Category Archives: Cats

A Sick Kitten and a Changed Boy

​We adopted Marvin and Coco one year ago today. The kittens were part of my children’s Christmas presents. Little did we know then that 4 month old Marvin was sick. We took many trips to the vet over the next few months and spent hundreds of dollars trying to get him well.
There was no pushing this kitty away when bacon or salmon were around, but I knee something was really wrong when I offered and he wouldn’t take it – he wouldn’t eat and barely drank anything.

We went back to the vet in May, and he told me Marvin needed surgery. The assumption was he had swallowed something that was obstructing his intestines, but I couldn’t afford the $1,500 price tag after all I had already spent. So, they sent us elsewhere.

We ended up at WellPet Humane in Atlanta. The owner came in on her day off because it was deemed an emergency and the other vets were booked solid.

When she called in the middle of surgery, I assumed it was to tell me it was worse than expected and would cost more than originally thought. Sadly, it was to ask permission to euthanize our beloved Marvin. He was dying and and there was no way to save him. To finish the surgery would be inhumane because he would starve to death in the following weeks. Of course, I gave my permission to end his suffering as my heart broke and my eyes flooded with tears.

I gained my composure and went to take my babies out of school early to say our goodbyes. My sweet, innocent Avery thought we were just going to go visit him while he recovered. But Nathan saw my tear stained face, and said, “He didn’t… did he,” as tears welled up in his eyes. It wasn’t a question. He knew Marvin didn’t make it.

I hadn’t felt such grief since the early months after Tom’s death. I had lost pets before including one I’d had from the time I was 3 to 20, but none had ever made my heart ache like this.

My sweet, sweet boy, who has been through more than any child should, lost his beloved kitten just 6 days after the 6th anniversary of his Dad’s death. Our whole family felt it. Coco hid in my closet staring at the wall refusing to eat unless I carried her to the food bowl for weeks.

Marvin and Coco have both blessed our hearts more than I knew animals could. And Marvin (both his life and death) did something even more powerful than I could have ever imagined – he softened my sweet boy’s heart.

Marvin’s death allowed me the opportunity to comfort my son like I should have and couldn’t do when his Dad died. It gave him the permission he needed to cry – the permission that had been stripped from him when a close family member told Nathan that he was the man of the house now and needed to be tough. Marvin brought our family closer together in life and even more so in death.

God knew that sweet kitten wouldn’t live long, but he needed love while he was here – and we gave it to him. God also knew we needed Marvin more than he needed us.

It still aches. We still cry and tell each other how much we miss Marvin. But in the seemingly simple act of adopting a shelter kitten we were given such a gift that transcends grief and pain. 

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Cat-astrophe

Last Friday night… it starts off sounding like a Katy Perry song, but is nothing like that at all.

Last Friday night when my son’s friend was picked up by his Mom, I went outside to say hello to her, but when I opened the door to go in, The Girl kitten (aka Coco) ran right out.

She has every desire to be an out door cat, and I have every desire to keep her inside. This time she won that battle.

I went inside to get ready to take my son to his last hockey practice of the season figuring that I’d give her a few minutes of freedom before recapturing her. since the furthest she has wandered was next door. And by next door I mean, my neighbors brought her home when they found her in their kitchen last week after they had left their garage door opened.

Well, this time the dog from our other next door neighbors’ saw her and started barking, naturally scaring The Girl up one of our Pine trees.

I then got the bright idea to climb the tree to get her since my son was unintentionally chasing her further up the tree. The thing is, I’m not-so-young and not-so-fit-anymore, and as I climbed, a few branches started to break.

It wasn’t pretty, people, but now I can laugh and say it was funny and I wish it was on video for all to laugh at. My kids kept trying to give me tips on how to get down, but what they didn’t realize was that one leg was down, while the other leg was up and over a branch that I could not break.

My Mother asked if I wanted her to call the Fire Department. They won’t come for cats, but maybe for single woman who clearly wasn’t using her brain? I declined the offer of humiliation, but it took me a while to get myself out of that position and down the tree with the realization that I could not attempt that again.

My 7 year old then made a joke that, “this is a Cat-astrophe.” I laughed. She’s very witty and very cleaver. It soon felt like a catastrophe waiting to happen because it got colder and darker and became apparent that The Girl would not be coming down on her own. My son made several attempts to get her down, but I told him she was too high for him to climb at 60 ft.  and to come down (he did make it up there against my wishes, but just couldn’t get her).

The Girl cried most of the night and I checked on her multiple times, trying to coax her down. We called someone and were told that they’d be out first thing in the morning. I feared the below freezing temperatures, but thankfully she made it. It cost $200 to get her down, but it was money well spent.

The kitten has not been the same since. The vet has told me to give her a few more days, so I will, but she is clearly suffering from some PTSD. Even The Boy kitten who normally attacks her/ plays with her very aggressively has backed off. He also doesn’t chase her away from the food dishes anymore, and actually waits for her to eat before he does.

Hopefully she just needs a few more days because she was our playful kitty who never sat still, and now she mostly lays around and will often just stare off into space. The bad thing is she still wants to be an outdoor cat. Sigh.

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Oh No Kitties!

Three weeks ago I made good on a promise to my children when we adopted two little kittens. I have two children, so naturally they each need their own pet t̶o̶ ̶t̶e̶a̶c̶h̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶m̶ ̶r̶e̶s̶p̶o̶n̶s̶i̶b̶i̶l̶i̶t̶y̶, so they wouldn’t fight over the poor creature(s), except this hasn’t been the case. We are working through it, mostly by me reminding my son that I will claim his cat as my own and change the name if he doesn’t leave his little sister’s cat alone sometimes.

I really have no problem changing his cat’s name, either of the cats really because I can’t remember them to being with. Since they are not “my” cats (except for all the responsibilities), I let my children name their own pet with the understanding that I have full veto power. My daughter named her cat Coco, and after talking to one of the board members of PETA during the adoption process, she now calls her Coco Chanel. My son tried several variations of his father’s name for his cat including: Tom, Tommy, and T.J. (Tom Jr.), but I wasn’t a fan and none of those fit his cat. My Mother has been here for the holidays and we both kept referring to him by his shelter name, Marvin. So, it has mostly been decided that we will keep his name as is.

Marvin looks very similar to one of my childhood cats, Mr. Marshmallow, who you’d expect to be white, but wasn’t. I was in first grade, so there is no way to know my reasoning. Sometimes Marvin is called Mr. Marvin or Mr. Marshmallow. I also call him Martin or Marvey because I cannot remember the poor thing’s name. To be honest, I can’t remember Coco’s name either. I call them The Boy and The Girl and if it wasn’t for the need of my children to give their cats “real names” then they would officially be known as “The Boy” and “The Girl” from here on out – even at the vet’s office.

Speaking of the vet, the Atlanta Humane Society is amazing. The kittens’ first vet visit was free, and The Boy, whom they’d only had a few days came to us with a parasite and a nasty virus. When we got home from my son’s birthday dinner I thought he was dead. It was bad, but it was covered by the Humane Society, which saved me $150. I love the Atlanta Humane Society. When we saw Marvin online we knew we wanted him, so the Saturday before Christmas we ventured down to Atlanta, 45 mins from home to check out this kitten. My daughter made a B-line to the other side of the cat room and fell instantly in love with her now kitten.

I wasn’t feeling well that day and wanted to leave, but there was a line and we waited well over an hour. I have adopted from a shelter before, but it was nothing like here. They went over everything about the cats with us and made sure any questions we had were answered. They gave us a collar and tags, a bag of food for each kitten, and a stocking of toys. The best part was that not only are their prices better to begin with than the shelters closer to home, but they did/do a two-for-one deal on the kittens. They even do a follow-up call to see how things are going. I can’t say enough about this place!

Almost nothing in life ever goes this smoothly for me. I kept telling my Mom that this was obviously meant to be. Or so I thought. Well, about 6 days ago I woke up with itchy hives from head to toe. It was miserable. Who wants a full body rash?! I spent 3 days taking multiple doses of Benadryl and Zyrtec to no relief before going into the doctor. I had no idea why I was itching. I thought it was something I had eaten and was allergic to.

My doctor gave me a shot of steroids and a Z-pack, and said that if I’m still itchy in 7-10 days then we need to try to really figure out what could be causing this. That was Tuesday. Thankfully my doctor’s office is closed on Wednesdays because when I woke up the hives were worse. And they looked like streaks that would appear and disappear all on their own. I tend to either overreact or underreact about things, and in this case I erred on the side of overreacting. I thought I had a parasite in my skin and took myself to the urgent care.

As soon as the doctor came in she knew what it was minus the cause. She seemed irritated that my doctor didn’t take any blood to find out what exactly was causing my allergic reaction, and took 4 vials to send out. She also gave me “real drugs that will help.” They have, but as you guessed it, the test results showed that I’m highly allergic to cat dander. I can’t live like this forever and I don’t think my body was designed to spend the rest of my days on steroids and other medications.

Since these little fir-balls are already part of the family, and because my children would shun me if the cats were re-homed, my only option is to get allergy shots. Every. Week. For Two Years. The only thing I’m allergic to more than cats is Commitment. This should be interesting.

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