Tuesday, April 22, 2014

When Spring Rains it Pours

Spring has finally begun, and after a pretty weird and nerve wracking winter full of worries, we all thought that things would start to improve. However, there is always something to spoil the joy; at this very moment, several shelter kitties are
struggling with various health issues, ranging from rather harmless to potentially dangerous. The incidents of illnesses the shelter kitties are having every now and then could be easily explained by their age and overall health – many cats are well
into their golden years, consequently fragile and therefore are reasonably expected to be prone to age related and other problems, while most of the youngsters have been having various health issues on and off literally since they arrived at the shelter.
It’s always a problem with strays that are picked up from the street or rescued from their miserable living conditions wherever those might be – we usually know almost nothing of their background, genetics or prior problems so we’re not really surprised when yet
another unforeseen issue emerges.

The kitties’ seasonal allergies can already be considered a habitual problem at the shelter, the affliction we’ve been facing every spring literally since we came here. Still to this day we can't figure out
which plants are to blame, but as soon as the pollen gets airborne, the cats' rituals of sneezing and sniffing begin. Maybe there is more to it, maybe it’s not just the pollen, but be as it may, the oldest, the youngest and the most delicate cats have been showing
signs of allergies for weeks now. To make things even worse, those symptoms are almost identical to the signs of cat flu but not all of the cats have exactly the same problems; some of them are just sniffing and sneezing, the others have eye discharge as well and
we are actually not sure if we’re dealing with allergies, cat flu or who knows what. None of the cats have a fever, they all eat and behave quite normally but something is obviously wrong with them.

Last summer’s
kittens, Marka, Kus Kus and Shalimar were the first to come down ill and for some of them it was just a temporary crisis, but Paloma, Josh, Kus Kus, Marka and Shalimar are still under treatment, and it’s not only that, they are also receiving antibiotics and
vitamins to help boost their immune systems. They are being fed raw ground meat and the best quality canned food I am able to find - which, of course, costs a fortune.

Keith, Maggie’s brother, started to limp on one front and
one rear leg suddenly, out of the blue, just when we thought that he finally managed to overcome all of the health problems he had in his early age. The vet suspects he has Osteochondritis dissecans, commonly known as OCD and the diagnosis was made based on
physical examination and radiographs. Osteochondrosis is in fact a pathological condition in which normal endochondral ossification, the metamorphoses of cartilage to bone, is disturbed and the final result is abnormally thick regions of cartilage that are less
resistant to mechanical stress than the stronger and denser bones. It’s not yet clear what is the cause, but it seems that the condition can be genetically acquired or to say it more simply, hereditary factors contribute to the development of this
disorder. The most common symptom is lameness, which involves one or more limbs and the onset may be sudden or gradual. Keith is being treated conservatively, with an anti-inflammatory drug called Meloxidil (Metacam).
But that’s not all yet. Njanja has been straining to urinate for days and a visit to the vet, where a UV scan was done, revealed that he has FUS. Now he needs to eat medical urinary food and is currently under treatment, but when it comes to medicating him it’s not that easy
as one might think – this affectionate, cuddly and loving boy quickly turns into a furious, wild beast when even a slightest attempt is made to give him any drug treatments. Cats…

Frca is still holding on, cuddly and sweet as usual, she is not in
pain and seems to be quite content while snuggling with other kitties, looking out into the yard (she has always had so much fun looking through that window), resting on my bed or even going outside for a walk. I can understand, kind of, why many cat owners
would put down a kitty with cancer whose prognosis is poor and which can’t be expected to live much longer, but in my opinion euthanasia is justified only when the cat in question is suffering. So please, before judging my decision, take a look at this lovely kitty girl
and then tell me she is ready to leave, that she should not be allowed to live and that our struggle to provide her with everything she needs so she could have a few more weeks or months here in this world is pointless and worthless.
If you can help us with even the smallest amount, please do so! We’re well aware we’ve already reached out to all of you out there so many times asking for help for the sick kitties but what other choice do we have? It’s not their fault they are sick. And it’s not our fault that the state and the city officials have never even offered us any kind of assistance and couldn’t care less about some “ordinary” cats living in some private cat shelter in a small village in the province. We have no other option and we’re forced to rely on the vital
support of genuine cat lovers all across the globe with hearts big enough to recognize the emergency, who are touched by the plight of those ordinary for some, but loved by many, furry little creatures from far away. “Leave no cat behind” might be a dream under the
circumstances, but honestly, that’s what it’s all about.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

We wish you all a very happy Easter, filled with happiness, peace and love!

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Shadow of Darkness Falls

Kmeca has sadly passed away. After weeks of fighting a losing battle and trying to get better, with all of the therapies, drugs and long hours spent at the vet’s, after many ups and downs, too little hope and too much despair, she is finally free from her
exhausted broken body. We tried everything that could be done to help her, she gave it all she had, but our joint efforts simply weren’t enough and the miracle we so strongly hoped for didn't happen. She died peacefully, at her home, surrounded by those who loved her and were by her side until the end, but the once happy place we all lived in is now shrouded in sadness and a deafening silence.

It’s hard to explain how this essentially shy and unobtrusive
kitty girl could have left such a powerful mark on her home and all of her mates, literally on anyone she had ever met. Her loud, distinctive, funny “meow” was unmistakable, her lovely little face with unusually long fangs was absolutely enchanting. Her
character was strong, she was sweet and loving but at the same time somewhat disdainful, decisive and stubborn, easily offended and too touchy sometimes, but forgiving... She was able to charm everyone she met with no effort at all, in spite of not showing
much affection and being so nonchalant and unimpressed. She was unique and very much a one of a kind cat.

Like many black kitties, she didn’t have an easy start to life, as she was thrown down into a manhole together with her two
little sisters when she was just a few hours old. I took them out, soaking wet and dried them with a towel, but I couldn’t find the mother cat, so I kept wandering around the neighborhood for hours looking for her until she finally appeared and took her kittens away one
by one. I hadn’t seen any of them for about six weeks when one evening, all four of them came out of nowhere – a mother cat followed by her kittens, all of them with their little tails held up high.

But where had they been? What had been
happening to them? All three kittens were skinny, full of fleas and had ear mange, so they needed immediate veterinary treatment. They fully recovered and Kmeca’s sisters got adopted soon afterwards but Kmeca was somehow different, it was as if
she had decided at one point that she had already found her forever home. She was following me all through the apartment day and night and didn’t even want to consider separating from me; although I tried to find her a new home, she obviously
disagreed on the matter. She was adopted and returned twice as she behaved so badly each time that she was unbearable – she kept meowing and crying from her hiding places for hours on end until I would arrive (once in the middle of the night) to pick her up.

She had always been delicate, with some skin problems and swollen mammary glands later on but without any serious health issues. Incredibly cuddly and affectionate towards me, she used to shun unfamiliar people and appeared aloof
whenever someone would drop by for a visit, but she would quickly turn into a real love bug when there was no one around. Years were passing by but she hadn’t changed, except for the fact that she had become slightly more inclined to accept new people since we
moved to the shelter.

A few months ago she began to decline slowly, almost unnoticeably and it wasn’t easy to tell what was wrong with her. She was losing weight but her behavior was the same, so her diagnosis of renal
papillary necrosis dropped like a bomb. Medical treatment started immediately and we knew her kidney function was severely compromised but the vet tried everything he could think of to try and reverse the damage. Still in shock and totally horrified,
I could not believe that perhaps the time was coming to say goodbye to my stalwart companion of twelve years…

The rest is known; she had been receiving aggressive IV fluid therapy daily for weeks but her kidneys were failing and the
buildup of toxic waste resulted in symptoms of uremic poisoning, such as loss of appetite and general apathy. She was not in pain, she was constantly seeking my presence, she cuddled and purred, and snuggled with the youngsters which were showering her
with affection and her life seemed to have some quality. Nevertheless, she was getting weaker by the day, her legs were wobbly, she was spending most of her time sleeping and I’m guessing that she was actually getting ready to leave. If love could only have healed her,
she would’ve lived eternally…

When the time came, we both knew. She passed away calmly, dignified, quiet and unafraid and the world grew hollow and darker right after her last breath. I’d been blessed with her love for more than a
decade and I simply can't accept that her larger than life personality could just vanish, or would even need to be reality bound – one way or the other she is still beside me. Whether she runs in the fields of heaven or flies freely exploring new spaces, I’ll be finding
her presence forever, everywhere I look.

There won’t be another kitty like her, ever. Unable to believe that I’ll never see her again, at least not in this lifetime, I’m writing about her in a faint attempt to let all of those who had never met her, but
tried to help her, have a small glimpse of the furry black wonder that was Kmeca. It’s not much easier to describe the indescribable than to bear the unbearable but memories are now all we have to cling to. And yes, I know life must go on and we can cherish
her and love her and never forget her, but at the end of day, she is up there somewhere and we are here and there’s too little comfort in between.