Final answer: Annie.
For those of you who have followed the sage of Roger/Rita…she is now Annie. And she is home – her forever home – with Marley and me. We are delighted, and apparently so are our cats. And Annie, a name that means blessed, is adjusting and very curious about her new feline companions.
A month ago, Annie was part of a colony the Derry Township Community Cat volunteers feed, and she was clearly sick. She was sick for quite awhile and we weren’t able to recapture her. She’d been trapped as a youngster and wasn’t going to fall for a trap again. Finally she was just so sick that she let me come up behind her with a blanket, wrap her in it, and put her in a carrier. This picture, taken in early November, will give you a partial idea of just how sick she was.
The poor girl had hookworm and many other problems, and she has had some pretty intensive vet care for the last month. She had horrible diarrhea and then the real trouble began when she got completely impacted and couldn’t poop at all. She has mega colon, a condition that will be with her for life. Had she not let me capture her she would have been dead within a few days as the temperatures plummeted not long after we got her in. She had to be rushed to the vet when she got impacted and the vet’s prognosis read: “Guarded.”
For the last few weeks she had been in the care of one of our team who knows ferals well. She’s had tons of fluids, a variety of medications, and the poor girl has to have her butt rubbed daily with Preparation H to soothe the area. But she’s getting better. She’s on a med to soften her stools, and we expect to put her on another med that will help her bowel muscles move things through. Those will be lifelong meds, but with good care she should have a nice long happy life.
When we first captured her she had to be isolated given all her issues and the parasites. But once she was clean of the wretched creatures it turns out that being around other cats cheers her enormously and has done wonders for her recovery. She’s been kept in a big dog crate and will be for a while longer until she has complete (or more complete) control of her bowels, but the crate is in the room with other cats, and she can paw and rub and chat, and that makes her happy. She loves watching cats interact with people, and takes her cues from their behavior. She’s amazingly friendly for a cat who has lived outside for all of her young life – somewhere between 6 and 9 months old? It will be good, however, when she can be out and about. She needs to redevelop some muscle tone – too little movement for many weeks. And she has gained a little weight, but she could use another pound or two. Still, she is sooooo much better than she was a month ago. Back then her fur was matted with feces. Today is is soft and shiny, and she loves being pet.
We weren’t really looking for a seventh cat. We were actually looking forward to the day when the vet bills went down, rather than up. Not that we wish the demise of any of our critters, cats or dogs, but the vet bills are sometimes a bit intense. But, as my husband says, we are the place for special needs animals. If one needs a home, well, this is the spot. So we’re glad to have Annie join the gang. Her final visit with the vet who helps us with the community cats resulted in a new prognosis. “Good” read her report today. She has an appointment to meet her new vet on Friday, and we’ll work on getting her a prognosis of “Great.”
In the meantime, she is curled up in her little cat igloo, and she seems content and maybe even happy to finally be home. She got to play with a catnip mouse tonight, and thought that was pretty cool. We’ll do our best to make it a really good home for her. In the meantime, sleep tight little Annie. We hope that today is the start of a whole new life, a much happier one, for you.
I love my cats because I love my home, and little by little they become its visible soul. – Jean Cocteau