Sunday, March 2, 2008
Everyday Kindness: Creature Comforts and Cuddles
Mia joined the family this week. She got here Monday night, walked straight out of her carrier and over to the spot I had decorated for her. She gulped down all the food, sniffed at the water bowl and the litter box and then jumped up on the bed and fell asleep.
I was so excited to introduce her to everyone that I immediately began to compose a “Mia is Here” post. Of course I ran upstairs at least a dozen times to check her out and to soothe Siren who was in his “room” just knowing something was up and he didn’t like it.
I held off on posting when I noticed how Mia hated the light being on and really didn’t like the flash from the camera. Then I saw how runny her eyes were. After I adjusted the lights in my bedroom/Mia’s room – eventually everyone will have a room but me – and gave up on the photos, she let me clean her eyes and went back to sleep. Late, late Monday night – Tuesday morning really – she decided to explore and made it all the way to her second favorite spot to sleep – between throw pillows on the love seat.
Grateful to have my bed back I fell asleep. Siren clued me in on the strange sounds coming from the living room by throwing himself against his screen door and howling. Mia was in the same spot from the night before sneezing up a storm and shaking. Since it is not unusual for cats to react this way to a new environment I didn’t panic.
As Tuesday progressed it was apparent that Mia was ill. Her gait was unsteady, originally I had blamed that on my slippery hardwood floor, but when she shook her head after sneezing she would often lose her balance. I also became concerned about her hearing – she didn’t respond when called and seemed startled when I walked into the room – she didn’t know I was there until she saw me.
Off to the vet we go on Wednesday. I’ve mentioned before how much I like this vet. Yes, he is incredibly handsome with the most lovely Spanish accent but what I truly appreciate is how much he loves his patients. “Hello sweet girl, nice to meet you” as he gently rubs Mia’s head – all the while staring into her runny eyes. He asks about Siren, he fondly remembers JR and remarks, as others have, how Mia is a lot like JR. He warms the stethoscope and listens, he whispers silliness to Mia while checking her ears, he watches very closely as we let her walk/stumble around the room. He scoops her up and hugs her, calling her “a sweet little old lady”.
“Sweet little old lady!?” – I was told Mia was 4. I couldn’t believe it when I heard myself snarl “Old? How old? I want an exact number!” – blessedly the vet knows the real me and saw that surprise and concern were getting the best of me. Mia is anywhere from 6 to 8 years old, maybe older. She barely weighs 5 pounds and I think most of that is fur. She has a severe upper respiratory infection that has affected/infected her eyes and ears as well. Her unsteadiness appears to be from weakness – so at least her paws were OK.
Armed with meds I took Mia home. The look of love and relief on her face when she realized she was coming back to the same place broke my heart and steeled my spirit. She’s really good at taking her meds, barely a sound and nothing more than a half-hearted push of her paw on my hand as I squirt stuff into eyes/ears/mouth. Then she sleeps. She hadn’t been eating Tuesday or Wednesday but by Thursday morning she was up to almost 3 full ounces of cat food crap – I’m giving her anything she wants until she’s stronger/fatter although I always leave the healthy dry stuff out as well.
Kitten steps, kitten steps.
I was a mess of “Oh Why Me” mixed with a giant dose of self-righteous judgment and anger. I was getting a strong, young, healthy female who could stand up to Siren. I’d been told she handled the tom-cats at the barn with ease. How the hell was that possible!? She could barely walk. What had her rescuers been (not) feeding her? Did the other cats steal her food? Was she so ill that she couldn’t absorb nutrients and gain weight? What about the vet who last saw her, a mere two days before she came to me. How did he miss the runny eyes? How did he not notice the way she walked. Thank goodness she had already been spayed – anesthesia would probably have killed her.
I spent a charming 24 hours alternating between bursting into tears and wanting to ring necks. Then it hit me – you can bark at the moon all you want, it will still be there. A poetic way of telling myself to shut the fuck up and get over myself.
The reality is that the people who rescued Mia DID save her life and they DID the best they could. She had been found in a parking lot and no one knows her story. They gave her food and shelter and set about trying to find her a better home. They DID more than most people do.
The reality is that the vet gives discounted rates to the rescue group who acted as liaison between Mia’s rescuer and me. He handles a lot of animals and DOES the best he can with the time and funds he has.
If you would like to do something go to The Animal Rescue Site - you can do as little as click each day to help feed rescued animals or you can click on the Petfinder.com link and adopt a loved one of your own.
You can also go to the ASPCA Shelter Search
and use their directory. Even if circumstances prevent adopting or donating you can volunteer a tiny bit of your time at a local shelter.
Mia seems to be feeling better. The sneezing has turned to sniffles and her eyes are much clearer. She turns when I call her name so I guess the ears are better to. And she’s eating regularly; she’s even trying out the healthy stuff although her preference is clearly junk food – that’s my girl!
I’m concerned about the long haul – will she ever be able to match paws with Siren, will tests reveal something more serious BUT …
Mia is home. She is exactly where she was supposed to be at this point in her life.
And she’s grateful.
In fact she wants to spread her love around. Mia would like to give her “cuddle photo” up top to:
Raven - for caring so much for Tara Grace and Angel
Jay - for being Bailey’s Buddy and Max’s too
Linda – actually Linda’s son – for loving Siren’s picture so much Mia wanted him to have hers
Misty – for giving me this idea with her lovely Maggie Mae button
Shelly - for all she did to make sure she took in a dog she could make happy
Jeni – for adding Jorge/Jorgetta to an already full house
and last but not least
Aunt Magnetbabe – for being a fierce warrior for all creatures, especially feral and stray cats
Yes, Mia left people out. She figures she’ll take new and better photos as she gets stronger and gains back her youthful glow. She’s already thinking about all the new poses she can try out and pass on as gifts to more friends.
Be Kind Out There