She was a teeny, tiny, ragmuffin of a kitten. My Mama fed the neighborhood feral cats on her back porch. One cat had adopted Mama. She found ways and means of giving birth to kittens in Mama's cellar, back porch, and everywhere around the exterior of the house. Mama named the ever so fertile cat, Mamacita, for obvious reasons. This kitten was one of the many from Mamacita.
My 8 year old and 11 year old daughters were with me. My husband was back in Portland, Oregon blessing the quiet of our home as he studied the law. Keeping two small children quiet in a humble cottage was simply impossible for any length of time. So off to Utah we went to see our beloved Mom and Grandma.
The first day we arrived I couldn't seem to tear my eyes away from the kitten on the porch. She could not stand. It seemed as though she might have a broken leg. When Mama would put food on the porch she would wait until all the other cats had eaten their fill, and then slowly, painfully, she would drag herself to what was left.
My daughters could not bear the sight of another creature suffering. My husband and I had been rescuing cats since we first married. The girls had seen that example.
The oldest came to me, "Mama, we have our vacation money that we earned. We'll give you all of the money if you will take the kitten to the vet."
I tried to argue but it was halfhearted at best. How could I ignore this creature's need? So to the vet we went. The little feral kitten was so sick that she didn't even resist when we put her in a carrier to go to the vet.
The vet told us that she had been in a fight. Her right front leg had become abcessed (an infection that usually is limited to the site of the wound). In her case (for we found out that the little creature was a girl) the infection had spread to her entire system. She was deathly ill. Left untreated she would have died.
I asked my Mother permission to let me bring the kitten into the house. I knew that if I started to give her antibiotics, and she started to feel better, our feral kitten would be gone. She would relapse, die, and the entire attempt at rescue would be for nothing.
Mama did not believe in having indoor pets, but graciously she agreed to let the kitty stay in our bathroom. We gave the kitten food, water, and a kitty box. We gave her a soft blanket to sleep on, and Katty Kaliko (our oldest daughter named her) went from feral to family.
The first night I stumbled into the dark bathroom. I didn't even turn the light on, (I had lived in that house for many years). Sleep clumsy I stumbled into the bathroom cat existence completely forgotten. Suddenly I was greeted by the warmest, loveliest purring that I had ever heard. It was vibrant, and every couple of minutes a chirping was part of the purr.
Her grateful purring started when anyone walked into the bathroom. It was amazing to me. She was FERAL, meaning wild, and wanting NOTHING to do with humanity. How did she know that we were trying to save her life?
Giving her bitter, gag awful antibiotics didn't seem to cause her a minute's resistance. She would suck the nasty stuff up like it was catnip. Even when her health improved she didn't become vicious. She never clawed us, or bit us.
When our vacation was done we were flying home to Portland. We could not afford to purchase a seat for our kitty. The airline policy was that if you took an animal in a carrier under the seat, you had to pay the price of a seat. I understand the rule. Imagine a nervous cat in a noisy airplane urinating or defecating. The plane would become nasty quickly.
As life would have it, my sister was traveling to the Oregon Coast the following weekend. So she brought Katty Kaliko to us. Quickly, the tiny kitten adapted to our life. Nyle, my husband, used a motorized scooter due to mobility issues. We would plop her in the basket, and off we would go for a walk (me), ride (Katty and Nyle).
Our youngest girl began using Katty as a doll. She dressed her in all the most elegant of doll clothes. Then she would put her in a stroller made for dollies and wheel her about the house, and up and down the street in front of our house. This continued for about a year. Finally one day Katty was finished with playing house. She fussed and growled when Sarah tried to dress her, and then she ran away. That was it...KATTY WAS DONE!
For sixteen years she faithfully acted as family confidant (she's excellent at keeping secrets), guru of chill, (nobody can teach you how to chill effectively better than a cat), and filled our home with unlimited quantities of her musical purr.
We were very surprised to learn that this little kitty with the magnificent purring capabilities meowed like the worst scratchy, rusty, door hinge you can imagine. She had the purr of Heaven and the meow from Hades! lol
When my husband died at 54 and I moved into an apartment, living alone for the first time in my life, our little kitty slept faithfully by my side. When I would awaken crying in the middle of the night, Katty would purr, and then lovingly wash my face with her teeny, tiny, tongue. (That felt like I was being sanded by the smallest sandpaper imaginable).
So imagine our families sorrow at learning that sixteen year old Katty has a tumor in her bladder. If she were a human they would remove the tumorous bladder and give her a urostomy. She would then have a teeny, tiny, little bag on her side where the urine would travel instead of her bladder. Katty is NOT a human, she's much nicer than many, many humans.
Modern science can clone animals...why don't they learn how to make our pets live longer instead!! At 16 our kitty is the equivalent of a 98 year old human. We all know that death is an inevitable part of life. That realization does not seem to make it easier when our loved ones both human and animal die.
Especially when we have to make the excruciating decision to euthanize our pet rather than letting their suffering go on, and on, and on.
TOMORROW! We are taking Katty to the Vet. They will do an ultrasound of her bladder and tell us exactly what they are able to visualize. Then it will be our turn to make a decision. At least I have the comfort of knowing that when it IS Katty's time to pass away, there will be Nyle's loving arms waiting to welcome her. Yet oh how we will miss her!