Tue 20 Sep 2011
I had received a phone call that afternoon while driving home from picking my youngest son up from school. I was instructed when and where we could pick up ‘our’ cat. Our efforts had not gone unnoticed, nor had our tears been cried in vain. As we drove to pick her up, we laughed, we cried and we sped (a little) (just saying’.) After I reimbursed HER for the vet bills, SHE handed me a box. As I opened it I saw a familiar black ball of fur and two big gold eyes looking at me…she was shaking uncontrollably. As my son started petting her I picked her up and held her close to my chest, she was confused and terrified. I whispered “Filthy McNasty, we’re going home.” Her whole body went limp as she clung on to me. As she lay in my son’s lap on our way home neither of us said a word, (aside from the 83 phone calls I made) because a- were just so happy to have our princess back. b- I was trying to figure out a way to explain to my bank I used the money for my car payment as cat ransom. Either way, it was a phenomenal day. Our whole silence, (aside from the 83 phone calls I made) embrace the moment thing was soon interrupted by a phone call.
Thu 21 Jul 2011
We’ve had Filthy for 8 months, after finding her way her way into our hearts, we took her in and made her a part of our family. She was a joy to have and brought much happiness into our lives. She came to us hungry, cold and dirty (Filthy). Afraid of people, she hid when we offered her food and refused to have contact with us, however, she was at our door daily. Within a few days she had begun to trust us and had assigned herself a bed on our porch. After failed attempts to find her owners, it was clear that Filthy McNasty had found herself a home and a family that had fallen in love with her! As much as we enjoyed having her, she enjoyed and thrived on being a part of our family. She became our personal escort when taking out the trash, our companion on walks, our greeter when we arrived home and a friend after a long day. She gave us all she had to give. After learning she had been de-clawed, it was clear we either needed to find her a good home or commit to having her stay inside with us. There was no decision to make, she was at home. We went for a much-needed bath and haircut, got rid of her ‘bed’ on the porch and made her a new bed inside. Once she realized she was home for good she went to work making a few changes of her own. She decides she did not like her ‘new bed’ and moved her way on to my pillow. When she would awake, it was time for me to get up as well and she would lick my face until I did so. Our other cat, who was twice her size, must now wait his turn to eat. He didn’t care, he loved her as much as we did and was thrilled to have her company. She was a petite little girl but was full of mischief and energy. It was obvious she was having the time of her life, she had found a family that loved her and that’s all she wanted.
Last Thursday, (May 23) we noticed she was not feeling well. She had diarrhea and was spending much of her time sleeping. The Vet recommend holding food from her for 24 hrs. that seemed to help with the diarrhea yet she still did not seem herself. By Friday evening she had diarrhea again, worse than before. I sat up with her all night talking to her and making sure she was comfortable, she was restless and kept looking at me as if she were apologizing. I noticed what appeared to be urine in the bathroom, it had a pink color to it so I couldn’t be sure. As she urinated through the night, it was apparent as the color became brighter, it was blood. There was no question. Being early morning, I was having a difficult time contacting the appropriate resources for help….I was scared, I was extremely emotional, I needed advice, I needed answers and although I knew it didn’t look good, I needed someone to tell me it was going to be O.K. When I heard the Vet say these were all symptoms of Feline Leukemia, my heart stopped. I was not in a financial situation that would allow me to provide her treatment for such a disease. I was told there is no treatment, if it is Leukemia she is going to die. I advised them I had another cat as well……yes it is contagious. I was home alone and terrified, I could not quit crying but knew I had to make a decision. She did not find her way into our hearts for this to happen, yet I could not let her suffer and I had to think of the well being of my other cat. Because of my emotional state I knew I could not drive and began making phone calls for someone to come and get her. I reached a dispatcher for the Humane Society and through my tears explained my situation She was very patient with me and said she was going to send someone out for her. I kept telling myself this was the best thing I could do for her, I could not let my “Princess” suffer, we could not watch her suffer. I had a special bond with her, for reasons only a few know, I not only wanted her in my life, I needed her. When the field officer from the Humane Society arrived, I explained to her I was not financially able to put her through testing, treatments, I had another cats well-being to consider etc…I needed to have her put to sleep, I had to do what I thought was best for her. She talked with me for a few minutes and assured me she would not suffer, it was simply a shot and she would go to sleep. I went and got her my beautiful, black, Persian, Filthy, she looked her over and asked if she could see her urine. It was very bloody and she asked if I was sure it was urine, I was. As we walked outside I could not look at my cat I was barely able to control my emotions as it was. I stood on the porch as she put her in the truck. My neighbor walked over and hugged me she loved Filthy too, everyone around us had fallen in love with her. When the field officer came back, she told me that normally she would go find a quiet place and give the shot right after she left. She however questioned if this was Leukemia. “We don’t normally do this, I’m going to run her by the shelter when I leave.” As she is talking to me I signed a sheet of paper stating I am signing her over to San Bernardino County, I am requesting she be put to sleep. “I don’t want you to get your hopes up, but I am going to try to get my hands on a test. I can’t guarantee anything, I’ll see what I can do.” I was thrilled to hear what she was saying, yet in my mind I was still convinced this was Leukemia. She gave me a door hanger with her name and a phone number on it, told me to call later that day and I would be able to find out what happened. I got a hold of my boyfriend and explained the morning events, he was shocked, he could not believe she was gone. This had all happened so fast it was hard to comprehend it was real. Emotionally and physically exhausted I relayed the phone number to him and asked if he would call them for me later, I could not handle any more. I laid down and cried, did I do the right thing? What am I going to tell my kids? What if my other cat becomes infected with it?
When my boyfriend got home that evening he told me he wasn’t able to get a hold of anyone, he had called several times through out the day. The number on the paper I was given had the wrong number printed on it, it was now after 6:00 we would have to wait until tomorrow. My boyfriend called again the next morning, I could not bring myself to do it. I tried not to listen when I heard him inquire about Filthy, I could tell he had been put on hold, and then heard a loud, excited “Really?” after that I couldn’t really hear what was being said. He came in a few minutes later and told me they had been able to get a Leukemia test and she tested negative. She had Toxicity and was going to be fine. Thank God was all I could think, she is alive. Then he told me the lady he spoke with at the shelter said she was keeping her, she was her cat now. He had talked to her for a while but did not go into detail about the call at that time, we were then just thrilled she was going to be O.K. I decided to call her myself I needed to find out how Filthy was and until we figured this out make sure she was going to be taken care of. I spoke to her for quite awhile, she was friendly but on guard at all times. Filthy was going to be added to her family of 2 other Persians and 2 dogs.…she was going to be kept in a kennel for a while until she adjusted….she hadn’t been named yet. etc… I told her how much I loved Filthy and how hard this was, she told me it was obvious, she could hear it in my voice. She told me the field officer knew that she would want her the minute she saw her. She added that we’re welcome to call her at anytime and see how she is doing. After I got off the phone, my boyfriend and I talked about Filthy and our conversations with the lady. We had discovered the information we had been given had a few discrepancies, none of this was making sense to us. I was so confused, this all happened so fast. Why did this lady have Filthy, was I stupid?
Knowing the situation, I assumed the field officer was trying to help me. If the test came out negative, we would have options, we may have been able to keep her, why did she tell me not to get my hopes up but she would see what she could do? I honestly believed she saw and felt my pain and her intent was to prevent me from having to have her put to sleep. Would she have told me all of this if her intentions were different? ……I’m going to try and test your cat, if she’s o.k. I’m going to give her to someone else… don’t get your hopes up…. It has been a little over a week since this nightmare began, our home does not feel complete without her.
I have told my kids I will do everything I can to bring her back home, and I will. There has not been an hour this week that I did not think about her or miss her. Our cat sleeps at the front door, waiting for her. We have felt a great sense of support from our friends and family. Our story outrages not only animal lovers, but anyone who has ever loved. I often wonder had she not been a Persian would any of this happened? Was there not any homeless kittens or cats at the shelter she could have adopted? This person who represents the Humane Society spoke to us on the phone, knowing how heart broken we were yet showed no compassion. Filthy is not just a Persian, she is cat with a big heart and a lot of love, it’s what’s on the inside that made her so special. That could never be measured by her breed.
Before I sent this, I had contacted any and everyone I could think of, with no success. Had I failed her? I was struggling physically, mentally and emotionally. Friends, family and neighbors had stepped in offering to organize protests, contact the media, anything they could do that might help. We had also set up a website called “Lets Get Filthy.” There were, of course the naysayers that reminded me I had signed her over and they were right, I had. At the same time, I did feel a sense of betrayal. (*I had been informed that legally, she should not have been adopted out to anyone for 72 hours. I was also informed there was a “back up” adoption list for her…all of which were Humane Society employees.)
Whatever the outcome, I knew I had to fight as hard as I could for her, for us. I could not let those big, gold, beautiful, apologetic eyes down…they were all I thought about. “…she was going to be added to a family of 2 other Persians and 2 dogs.…she was going to be kept in a kennel for a while until she adjusted….she hadn’t been named yet.”
I received a call one morning from a friend who had came across a phone number he thought I should try. After talking for a few minutes, I took a deep breath and dialed the number. The gentleman I spoke to…listened. He not only listened, he…heard me. He assured me he would contact the responding SPCA Officer and take a report from her. As we ended the conversation, he gave me an email address encouraging me to send the same information we had just discussed. (i.e. the above email)
Feeling like this could be my last recourse I knew at some point, at some time, I needed to realize I had done all that I could. That I had fulfilled my promise to the kids, to her. I needed to be able to let go of Filthy McNasty. I needed to be able to think of those big, gold, beautiful, apologetic eyes…Ninja Kitty…and the Chow Mein Noodle with a smile, not a tear.
…continue part 4
Wed 20 Jul 2011
…continued from part 1
Between my health issues and being on disability, the last thing I needed or could afford was a vet bill…but off to kitty emergency we went. After running a few tests, they decided to treat her for “kitty vertigo.” This was the first time I had to disclose her name…publicly, and yeah, I got ‘the look.’
Don’t judge…there’s a story behind it.
Filthy’s doctor said if she showed no signs of improvement within a few days she would have to return. “It could be something very serious, possibly an issue with her brain.” My heart sank but I remained optimistic. As I wrote out the check…that would drain my account, I wondered how long the boys and I would be able to survive without food. I was kinda wishing I would have saved that Chow Mein Noodle. They gave me drops and a bottle of pills for her and we were on our way. As I walked out the door, I was reminded the drops must be refrigerated.
Her next dose was due six hours later. The pill went down without incident. The drops? Not so much. As I put the drops in each ear, she turned into Ninja Kitty, biting, scratching and shaking her head. I don’t think any of it actually made it to it’s destination. We went through the same routine the following morning and again six hours later. I couldn’t really tell if she was improving or not, she spent most of the time sleeping and I kept her litter box and food (yes, at least the animals were still eating!) close by her so she really didn’t have to walk much. I was getting concerned about the drops though, as they seemed to end up everywhere but in her ears. I couldn’t blame her for going “Ninja Kitty,” who would want ice cold liquid forced into their ear canal? Apparently not Filthy… I decided to call a pharmacy, explain the situation and see if there was any way the drops could be kept and room temp. Obviously there has to be a solution, this can’t be the first “Ninja Kitty” story they’ve encountered. As I dial the phone, I pull the bottle out; Administer Orally every six hours. Orally…Orally…Orally…
Don’t judge…there’s a story behind it.
Hold me. Did Filthy McNasty have a better chance of survival in the wild than she did with me? I called a friend in tears,
“I…I…have been putting the drops…”
“…in her ears…”
“…the bottle says…”
“orally, it says orally!”
You could have heard a pin drop.
Then, in a well you’re not so bright tone of voice, asks,
“You called the vet, right?”
“AND TELL THEM?”
Like I really needed PETA showing up at my door during my emotional breakdown. The story did have a happy ending, Filthy fully recovered from “kitty vertigo” and me. I learned a valuable lesson, never to assume I know what I’m doing (almost never.) Little did we know, this was just a minor bump in the long road ahead.
Rex and his ‘adopted’ sister became great little playmates. He slowly taught her all the kitty basics, e.g. playing, grooming herself, taking over the household. I was still dealing with health issues and spent much of my time sleeping. With the kids in school all day, I’m glad they had each others companionship. I came home one day and found Filthy to be somewhat lethargic. She had vomited a few times so I called the vet. They said it sounded like she may have a touch of the flu and to just keep an eye on her for a few days. Without going into great detail, by the next morning it was clear our little princess was very sick! The vet wanted me to bring her in for testing. After learning what the tests would entail, and the cost…my heart sank. Still on disability, finances were still an issue. I consulted with a few other vets via phone, they all told me the same thing. Filthy was symptomatic of Feline Leukemia, which could also be passed on to Rex. I had a big decision to make. I was home alone and I was hysterical. I called my vet back for reassurance, advice, for anything! With her symptoms, not knowing her history and my financial situation, there was no reassurance and the only advice they could give me was to be mindful of my other cat, of Rex. This was all happening so fast.
Filthy had made her way into a bathroom cupboard and was curled up behind a stack of towels, As I approached her, she looked at me with her big gold eyes in the most apologetic way. As Rex and I sat with her, I made a phone call that, to this day literally rips my heart into a million little pieces.
The following is a letter I later wrote to the head of SPCA in my state;
When you think of the Humane Society, you think of an organization dedicated to helping animals. Whether it be finding a home for an abandon animal or helping to reunite a lost pet with it’s owner, this is who we trust to help our animals. If you cannot trust them whom can you trust? After this past week’s experience, I now question their humanity.
…continue part 3
Tue 19 Jul 2011
I started this awhile back and it ended up being significantly longer than I had anticipated. I decided it would be best to break it down into parts, hopefully not too many…but this little fur ball has quite an amazing story of love, courage, determination and survival!
I have been going through my external hard drive, doing some much needed cleaning, sorting and organizing. Many of the files are off to cyber trash, a few are pending…then there’s those that are absolutely priceless and bring back a rush of memories, the good, the bad and the ugly.
I have 2 cats I love to pieces. (most of the time) Both are Persians, both were strays. Oliver is the newest addition and has been part of the family for about 2 1/2 years. He is big, grey, has the most adorable face ever and loves to be the center of attention. I’ve had my little girl for about 9 1/2 years. She is black, petite, shy, a little on the clumsy side and will win her heart over in the bat of an eye. Her name is…Filthy. I have tried unsuccessfully over the years to rename her, but she is and always will be, Filthy.
While cleaning out my hard drive, I was reminded of exactly how Filthy McNasty got her name. And had I known then what I know now, her name would have been “Filthy Clumsy Was Kidnapped Almost Killed 3 Times McNasty”
Don’t judge…there’s a story behind it.
One evening my kids opened the front door, promptly shutting it again.
“Somethings on our porch.”
“Someone or something?”
“Something, something nasty.”
I opened the door long enough to get a glimpse and slammed it shut.
“What do you think it is?” my kids asked
“I don’t know, but it moved, do not go out there!”
We waited a few minutes and quickly peaked again, it was dark outside but I could tell it had it’s tail…back…or some sort of appendage towards me.
“It probably has rabies, huh mom?”
“I don’t know…”
“Bet it’s a dirty old skunk or raccoon full of diseases.”
“I don’t know…”
We looked again a few minutes later. I’m pretty sure by then my kids had their hockey sticks in hand and helmets secured. As I opened the door, ‘it’ turned around and looked at us with these big, round, gold eyes, my heart melted. “It’s a cat you guys! Disarm yourselves at once!”
As fast as my heart melted, it disappeared into the night. For the next week or so, this little black ball of fur would invade our porch every night, but as soon as we opened the door, it was gone. The kids had started putting out food and water for it and it had started spending more and more time visiting, eventually allowing us near it.
“No, you touch it.”
I finally interjected,
“I will touch it!”
As I went to pet it, I let out a scream. There was what appeared to be a worm nestled in it’s array of knots. “Boys, do you want to try and get that out?” I asked as if it would be a privilege. As they both disappeared into the house I started thinking they may have been on to something, that hockey gear was sounding pretty good right about now. After much debate, we got an old pair of tongs and went to work. Much to our delight that ‘worm’ turned out to be a Chow Mein Noodle, probably one of the many souvenirs it had gathered while dumpster diving. This was the closest we had ever to get to it and it was then one of my kids looked at me and said, “it’s filthy” in which my other son replied, “it’s nasty!” Filthy McNasty now had a name.
Filthy had taken up full time residency on our porch. It had been a few months since she first appeared and it didn’t look like she was going anywhere soon. Her sweet demeanor had made her somewhat of a celebrity within the neighborhood. As much as I’d grown to “love” her, I already had a cat, a turtle, 2 kids and I was dealing with some pretty serious health issues. The last thing I wanted or needed to do was take on anymore responsibilities or financial burdens.
We continued to give her food and water and in return she now allowed us to scratch her head…which is truly the only part of her we were brave enough to touch. Filthy McNasty was as content as could be residing on the “bed” she had made on the porch, but she deserved more. I tried in vain to find someone I knew and trusted that would be able to give her the home and love she needed, that…wasn’t working out so well. One night I was sitting on the porch watching her “play” and without warning, she jumped in my lap. I freaked out, again wishing I was outfitted in my kids hockey gear. As guilty as I feel about it now, I quickly booted her back down. If she can harbor Chow Mein noodles in those knots, what else is in there? Through that brief encounter I did realize something very important, Filthy McNasty had been de-clawed. My search for a home went into overdrive. How long could she survive without being able to defend herself? How had she made it this long?
That same week I returned home on a very cold night and found her on the porch whimpering. She was cold, wet and shivering. Someone had drenched her with a hose. I grabbed a few old beach towels, wrapped her up like a baby and held her close to me. Before I knew it, she was purring and falling asleep. Every so often she would show her gratitude by licking my hand. I held her for a few hours…not wanting to ever let go. So innocent, so alone and treated with such cruelty. It had been almost 7 months since she had found us and her persistence was paying off. It was clear, she just wanted someone to love her.
I called the groomers first thing the following morning to make her an appointment. I explained the situation to them briefly and made them aware her hair was severely knotted. I went out the following morning with a new little kennel, gathered Filthy from her bed on the porch and off we went. At this point we had all grown fond of her and were excited to make her a part of the family. The groomers however took one look at her and my excitement quickly turned to concern. “…we have never seen anything this bad…probably can’t do anything to help her…call your vet, she will probably have to be put under to remove the mats…” Tears welled up in my eyes quickly, after inspecting her a little closer and seeing how calm she was, they decided the would at least try. I might have even hugged them…or kissed them…or both. When I arrived back a few hours later to pick her up, I must have looked at her a dozen times and had no idea it was Filthy, Filthy McNasty. She was sooo clean, sooo tiny…sooo Chow Mein Noodle free!!! The groomers were in awe of how she let them work their magic. Just like she had done with me, she showed her gratitude by occasionally licking their hands. Feeling clean, content and loved, she curled up in a ball on my lap and we started our drive HOME!
Coming into the house, I now faced the task of introducing Rex to his new adopted sister. I did not anticipate this to go over well as he pretty much ruled the house, it was, however as if they were and had always been the best of friends. She explored every inch of the house prancing around like the little princess she had become…until the boys got home. I would like to think it was laughter of joy and delight to see Filthy’s “new look,” she didn’t see it that way and we spent the next 15 minutes coaxing her out from under the bed.
Sometime within the next month, we woke up to find our little princess staggering, she could not take more than two steps without falling…clearly, Filthy was very sick.
…continue part 2