Monday, November 30, 2015

A Thanksgiving Present

The Saturday before Thanksgiving I took our dog Duke for his usual walk and when we got back home, an eight to ten week old black and white kitten appeared on our front porch. He was trying to rub on our eighteen year old cat Chloe, who was on the front porch waiting for our return. Chloe of course, didn't want anything to do with this kitten. My husband and I were scratching our heads wondering where this lone tiny kitten came from. 

The kitten came fairly close because it was very hungry. My husband fed it some can food right away and it devoured the food. Once his belly was full, he wasn't willing to come so close to us again. We noticed he was holding up his right front paw and not using that leg at all. Within half an hour we made a cat house out of a cardboard box complete with soft bedding and set it on the front porch with food and water in front of it. At least for the night he can sleep in a safe place and keep warm, which is what he did. We will have to earn his trust enough to catch him.

The following day the kitten disappeared for awhile but came back to eat and eventually settled in another large cardboard box we had sitting in the driveway, up against the garage. We set up the large cat condo cage that we had stored in the shed. The same one we used when we rescued our cat Emma (who has since passed away) and then Dusty (who is now eight) as well as the foster cats we had for a few months several years ago. This cat condo has come in handy!

Once everything was set up and ready, we held the box closed while the kitten was still inside and carried it in the house and proceeded to transfer him into the cat condo, but he escaped out a hole and ran into another room, ending up in the corner under a piece of furniture. We managed to gently get him into a box again and then delivered him to his new condo. We were trying to be extra gentle as we could tell he was injured and we weren't sure how serious it was.

It only took a day to litter box train him and not much longer for him to accept our pets so we could handle him enough to pick him up. Then off to the vet we went! My husband and I decided we would take care of and keep the kitten.

Weighing in at just a kilogram, it was discovered that he had a puncture wound on his right shoulder and it had become abscessed. He had a fever. An x-ray revealed his right front leg was broken in half, below his shoulder. He was also anemic from all the fleas. This little boy was in bad shape. The good news was he tested negative for feline leukemia and FIV. Everything else can be fixed.

Before he could have surgery, we had to clear up the infection and the fever he had from the abscess. So the vet cleaned up his abscess and then wrapped his leg so it was bound to his body and not just hanging there lose and I took him home with antibiotics and pain medicine. We had to make a decision about his leg and we had to make it pretty fast.

We had a choice; we could take him to the veterinary specialists who could do surgery on his leg which would require a pin to put it back together and would cost several thousands of dollars, or we could have the limb amputated by one of our veterinarians for under a thousand (which included neutering too).

I was assured that three-legged cats (and dogs) do just fine and adapt remarkably well -- of which I am well aware. I walk a three-legged dog five days a week and have cared for several three-legged dogs and cats over the years. I know how amazing animals are; how resilient and adaptable they are. It's still a very difficult position to be in -- to have to make such a serious decision about this little kitten who suddenly appeared out of nowhere, right in front of us on our front porch. Especially considering that we already currently have a dog (13) and two cats (18 and 8); and all that we went through with four of our other pets (3 dogs, 1 cat) who all passed away just two years ago in 2013.

Of course the cost and what the kitten would have to endure either way played a big contributing factor in our decision; a decision we thought about carefully. We decided to have his leg removed. He had surgery today and I'm happy to report that all went well and he is doing so good, he tried taking out his stitches already so he has to wear an e-collar. He will be able to come home this evening.

Yesterday was the first day he felt well enough to actually play, since his fever and infection had cleared up. He has not felt good for some time so it was nice to see him acting like a playful kitten for a change. He had been managing well using only three legs, even jumping up on the shelf in his condo. Even though he has been taking pain medication since we got him to the vet, having a broken leg has got to be painful. We don't know how long he had been in this condition when we discovered him or how he was injured. We just know we had to help him. He is so sweet and just loves affection. Now with the surgeries behind us we are glad to begin the healing process so he can be the happy, healthy kitty he was created to be. 

We named our little Thanksgiving present Kilo (key-low). He only weighed a kilogram when we found him. Click here for an update on his progress.

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.

~His Holiness The Dali Lama