Friday, July 23, 2010

Why I've been away so long...

This is Chloe about two months ago, when I first brought her home. Some time last winter, She was left to fend for herself in the snow. There are lots of ways she could have ended up there, but the result was the same. Many kittens don't survive winter outside, and it's easy to find feral cat feeders with stories about clearing away the dead ones after the first thaw. Without help, this would have been her fate too.

Chloe was lucky, and someone found her before she ended up frozen in the snow. She was less lucky in that she landed in a high kill shelter where she had little to no chance of escape. This particular shelter doesn't have an adoption program, so her only hope was to be picked up by her owner, or by a rescue group. Chloe likely never had an owner, and if she did he was the one who left her outside in the cold. He wasn't going to come back for her. Somehow she managed to avoid several euthanasia days to be rescued by my new hero, Beth, and taken to a foster home to wait out her two week quarantine and get ready to be adopted. You can see a picture of Chloe, at the time named "Tortalini", and read about her rescue here.

After her quarantine was up Chloe was listed on the Toronto Cat Rescue website for adoption. That's where we fell in love with her. She sounded like the perfect, affectionate little cat and had the wonkiest eyes in her photo, olive green and bugged out. After a phone screening and a chance to meet Chloe up close, we got to take her home. She has seriously been the most wonderful cat I could have hoped for. One of the great things about TCR is that each cat has a description of their personality, written by the foster family they've been living with, that is freakishly accurate. I know several people who've adopted cats through them, and they've all gotten cats just like they were expecting. I really recommend this group if you're looking to add a cat to your family.

One of the questions I was asked during the phone screening was what my plans were for paying for any unexpected medical costs. I did have a plan, but assumed I wouldn't have to use it any time soon. Chloe was just such a healthy, active kitten. Except that she was drinking a huge amount of water. Enough that I decided she needed to see the vet about it.

At first the vet thought she might have damaged kidneys from drinking anti-freeze during her time outside. Apparently this is a fairly common affliction among strays found during winter months. Tests were done, and I was completely freaking out waiting for the results. It turned out Chloe had a massive infection, possibly her bladder, kidneys or both. We spent the next 30 days giving a very squirmy cat antibiotics, and hoping for the best.

This Wednesday, after another round of tests ,we got the news that Chloe is offically over her infection! I couldn't be happier to have a healthy cat. We hadn't noticed any lethargy in Chloe during her illness, but I can't believe how much energy she has now. It's like living with a little black and white whirlwind!

In the end, all of the vet bills and medication came to about $500. This was a relatively low cost illness, and the bill could have very easily soared well above that. Vet care is something I think a lot of people, especially my age, tend to skim over when making the decision to adopt a pet. I really hope you will consider the cost before choosing to adopt, and if you decide it's more than you can handle, consider fostering.

Hundreds of cats die every week in the shelter Chloe was rescued from. She's only with us now thanks to the hard work of people like Beth, and her foster family. If you can't afford to look after a forever kitty, please think about fostering one for a group such as TCR. Foster families look after the basic needs of the cats rescued from the shelter, with the rescue group covering the vet fees. This is a wonderful way to save a cat's life, and have the joy of sharing your home with one (or several!). You can find out more about fostering for TCR and fill out an application here.

Anyway, that's where I've been the last few weeks, with all of my attention and spare time going to Chloe and the quest to make her well. I can't think of a better way to have spent it.

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