Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Stray Story

I'm calling him Tommy so that he doesn't have to suffer the indignity of Kitty, Kitty. He's been in the vicinity for a couple of years and during certain seasons I've heard him in terrible fights. He's a little beat up around the ears. I chased him off all spring while the robins were nesting. About ten days ago, he started coming on to me. You know, rubbing up against my legs, making sweet, meowing. I took one look at his anatomy and thought, boy, you have got to be fixed.

If you see what I mean. So I started putting food out for him and discovered that he loves to have his neck and back rubbed, and his tummy, too.

I telephoned around, did some research online and made an appointment at The Humane Society for him on Thursday to be neutered and vaccinated for Rabies plus an FVRCP vaccine with dose of Frontline. Because he's a stray, the charge is $10.00 The vet I go to charges $190 for neutering a cat. Tomorrow, with luck, I'll see about having him tested for FeLV so that I know how careful I have to be with him in the vicinity of my own cats and what sort of foster home I'll be looking for.

Little did he know as he was demanding dinner that I was about to escort him to the shed and close him in. He did not fight me one bit — no scratching or biting — but he is quite alarmed and not at all happy about being confined. He may never have been confined before.

I'll let Tommy's story promote the Humane Society of the U.S. and all of the local Humane Societies across the U.S. who help us help animals in need. I am also promoting spaying and neutering to hold down the outrageous overpopulation of cats and dogs that lead to their suffering, decimation of the songbird population and use of taxpayer dollars for euthanizing an unconscionable number of abandoned animals, amongst other things For example, just this morning, I lifted a cat off the street who'd been killed by a car. The third one I've seen within several blocks in the last six weeks.

Read about clinic care for stray cats. Donate to the Humane Society of the United States or your local Humane Society (they need more than just money — call them up or check their website to see about their other needs.) I am not so much in favor of the trap and release programs for feral cats. It's a problem, the feral cat population, and a direct result of irresponsible humans. But I love my songbird friends, too. I do not have a solution except to do what I can personally to help who comes my way in the best way that I see fit.

My intention with Tommy is to fix him up and find him a good home. So far, the only place I have for his two-week recovery from surgery is my shed which gets mighty hot in the late afternoons. Once I see how he comes through the surgery and what his FeLV status is, then it's on to finding him a really good person.

While I'm on the general subject, go on over to my sidebar. See the purple button for The Animal Rescue Site? Click on it, then click on the button that says "Click here — it's free" (it really is) to donate food and care for rescued animals. You can host the button on your own site, copy the site in your bookmarks or come here to visit and click!

Stay tuned and say some prayers for Tommy, please.


It's noon on Wednesday now. Some stories have happier endings than others. For example, Tallulah's story had a very happy ending. Tommy's ending came this morning. After his night in the shed, I took him to a very good vet who tested him for Feline Leukemia and Aids. He was positive for Feline Aids or FIV. Although he was very docile with me, it would have been a full-time job for I don't know how long to find a home, let alone a good home, for him. Also, with the positive FIV results, the stress of surgery, anaesthesia, and the Rabies and FVRCP vaccinations could have seriously compromised his immune system. He had rubbed his little nose raw on the grate of the cat carrier and was meowing incessantly though he was comfy wrapped up in a beach towel in my arms. The doctor explained to me what I already knew, that euthanasia was the best thing to do not only for this particular cat but for any other cats he might come in contact with. Of course, it's already out there in the local stray cat population but there always seems to be another new cat on the horizon.

So I sat with him for about fifteen minutes, massaging his neck and back, rubbing his tummy and he calmed down, was purring and quite content by the time the Vet came back in and we moved to the table. I kept massaging him and thanked him for coming along and that it was time to say goodbye. And he was gone. Just like that. No fussing, no fighting, just purring. I cried, of course. But we took care of business and I drove him home where I immediately took out a shovel and dug him a nice grave under the trees where he sat in his most secure hiding place. I put some fresh flowers on top, a little food for his passage and said a little goodbye prayer. May I go so peacefully and be tended to so well, that's all I can say.

Frankly, as soon as I saw him coming on to me several weeks ago and I took a good look at him, I knew that this was a possible outcome. I think that lifting the dead cat out of the road yesterday also prepared me in some ways. Sometimes it really sucks to take responsibility. Naturally, I'm second-guessing myself. Especially after reading feral cat group posts about releasing FeLV + and FIV + cats after neutering and fixing. Did I do the right thing? Did I interfere with his life by trying to help him? Was the doctor's opinion, and the prevailing "wisdom" on the matter, the correct one on which to base my decision? Did I let the doctors' opinions sway my original intention? I had already been thinking of possibly releasing him after recovery if I couldn't find him a home. But that was based on his being healthy. Except for bite marks all over his head and ears, he seemed OK, if a bit lean. All this over-thinking is natural, I guess, but moot. I swore that I would never, ever do this again. Something about it does not sit right. But it's done.

On feralcat.com, I read

"Any cats testing positive for either FeLV or FIV, unless isolation and retesting in 2 months is feasible, should be euthanized to avoid spread of the diseases to the rest of the colony and to domestic cats."

With that, I'm going to stop reading any further.

Please...SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS! BE RESPONSIBLE GUARDIANS. I guess that's about all I have to say right now.


Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Thank you Suzanne for dignifying his life and showing him love. {{{Suzanne}}}

Suzanne McDermott said...

Mary! Thank you SO much for leaving this comment and the lengthier one on Meet Tallulah. I am deeply grateful. As you can imagine, I continue to rethink this though it does no good. Your comments here and on Meet Tallulah really have helped me to not feel like such a wretch about it all. Thank you again.