Tuesday, November 6, 2012

She had me at "Meep!"

Two years ago this month my daughter talked us into being foster parents at the local APL (animal protective league). We figured she would lose interest pretty quickly so we agreed. The day we went in for orientation was the day we brought home our first foster. 

She was all white, a tiny matted kitten.. She'd been found in a basement and was severely underweight and had a bad case of diarrhea which did not help.  She was less than half a pound. They needed someone to take her for a couple of weeks to "fatten" her up. (that made me giggle and think of Hansel and Gretel) 

Looked pretty fluffy huh? Not so much!

When we got her home we wanted to give her a bath to clean off the feces and try to get some of the knots out. Her fur was speckled with dried blood from being infested with fleas. The APL had given something that killed all the fleas.  We got the sink ready and the water the right temperature, but none of us were ready for what we would see. I felt sick to my stomach and my eyes burned with tears. This cat was nothing but bones. Her hip bones stuck out and all you could see was every bone in her rib cage and the skin almost seemed to sink in between them. She was shivering so hard and nothing seemed to be helping to get her warm. I eventually put her against my skin and kept my hand over the towel that was covering her. It took for what seemed like forever for her to stop shivering.

We found she was too weak to hold her head up by herself. She was unable to walk and if she tried she just fell over and laid there not able to get up.  I hand fed this kitten and had to give her water from a syringe. She started to improve almost immediately. She started getting stronger and by the second day she was able to lift her head. I would sit for hours with her laying on my chest, her nuzzled up under my chin. She even tried to take a few steps, wobbly but she was able to do it.

Unfortunately, on the third day the diarrhea was so bad it took her right back to being too weak to lift her own head. We took her back to the APL to have her checked out. They hooked her up to an IV because she was dehydrated.  They asked if I could try again and take her home with me. They explained that sometimes no matter what we try some of the animals don't make it. Some are just too weak to survive. My heart squeezed in my chest. This kitten I called Meeper, because that was the only sound she could make... a meep, might not make it.  It was at that moment I wondered if I would be strong enough to do this. Could I?

We took her home. But unfortunately I was unable to give her the care she needed. I had to return her to the APL, and they sent her to an experienced foster parent. They assured me that it was nothing I had done wrong. It was not a good situation for our first foster.  

I found out two months later she was healthy and ready for adoption. They also discovered she was much older than they had thought at first. She was about 7-8 months old!! She was so small because she was starving to death. 

I go to see her, my "meeper" and hold her one last time before she was adopted.  She knew me, and she snuggled up under my chin and started to purr.

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