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The Last Rescue. Flapjack’s Story Ch 2

(continued from Ch 1)

It was late at night. I was mindlessly surfing through my Facebook feed. I happened upon my friend, Joan’s post. She was sharing a video of a kitten. He was probably six weeks old. He couldn’t stand on his own. His legs were bent at painful angles as he dragged himself along the dirty wooden floor. Other kittens ran past him as he struggled to keep up.

The post was written by someone who had a cat who’d had kittens. She was going to give them away to good homes, but she was not sure how she could help this twisted little kitten. Thing is, I doubted they had any way of knowing what a good home was (would they do any reference checks or just hope the person wasn’t going to do something awful to the kittens? It's hard enough for us to find good homes and we DO check adopters out.) and it was likely they’d never find anyone to do the right thing for this severely handicapped little nugget. They’d probably have to put him down.

I’ve easily seen a thousand posts about kittens needing rescue this year. I get notices about them from all over the country, every single day. I tell myself not to do anything because I need a break. I say someone else will grab them and often times rescue does come.

I’ve seen images or gotten messages about terribly injured, deformed, frail newborns, and for some reason, now it’s okay to show them after they’ve died. Yes, it’s real life. Yes, this is what happens to so many kittens. They’re so fragile. There aren’t enough foster homes. But I don’t need to see it because that one person who posts a photo of a dead kitten thinks they’re the only one who did that today, but if you do rescue, your social media feed will end up having too many of those images. I want to protect myself from that right now. It hurts me every time I see those heartbreaking photos. Do I want to keep exposing myself to that?

My goals should be to sort out how to go on…how to resolve the palpitations…how to feel like my life isn’t one difficult moment after another—maybe find a way to not feel like I have to care for anyone or anything 24-hrs a day and just care for myself for once.

But the video haunted me.

I’ve never written about this before, but when I’ve done rescue, I get a feeling about a cat or kitten that tells me “this is the one” I need to help next. Consciously I may not even agree with my gut-feeling, but over the years I've learned to trust it. So I help that creature, even if the idea terrifies me. After 15 years of doing rescue, I still worry I don’t know enough about what to do when I take on a new foster cat and I've never had a kitten with mobility issues like this.

But I wasn’t going to take any kittens, even though my infamous blue bathroom foster room was sparkling clean and ready for them. I actually enjoy having that bathroom as a bathroom again for the first time in YEARS. So I told myself, no. Just leave things be. If you’re going to take any kittens, they have to be local and it has to be easy.

But my gut told me it was time to help again, even if I wasn’t sure I could do this any more. It was only one kitten who needed help. I could focus all my efforts on him, get him to our surgeon, maybe get a brace or do other therapies to help him walk again. I worried we wouldn’t even have an option to help him at all and I had to face that he might have to be euthanized no matter what I do.

I asked Joan if she could foster the kitten and help me out since she’s in the area where he is located. She had been troubled by the video, too, but was full-up with foster kittens already. Joan and I have rescue kittens before. She had to handle the 13 Sweet Superheroes two years ago. We went through Hell together. She took the brunt of it having to face us losing a few kittens 10 days after rescue. She had to foster the kittens an extra few weeks due to that, but she was a trooper. She didn’t give up and freak out on me. I did everything I could to cover all costs and support her emotionally as well as financially. We got really close after that. Joan is one of the few rescuers I can completely trust.

I figured Joan wouldn’t be able to take the kitten on and I’d be off the hook. I could go back to hiding, feeling like I tried.

But Joan said, “Yes. I can help you.” She wanted to help him, too.

So that’s how I ended up with 5 foster kittens coming to Connecticut to the infamous blue bathroom foster room. They’ll be here in 10 days. My immediate goal is to raise funds for their care so let me introduce them to you.

Flapjack Shortstack

Flapjack reminds me of Fred, our beloved Mascot of Kitties for Kids, who passed away from FIP in May of 2013. Fred was one of the sweetest, most special kittens I’ve ever known. When I look at Flap, I see that same sweetness mixed with a bit of sass that makes me want to fight to save his life…just as we tried with Fred. I half-wonder if Flap is Fred, re-born, or if that's fair to put on Flap? Flap is happy-go-lucky, plucky, even. He doesn’t know he’s different. He tries hard to not let anything get him down. Because he’s got a great will to live, we’re going to do everything it takes for him.

I’ll get more into Flap’s backstory in another post. For now we have him in quarantine at a Vet’s office until he can be transported to us in CT. We’ve begun evaluations. Most of them haven’t been very promising. Three DVMs said to put him down. A surgeon where Flap is located said they would try to help him and my surgeon, Dr Deb (who is phenomenal) said “Let’s fix him!” after I sent her Flap’s initial report.

It’s tough to find out what ails him exactly. One vet thought he might be missing the “wrist” bones in his front legs. One thought physical therapy might help him if he had a problem with his tendons not wanting to flex properly-which could be due to his very poor diet. So we began PT already and improved his diet to see if it would help.

Thing is, all this is adding up quickly. Consultations aren’t free and boarding is $16/day. That doesn’t cover vaccinations, vetting, de-worming, de-flea-ing, snap tests (for FIV and FeLv) just to get them here. Flap will need a great deal of care, so we’re trying to get funding to make that happen. I’m very scared because there’s so much competition for rescue-funding that I worry we won’t have what we need to be able to help Flap walk.

Sugarsnaps

Flap’s sister is Sugarsnaps. She’s a calio, and a pistol, and loves her brother to pieces. I realized if I was going to rescue Flap, I should offer to have his sister come with him because they were already bonded and he could have a companion to comfort him while we work on getting him on his paws.

Cash and sister at 7 weeks
Sugar and Flapjack. Friends forever.

Thing is, their human mom promised Sugar to someone else. Joan and I held our breath for a few days while we waited to find out if the kitten was going to be given away. I couldn’t push Stefanie (the mom) about her choice. She’d made a promise. She had to keep it. I would never interfere with that. If I was disrespectful, we wouldn’t have gotten Flap, either. Things would work out the way they were supposed to. I had faith in that.

Fortunately, the adoption fell through so Sugar would be joining us.

Two kittens rescued. I can totally handle that.

Tickle Nurbington

Perhaps the weirdest name I’ve ever come up with, Tickle is the last kitten in Flap’s family who wasn’t spoken for. Tickle is a knockout. I’d be an idiot not to offer her a rescue placement, too. She’s fluffy (my Kryptonite) and sweet and LOOK AT THAT FACE!

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Tickle Nurbington.

Okay, so three kittens is not bad. It’s really doable. No worries.

Boom-Boom McGillicuddy

A few days passed. I got a video from the Vet’s office where the kittens are being boarded. I saw Flap and his sisters jumping around having fun, but there was a gigantic white kitten with a black tail and black spot playing with them. If she had tabby coloring instead of black, she’d look a lot like my own cat Spencer. She videobombed the video. What was she doing WITH OUR KITTENS WHO ARE IN QUARANTINE?

Wait...there was another kitten in the video…an orange tabby with a white bib. Who was that? You can’t combine kittens with each other or you break quarantine!

After a frantic call to Joan, I found out someone decided it was fine for the kittens to meet each other. The “bonus kittens” were Joan’s. She’d had to board them for a month because her home was partially destroyed last year by a microburst and she had no foster space left.

Now we had to worry that the kittens were going to make each other get sick and start the 10-day quarantine clock again.

Trinket Worthmore

So that’s how I came to rescue five kittens when I didn’t want to save even one. Since the kittens were all together, who was I to break them up now? I could help Joan by taking her two (and later she did rescue another kitten because I’d made a commitment to taking hers...see below).

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Joan's "bonus" rescue kitten.

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Trinket (right) with his mom (left). Mom will be placed locally by Joan's rescue after she's spayed.

Trinket is Boom-Boom’s brother. He’s going to be enormous. He’s only about 10-weeks old and is bigger than his mom. Trinket looks way too much like our beloved Nicky, who passed away three years ago. Sam saw the photo of Trinket and tears welled up in his eyes. This group is going to be an emotionally charged one for us, but fate has deemed it so, and so it shall be.

Please help us make this rescue happen and help provide the comfort we need to know we can provide for Flapjack. We scrape and we save as much as we can, but we don’t have any big-pocket donors and we don’t get wads of grants. Because none of get a salary, every dime goes towards our cats.

If, for some reason we got more funds than we think we need (unlikely), they will go to providing for Pistachio because he needs a very expensive procedure called a Lavage (to test the fluid in his lungs) or it will go to giving Mia a much-needed dental cleaning and tooth extraction.

We’re a legit 501c3 non-profit. Our EIN (Tax ID) is 27-3597692

Ways you can help:

Venmo: @KittenAssociates

PayPal: PayPalMe.KittenAssociates (donation of any size…you do not have to have a PayPal acc’t to donate)

Checks: (Make out to Kitten Associates) Mail to Kitten Associates, P.O. Box 354, Newtown, CT 06470-0354

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We're going to do everything we can to help you walk, Flap. With our friends by our side, we can do anything.

Flap's backstory and more...to be continued....

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