Hrmn.... I've had a lot of animals in my lifetime so far... so I'll just tell you about Tosca and Bootie. Otherwise I'd be here all day!
I moved to copenhagen, Denmark in July 2005 and had just had to rehome my two beloved kitties from the UK - Sprocket and Greebo. I was really upset that I couldn't bring them with me, but I knew it was the best thing for them to have new homes because I would be moving into an apartment and they had been used to a house and garden. So after a couple of months my DH and I went out to the local cat rescue centre and chose a little tuxedo girl (who was called Emma) to bring home again. She had had kittens when she was only a few months old and still a baby herself - when they found her in a barn, there were some tiny kittens. The people who found her called the shelter to come and take her somewhere safe, but when they got to her, the babies were nowhere to be found.
They searched high and low for them, to no avail. Of course, because my name is Emma, she couldn't really keep hers - she'd only had the name for a couple of weeks and wasn't responding to it anyway - and it would be bad enough for Rune to shout "EMMA!" in the apartment and have me ignore him, much less the cat as well!!
We both have musical backgrounds and decided to give her an operatic heroines name - we settled on Tosca after she tried to throw herself out of the balcony (through the window without opening it, I might add
- I know there were no windows on the balcony in the opera, but it worked all the same!) She lived for two weeks in our closet because she was so shy and scared, but now, you have to try and hold her back from people!
Bootie is also a rescue cat - by the time her mum came into the shelter with 6 tiny kittens, I was working there! I specialize in working with the ferals and mums and kittens, so she was put in my charge. The downside was that mum had had a virus while she was pregnant and all 6 kittens were born with it. Mum managed to fight it off with a little help - TLC and some penicillin to fight infections etc - but four of the babies were beyond our help. The kindest thing for them was to give them peace. They were underdeveloped and had difficulties breathing and moving. That left two. Bootie and her brother, who we named Toffi. Bootie was in fact the runt of the litter, but surprised us all by fighting off the virus. It had attacked the cerebellum in her brain and had prevented key neurological connections from being made - her balance was dreadful and for a while, her back legs more or less had a mind of their own. She had no "cat language" body or vocal and our vet was convinced that she may never do. Our vet was convinced that we should euthanise her - but I vetoed it! I fought for her because I could see that there was a little character behind the vacant eyes just trapped and waiting to break free. A colleague and I fostered the two remaining kittens when they were old enough to be separated from mum at 16 weeks (we gave them an extra 4 together because the virus had been so devastating). Mum very quickly found a new home - she is now called Trixi and living the high life with a faily who adores her! Toffi, though beautiful, wasn't very bright and had a passion for stringy thingies. We "cat proofed" the entire apartment for him and still he managed to pull a thread from under the sofa. He swallowed it - and kept swallowing until he'd managed to eat a length of thread that was about 2.5m long!!
He had emergency surgery to remove it all from his stomach and intestines, but unfortunately, he then got a very severe infection that he couldn't fight. We did the best we could for him too, but it wasn't enough. We had to make that heartbreaking decision to let him sleep
That left Bootie. She was still walking funny and missing her brother too, so it was really tough for her. When it came to the end of the fostering period, I couldn't give her back to the shelter. I simply couldn't let her go back there to sit in a cage and wait for a family - she'd been doing so well in a foster home that she'd learned to walk, and she was getting better at vocal sounds. She still couldn't jump, but that didn't matter. So I paid for her and took her home to Tosca. Tosca was quick on the uptake that Bootie wasn't "normal" and they've both learned a little something from eachother. She still had the vacant look for a while - but one day, just out of the blue, she suddenly became focussed. And that's when I KNEW I'd done the right thing and she had taken the chance that we gave her. She was a fighter and she'd come out of the other side
Bootie now not only walks and runs normally, if a little funny, she can jump and vocalise properly (she does have her own "turn of phrase" for different things, but that's ok
) but she has demonstrated a level of intelligence far beyond that which our vet had believed she would ever have. She can open doors (Tosca can't!) and she has learned different sounds and so knows if you're in the kitchen to make her food, or a cup of tea, she has learned the sound of the alarm clock and if I can't hear it through the earplugs, she will come and wake me up. I'm so proud of her, she's my baby!!
Tosca and Bootie have both got very peculiar little personalities, but that's what makes them so wonderful!