A few months ago San Diego got hit with a lot of much needed rain. The gardener in me loved this break from the awful drought and I was oft found dancing naked in the backyard in celebration with much mirth and shrinkage. Here are the photos*
Then one day, I was entertaining some friends when we noticed some movement in the vacant lot next door. Fuzzy and cute movement in the form of three tiny kittens. The friends I was entertaining were the type that could not ignore the cute fuzzy before their eyes so they talked me into trying to feed them.
The pragmatist in me screamed out, “oh slippery slope of ownership! Run away before it’s too late”. But when lovely ladies want to see kittens, kittens will be seen by Jove! And thus began my decent into stewardship of three souls. Three timid and easily frightened souls as well. It took a while for the bravest of them to come and take some formula from my hand via a feeder syringe.
And so it went for a few days. Morning and evening feedings in the junkyard of a vacant lot that I get to look at and grumble under my breath about every day.
The feedings weren’t all sunshine and daisies either. The two more timid kittens would hiss at me, slap my hand so I drop the food, and then run away like Gollum with a new ring. Basically, this was the thanks I was getting from those two.
Then the rains came. I’d find myself thinking about the feral kittens a lot and hoping they were staying dry. They weren’t. I would go out for feedings under the cover of a large umbrella while they came in for shelter and food for a short time before I had to rush off to work. Then they were all showing signs of respiratory infection.
I knew that I would become invested the moment I began feeding them. But I also knew that the vets bills would be astronomical for three kittens and based on the whole Gollum respect I wasn’t getting, I decided to play doctor myself. So I put them on a course of antibiotics. The same that little Piper got after her dog attack. I mixed it in with their food and they ate away unawares of the meds they were receiving. Well, it worked! They all began showing signs of improvement.
Every day they began looking healthier and chubbier. I eventually grew tired of walking over to the junkyard to feed them. Especially when just over the fence was a perfectly good oasis of fresh water and no chemicals or garbage. So I started training them to come over the fence for meals instead.
The three of them were doing really well. There were the two torties and our friend Stumps here with no tail to speak of. Of the tortie sisters, only one was comfortable enough to let me pet her.
And then she staked her claim on this hapless hairless ape. Scent marking and purring and doing these adorable little spins and flops on the ground for belly rubs. I decided to name her Archimedes because of her corkscrew flip-flop love.
Once you name something, it’s all over for you. I was hooked and I was in love. Again.
Here’s my two cents on love. Some people in this world have so much love that they sling it all over the place. They need places to store all their excess love as their love factory is over-producing. I am one of those people. I admittedly fall in love a million times a day. It’s gross and sloppy and messy. But to not do so would make me explode with a bottleneck of repressed love. Which is even messier.
These kittens were no exception to my love rule. Another thing about love is when you have so much of it, you’re bound to be crushed and hurt more often than most. Because you pour it all in no matter the warning in your heart.
So just as I was working on getting Archimedes and Sasha to get along and was making great progress…
…and I even tested out how she would do as a civilized and fancy indoor kitten. One heavenly night we cuddled on the couch for hours.
And then as quickly as she arrived into my life, Archimedes disappeared. Without a trace. My heart was broken again. I have no idea what happened to her and I fear the worst. I also beat myself up for not investing even more, time or money, so as to save these little girls from disease and injury.
I was left with only two kittens and they were still very timid around me and wouldn’t let me near them for anything other than food. Especially the other tortie. Stumps was slightly less standoffish, but not by much.
After a couple of weeks, something changed and the no-tailed beast began to let me pet her. She would purr, then hiss, then purr again as if she herself couldn’t trust her own trusting. Fickle little women are nothing new to this wayward lover. Trust in that. You know who you are. But the love factory is still producing at maximum capacity, so fuck those fickle ladies, life goes on. And life did go on. Until the unnamed and unfriendly tortie disappeared as well!
Now I was down to one kitten and had a heart full of worry and dread. The no-tailed beast was getting super friendly and tame after all these weeks. She would come by for more pets than food and if I tried to go inside to get ready for work, she’d chase me down with pleads for more love. Which pretty much insured that I’d be late for work yet again. Priorities are important in life. Mine tend to learn towards the cute and fluffy things and less towards the timeclockery of laboring for The Man.
So I decided to risk it all once again and give her a name. A temporary name seemed like a good compromise to becoming totally invested so I began calling her Stumps. Said in a low Southern trucker voice out of the side of my mouth for full effect.
Last week, Stumps went missing for two whole days. I’d call and call at the back fence but she would’nt pop out of some random pile of trash and come running. I thought to myself that this journey of mine has reached its finally destination. Death and sorrow.
I never gave up calling out though. Every morning and every night I’d be at that back fence like a sailor’s widow looking to the sea and wondering if her love would ever return to the shores of these open arms. But with more clicks and kissy-face noises.
Then on the third day I could hear Stumps little cute meowing in the distance. And out of the trash she leaped forward. And then proceeded to fall on her little fluffy face. She got up again and bolted towards my relieved giant man-heart.
I noticed something was wrong though. Her gait was erratic and sloppy. Her motor skills were off. She hit the middle of the fence to make the climb and then fell off backwards into the grass. She didn’t land on her feet either. She tried again. And again. Eager to receive the love, but unable to climb the fence. I told her to wait and I’d go over and pick her up but Stumps doesn’t speak hairless ape so she tried again. She climbed that fence with all her might and appeared over at the top straining and confused. I died a little. For the first time ever, she let me pick her up as I hoisted her damaged self over to the safe side of her world.
Something was terribly wrong with Stumps.
It was as if she was drunk. She wobbled all over the place and it seemed to get worse when she was trying to focus on something. Like the bowl of food she used to eat for feverishly.
I made a decision that chill morning while sitting in my unflattering robe (shut up, its cozy and makes me feel like a wizard). I decided that it’s time to invest with more than love and food. I need to get this girl to the vet ASAP. Money be damned, I will not let another cute and fluffy die on my watch. So to the vet we went yesterday.
Which finally brings us to the reason I’m writing this post. To ask for help from you my gentle reader. Her bills will be over a grand when all is said and done. I’m waiting on the results from the blood work which will hopefully shed some light on the course of treatment needed, but the vet was able to give me a safe estimate so that I could start a Gofundme campaign to help cover the costs.
I will be adopting her if she pulls through. We’ve come too far together for me to not see this through all the way. She is currently in my spare room resting and I’ve set up a camera to monitor her 24/7 from anywhere in the world. I call it StumpCam 3000. Here’s a screenshot of her right now. pigging out thankfully…
She’s keeping her food down, so the vet doesn’t think it’s poison which was my main concern. There’s also signs of necrotic flesh on one side of her mouth and a little bleeding. The vet thinks that she may have chewed on an electrical cord, or has been tased by some evil shit in the neighborhood. We will know more after the blood tests are completed and I’ll keep you all updated.
I’m working with the Feral Cat Coalition to help catch/spay/release the mother of all these kittens. As well as the others feral cats that seem to be everywhere on my block. There is still a great deal of work to do. But the first priority is to get Stumps back on her feet and get her all the shots she needs, the meds for whatever ailment this is and treatment for the mites in her ears and the fleas in her fluffy fur.
If you can make a tiny donation of just a few bucks that would be so wonderful! If you can’t do that, then PLEASE help to spread the word by sharing the following link to her campaign…
Help me put an end to her suffering and strife. I’ve vowed that she will not experience another cold, wet, and lonely night outside in a pile of garbage. And I aim to keep my vow. You have the power to help save this poor little creature. For the price of a cup of coffee…oh crap, I’ve become one of those commercials that play at 2am playing “in the arms of an angel”. Sorry about that. But I need you to feel all the feels you can feel. Do it for Stumps! #SaveStumps
*Sorry about that, I wanted you to see the campaign before I lost you. Manipulation for a noble cause is still manipulation. But you deserve it for trying to peek at my franks and beans you dirty bastard!
I just dropped her off with the vet for a full day of hydration. She’s not going to be having fun so I laid on the love extra thick at the vets office this morning. Take a look…
The official diagnosis is kidney failure, which explains all the symptoms. Flushing out the kidneys is the only recourse we have right now, so she’s in intensive care for as long as the funds last. Which is why it’s completely up to you and anyone else you may know with a big heart!! She needs full days of fluids via an IV, and then subcutaneous fluids for over night. We can’t afford a ultrasound right now, so I opted to put the money towards care and meds and hope for a turn-around.
I’m also reaching out for other funding from an organization called FCIA (Foundation for the Care of Indigent Animals) as the FACE foundation only helps animals that have been in an accident or the like. Not for prolonged care like Stumps needs. I’m spending the day away from the office to do as much fund raising as I can do. But I still need help from people like you, so PLEASE spread the word and donate as much as you can.
I put most of the updates directly on gofundme, so please visit here for more photos, videos and status updates…
Keep your fingers crossed that we can get those kidneys back up and running again! And thank you eternally for all your help and support. It gets me all weepy when I think about the flood of support we’ve gotten so far. In a world like ours, to have so much love pouring out moves me beyond words.