovers and rescuers worldwide and after years of experience we are all accustomed to finding grossly neglected, gaunt, sickly, and often seriously injured little creatures.
Understandably, it leads us to erroneous thinking that we’ve seen it all and that nothing could surprise us anymore. But sometimes, when a kitty that has just walked into our lives unthinkably abused, horrifically injured, broken-spirited and hopeless seems to
carry all of the pain and sadness in the world, we simply must wonder what kind of society we live in…

And that’s exactly what Morgan looked like when I first laid my eyes on him. Still just a kitten, he must’ve experienced a living nightmare that
no kitty baby should ever go through and the consequences were terrible. His left eye had leaked out, probably because of some untreated Chlamydia infection, his other eye didn’t look promising either, and his left rear lower leg has obviously been amputated for
unknown reasons. The surgery was performed badly and unskillfully, his leg was cut in the totally wrong place and his stump has basically had the skin sewn shut over the bone. What’s even worse, he was and still is leaning on that leg as he walks and I fear the
bone will protrude through the skin when he gets bigger and heavier, so it can reasonably be expected that the bone will break longitudinally under the burden of his weight in a few months, just like one of Milance’s legs did. Compared to all his
major problems, the fact he was skinny, weak and full of worms and fleas seemed to be insignificant and minor.

From day one we knew that enucleation of his left eye (or more precisely, of what’s left of it) will
need to be done, and if it turns out his eyesight in his right eye can’t be saved, the same surgery will be necessary for that eye as well. His left rear leg will have to be amputated properly, but this time the surgery will be performed by a skilful vet with lots of
experience who knows what he is doing. But it’s one thing to plan, and quite another to implement…

Morgan’s surgeries were scheduled for September 18th, but his right eye started to bleed the evening before and the leaking blood, although not
abundant, lasted the entire night. When we arrived at the vet clinic the next day, it turned out he actually had a corneal ulcer on that eye, so he was put under general anesthesia and the same surgical procedure which was done on Joca's injured eye months ago - a
third eyelid flap - was performed on Morgan’s right eye as well, in a desperate attempt to save him from being totally blind. The third eyelid has been sewn shut over the eye to bring a healing blood supply to its surface, although it's questionable whether
his vision in this eye even exists, and if it does, whether or not it can be saved. Even though he appeared normal (despite his problems) before the surgery, he had a hard time enduring the general anesthesia, he began having difficulty breathing, started to wheeze as soon as he
was intubated and he nearly died twice on the operating table – luckily, the vet somehow succeeded in resuscitating him both times. His unskillfully amputated leg and the remains of his left eye weren't even touched as the vets were literally racing against the
clock to save his life.

Morgan managed to survive the surgery but was in critical condition for days afterwards. The vet suspected he either had pneumonia, or had been badly beaten or had some serious heart problem and I couldn’t help
wondering if I’d ever know the truth of what happened to this poor baby in his short life. For about 10 days he’s been under antibiotic treatment, receiving Longacef every day and now it’s crystal clear that nothing else can be done until we find out what’s wrong with
him.

He had the eye flap stitches removed 10 days after the surgery and although his right eye looks a lot better than before, we still don’t know whether his vision is saved or not. He’s being given oral antibiotics now and his eyes (or better
said his right eye and the hole which was left after his left eye leaked out) are being treated locally, with eye drops and antibiotic ointments. He still has abundant brown discharge from both eyes and at this point it’s impossible to say when he will be ready for the next
surgery.

This cute ginger and white boy has gained a lot of weight and made many friends since he’s arrived at the shelter. He spends his days eating, sleeping and playing with his pals, blissfully oblivious of his health problems and totally
unaware he managed to pull through by sheer luck. It’s a miracle he’s still here with us after everything he’s been through; whether he was a victim of abuse, indifference, ignorance, incompetence or all the above, he behaves as if nothing bad has
ever happened to him. Even if he was loved and pampered from the beginning of his life, he couldn’t be happier.

Morgan’s now a joyful, cuddly, playful little boy, with no care in this world and blind or not, he’ll have a bright, promising
future. Does he remember his sadness and despair? Does he ever think whose fault it was? Possibly, but highly unlikely. Did he forgive? Absolutely. He’s a cat and cats don’t know what hatred, resentment and bitterness are, in difference to us, “superior” humans
who decide on their lives and deaths.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

At a Standstill as Summer Slips Away

We’ve been pretty quiet lately and I guess that most of the people believe that no news is good news and there’s no need to worry – if something bad had happened, everybody would know. But is it so? Our random updates, too few and far between, are not even faintly
reflecting the biggest crisis the shelter’s been in over the last few years. It’s not that we’re being secretive, it’s not that we think all of our friends aren’t interested in what’s going on, it’s not really just a plain lack of time. Somehow, once everything is
explained in detail and said loud and clear, it seems even worse than when we keep our worries to ourselves and try to act as if we have only some insignificant problems that can easily and quickly be resolved.

I don’t even know
where to start. Shelter repairs are not finished yet due to the lack of funds and although we’re totally aware we must find a way to get things back to normal while we still can, we simply don’t know who to turn to anymore. We’ve already tried everything we could
think of to no avail, and if we don’t come up with some brilliant ideas right away, the future of the Felix kitties, particularly when the winter chill kicks in, is uncertain and definitely not promising.

The renovated part of the roof above the
kitties’ rooms in the backyard (which was being fixed this summer) looks nice and sturdy, but we’re still not able to purchase the gutters nor the metal sheeting necessary for extending the metal lower part of the roof over the path. Since we can’t manage the
water from precipitation without gutters, the entire backyard turns into a muddy, swampy mess whenever it rains and the next door neighbor’s garage is flooded every single time.

The metal part of the roof is another matter.
If we fail to extend it over the new path in front of the cats’ rooms which was put in with the sole purpose of preventing the cats from stepping directly into the mud when they come out of their rooms in rainy/snowy weather, this corridor that’s half finished already
will be useless. The idea was to make a sheltered place for the kitties out of what’s now a walkway, bordered by the walls of the cats’ rooms on one side and support columns and little dividing walls on the other, that will be enclosed with tarps attached to the new
roof during the winter.

Unfortunately, the metal part of the roof is lower and shorter than the new one and if we don’t extend it over the path, we’ll have an empty space at the end of the corridor, through which rain and snow will be blowing in and
none of the cats from the backyard will have a dry outdoor space when the weather is bad. However, if we manage to raise the funds for both the gutters and for the metal sheeting necessary for extending the lower part of the roof over the path, the new
corridor will truly be a sheltered place for the kitties, as it would be bordered by the garage on its other end. But to our big regret and despite all of our efforts, we’re still $1.500 US short, we’ve already exhausted all of our resources and we’re literally backed up
against the wall, with no idea how to complete this phase of the shelter repairs. Summer is rapidly coming to an end and it rains almost every day, so I don’t even dare to imagine what kind of weather the autumn and winter will bring.
At this time of year we should be thinking about purchasing the first tank of gas for central heating, but we’re still struggling with the renovations and time has flown by. The wire mesh above the front yard, or more precisely the chain linked fencing, has been loosened and
stretched again a zillion times and its links are now entirely too large to prevent kittens and skinnier adults from squeezing their way outside. As a consequence, kitties are happily escaping almost every day, running and having fun around the shelter for hours until I finally
catch them or somehow persuade them to come back home. Needless to say that with all of the current problems, chasing the runaways day by day is the last thing I need…

Is it even worth it to try and ask for help once again? We’re
immensely grateful for every single donation we’ve received for the shelter repairs so far, but there so much more to do and yet we’ve stopped halfway through weeks ago and no repair work has been done since! Please, step in with anything you can afford and help us
enable a three digit number of Felix kitties to continue living happy and safe in their beautiful forever home!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

It’s the Spirit That Counts

The beginning of Shadow’s story is as equally sad and unjust as the beginning of any other story of a tiny, abandoned, abused wee kitty baby with the additional misfortune of being black who had obviously been unimportant and had gone unnoticed since
she was born into this cruel, insensitive world. Compassion appears to be hard to find these days; in these times of overall crisis and financial hardships, it seems that caring, unselfish people are as rare as unicorns and things are only getting worse. Hundreds if
not thousands of pets are being dumped into the streets, unwanted litters of owned queens are tossed into trash bins and only the most fortunate ones manage to cheat death at the last possible moment, when some noble person comes to their
rescue. But these lifesaving gestures of kindness and love are becoming infrequent and too few and far between…

Apparently invisible to many, Shadow somehow appeared in the flea market when she was maybe a month old at the
most. No one knew where she came from or what had happened to her. Obviously away from her Mom for a while, she was scared, emaciated, painfully skinny and couldn’t even eat solid food yet, although it’s questionable if she couldn’t or just didn’t want to because she
was already giving up. Oblivious and uncaring people at the market had been kicking her and stomping on her for hours, until one of the sellers scooped her up and hid her under their stall. where she spent a couple of days before I learned of her existence.

And then the real fight for her life began. The poor little muffin could barely walk, one of her hind legs was injured, she was stumbling and falling a lot and was spending most of her time just lying down. She was extremely reluctant to eat, so I
was force-feeding her baby kitten milk, of which she would swallow a little between struggling and spitting. No one could tell for sure if she was going to make it as things definitely hadn’t been looking exactly promising from the start. That’s when she
got the very first name of her own – our friend Kim named her Shadow since she was just a thin little wisp of black that was barely there.

A couple of days later she started vomiting and I quickly rushed her to the vet to see what was going on. It
turned out that her body temperature had dropped to a dangerous 35.4C but she exhibited no other symptoms, she had no eye discharge and her throat looked normal. Utterly weak and exhausted, she weighted only 190 grams, but she couldn’t be dewormed
while she was so fragile, as any deworming medicine could’ve easily killed her. After receiving warm infusions, antiemetic drugs and antibiotics she seemed to be a little better, but it was still touch and go whether she would manage to pull through.

Just when we began to hope her problems were coming to an end, she went into another major crisis in the middle of the night - she went totally limp, seemed unconscious and looked as if she were dying. Her body temperature was 36.6
C and it was possible that whatever virus she was fighting had already damaged her brain. The vet told me that even if she survived she might have some permanent neurological disorder, but as long as she was alive, nothing else mattered. At one point we thought she
was blinded in one eye and that her wobbly gate could be a consequence of some neurological condition, but the worse she looked, the harder all of us fought to save her. It may sound like a paradox but the old saying “When the going gets tough, the tough get
going” undoubtedly bears much truth…

Our tiny, starved and abused baby sweetheart beat the odds. As soon as she had a home and felt love for the first time in her short, sad time in this world, she learned that life could be worth living and
fought with all her might. Day by day, step by step she kept improving, slowly but steadily and after maybe two scary weeks of her exhausting, desperate struggle to live, the vet finally gave her the green light. Her eyesight is not damaged after all, her
movements have became flowing and she is now growing into a mischievous, naughty, joyful kitty which is very understandably spoiled rotten.

Shadow is approximately four months old and not solid black anymore;
her coat is scattered with white hairs but her sweet face, although more mature, is almost the same. She’s still living in the house even though she seems eager to go outside, but the wide world she expects to find will be limited to the yard. Extremely
friendly towards other cats, she is having a great time playing with her protector and teacher Tinker Bell and both of them are incessantly poking their black little noses into everything. But Shadow is not just a silly, playful kitty girl, she is a true fighter with an incredible and
intense desire to live, she’s a precious little creature who’s been to hell and back and proven to be tough as steel when it mattered the most. Maybe she remembers what she’s been through, maybe she doesn’t, but none of us here who have had the privilege to be by her
side while she was fighting her way up to the light will ever forget her amazing inner strength.