Thursday, November 14, 2013

Like a Phoenix from the Ashes

Life on the street is tough and dangerous, particularly for such delicate and small creatures as stray cats. Their life expectancy is short, and their lives are stressful and of poor quality; they are enduring summer heat, winter cold, rain and heavy snowfalls
while rummaging through garbage, existing on bugs, rodents and lizards and facing all kinds of danger. The major threats are from other animals, people, cars and the risks of deadly diseases, just to name a few. If they are lucky enough to have a caretaker, someone who is keeping an eye on their well-being and providing them with regular meals, vet care and a protected place to sleep in, their chances to survive are slightly better, but even then they are safe only while inside. Unfortunately, every time they
leave their haven wishing to explore the big outside world their lives are at risk and they are frequently getting killed by cars, dogs and evil people. This is not to say that a stray can't spend years living on the street but it’s usually the toughest and fastest, the most
cautious, skillful and distrustful who survive. Friendly and amicable stray cats often die horrible deaths as they are lacking fear and wariness and care-freely walk right into the trap, with terrible consequences.

Sneska has always
been and still is one of those unsuspecting, credulous and affectionate kitties who obviously believes that life is a bed of roses, that there is no viciousness and cruelty in this world and that accidents never happen. She has always loved people
and used to cuddle with everyone she met, she would approach total strangers without any reservation or hesitation and she was either incredibly lucky or had a guardian angel watching over her as nothing bad has ever happened to her in all
those years of street life. She came to me as an adult, a fragile, tiny and delicate tuxie girl who had the habit of rearing up on her hind legs while trying to nudge me with her head and cheek-rub my face, while her emerald eyes were sparkling with confidence, sheer
happiness and absolute trust. She looked so innocent and was so touchingly sweet that the minute I met her I knew I’d do everything I could to prevent anything from shattering her illusions.

Later on, it turned out that before coming to me, Sneska had spent years living in a joint yard with many other kitties where a friend of mine was taking care of them. I don’t really know why and or how Sneska decided to make a move but she didn’t come for a visit,
she came to stay. And she did. When my shelter was finally finished, she was one of those 50 something kitties I initially took with me.

Up to this year, Sneska has never had any serious health problems. Although she was never very
interested in food and consequently was quite skinny, she looked healthy otherwise. She has always been a picky eater and it usually took her ages to finish her meal - instead of swallowing her food, she would carry it around until she finally ate it, or more
frequently, some other cat would grab it away from her. But in the late spring, inexplicably and unexpectedly, she began to lose weight and waste away continuously, even though she was still eating, unwillingly as always. By August she already seemed just a
shadow of the kitty she once was, horribly thin and light as a feather, just skin and bones. Her ribs could be seen, her spine, shoulder blades and hips were protruding, her tummy looked empty and her beautiful eyes were almost too big for her bony face. Except for
being slightly anemic she had no other symptoms so the nature of her problems remained unknown and no one was overly optimistic about the final outcome.

She was so heartbreakingly thin that she seemed
almost transparent, like one of those size zero models and just a mere ghost of her former self and the only thing I could do was to feed her separately, to give her vitamin supplements to help boost her immune system and to hope with whole my heart for a
miracle. And then, surprisingly, she started gaining weight little by little, her appetite was increasing and she was getting chubbier with each passing day. Her sunken cheeks filled out, she’s become nicely rounded and her fur is now shiny and soft.
She is prettier than ever before, a charming, loving and caring kitty that never misses the opportunity to head-bump my face.

Sneska must be 10 or 11 years old now, but hasn’t change a bit in all these years that I have known her. She
stills loves everyone and approaches whomever she sees, but since she’s been living in the shelter she is finally safe no matter what she does. Just like the phoenix, she rises to life again, triumphant, sparkling and more brilliant than ever.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

God Bless you and your work for the homeless kitties.