Over a year ago, I rescued a family from Henry County Care & Control in McDonough, Georgia. They were like any other family I'd rescued before-a young mama cat and her kittens, who were dumped by their former family to await death in a steel cage. They were a problem to be gotten rid of and forgotten about. The folks at Henry County prayed for help. They never want to end the life of any animal, yet their hand is forced when space runs out or a cat gets sick. Easily treatable conditions, mean an untimely death. They kill to prevent transmission of illness to the others, but it's so unfair that a simple sniffle can mean “the end.”
©2010 Betsy Merchant. Another family who needs rescue waits for a miracle.
This little family was getting sick. The kitten's eyes were getting watery looking, a sure sign an upper respiratory was brewing. They had to get out of the shelter ASAP so we decided to cross our fingers and hope we got them out before the virus could take hold. We got them out in time, but we were too late to stop the illness from ravaging their tiny bodies.
To date, this family was the sickest family I've ever rescued. The kittens, Polly Picklepuss, Chester Cheesetoes and little CaraMelle suffered terribly and for months. Their mama, who I named, Mazie, watched protectively over them, trying desperately to help them get better, but she, too, got the URI. At least she had an intact immune system and was able to fight off the worst of it, while her offspring battled one wave after another of waxing and waning illness.
©2010 Maria S. Mazie and family off to the Vet, yet again.
The kittens were taken to the Vet, the Emergency Vet, we consulted with our homeopathic Vet, Dr. Ann Hermas. We did everything we could. Poor Mama-Maria, their awesome foster mom, was providing their care, but at the cost of her own well being. What stress she suffered having to go to work, leaving sick kittens at home, wondering if she'd find them living when she returned. She did so many vet runs, it almost became a joke, but we were both too stressed to laugh about it.
©2010 Maria S. Keeping a watchful eye on her family.
After a few months, the kittens were stable enough to move north. They came up on a private transport so they'd have the best care possible. When they arrived, they seemed to be in fairly good condition, but I expected things to go downhill and they did rather quickly.
©2010 Maria S. Comforting a very sick, Polly.
While Mazie did all right, her kittens did not fare as well. Cara, in particular was very ill, vomiting frequently. Polly's eyes were awful. Chester seemed less effected. We guessed it was because he was born first and bigger than his sisters.
It was a very LONG, difficult struggle. I was taking the kittens to the vet, wondering what to do for poor Cara, whose vomiting was stunting her growth. You may recall that Cara had to see specialists and ended up having three endoscopies over four months. Chester and Polly had to see an eye specialist. They had scar tissue in their tear ducts that resulted in chronic weepy eyes.
©2010 Maria S. Our most loving and caring Mama, ever, Mazie.
As the kittens finally got better, Mazie took a sudden, frightening turn for the worse. This was no URI, but we didn't know what was causing her soaring temperature, projectile vomiting and lethargy. In May, Mazie was hospitalized and put on an IV for a few days. We did blood work, x-rays and a lot of head-scratching. If Mazie didn't turn around she was going to die. It was so shocking to even consider-after all this, now I'm going to lose not a kitten, but their Mother?
©2010 Maria S. Mazie taking a break from motherhood.
Mazie recovered. She was weak and on antibiotics for awhile. We never figured out what happened to her, only that she seemed well. Her appetite came back and she got that sparkle back in her big owly eyes. I was reluctant to relax. This family had been sick for EIGHT MONTHS. You can read more about the kittens HERE, Mazie getting sick: HERE, and more about them HERE.
©2010 Maria S. Mazie with Polly (left), Cara (right) and silly Chester (below).
Then Chester got adopted and is now named, Boris. He lives with a lovely family and two dogs and two older cats. Recently, Boris got a new buddy. The older cats didn't want to play with him so his family adopted another young cat so Boris would have a pal. I'm told they were instant best friends.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Mazie with Polly and Cara.
Polly was well enough to be adopted, though her eyes will always be a bit runny. She went with MacGruber, who was one of our favorite orangey-goodness babies. They're doing GREAT and having blast in their new home. Their parents dote on them and can't wait to spend their first Christmas together.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Mazie feeling better after her spay.
Little Cara had a benefactor during her protracted illness. My dear friend Connie fell in love with her from the start and was always there to help pay for Cara's Vet bill when our pockets were empty. Without Connie, I don't know what would have become of Cara.
When Cara was well enough, she began to spend time with Connie and her many cats. First, as a foster, then as the little Princess who now runs the household. Cara has blossomed into a lovely young lady. We thought we'd lose her so many times, but now she's doing well, thriving and enjoying her life with Connie and her other kitties. Cara looks more and more like her mama, Mazie, every day.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. MPolly doesn't want to share!
But what about Mazie? Where is her forever family?
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Visiting Dr Larry.
Mazie was supposed to go to Animals in Distress, but with so many issues coming up and her being around sick kittens, I felt it was not fair to expose a shelter full of cats to who-knows-what (we think, in the end, it was a very nasty herpes virus that sickened this family).
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. The worst is over for Chester, but Cara, still sick and tiny and mama-Mazie is brewing something that may kill her.
After Mazie fell ill, we certainly could not move her. By the time her offspring were adopted, Mazie had full run of the house and had met my other cats. It freed up the foster room so I could help more cats and she had space to stretch out and new friends (or not!) to make.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. A very sick kitty.
Mazie integrated beautifully into my home. She is always on the lookout for something. It's as though without her kittens to protect, she's watching out for us.
She loves to climb the tallest cat tree and survey her territory or slap Blitzen and the DOOD in the face if they challenge her from below. It's comical, not violent. Mazie loves to visit me in my office and is often “chatting” with me about thins or that. Mostly she wants to be picked up or be close to me. I know she doesn't get enough one on one attention and she so deserves it.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Boucing back, Mazie is ready for play time! I love her kooky face!
She knows if she's doing something, like get into the pantry, that she's not supposed to do. If I scold her she meows at me, then gives me a sassy HISS as she passes next to me!
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. With her kittens now adopted, Mazie takes a break on a cat bed next to my desk. This is one happy cat.
God forbid a mouse enters the house because Mazie will find it. Normally we get one sullen, suicidal mouse in our house each autumn, but in the past two months, Mazie has taken out EIGHT of them! Yes, we need to check out our basement and find out where they are coming in. I pity any mouse who is foolish enough to enter our home. Mazie doesn't make a mess with them, she just kills them, then the DOOD will run off with the body, growling away, until we can get it from him. Mazie, proud of her work, doesn't need to protect her kill. The fun part for her is over and she simply sits on the floor looking proud of herself.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. After six months of being on a raw diet, Mazie's coat is like satin. She's gained a bit of weight and her face filled out a bit. She's nine pounds, up from about five pounds since she started this journey with us. This is her favorite spot in the house, this goofy hanging basket from one of our cat trees.
Mazie reminds me of my cat, Squeegee, who passed away many years ago. Squeegee had white mittens, stripes and patches, big green eyes. Mazie always looks like she's wondering what's going on. I think it's her big eyes that make her look so curious, and her constant chattering that makes me laugh.
I've come to love Mazie as my own and I've truly enjoyed seeing her blossom into a fine young lady.
But it's time. Time for her to move on. Time for me to make room for more. This will be the toughest adoption I have ever done. I feel like I'm not doing an adoption, but rehoming my own cat. 14 months is a very long journey and Mazie got under my skin. If she never left, I wouldn't be upset about it, but in fairness to her, she deserves a better home where she can get lots of attention and not have to struggle to find a place on the bed to sleep that isn't already taken by another cat.
I can rationalize this all I want, but in the end, this will be painful and I have to stand by my conviction that it's not good for her to not have everything she needs. If I can find that with another family, then she will enjoy her life with them.
That's IF I can let her go.
I need to prepare myself that Maize won't always be with me. I need to prepare myself because that moment is coming soon. In fact, that moment is now.
Mazie's adopters are here.