Skeeter’s Diagnosis

cat in blanket

Skeeter after some pain meds.

Injured stray cats come along sadly too often, and how do you decide what to do with a cat who is not yours, may even be someone else’s who wouldn’t want you to intervene in a situation, may cost a load of money and even be dangerous to you or your other animals?

The first decision is always in the animal’s best interest, and from there you simply do your best.

Skeeter has a good chance at survival and certainly has the will, but has a few strikes against his continued health aside from the ugly gaping wound on his neck. Here is his story.

cat with neck wound

Skeeter on the couch.

An injured cat who stinks

I received a call on Sunday from a friend who lives a few blocks away that she had an injured cat on her porch. We discussed the injury and possible treatment, and she was willing to undertake the effort and cost to take him to a 24-hour emergency hospital. He wasn’t wild though he was hissy and growly, but no swats, and likely wasn’t feral but was a stray who was hurting and hungry. He certainly enjoyed the food and water she kept on her porch for “Porch Cat”, though her own cats are indoors, and when she called he was sunning himself on the porch. Oh, and she mentioned a smell. Hmmm, sounds like an abscess to me.

cat with neck wound

Skeeter's wound from the side.

I told Peg I’d grab a carrier and be up in a bit.

And there he was, looking very handsome and relaxed on the red cover to the rattan loveseat. Then he turned his head and I saw the sticky and missing fur on the back of his neck. And then I smelled the smell of putrefaction and rotting flesh—nothing smells worse than an abscess. The wound looked like the typical outgrown-collar lesion, where the cat has either outgrown a collar or the collar has shrunk as some nylon ones will do, and actually cut into the skin, an open wound which then became infected, but this was the absolute worst I ever hope to see.

cat with neck wound

Skeeter's wound from the back.

Still, he didn’t seem to be particularly bothered by it, though he was bothered by our efforts to sneak up and throw a blanket over him, silly humans. I have no problem with and am quite skilled at suddenly scruffing a cat and dropping it into a pillowcase or carrier. I do have a problem when the cat basically has no scruff, as was the case with this cat. Even if I could have grabbed the loose skin on his upper back I was afraid the wound would break open and would not risk it.

I called Karen Sable for a little advice, and she suggested putting on heavy garments and gloves and trying to enclose him somewhere, carefully pick him up, even scruff him temporarily, and get him in a carrier. Nothing worked and he got away from us on Sunday, only to crawl under a neighbor’s porch and curl up in an unrolled portion of household insulation.

cat wrapped in blanket

Peg petting Skeeter's nose.

Caught!

No luck on Monday so we made arrangements with Karen to borrow a humane trap on Tuesday. But good news was first thing Peg e-mailed and called to say that the cat was in the carrier with the door shut, and she’d named him Skeeter! He had gone in there for comfort, she had closed the door. She said she’d even been able to pet him a little longer. Peg had appointments and had to put him in the garage, but we’d take him to the emergency hospital just after noon.

It’s really heartening when a stray cat who is ill or injured and has been acting hostile starts acting nice, or at least growling and hissing less. But I was concerned this meant something less positive, that the cat was actually beginning to fail and give in to his injuries, that he wasn’t weak enough to fight and he was willing to have a little comfort if it was his last. I’ve seen my share of crusty old tom cats who came in from the cold only to die from some injury, chronic illness or just old age. I didn’t know at the time this cat really was an old tom cat, but he was beginning to seem like it.

cat with neck wound

Skeeter with veterinary technician.

PVSEC, here we come

I refer to Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Clinic, which is where I’ve always taken my cats or any other cat who is in need of emergency care; Peg and I had discussed our options on Sunday and felt this was the best though it would be expensive. We drove with the windows open so the smell wouldn’t saturate the car.

They took Skeeter back in the carrier as soon as we arrived, then a veterinary technician met with us to take notes. They had told us they would first do FIV and FeLV tests since he was a stray, and the vet tech told us that Skeeter was FIV positive. Peg and I briefly discussed if we should stop here and decided Skeeter had a strong will to live, and we should at least go on with an array of blood tests.

In a while Dr. Manhart, who was treating Skeeter, came to give us an initial diagnosis and treatment plan, and the information from exam and blood tests that would help us make decisions.

She said Skeeter was middle-aged, eight to nine years at least, that the wound was very old with scar tissue all around his neck, and he was also an intact male. There was not enough skin left to close up the wound, and the best they could do would be to stabilize him first, get him on antibiotics and rehydrate him, trim the skin in hope of “second intention” healing, where the wound is covered with various types of bandages and the edges of the wound heal toward the center and create scar tissue, much like a serious burn is healed; this has always reminded me of how trees grow bark over wounds to their trunk or cut away branches. He might also be septic, where the infection or a secondary infection spreads throughout the body.

veterinarian with cat

Dr. Manhart with Skeeter.

His blood test results were all out of whack, but that’s not unusual in a cat with a serious infection who’s in a lot of pain, hasn’t had much or anything to eat or drink for a while and was a little stressed at his current situation.

The FIV diagnosis gave us two hurdles: it would hamper his healing to a certain extent no matter what, and he would need to live in a home without other cats, or with other cats who were already FIV positive at least for a while.  The wound would take a long time to heal, someone would be physically handling care of the wound and there would be a certain amount of fluids emitting from the wound, and then his imperiled immunity with both FIV and an open wound put him at risk. Also, he may be nice with people, but he was also an unsocialized intact male and it would be a while before they neutered him, perhaps the first time he went under anesthetic for debridement, perhaps later. Until then, he could still act like an unneutered male, and they often continue to act like one even after neutered just out of habit.  We decided we’d work with that.

Then she pointed out his blood glucose: 376, unlikely to be a situational fluctuation, likely to be real diabetes, and in fact could be the reason he could have lived with the wound for so long yet it may have suddenly begun to abscess as diabetes developed. If it was, then it would be even more difficult for the wound to heal along with the FIV+, and would he be able to be poked with a needle twice daily?

A urinalysis, however, showed no glucose in his urine so it was not diabetes, though Dr. Manhart said that was possibly stress-related but was a much higher number than stress-related diabetes typically showed.

After reviewing a few other things—his spine was not affected, his kidneys were functioning, his liver values were a little high but that was probably due to his recent diet, he had few teeth left and those in bad shape, one of the reasons it was hard to guess his age—we decided to go ahead with treatment.

cat with neck wound

The wound today.

Treatment: stabilize him, then clean up his wound

So that’s what we decided to do. At every step we looked at each other and said, “You can’t save them all,” yet we remembered how he had shown up on Peg’s porch and to me seemed to be asking for help. Most important, he still had a will to live, and that is the deciding factor after all the blood tests and diagnoses—he wants to live, and that means that if he gets the support he needs and it is at all possible, he will live. So we will help him.

So far the low estimate, which Peg has already paid, is $670. The high estimate is a little over $900. Several people have already offered to help pay for his care, and she has set up a ChipIn for Skeeter the Cat for anyone who wants to donate to his care in any amount.

More important, a home that can care for him

Skeeter wants to live, not only could Peg and I see that, but so could the people who treated him, but he will need a special home, one that can accept an FIV+ cat and has the skills to care for him while his wound heals on its own. Can you take Skeeter, or do you know of a rescue organization that can help, or an individual rescuer? Any leads would be much appreciated!

Emergency animal hospital veterinarians and technicians

This cat was a mess and smelled like death, yet they all treated him with the utmost gentleness and respect. Not that I am surprised, and any animal deserves nothing less, but I’ve seen less and remember a day when we’d have been told to just put him down and his existence would have been waved away like so much trash. I’m glad that is changing. We may have met with that elsewhere, perhaps the emergency clinic sees things differently.

Thanks to Peg

And thanks to Peg and people like her who, when they can, will undertake the care for a cat like Skeeter.

Epilogue

Skeeter sadly failed under anesthesia with the first procedure; read Peg’s explanation in the comments below.

Also read What’s the Matter?

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Penny Has Been Adopted!

calico cat curled

Penny Sleeping, courtesy her rescuer

In a very roundabout way I heard the news this week that Penny, the calico cat rescued this past fall, was adopted from the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society! But what’s truly important is that Penny is in a wonderful loving home, her adopters are excited to share their home with her, and her rescuer was surprisingly on hand when Penny was being adopted, on her first shift as a volunteer at WPHS.

Penny truly is an angel to have brought all this about. Here is the rest of the wonderful story of Penny.

A little background

Early Wednesday morning, January 4, Ingrid King forwarded a comment to me that had been posted on her profile of me from a few years ago from the people who had adopted Penny: “…My fiancée and I recently adopted Penny  (named after the phrase ‘pennies from heaven’), a beautiful calico cat.  We were told you’d written a story about Penny; the woman who’d brought her to the shelter gave us your name.” She added that it was difficult to find the article or many other things on The Creative Cat, which is how she ended up talking to Ingrid.

Thanks to Ingrid I could contact the woman through the comment, introduced myself and gave her the link to the article. I added, “I love to post updates to cats I’ve posted for adoption on The Creative Cat. All people are completely anonymous unless they wish otherwise. Would you mind telling me a few things about why you chose Penny, why you visited the WPHS and perhaps why cats are special enough for you to be taken into your home? If not, I’d never betray your privacy, I can just announce that Penny was adopted and a lot of people will cheer.”

From Penny’s rescuer

I also sent off an e-mail to the woman who rescued Penny saying that I was so glad to hear, not sure that she knew, though I knew that she had followed through with her promise to train as a volunteer at WPHS so she might be in the know. Better than that! She wrote back:

“I was at the shelter when Kitty got adopted. That was the first day volunteering and I was doing the laundry and was mentioning Kitty and one of the girls told me she was getting adopted right then. I rushed over to say goodbye to Penny….I don’t think she recognized me at first but then she got more playful and then I think she recognized me. The man and lady who adopted her said they already had a cat and it was not a lap cat and took more to the girlfriend than the man that owned her. He wanted a cat to sit on his lap. I think that is just what he got because Penny liked to be held and have her ears rubbed. She would fall asleep when you did that. I asked him why he picked her and he said she seemed friendly and came over to him. He looked at another calico but Penny seemed more friendly. He seemed like a really nice man and I was so happy that Penny got to be adopted that day….I told them about the story you wrote about Penny and I wrote down your name to look up your website. Do you know if they got to read the story about Penny? I have a copy and give it to friends when I talk about her. That was such a special story. We still miss Penny and talk about her but I am so happy for her that she got a home.”

And from her adopters

About three that afternoon I received a sweet e-mail from the adopters, “Read the story about Penny and loved it!  The attached file answers the questions you posed.  You may absolutely use our first names as well as any portion of the attachment.  Many thanks for all you do.” Attached to the e-mail was a story they’d written in answer to my questions! People don’t do that unless they are really smitten, and I would guess they are.

“Dear Bernadette,

“My fiancée and I have been cohabitating since our engagement last February.  Randy came into our relationship with two cats and I had one.  To keep the focus on Penny, our new addition, suffice it to say two of our three cats passed on.  We were down to Friskie, a healthy rambunctious striped cat whose favorite past time is shredding our toilet paper.  I had been whispering in Randy’s ear for a few months that Friskie was bored and needed a companion.  The day after Christmas Randy surprised me when he pulled into the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society (WPHS)!

“Friskie is a little over two years old.  We wanted a female cat of similar age who had been fixed.  Penny’s cage was positioned near the entrance to the cat enclave.  While the signs say NOT to stick your fingers in the cage, of course we did!  Penny was immediately responsive, gentle and Randy was already gone on his little girl.  Randy was extremely desirous of a ‘lap sitter’, something Friskie only does briefly.

“We liked two other cats but of those two, one was a boy ~ not meeting our criteria; the other was adopted out before we moved from the cage ~ believe it or not!

“We had some private time with Penny in the ‘quiet room’.  She seemed most content to sit on each of our laps and have her ears scratched.  The deal was done.  We wanted Penny.

“While we waited our turn to complete paperwork Randy and I met the woman who had brought Penny to the shelter.  It was her very first day volunteering at WPHS.  When the kindly woman saw we meant to adopt Penny she gave us all the background information you previously printed in your article “An Angel Named Penny” posted on December 1, 2011.  What are the odds?  We’d chosen a famous kitty who’d been published.  WOW!…

“Now, a few weeks after adoption, Penny is officially one of us.  Our Friskie is still shredding toilet paper if left within claws reach, but he does have a companion.  They are seldom out of each other’s sight; it’s too CUTE!

“Our only concern is that Penny sleeps an awful lot and is a bit thin.  Her appetite is unbelievably good so I expect she’ll thicken up in no time.  I’m not overly worried about her sleep habits either, but Randy almost obsesses on it.  I’ve explained that Penny’s had a rough go of it and to give her a few weeks.  And too, cats lean towards nocturnal.  I’ve seen her racing through the house with Friskie in the middle of the night when I’m getting up to use the bathroom or grab that 4 AM snack. 

“In closing, you had asked why we chose WPHS and why cats?  Randy and I are both animal lovers.  We love ALL animals.  A discussion about adopting a dog sporadically surfaces but our lifestyles aren’t conducive to dog ownership.  Dogs take a lot more effort, what with the walking, scooping and dependency issues.  We’ve both owned dogs in our past but are at a place in our lives where cats are the more desirable pet.  We’ve got a few cats and a few fish; that’s good for now.

“And as to why WPHS all I can say is why not?  We’re not about breeding pets or raising them up for ribbons and shows.  We just wanted an addition to the family.  We didn’t need a thorough bred or something with papers.  We had a ‘wants’ list, but mostly we wanted something warm, furry and cuddly.  We got it; we got Penny!

“Sincerely,

“Marsha & Randy”

I can’t say more than that…

…except to say that I’m glad I was a part of it. And I know this kind of magic happens every day, even without my intervention, at shelters all over the country. I am in tears thinking about how many happy endings are wound up in this one story!

Keep shelters on your donation list

western pennsylvania humane society logo

WPHS logo

While Penny was at WPHS, they spayed her and treated her for an upper respiratory infection, and of course they fed her and supplied litter for her personal use. This is not free, and the medical care can get expensive. WPHS is an open-door shelter, charged with accepting any animal brought to their door—a little over 14,000 cats and dogs last year.

Please make a donation to the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society to help support what they do for other cats and dogs all year round. I’ll give you a gift if you do: Visit my Friendraiser page for WPHS and order a dozen Feline Greetings cards in honor of Penny, and $10 of every purchase will be donated to WPHS. Use the link on the Friendraiser page to go to my Etsy shop, and make sure you enter the code WPHSPENNY in the notes section when you order!

If not WPHS, please support your local shelter in any way you can.

And if you are looking for an angel kitty, there are many more kitties who have stories as well. Adopt if you can, foster if not, or donate to your local shelter in time, goods or money this holiday season.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Joyeux Anniversaire à Mlle. Daisy!

black cat on bed

Mlle Daisy Marguerite on her antique wedding ring quilt. Is that a hint?

“Oh, ma dame la plus belle,
dal mio caro I desire for you to have
un buon compleanno,
 yes, joyeaux anniversaire
to my precious gemstone
my emerald-eyed goddess,
my ebony-furred French Canadian sweetheart,
I celebrate the day of your birth,
as if it were my own!”

That is my best operatic composition of a most heartfelt “happy birthday” to my everlasting love Mademoiselle Daisy Emerald Marguerite. Yes, my ever sweet and precious amour was born on this very day, the first day of the year, and I have been celebrating her existence by singing all day! What would my life be like this year if she had not sworn her love to me through the magic of computers and our visions in the stars! You can see how beautiful she is, my, dare I say, mature love? Yes, she has lived 12 years and all this she gives to me. I am but an inexperienced young cat and had no idea how small my world was when ma belle mademoiselle opened my eyes and my heart to a whole new world I never would have known otherwise, and oh, I must sing again!

O! dolci baci, o languide carezze,
mentr’io fremente le belle forme disciogliea dai veli!
Svanì per sempre il sogno mio d’amore.
L’ora è fuggita, e muoio disperato!
E muoio disperato!
E non ho amato mai tanto la vita,
tanto la vita!

(Translation, from Puccini’s Tosca:

With sweetest kisses, tenderest caresses,
A thing of beauty, of matchless symmetry in form and feature!
My dream of love is now disspelled forever.
I lived uncaring and now I die despairing!
Alas I die despairing!
And never was life so dear to me, no never,
So dear, no never!)

Yes, ma chére, I sit by the big north window where I can see the whole sky and face the northwest where you live by the great river in the town named for kings in the great country of Canada and dream of singing right to you.

black cat looking out window

Somewhere out there, beneath the pale moonlight...

Giuseppe is singing to his French Canadian belle femme, Mlle. Daisy Emerald Marguerite, whose birthday is indeed today. Giuseppe is, of course, a castrato and sings his arias and compositions in a melodic countertenor instead of the usual rich tenor, but he can improvise in operatic Italian, adding lyrics about her emerald eyes and ebony fur.

Then has again been much sighing as the darkness has fallen and he gazes once again out the window to the northwest toward the river town of Kingston in Ontario.

A very happy birthday to Mlle. Daisy, adopted from a shelter all those years ago to live with her mom, from not just Giuseppe but our entire household of black cats and tortie girls!

Read about the continuing long-distance affair of Mlle. Daisy Emerald Marguerite and Giuseppe Verdi.

Giuseppe Mewses About Mlle. Marguerite

Or choose the category entitled “Mlle. Daisy Marguerite” in the menu on the right.

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To see more daily photos go to “Daily Images” in the menu and choose “All Photos” or any other category.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Amber Midnight Needs a Home

black cat

Amber Midnight needs a home soon!

We love all kitty brands and flavors here at The Creative Cat, but we’ve always felt black cats were very special. Mimi and her children, and even the tortie girls who remember the first black cat, feel a special responsibility for black cats in need.

Meet Amber Midnight

This handsome black kitty has apparently chosen the back porch of a woman named Shirley, but Shirley already has a kitty and the retirement community where she lives does not allow pets kept outside or stray animals.

I am trying to find a warm and loving home for a Black Short Haired Cat that has wondered into the complex where I live several months ago.  I have named this cat Amber Midnight because it has Amber Eyes and is as Black as Midnight.  It is soooo friendly and I am guessing it is approximately 3-5 years old.  I do not know if it is male or female.

I have been feeding it and setting up a card board box for it to sleep in on these cold damp nights on my porch.  I cannot take this little guy/girl in because I already have a very jealous cat, Molly who would never permit this without a fight.

Please, please if you would like to adopt this friendly cat or know of someone who needs the companionship of a loving animal please let me know.  The weather is getting nasty out there and will only get worse.  This cat likes to be able to go outside and then returns home so it will need a home where the community permits pets to be outside.  The community I reside in does not permit this at all.  I have attached a picture of it for you to view.  It is not a very good one as he/she would not lay still long enough for a photo session.  Let me know if you or someone you know would be interested.

Is your home in need of a big friendly black cat with amber eyes?

Amber Midnight lives near me in Carnegie, near Pittsburgh, PA. Please contact me by commenting on this blog and I will get the message to Shirley. Amber Midnight looks like an exceptional kitty and would make a wonderful companion.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


An Angel Named Penny

calico cat in carrier

Here's Penny, image provided by WPHS.

In mid-October I received an e-mail from someone in the community next to mine that a stray cat had come to visit her porch. If you’d like to adopt an angel cat, Penny is waiting for you at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society. Her story is so special I have to share it.

A pretty kitty needs a home

“I have followed the articles written over the years in the local paper about you and I know that you are a cat lover,” the e-mail read from a person I did not know. Busted! This sometimes happens, and it usually leads to a new friendship. I read on to see where this would lead.

“A small Calico Cat has taken up at my house. It is homeless and I wanted to know if you knew of someone that would like to have it or could foster it until it finds a home? It is a beautiful cat with black, gold, tan spots with a white belly. I think it is young because it looks very dainty and it has yellow/green eyes,” she continued.

I was so touched by her detailed and tender description. Obviously she had not simply looked out her window and seen a cat and e-mailed me, she was observant and had studied the cat and found adjectives like “small”, “beautiful” and “dainty” to describe her, which gave me hints about her feelings for animals and even about her as I began to assess the situation. These observations also told me a few things about the kitty, that she made direct eye contact and wasn’t timid, that she was probably affectionate, likely was not feral and could have been a lost pet.

She described the kitty as “very sweet and friendly” and guessed that someone had dropped it in the neighborhood. She went on to say she had she posted listings for an apparently lost kitty on Pet Finders and craigslist but no one had called to claim her, and that she couldn’t keep the kitty herself.

“I need to find it a home before it gets cold and now I am feeding it and it has a bed on my back porch. If I can’t find someone to take it I will have to take it to a shelter. I have neighbors that are not being kind to it now,” she explained.

Yes, the coming winter was a concern, as were the neighbors; we who rescue cats know how that can be. I was also concerned that the kitty might not be spayed—who knew what her health history was? The last thing we needed was an autumn litter of kittens. I was organizing my concerns to reply to her, lists of resources she could use, and of course I was going to try to convince her to foster or even adopt the kitty until I read the next line.

“My Old English Sheepdog died in early September so I am not ready for a pet now.”

I understood. There may have been other reasons I could work around, but this was one I would not work around in any way. Grief must take its time, and even the presence of another animal after a loss can be painful just as it can be comforting.

What to offer as help?

I also knew that I could not take the kitty, that every other rescuer and foster organization I knew of was full, and there weren’t many options for the calico but a shelter. I would advise to get her on a waiting list at Animal Friends, Pittsburgh’s no-kill shelter, but that might take more time than she had.

I know she was concerned of the kitty being euthanized at another shelter, as many people have the perception that most animals don’t survive the shelter experience and hesitate to surrender animals there.

Open Door Shelters

However, through the years I’ve sent or taken plenty of cats to Pittsburgh’s two open-door shelters, the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society and the Animal Rescue League of Western Pennsylvania, who’ve gone on to happy homes from the shelter or from one of their offsite adoption opportunities at PetSmart, Petco, or one of the many events they sponsor. Timing is the important element. In mid-summer at the height of kitten season it’s not a good idea in any city anywhere as shelters work with the overflow of kittens and mother cats, but fostering for a while until the overcrowding decreases helps reduce the burden of overcrowding, kitty stays socialized by living in a home and you can vouch for kitty’s personality with a potential adopter, increasing kitty’s chances of being adopted.

I’ve also known both of these shelters to be honest about an animal’s chances of being adopted when people take them for surrender during one of these overcrowded times, asking the reason for surrender and offering guidance if it’s for a behavior problem in hopes they can keep the animal in its home permanently—and often they do—and if cages are full asking if the owners can keep the animal for a while until there’s a little more space.

I e-mailed my contact at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society because it was the closest to both this person and me, and found that things were slowing down after some pretty high numbers in August. “Of course we can take care of her, it’s why we are an Open Door Shelter,” she said.

So I e-mailed back to kitty’s person that I could not take her, and I understood her feelings so soon after losing her dog that she could not keep her.

Making arrangements

“I am concerned for two things in addition to the weather: the neighbors, and the fact that she is young and may not be spayed, and may be expecting a litter of kittens and has chosen your porch because it is safe. This is not unusual, and it’s often difficult to tell if a cat is pregnant until pretty far along if she’s been outdoors and hasn’t had a regular diet,” I told her.

I explained that in this case it was most important to get her to a safer place as soon as possible. I told her about the fluctuation in intake at shelters and that they all do everything they can to find homes, and that I’ve taken cats to the shelters myself with confidence. They’d even give her shelter number to watch her progress on the shelter’s website. Calico cats, especially friendly ones, are VERY popular, and kitty would probably find a home quickly. She’d be spayed and get all her shots and be microchipped at the shelter, and a donation would be very much appreciated. She would be in no danger.

“You know how I feel about cats but I would do this myself, and I would have all confidence that she would not be euthanized, that she would get good care, and that she would find a home quickly,” I added.

This was agreeable to her and she said she’d arrange to take the kitty that weekend.

“It is the most sweet cat and deserves a good home. I just don’t know why someone would let a nice cat like that go unless it truly is lost. I will miss it when it is gone but it deserves better and a good home. I call it Kitty and I will miss it,” she said.

In successive e-mails I explained about the calico coat pattern and that she was probably a girl. And thinking of her recent loss I also shared with her that it had been a year to the day since I’d lost my Peaches and sent her a link my anniversary post about Peaches, and mentioned that sometimes animals show up at our door for a reason.

She read the article and replied she had had Snoopy, her sheepdog, for 13 years and the last month was the hardest.

“She went to the vets because of a urinary tract infection and they gave her a penicillin shot then 2 days later her hind legs were paralyzed,” she said. The vet thought it had something to do with her spine, and this often happens with older large breed dogs. “She got so sick the last 2 weeks and I was off on family leave for my Mom so I was able to take care of her every day. Up until the day she died, she barked for the mailman like she did every day and she always really loved to eat so at the end I gave her dog food pouches and the last two times she ate, she licked my hands and I think that was to tell me thank you and she knew she was going,” she continued.

“Sometimes I think that the Calico cat was sent by Snoopy. It stretches its legs in the front and then the back and Snoopy did this too. It even gave us her paw,” she said. “One day she sat on the steps with me and looked up at me with her eyes as if she was trying to tell me something. …I would like to keep her but I don’t have the room and my Mom is 81 and I am afraid she would fall over her.”

She thanked me, I wished her luck and waited to hear news of the kitty’s shelter number.

Is no news good news?

But time passed, and no news. Over Thanksgiving weekend I was planning to contact her, almost afraid in case something had happened but hoping that she had decided to keep the kitty.

The Monday following I received an e-mail from her that she had taken the kitty to WPHS the previous day. She had indeed tried to keep her but found she couldn’t.

Kitty was even a good girl in the car. “She sat in a box in the car and meowed a few times and that was only the second time since she was with me that she meowed,” she reported.

They told her at WPHS she was about a year old. “She has such a nice disposition and is so beautiful – she has a heart shape right below the back of her neck. I hope she gets a really nice home. When I put her in the carrier she never caused any trouble,” she continued.

“I hated to take her but at least she is safe and warm now. She had a bed on my porch with covers and I gave her a hot water bottle to keep her warm,” she described. “She loved to sit on the porch and look out at everything. She liked to look at the birds and I think try to catch them.

“I called her Kitty but my Mom named her Penny yesterday which was a good name because I once got a poem from someone that said every time you see a penny on the ground it is an angel from Heaven and to say a prayer. I am going to start volunteering at the shelter so maybe I will see her again,” she ended.

She added later that she was really missing them both, that Penny “really changed us all for the better. She was a little gift from God.”

Do you need an angel?

I will try to be as persuasive as possible in convincing someone to adopt an animal, especially a homeless cat—and I can be extremely persuasive, conniving, coercive and gently arm-twisting—but if their honest assessment of their situation is that they can’t adopt I am not the person to question their judgment, and I will do my best to help them and to find the animal a permanent home.

A quote, proverb, saying, aphorism that I’ve heard passed around for years though I’ve never found its origin—and it’s even turned up recently in Harry Potter—that when you save a life, you are then in some way responsible for it. Perhaps in this way I feel responsible for Penny, so I’m going to spread the word of her good deed and do my best to help her find a good home. When I get a chance to visit the WPHS I’ll find her and take a few photos, but I honestly hope that even if I get there tomorrow she’ll already be adopted and be hard at work as an angel in some other needy human’s life.

western pennsylvania humane society logo

WPHS logo

If you are interested in Penny, click here for her information. She can be found on the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society’s website adoption page. On the left choose  “cats” and “North Side Shelter”. Penny is number A150628. Adoption fee is $30; read more here.

Please share, because I’m sure someone somewhere needs an angel!

And if not Penny, there are many more kitties who have stories as well. Adopt if you can, foster if not, or donate to your local shelter in time, goods or money this holiday season.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Postprandial Tabby Nap

tabby cat sleeping on windowsill

Tabby Nap

I wonder if my neighbor’s kitty had a turkey dinner and is now surrendering to the unavoidable nap as the sun sets, leaving his windowsill in shadow. He just looks so contented and he’s usually very shy and leaves the window when I look at him.

I also like the details of the peeling paint and the nearly monochromatic theme.

I’m thankful he has a happy home, and I’m sure he is too.

I hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving, and if it’s not a holiday where you are, I hope you simply had a beautiful day!

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All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Amber Buttercup Says Good Morning

orange cat on windowsill

Amber Buttercup in the morning.

My ginger friend from around the corner was enjoying the early morning sun when this fool with the camera showed up again. I didn’t trouble her for too long, but she is too pretty to pass up.

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All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.