Awwwww...... such sweet stories, all of them!
We have three kitties with special needs.Flowerbelle
She was just in terrible shape. A couple found her in the parking lot of a liquor store, and brought her to the vet. Gary happened to be there when they came to drop her off. The vet told them they'd have to take financial responsibility for her, and they wouldn't. They were going to take her back to the parking lot and put her back!!!!!!!!!!!! Gary caught that something was going on, and asked the receptionist. She told him. He ran out, chased them down, gave them a piece of his mind, and took the cat.
The vet didn't think she was going to make it. She was a bag of bones. She was badly sunburned. She was infected with everything. She had to be tube fed. She'd been attacked by something and had to be stitched up on her leg. Her eyes were glued shut from god knows what - but definitely herpes.
She needed to be a VERY strong girl to make it through, so we named her Flowerbelle, after Flowerbelle Lee, played by Mae West in the movie My Little Chickadee.
She made it and recovered - but had some ongoing problems after we brought her home. Poor thing had to be medicated 11 times a day (a lot of that related to trying to save the really bad eye). We reorganized our work lives to care for her. We tried for months - kept having it sewn shut with medication in it, etc. But it just wasn't worth it in the end. It wasn't getting better, and it was so traumatic for her to be medicated so often. So we made the decision to have it out. I wish we'd made the decision earlier.
So she has one beautiful eye, though her vision is impaired. And she's deaf - though we don't think she was born deaf. We think it was the herpes - or really, who knows what. She can hear certain frequencies (or maybe just senses them?). But the vacuum cleaner isn't one of them. She can't figure out why all the other kitties run away!
After having her eye removed, her energy levels went up 1000%. !!!!!!!!!!!! She's had no on-going problems or flare-ups from the herpes virus, and hasn't spread it to any of our other cats despite their close interaction for so many years (we lived in an RV when she was first rescued).
When we brought her home... she started purring. The only time she didn't purr was when she was sleeping. Playing, eating, drinking - always purring. There are some times now when she's not purring - but pick her up, she purrs, Give her treats, she purrs. Play with her, she purrs. She is just so happy to be alive! And she LOVES life so much she drives us nuts wanting to live it to the fullest all the time!Then there's little Ming Loy....
Ming Loy and her sister were literally thrown away. Garbage men found them in a plastic bag and took them to a county shelter. Our shelter took "left overs" from the county shelter. We had two hours to get them or they were going to be euthanized. We got them to the vet hospital, where they were named "Neuro" and "Logic" by the vet staff because they were both born with a neurological disorder - the same cerebellar hypoplasia that Weebles has.
The way our vet put it is that their brains were scarred. In these two, the result is a condition where their back legs don't work so well, they walk with their front legs rather stiff, and they shake when they get excited. Her older sister (Logic) doesn't have the conditions as bad as Ming Loy (formerly Neuro). But the result is so cute and comical - and it doesn't bother her in the least (although I'm sure she would prefer it if she could jump). We describe her as looking like a drunk with parkinson's disease - and that really fits the bill. But she was so bad off when we first brought her home that we had to pad the entire house. We had pillows and foam rubber everywhere. Any corner (wooden chests), pointy thing (rocking chairs) - pillows under anything she might climb up on, loads of padding at the bottom of the stairs.... It looked like a stereotypical "looney bin" in our home for six - eight months until she could control her muscles better.
She can't jump - but she can climb. I cannot tell you the heart attack we nearly had the first time we woke up to find her on top of a rather tall cat tree! She's great at going up - but not so great at going down. She's learned her limits (thank God!) and now won't climb further than she can safely get down.
She is a snuzzler, LOVES to play - and just has an indefatiguable happy attitude about life! Except when sleeping, she is constantly in motion.
But it's too cute - she can't stretch like the other kitties without falling over, so she always ends up stretching on her side.
She is all black - except her little "bikini." She has a thin white strip across her chest, and a little triangular patch on her abdomen. Too cute!Tuxedo
Tuxedo was one of the original "outside" kitties that got us involved in cat rescue and TNR. Tuxedo was a little ball of hiss and spit. They'd all come running when we came to feed them every day. Except Tuxedo, who'd bounce up like Tigger - but then stand his ground, arch his back, flair his tail, and hiss and spit! He was the second-smallest of the bunch, and man was he nasty!
We deemed him unadoptable, and figured he'd be part of the feral colony. But even that became a problem. He was completely disruptive. As other kittens showed up along the way, he sent two of them to the hospital, both needing stitches. What a nasty little cat he was.
It started snowing before Halloween that year (2002). And it got soooo cold. Single digits. Tuxie would NOT use any of the shelters we put out. But he would come for meals and warm cat milk or warm chicken broth we made to help warm up the kitties.
One day, after putting out food for Tuxie (who we slowly moved away from where we fed the colony), Tux did his usual spitting and hissing as Gary put the food down. In total frustration, Gary sat down in the snow on the picnic bench and started crying. Then Tuxie walked over and bumped him in the foot. And that was it. Tuxie was Gary's baby boy.
Sometime in February/March, it went below zero. And every time we opened the front door, Tuxie would come running. OK - he loved Gary - but he'd already sent two cats to the hospital, and we had to separate him from the colony altogether. What could we do?
We found a new boarding facility that was basically empty. The woman's family had bred persians, and seemed to know what she was doing. We explained the situation, and she agreed we could board our feral kitty. She would even let him out to run around and play with him, and work on socializing him.
We visited him all the time for a few weeks. He would jump into Gary's arms. Well - we weren't able to get over there for a week, and the lady called us and said "I think there's something wrong with your cat. Every time I let him out of the room (they had two story "rooms" that were about 4 feet wide and 3 feet deep), he runs and pees on the carpet." HELLO? We jumped in the car, got over there, and got him to the vet.
He had a urinary tract infection. Duh. But we still didn't know what to do with him - and we didn't want to take him back there. By this time we knew the vets really well, and the vet techs all gave whatever kitties we brought in there lots of extra attention. We decided to leave him there for a week or two to see if we could find a home for him.
While there, he attacked the vet, who needed stitches. But every time we visited, he would JUMP out of the cage into Gary's arms.
Then he stopped eating. The vet said - "There's nothing wrong with him. He has obviously bonded with you, and if you want him to live, you have to take him home."
Oh God. We'd had four cats in the RV already, because we'd fostered Munchkin for a few months before she was adopted. But four cats - with one of them a cat that has done nothing but show total aggression to other cats - and in SUCH a small space? The RV was 37 feet long by 8 feet wide!
But there wasn't anything else to do, so we brought him home. And he was home, immediately. He was so sick because he'd lost about half his body weight so quickly. The other kitties came and sniffed him - and he sniffed back. That was it. No fighting. No hissing. No growling. Nothing. It was like he'd been part of the "happy kitty" family from the beginning.
Then... it turned out Tuxedo had an autoimmune problem. We noticed over time that he'd become rather listless, and he started turning his back to us when we were in the same area. Then he would leave the area to be alone. We took him to the vet - and he was terribly anemic. It took a long time to figure out a solution to the problem, and we came very close to losing him twice. It's not technically autimmune hemolytic anemia, but it's something like that.
I'll never forget the day when Tuxie had again lost over half his body weight. He was skin and bones. His hematocrit was 7 (under 24 is anemic - anything under 12 - 14 just isn't survivable for long), and the Doc said "I'm out of bullets." He had done so much research, contacted experts all over the country, ruled out every disease. The prednisone worked for a while, but wasn't anymore. Vet decided to give him a shot of depomedrol (a steroid) instead of continuing to pill him with prednisone. And that was all it took.
Well - he'd been to the vet's every day for months to get various shots (Epogen, nupogen - things to build up his red and white blood cell counts). In fact, we moved to where we were at the time specifically so that our drive to this vet would only be 15 minutes instead of 45+ . Then the vet trips went from every day to every other day. Then every week. Then every other week. There were a few setbacks along the way, but he was a fighter boy, and he did not mind going to the vet. He was SUCH a good boy, and had it not been so clear he was not giving up there was a point when we might have considered euthanizing him. But he fought all the way back - and how he's his big, fluffy, alpha self. And he only needs to go to the vet every 4 - 5 months or so for his shot of depomedrol now!
Tuxie is our alpha. He ranges from Tigger to Ricochet Rabbit, LOL! But he's also our most expressively loving kitty to us. He purrs the moment we touch him or pick him up, he doesn't just head bump - he body bumps - and HARD. I remember when just one pet was all the loving he could stand. Now he'll turn cheek to cheek for endless pets.