…continued part 1, part 2

Part 3
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