Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Until We Meet Again

Is there any way to write about someone truly special when aching sadness is far too deep and the overwhelming grief too unbearably painful to be poured into words? When all we are capable of thinking about is how wonderful it would be if we could turn back
time? When memories of happy days from the past are valued much more than the sad thoughts of the grim present? When our desperate clinging to hopes and dreams and maybes and what-ifs abruptly ends, leaving us with nothing but insufferable emptiness?

Our sweet boy Ian is gone. After almost a month of his undaunted, stout-hearted struggle for life, his frail little body just couldn’t take it anymore. He was so weak over the last few days that he could
barely lift his head, but his eyes were still clear and sparkling and his bright yellow gaze was telling a different story – he was refusing to be defeated. Even though he was putting an enormous effort into bearing any weight on his back legs while staggering towards a
familiar voice, he was making it clear he wouldn’t give up. He was only a year and a half and just a month ago he seemed to be a cheerful youngster growing into the gorgeous, powerful kitty boy he would’ve become, an amazing, joyous creature without a care in this world, who was making every day count. But we should’ve known by now that life is unfair and way too often, the best die young, like shooting stars, like fleeting glimpses of divine light…
Our striking little guy was around eight months old when he arrived at the shelter in August of 2015. He was most likely born on the street, where he had been living all of his life together with his kitty friends, until all of them were poisoned and he was the only one left
standing. Thanks to some incredible luck, he managed to escape the same fate and became the sole survivor. Even the sheer odds of him staying alive in this place for much longer were slim to none. However, he was obviously born under a lucky star (or at least
he seemed to be lucky at the time) as we were deeply touched by his sad life story and simply couldn’t resist his sweet, unique little face, so we took him in as quickly as we could.

Adored by many, he had been thriving at the shelter until he
suddenly became unwell approximately a month ago; his gate was unsteady and he was oddly limping on both back legs. The thorough vet exam (which included blood work and X-rays) revealed not only that he had a fever of over 40 degrees C, but also had a hairline fracture
of the lumbar spine and an air rifle pellet lodged behind his sternum close to his lungs. We put him in the cage, as he mustn't be allowed to jump until his vertebrae healed completely. He was enduring his imprisonment stoically at first, but a few days
later we were forced to let him out of the cage as he became deeply depressed and rapidly started to shut down. He enjoyed sunbathing in the yard and spending his time amongst the other cats, so that's exactly what he was doing from that point on, although his back legs were still wobbly and he kept tiring easily. We all thought that was it, just an old injury and an unfortunate accident… Regrettably, we couldn’t be more wrong.

As Ian was FIV positive, the vet
supposed the recent injury to his spine was the trigger to the weakening of his immune system and over the next couple of weeks his serious health issues kept on piling up one after the other. It turned out he was also infected with the feline herpes virus, his nose was
blocked, he stopped eating and the parasitic blood infection (haemobartonellosis) he had ultimately led to hepatic encephalopathy. Things were quickly going from bad to worse - he began showing neurological symptoms, his head
was shaking uncontrollably as if he had temporary head tremors, but he was still fighting. He received IV fluids for hours every single day, coming back home completely drained and exhausted and yet he found some inner strength to climb his
most-liked wooden platform to catch the last rays of the setting sun. His bravery and fierce determination were literally leaving us choked up and breathless.

Unfortunately, our sweet boy was dealing with too many serious problems at the same
time and little by little they were taking their toll - he was rapidly getting weaker. At one point I guess we all knew he was losing his battle, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell the vet to put him down. He was a fearless fighter, one of the most amazing furry creatures I have
ever had the honor to meet and it was crystal clear that he should leave only when he was ready, on his own terms. He wasn’t in pain and as long as there was life, there was hope. Swiftly fading, but hope nonetheless.

Sadly, the end had to
come. Ian passed away peacefully at the vet's, but he was barely conscious when he arrived at the ambulance and he probably thought he was still at home surrounded by his friends - in his last moments of being able to see and understand, the place
he knew and loved was the last thing he was looking at. After countless pricks of the needle, weeks of aggressive treatment, days of trying the impossible, the force-feeding and waiting for a miracle, his hard fought battle was finally over.
Godspeed and goodbye for now, my valiant little hero. We’ll meet again one day, never to be parted again. Fly free, my precious darling, I know your wings were ready but my heart was not. No one will ever take your place.

Wait for me, sweetie and let your light shine bright while you soar among the stars. Loving you has been a privilege.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Six Little Fighters

Kitten season has kicked into full gear and abandoned babies, frequently just born and with their umbilical cords still attached, are literally everywhere. Irresponsible cat owners here feel that spaying/neutering is cruel, but I guess separating the
youngsters from their nursing mothers and leaving them next to a trash can to fend for themselves when they aren’t even able to eat alone (or throwing them inside the waste container) isn’t cruel at all.

Of course, it’s impossible to know
who the mother cats belong to, but it’s also highly improbable that a stray cat would pack her kittens into a carrying bag or a box and leave them in a dumpster. Year after year the same thing happens and year after year the overall situation is getting worse. Although
almost all animal rescuers are already getting hoarse from repeating that spay/neuter surgery is necessary for pets, far too many cats and dogs end up on the street and the animal shelters are overflowing with all of the new arrivals.

OK, rant over. These six babies were left in a cardboard box in front of the mall when they were maybe 10 days old. Two of them hadn’t even opened their eyes yet because their eyelids were glued shut with pus. They have been hand raised and bottle fed for a month now, as
they were not progressing the way they should; moreover, all of them had a chlamydia infection and ringworm. Just great.

Five of them finally pulled through and began to eat on their own, but the tiniest one, a little black
girlie with a white tip to her tail, who had been the smallest and weakest from the very beginning, seemed to be dying a week ago. She had been given strong antibiotics for days and then the UV scan showed that her liver and stomach were enlarged, so more drugs (vitamins
and hepatoprotectives) were added to her daily therapy. She needed around the clock care, her chances were slim to none, but she didn’t want to die and she definitely wasn’t ready to give up. Bone skinny, feeble and frail, she valiantly
fought for her life with every ounce of her fragile strength and she’s made it! Boy… that was close. To our great joy, she doesn’t need to be fed with a syringe anymore, she eats on her own and even though she is at least two times smaller than any of her siblings, she is
very serious about growing big.

The little black girl already has a sponsor, our dear friend Kim, who named her Phoenix, as she defeated death by a hair’s breadth and sprang back to life. If any of you would like to virtually adopt and
name any of these cutie pies, we would be extremely grateful!

And if you’re unable to sponsor one of them, please give us a hand with the costs of their upbringing which are already skyrocketing with some help from their vet bills. No amount is ever too
small, it all adds up!



Sunday, March 27, 2016

Wishing You All a Very Happy Easter!

May you feel the hope of new beginnings, love and happiness during this joyful Easter holiday. Have a great and wonderful Easter!



Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Everything Always Seems to Happen at the Worst Possible Moment

Just when donations are hitting an all-time low, three of the shelter residents have become ill. Kajac has been coughing and wheezing for days and has been diagnosed with bronchitis again, thus he is being giving antibiotics and is being kept in the cage which he hates, so he’s sad and miserable at the moment and feels betrayed. We are not sure why his airways are so over-reactive and what kind of inciting agents he responds to, although he's undoubtedly overweight and therefore he’s more susceptible
to breathing problems, but regardless of the cause, antibiotic treatments are expected to help him. He is not very people friendly, which makes him difficult to be treated at home, but he behaves nicely at the vet's – he is calm, reasonably cooperative and
utterly unhappy.

Silvestra has stomatitis, gingivitis and periodontal disease; her infected gums are being treated aggressively and once the infection calms down, she'll need to have at least three teeth pulled and all of the plaque and
tartar removed from her remaining teeth. She's essentially a healthy, tough cat but even the toughest get sick sometimes, and the problem is that she becomes literally hysterical when she’s struck in a cat carrier or even worse, in the cage. Anyway, what needs to be done
needs to be done, and if she was able to overcome the stress of everything that had happened to her before she arrived at the shelter, she will certainly succeed in coping with these new and unexpected problems.

Ali is in the worst
shape of all. He’s been losing weight gradually but steadily over the last few weeks even though his appetite is very good, so we dewormed him again and his blood test showed nothing out of the ordinary. Nonetheless he kept becoming skinnier and
skinnier; his coat became messy and dull, he had continuous diarrhea and it was clear that he had some serious, yet undiscovered health issue. After repeating all of the diagnostic tests we could think of - X-rays, UV scan, analysis of his blood sample in a
laboratory in Belgrade, fecal examinations etc, the vet has finally come up with an accurate diagnosis – Ali has Giardia infection. He is painfully, gauntly thin and frail, his once luxurious fur has lost all of its former splendor, his liver is enlarged and there’s mucus in his duct bile, but he is eating, fortunately, and is being given two different antibiotics three and two times a day. Considering he is a young cat who has been healthy and strong all of his life, the vet thinks he has excellent chances
to recover completely, even though the treatment will be long.

We really need your help! Monthly donations are not even covering the costs of food for ten days now, much less for the entire month and we can only dream about paying
the vet bills! We usually spend at least 1600 euros on cat food and litter every single month, and when we add the costs of vet care, special food for chronically ill cats and the wages for a helper that we have to pay cash in hand our expenses are
enormous! We have no support from the local community, as people seem to think that we exist exclusively for when they want to get rid of the cats they are not interested in taking care of anymore, but after that we sink off into oblivion until they come across another
unwanted cat or kitten. We don’t threaten people with chucking the animals out of unpaid wild boarding places or rented sheds, we are not able to look at a sick cat or kitten and do nothing until all of the money necessary for treatments arrive but as far as the
public here thinks, our cats are safe and they can probably live on air.

Please, help us with anything you can possibly afford! If you can’t donate, we hope you wouldn’t mind sharing our plight until it reaches someone who thinks even
shelter cats’ lives matter! Please take a look at our project and fundraising page and get to know our kitties a little better, maybe you’ll be touched by their sweet faces and you will feel compelled to do something for them. Carefree and happy as they seem,
they all need to eat and from time to time some will become ill and need extra help. They really have no one else that cares but those of us here - and you.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Celeste Deserves a Second Chance!

Celeste’s loving elderly owner passed away four months ago and she had been living all alone at their once happy home ever since, spending her days waiting for someone who would never come back. She was fed regularly by her owner's nephew but she was shy, reserved and hardly ever left her hiding places behind the furniture. Eventually the apartment got emptied out and Celeste was trapped; her owner's relatives couldn't or didn't want to keep her, so she arrived at the shelter the next
day.

She's probably around eight years old, but she’s still unspayed and although she doesn't look sick, she has bald patches on her back and sides. The vet says it's caused by a combination of hormonal issues and stress and it should resolve itself when she gets spayed. She also has mammary gland hyperplasia, a benign condition in which an excessive amount of tissue grows, resulting in enlarged masses in the mammary glands; she needs to
be spayed as soon as possible and she has to be tested for FIV and FeLV.

For now Celeste’s living in a cage in a separate room, as she might not feel comfortable in the presence of other cats just yet and we are trying to spare her any
further stress and upset. Despite being a little fearful, she is extremely affectionate and cuddly when she lets her guard down. Please, help us give Celeste the chance of living a long, happy and healthy life in which she’ll never be abandoned and alone
again!