Tuesday, July 22, 2008

And the moral of the story is...

Sunday evening... While leaving my father's neighborhood, I spotted this little guy laying under a truck. Someone got into the truck and started it up, and it was all this little guy could do to get up and out from under the truck...


He was thin, weak, and dirty. To be honest, he looked like he hadn't eaten in a very long time. I pulled my car over to the side of the road. Luckily I spotted a neighbor out in front of their house, so I hollered over, asking if he knew who owned the kitty. He came over and told me it was a stray who had been hanging around the neighborhood for the past few months.


Well, that was all I needed to hear. There was no way I could drive off and leave this poor thing behind. The same neighbor offered to loan me a cat carrier that he no longer used. He put the kitty inside the carrier and I put it in my car. But now what? It was Sunday evening so my regular vet wasn't open. I couldn't chance bringing him home because I have two indoor kitties, and I didn't know if this little guy had feline leukemia or rabies or God knows what else...


So I had no choice but to bring him to the 24 Hour Emergency Animal Clinic about a half hour from my home. They said they needed a name for the paperwork; Rocky seemed appropriate because he seemed like a fighter. I told "Rocky" that as long as he had some fight left in him, we would stick it out together, and that when he was strong enough I'd either find him a good home or keep him myself. They weighed him and said that at 6 lbs, he was about half of his ideal weight. They said they would keep him overnight, feed him, hydrate him if necessary, and test him for feline leukemia. So I left him in their care with the agreement that I would pick him up by noon the next day, at which point I would take him to my own vet for further evaluation.


Monday morning... Good news! The feline leukemia and AIDS test was negative. So now it was on to my vet for more blood work. It was determined that he was an old guy... he had a heart murmur and his mouth was very sore (major dental work would eventually be needed at a major expense). It was agreed that he would stay over for 2 nights at the vet's office so they could keep an eye on him (and so I could work on getting hubby to agree to a third kitty)... While he was in the examining room I took lots of photos of him to post on-line and to put on flyers, just in case he was lost and someone was searching for him. (And if that was the case, it looked like he'd been out on his own for a long time.)


Monday afternoon: Sometimes things just don't work out as planned... It turns out that this little guy isn't a stray, but actually lives across the street from the cat carrier man who told me he was a stray... So not only did I not rescue a stray, I had actually kidnapped somebody's cat!

Once that minor point was discovered, I had no choice but to return kitty back to his rightful owners (passing along the vet's recommendation to them that this little guy get dental work done pronto so he could eat, and that he be kept inside from now on because of his advanced age and poor health).

I then returned the cat carrier to the other neighbor, who asked me how everything turned out... When I told him I had just spent hundreds of dollars on a cat who was not only not a stray, but who in fact lived across the street from him, he felt kind of bad (but not bad enough to offer to pitch in for kitty's vet costs! ha ha)... He said he couldn't believe that anybody owned the cat because of the tough shape it was in...

I've actually done this twice before with kitties who were, in fact, strays... One kitty was very ill, tested positive for feline leukemia, and did end up having to be put to sleep; and then just a few years ago, we found a stray kitten who fell out of a wheel well at a local gas station. The woman driving the car said she did not want the kitten... that it was from a litter of kittens born to a stray that lived under her porch. We immediately took him to our vet where he was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection; we treated him with medicine and when he had a clean bill of health we gave him to a no-kill cat shelter; within two weeks he was adopted by a veterinarian and, to this day, is living happily in his 'forever' home. Thank goodness that sometimes, there are happy endings...

And the moral of the story is... before rescuing a 'stray,' make sure it is, in fact, a stray!!!

Update to comments: The owners did offer to pay for the rabies shot that the kitty received, but I told them I would take care of it as it was included with the entire bill that I had paid (and to be honest, it was a very tiny part of the overall bill).
I also have to point out that as unfortunate as this whole incident is, it really wasn't the owner's fault that I took their kitty (thinking it was a stray), so I would never expect them to reimburse me. I do know that when I returned him, I told the owners what the vet said about the kitty desperately needing $300-500 of dental attention, they said they didn't have that kind of money. But even though they can't afford to pay for the medical attention he needs, I'm sure he is in a home where he is loved... but it is so hard to see him in his current condition.
Unfortunately, and especially in these times, money is very tight and I don't want to pass judgment on these people because I have no idea what their situation is. I only know that for me personally, I prefer to keep my kitties inside and make sure they go to the vet regularly and get treated when medical issues arise; but I do realize (as hard as it is to accept) that many other people can't do that - and I never would never returned him if I thought he was being abused or hurt.
But thank you all for thinking of kitty and also wanting the best for him. I knew you were all a bunch of animal lovers!!

Update #2: I just wanted to clear up that this kitty is an indoor/outdoor kitty. I didn't want anyone thinking that he is forced to live outdoors. I've also learned that he is very old - 17 years, and his owners are having a hard time deciding on whether it is 'his time' or not.. never an easy decision... His age may have had a lot to do with him being slow moving to get out from under the truck, which I had initially attributed to being weakness from not eating (since at that time I didn't realize he was 17). Some of this info I didn't know when I first posted this, and some I intentionally left out because we never know who is reading our blogs and this family does have kids, and I wouldn't want any information about their cat possibly being put to sleep to get back to them in this manner, but since I highly doubt that they will happen to see this, I'm now sharing this information so everyone has a little clearer picture of the situation...

And I do wish we had a cat leash law like some communities do. I know my "Chips" would like that, too, as I've seen a couple snatched from my yard by well-fed cats (not strays) who roam the neighborhood.

Donna

23 comments:

cargol said...

You are so kind hearted to rescue a stray, too bad you found out he already had a home. He would have been fattened up immediately and gotten love if he stayed with you!

Susan said...

It's a shame that the kitty's owners weren't taking good care of him. I hope they do better from now on. You know there's a special place in heaven for people like you who care and even do more than they have to. Blessings to you for taking care of "Rocky." I think you're going to get an extra blessing for your good deed.

carolyn at cranberry crossings: said...

Awwww, I'm sorry that the cat turned out to belong to someone else. And too bad for the kitty that it's owners have not been taking very good care of him!
I don't think the cat could have been a sray for too long, because a cat can become feral in about two weeks and then most of them will not trust humans after that. I hope the owners will finally take better care of him now.
Did they offer to repay you for the mediacl bills? I hope they did.

Shelia said...

What a sweetie you are to rescue the poor little kitty! Shame, shame on the owners - they don't love this poor little kitty, it's obvious. You may have saved the little thing's life by your kindness! Maybe Rocky will run away - far away from his owners and some sweet person (like you) will take him in and love him.
You really are a sweetie,
Shelia :)

Rue said...

I really hope those people do the right thing as soon as they can. You are a VERY sweet person Donna :)

hugs,
rue

Angie said...

it is sad that he was so underweight..there really is just no excuse for that. an animal gives so much unconditional love...it is a gift to be blessed with one...i pray they realize that...unfortunately, we see alot of dogs and cats dumped out here in the country..and we set out food for them...but you went far and beyond by taking him to the vet...what a kind heart you have..

~Angie

tales from an O.C. cottage said...

You are awesome! I can never resist
an orange cat...even if it is a yucky 'ol tom! ( I have "pet napped" a pet or two in my day! OOOps!)
Great story!!!!

M ^..^

Renie said...

You are so kind and there will be a special place in heaven for wonderful animal lovers like you. I wish people had to get a pet license, like a driver's license, before they could have a pet. I feel so sorry for the poor kitty. He looked so scared and abandoned:(

Linda's Blue Gate said...

Poor Rocky... I wish you could have kept him.... what a wonderful giving person you are to take care of this kitty.... 6 pounds.... oh my the poor fellow....
Extra blessing will sure to come your way for your kindness to that poor kitty...
HUgs
Linda

Cottage Rose said...

Awwwwwwww what a huge heart you have, if not for you the kitty would have died, at lot sooner then expected. I pray the owners are going to take better care of the kitty. You have a good week.

Hugs;
Alaura

Dana said...

Well, I am heart sick and I know you are as well. That kitty needed a home where he would be taken care of and not one where he was put outside to fend for himself. Isn't there a leash law? There is here, even for cats. Plus, I guess I am going to pass judgement on this one. The cat is being abused by not being medically cared for---to the point that it is starving because he can't eat. Owning an animal does not give them the right to neglect their care because they don't have the money to pay for it. They would be doing the cat a service by turning it over to a shelter rather than starve to dealth.

I was crossing my fingers hoping this would have a happy ending--just as it did for the kitty I found "Twiggy". (Who, by the way, now has lots of mean on her bones!)

You have such a tender heart--you are a wonderful gal for trying your very best to help that little cat out.

NnN said...

Oh Donna, you are a good soul....and that sounds like something we would do...so many shelters and vets in this area no longer take in cats from ordinary people (they have to be brought in by the police) and feral cats are an issue for us. Both our cats are from shelters, and I wish everyone would spay and neuter their pets...it would save such heartache.....not in Rocky's case, but for the strays that we all want to rescue!

Deb said...

How kind of you to look after this cat. We are always feeding the "strays" in our neighbourhood too :-} & naming them, only to spot them on their front porches as we go for walks :-}

Joanne Kennedy said...

Oh I know times are hard on everyone but being the biggest animal lover in the world I get SO upset when I hear stories like this. If people can not afford to take care of thier pets then they SHOULD NOT HAVE THEM. It really doesn't matter to me if they love him. As their love is more self centered.

If they loved this cat they would do everything they could do to make sure he isn't sick like he is. No cat should be only 1/2 their weight.

I may sound like a heartless person but to me an animal is like a child. Unable to speak for themself.

If the law knew a child was in the same condition as this cat was they would have no problems taking the child away and putting the parents in jail. It doens't matter if money is tight. You do what you have to do.

I don't blame you at all. You did a wonderful thing. I only wish you didn't find out these people owned that poor kitty. Then you could have given it a wonderful life until his days were up.

My heart is just breaking over this.

If it were me, I would have to report them to the Animal control department. They should not have this kitty.

Big hugs to you for doing all you could. You are wonderful wonderful person.

Joanne

~~ATTIC CLUTTER~~ said...

Oh Donna that is quite a story, I feel for you and I understand how it is ..I'm such an animal lover it is so hard to ignore the poor little things.
well bless you for your kindness(:) big hugs Patty

Nancy at ManicForMosaics said...

Donna - The God of All Living Creatures will bestow great blessings on you for what you did. You did they right thing at the time, with what you knew at the time. I'm so glad there are people like you in this world!

You're right about now judging the owners though. My cat Zipper is 19 and looks skinny though she eats ALL the time. Her fur is getting kinda thin. But I love this cat like I love my own children! She may look like an orphan but she is well loved!

Cindy ~ My Romantic Home said...

Wow, you are a saint! I'm sure that kitty felt loved when you picked him up.

Edie Marie's Attic said...

You are so sweet and kind Donna! You had no idea what Rocky's story was but you saw a cat in need and helped him! At least you know the cat is medically alright for the moment and has a loving home. You are a good person and an animal advocate!
Hugs, Sherry

Anonymous said...

There will be an extra "star in your crown" for what you did for "Rocky". The same thing happened to me, except with a dog. I realized after looking at the big picture, the money I spent was money well spent and I would do it again if it in anyway helped a needy animal, stray or not. I lost my 18 year old dog, Chevy, two weeks ago. She took a piece of my heart with her, but she and I both knew it was time for her to go because of the problems she lived with due to her old age.
I won't say God Bless You, because with your geneours heart ... I'm sure he already has and will continue to do so. But, I will say thank you for the kindness you showed to "Rocky".

Jae

Pat said...

You have a good heart Donna! I'm glad you tried to help that kitty. I've always kept my cats indoors!

Hugs, Pat

Claudia said...

Bless you for your compassionate heart. I, too, have rescued strays. It is always a good thing.

Claudia

Laura said...

How sad for you to have to give this poor kitty back to it's owners! You are a kind-hearted person to open your heart and wallet to little Rocky! Gestures like this do not go unnoticed in life!

Laura :)

Liz said...

I agree with you! Our kitties are indoor cats and we take them out and stay with them until they come in.

That is a sad story.