I’ve mentioned to a few people that I’ve been feeding a stray kitty outside for about two months. We had decided to name him Chuck. Don’t ask me why, it just seemed to fit. He had goopy eyes and a runny nose, but that happens to kitties that are exposed to disease, the elements and have no one to love them. Sometimes it’s a simple viral infection that can get better with medications. Sometimes it’s a herpes nasal infection that cats can get. It cannot be transmitted to humans. I was hesitant to reach out and pet him at first, because I know disease can be easily passed on to other kitties by contaminated hands. However, Chuck was so full of love and gratitude whenever I came out with food, I simply had to touch him.
I reached out and he rose his head up to meet my hand in a reciprocal manner to meet my touch. He was delighted to be touched, to be loved. His coat was dull and I could feel bumps on his skin under his gray fur. Whether they were flea bites or battle wounds, I don’t know. I did know I had to wash my hands well and disinfect the door knob and door mat with Lysol each time I touched Chuck.
I knew if Chuck was going to stick around, I’d be taking him to the vet. He needed to be neutered and be checked out for disease so we could take the needed precautions and administer what meds we had to, to make him a happy, healthy, kitty cat.
Chuck has been greeting me when I open the front door. He is always full of purrs, meows and leg rubs. His appetite has always been excellent. He jumps off the front porch and runs to the edge of the patio when I arrive home so that he can give me a proper greeting.
I purchased a larger carrier to coax Chuck into for the appointment I had made at the Buckley Veterinary Clinic. I had canceled two appointments for him already because he simply wasn’t around for me to catch and put in the carrier. This morning, he was there, along with Sasha, waiting for their breakfast.
With little effort (if any at all) I got Chuck to go into his new carrier with a few kitty treats. I had a nice blanket in there for him. He never made a peep on the way to the vet. I had an 8:30 a.m. appointment and they took me right in. They had been totally booked but made this time work for me since I never knew when I’d see Chuck. (Bless their hearts!)
The first thing I wanted them to do was to take a “C” test. That is a test they can do right in the clinic and know in 10 minutes if the animal is carrying feline leukemia. This disease is passed on to other kitties through fights and only by swapping blood in some way. It’s a terrible way to die and can be prevented if only cat owners would love their animals as they would love a family member and take care of them, provide them a safe environment, a litter box, good food, clean water and lots of pets and love.
I talked to Chuck all the way to the vet and while he sat quietly in the carrier in the exam room. The vet came in and I told her what I wanted done. I also told her if he was positive for feline leukemia, I’d want him to be “put down.” That sort of caught in my throat when I said it. She told me I was doing this in the right order and frame of mind. I tickled Chuck’s head through the wire door of his carrier and then they took him back in the next room. I sat there and prayed for this little guy who was just so happy to be touched and fed. I was hoping I could make his life just a little better for him.
Ten minutes later the vet came in. The moment I saw her face I knew it wasn’t good news. She told me he was infected and a carrier of feline leukemia. I told her to put him down. She expressed her sorrow as did her attendant, but assured me I was doing the right thing. I knew I was, but it didn’t make the loss of a furry, little love machine go away. I always have such hopes for these little guys.
They left and I sat down and had a good cry in the exam room. One of the office girls came in and had me sign a paper. They brought me the empty carrier: I paid the bill and left – my heart much heavier, in fact breaking. I came home to no outside kitty greeting me. I proceeded to wash my cat carriers with Clorox and soap. I had been feeding Chuck in a smaller carrier on the porch to get him used to being in one. So both carriers are now clean and disease free. The vet told me that Sasha, my only outside, spayed kitty should be OK, since they were friendly with one another. I’m still not myself since this happened. It takes a lot out of me knowing I have ended a life. I have to put it all into perspective.
There are so many suffering, yet proud kitties out there. Animals that have been abandoned like so much trash. I wouldn’t do that to anything or anyone. They are the innocent ones and give back so much love in return for so little. Please take care of your animals. They are precious little spirits.