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14 September 2007

Cats: Willy Wonka and Joey (who names these cats?) I’m writing about these kittens before I even get them because one of the kittens, Joey, has had a Hell of a life at the tender age of 12 weeks. I’ve seen a few photos of him and I’m already broken-hearted. The little guy was rescued, all alone. No siblings or mother. His left front leg is damaged. Right now I’m not sure what caused the problem, if it was a deformity at birth or from an accident or abuse. All I know is his leg is completely limp. Though it appears normal, it hangs lifeless from his torso. Monica told me we need to raise money to pay for his surgery. The leg needs to come off. Joey’s already been to a Vet, then an orthopedic surgeon. Both Dr.s said the leg has to go. So Joey will spend the last week with me, with four limbs. After he leaves here, he’ll have the amputation surgery. It makes me feel sick to think this poor thing has to suffer this. It makes me determined that we should find him a specially fine home, after he recovers. To make matters worse, Joey must have been starving something fierce when he was found because when he was taken in to have his neuter surgery, the Vet found a mass in his stomach. Good thing he did an x-ray because Joey had eaten two vinyl gloves—the sort that food service workers wear. The Vet thinks there was enough food residue on the gloves, to drive Joey to eat them. Monica sent me a photo of Joey with the gloves. It’s heartbreaking to think he had to do that, but what a will to survive. Joey had surgery a week ago, so once he gets here I’m going to do everything I can to keep him quiet and comfortable. I cleaned the guest room, yes, the foster cats stay in the guest room. I put extra cat beds on the floor, instead of higher up on the bed. That way Joey can find a warm place to sleep, without having the temptation or struggle to try to climb. I just want to hold him and let him know it’s going to be ok. I’m thinking about staying in the guest room for the better part of the day, once he gets here. He deserves the best I can give him. I’m also getting another kitten named Willy Wonka, who’s supposed to be feral. He’s not so wild that he’ll try to bite, but he’s going to need work. I’m told that Willy and Joey are friends, so at least I don’t have to worry about fighting. It’s good that the cats are coming here. They’ll both need some quiet time and attention and I can give them both of those things. I’m just anxious that it’s almost noon and they’re not here yet! I can’t wait. 4:13 PM My office is on the first floor, directly under the guest room. I can hear faint thuds. One of the kittens are scrambling around, playing with a toy. My guess is that shy Willy, left his hidey-hole in the kitty condo and is playing with the toy mouse I rubbed with cat nip. What a silly fellow. Willy is scared. Of course. He’s feral. Instead of climbing high up to get away, he slinks low. He might as well be a small, black rug. I can pick him up and pet him, but he’s not sure what to do about that. He even purrs after a few minutes. I’m sure he’ll be ok, in time, but I know I have to keep working with him. I’m a bit fearful. The wounds on my hand from being bitten by my own former feral are still healing and I’m scared to be bitten again. Joey. Pure heartbreak, but also gorgeous. Joey’s a dark gray tabby, with pretty, clear markings and golden eyes that follow you around the room. His belly has amazing jagged stripes that suddenly stop near his hind legs. Instead of stripes, it’s completely beige. As though his genetics forgot to keep the pattern going. Between the stripes and the beige on his belly is a 3 inch “Frankenstein” wound with irregular, slightly lumpy stitches. It looks like a hem I tried to sew. He looks like any 12 week old kitten, lying on a fluffy cat bed I have on the floor, but when he gets up you know that something is clearly wrong with him. His front left leg appears to be slightly longer than the right. His paw curves backwards with the pads facing up. He has to drag the leg when he’s walking or going after a toy. You can tell it gets in his way. He has the prey drive to go after a toy, but it’s very hard for him to grab anything since he must use his right leg for balance and can’t grab anything with his left. He does try to use the left leg to grab the toys. The paw and claws simply hang there, not moving. His paw is warm and looks normal. It just doesn’t work. I have a hard time looking at him. I want to run away. I don’t want to see a cat looking like that, but I need to see it and to love him and help him. This is life and for so many other animals, their existence slowly ebbs away, leaving them to die on the street. Thank goodness Joey won’t see that ugly end to his life. He slowly, but surely is on the road to having a much better life. An orthopedist did check him out and thought he’d had an injury early on that caused him to have nerve damage that’s not possible to correct. He was found in traffic by a young woman who thought he’d been hit by a car. In a way, his old injury saved his life. He might have gone uncared for if he’d looked normal. As it is, the Vet tech who works at the clinic where he was brought had to lie and say she found the cat because the Vet’s policy is not to take in any cats that don’t have any owner who’ll pay the bill. It’s a terrible truth. Joey was lucky. He got the care he needed and once The Animal Center was contacted, we were able to pay for his emergency surgery and follow up care. Monica wrote up a flyer that we’re sending out to ask for donations. I hope some of my lame friends cough up some cash and help out. People can be so cheap. I’ve been to a few adoption events and folks come up and look at the kittens and they’re wearing all sorts of expensive jewelry or clothes and they’ll put 50 cents or a dollar into the donation bin! I’m grateful to get anything, but half of those folks ask me to help them solve their cat behavior problems or want to know more about feeding or cat care, then they don’t do something for us. It really irks me. It’s not like I get paid for anything, but at least the cats should be able to get some food for all our effort.

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