I haven't posted a diary for quite awhile. I mostly lurk because I enjoy reading more than I think I can write. Anyway, something happened this week that really got to me.
Two years ago, my 83 year old mother lost her cat Nicky to Leukemia.The cat was 15 years old and had been with her for 15 years. They were very close. Nicky only had eyes for my mother--it would sit on her lap for hours and just look at her as if she was the Queen of England. It slept by her side and followed her all through the house. So when Nicky passed away, it was devastating to her. She cried many tears. Her eyes still fill up to this day even though Nicky has been gone almost 3 years.
So, 2 1/2 years ago, her sister and me finally talked her into getting another cat. If you are a Pootie Person, follow me below the Orange Cruller.
So, my aunt heard about 6 kittens that were living down the road and being cared for by a Humane Society volunteer. She was keeping them at her house with the mother cat until the kittens were old enough to be adopted. Once they were old enough, they would be brought back to the shelter for adoption. So my mom picked out her kitten and was told she would be able to come home with her in 3 weeks. During these 3 weeks, my mother decided to take the mother cat also. Fast forward to the day the cats came to their new house.
My mother had everything ready for the mother and daughter. New beds, 2 litter boxes and many toys. My son built her a huge cat tower, carpeted and everything. They had everything they needed. My mother was so excited. The only problem was that from the beginning, they wanted nothing to do with her. They ignored her. They ran from her. They wouldn't let her pick them up. They were together constantly under the bed or couches. Nothing she did would help. My mother lives 3 blocks away and I am at her house all the time. I never saw them. (It was a running joke in the family that when she talked about the cats, everyone would say "I didn't know you had cats" and we would all chuckle.) But I soon found out it wasn't funny to my mother.
A couple of weeks ago I caught her crying in the middle of the afternoon. She told me that the cats hate her. She asked what she was doing wrong. The cats were making her feel bad about herself. She sobbed "I give them everything....I do nothing but try to touch them but it seems all I do is clean up their litter, feed them and then watch them hide from me. I just can't do this anymore." I just can't live with it anymore and I feel horrible. It's killing me.
I was just heartbroken. All along I never knew how she did it. I have one cat right now just like it (I've had it for 4 years) but my other two make up what it lacks. She was devastated. My mother lives alone and having a lap cat is so important to her. So my aunt and I got together and discussed what we should do. It was tearing her apart. She was talking about returning them for several months but I didn't know how bad the situation really was. Until I saw her cry.
I have never surrendered an animal before last week. And I was about to surrender two. I have 3 cats myself, each one adopted. My aunt has 2 cats and 3 dogs, each one adopted. My aunt and myself were both unable to take them. The shelter is an hour away. I loaded the animals up and let my mother say her goodbyes. She felt awful. She sobbed. She felt like a horrible person to be doing this. We convinced her that the cats would be adopted together and they would find a lovely home. I wouldn't let her come because it was just too painful for her and I figured they would cry the whole way there. (They never made a peep)
So my aunt and I meet at Walgreens and we get into her car. By the time we got there we were crying like babies. There was nothing we could do. The fact that this was a no-kill shelter that my aunt volunteers for and has been supporting for many years was the only blessing.
So in we go and surrender the cats. Once that was done, we decided to take a look around and see the cats. And there in a little cage is an 8 year old Maine Coon that has been there for 5 weeks. We were told the owner had to move and couldn't take him. He was a lovely lap cat and needed a home. The sign on his cage said "lap cat" and he was 11.5 pounds (which is a little thin for a Maine Coon.) But what a lover! We sat in a little room and the volunteer brought him to us. He immediately laid on the floor and showed us his belly to get us to rub it. We both looked at each other and said, here we go.
So, I call my mom and she is still crying. We tell her about the cat and she cries it is too soon to even think about this! So we leave, say our goodbyes and I get on the road. I get back to my mom's and tell her all about this wonderful cat and how he needs a home. So, she said "Lets go". Back in the car we head on back. We sit in the room and the volunteer brings in the cat. It immediately goes to my mom and rubs against her leg and lays down on her foot.
So, we get the cat. And since my mother is a senior citizen and the cat is considered a senior, there is no charge. My mother was thrilled, but you can see she is still thinking of the 2 she surrendered. Anyhow, the 3 of us donate $20.00 each and left with the cat. She renames the handsome boy Rocky. We get home and the cat follows her all through the house. The first night, he sleeps the whole night right next to her up on the bed, just like her Nicky. My mother is parading herself through the house like a mother hen. She is more upbeat than I have seen her in a very long time.
We got him on Monday and by Tuesday night it had yet to eat. I call the Vet and make an appointment for Wednesday morning. When you adopt a cat from this particular shelter, you get one month of cat insurance, up to $750. worth. We get to the Vet and she listens to his heart and then opens the cats mouth. His teeth and gums are so infected (puss and everything) and full of gingivitis that the doctor can't believe the cat was not crying. The cat is also 9 pounds and not 11.5 like the day it arrived at the shelter. So in 5 weeks, it lost 2.5 pounds. The cat immediately needs oral surgery to remove his big tooth in the front and several other small ones. We get an estimate....$600.00. I call the Society and then the health insurance company to no avail. They cannot help. Of course, oral surgery is not covered by the health plan.
The doctor leaves us alone for a minute and I am freaking out. I want to melt into the floor, click my heels and fly away. What have I done to my mother! And how could the shelter not have seen this during the initial examination? The poor cat was in that cage for 5 weeks in pain, losing weight by the day. Whoever surrendered the cat must likely have known. Possibly they couldn't afford it? Possibly it broke their hearts when they surrendered it? Possibly they are still crying about it?
So my mother (who lives on a very fixed income) says "what can you do", if Rocky needs it, he needs it. Just like that.
So, we leave the cat for his surgery and we were told to pick him up later that night. The final bill was $666.00---((((((oh, for Pete's sake--why couldn't they have made it $667.00???)))))
Everything went well and the cat is home happy and safe. It follows my mother from room to room. It sleeps right by her side. It rests on her lap. My mother is ecstatic with Rocky. She just loves him already and he loves her. I have been feeding him special diet wet food mixed with water with a syringe. He takes his medicine like a trooper. My mom wanted me to do it so Rocky wouldn't be mad at her. He is a hairy ball of love. And I wish I could describe to you how Rocky has changed my mother. She has a lift in her step. And so does Rocky. She now has a cat who needs her and loves her and sleeps by her side.
My mother may have saved poor Rocky's life. And we pray that the two cats she dropped off will soon be with a family who loves them and they will be soon be happy at last. Because that it what its all about. Please visit your local shelter today!