All of my pets have been rescues in one form or another, but my most recent pet was in the most dire situation.
Her name is Honey, and this is her story.
For years, there have been stray cats in my grandparent’s backyard. A few years ago my mom, sister, and myself lost our home so now we live there. I’ve always taken care of the strays. We also had some raccoons around and an opossum we named George. Sometimes the cats would have litters of kittens that would stay around, others would leave. Every litter had its own mix of personalities….some would let us touch them, others wouldn’t. Some even ran in our house if we opened the door and wouldn’t leave unless we put them outside. It wasn’t a bad life for them, really. They had food, they had a warm garage to stay in, and they were always safe here.
After a week away from home, I came back. Changed clothes since I planned on being in the house all day…just something nice. It was a warm summer day. No one had fed the cats since morning so I went outside to do just that….and there was this little tan-gold kitten sitting there in the middle of the driveway leading to the garage. Meowing pathetically, but not moving. One of the adult cats in particular circling it…not in an aggressive manner, but more with interest. I picked up the kitten. It didn’t panic or try to move away, but instead it clung to me. Her eyes were completely gunked shut, and most of her nose was covered with it as well as her paws. I didn’t know what it was but brought her to the front porch where my grandparents, mom, and uncle were standing.
Like usual procedure when we find a stray kitten that isn’t being cared for, we put it in a box with some warm towels. Put food in with it. I attempted to clean its face off but I could only clean her paws. Then we set her outside again for a while, checking her every few hours. The same cat was showing interest but not going near her. The kitten hadn’t touched the food, hadn’t moved. Every time we left her alone for more than a few minutes, she’d just sit back down and lay there. A day later we took her to the vet.
Let me be clear in saying this: My mom and I are students. We barely make enough to pay bills.
Thankfully the first vet visit was free unless medications or injections were given, but upon hearing that we had no money…unfortunately, the Vet continually pushed giving the kitten up. She was incredibly sick, there was a possibility she’d be completely blind if not having incredibly damaged eyes. She was being eaten alive by fleas. There was even the chance that the kitten would die. She hadn’t eaten in a very long time from their tests, she was maybe a month old or less, and given how she was acting, the sickness was winning. The last kitten we’d taken to a Vet and gave up died a week later….we wanted to make sure this one had the best chance possible. My mom pushed again and again until finally treatment options were given. Then we set about the task of taking care of her, even with my grandma constantly insisting that we weren’t going to keep her.
Every day, that kitten was by my side. It was still summer, classes weren’t in session yet. I took care of her and cleaned her up a bit more every day. We had a bed for her, which she started to reject as she got older. I syringe-fed her every few hours until she only needed it a couple times a day. If she wasn’t eating most of the time, she was sleeping. Medicine was taken incredibly well, as was the eye ointment. We had to give her actual baths (Yes, we were clawed to death xD) to combat the flea infestation.
When her eyes started opening up, I cried.
One night I tested her eyesight, she followed my finger and played with it. She could see, if not just a little bit.
We moved her from syringe feeding to giving her milk in a dish, then to solid food. She had some little toy mice to chase around and always fell asleep beside me or in my lap. Every day, she became more active. If we set up barriers to keep her from certain parts of the house, she’d jump over them. She’d chase our feet, climb our chairs, and play in our hair. She’d steal our food, climb on computer keyboards, and genuinely act like a cat. A very happy cat at that. My grandma no longer complains, and in fact plays with her frequently. The cat sleeps in my bed as well as in my mom’s and sister’s.
The cat that showed her attention outside was clearly her mother, and sat at the back window every day to make sure her kitten was okay. If the kitten cried, she’d run to the window…but after some time, the mother seemed to show understanding. She stopped running to the door. She knew her kitten would be okay.